Chevening Magazine, June 2003
Exclusive Interview with Crown Prince Alexander II
MONARCHY IS A FACTOR OF STABILITY, UNITY AND CONTINUITY
You were born, educated and You had a career in Great Britain. Today, You live in Serbia & Montenegro. Could You draw some similarities and differences between the two people? Do You miss Britain?
It is a pleasure and a dream come true to be living in the land of one’s ancestors. I am very happy to be finally home with Katherine, Peter, Philip and Alexander in the house of my grandfather King Alexander I and my father King Peter II. The boys, of course, have to continue their university studies and job experience, but they come home for holidays and enjoy it very much.
Naturally cultures are different and that is beautiful. Everyone must be respected. I am now happy to be home after decades of exile. I will always be grateful to the people and friends of the United Kingdom for being so kind to me, and my family.
Your are the Crown Prince, soldier, sportsman and businessman. All these aspects of your personality are of service to Serbia. You actively participated in the recovery of the country. Where do you see Serbia’s strategic partners?
It is important to have good relations across the world. We have lost so much time and we suffered from bombing, sanctions, isolation and poor leadership. We have to work very hard to improve our image across the world. There is no doubt that our strategy should continue to be focused on the membership in the European Union and we must work very hard on the accomplishment of that goal.
Our government has a task to explain the benefits of EU membership and the resulting advantages. I think that our people are not well informed of the benefits and responsibilities EU membership would bring because their attention is more focused on domestic political bickering vastly covered in the media. In addition, we must work very hard on improving our relations with other countries. More teamwork and networking is needed.
During a recent reception at a donor conference in Belgrade you expressed concern with the inflow of investment and assistance to our country. How could we improve our country’s image and how could you personally contribute to these efforts?
Building relations with any country is hard work consisted of strategy, planning and organization. It is in our interest to continue working on opening borders and the abolishment of customs fees in our region. It is also in our interest to attract investors by harmonizing our abilities and competitive advantages with their business plans. It has always been a pleasure to host meetings and act as an intermediary. In addition, I have also received numerous prospective investors at the Palace and visited potential investors abroad.
At the recently conducted public opinion poll organized by Radio Television Serbia, about 80% of people voted for monarchy, which differs greatly from some previous surveys. Is this the result of your work or a consequence of the tiredness of people with politicians and political parties?
There is no doubt that constitutional monarchy is a factor of stability, unity and continuity. Constitutional monarchy works well in many European countries. In addition, constitutional monarchy allows the elected government to get on with the task of ruling a country faced with political bickering. I have occasionally mentioned that constitutional monarchy is an appropriate solution for the situation in our country, however I stressed the importance of explaining its potential to our people. Our people are not aware of what constitutional monarchy represents, what are its benefits, or even which European countries are constitutional monarchies.
I must point out that constitutional monarchy is the defender of democracy and respects all political parties that abide by democratic principles. Yet again I repeat that the government runs the country, and the monarch rules the country. Furthermore, I must again emphasize all religions, all the rights of ethnic groups and atheists must be fully respected, because everyone has equal rights. We cannot afford to again have nationalism and religion used for personal promotion and power.
There are a few major problems in Serbia at the moment. Constitution, regionalization, Kosovo... In your opinion, what is the way to strategically reform the country?
The legislature is responsible for reform and its implementation. Naturally, the reform must be carried out in the form of a national debate conducted and explained through the media, and the participation of the public at large is very welcome. The voice of the very few extremists must not influence the continuing reform process and the livelihood of the people.
Princess Katharine Foundation and the Royal Karadjordjevic Fund have contributed a great deal to the improvement and reconstruction of hospitals, schools, education of young people ... What are the plans for the future?
It is always a pleasure to help our nation as much as possible. Katherine and I are always happy to help the sick, young and old and that is very important to us. The needs are huge and the suffering is great across our country. We will continue to exert as much effort as we possibly can to help our people.
Copyright © 1998 NJ.K.V. Prestolonaslednik Aleksandar II
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