Saturday, March 2, 2024

SERBIAN SPAS: A PRIVATISATION AGAINST PENSIONERS’ INTERESTS

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Kursumlijska and Vranjska Spas which belonged to Serbian Pension Fund went to businessmen who paid for them just a miserable sum of money – the toil of workers, who during decades financed the construction of spa hotels was sold for only 72 euros per square meter! The maneuvre was enabled by some amendments to a law, while other 27 sales are to follow yet. The Government’s plan to privatize all the spas has motivated the Association of Pensioners of Serbia (APTUS) to submit a law suit before the court.
The difficulty lies in the fact that businessmen who got the two spas are close to the ruling party. This liaison made it possible in fact to buy them at a price that was far under their market value. The result of this acquisition will be a further impoverishment of the Pension Fund.
The law was amended in 2014 when the number of members of the Fund Administration Board was reduced from twenty-one to seven, the four of whom were to be appointed by the Government. Thus, the previous balance was broken and the Government given power to influence decisively the governing body’s decisions. The brakes which in the past blocked the privatization of people’s property were disabled. All admonitions of the Fund’s legal expert concerning the illegality of the coming privatization were ignored and he was eventually fired.
President of the APTUS, Radovic, explains that the suit was submitted against each member of the Board individually. “We warned them that the sale is unconstitutional but they opted for a good “prey”. I say prey because we have obviously to deal with a robbery”, concluded the President who is preparing himself for a long and fierce legal battle.

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