Belgrade, March 01, 2012
SERBIA'S CANDIDACY DECISION / REACTIONS
EP ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON SERBIA'S PROGRESS
BRUSSELS, Mar. 01 (Tanjug) –The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP) adopted a draft resolution on Serbia's progress in EU integration, which, says the EP Rapporteur for Serbia, sends a positive signal to Belgrade and also to the European Council, which should make a formal decision on granting the candidate status to Serbia.
The draft resolution, submitted by EP Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of a total of 62 votes "for" and only four "against", with five abstentions.I am proud of the broad support and consensus reached by the committee concerning the progress of Serbia, said Kacin. It is clear that Serbia has a great friend in the EP, which now once again sent a positive signal to both Belgrade and the EC, which now needs to formally adopt the decision to grant the candidate status to Serbia, he added.
Today we also sent a clear message to the representative of Romania at the European Council that they should act constructively and support the candidacy of Serbia, Kacin pointed out.But we also pointed out that we expect Serbia to spread the level of quality and protection of minorities found in Vojvodina to Central Serbia as well, Kacin said in a statement.The text of the resolution was revised by verbally submitted amendments and it commends the recent progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.Particularly commended is the agreement on regional cooperation, as well as the progress in the implementation of the agreements reached so far.Serbia still has a long way to go, during which it will be necessary to establish a genuine rule of law in the country, said rapporteur.
As a candidate country, Serbia needs to approach the job with even greater enthusiasm and ambition as soon as possible and ensure the opening of the negotiations on EU membership, which hopefully will happen early next year, Kacin said.
BARROSO: SERBIA DESERVES CANDIDACY, DECISION UP TO MEMBERS
BRUSSELS, Mar. 01 (Beta) –European Commission chairman Jose Manuel Barroso said in Brussels on Feb. 29 that Serbia deserves the status of EU member candidate because it has fulfilled all the obligations, but added that the decision is up to the EU leaders.
From the standpoint of the Commission, the European Council should grant Serbia candidate status. But, the decision depends on the member countries because it must be unanimous, Barroso said at a news conference, ahead of the March 1 meeting of the EU leaders. At the meeting of the General Affairs Council on Feb. 28, the EU foreign ministers sent a recommendation to the EU leaders to grant Serbia the status of EU member candidate.
The adoption of the recommendation was preceded by a debate, since Romania had requested additional guarantees for the implementation of the Law on national minorities in Serbia. Barroso also told reporters in Brussels that he met with Serbian President Boris Tadic on Feb. 28, and that he spoke over the phone with Romanian President Traian Basescu.
TERZI: SERBIA WILL GET GOAHEAD
BELGRADE, Mar. 01 (Beta) –Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said he expected that the EU leaders would give a green light to Serbia's candidacy on March 1, read a statement from the Italian Embassy in Belgrade.
"I firmly believe that on March 1, the European Council will open the European door to Serbia and facilitate the launch of accession talks," Terzi said according to the statement.
He went on to say that "Europe cannot retreat before this political choice that has fundamental importance for the stability and development of the entire Balkan region."
The minister stressed that "the recommendations mentioned in the Council's conclusions are clear: Serbia belongs in Europe as Italy has always believed." Terzi also recalled the effort Rome had invested in securing a candidacy for Serbia.
DEGERT: SERBIA'S CANDIDATE STATUS IS CERTAIN
BELGRADE, Mar. 01 (Beta) –European Union office in Serbia chief Vincent Degert on Feb. 29 congratulated Serbia on the certain obtaining of the EU membership candidacy.
Speaking at a conference on environmental protection in Belgrade, entitled "Green Serbia," Degert said that, as of Monday, March 5, work should continue full ahead toward the next step the start of EU accession negotiations for Serbia.
He went on to say that the candidacy is a great accomplishment for Serbia and good news for both the region and Europe because, as he said, we all live on the same planet and we all have common goals. The EU, Degert said, has helped Serbia over the past ten years with EUR2.2 billion, of which more than 25 percent was for environmental protection.
Degert said that the time of plenty and cheap resources is behind us and that 20,000 new inhabitants are born on the planet every day, which will have a population of nine billion by 2050, and that this is why we have to change our life habits.
KACIN: BROAD CONSENSUS ON CANDIDACY STATUS
NOVI SAD, Mar. 01 (Tanjug) –European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin assessed Wednesday that a broad enough consensus has emerged on the level of EU heads of state and government to grant Serbia the status of candidate country.Speaking for Radio and Television of Vojvodina, Kacin said he does not think Romania (which unexpectedly required guarantees for the Vlach minority in Serbia) would make problems during the voting.There is a broad consensus of six major parties in the European Parliament as well, which will vote in favour of Serbia's candidacy status, and I therefore believe that (Romanian President Traian) Basescu will also vote yes, Kacin said.
