Milan Krkobabić (Serbian Cyrillic: Милан Кркобабић; born 12 October 1952) is a Serbian politician. He has been serving as the President of the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS) since 2014 and has been a minister in the government of Serbia since 2016.
|Minister of Rural Welfare|
|Assumed office |
28 October 2020
|Prime Minister||Ana Brnabić|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Minister without portfolio|
in charge of Regional development
11 August 2016 – 28 October 2020
|Prime Minister||Aleksandar Vučić|
Ivica Dačić (Acting)
|Born||1 January 1952|
Kačarevo, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia
|Alma mater||University of Belgrade|
Early life and careerEdit
Krkobabić was born in Kačarevo, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, in what was then the People's Republic of Serbia in the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. His family later moved to Belgrade, where he completed high school and later graduated from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Economics. He has thirty years of experience in the financial sector.
He is the son of Jovan Krkobabić, the founder and first leader of the PUPS.
Krkobabić joined the PUPS on its formation in 2005. The party contested the 2007 Serbian parliamentary election on a combined electoral list with the Social Democratic Party, and Krkobabić was included in the 105th position. The list did not cross the electoral threshold to win representation in the assembly.
City of BelgradeEdit
The PUPS subsequently formed an alliance with the Socialist Party of Serbia and appeared on the latter party's electoral list in the 2008 parliamentary election. Krkobabić was not a candidate in this election but was instead given the second position on the Socialist-led list in the concurrent 2008 Belgrade City Assembly election. The list won six mandates. Neither the republic-level nor the Belgrade city elections produced a clear winner. Initially, representatives of the Socialist Party, the far-right Serbian Radical Party, and the Democratic Party of Serbia (Demokratska stranka Srbije, DSS) discussed forming a coalition government at both levels of government. Krkobabić said that this arrangement would be acceptable to the PUPS, as it would ensure the passage of parts of their program.
This proposed arrangement subsequently fell apart, and the Socialists instead formed coalition governments at both levels with the For a European Serbia alliance led by the Democratic Party (Demokratska stranka, DS). The PUPS agreed to participate in this alliance; in so doing, Krkobabić indicated that his party would fight for a pension increase and resist any efforts to impose neoliberal reforms in the sector. Krkobabić himself was elected by the Belgrade assembly as the city's deputy mayor, serving in the role under Dragan Đilas.
In October 2009, Krkobabić and Russian ambassador Aleksandr Konuzin inaugurated a statue of Alexander Pushkin in the centre of Belgrade, not far from the statues of Cyril and Methodius and Vuk Karadžić. He subsequently defended the city's decision to erect a statue of former Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev in Tašmajdan Park, a space which the government of Azerbaijan had donated two million Euros to renovate following extensive damage in the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The statue of Aliyev had attracted controversy due to the Azerbaijani president's human rights record while in office. Krkobabić stated in response, "Our principle was not to be policemen and to investigate what was done in the past because we would not have time for that. Our principle was to draw a line and to move forward. In these hard times, we are trying to accept every act of goodwill by various countries and to use them for the benefit of the citizens of Belgrade."
National Assembly and Pošta SrbijeEdit
The PUPS maintained their alliance with the Socialist Party for the 2012 Serbian parliamentary election. Krkobabić was a spokesperson for the party in the campaign, highlighting its promise to protect and improve pensions. He received the thirteenth position on the Socialist-led list and was elected to the assembly when it won forty-four mandates. He also once again received the second position on the Socialist-led list in the concurrent 2012 Belgrade election and was re-elected when it won thirteen seats. He served in both assemblies under a dual mandate.
The Socialist Party formed a new coalition government with the Serbian Progressive Party at the republic level following the 2012 election. The PUPS was included in the coalition, and Krkobabić served as part of the government's parliamentary majority. He led the PUPS parliamentary group and became a deputy leader of the party. He was also appointed as director of the state-owned corporation Pošta Srbije.
He announced plans to privatize a number of entities owned by the corporation in November 2012, including Telekom Srbija and the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, although it was subsequently reported that there was only consensus within government for the privatization of Telekom. He also said early in 2013 that the corporation itself would not be privatized but would rather seek to acquire assets in neighbouring countries. He was quoted as saying, "We will not repeat the experiences from the neighbouring countries. This system will strengthen, it will be profitable, fill the budget and create new jobs. We put an end to all attempts to sell, sell off, and disintegrate the system." In the same period, he announced that the corporation would focus on the completion of a number of capital investment projects, including a central postal hub in Belgrade, over the upcoming years. He announced in July 2013 that the corporation had tripled its net income in the first six months of the year.
