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Sugar Enterprises Go On Strike in Protest of Government Policy

Employees in Serbian sugar company MK Komerc went on strike during the weekend, protesting against the government’s policy and actions to develop the sector. The major reason is the recent extension of the EU suspension on the preferential regime on Serbian sugar exports to the EU.

Three months ago, EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) discovered that Serbian producers had exported sugar not produced from domestic raw materials, which was in violation of the EU’s regulations. Contrary to numerous statements of government officials, the EU not only did not cancel the suspension, but even extended it by six more months, due to the lack of capacity of Serbian customs authorities to monitor adequately trade flows.

The protesters claimed that some government member were related in the affair and tried to conceal their involvement. They also requested the resignation of trade and tourism minister Slobodan Milosljavlevic, who is generally held responsible for the scandal.

Furthermore, they requested the pledged YUD 11mn (EUR 170,000) for covering current liabilities of the company and due wages. Meanwhile, the head of the state reserve Radovan Ristanovic announced that there were no indications of misappropriations with the state reserve.

According to recent media reports, a considerable part of the illegally exported sugar was taken from the state reserve. The influential student movement Otpor recently approached authorities, claiming that as much as 7,000 tonnes of sugar were illegally taken from the state reserve.

(IntelliNews 04.viii.03)

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