Opposition leader says govt privatizing Serbian power company; Ministry: Lies

NEWS 21.12.202015:06

Serbian opposition leader Marinika Tepic said on Monday that the authorities are starting the privatization of the national electricity company (EPS).

Speaking to reporters outside the EPS headquarters in Belgrade, Tepic said that the government announcement of a reorganization of the EPS means that the “Serbia’s most valuable company” is being carved up. She said that began with the government decision last Thursday to take the distribution system out of the EPS.  

She said the reorganization would cut the value of the EPS by a third. The Serbian government has launched the privatization of the EPS amid the coronavirus pandemic with a plan to pull the distribution out and turn it into a separate company, she said and added that this will affect the 13,000 people working in the distribution network, the deputy leader of the Party of Freedom and Justice said. She also rejected claims by Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic that the reorganisation of the EPS was being demanded by the European Union, saying that was a lie.

 “The truth is that the EPS operated positively in 2016 and is a loss-maker now. The income did not drop because of lower prices but because of higher expenses since Milorad Grcic (an official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party – SNS) took over as EPS CEO. The money is ending up in the pockets of the Brnabic, Kisic and Ultra Kop company brotherhood,” Tepic said and called for Grcic’s dismissal.

Later on Monday, Assistant Minister of Mining and Energy Zoran Ilic said that „what the so-called opposition politician Marinika Tepic said today is a simple lie. Neither EPS will be privatised, nor workers will lose their jobs. EPS and the distribution system operator (ODS) must be strong and powerful companies to be ready for the market today and in the future. It is our obligation to the citizens, to the employees of these companies, and the law, „

Claiming  „it is obvious that Tepic protects the interests of those who pay her and tries to collect political points“, Ilic added, appealing to her  „not to do such things anymore because she only unnecessarily scares citizens and employees in EPS“.