Daily Survey

Belgrade, March 05, 2012


SERBIA

TADIC CONGRATULATES PUTIN

BELGRADE, March 05 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic has congratulated Vladimir Putin on being reelected President of the Russian Federation.
I congratulate you on the victory, and I want to point out that our two countries should foster economic and trade relations in the best possible way in the future. Serbia and Russia are bound by centuriesold friendly relations. Our ties are historical and spiritual, and we build the future relations on the basis of mutual interests and benefits for our people, Tadic said.
The Serbian president pointed out that he has always had good cooperation with President Putin, his press service released in a statement.
Tadic said that Serbia and Russia will sign an agreement on the strategic partnership, which will be another contribution to the two countries' cooperation. Serbia's strategic orientation is to become an EU member, but, on the other hand, Serbia wants to preserve and advance economic relations with Russia in all fields, he noted. In his greeting, Tadic thanked Russia for supporting Serbia in its fight for national interests in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
The Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation published early Monday the preliminary results of the presidential elections, based on 99 percent of counted votes, according to which Putin scored a convincing win, since he received 63.85 percent of the vote.

STEFANOVIC: TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND ENERGY TWO DIFFICULT ISSUES

BELGRADE, March 05 (Tanjug) - Head of Belgrade's team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said it possible that Serbia gets the date for the start of negotiations for EU membership by the end of the year.
"If the current authority remains in power after elections, it will do all it can so that Belgrade and Pristina reach agreement," Stefanovic said in an interview for the Monday edition of the daily Press.
Stefanovic said that he is optimistic, but that the issues of telecommunications and energy are still a problem. "It will be difficult because Belgrade and Pristina have diametrically opposed views on the two matters," he said.
Stefanovic explained that Belgrade insists on regulating the operation of Telekom and the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) in Kosovo, both in the north and south, while Pristina does not accept that.
"In any case, the new government will have to continue the talks," Stefanovic said.

SERBIA – EU – CANDIDACY, REACTIONS

DELEVIC: CANDIDACY IS BEGINNING OF SERIOUS WORK

BELGRADE, March 02 (Tanjug) - Director of the Serbian government's European Integration Office Milica Delevic said Friday that the candidate status was not the final step, but rather the beginning of a serious work for Serbia.
She pointed that before getting the date for the start of accession negotiations, Serbia should first be positively evaluated by the European Commission (EC) concerning further progress in normalizing the relations with Pristina.
In an interview with Tanjug, Delevic said that the improvement in the relations with Pristina meant that progress had to be achieved in the part of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue relevant to the field of telecommunications, energy and giving support to the EULEX mission in Kosovo so it could be able to fulfill its mandate unhindered. Of course, she added, what we do at home is also important, and this refers to the continuation of the reform process, the implementation of that which has been agreed, the implementation of laws that have been passed, but also the preparation for future steps in the further building up of the existing structures and the preparation of negotiating teams for the talks.
Asked whether it was realistic to expect the start of negotiations by the end of the current year, Delevic said that "it is more important what we can do as early as tomorrow than to think about what might happen later this year." This means that the EC really wants to see the progress, Delevic underscored.

DEGERT : WORK ON GETTING DATE FOR ACCESSION TALKS

BELGRADE, March 03 (Tanjug) - Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert said Friday that both Serbia and the EU need to work on starting accession talks as soon as possible, and expressed expectation the coming elections in Serbia will not stall the process.
Degert is satisfied with the achieved results and believes that Serbia's newly gained candidate status for EU membership is good news.
Appearing on B92 television, he expressed hope a lot will be done by the end of the year to define a starting date for accession talks, even though Serbia has an election coming up. He also said Belgrade needs to continue the dialogue with Pristina, work on judiciary reform and draft a new strategy for fighting corruption. Degert noted Serbia should try to do as much as possible by September 15, when the European Commission completes its annual progress report, but said it is possible to make the report at a later date as well.
Degert said Belgrade and Pristina now need to reach agreements on energy and telecommunications, which was one of the requirements laid out by the European Commission in October last year. It is also very important that we see EULEX is able to exercise its authorities in Kosovo, as well as the implementation of the agreements reached to date, said Degert.

