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Three Serbian Central Bank Council Members Step Down

Three members of the Governor’s Council of the National Bank of Serbia resigned today, saying a new law “grossly violates” the central bank’s independence and may trigger capital flight and the collapse of the dinar.

Council Chairman Bosko Zivkovic and members Milojko Arsic and Zorica Mladenovic sent their letter of resignation to the Parliament speaker in Belgrade, saying the new amended central bank law “grossly violates basic internationally accepted principles of the autonomy and independence of a central bank from the government or individual interest groups.”

The law may prompt a “decline in capital inflows and even capital flight from Serbia, which under the circumstances of a high current-account deficit can, in a relatively short period of time, lead to a balance-of-payments crisis and the collapse in the dinar exchange rate,” they said in the letter.

Their resignation came after Governor Dejan Soskic stepped down on Aug. 2 and Vice Governor Bojan Markovic quit yesterday in protest at the law, whose adoption would restore parliamentary control over the central bank and may complicate Serbia’s bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund and its accession to the European Union. The IMF and the EU have both criticized the legislation as harming the central bank’s independence.

Serbian lawmakers yesterday appointed Jorgovanka Tabakovic, vice president of the ruling Progressive Party, as the central bank’s new governor.

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