Serbia needs to enter the EU as soon as possible, but not just because of the benefits it brings, but the whole system of values, says Ivica Dačić.Speaking at a Socialist Party of Serbia rally in Belgrade, party leader Dačić said that Serbia was within touching distance of EU candidate status and that he understood the nation’s impatience at the delays in the process.
But he added that it must be understood that EU membership required Serbia to first become an ordered society, before it could start reaping the benefits.
In an hour-long address, Dačić said that a consensus would soon be reached in Serbia on the necessity for European integration and that it would not depend solely on the parties that made up the government.
The SPS leader said that opinions on the results achieved over the last two decades were very contradictory, but that one could not live in the past. He said that the party, celebrating its 19th birthday, was responsible for the present and resolving people’s problems, not to mention the country’s development and raising the standard of living.
Speaking about the effects of privatization, he said that the results achieved had failed to live up to expectations, which was why it was necessary to encourage more foreign investment. This could also help to improve working conditions, as foreign investors brought the very latest operating methods to Serbia.
He said that existing public administration and local self-governments were failing to meet people’s needs, which was why a new system of local authorities was needed.
However, Dačić said that the decentralization process and the adoption of the Vojvodina statute must not be a pretext for creating state units within Serbia that could be later used to destroy the country’s integrity.
The SPS leader stressed that Serbia must not tolerate the activities of marginalized groups that work from neo-Nazi and chauvinistic positions, adding that Serbia should be proud of her anti-fascist tradition and her contribution to defeating fascism in World War II.
He called Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence a threat to national integrity and a lasting threat to peace in the Balkans, repeating that no-one in Serbia would ever recognize the province’s independence.
Addressing the party rank and file, Dačić said that the SPS wanted to become a party of the modern left-wing, that would win the trust of the electorate through its results.
“The SPS’s core principles have stood the test of time and they remain the basis for our work. But there are certain principles that time has surpassed and left behind,“ he said, calling on the members to draw lessons from the past and rectify their own mistakes and those of others.
The SPS leader said that all party members that held office should know that they had been elected not for the privilege, but to work in the nation’s interest.
Dačić’s speech was followed by a message by video beam from Greek opposition leader and Socialist International President Giorgos Papandreou.
The rally began with a rendition of the national anthem and the International, followed by a minute’s silence in memory of Serbian tourists who perished yesterday’s bus crash in Egypt.