Civic Platform for a prosperous Serbia
At a time of great social polarization, it is necessary to define issues of common interest for the state and citizens, and then the themes of separation that point not only to incompetence, but also to the lack of will of the current government to implement reforms and build a democratic European society.
In the center of each system we see individuals – citizens. Therefore, we advocate for the organization of the state to suit the needs of citizens, a country that is aware of its diversity, nourishes it, and is proud of it. We believe that the dignity and freedom of every individual, as the foundation of a healthy society, is best achieved in conditions of peace, prosperity and opportunities for personal development. We also believe in the capability and talent of our citizens, their entrepreneurial potential, and the right to decide what is in their best interest. We are committed to defending our individual inalienable rights regardless of their origin, beliefs and convictions, gender, or sexual orientation.
It is in the national interest to create an economically viable system, on a fair basis, instead of the present, tailor-made for tycoons and reckless investors, state and private monopolists, which make it impossible for most businesspeople to participate equally in the market competition, which is particularly evident in public procurement and fear from paying the state racket. That is why it is necessary that the state, as the largest employer, must comply with the legal regulations. We are confident that competition and free trade make progress for everyone, if they are accompanied by a strict control of the spending of public funds and an adequate network of social security and health care, as well as respect for the rights of employees and consumers.
Consistent and uncompromising fight against corruption, the transparent spending of public funds and the revision of subsidies are preconditions for economic recovery. Combating the interests of selected investors that are detrimental to the general interest, as well as preventing the ties between organized crime and the state, are additional prerequisites for economic development. It is necessary to create better conditions for the launch of a private business, in particular of small and medium-sized enterprises, tax exemptions and a reduction in the fee for entrepreneurs.
We believe that a new, more solid approach is needed, which would give citizens more opportunities and freedoms. We see science, innovation and modern technologies, as well as a creative economy, as main pillars of a strong economic system. There is a need for a long term investment in all these pillars.
In order for every citizen to fully achieve his/her potential, it is necessary to ensure quality education to all citizens as one of their core civil rights, to include elementary school, high school, and academic studies. We are committed to creating education programs that would develop critical thinking, entrepreneurial skills, individual adaptability, as well as innovative and interdisciplinary thinking. We want to provide equal access for all to the education system that would contribute to the economic development and is in line with the needs and predicted labor market trends. It is of particular importance to create better living and working conditions for young people, so that we can successfully prevent the mass departure of citizens from our country due to poor social and economic conditions.
We want to ensure that natural resources are protected and preserved for future generations of Serbian citizens, to allow them to live in healthy and clean environment. To this end it is necessary to abort the practice of treating natural resources purely as commodities, to be exploited for the short-term profit. The environmental protection is seen as a priority in spatial planning, in order to preserve and improve the value of the areas outside of the national parks. The current practice of destruction of rivers shows that natural resources are neglected irresponsibly treated, i.e. giving priority to private interests over the public good, while completely ignoring the opinion of the competent institutions. An urgent amendment of bad legal solutions and the establishment of a i and sustainable development is urgent, along with the introduction of the mandatory course on “Environmental Protection” into the education system curriculum. It is necessary to protect and expand green areas in cities, as well as to review and amend existing plans and laws in transparent manner with public participation.
The aforementioned is also related to public health, which is seriously deteriorating, primarily due to pollution and negligence, and lack of prevention – which endangers the lives of all citizens, and increases the economic costs of treating the consequences. The healthcare system in Serbia should be improved with additional investments in modern healthcare institutions while improving the earnings of healthcare workers. It is necessary to create incentives for medical personnel to remain in our country.
