Daily Survey

Belgrade, March 13, 2012


SERBIA

TADIC SETS MAY 6 AS PARLIAMENTARY POLL DATE

BELGRADE, March 13 (Tanjug) - President Tadic called the parliamentary election on Tuesday and set May 6 as the date for the poll, adding that it will be an opportunity to once again strengthen democracy in Serbia and for the people to coose a better future."Elections are always a formal ocasion. For years and decades we fought to establish democracy in Serbia, but today we have a different environment and I believe we can unite around some central strategic goals during the election proceš," he told reporters.The election will be another cance to strengthen the democratic principles and for the people of Serbia to prove to themselves and others that their country is a land of liberty, he strešed.The people will have an opportunity to strengthen institutions, and the government should be formed right after the completion of the election proceš, so it could tackle the difficult situation the country is in, he remarked."The future government will have to make hard and complex decisions to ensure a better future for the people," Tadic stated.He called on the people to vote in the poll and reaffirm the democratic caracter of the Serbian society, and coose a better future.Tadic also wants the parties that are going to run in the election to promote their programmes and democracy.The elections will be prepared by the appropriate institutions, and they will start the day the decision to call them is published in the Official Gazette, he concluded.

TADIC & JAGLAND: SERBIA SHOULD CONTINUE SUCCESSFUL REFORM PROCESS

BELGRADE, March 12 (Tanjug) - President Boris Tadic and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland agreed in Belgrade on Monday that now that the country has won the EU candidate status, Serbia is facing a challenge embodied in the continuation of a successful reform process.After the meeting with Jagland, Tadic underscored that Serbia will continue implementing reforms so that it could bring about deeper internal changes.Tadic thanked Jagland for his personal support to reforms in Serbia and his support to the Council of Europe.Serbia is continuing the dialogue with Pristina and after certain tangible results have been achieved which bear importance for citizens' everyday life, we can do even more, while making sure that Serbia remains firm in its stand that it will not recognise Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence, Tadic said.When it comes to Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), Serbia fully respects its territorial integrity and sovereignty and continues to insist on respect for the principles defined in the Dayton Agreement, the president said.BiH politicians need to resolve problems without external interference but we all need to assist them in this, Tadic said.The two high officials also discussed economic issues and stated that Serbia should intensify the efforts aimed at bringing investors, improving living conditions and opening new jobs.Jagland underscored that winning the EU candidate status has demonstrated just how far Serbia has come on the social reform path.He underscored that Serbia is very important for the reconciliation process in the Balkans and he congratulated Serbian top officials on everything that has been done in order to regulate the relations with Croatia and BiH.Jagland congratulated Serbia on everything that it has done with a view to reconciling people in the Balkans, and added that reconciliation with Croatia and BiH is of historic importance.The European official also congratulated to Serbia on making use of all available instruments to protect minorities.

DJUKIC-DEJANOVIC & JAGLAND ON ELECTIONS

BELGRADE, March 12 (Tanjug) - Parliament Speaker Djukic-Dejanovic underlined Monday in the talks with Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland that elections in Kosovo-Metohija should be run in line with the Serbian Constitution, UN Security Council 1244, and the presence of the international factor.According to the statement issued by the speaker's cabinet, Jagland showed great interest in a number of issues, particularly the coming elections.The CoE secretary general believes that Serbia should make further progress with the reforms of the justice system, anti-corruption measures and minority protection, the statement adds.Jagland expressed satisfaction that Serbia has achieved the EU candidate status, and underlined that 1858 Resolution by the CoE Parliamentary Assembly reads that Serbia has made considerable progress in meeting its obligations when compared to Resolution issued in 2009.The speaker informed the CoE secretary general about the efforts which Serbia has made so far towards its full-fledged EU membership.

JEREMIC TO MEET WITH LAVROV IN MOSCOW ON MARCH 16

BELGRADE, March 12 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic is slated to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, on March 16, BETA learned at the Russian Foreign Ministry. Jeremic's last visit to Moscow was midDecember, when he attended the 25th ministerial conference of member countries of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and had a separate meeting with Lavrov.

