Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s new cabinet was endorsed by parliament on Thursday (11 August) on a platform of stepping up reforms and completing EU accession talks in 2019 while maintaining close ties with Russia
Vucic, a centre-right leader and former ultra-nationalist who has been in power since 2014, won a comfortable majority in an April election but delayed forming a new cabinet while seeking a coalition to share responsibility for reforms.
Serbia’s pro-European Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić claimed victory in yesterday’s (24 April) general election after projections showed him winning by a landslide. But the hardline Radicals are set to return to Parliament after a 4-year absence.
He eventually renewed his coalition with the Socialists and retained largely the same team, including Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic, a former World Bank economist whose confirmation in the job signals a continuity in economic policy.
Serbia’s chief negotiator on Tuesday (10 May) called on the European Union to continue accession talks in June as planned, criticising the opposition from Balkans neighbour Croatia.
The government received the support of 163 lawmakers, while 62 voted against in the 250-seat parliament. New ministers will be sworn in later in the evening.
Vucic told parliament on Tuesday that exports and investment would both rise, leading to an overall 13% growth of the economy by the end of his new four-year term. The Balkan country’s debt will shrink to 60%of national output by 2020 from the current 72 percent, he said.
Serbia, the biggest market in the western Balkan region, is forecast to grow 2.5% in 2016, which places it among the most sluggish economies in the area.
In the otherwise largely unchanged government, Vucic appointed the country’s first openly gay minister. Ana Brnabic, ex-manager of Serbia’s subsidiary of an international wind park developer, was named minister for state administration.
Serbia’s Gay Straight Alliance called her appointment in the conservative Balkan country a historic decision.
Serbia has sacked its ambassador to the EU Duško Lopandić, the official explanation being that he has been unable to prevent an exhibition in the European Parliament honouring a controversial figure in Yugoslavia’s history.