SVETLOST WEEKLY, 13 May 2010
Interview HRH Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic
SERBIA NEEDS A KING
During his visit to Kragujevac last week, HRH Crown Prince Alexander II
Karadjordjevic, despite his many protocol obligations, managed to find time and
give an interview to the chief editor of our newspaper
Your Royal Highness, with gratitude that you agreed to give an interview
for weekly newspaper “Svetlost”, we would like to ask for your impression of
Kragujevac. You have resided here during your first visit to the homeland on
July 13,1992. How do you find Kragujevac today, after eighteen years?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: The situation at the time was slightly better, as
“Zastava” was fully operating in 1992. In the years that followed, many
economical and political difficulties have followed, such as sanctions, bombing,
that definitely marked the lives of many people. Many have lost their jobs and
Your Royal Highness, you have not stood by and watched the situation. You
have tried, and are still trying, to convince the foreign investors to come and
invest in Serbian economy?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: I have tried to attract a number of foreign
investors to come and had a plan to have a group of politicians and executives;
with whom I would travel abroad with information on Kragujevac has to offer to
them. The plan was not to wait for them to come to us, but to bring them from
the EU and the USA.
The results of that initiative have not come out best?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: The organisation has failed. I have visited two
factories, the workers and their families were having hard time. However, I was
proud of them. In circumstances that no other economy in the world is
acknowledged with, faced with the market decline, the dissolution of their
company, they were able, for the most part, to preserve the essence of their
companies, to maintain production and protect the possibility of future
involvement in global business and economic trends.
What does Serbia need to do in order to be involved in the European trends
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: We need to preserve our economy. Every factory is
precious, as it was built with great effort and waiver of more generations. The
military factory in Kragujevac, for example, was not founded yesterday, but by
my famous ancestor Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic in1853 when he brought a
French engineer Charles Lubrie. Serbia at the time, though poor and formally
unrecognized as a sovereign state by the great powers, stood in the line of
those countries that have led military equipment, guns, such as Germany, France
and England. Our ancestors were even then fighting for the freedom of our
people, persisted in achieving worthy ideas to modernize Serbia making it a
rich, and good and equal ally among the leading European countries.
Why is this idea, today, at the beginning of the 21st century, achieved
with difficulty, or, unfortunately, being given up on?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: I have often said that we have good, smart,
qualified people, but are unfortunately lacking in efficient management.
Besides the difficulties, which are well known, at least to us here, it
appears that even our presentation to the world is not the best. YRH has long
lived in the West, and therefore knows that that it is more important how it is
spoken of someone, then what he is really like?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: After October 5, it would have been good Public
Relations agencies were engaged, in order to work on improving the image of our
country. It is known that in the West agencies are working professionally for
the governments and companies of different countries. After five, six months of
their engagement a good image for the country is created. Unfortunately, our
government did not consider it necessary to engage an agency for public
relations and lobbying in order to create a positive image.
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: I suppose they thought we were expert in that
area. However, after many years of dictatorship, Serbia has significantly fallen
behind the world. Everyone was an expert in propaganda, but not for creating a
positive image for oneself.
According to YRH opinion, how can Serbia be presented in short?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: The world needs to see positive information about
Serbia, to see its beauty without enhancing it, not hiding the difficulties
that, under historical and geo-political circumstances, we have been through. We
should offer to foreigners to travel to and across Serbia. Let them see for
themselves; to break down prejudices and stereotypes that are created from
various, but mostly for political reasons. Our people are diligent and patient,
even in difficult situations.
What do foreigners, in the contacts YRH have, advise us?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: The West would like us to become a member of the
EU, and all the members of the EU beside Holland want that as well. Holland
opposes due to tragic happenings in Bosnia and Herzegovina i.e. Srebrenica to be
exact. Our people and youth should have a future. That is very important, and no
one should deny the Serbian folk under any excuse that possibility.
