PRINCE ALEXANDER KARADJORDJEVIC ABOUT THE FUTURE OF SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
16 Jul 2003, 15:08 UTC
We are now a democratic country. After the 5 October some reforms have been carried out, but many more are to be conducted. We have free media, press and television, and we are learning democratic procedure in modern Europe, for it is our ambition to become a member of the European Union. Of course, we inherited many problems from the past, after decades of communist dictatorship and wars, sanctions and dramatic changes. All in all, we are relatively successfully implementing democracy.
Based on your private and business experience in the West, what should be the main priorities of Serbia and Montenegro in the nearest future?
“The Government has some very capable experts, with experience in international companies, great communication skills, fluent in English and other foreign languages. However, when they return to the country after successful doing business abroad, they often find difficulties and conflicts, which is usual in most democratic countries, including the United States where for example there is now a great debate between the Government and the opposition about the Iraq issue. I think the Serbs should put aside the differences until the country recovers and that there should be more discipline. We have talented people in the Government and business who should be kept here and constant bickering should be avoided.”
You have been living in Belgrade for two years now. During that period you have hosted many foreign and domestic officials and delegations and traveled all over the country. What is the greatest lesson that you have learned from that experience?
“The former regime has ruined the country. After the 5 October there was no money in the National Bank of Serbia, for instance. We had to start all over again. Also, while I was traveling g with my wife throughout out country, I noticed that our health care system was devastated, although we have talented doctors and nurses who made heroic efforts. We also lack the readiness to work together and to be more engaged in contacts with the public, not only here but also abroad. We need to present our country as the place with great investment opportunities and try to attract investors and partners. Minister Vlahovic had a very good plan for privatization, which deeply impressed our guests from Britain, the United States, Sweden and other countries, that I hosted. We need the money to present ourselves abroad properly, and establishing of a board that would deal in contacts with the international community. As you know, the system of lobbying is very developed in the States and we should introduce it in our public relations, instead of complaining constantly and looking back in the past. The past and history can’t be changed. We must create good conditions for this and the future generations.”
Finally, what role do you see for yourself in the future of Serbia and Montenegro?
“We came here not to take, but to give. My wife and I are very actively involved in humanitarian activities and we had many donations from the local and international businessmen. My role stopped to be political on the 5 October. It should be in accordance with the Constitution – expressing respect for everyone – our history, all religions, all ethnic groups – even with those who don’t want to be a part of any group or orientation. The issue of constitutional Monarchy is getting momentum, but it must be explained what the constitutional Monarchy is, which takes some organized approach. We have also noted that the country has a problem of brain drain of about 300,000 of the most qualified young people. We hope they will return. Constitutional Monarchy has a strong support. We are in the process of the public debate about the new Constitution and we have had some elections that failed. All those arguments speak about the need for stability, unity and continuity.”
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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