Serbia finance minister resigns over reform pace

AP News
Posted: Jul 12, 2014 1:30 PM

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia's finance minister has resigned, saying he disagreed with the prime minister over the pace of reform and the austerity measures needed to restart the Balkan country's economy.

Lazar Krstic said Saturday he believed economic changes in Serbia should be implemented fully without delay, but that Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic "is soft-hearted, and that is why he has the support of the people."

Krstic adds the austerity measures should include losing 160,000 jobs in the public sector in the next two years, and pension and salary cuts of up to 20 percent.

Serbia must overhaul the economy to draw much needed foreign investment and advance the EU membership bid. The government Saturday passed new pension and labor laws amid workers' protests, but has been reluctant to cut jobs and salaries.