KOSOVO & METOHIJA – KOSOVO * – DIALOGUE

JEREMIC: IN COMMUNICATION WITH EVERYONE TO AVOID CONFUSION

BELGRADE, March 12 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said that the Foreign Ministry was intensively communicating with all countries around the world in order to prevent the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina on the regional representation of Kosovo, which was reached in Brussels, from being wrongly interpreted. "The content of that communication is a clear definition of what happened in Brussels. So that there is no confusion, or wrong interpretations of what that agreement means," Jeremic told. Asked to confirm media reports that the Foreign Ministry had sent letters to countries which have not recognized Kosovo asking them to stick to that course even after the agreement Belgrade - Pristina, Jeremic said that a "series of steps that includes written correspondence" had been taken, but that he could not go into details. Following media reports that the Albanians had implicitly accepted new talks on status by accepting the agreement on Kosovo's regional representation, Jeremic said that "status is in no way affected by this agreement."

JEREMIC: NO ROOM FOR KOSOVO IN COUNCIL OF EUROPE

BELGRADE, March 12 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Council of Europe (CE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said the CE would play a significant role in Serbia's future EU integration, while Jeremic added Serbia would use diplomacy to oppose strongly to any attempt to make Kosovo a member of the CE.There is no chance of any kind of Kosovo's membership in the CE, because the CE's members are countries, therefore Kosovo has no place in it, Jeremic stressed during a joint news conference with Jagland.After the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina on Kosovo's regional representation, it is crucial that all the countries of the world continue supporting that process by not changing heir view regarding Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, Jeremic remarked.He confirmed that a series of steps had been taken, including diplomatic correspondence, so the agreement from Brussels would not be misinterpreted.Jagland stated that the process between Belgrade and Pristina facilitated by the EU should be given a chance.The process should be given a chance to progress, instead of people bringing up issues that could hurt it, Jagland pointed out.The CE will continue to support the talks between Belgrade and Pristina in a pragmatic and non-political way, at the expert level, he stressed.The CE will play an even more important role now that Serbia has become a candidate for EU membership, because it can assist Serbia in joining the EU, Jagland concluded.

STEFANOVIC: WE WILL NOT ACCEPT ALL CONDITIONS

BELGRADE, March 12 (Tanjug) - Head of the Belgrade negotiating team in the talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic has expressed belief that Serbia will not get additional preconditions on its EU pathway, adding that there are conditions which would not be accepted."The prevailing opinion in the EU is that Kosovo is independent and that as such it has to be recognized by Serbia. The EU as a whole cannot take such a stance as there are five member states which have not recognized Kosovo. Our policy is to resolve problems, and not to jeopardize state and national interests in any manner," Stefanovic said in an interview for Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.Stressing that Serbia's strategic goal is to move towards the EU, he said that there are conditions on that pathway which we would not accept, adding that he believes that such prerequisites will not be set at all.When asked whether the parliamentary and local elections will be run in Kosovo as well, Stefanovic said that this decision will be made by competent bodies at the right moment."It is necessary to consider all political circumstances. Certain powerful countries believe that elections should not be called in Kosovo, but Serbia has its own interests which it will pursue. We are aware that Serbia's welfare depends on how much we can harmonize our policy and regulations with the interests of great powers. We have to find a way to adhere to the Constitution and UN Security Council Resolution 1244," Stefanovic noted.When asked what kind of guarantee will be given for the enforcement of the agreements with Pristina, bearing in mind that many of them are not being implemented at the moment, Stefanovic expressed belief that everything will be arranged in the coming days and that the implementation will kick off.However, formation of joint administrative crossings will take the most time, he added.

ROMPUY FOR BETTER BELGRADE-PRISTINA RELATIONS

BRUSSELS, March 13 (Tanjug) - President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy stated Tuesday that Serbia's EU candidate status is a notable achievement, adding that he expects further normalization of the Belgrade-Pristina relations."We expect further normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina," Van Rompuy said addressing members of the European Parliament at the opening of Tuesday's plenary session.We agreed to grant Serbia the EU candidate status, and that is an important achievement, Van Rompuy said presenting the results of the February summit.This is the result of the efforts which both parties demonstrated in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, he underlined.The president of the European Council expressed hope that that the candidate status will encourage Serbia to step up its efforts to fulfill the political and economic criteria for the EU membership, and continue to work on regional cooperation and good neighboring relations.

