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June 17, 2000
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 443
Mladjan Dinkic, the Executive Director of G 17 Plus

No Reforms Without Money

by Jelena Grujic

Dinkic: 'After the political support, he have to discuss the matter with ministers of finances. The international association has always complained that the opposition lacked real initiatives, now they may be facing a too strong initiative, but they asked for it themselves. We are going to do everything in order to process this proposal in technical terms, and the result will depend on the unity of those parties which signed its realisation', says Dinkic.

'VREME': You are insisting that the conference should be held prior to the elections?

Dinkic: In that way, we will waste no time. The example of Montenegro demonstrates that they started thinking about reforms only several months after they got hold of power, and that the realisation of those reforms is now still very slow. Voters should be made clear what they get by voting the new option, how their newly elected society will look like. The local opposition has not done anything similar so far, without any offer to the voters, they only criticised the exiting regime. Despite what the parties offer in their programs, it is a specific moment now, the moment in which reforms can give no results without financial means. Even the famous efforts on the part of the opposition for eradicating the sanctions in economic terms, was entirely meaningless without financial support. Unfortunately, it is exactly what we lack in this country and what we are obliged to look for abroad.

'VREME': How do you intend to achieve the conditions in which an average salary would be 250DM?

Dinkic: It is possible to achieve an average salary of 250DM by the end of the first mandatory year of the new government - now the average salary is 88DM - it is possible if we obtain some financial support from abroad and if those macro-economic reforms we are proposing are put into effect. We predicted the balancing of the state budget, the stabilisation of the currency and acceleration of the process of privatisation. We planned to obtain about 350 million US dollars for the process of privatisation, then to initiate the reform of the banking sector. All that would contribute to the growth of average salaries, roughly until 2001, in any case, until the end of the first mandatory year.

'VREME': Are you sure that the opposition will win the elections?

Dinkic: Chances of the opposition's victory would escalate considerably if they participated with us at this conference. Bodo Hombach from the European Committee announced publicly more than once that 2.3 billion euros were reserved for the future Serbia. I am convinced that if the opposition wishes to win at the elections, it will win. If someone, officially presented as the opposition, co-operates with Milosevic, that is a good chance for our defeat. I know that the majority of citizens support changes, even more than certain opposition leaders. Will someone form a pact with Milosevic at the very last moment, I can predict, but I do not dare say openly. The role of G 17 Plus, and I assume also of the Resistance and other organisations which are not political parties, is to materialise the wish towards the change of regime, which is actual among the people of Serbia, and transform it into our victory.

'VREME': Was this your first encounter with opposition leaders after the dispersion due to the meeting in Belgrade on the day of Transfiguration, August 19th, 1999?

Dinkic: This was the first official work. I think that the fact that twenty parties supported this proposal was significantly welcomed in Thessalonica. SPO (the Serbian Renewal Movement) was the only one to refuse these discussions. We are very sorry about that, because we are aware that SPO has a very powerful and important electoral body. Within our infra-structural project, we also wanted to include those towns in which SPO does not hold power, because we are helping the citizens, not political parties. Mr. Hombach said that it would have been good if SPO too had signed the initiative, but their absence should not stop the procedure. We are going straightforwardly, those parties which are led astray and then come back to us again are not our problem.

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