Exposition – President of the Provincial Government
At the very beginning, I would like to thank the deputies of the deputies’ group “Aleksandar Vučić – Serbia is winning” for their decision to propose me as a candidate for the president of the new Provincial Government.
I would also like to thank Istvan Pasztor, President of the AP Vojvodina Assembly for the concrete and formal proposal and his speech during the introduction of my profile. I would like to give special thanks to representatives of deputies’ groups which, in our consultation meetings, defined the main features of the future provincial policy, with some of them announcing the support to such policy, and other their intention to criticise the new policy and its goals in the future term-of-office of the Provincial Government, i.e. to be in the opposition.
I would like to introduce you to the key elements of the new Provincial Government’s plan for Vojvodina, and at the same time, the programme of activities of this Government that I will be in charge of, if you place trust in my team. This includes the ten most significant areas which, which, according to their competence, original or delegated and pursuant to provisions of the Constitution, law and Statute, belong to the scope of work of this supreme body of territorial autonomy and Provincial Government of Vojvodina.
The new Provincial Government will implement a new policy defined by the need for an accelerated economic development, which is why the crucial phrase is the political stability in Vojvodina, ensured through a clear and predictable model of its overall status in our Constitution and society, insisting on a full and consistent observance of the Constitution and hoping the laws on AP Vojvodina competences and financing are enacted as soon as possible, as a result of a dialogue involving all political stakeholders, in particular those at the National Assembly and here, at the Provincial Assembly, following the model of cooperation and agreement we demonstrated when adopting the Decision on the New Statute, which was an example of exceptional results of the dialogue that involved different political parties and groups. We will appreciate and respect the standpoints and work of the Provincial Government as well as differences of opinion, and we will work on their harmonisation, observing the Constitution, without any adventurism or imposition of will. I am convinced that the institution of parliamentary dialogue at the National and AP Vojvodina Assembly, will result in a permanent model in which the Provincial Government is to take part with all available capacities.
The first principle of our new policy will therefore be a clear framework for the division of competences, based on the Constitution and predictable model of financing the economic development, and not development of a para-political class; this will be the guiding principle, with full observance of the principle of stability and clear criteria for making important decisions, expected by the citizens of AP Vojvodina.
The overall economic results of the Republic of Serbia are very encouraging, leading us to conclude that, by being economically the most developed part, excluding, however, more than fifteen municipalities whose development has been on the margins of the political and economic activities, we are obliged to implement the new economic measures which generate results, and pursue the active policy in seeking the models of faster economic development of Vojvodina, taking into account the overall economic parametres, which brings us to the second principle of work of the new Provincial Government – the principle of complementarity in decision-making in the sphere of economy, particularly when it comes to incentives and the balanced regional development.
At the same time, we must insist on the sources of financing that surpass the established transfer system, not by revoking it, but by providing more funds through additional sources, intended for all segments of development of Vojvodina, the overall economic, as well as social development, by using state funds and the already approved and operating loans, present in the structure of the planned and expected deficit; then, through budgets at all levels of government, international funds and in particular, the European Union funds. We come to our third principle – focusing on projects, additionally through concessions, public-private partnerships and all forms of private finance initiatives following a transparent model in conformity with the law.
The policy of confrontation between the Provincial Government and Government of the Republic of Serbia must remain a part of their past relations, and nothing more than that, ever.
The new Provincial Government will invest the greatest part of its energy to attract domestic and foreign investments, which will be the main operational priority. Our efficiency will be measured by the number of new plants and number of new jobs created in them.
In this respect, I would like to announce to the entire domestic and international public, that we are willing to make available all capacities of the provincial administration and provide all kinds of incentives to each investor whose investment will generate new jobs, for the purpose of achieving our common goals.
We will direct the investors to less developed local self-governments and we will manage to stimulate the development of business environment, particularly in these municipalities, by building industrial and business zones for greenfield investments, to an even greater extent than before, and we will put in operation the currently closed capacities, to ensure the greatest possible amount of brownfield investments.
We will not forget about the other, more developed municipalities, according to our fourth principle – the principle of competitiveness, based on clear economic criteria and minimum political intervention in the process of decision-making on economic issues.
In the following four years we are expecting large infrastructure investments in Vojvodina. All the planned investments will be divided into four major categories by the Provincial Government and each category, whether big or small, will be the responsibility of special project teams.
