Goran Radosavljevic, an economics professor, said on Wednesday that Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic would spend nearly two billion euros from the country's budget "to buy votes ahead of the upcoming April elections."
Radosavljevic told the Beta news agency that Serbia’s Government had already spent some 1.4 billion euros since March 2020 for one-time assistance to different categories of citizens.
A 100 euro for people from 16 to 29 years of age is just distributed, plus an additional 100 euros Vucic promises them if he wins the elections should be added to the 1.4 billion euros, the professor has said, adding that money was not planned in the budget.
A total sum will thus reach 1.9 billion euros.
„Vucic almost always first announces such financial aid at news conferences. He has no Constitutional authority to deal with that, and only after his promises, through the budget rebalance, does the Budget Law secure the funds. The law, which was adopted a month or two ago, changes because the President has gotten a new idea,“ Radosavljevic said.
He added the country had to additionally borrow money „so that it does not look that the President is deceiving the citizens.“
„So, for these 1.9 billion euros, we had to take an additional loan, and we will repay that debt with interest. Suppose the average interest rate at which we are borrowing from March 2020 until today is about two percent. In that case, Serbia’s people will pay about 200 million euros in interest in the next five years,“ the professor said.
He added that for every 100 euros we „received from the President, we will pay back about 110 in the next five years.“
Besides, he said, „when those funds are spent, we go back to reality in the next month. And the reality is the growth of food prices in 2021 by over 12 economy, of oil products by almost 30 percent compared to the end of 2020 and the general growth of prices, which is one of the highest in Europe. So, the state further devalued what you received through high inflation after it took back what it gave you through taxes to pay both the interest and the debt principal.“