In an interview for the German magazine Focus-Money, which also appeared in today's edition of the daily "Blic", Vucic pointed out that Serbia aspires to the model of society that exists in the EU, which includes the Western model of democracy, market economy and the rule of law.
We are convinced that these values are the right path for the future of Serbia. But for us it means first of all that in such a society one can truly feel free, the Prime Minister said.
Serbia on its European path is only concerned about the things that it can affect, he said noting that it does not only depend on Serbia when it will become part of the Union.
Speaking about similarities and differences between Serbia and Greece in resolving the crisis that struck both countries, he stressed that the difference today is that Serbia is firmly taken a completely different path than Greece to overcome the crisis.
He pointed out that Serbia is the only country in Southeast Europe that created the preconditions for budget consolidation and economic recovery.
We have reduced pensions and public sector wages by 10%, we adopted modern laws that create a flexible labour market. We have new laws on privatisation, bankruptcy and investments, the Prime Minister stressed.
But the most important change is the one in the minds of people. We started to change the mentality and we are going in a new direction. To achieve this, we first have to accept that there were a lot of wrongdoings in the past, said the Serbian Prime Minister.
To learn that, it was painful but absolutely necessary, because without admitting that we were wrong, there is no change for the better, he said.
According to Vucic, we had to realise that we need to work harder and to be more involved if we are to reach the targets.
Vucic said that Serbia has bigger problems than Greece, including the lack of entrepreneurial spirit.
In Greece, such spirit is not lacking, but it dissapeared amongst the Serbs in the 1960s and 1970s. We are now developing it. In Greece, however, public debt rose in absolute figures, while structural problems are bigger in Serbia, the Prime Minister noted.
He also said that the public sector should be reduced in a healthy way.
When it comes to the pension system, which in Greece is one of the causes of the crisis, he said that Serbia has more than 1.7 million pensioners, while the average pension is €212.
It is not much, but it is more than in some EU member states such as Romania and Bulgaria. Employees pay contributions, but it covers 52% of the pensions that we pay out, while the rest goes from the budget, he said.
By the end of the year we want to increase the pensions by 1-2%, he said noting that women used to be retired at the age of 60, and now the limit is moved to 65 years of age, he noted.
If you want to overcome the economic crisis of this magnitude, there is no light and pleasant road, but only the hard and consistent one. We are convinced that it is the only way possible for a real and lasting success, Vucic concluded.