Belgrade, August 02, 2012
SERBIA - GERMANY
GRAF LAMBSDORFF: FUNCTIONAL RELATIONS WITH PRISTINA AS EU CONDITION
BELGRADE, August 01 (Tanjug) - Special Envoy of the German Foreign Ministry for Southeastern Europe Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff stated Wednesday that in order for Serbia to progress towards the EU, it needs to establish lasting and functional relations with Pristina.
There are announcements about a political dialogue at a higher level, which I believe will be facilitated by Catherine Ashton, as of early September, the German diplomat stated after a meeting with Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's first deputy prime minister and defence minister.
Lambsdorff underlined that Germany supports the transfer of the Belgrade Pristina dialogue from the technical to the political level. We hope that the dialogue will yield a result which is necessary for Serbia's progress towards Brussels that is lasting and functional relations with Pristina, he underlined.
Germany wants Serbia in the EU, the German diplomat stated, stressing that there are no new preconditions. I am surprised by the headlines in certain Serbian media regarding new preconditions. There are no new preconditions. There are only the old conditions which are to be fulfilled, nothing more nor less, Lambsdorff said.
We know that this is a difficult and long process, he added, stressing that he got an impression that the Serbian top officials intend to fulfill these conditions.
DJURIC: IT IS IMPORTANT TO ATTRACT FOREIGN INVESTMENTS
BELGRADE, August 01 (Tanjug) - One of the primary goals of the new Serbian government will be creating the environment for new investments, advisor to the president of Serbia Marko Djuric said Wednesday meeting with Special Envoy of the German Foreign Ministry for Southeastern Europe, Turkey and EFTA countries Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff.
During the conversation, Djuric stressed that Serbia is ready to continue to develop partnerships on many issues on the basis of frank and open cooperation with Germany.
The goal of Lambsdorff's visit to Belgrade is to meet with representatives of the new government.
He expressed satisfaction with the rapid formation of new government and said that Germany still has a positive stand in relation to EU enlargement, and that in this sense Berlin is ready to support the membership of Serbia.
Lambsdorff also expressed support for efforts by Belgrade to continue the process of talks with representatives of the interim authorities in Pristina.
GRAF LAMBSDORFF: GERMAN WANTS EU ENLARGEMENT TO CONTINUE
BELGRADE, August 01 (Tanjug) - Germany is strongly in favor of continuing EU integration and enlargement, and it will continue giving its full support to Serbia in implementing the necessary reforms, envoy of the German Foreign Ministry Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff said in Belgrade on Wednesday.
He met with Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister for EU Integration Suzana Grubjesic and stressed there were no new requirements for Serbia's EU integration, Grubjesic's office has released.
There are no new requirements, but the ones already agreed in the technical negotiations with the previous government need to be met, Lambsdorff stated. Germany is monitoring the situation in Serbia closely and if there is progress, it is prepared to provide assistance, and any positive steps will be welcomed by Berlin, he noted.
Grubjesic thanked Germany for its support, adding that it was Serbia's most important partner on the road towards the EU and stressing that she believed the new government would take immediate steps to accelerate EU integration.
According to Grubjesic, Serbia will invest additional effort to get the start date for the accession talks as soon as possible, with a clear goal of allowing the people to benefit from EU integration in their everyday life as soon as possible.
The new government is willing to take over all the obligations the previous government agreed to in the talks with Pristina, and all the top officials of the government will take part in the political dialogue to follow, she underscored.
Grubjesic emphasized in particular the significance of reaching a national consensus on Kosovo that should include all the sides of the Serbian political scene.
JAPAN OFFERS CONGRATULATIONS TO SERBIAN PARLIAMENT
BELGRADE, August 01 (Tanjug) - Japanese Ambassador to Serbia Toshio Tsunozaki handed over a letter of congratulations to Serbian parliament Speaker Nebojsa Stefanovic on behalf of the Japanese parliament, wishing the Serbian parliament and the newly elected government much success in their future work, the parliament speaker's office said in a release Wednesday.
The Japanese ambassador said that relations between Serbia and Japan were good and expressed the hope they would continue in the same spirit in the future.
The Serbian parliament speaker warmly thanked for the congratulations and expressed the expectation that the framework of cooperation between Japan and the Serbian parliament would be expanded, given the good relations between the two nations and especially the support Japan had extended to Serbia over the years.