In order for the economically viable system to be successful, a political framework is needed that will better reflect citizens’ needs. This can be achieved by changing the electoral system on both national and local levels, in such a way to increase responsibility of elected representatives toward their communities and voters and strengthen their accountability. Such system should be accompanied by essential decentralization of power as the basis for a higher participation of local communities in the decision making process and eventually for development of democratic, free and open society. We also need to build a system in which citizens’ confidence in public institutions, including those responsible for elections, will be restored. This implies reforming current procedures for appointment and the scope of responsibility of the Republic Electoral Commission, as well as subordinate electoral bodies throughout Serbia. In order to fight systemic corruption it is necessary to introduce institutional mechanisms to successfully prevent the concentration of power and public functions, as well as to strengthen the professional integrity of public officials and state institutions, by establishing the practice of personal responsibility and accountability. We are strongly advocating against the widespread practice of political appointments to public offices and public sector being misused for employing members of political parties. Such practice among other things, should be prevented by the adoption of mechanisms and regulations that would prevent political parties from appointing managements of public enterprises, as well as sport organizations and associations. This in turn would allow for establishing the practice of impartial and merit based employment policy in the public sector.
After several unsuccessful attempts, it is essential to finally establish an independent, impartial, professional and efficient judiciary and prosecution. In order to ensure that the principles of the rule of law are established which would ensure greater legal protection of citizens and their private property, to include the protection of personal data, it is necessary to amend regulations to reduce discretionary powers of state institutions to manage citizens’ private data and property. Such harmful practice of state institutions is evident but not limited to leaking personal data to third parties, the arbitrary powers of Public Executors or unjustified high fees for public notary services. It is also necessary to complete the process of restitution of seized property, since without the respect for private property there is no real progress in creating a just society in Serbia.
The reform of the judicial system must be accompanied by the reform of the public administration on the basis of depolitization, transparency and expertise. Efficient public services are those that work in the interests of citizens, not in their own interests. Merit base and transparent recruitment procedures are the first step. It is necessary to establish strict responsibility for the misuse of authority and violations of human rights by officials, which was previously missing due to the lack of criminal or other liability of public officials.
We are committed to modernizing and reforming the defense and security systems. It is necessary to amend the regulations in order to establish a better democratic institutional oversight and accountability of the security services and the police. Modernization, professionalization and better selection of personnel is of utmost importance, as well as greater transparency in the work of the security system, coupled with the opening of secret files of the state security services and the prevention of political abuse of the security system should be first steps in necessary reforms. In addition, given the negative experiences in managing natural disasters, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of emergency response services.
We consider that the aforementioned reforms which should be treated as the vital national interest, should be pursued as part of Serbia’s aspirations to become an equal member of the European Union, in which it could develop to a fully democratic society capable of contributing to the common EU interests. We see Serbia as a free and democratic country, open to the world, which encourages entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, and as such a member of European family in which human rights, the rule of law and the principles of social justice are respected and promoted.
In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to create a sincere pro-European political alternative that will advocate for Serbia’s accession to the European Union, in contrast to the dishonest and intentional obstruction of the process by the present government, which is relying on nondemocratic methods to strengthen its grip on power and effectively impede accession process in order to preserve its privileged position and authoritarian rule. To promote reforms and Serbia’s European path it is necessary to better inform citizens on the benefits of the EU membership, especially in terms of economic development – the examples of the EU membership benefits can be seen in many countries, including in our region. The precondition for achieving this primary national interest is intensified and honest regional cooperation, i.e. reconciliation, which also implies a sustainable solution to the issue of Kosovo.
We believe that the freedom of expression, as well as the tolerance towards different views and opinions, is the foundation of open and healthy society where critical thinking is encouraged and seen as essential for social progress. It is of vital importance to encourage investigative journalism, initiate public debates on issues of common interest, create conditions for cultivating ethical and professional journalism and promote media literacy. In order to promote ethical responsibility of media towards citizens and society it is necessary to strengthen the professional code of conduct and integrity of media associations and regulatory bodies. It is of particular significance to improve the integrity of the regulatory body for public broadcasting, thus preventing the extensive misuse of national broadcast band on behalf of public and private media enterprises to promote interest of political parties.
We invite all citizens who share our values to help us build a political alternative that will be committed to creating a truly, free, democratic and just society based on European values.