SERBIA – EU

MICUNOVIC & JAGLAND EXPECTS SERBIA TALKS DATE BY YEAR'S END

BELGRADE, March 12 (Tanjug) - Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said he expects all conditions will be met by the end of the year to set a date when Serbia will start accession talks with the EU.In a meeting with Dragoljub Micunovic, the chairman of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and head of its permanent delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, which was held at the Serbian parliament, Jagland said that candidate status is a confirmation of Serbia's dedication to the European idea and its firm commitment to fully joining the community of European nations.All countries which start talks with the EU must first meet the high standards of the CoE, primarily in the rule of law, which apply to all EU members, said Jagland, according to a release issued by the parliament.He noted that the CoE Monitoring Committee's report on Serbia for last year states that the judiciary reform has not been completed and further progress in needed in the fight against corruption and organized crime.The CoE Secretary General thanked Serbia on its support to the reforms of the CoE.Micunovic said the report of the Monitoring Committee is objective and strict, adding Serbia expected the monitoring procedure would be suspended but this was not the case."We realize the judiciary reform is incomplete, even though a step forward was made, a lot still needs to be done in this area, above all eliminating the irregularities pointed out by the Monitoring Committee," said Micunovic.He said Serbia started a comprehensive judicial reform, but there were some rash solutions and inconsistencies which need to be resolved.Thanks to great efforts by Serbia and its neighbors, the Balkans is growing more and more stable, said Micunovic.

FINLAND: EUROPE WILL BE STRONGER WITH SERBIA

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Tanjug) - Europe will be stronger with Serbia as its member state, and the EU entry of the Western Balkan countries is of strategic importance, Finnish Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb said. At a panel organized by the Brookings Institution in Washington, Stubb said that the EU is to face three cycles of enlargement- the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland, and added that not even in times of economic crisis should the EU forget the importance of admitting new member states.Iceland will accede most easily, but one should not forget the Western Balkans and Turkey and that is strategically important, the Finnish minister said at the panel "Will Europe Survive the Crisis?"Stubb said that Serbia has become a candidate country for EU membership thanks to its great commitment, and added that European prospects of all Western Balkan countries are benefiting the entire Europe.Europe will be stronger with Serbia as its member state. Serbia and Ukraine were the two states on the verge of whether or not they would join the EU, and today Serbia is much closer to the EU entry, the Finnish minister concluded.Speaking of the situation in the EU, Stubb said that the worst part of the crisis has been overcome, and the recovery is on the way.At the outset of the crisis, mistrust occurred among member states, and now trust is being restored. Europe will see few years of slow growth, but growth, nevertheless, Stubb underlined.

DACIC: PROBLEM OF ASYLUM SEEKERS MUST BE RESOLVED

BERLIN, March 12 (Tanjug) - First Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic stated following a meeting with German Federal Minister of the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich that the issue of false asylum seekers will be the priority topic in bilateral relations between Serbia and Germany.Dacic, who is on a working visit to Germany, stressed that the German Interior Ministry is extending full support to the Serbian Ministry of the Interior in overcoming obstacles on its EU integration path.He stressed that Germany is one of Serbia's key partners in terms of interior affairs and police cooperation.Certain problems which occur in bilateral relations between our two states are related to the problem of false asylum seekers, especially bearing in mind the fact that in January, Serbia was on the top of the list of countries from which asylum seekers arrived in Germany, he observed.Dacic stressed that during 2011, the number of asylum seekers leaving Serbia to go to the EU was drastically reduced from 17,000 to 10,000, but noted that in Germany, this number decreased by merely 8 percent.The majority of asylum seekers are ethnic Albanians which is why care should be taken to avoid accusations of discrimination, Dacic stressed.He warned that the number of asylum seekers cannot remain at such high levels, because otherwise Serbia may face a suspension of the visa liberalisation regime, which cannot be allowed.Dacic and Friedrich agreed to sign an agreement on police cooperation between Serbia and Germany at the next meeting to be held in Belgrade.The German police and the Ministry of the Interior have provided considerable support to the Serbian interior ministry over the years in its reform process, Dacic reiterated, recalling the special investigation methods project, joint trainings - from counterterrorist units to border protection units - and projects ILECUS 1 and ILECUS 2.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

