New Serbia cabinet to press bid to join EU

April 28, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

BELGRADE: Serbia’s parliament met yesterday to vote in a new cabinet which is expected to push the country’s bid to join the EU and urgently tackle the ailing economy.

Aleksandar Vucic, leader of the centre-right Serbian Progressive party (SNS), was given a mandate after a landslide victory in the March vote called after Serbia began EU membership talks in the wake of a landmark accord with breakaway Kosovo last year.

In his speech to parliament, Vucic said the priority for his 19-member cabinet would be the reform of Serbia’s outdated economy, a reduction in the budget deficit and moves to accelerate Belgrade’s bid to join the EU.

The parliament, in which the SNS has 158 seats in the 250-member assembly, was expected to vote in the new cabinet later yesterday. Vucic invited his former coalition partners, the Socialists, founded by late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, to join the government.

Socialist leader and former prime minister Ivica Dacic will hold the post of foreign minister.

Lazar Krstic will remain finance minister, while former World Bank expert Dusan Vujovic will be economy minister, among several non-party ministers in the cabinet.