First the large state investments in the territory of Vojvodina: a railway through Vojvodina – Belgrade – Budapest, preparation of the project and commencement of works for the construction of the Novi Sad - Ruma, Belgrade – Zrenjanin, Belgrade - Vršac – Timisoara highway.
We need to make timely preparations when the investments into the Corridor 10 and Corridor 11 are finalised, which is expected in the following two to three years. We have to apply by submitting the fully prepared projects, defined urban plans and property relations. If we at least manage to finalise the preparatory project phase, we will be able to say that the Provincial Government has recorded success.
The existing large projects that are underway will have to be finalised as soon as possible in a reorganised and more efficient manner: the Žeželj Bridge, National Theatre in Subotica and other large projects.
A special focus will be placed on the construction of a new building of the Radio Television of Vojvodina, as it is the largest and most important public bulding that has not been reconstructed after the NATO bombardment in 1999.
We will also commit to large regional investments, like the ring road around Novi Sad and Subotica, reconstruction of roads of the first and second order, installation of new drinking water systems and systems for waste and waste water treatment.
The third category will include the inter-municipal investments, and the forth one the municipal investments that will improve the overall quality of life. We will set clear rules and criteria for all the investments. Membership in political parties or any sort of political hierarchy will not take precedence when it comes to preparation and implementation of these investments.
I would like this Government to be the service and partner, in the segment of competences, to economic activity and entrepreneurs in the growing branches of tourism, small family businesses and existing successful companies, in an efficient manner and following the principles of business models.
We will establish a development agency of Vojvodina for the purpose of ensuring that incentives be public, predictable and sustainable in terms of assessment and criteria, and directed according to the principles of economic profit, growth of enterprises and companies, and of course, according to the criteria specifying the creation of additional new jobs in the existing companies or in those only in the process of starting their business in Serbia and AP Vojvodina.
In the field of energy, we will assist in the process of using renewable sources of energy by providing incentives for the use of new technologies. The previous fund will be operating on new grounds as a Government fund and will include some new elements that will monitor the financial logic, create and operate according to the principles of innovation and actual technological progress.
The field of agriculture requires constant and continuous harmonisation in the use of measures between the central and provincial level of authority. I am convinced that we will do it more efficiently than ever before in the recent past, primarily due to the efficient use of land resources, stimulation of development of agribusiness and all forms of entrepreneurship, all the way to large processing industries, for the purpose of developing a strong cooperation and enhancing small family farms, which will be one of the top priorities we will focus on, in order to establish our preparedness in terms of quality, standard and category of products and preservation of rural area, I particular the young in rural areas in Vojvodina.
Irrigation will be the second most important operational priority. Electrification of the rural area, canal maintenance and general irrigation will be an important task that will require the commitment of the entire personnel involved in the future Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry, the company Vode Vojvodine and all those we will discuss with at the future Ministry of Agriculture.
We have to enhance the services that contribute to farms in making business decisions, ranging from the market information to crop protection services.
Vojvodina has both local and regional brands of agricultural products, thus the policy of the new Provincial Government will focus on their promotion and development.
In the field of regional development and inter-regional cooperation, we will act and at the same time, enhance our capacities for exchange of information and coordination of local offices for economic development, strengthen our capacities for development of local projects and potentials and in particular, the requirements to attract investments through the IPA and other funds available to us in the European Union accession process.
The model comprises an integrated system which relies regional and local agencies on the overall development model according to the specified priorities and goals, which is also integrated with the goals of the “European Affairs Fund” and VIP Fund, already established in Vojvodina, for the purpose of applying this model and strengthening the education potential, applying the EU standards, in project preparation in particular, which is all a great opportunity for us. We will also prepare for the IPA funds intended for rural development, as this is the job ahead of us, in terms of the accession dynamics.
I would like to emphasise that ten days ago I made an initiative, and today I am taking the liberty of proposing to you the establishment of a special assembly committee for environmental protection as soon as possible, for the purpose of ensuring a more active participation of provincial deputies in the activities and projects in the sphere of environmental conservation and protection, as an interim solution before establishing a separate secretariat for environmental protection in the forthcoming period. I would like to reach a consensus on this issue among all political parties at the AP Vojvodna Assembly.
The new policy in the field of environmental protection comprises a new approach based on the concept of circular economy and attraction of donations and investments intended for environmental purposes, which is the issue to which the Provincial Government will be strongly committed. In this sphere we will certainly assume a clearly negative position when it comes to genetically modified organisms.
