Serbia’s Deputy PM Aleksandar Vucic: We Must Fight Scourge of Socialist Corruption
By Lianna Brinded | October 3, 2013 7:13 PM EST
Serbia's first deputy prime minister wants to eradicate bloated state-owned companies, put an end to bumper public salaries and bonuses, and curb international bailouts in a bid to boost the economy through the private sector.
As part of IBTimes UK's special Serbia in Focus series in Belgrade, Aleksandar Vucic delivered a scathing attack on the previous socialist government's well-documented corruption, which led the economy to the brink of collapse.
"We are experts in corruption and we're experts in extortion but this is now times gone past," said Vucic.
"We are putting an end to public-owned companies acting as if they are a state within a state and awarding themselves salaries and bonuses while still being subsidised by the government."
Vucic said that, years ago, parents would encourage their children to get a job in a public company, because civil service jobs paid 13% higher salaries and bonuses than the private sector.
"How is this possible? We are changing this. We have 25% unemployment and we have problems with our budget deficit. But how do you think we are going to cut this by 2% when we are wasting money elsewhere? Why, because we're hypocrites," said Vucic.
"Experts have said we have to reform our economic policies for over 10 years, but when we try to do it we get stabbed in the back.
"I say, OK, go ahead. Go into the street and tell private companies that they have to pay 30% corporation tax and destroy the economy even more."
"I am Not Going to Butter Your Bread"
Serbia has one of the most attractive tax systems in Europe, as workers only pay 10% tax on their salary while corporate profit tax stands at 15%, and value-added-tax at 20%.
However, around a quarter of the population remains unemployed and GDP growth has remained negative since the credit crisis.
Prior to 2008, Serbia recorded an average of 4% growth annually.
"We need to cut our budget by €800m but we face a number of challenges," said Vucic.
"We get criticised for making cuts but where would the critics suggest in taking it? If we increase VAT to 25%, we'll destroy our economy even further.
"People can sit in the coffee shops and tweet about how much they disagree with us, but they have too much time on their hands.
"I am not going to butter your bread. I am not interested in socialist self-management. We need to encourage the private sector and the future of the country lies in capitalism."
IMF Monopoly Money
Serbia's unemployment rate has nearly doubled since the year before the credit crisis, and the average net wage is €380 per month.
The government is stuck between trying to appease the voters and trying to reduce spending, create jobs and provide sustainable growth for the economy.
Vucic said that the government's plans to woo major foreign investors would not only be able to provide this future growth but would also help Serbia avoid massive international bailouts.
"We bought bonds many years ago but this is coming home to roost. We have got to pay creditors back," said Vucic.
"However, I am not supporting the idea of taking more loans when the interest alone is €1bn. Who is going to earn that money? I am not taking the International Monetary Fund's Monopoly money that doesn't exist anyway.
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: King Williem-Alexander, Queen Maxima Hold Solemn Reception Ceremony for Victims
- Jennifer Lawrence & Nicholas Hoult Allegedly Split: Mad Max Actor Cheats with Kristen Stewart & Riley Keough - Reports
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Matmo Leaves 32k Customers w/o Electricity in Taiwan, Weakens After Landing in China
Join the Conversation
- 5 Marketing Nuggets We Can All Learn From Lady Gaga
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Multi-Million Pound Law Suit Looms Over Putin’s Head, Assets At Risk
- 5 Uncanny Jobs That Actually Pay Very Well
- Ebola Virus on the Loose: World Cautioned as Infection Moves; Global Airports on High Alert; Kills Liberian Doctor, Infects American Worker
- Advisory: Britons Told to Leave Libya ASAP, UK Issues Travel Ban
- Apple iPhone 6 on Two Confirmed Release Dates, New Parts Leaked Suggesting Bigger iPhone to Come
- Google Nexus 6, 8 with Android L on Release Date Promises Killer Mobile Device Experience
- iPhone 6 Release Date Relevance to iOS Newbies: Specs Meaning, Price Considerations
- Xiaomi Mi4 vs OnePlusOne vs Nexus 5: Mi4 is the ‘Perfect’ Phone
- Israeli Women Stripping Naked for IDF Soldiers
- HTC One M8 Android 4.4.3 KitKat Update Roll Out, Introducing the HTC One Remix
- The Pirate Bay Releases ‘The Mobile Bay’: Mobile Torrent Download Made Easier but Remains Illegal