TADIC DISCUSSES ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH TONDO

BELGRADE, March 12 (Tanjug) - President Boris Tadic held talks with President of the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Renzo Tondo about fostering economic cooperation, Tadic's press office said. The Serbian president and his guest discussed the deepening of economic cooperation between the Italian region and Serbia, especially among small and medium enterprises, the statement says. Italy is a champion of small and medium enterprises, and I wish for our businessmen to find their future partners there, Tadic said.

VOJVODINA & FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA INK AGREEMENT

NOVI SAD, March 13 (Tanjug) - President of the Government of Vojvodina Bojan Pajtic and President of the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Renzo Tondo inked an agreement on cooperation, and opened a presidency of this Italian region in Novi Sad.The agreement comprises 19 joint projects in the areas of small and medium-sized enterprises, energy, social protection and culture, Pajtic stated after the signing ceremony."In the manner, Vojvodina will establish the greatest volume of cooperation with another European region," Pajtic said.Pajtic underlined that the relations between Serbia and Italy are extremely friendly, including the great contribution of the Vojvodina-Friuli-Venezia Giulia cooperation."This agreement will not only enable future development of our small and medium-sized enterprises, but also announce arrival of such companies from Italy to Vojvodina and Serbia," Pajtic underlined.Tondo pointed out that entrepreneurs from Friuli-Venezia Giulia are aware of the advantages of cooperation with Serbia and the Free Trade Agreement, which facilitates export from Serbia to Russia and other countries of the Eastern Europe.We are aware of high qualifications of the work force and managers in Serbia, which is the result of a good education system, Tondo said.Tondo noted that the recent summit between Serbian President Boris Tadic and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti had considerable media coverage, adding that the fact that seven Italian ministers accompanied the prime minister proves Italy's great interest in Serbia.Pajtic and Tondo agreed to hold a joint session of the two regions by the end of the year.

SERBIA & TURKEY CAN INTENSIFY BUSINESS RELATIONS

BELGRADE, March 12 (Beta) - Turkish Ambassador to Serbia Ali Riza Colak said on March 12 that in the upcoming period Serbia would be a very important country for Turkey's economic interests and that he expected the two countries would intensify their current good business relations. "I am very satisfied with the development of cooperation between our two countries, both in terms of economy and trade, and all agreements between Serbia and Turkey are being implemented without any problems," he said at the third SerbiaTurkey Business Forum in Belgrade, which was attended by around 40 representatives of Turkish firms and several dozen Serbian businesspeople. Colak recalled that 134,000 tourists from Serbia visited Turkey last year and said he expected that number to be higher this year. He added that the number of flights between Belgrade and Istanbul should be increased in the coming high season. The Turkish ambassador said that the numerous Turkish series shown on Serbian TV channels could bring the nations together and encourage the Turkish economy to invest more in Serbia. Nedzad Kacapor, the general secretary of the Serbian International Trade Association, which is the coorganizer of the forum alongside the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, said that the firms present were interested in investing in Corridor 10, as well as in the textile, construction and food industries.

JAPANESE COMPANIES INTERESTED IN SERBIAN ENERGY

BELGRADE, March 12 (Beta) - Japanese companies are interested in investing in energy and environmental protection in Serbia, said participants at a seminar on modern Japanese technologies for coal thermal power plants on March 12. Takeshi Ito, the director of the Vienna office of the Japanese agency for cooperation with other countries said at the seminar hosted by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce that there was great potential for developing Serbia and Japan's business ties. Ito said that at a seminar of seven Japanese companies, including Kawasaki, Mitsubishi and Hitachi, he would present technology for environmental protection in the field of energy and would establish contact with potential partners in Serbia. Petar Skundric, the prime minister's energy advisor, said that the EUR250million loan from the Japanese government for the construction of a plant for flue gas desulphurization at the Nikola Tesla A Thermal Power Plant would contribute significantly to raising the level of environmental protection in Serbia.