HRH Crown Prince Alexander II
Interview with Lider magazine, January 2007
Lider is a Serbian-Russian bilingual monthly printed in Belgrade and Moscow
WHY SHOULD SERBIA BE A MONARCHY?
LIDER QUOTE: ďThe political situation in Serbia doesnít leave a
good impression on anyone. After the death of Dr. Zoran Djindjiś, the country is
being lead by politicians who are not taken seriously neither in the world, nor
in the region. It suffices to say that in the last three years Serbia was
represented in Moscow by Milan Rośen, the current Montenegrin Minister of
Foreign Affairs. This gentleman has fulfilled the task he came for to Moscow,
and in the meantime he has met with Agim »eku, Kosovo Albanian leader, while
Serbia still doesnít have an adequate representative in Russia; a representative
that will work only in its interest. That was the reason for us to meet and talk
to the person who perhaps is the only right solution for Serbia and Serbs. A man
who has family relations with all important Royal Houses in Europe. Is
reinstating monarchy the only solution for us? How should we fight for our
position in the world? HRH Crown Prince Alexander II talks to Lider about these
and other issuesĒ.
Why do you think it would be good for Serbia to become a monarchy? What do
you find wrong in Serbia?
Serbia would have a new image. An image of a country where the head of state
is neutral, is not a member of a political party, respects all people,
regardless of their political views or religion. We need a meeting point, a
point of unity and continuity. Therefore our government, which was elected by
the people, could carry on with its business, and be saved of almost daily
bickering between the two offices, the Presidentís office, and Prime Ministerís
office. Of course, President Tadiś and Prime Minister Koötunica are very fine
people, but the people of Serbia donít need friction. So why not simplify it
like other countries such as Spain, Norway, or Japan, for example.
What type of monarchy do you think that people in Serbia would like the
There are variations, but we are looking specifically for a European model,
which is constitutional parliamentary monarchy. Thereís a whole list of
examples, some I already mentioned, Norway, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden,
Belgium, United Kingdom, etc. They all function very well; they are highly
advanced democracies, and are socially adapted. Thatís the kind of monarchy we
are looking at. Of course, there are other types of monarchy, but they are not
the model we should follow. The beauty about our Monarchy is that it comes from
our land, it comes from Serbia, it is not imported. That really makes it a
national and historical institution of great respect. But we must bring it to
the modern side too, so that it works in the European Union. Such monarchies
work hand in hand with republics. In Serbia people think that republics and
monarchies do not get well along. That is absolute nonsense. In Brussels they
all work together. They are all democratically elected representatives of their
Was the issue of monarchy addressed in the new Constitution?
No, unfortunately not. The new Constitution is very important and I warmly
congratulate the people of Serbia for having come out to vote for it. However,
it was specifically designed for Kosovo and there are certain elements in the
Constitution which I, as a person who lived in democratic countries all my life,
have a problem. I think that the whole process was rushed, because after the 5th
of October 2000, with exception of Prime Minister Djindjiś, no one had a look at
the Kosovo situation, which is close to our hearts. We have a very painful
situation there; itís like Jerusalem to many people. Now we stand to lose
everything in Kosovo. Unless we all get together and have a plan, and even
consider partition. In the end we could lose absolutely everything in five
years. I donít think thatís what we want; we require good negotiation skills
now. Also, isnít there a feeling in Serbia, that is present in Russia too, that
solution is being imposed on us. And I donít believe thatís the way to move
forward in the 21st century. You have to decide what you want, negotiate, and
try to do the best you can. Not to wait for foreigners to impose solutions.
Could you please describe Serbia as a new country?
We have suffered a lot. Serbia has suffered a lot. Serbia was part of
Yugoslavia, before that, part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and
then it became Yugoslavia in 1929, when my grandfather renamed it. Then we had
fascism in Europe, civil war, war against Germans, and after all that, the
imperial dictatorship, which was similar to Russian. Letís face it, letís be
frank. Was this good for the people? Obviously not. It was good for a few
individuals who lived better than emperors. Then weíve had the revolution on 5th
of October, after 10 years of madness, where people lost their lives, people
suffered under the embargo, and then we were criminally bombed. Now we have to
recover from all this. What a job! What a terrible job. People are still
suffering. People lived better 15 years ago, they had higher salaries, they had
passports with which they could travel. Now our young people say they canít
travel anywhere. What can we do about it? We have to pull ourselves together and
to move ahead. Thereís a lot to be done in Serbia. Planning, organization, then
Do you think that it is necessary to raise awareness among Serbian
Well, I think that our population deserves full explanation and it must
partake in the discussion. Maybe the people are getting tired of politics if you
think about it. We lost a quarter of a million of people in the brain drain. We
are looking for talent to run the country. Weíre trying to educate the young
generation now. I managed to create scholarships with foreign universities, and
this will take time to do it, of course, but we have to start somewhere. Now we
have to begin to work on forming a future, and making our politicians aware that
they are working for the people, not against the people. After all, they are the
servants of the people. People elected them and thanks to the grace of the
people they are in office. This is very important, this is democracy
functioning. Our young people are wondering should they go abroad to a very far
away country, away from their roots, away from their homeland and earn a living,
or to stay here and hope for a better days? So everybody has a collective
responsibility in creating a future. Another thing that has to stop is the
gossip and false information in the media. I understand that media has to sell,
but we all must contribute to a better future of Serbia.
