Aleksandar Dragin, head of the Youth Democratic Club of the municipality of Indjija shared his views about European integrations. Zivan Marinkovic, member of the Our Future Europe project, conducted an interview with Mr. Dragin, putting emphasis on problems which Serbia faces on the way to the EU and role of the municipality of Indjija in the integration process.
ZM: Mr. Dragin, according to your opinion, what are the biggest obstacles on Serbian way to the EU?
Mr Dragin: Certainly, it is a fundamental reform of the public sector. Currently, we cannot see true will of the goverment for a genuine change in this field. Also, there are rule of law, environment and freedom of the media. And at the end there is the Kosovo issue. It is quite obvious if we do not resolve this issue we won’t be able to become member of the EU.
ZM: How much lack of money can impact on the negotiating with the EU?
Mr. Dragin: Changes are very complex, hard and demand a lot of time hence they are pretty expensive. Money is one of the important factors which impact on the negotiations, for sure. Therefore, there are expenses but their covering depends on the ability of the goverment of the Republic of Serbia.
ZM: How much Kosovo issue can slow down the negotitations?
Mr. Dragin: This issue has been slowing down the negotiations and it will continue to impact this way. In my opinion, we have to show strong will in finding the best solution. We must be aware that Serbia won’t join the EU until this issue is resolved.
ZM: How would you grade the work of the Serbian negotiating teams?
Mr. Dragin: C-. This grade would have been higher if the transparency of the negotiating team had been on a higher level.
ZM: What benefits will Serbian people gain after integrating in the EU?
Mr. Dragin: We will definitely feel the improvement since we have lower level of economic and political rights than countries in the EU. Each country member is part of the inner market. After joining the EU four economic freedoms will be avaiable – goods flow, capital flow, movement of the workforce and entreprise foundation.
ZM: Will EU have some benefits after Serbia’s join?
Mr. Dragin: Of course. Serbia in on the crossroad of the East and West hence this is a great spot for a goods flow. We have great educated workforce, as well, and expenditures are lower.
ZM: What is a contribution of the municipality of Indjija to EU integration process?
Mr. Dragin: Contribution of the municipality of Indjija is truely big. I remind you that in 2008 Indjija got a reward by FDI magazine, issued by Financial Times, which placed this municipality in the top 25 European investment destinations. In 2012 this magazine placed Indjija on the second place in Europe in investment cost efficiency. This year municipality of Indjija won two rewards – the fifth region in Europe in investment cost efficiency and fourth small region in the same field.
ZM: In your opinion how these changes will affect local goverments? Municipality Indjija in particular.
Mr. Dragin: According to the EU medias municipality of Indjija is ready for an integration in the EU. Considering this we can see that all changes that have been implemented since 2000 made a positive impact on the citizens in this municipality.
ZM: Are citizens of Indjija prepared for the changes which are going to be implemented in order to get Serbia closer to the EU?
Mr. Dragin: Not even that they are ready but they have been active in those changes for the last fourteen years. Continuous support of our citizens to Goran Jesic and Petar Filipovic proves this.
ZM: In your opinion can Youth Democratic Club (YDC) contribute to integration process?
Mr. Dragin: YDC cannot directly impact on the integration process but it can encourage young people to be active in this field, not only in their municipality but wherever they will be in the future.
ZM: What YDC activities are related to the EU integration process?
Mr. Dragin: Promoting European values. Participation of the youth in desicion making, raising awareness about enviromental protection, sex equality, freedom of speech and movement etc.