Daily Survey

Belgrade, February 03, 2012


SERBIA – REGION

JAHORINA TRILATERAL BEGINS

SARAJEVO, Feb. 3 (Tanjug) – An informal trilateral meeting between Serbian President Boris Tadic, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), chaired by Zeljko Komsic, began at about 10 p.m. CET on Mt. Jahorina near Sarajevo.The heads of state of the three countries will discuss a host of topics of regional importance, and the event will be covered by more than 150 accredited reporters from BiH and abroad.According to the BiH Presidency, which is hosting the event, the leaders of the three countries will discuss the coordination of activities related to the fight against organized crime, joint application for the EU funds for cross-border cooperation, joint representation in terms of consular matters in the third countries, preparations for the changes in the border regime and joint candidacies for sports events.One of the topics of the talks will be the initiative to sign an interstate agreement to facilitate prosecution of war criminals.BiH Presidency Chairman Komsic and members Radmanovic and Izetbegovic hosted a gala dinner for the Serbian and Croatian presidents. Security measures on Mt. Jahorina have been raised to the highest level, while traffic in the region, as well as in the whole of BiH, is blocked by heavy snowfall that hasn't stopped since yesterday afternoon.

K&M – DIALOGUE

MINISTRY: CONGRESSMEN SHOW UNDERSTANDING FOR DACIC'S IDEA

BELGRADE, Feb. 2 (Beta) – Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic had talks with U.S. congressmen Michael Turner and Dana Rohrabacher, who "showed understanding" for his idea about "a just demarcation making it possible to satisfy the Serb interests in Kosovo and Metohija," the Serbian Interior Ministry stated.
According to the statement, Dacic told the congressmen that "Serbia is interested in a solution that would be in the interests of both the Serb and the Albanian sides a compromise solution that will permanently remove the basis and reasons for the conflict between the Serb and Albanian peoples."
He "reiterated the stand that the solution lies in a just demarcation, which will make it possible to satisfy Serb interests in Kosovo and Metohija" and stated that "this idea was received with understanding by the American congressmen, especially by Rohrabacher, who advocates in the American public the independent status of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija from the socalled 'Pristina authorities'."
"There is the intimation of a stand in the Congress that there can be no stability and peace in the region unless Serbia actively participates in this process and unless we have the economic prospect and the prospect of full inclusion in international integration processes,".

THACI: I AM PREPARED TO MEET BORIS TADIC

SKOPJE, Feb. 2 (Beta) – Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci declared that he is prepared to meet with Serbian President Boris Tadic "in order to solve problems in mutual relations."
In an interview to the Macedonian television station Alfa TV, Thaci stated that Serbia's stands towards Kosovo are not fair and that Kosovo wants to put the entire situation on the agenda once and for all, the portal Koha.net reported.
He expressed readiness for cooperation that would result in admission into "EuroAtlantic structures."
"I and Boris Tadic, as leaders, have the task to extend our hands to each other. I am prepared to sit down with Tadic and talk about these issues. I wish to point out that we will decide on internal policy issues in Kosovo by ourselves," Thaci said.
He estimated that Serbia should change its stand, not only towards Kosovo, but towards the other countries of the Balkans.
Thaci positively estimated the relations between Kosovo and Macedonia, pointing out that he expects Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to pay an official visit to Kosovo.

RASMUSSEN: DIALOGUE IS A HISTORIC CHANCE

BRUSSELS, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) –NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is of vital importance.Dialogue is a historic chance to build a better future for all people in Kosovo, Rasmussen said ahead today's meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels which should discuss the situation in northern Kosovo. Also present will be the ministers of other countries whose soldiers are part of the KFOR force.Rasmussen assessed that the KFOR mission represents an excellent example of the efforts the Alliance is making in order to provide a secure, democratic and multiethnic Kosovo. He recalled the outburst of violence in northern Kosovo last year, and voiced his full support to the KFOR mission.On the second day of the summit, the ministers will also discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The two-day meeting at NATO headquarters is aimed at paving the way to the May summit of heads of state and government in Chicago.

SERBIA – EU

SCHAUSBERGER: EU MADE MISTAKE NOT GIVING SERBIA CANDIDACY

BELGRADE, Feb. 2 (Beta) – The key mistake of the European Council was not giving Serbia European Union candidate status in December 2011, said Franz Schausberger, the chair of the Working Group for the Western Balkans of the EU Committee of the Regions.
At the international conference "New Regional Policies and European Experiences" in Belgrade, he said that Serbia was capable of joining the EU and that it was important for stability in the region.
Serbia has the potential to be a driver in the region and the EU must show her how to move down the path toward EU membership," said Schausberger.
According to him, on this path, it is important that Serbia has a good administration at national, regional and local level.
Walter Schwimmer, former secretary general of the European Council, agreed with Schausberger that Serbia deserved to be in the EU.
He underscored that Serbia deserved to be part of the EU. "Serbia could play a central role in the integration of the region," said Schwimmer, who is now the president of Megatrend University in Belgrade.