What exactly could you bring to Serbia?
Unity, continuity, democratic process, bringing people together for a common
goalÖ then education as a key issue and my wifeís work on humanitarian side. We
have to make people aware that we need things, training, bringing us up to date
with the latest technologies. We are a major country in the Balkans, and unless
we are at peace with ourselves, the Balkans could be slightly unstable. I think
that people deserve to understand what is needed of them. What is European
Union? I am not too sure our people understand what the European Union is. They
ask do I have to pay more? Am I isolated more? Can I travel? Could I take a job,
for example, in France, Italy? Can I get people from my company to come here and
work without paying more for that? Nobody really knows, but everybodyís arguing
about it. Two countries are moving in on first of January Ė Bulgaria and
Romania. So, if you think about it, the belt is getting tighter. We have next to
us Hungary, and Slovenia a little further. So bit by bit itís getting tighter
and tighter. We could be in it too, but first we have to fulfil our
international obligations. Regarding that, I think that thereís a lot of tuning
that must take place in The Hague. The Hague does not function the way I really
see it functioning. You do bring people to justice, but you have to have a
proper plan, it can not be open ended. I, as a citizen, would like to know much,
much more, because my life and lives of all our people are being affected by
this. We are being ransomed if you think about it. Nine million people being
ransomed because of a few individuals. They should face justice, but who can
guarantee that they are in the region? What is the future, collective future of
all Serbian people, I mean all religions Ė Orthodox, Muslim, Roman Catholic,
Protestant, Jewish, we are a mixture. What is our future as a country? I donít
know. That is something we have to struggle with.
Will monarchy accelerate integration of Serbia into EU?
I think it could, because it would simplify the political process. You have
the President who could become a great Prime Minister, and even the Prime
Minister could remain on his position. But they have to work out their
differences together. Then you have the coalitions. I accept who is elected. No
matter who they are, because our elections are democratic. It functions pretty
well, better than in most countries. I canít believe that the West can be so
stupid and say we donít accept you because you elected so and so. Thatís very
wrong. Itís like Hamas. Hamas was elected. Now, if somebody is elected here, we
must respect the election. That is very important.
Why didnít you try to apply your idea about monarchy earlier?
Itís very difficult. Thereís been no campaign; thereís been no box full of
money to start advertising an awareness campaign. We have a few individuals who
go from TV station to TV station and do interviews, explaining what
constitutional monarchy is. There are phone-ins, debates, and we have won all
these debates. But to do that is a big job, to explain things. I think that
there should be more of a funding system, which would be set up to explain to
people what is available. I wanted to bring a few foreign people who have been
involved in constitutional monarchy discussions to join our experts and to have
an open debate, so that people could understand how it works abroad, and then
our people could interact with their views, and say we donít agree with that, or
weíd like to know more about that. Thatís the democratic process. We are a bit
in the dark. As I said, it all costs a lot. I didnít inherit any money.
Does the Diaspora show inclination towards your idea?
Not only the Diaspora. Diaspora is very inclined to constitutional monarchy,
but within Serbia thereís a very large amount of people who are inclined towards
constitutional monarchy. I have noticed this travelling around our country; the
interest is immense. So there is interest, all we have to do, really, is to
Are you aware of any resistance, and who could your opponents be?
There is resistance, but they would benefit from constitutional monarchy as
well, because I respect everybody. I respect those who are for and who are
against monarchy. So itís in the interest of everybody, those who feel very
strongly about being republican, those who feel very strongly for having high
left inclination, or high right inclination, that there is a person who will
respect their views and that they will not be hit by the head of state who will
say ďyou canít do this, you canít do that.Ē Itís a very interesting situation.
This works very well in the European Union and non-European constitutional
Who supports you the most?
