Deputy Mayor of the southern Serbian municipality of Bujanovac, Stojanca Arsic, told FoNet new agency that due to its proximity to Kosovo, his town is often mentioned when attention has to be diverted from other important issues adding it is seen as a bad place to invest in because it is being mentioned in the context of possible territorial exchange.
“People stopped paying attention. I think they no longer listen to what those in Kosovo or those in Belgrade are saying,” Arsic said. He argued that Bujanovac is politically stable place and that the security situation is satisfactory, noting that the town fairs better than most regarding the crime rate, but that economy is the problem.
“All the stories that appear from time to time, there will be a demarcation, an exchange of territories, and so on, inflict the most damage in Serbia’s south,” he said. He opined that the narrative creates a perception of the region as unstable for investing, which is why new jobs can also not be expected.
The local government meanwhile does all it can to help agriculture producers, business people and is helping young graduates to complete vocational schools. But when the young people finish their education, they are “looking for jobs that just aren’t there,” he said.
He also said the key problem for all the three communities is exactly the same. “For the Serbs, Albanians and for the Roma, the biggest economic problem is that there are no jobs,” Arsic underlined. Asked how many unemployed people live in the municipality of Bujanovac, he responded that “no one can say that exactly.”