STEFANOVIC: SERBIA DID NOT EXCHANGE KOSOVO FOR EU CANDIDACY

BELGRADE, March 03 (Tanjug) - Head of Belgrade's negotiating team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said Friday that Serbia did not give Kosovo in exchange for EU candidate status, nor did it jeopardize the national interest.
"We did not give away Kosovo, nor did we jeopardize the national interest or the Serbian Constitution. The important thing is not only what we gained, but what we did not lose even though we could have," Stefanovic said appearing on Radio Television of Serbia.
He said the opposition was not constructive during the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and rejected their accusations that Serbia exchanged Kosovo for the candidacy.
Stefanovic said the opposition is now in a difficult position, as the policy "both EU and Kosovo" has proven successful. He noted that Belgrade's intention during the talks on regional representation was to keep Pristina from being represented as a state, but to have it represented asymmetrically, and that it achieved this.

STEFANOVIC: SERBIA CAN GET ACCESSION TALKS DATE BY YEAR'S END

BELGRADE, March 03 (Tanjug) - Head of Belgrade's negotiating team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said Friday that Serbia can get a starting date for accession talks with the EU by the end of the year, but that it will have to solve the issues of energy, telecommunications, and freedom of movement for EULEX and KFOR.
"We have difficult talks on the issues of energy and telecommunications ahead, which the next government will need to tackle," Stefanovic said appearing on Radio Television of Serbia, reiterating that the dialogue with Pristina will continue after the coming parliamentary election.
He noted that whoever forms the next government will not have an easy job, but that he believes the next government will protect national interests and work for the benefit of Serbian citizens in Kosovo.
"The date is a big deal and it would be an irrevocable step, unfortunately for the Euroskeptics. The candidacy has confirmed it is possible to continue the European path and at the same time preserve national interests. Serbia must not give up on the dual approach, because in renouncing one, it could easily lose the other," said Stefanovic.
Talking about telecommunications and energy, Stefanovic said the positions of Belgrade and Pristina are wide apart on the issue, since Serbia wants to regulate the operation of its national power company EPS and Telekom Serbia in Kosovo, while Pristina wants to push them out completely.

SPINDELEGGER: SERBIA ON RIGHT TRACK, SAYS SPINDELEGGER

BRUSSELS, March 03 (Tanjug) - Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said that Serbia deservedly got candidate status for EU membership and congratulated Serbian President Boris Tadic and the Serbian people on the success.
It is clear the candidacy is not a goal onto itself, but confirmation you are on the right track, said the Austrian FM, expressing belief Serbia will continue resolutely in the same direction.
The European Council's decision is deserved, because it is a result of a clear proEuropean path of the Serbian government, substantial reforms, the effort to achieve regional reconciliation and Serbia's commitment to international justice. At the same time, it is the result of Serbia's cooperation with all its neighbors, Spindelegger said for the Saturday edition of the daily Danas.
Spindelegger, who is also Austria's deputy chancellor, said his country will continue to support the Serbian people on the path to the EU.

CAMERON: SERBIA'S CANDIDACY IMPORTANT FOR BALKANS

BELGRADE, March 04 (Tanjug) - British Prime Minister David Cameron has said the candidate status granted to Serbia is an important step for the whole Balkan region and that Great Britain has long been an advocate for EU enlargement.
Membership in the EU can help in the development of democracy, protection of human rights and get countries across the Balkans to focus on rule of law. This can bring about the durable peace and stability which we wish to see, Cameron said in a release which the British Embassy in Belgrade delivered to Tanjug on Saturday.
Twenty years after war ravaged the Balkans, Serbia has turned a new leaf, and I commend President Boris Tadic for all he has done in connection with this, said the British prime minister.
He reminded that Serbia extradited war criminals to face justice and that this is a warning to brutal dictators everywhere that justice is farreaching and nothing will be forgotten.

PLEVNELIEV : SERBIA'S CANDIDACY OF STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE

SOFIA, March 03 (Tanjug) - Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said Friday it is of strategic importance for his country that Serbia got EU candidate status.
Plevneliev said it is equally important that Serbia start accession talks with the EU, Bulgarian agency Focus reported.
The Bulgarian president distanced himself from Romania, which objected to the status of the Vlach minority in Serbia earlier this week, AFP reported.