Notwithstanding the alliance between the Progressives and the PUPS at the republic level, the PUPS continued to work in a coalition government with the Democratic Party in Belgrade. Krkobabić's term as deputy mayor ended in June 2012, but he initially remained an active supporter of Đilas's administration and sided with the mayor against the Progressive Party's efforts to change the city administration. In November 2012, he was a guest at the Democratic Party convention that elected Đilas as the party's new leader. This alliance ultimately did not last, however, and in September 2013 Krkobabić and the PUPS withdrew their support for Đilas in a crucial vote of non-confidence. Đilas lost his assembly majority and resigned as mayor. This situation ultimately led to new elections in early 2014 in both Belgrade and Serbia as a whole.
Krkobabić was promoted to the second position on the Socialist-led list in the republic election. During the campaign, he said that Serbian politics had become marked by "a split between the left and the right, where the left is working for the people, and the right-wing is lining its pockets." Progressive Party leader Aleksandar Vučić responded to this remark by quipping, "if that's the way to look at it, Krkobabić belongs to the extreme right-wing." The Socialist list again won forty-four mandates, and Krkobabić was elected to a second term. The Progressive Party and its allies won a majority victory overall. Following the election, the Progressives formed a new coalition government that once again included the Socialists. The PUPS did not participate directly in government but provided outside support; notwithstanding his exchange with Vučić during the campaign, Krkobabić supported the latter's administration in the assembly. He also continued to serve as Pošta Srbije director.
Krkobabić also received the second position on the Socialist-led list in the Belgrade campaign. The party won sixteen seats, but he did not serve in the sitting of the city assembly that followed.
Jovan Krkobabić died in April 2014, and Milan was formally designated as his successor as PUPS leader in June of the same year.
In July 2014, he indicated that the PUPS would support two contentious bills dealing with labour law and pension and disability insurance,; he justified this decision on the basis that the reforms, "[did] not affect the existing pensioners." He also argued in favour of direct payouts to all Pošta Srbije workers in October of the same year, saying that the workers should receive a percentage of the corporation's profits.
Vučić and Krkobabić opened Pošta Srbije's central Belgrade hub on 9 October 2014. The corporation continued to earn net profits through 2015, and Krkobabić again argued in this period against any possibility of its privatization. In October 2015, he noted that Toshiba had expressed interest in pairing with Pošta Srbije for investments in Russia. In early 2016, he and Rasim Ljajić, Serbia's minister of trade, tourism, and telecommunications, signed a collective agreement with Pošta Srbije workers that, among other things, confirmed their right to share of the profits.
In May 2016, he announced that Pošta Srbije would set up a commercial bank.
The PUPS ended its alliance with the Socialist Party and formed a new partnership with the Progressive Party for the 2016 Serbian parliamentary election. Krkobabić received the fourth position on the Progressive-led list and was re-elected when it won a second consecutive majority with 131 out of 250 mandates. On 11 August 2016, he was appointed as a minister without portfolio in Vučić's administration, in charge of regional development. As a result of this appointment, he stood down as director of Pošta Srbije shortly thereafter. He was subsequently given additional responsibilities as the chair of Serbia's council for coordination of activities and measures for gross domestic product (GDP) growth."
Krkobabić continued to serve as a minister without portfolio with responsibility for regional development after Ana Brnabić replaced Vučić as prime minister of Serbia in June 2017. Shortly thereafter, he announced a significant investment in agricultural co-operatives as a means of ensuring that younger people could choose to remain in rural settings. In September 2017, it was reported that about seventy co-operatives had already been established. In January 2018, he announced that the government would allocate 825 million dinars for co-operatives; in July of the same year, he announced that 250 co-operatives had been created since the program was initiated. In July 2020, he said that the number had increased to 722.
The PUPS continued its alliance with the Progressive Party in the 2020 Serbian parliamentary election. Krkobabić received the twenty-fourth position on the Progressive-led coalition list and was again elected to the assembly when the list won a landslide victory with 188 seats. (His son, Stefan Krkobabić, was also elected to the assembly as a PUPS member.) Following a cabinet shuffle, he was re-assigned as Serbia's minister for rural welfare in October 2020. He indicated that one of his priorities would include organizing the transfer of uncultivated state land to young farmers and young experts.
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- "Serbian postal carrier eyes regional peers for acquisition – media," SeeNews - The Corporate Wire, 8 February 2013. See also "Serbia: Poste Srbije's Director reveals expansion plans," Esmerk Eastern European News, 16 October 2014, and "Serbia: Posta Srbije on potential cooperation with several foreign firms," Esmerk Eastern European News, 19 March 2015.
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- "Sinteza - Daily Overview, Top Business Stories, Jul 18, 2013," Emerging Markets Broker Reports Central Eastern Europe, 18 July 2013. He made a similar announcement in a report on the first nine months of the year in October 2013. See "Posta Srbije earns 21.6 mln euro in 9-mo net profit," Emerging Markets Broker Reports Central Eastern Europe, 10 October 2013.
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- Milan Krkobabic – Minister of Rural Welfare, The Government of the Republic of Serbia, accessed 8 December 2020.
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