Vučić: "After Putin's statement, our situation has changed for the worse" VIDEO
President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, addressed the citizens of Serbia from the Palace of Serbia.Source: B92
At the very beginning of his address, the President announced that he would speak on all current topics.
In the past decade, we have faced many crises, a catastrophic financial crisis, we have also faced the worst floods, the migrant crisis and a million people have passed through the country, we have faced coronavirus pandemic, and in our time we are witnessing a world conflict, you can also call it the third world war", the president said.
As he stated, in accordance with that, he divided the address into ten points.
The first point: Serbia's course
Vučić stated that the latest research showed that for the first time we have a clear majority of citizens who are against joining the EU - 44 percent, while 35 percent support EU accession.
"As the President of the Republic of Serbia, it is our job to hear and understand public opinion, but it is also our job to do what is best for Serbia. My message to everyone is that Serbia is on the road to Europe and will continue down that road more strongly", he said.
He said that we are on the European road, and that he will fight harder so that Serbia finds its place among European nations.
The second point: Kosovo and Metohija
"We had important talks with representatives of the West and tried to convey discussion with the representatives of Pristina. Since Albin Kurti has been in power, the number of attacks on Serbs increased by 50 percent. No one has reacted to that. We are facing daily violations of international public law and Resolution 1244, along with the hypocritical behavior of parts of the Western world", stated Vučić.
As he pointed out, the dialogue with Pristina is almost non-existent.
"Namely, our situation has changed for the worse, after the statements of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Not because he intended to harm Serbia, but because he raised the issue of Kosovo and Metohija in a different way, to protect Russian interests," Vucic said.
Vučić read Putin's statement and tried to explain what Putin meant when he told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that a precedent had been set by the International Court of Justice when it ruled on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and that parts of Ukraine bordering Russia could declare independence. He said that Western officials are now trying to ruin Putin’s argument by saying that Kosovo and the Donbas region are different cases.
“We are now in a problem because the West will call Serbia to head quickly towards recognizing Kosovo so that they can tell Putin that the Donbas and Kosovo are not about the same issue,” he said and added that Kosovo will be the dominant issue in future. “Let me tell you that all European leaders told me that Putin insisted on the Kosovo case in talks with them”, he said.
Vucic said that he does not expect Russia to recognize Kosovo and added that Serbia is under enormous pressure.
The third point: Energy resources
The President also referred to the great energy crisis in the world.
"We are facing a great energy crisis in the world. Orban compared the sanctions for Russian oil with the dropping of the atomic bomb," he pointed out.
Vucic warned that Serbia is 100 percent dependent on Russian gas and will continue to be so for at least two more years. He said that talks are underway with Russia’s Gazprom on the purchase of natural gas, specifying that a deal has to be signed by the end of May.
The fourth point: Financial crisis
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also spoke about the financial crisis.
He pointed out that Serbia is paying a high price for not imposing sanctions on Russia.
"We cannot appear on the international capital market and renew loans. The public debt rate is 52.4% today, which is extraordinary, and I am grateful to the citizens for trusting us," he said.
The fifth point: Food
Vučić also referred to the situation with food.
He pointed out that Serbia had filled its reserves.
"We are able to provide food for the entire region, but not in such a way that someone makes money on our food," he said.
The sixth point: Reforms
President Vučić also touched on the topic of reforms in energy policy.
"We talked to the British and Norwegians. I asked them to help us develop an energy policy strategy."
The seventh point: Pensioners and young people
The seventh point concerns pensioners, and the president said that he would ask for a significant shift in the Swiss formula in times of crisis, in order to ensure that the growth of pensions fully follows the growth of salaries.
"We will go for a significant increase in pensions in the coming period. In the next two years, it must be done that way. As for young people, from May 16 to 31, young people can apply for assistance. But we must continue to invest in dual education. We guarantee jobs to young people when they finish school. We have to extend that to universities. We will have to offer better education to young people. It is our job to provide education, health and equal chances to get a job," he said.
The eighth point: The army and military neutrality
In today's address, Vučić also referred to the military situation in the country.
As he stated, his proposal will be to introduce a mandatory military service of 90 days. "Every young man can set aside 90 days for his country," the president stressed, adding that this would strengthen the border cities.
"South of Cacak, we have very few soldiers, which would speed up the development of smaller, poorer areas. I am asking the army not to offer response that we do not have enough training staff, as I do not want to accept that as an excuse", he said.
The ninth point: The birth rate
"The issue of birth rate is especially important for us. We have the first case, the first use of state support. We have 9 cases in which decisions are currently being made. I ask mothers to submit applications, to try to solve their problems," Vucic appealed.
The tenth point: Serbia's road to Europe
Vučić stated that he had no problem saying that Serbia must continue down European road.
"There are different opinions in the party I lead. We are successful, but we would not be able to achieve that without the EU. That does not mean that we will lose our pride and dignity. I fought in the previous weeks and went through many unpleasant situations to protected Serbia", the president said.
As he stated, Serbia came out with its policy on the conflict in Ukraine on the third day, and it is protecting that position even today after 70 days.
"I know what is in the soul of our people and what the emotion of the people is. Serbia will not trample on its friendship at the end. Only the force of Serbia's interests can change our relationship, the force of pressure from outside cannot do anything to us, but our strategic path is the road to Europe," said Aleksandar Vučić.
"I see what the Germans and the representatives of other countries are doing, and it's not funny to me. And we are behaving comfortably because we haven't even felt the crisis. Which doesn't mean we won't. And I want to thank the hundreds of people who gave me advice and who know how the state is run, and I will gladly give them the helm when my term expires. And maybe even earlier", he concluded.
Questions from the press
Vučić said that the talks with Olaf Scholz were difficult, and that many good things await us, but we will also face with many challenges.
He pointed out that Serbia will react immediately if Pristina submits membership application for the Council of Europe.
"The campaign for derecognizing Kosovo will commence immediately. I always talk about peace and stability, and I will continue to do so even though it cost me my popularity. Serbia will defend itself with weapons only if it is attacked", he said.
He emphasized that he promised the people peace and stability, and that he will fulfill it. Vučić pointed out that Serbia did not seize any of the Russian property, and that he personally loathes the seizure of property.
"I also hate what happened in 1945, 1946 and 1947. What are we supposed to do? Go to a Russian school and say this is ours now, as they did in half of Europe. We have no major problems so far, and if there is, we will talk to our partners from NIS how to solve the situation", he said.
He also spoke about the difficult meetings in Germany, and responded to the attacks due to the photo with Lajcak and Kurti.
"My daughter Milica accompanied me for dinner, and if they saw Kurti instead, then I don't know what to say. I want to say one more thing. I've never shook hands with Kurti in my life. And the meeting was such that it is better not to comment".
In the previous days, Vučić had numerous important talks and meetings, regarding the situation in Europe and the region caused by the events in Ukraine.
After visiting Greece, he traveled to Berlin, where he talked with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about Serbia's European road, our country's foreign policy course and economic cooperation.