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Some generation must put an end to it and start some new kind of relationship between two states: Srbislav Filipovic on Serbia and Croatia (VIDEO)


Interview with Srbislav Filipovic, Member of the Parliament and the president of the Friendship Group with Croatia, for the Telegraf.rs porta on the Bookfair

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What is the future of Serbian-Croatian relations, but also what is the role of parliaments in this? How to remain immune to the provocations of the other side, what are the requests of the citizens who are directly talking to him, are just some of the questions that Srbislav Filipovic, MP of Serbian Progressive Party and the President of the Friendship Group with Croatia, answered at the Telegraf.rs stand at the Media Fair.

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  • The activities of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Croatia, and you are the president of it, are not known to the general public.

- To lead the Group of Friendship with Croatia is a very difficult task. Historical events, as well as what we ourselves witnessed or heard from our parents and grandparents, all make our relations difficult today.

Some generation will have to put an end to it and start some new kind of relationship between our countries. Just like the president Vucic said multiple times, I don't see the future with conflicts for this region - whether verbal or, God forbid, some other kind. We don't need them, and the other side doesn't need it.

We want to talk about all the open topics - from expelled Serbs, unresolved status of property and property issues, the issue of missing persons - to talk freely about it. No tension.

Foto: Marko Jovanović

I once spoke informally with the Croatian ambassador in the Serbian Parliament. Then I expressed my desire and expectation that, in the mandate in which I am a member of the parliament and the president of this friendship group, I will try to at least make some progress to make the conversation without tensions.

We don't have to agree, but for the first time, those were talks without tensions. And our talk was just like that. There were many questions that we didn't agree on but that was not a problem. We can have different opinions, but it is important that our relationships, between politicians, are not flammable, so it can flame the relations between ordinary people.

We have had the opportunity to see that. That is the entire region of the Western Balkans, it moved away from Western Europe. We already paid a high price during the nineties.

Aleksandar Vucic said that at the twentieth anniversary of our party - that we should start kissing the ground of our children, and not of our ancestors.

We remember everything that we had in our glorious past, but we should take care of the country that we are leaving for our children.

Foto: Marko Jovanović


  • No visit by our delegation to Zagreb has been realized yet, and vice versa. Is there any visit in a near future?

- We've had the opportunity to talk, but no visit of the Friendship group was organized. We talked with the parliamentary members, who lead the Friendship group with Serbia, but that was within the visit of the president of the Parliament to Serbia.

We exchanged our opinions of the actual situation and I think that we will have the opportunity to talk like that in Zagreb, as well in Belgrade.

I repeat I would like the conversations to be without tensions. Serbia is working to eliminate tensions. You will never see anyone in Belgrade smashing a car from Zagreb or similar, which did happen in the other side.

We are working to keep it from happening in the future.

Foto: Marko Jovanović


  • How do you endure all of those punches and "poison darts" without fighting back?

- Besides working in the National Assembly, I am quite active on social networks, as is my colleague Vlada Djukanovic. I can say that our strong emotions are a big flaw, and the love for our country is also strong - which certainly is not a flaw.

Due to those emotions, that we have within us, make us overreact to some things, which weren't well-intentioned toward our country.

Foto: Marko Jovanović

We would like to apply that model to our region, first of all in Serbia. To keep young people from thinking "I will use a rifle one day" - no. They should think "I will use a laptop and a briefcase". That is where we want to win with laptops, with projects, with modern technologies. That is where we can be winners in the region.

To conquer the entire region with knowledge, expertise, and intelligence, not to think if the border has been moved for 50 or 100 km. To think that our children will remain here to live. That is our main victory today. To defeat the white plague, to defeat the leaving of young, smart people out of Serbia. That is very important.

We are managing to do that. There is record low unemployment in Belgrade, compared to 30 years ago. For the first time, there are less than 80 thousand unemployed people, which is an amazing success in the city which has 2.5 million citizens. 27 percent unemployment rate was in 2012 at the south of the country, today it is at 12 percent.

Serbia's debt in 2012 - 2014 was 70 percent of GDP, and it will be below 50 percent at the beginning of 2019. That is a fantastic success. The countries in the region have much more debt that we have. We are working well, things are looking up. 180 new workplaces were opened in the past 6 years, more highway was constructed than in the past 35 years. A lot of things were done which will keep the youth in the country.

Foto: Marko Jovanović

We are talking with the citizens daily, we receive them in the Assembly or in the City Committee of our party. When we launched the office, many said "there will be pressures, people will ask for help, connection to get a job". No. Come once to see the reception of the citizens, you will see that people won't ask about the job in the 90 percent of the cases.

The questions appear when will the sewage be finished, the plumbing, some local problems, wild landfill... Those are some everyday problems which create problems with people. We try to help them with the city or the republic, and they are not the things they would like the media to hear about.

(Telegraf.co.uk / J.Stakic/M.Ivas)

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