Observing that friendship groups play an important role in promoting parliamentary cooperation, Stefanovic said he hoped a Serbia Japan friendship group such as already existed in the Japanese parliament would be formed in the Serbian parliament soon as well.
He proposed that the role of the two countries' parliaments should include encouraging economic cooperation, and Ambassador Tsunozaki supported the initiative, promising to do everything in his power to step up the expansion of cooperation between the Japanese and Serbian parliaments.
Stefanovic informed the Japanese ambassador about future activities of the Serbian parliament and about plans to strengthen the body's activities through the work of its committees.
According to the release, the Serbian parliament speaker particularly emphasized the role of parliament in the control of the executive power.
KONUZIN : RUSSIA SHOULD HELP IN TALKS IF SERBIA WISHES IT
BELGRADE, August 01 (Tanjug) – Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin said on Wednesday Moscow would continue supporting Serbia’s efforts towards a peaceful solution to the Kosovo issue.
The UN should be involved in the process, but Russia is also willing to assist in the talks if Serbia wishes it, Konuzin told reporters.
Serbia is following international law to the letter, he noted, adding that UN involvement in resolving the Kosovo issue was required by Security Council Resolution 1244.
When asked if Russia was willing to help Serbia fill the holes in its budget, he answered that Russia was prepared to consider any request from Serbia that was part of the two countries’ economic cooperation.
There are still agreements that have not been implemented because the related work has not been efficient enough, Konuzin pointed out, adding that Russia was monitoring the difficult situation closely.
All options that are acceptable to everyone should be considered, he noted.
SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE
EBRD, EIB, WB TO GRANT USD 500 MILLION FOR ROADS
BELGRADE, August 01 (Tanjug) - Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic supported the program of rehabilitation of roads and improvement of road safety in Serbia at Wednesday's meeting with representatives of the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.
Dacic underlined that this project, worth USD 500 million, will enhance traffic safety on Serbian roads and harmonize the road network with European standards, which will bring about a more balanced regional development.
The program envisages the rehabilitation of more than 2,300 kilometers of roads on 83 road sections in Serbia with the financial support from the three banks.
Since 2001, the WB, the EBRD and the EIB have invested in Serbia a total of about EUR 8.6 billion.
The three banks approved around EUR 1.1 billion in October 2008 for one of the most important projects in Serbia construction of Corridor 10, and around EUR 1.5 billion in March 2011 in support of Serbia's anticrisis actions.
ARMITAGE: REFORMS TO PRECEDE WB LOAN
BELGRADE, August 02 (Tanjug) - World Bank (WB) Regional Coordinator for South East Europe Jane Armitage has stated that the WB is ready to approve Serbia USD 400 million only if the government manages to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and reduce deficit and indebtedness.
It would be irresponsible to approve Serbia USD 400 million without a previous agreement. However, besides austerity measures it is very important to create basis for growth, Armitage said on Wednesday for Belgrade TV B92.
Armitage said that before the WB approves any kind of financial support to the Serbian budget, the Washingtonbased institution has to be sure that the country has a sustainable, real, macroeconomic, midterm framework whose basic goal is to reduce indebtedness and budget deficit.
Armitage explained that USD 400 million would be available in three installments in 12 months, adding that the first part of the funds is preconditioned by continuation of reforms of public expenses, pension system, financing of the health system and education, and strengthening of social support to the most vulnerable groups.
We were ready to send the first installment of USD 100 million in January based on the reforms which had been implemented by the time, but Serbia strayed from the IMF path as the expenditures and indebtedness grew, Armitage said.
The second USD 100 million is intended for continuation of reforms, while the third part would be aimed at reforms of stateowned companies, she said. We want to support Serbia to continue the reforms in this area, and we have prepared a USD 200 million loan, Armitage said, adding that the WB will, in any case, continue to support projects such as watering, renovation, road construction, education and health.
The WB could also approve an investment loan for agriculture even without reforms, but it could not approve a budget loan, Armitage said, stressing that Serbia needs these reforms with or without a loan.
Changes are necessary since at the moment Serbia has huge deficit and indebtedness, and the government will have to finance both deficit and debts, Armitage said.