Nikolic criticized for statement at research center ceremony
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Monday laid the cornerstone for "the Centers of Excellence" of the University of Kragujevac, in central Serbia.Source: Beta, Tanjug
With doctoral students of the Kragujevac Faculty of Medicine and future researchers at the centers, Nikolic lowered a time capsule into the foundations.
The Centers will include a stem cell research center as well as centers for molecular and cellular research, pharmaceutical and pharmacological research, functional and morphological research, clinical and epidemiological research, stomatological research, a vivarium and a stem cell bank.
The construction of the 11,500 sq meter facility, worth EUR 14 million, is co-funded by a European Investment Bank loan, with the city of Kragujevac contributing RSD 40 million.
The Centers should be completed by April next year.
Speaking in the context of stem cell research, he said conditions were being created for the first time to store, use and study stem cells of Serbian citizens in the territory of the country, by domestic personnel and in an institution founded by Serbia.
The Stem Cell Bank will "preserve what's most important, and the most beautiful characteristics of the Serb people," Nikolic said, adding that those who cannot have children now "often go abroad for help" - but that "the solution should be here":
"Children should be born here, with the Serb genetic material, with the Serb code, Serb past and Serb future. That has guided me to support this."
Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic reacted to this last point on Twitter by saying he "regretted this statement," and adding that the first article of the Constitution states "the Republic of Serbia is the state of the Serb people and all citizens who live in it."
The League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV) also reacted, saying that the president made "a Nazi statement" that "violated the Constitution," and urging him to resign.