Serbian Prime Minister-designate Aleksandar Vucic speaks at the special session of Serbian National Assembly for the formation of new government in Belgrade, Serbia on Aug. 9, 2016. Vucic said Tuesday the new government will work to raise people's living standard, while the growth of investments will directly depend of EU accession. (Xinhua/Nemanja Cabric)
BELGRADE, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Serbian Prime Minister-designate Aleksandar Vucic said Tuesday the new government will work to raise people's living standard, while the growth of investments will directly depend of EU accession.
Vucic, the prime minister in the former government (2014-2016), explained to MPs in a 7-hour speech key issues of the new government program that he wrote in the past several months, stressing that "former government achieved stability while the new one will bring progress to the country".
Speaking at the special session of Serbian National Assembly, Vucic told MPs that the key aim of this government will be to raise salaries in public sectors including policemen, soldiers, social and health workers, but that the prosperity will directly depend on the progress in European integration and investments coming from the EU.
He said that 72 percent of all investments in Serbia in 2015 came from the EU, worth 1.53 billion euros (about 1.67 billion U.S. dollars), and that the further progress towards full EU membership is a strategic goal for the Serbian government.
"Serbia has so far achieved growth of GDP thanks to greater export and investments, but the growth of investments in future will directly depend of the pace of Serbia's progress in EU accession," Vucic said.
The Prime Minister-designate stressed that Serbia needs to continue opening accession chapters of the EU acquis, and close all 35 of them until 2020, before the end of the four-year mandate of the new government.
In December 2015, Serbia opened chapter 32 (financial control) and 35 (dialogue with authorities in Pristina and implementation of the Brussels agreement), while this July it opened chapter 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security).
Share of total foreign investments in GDP of Serbia is 18 percent in 2015, Vucic explained, adding that 25 percent is necessary in order for the country to achieve dynamic economic growth.
He reminded that one of the most important investments this year came from Chinese HeSteel who acquired the steel mill in Smederevo for 46 million euros and brought security to its 5,000 employees.
"We expect more investments from Russia and the EU, while we will secure a well-arranged and developed investment climate," Vucic said.
He added that Serbia will stay firmly dedicated to peace, strengthening cooperation, and good relations with its neighbors, while at the same time increasing cooperation with the EU, Russia, China and the United States as well as countries of southeast Europe in order to maintain and protect government interests in the area of defense which are, according to Vucic, long-term peace and stability.
He said the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, the Serbian southern province that unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, remains a great challenge but Serbia plans to continue defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, while at the same time continuing dialogue with authorities in Pristina.
According to Vucic's proposal submitted on Monday to the parliament, the new government will have 16 ministries and three ministers without portfolios. Eight of them will be newcomers in the government, while the remaining ministers will continue performing their functions.
It is expected that parliament votes for the election of the new government of Serbia by the end of the week.