We intend to promote “green” solutions, always and wherever possible, as it is a necessity and tendency pursued by the developed regions of Europe, towards which we are also striving.
I will insist on knowledge and specialisation in all departments, and the key actor in this process will be the Provincial Secretariat for Higher Education and Scientific Research, which should generate the potentials of all universities in Vojvodina and all scientific workers and direct them towards achieving the common goals in this sphere.
We will not allow any pressure, cronyism, production of ignorance, lack of responsibility for promotion of younger scientists, lack of connection with the innovative economy and loss of criteria in teaching and science evident in certain new faculties.
Knowledge and its use in economy, particularly in modern trends of the IT sector, search for new technological solutions and management concepts must emerge as a result of our joint efforts.
There is a lot to be done in the field of healthcare and social protection. We have divided the competences and scope of work, not because of the political parties’ opinion of their personnel, but because of the need to provide better and more efficient answers to a number of unresolved issues, like:
Why do we not have a new clinical centre? Why do we have only one angiography room in Vojvodina, and more than 45% of all diseases belong to a group of cardiovascular diseases? Why have we stopped improving the preventive healthcare system? Why are there waiting lists in all healthcare institutions?
The answer to these questions will actually be the operational plan of the new Provincial Secretary for Healthcare, which will be a clear and visible shift from this zero level of organisation in the healthcare system in Vojvodina. We have excellent healthcare experts in many branches of medicine and I believe their potentials will be utilised to provide the answers to these questions.
By the end of this and beginning of the next year, the new Provincial Government will present the plan for reconstruction of the existing and construction of new pre-school institutions, primary and secondary schools and school and university students’ dormitories. We would like to participate, together with local self-governments, in the technical modernisation of teaching. In particular, we would like to improve the conditions in the field of education in languages of national minorities and promote the most comprehensive framework in which our children, irrespective of their financial and technical impediments, will be able to receive education in their native language, always and in any place, even in the most faraway corners of Vojvodina.
In the field of sports and youth, we will also present a clear plan for provision of incentives in the development of school sports, for development and construction of sports infrastructure, according to the sports criteria.
At present, there are more than one hundred primary and secondary schools in Vojvodina without a school gym. We will, therefore, do everything we can, in line with the available financial capacities, to reduce this number.
I would like once again, while stating the elements of the new Provincial Government’s programme, to thank our most successful, top athletes coming from Vojvodina, who spread the glory of sports across Serbia, Europe and the world. That is why we shall not and must not neglect the top sports. At the same time, we must strengthen and promote the school, women’s, amateur and workers’ sports, as well as disability sports for persons with special needs.
In the field of culture and public information and relations with religious communities, we will pursue the policy committed to preservation of traditional cultural values of the Serbian people in Vojvodina and fully assist in and stimulate the fostering of cultural tradition and heritage of national minorities in a direct cooperation with national councils. Special incentives and engagements will be established for the programme for the Matica Srpska, Serbian National Theatre, Museum of Vojvodina, Archive of Vojvodina and regional cultural institutions. It will be part of the future activities of the Provincial Government. Additionally, contemporary cultural expressions and tendencies, traditional festivals and events, with some already establishing themselves as important factors of the local economic development, will always be part of our plan. One of the guiding principles will also include the independent, public and open, funding of the most significant media productions according to the clear set of criteria.
Finally, despite the fact that the importance of these relations demands that we always talk about it with the greatest enthusiasm, I would like to remind you of our publicly declared policy in the field of rights of national minorities-national communities, the policy that represents the most important cornerstone of the overall political stability in Vojvodina.
For this reason will equality, tolerance, understanding and the full, active and comprehensive protection of minority rights in everyday operation of the Provincial Government represent its most distinguished feature, its body and soul.
We shall by no means and at no price ever give up on the full and genuine promotion of minority self-government in the field of education, culture, information and official use of language and script.
In the end I would like to invite you first of all, to support Vojvodina, regardless of differences in the political opinion and all other differences that are part of our lives, to support as much as you can, in the way you find most convenient, the Vojvodina of Mika Antić, Florika Stefan and Ferenc Feher and Vojvodina of Dositej Obradović, Veljko Petrović and Mihajlo Pupin, the truly best one in us and among us.
To make a new step, we only need to extend our hand to Vojvodina and make everyone living and working in Vojvodina a bit more successful, active and better.
Vojvodina will know that when we are united, different, we are paying our debt to those who have been creating her spiritual and material values for centuries.