HUNGARY'S EXPERIENCES IN EU INTEGRATION

BELGRADE, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) – Ambassador of Hungary in Belgrade Oscar Nikovic compared the present situation in which Serbia is when it comes to Kosovo with the situation in which Hungary was when it joined the EU.Hungary was then asked to sign an agreement with Slovakia which would clearly state that it had no aspirations to its territory, even though no part of its territory had been within the Hungarian borders for years, Nikovic recalled.Nikovic believes that Kosovo is no longer actually within Serbia.Addressing a panel on Hungary's present foreign and internal policies held at the Institute for European Studies, the ambassador spoke about the experiences of his country in EU integration.Speaking about the benefits that Hungary has had from the membership in the EU, the Hungarian ambassador emphasized that membership is basically successfull.The balance of eight years of membership is more positive than negative, Nikovic said.Speaking of the benefits of membership, he pointed to the opening of borders of other countries to employment of Hungarian workers, the possibility of education abroad, agricultural development and EU funds and financial security.Membership in the EU, as he pointed out, does not mean giving up one's identity and no one is asking Serbs to do that.However, he emphasized that the preservation of identity is not the same inside and outside the EU.When an individual joins a community, he must give up certain privileges, he said.

EGERESI IN BRUSSELS: SERBIA WILL OBTAIN CANDIDACY

BRUSSELS, Feb. 2 (Beta) – The speaker of the Vojvodina Assembly, Sandor Egeresi, and the European Parliament's rapporteur for Serbia, Jelko Kacin, had talks in Brussels on Feb. 2 about the importance of obtaining the EU candidate status for Serbia, it was stated by Egeresi's office.
"It is very important for Serbia to obtain candidate status on March 1 and, after the talks in Brussels, I am optimistic regarding this issue," Egeresi said after the meeting with Kacin.
He added that Serbia is still faced with the conditions it has to fulfill, and estimated that Serbia should fulfill these conditions not just because the EU requests it, but "for ourselves."
In his words, Vojvodina is Serbia's "trump card" on the road to European integration.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

MRKONJIC: JAT WILL GO TO BUSINESSMEN, NOT TYCOONS

BELGRADE, Feb. 3 (Tanjug) –Serbian Infrastructure Minister Milutin Mrkonjic said Friday that the national carrier, Jat Airways, would not be sold to "tycoons" but rather to businessmen, who were expected to pay about EUR 30 billion to found a new airline company.Mrkonjic said that it was about half the needed money and that the state would give the other half and a little more."I do not know what the word 'tycoon' means, since I belong to an older generation," said Mrkonjic, reiterating anew that the new Serbian airline would be formed by the end of the term of the current government.Asked whether Jat would be offered to businessman Miroslav Miskovic, Mrkonjic said that the carrier would be offered to anyone who offered more money, adding that negotiations would be led by Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and he had confidence in Cvetkovic.Mrkonjic said that the inflow of private capital should be promoted as Serbia would benefit from it.He pointed out that all worthy assets would be transferred to the new airline, which should get a new fleet the following year, while Jat's debts would remain state debts.

NO MAJOR DISPUTES BETWEEN GOVT AND IMF

BELGRADE, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) –The disagreements between the Serbian government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as regards guarantees and debt limits are not so significant as to jeopardise the entire arrangement, Vladimir Vuckovic of the Fiscal Council stated on Thursday.He underscored that Serbia and IMF had had more substantial disagreements with IMF representatives before. There are certain disputes and different interpretations of the agreements reached so far, but the important thing is that the budget has been respected in terms of the planned revenues, expenditures and deficit, Vuckovic told Tanjug.It remains to be seen what IMF's real objections are and it is still uncertain what the response of the Serbian government would be and how seriously IMF would take the existing disagreements and differences, Vuckovic stated. Still, it cannot be anticipated what the international public would earmark as priority because this is the time when every negative step is closely examined and in this light, some negative consequences might follow, the official stated and expressed hope that the consequences would not be grave.The IMF mission arrived in Belgrade on Thursday and will conduct talks with Serbian government representatives. In the talks, representatives of IMF and the Serbian government should clarify all vague points regarding the precautionary arrangement and the 2012 budget.

FIAT 500L MAKES WORLD PREMIERE IN GENEVA

TURIN/KRAGUJEVAC, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) –Fiat car manufacturer presented on Thursday the first official photos of 500L model which will make its premiere at the International Motor Show in Geneva on March 6.The new model will start selling on the European market in the last quarter of 2012, with the initial offer of an engine comprising two petrol engines (TwinAir and 1.4L) and turbo-diesel engine (1.3 MultiJet II) and the latest technology of the Fiat Group.The new 500L (L denoting 'large') expands Gamma 500 model, after the versions Abarth and Cabrio, and continues to develop the brand's strategy with a view to diversifying the offer of models which can live up to clients' various requirements.With the L model, Gamma 500 develops and grows together with its clientele so as to adjust once more to the new experiences and requirements, Fiat stated in the release. Manufactured in Fiat's plant in Kragujevac, central Serbia, model 500L represents the best choice for drivers who cannot do without the Italian style and the versatility coming from a functional design, superbly built engine and efficiency, the release notes.

CIRIC: EARLY TO TALK NEW STEEL MILL OWNER

SVILAJNAC, Feb. 3 (Tanjug) – Minister of Economy and Regional Development Nebojsa Ciric said there are interested strategic partners and buyers for the Smederevo steel mill, but it is still early to talk about a new owner."It remains to be seen in the coming period whether and in what manner this interest will be materialized," Ciric told in Svilajnac, central Serbia, where he visited a Panasonic factory. "I cannot say when the Smederevo steel mill will get a new owner, it could be in a few months or it could take longer," Ciric said.According to Ciric, the government's priorities upon taking over the steel mill are maintaining the production process and cooperation with buyers and suppliers, as well as regular salaries and stable jobs at the steel mill and all companies which cooperated with U.S. Steel.