From: Exit News
Serbian President Repeals Controversial Laws to Appease Protesters 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has repealed controversial amendments to two laws in an attempt to appease protesters across the country.

Ten of thousands of Serbs rallied by the opposition have been protesting for over two weeks against government plans to have a huge lithium mine constructed in the country which environmentalists maintain will destroy the environment.

One of the laws allowed the government to swiftly expropriate private property in less than a week to award it to private enterprises.

A second law passed recently by Vucic’s majority lowered the threshold for referendums. It was expected to be used to legitimize the construction of the lithium mine by Rio Tinto, the world’s second largest mining corporation.

Vucic said he didn’t yield to protesters’ demands but just listened to the will of people. He blamed his ministers for not doing a good job with public consultations before submitting the amendments and asked them to make proper changes and pass the laws again.

The President said the 5-day period for complaints in cases of expropriation was too short. Reviewed amendments are expected to stipulate a longer period, but it remains uncertain whether essential changes will be made to the two laws.

Serbia is one of the most polluted countries in Europe for which environmentalists blame government corruption and lax regulation in order to attract foreign investments.

The government maintains that Serbia needs these laws to secure infrastructure projects and development.

Amidst large protests across the country, EU member states have reportedly agreed to open Cluster 4 “Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity” of accession negotiations with Serbia this week. The cluster includes chapters on transport, energy, environmental protection and climate change.