Serbia is moving forward, PM says after 100 days in office

Serbian Premier Ana Brnabić. [Tib Tib/Flickr]

Serbian citizens eagerly awaited Prime Minister Ana Brnabić to present her cabinet’s first 100 days in office, not because they wanted to be reminded of what the government had done but to find out how much their pensions and salaries would be raised. EURACTIV Serbia reports.

The rise of the previously cut salaries and pensions had been the subject of speculation for months. Officials announced all would be revealed once the government completed 100 days in office, which coincided with the finance minister’s visit to Washington and talks with the International Monetary Fund.

Salaries in the public sector and pensions were cut in late 2014 as part of measures aimed at stabilising public finances and making them sustainable.

The prime minister announced on 14 October that, as of 1 January 2018, civil servants will get a raise of 5-10% while pensions will be raised by 5%. Pensioners will also receive a one-off bung of 5,000 dinars (€42) before the end of December.

Brnabić said good fiscal results achieved in 2017 had made it possible to raise salaries and pensions.

The employees who can expect the biggest raise of 10% are those in education, healthcare, social services, kindergartens, courts and prosecutors’ offices, the army, police, security services, culture and the tax administration.

Those employed in public administration and the ministries will have 5% higher salaries as of 2018.

According to the official data, in June 2017 the average pension in Serbia totalled 25,548 dinars (€215/month) while the average net salary was 49,238 dinars (€415 euros/month).

Serbia is moving forward

The Serbian prime minister said that over the course of its first 100 days the cabinet had shown that Serbia could move forward and modernise.

Brnabić added the government was focused on economic development, digitalisation, investment in education and healthcare, and on Serbia’s EU accession process.

“In the coming period, we will continue to work on the European integration and regional cooperation. We expect that new negotiating chapters will be opened by the end of 2017, we are sticking to the focus on the three pillars of European integration – economic stability, public administration reform and the rule of law,” said Brnabić.

So far, Serbia has opened ten chapters in the accession talks with the EU and temporarily closed two.

The presented results were met with criticism from the opposition. Liberal politician and opposition leader Čedomir Jovanović said the presentation had shown that the government lacked the courage to answer the key questions and that its ministers were engaged in statistics and technical matters.