The people. That is interesting. In all political parties there are those who
like the monarchy, but where is the mechanism for change? I believe that there
is a mechanism. What happened in 1945 was illegal. What you need is
Constitutional Assembly to address this situation. It was like when my
great-grandfather King Peter I was made King. After 1945 I was abolished, my
rights were abolished, in 1947 I was declared an enemy of the state. Of course,
there are other ways, such as referendum, but a referendum is like running for
president. Iím not running for president. Iím defending the democratic process.
Iím what is needed to bring people together for a better future and to allow the
politicians to get on with democracy. It works very well. Look at Spain. Spain
moved from dictatorship to democracy, became member of EU and has an interesting
How is your cooperation with Serbian Orthodox Church?
Very well. Iím proud to be Serbian Orthodox and as a Christian I respect all
religions. I believe that it is important to understand each other. I made
friends with Muslims, with Jews, with Orthodox, with Catholics. I had them here
at the Royal Palace as guests. We are one nation. We need each other and we have
to respect each other. So, being Orthodox is great, but respecting all others is
a part of our religion too. Donít take it to extremes. We also have extremism in
our religion which I think is not good. Religion is something beautiful. Our God
is the same God.
Do you believe in Godís Providence?
I think that we have much to learn from the writings, from the Bible, the
Qurían. There is a lot that is based on them, and different ways of
interpreting. This is why we have so many religions. But I think we must respect
this: God is here in so many ways, but God is not here to dictate, God is here
to be good.
How will the problem of Karadjordjeviś family property in former Yugoslav
republics be solved?
Here we have an interesting situation. There is the right of ownership of
private property in a democracy and this is normal. So, our rights, where there
is a property, as it is in Slovenia or in Montenegro, for example, even here in
Serbia, must be settled like it was settled in Hungary, Romania, or Czech
Republic. It is very important that this is done properly and I donít see why
one should argue about it. It is a normal process which happens in all
democracies. There are ways of settling it. If it is not returned, there is
compensation. There are civilised ways. But it is quite ridiculous to deny it.
We donít even have restitution bill.
Could you define your character in one sentence?
Positive, I love my country. I want to see a future for my children and all
young people. I want to see Serbia part of Europe. Iím a positive and caring
How much time do you spend in Serbia?
Approximately nine months in Serbia every year, three months travelling
around, and most of that time trying to bring investors here. We were just in
Iceland, as guests of their President. Iím trying to create the bridge to make
contacts which could be useful for my country. I have good contacts and I would
like to use them for Serbia. It is not a threat to any political party or any
politician; it is for good of Serbia. Iím lucky that I made all these friends,
and I am a friend with republics with their presidents, friend with monarchies
with their kings and queens, with politicians, directors of big companies. So,
why not to use it for Serbia? This is not competition; all I do is good for
Serbia. I can contribute a lot in these things in working it out with the
How often young princes Peter, Philip and Alexander come here?
They come here for holidays. They like Kopaonik for snowboarding. Last summer
they spent two months here. Peter has his own company which is involved in
graphics design and he loves it. Alexander, the youngest, he is involved in
advertising in California, and Philip graduated now from university in London
and he is looking for some experience in several areas Ė one of them is banking.
Are you satisfied with your life here?
Iím very happy to be home, to live where my ancestors lived, and Iíd like to
see this country developing quickly. Iíd like to see less argument. Of course,
politics are politics, and we are in a democracy. If you look in other countries
there are politics too, but we can not afford to play too many hot politics
while the people are wondering how to buy bread or how to pay for heating. I am
very worried about it. Travelling around our country with my wife we see
poverty. We also have refugees and they deserve a future. On the other hand, Iím
proud to say that, when people come here from abroad, they say that Serbia
received them with an open heart. I would like to see more people coming here, I
would like that we have a plan how too receive the investors, what to show them.
I would like to be sure that tourists spend a lot of money here. Of course, we
need more investors and we are grateful to those who came. We need modern
factories, machinesÖ Iím not satisfied with those, so called, industrial areas.
But our people are very tolerant. Can you imagine it, going through years of
dictatorship, ten years of pain, and then bombing? What patience they have? We
are very proud people!
What would you wish to Serbia in the next year?
I would like to see big steps forward for the good of Serbia. That finally we
get the EU situation moving. That people understand what it is all about. That
we all make big efforts for bringing more investors here. Jobs, without more
jobs we are going to have problems. We need a higher standard of living, the
possibility of travelling freely, to lose the impression that we are imprisoned.
That young people travel and get new experience abroad. I would like to see the
brain drain come back to be a brain gain. Iíd like to see Serbia united. That we
represent ourselves to the world as a stable country with caring and polite
people. I think that is the way for bringing investors here.