How can we enter EU, when consensus is required, and as we can see some
members, such as the Netherlands revolt, even when we are supposed to be put on
the white Schengen list?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: As I have mentioned earlier, if we were to hire
professionals that would help us in improving our image, if we were to send the
world a clear statement on where we stand and what our plans are, perhaps
Holland could also change its mind. Today, the situation is certainly much
better. A few years ago, our people had a feeling they were living in a ghetto
without any chance of seeing the world. Now we are entrusted, we have started
the integration process, and should invest even more energy in the EU. I believe
that in four, five years time we can become a full member. The National Assembly
recently adopted fast-paced European legislation, and it is certainly
encouraging. We must cooperate with the former Yugoslav countries; we should
have good cooperation, develop trade and constantly improve relations in all
What is the relationship between Serbia and Russia, with which there are
strong feelings. How to harmonize that, and is it possible to have a good
relation with both the West and Russia?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: That is a very important question, for historical
circumstances and the geostrategic position of Serbia good cooperation with
Russia is very important. The relationship with Russia has traditionally been
good, brotherly and friendly. The United States view of Russia is not good, and
they need to have good relations. For them, the responsibility that stems from
the position of the two superpowers compels them. More than small countries,
super powers are responsible for cooperation and peace in the region and the
world. When President Obama came to power in the United States, the situation
improved and it is becoming better, but many people are still looking at Russia
as an enemy. I was several times in Russia, and saw that they are good people
that love our country. My wife and were lunch guests with President Putin and
Medvedev. Putin said then that it is crucial that we become a member of the EU,
but also remain with good relationship with Russia. I agree with Mr Putin, as we
are a European country, we strive to become a member of the EU, but that should
not hinder us from developing relations with Russia further, especially
economically. Serbia should not only recall its friendly and historical
relationship, but also produce quality products that will be placed on the
Russian market, competing with the world brands already present there. Only in
that way, we can improve our economic deficit with that largest country in the
Do you think that Serbia needs a political factor consensus regarding
crucial matters? There are matters of mutual interest to all, like Kosovo,
economical development, joining the EU?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: We have already missed many chances. The
difficult situation has lasted for years and much time has been lost. Not only
were we in a difficult situation, but the situation in the world has also been
difficult. We are a small country, with approximately nine million inhabitants.
Countries like Great Britain and others are also facing economic difficulties.
The government now owns the banks in New York. As many times before, our country
is now caught in the middle of many countries interests. Our government must
have the interest of its people in mind, since workers are living very hard. It
must create employment possibilities, that one can live from work.
Unfortunately, no big investors are coming, after October 5 all good companies
where privatized, and the money has been spent, and “Telekom” remains to be
sold. On the other hand, people ask from the government to know what is the plan
for the coming period, how they will live in the future. There must be agreement
between all relevant political parties in the country, for these crucial
Today you will attend the opening ceremony of “Sokolana”. How do you feel
about the Sokolski Alliance?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: My father was a member of the Sokol, as well as
my grandfather and great-grandfather. That is a great tradition and I am looking
forward to the reviving of the Sokolski Alliance in Serbia, as its heritage
features the best of our people, encourages youth development and focuses on the
right track. I am pleased that today I could be at this meeting, at the opening
of the renovated gym at the old Sokolana at Kragujevac. I was here, at the
Sokolski assembly two years ago, but now there are new moments as well. I thank
everyone who helped the falcons take off again.
When will Serbia become a Kingdom?
HRH Crown Prince Alexander: I have always believed that it was good for our
country to have someone neutral, someone who is not a member of any political
party, at the top.
The concept of Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy enables the prime
minister to have executive power, while the king is the head of state who
represents the unity of the people. Many countries of the European Union, as
well as Japan, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, are monarchies, proving that
such a system state brings stability and prosperity. Someone like me, who is not
a member of any political party, who is unbiased and respects all citizens
regardless of their religion, would personify unity of the people and guarantee
the continuity of Serbia.
In any case, if the people want, I am, like my famous predecessors, ready to
serve Serbia as its king. Moreover, I would do everything in my power to get
this country in the place it deserves, because of not only the current
generation, but also the past generations of Serbs, that have, with many
sacrifices, built the country on the model of a modern European state.