The EP Committee on Foreign Affairs will vote today on resolutions referring to 2011 progress reports on Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, the EP released on its website.Kacin evaluated Tuesday that Serbia deserves to be granted candidate status for EU membership, and urged Belgrade to soon secure the start of accession talks as well.The heads of state and government of the 27 member states will gather together today for a two-day EU Summit, and according to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Serbia's candidacy status will be discussed over a dinner on the first day of the summit.
BILDT: ACCESSION TALKS ARE LIKELY BY YEAR'S END
BELGRADE, Mar. 01 (Tanjug) –Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said he hoped that Serbia would not only get the date for the beginning of EU accession negotiations by the end of the year, but also start the talks with the European Union.In an interview with Politika, a Belgrade-based daily, Bildt stressed that the progress that had been made in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue was very important for Serbia, adding that Kosovo was not a condition for Serbia's candidacy, because the conditions were the same for every individual country.
The Swedish foreign minister said that at the EU Council of Ministers meeting on Tuesday it was not quite clear what Romania, which had demanded guarantees for the respect of the Vlach minority in Serbia, wanted by conditioning their support, stressing that he was glad the issue was immediately resolved.As for Kosovo, he said that however Kosovo was defined, it was in Serbia's interest that there was stability in relations with and within Kosovo.Asked if he thought that the EU really wanted to consider a new solution, such as the partition of Kosovo or the autonomy for the north of Kosovo, Bildt said that the division of Kosovo was not an option, but the people in the north should be provided with normal living conditions.Now we have the question of how to ensure that people in the north can live normally, which is also in the interest of Serbia, said Bildt.
The fact that the Serbian government sends money there is all right, but the question of transparency of the transactions is an issue that needs to be addressed, Bildt added.New elections will have to be held in the north of Kosovo at some point and it is necessary to see how this can be done, said Bildt.Bildt added that it was very important because the resolution of issues necessitated negotiations with representatives of the north, both for talks with the international community and with Pristina.
JOSIPOVIC CALLS FOR BORDER DISPUTE TALKS BEFORE ARBITRATION
ZAGREB, Mar. 01 (Beta) –Croatian President Ivo Josipovic on Feb. 29 said it would be good if Croatia and Serbia, which have different approaches to resolving the border dispute on the Danube River, tried to settle the matter before deciding to go for an arbitration.
"Croatia insists on a cadastre approach following the Badinter Arbitration Committee solutions, while Serbia wants to apply the principle of the median line of the river," Josipovic told the media in Zagreb.
He added that it would be necessary to try to find a flexible solution that would combine both principles, before going for an arbitration.
"If we can agree on a principle, then it would be good, but if we cannot, then we are left with two options: to try to negotiate a combination of the two principles the median line of the river and cadastre, and if we fail, we will finally have to go for a certain sort of arbitration," the Croatian president explained.
UNMIK TO WITHDRAW FROM REGIONAL MEETINGS
PRISTINA, Mar. 01 (Beta) –UNMIK has decided to no longer take part at regional gatherings where Kosovo will be represented under its own name with a footnote, as envisaged under the Belgrade-Pristina agreement on regional representation of Pristina.
"For us, it is important that Kosovo be represented in regional initiatives. We have no interest in attending meetings of regional initiatives where Kosovo can be represented and on which all sides have agreed," UNMIK's unnamed spokesperson said.
He stressed that UNMIK wished to help in the agreement implementation.
Article 6 of the Agreement on Regional Representation of Kosovo, which Belgrade and Pristina agreed upon last week, leaves open the possibility for UNMIK to participate in regional initiatives. Under the article, an UNMIK representative shall be invited to meetings organized within the agreements, which UNMIK is a signatory of. UNMIK reserves the right to decide whether or not to attend such meetings.
CIRIC: FIAT 500L WILL BE MANUFACTURED ONLY IN KRAGUJEVAC
BELGRADE, Mar. 01 (Beta) –Economy Minister Nebojsa Ciric stated that 80 percent of FIAT's new model "500L"will be made in Serbia.
"It will be made by our workers and companies that are in Serbia. It is important for us that, of total exports, which are expected to reach between EUR1.1 and 1.3 billion per year, around 80 percent will be net exports," Ciric told BETA on Feb. 29.
According to the minister, the Kragujevacbased factory FIAT Automobiles Serbia, a joint venture of the Serbian government and Italy's FIAT, will have the production capacity of 200,000 vehicles, and potentially even 300,000 per year.
Ciric said that the serial production of FIAT 500L in Kragujevac will start in April, and its export to the EU in June.