Belgrade, May 16, 2012
DEGERT: NATURAL PAUSE IN EU ENLARGEMENT PROCESS
BELGRADE, May 15 (Tanjug) - After Croatia's EU entry, a natural pause in the enlargement process will follow as Western Balkan countries have not even opened the accession talks, Tanjug learned from the head of the EU Delegation Vincent Degert, who voiced hope that the entry talks with Serbia would commence by the year's end or in early 2013.I do not know whether a pause in the EU enlargement will be a long or a short one. It is evident that we will have a pause, as at the moment, only Turkey and Iceland are in the phase of talks with the EU, Degert said, commenting on the statement by Polish official Bogdan Borusewicz that following Croatia's entry, the EU doors will be closed for quite a while.The fact is that none of the Western Balkan countries have opened the talks yet, Degert said, voicing hope that the talks with Montenegro would start until the summer, and with Serbia by the year's end or at the beginning of the next.The accession talks take time, like the ratification of the SAA by the EU-aspirant country itself and each member state, he added.In any case, there will be a natural pause. That is evident, and there is nothing new or special about that, Degert said.Borusewicz, the speaker of the Polish Senate, said in Split on Monday that Croatia accedes to the EU at the very last moment, as it seems that a long pause in the enlargement process will follow.He noted, however, that Poland is committed to the EU enlargement to all countries of South-East Europe.
SERBIA AND POLAND SIGN PLAN FOR ARMY COOPERATION
BELGRADE, May 15 (Tanjug) - The Polish and Serbian defence ministries signed a plan for military cooperation in 2012 in Belgrade on Tuesday.This is the first time that the ministries have signed such a bilateral plan, which would facilitate more efficient realization of activities in the field of international military cooperation, the Serbian ministry announced following the signing.The armed forces of the two countries have prospects for successful cooperation in the domain of military law, religious service in the army, preparation for multi-national operations and military medicine.The plan was signed by head of the department for international military cooperation at the Serbian Ministry of Defence Colonel Predrag Kraljevic and Polish Defence Attache in Belgrade Colonel Jiri Scepancik.The working groups of the two ministries are currently drafting an agreement on cooperation in the domain of defence between the two governments, the Ministry of Defence published on its website.
SERBIA – ECONOMY
MARKOVIC: FORM GOVERNMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
BELGRADE, May 16 (Tanjug) - Vice-Governor of the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) Bojan Markovic said that from the aspect of macroeconomic stability and risk reduction, it would be desirable that the future government be formed as soon as possible.The government needs to introduce efficient measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit and tackling the further increase in the public debt, Markovic said, presenting the May report on inflation.That calls for the renewal of the arrangement with the IMF, as it would contribute to a more favourable perception of Serbia's risk which would have a stabilizing effect on financial markets, he underscored.Intensive structural reforms and fiscal consolidation measures would also be enough to reduce the pressure on the dinar's standing against the euro, the vice governor said.According to Markovic, recessional tendencies in the euro zone will continue to have an adverse effect on the Serbian economy throughout the year, but thanks to the launch of car production in 2012, the authorities expect a modest economic growth of 0.5 percent.The vice-governor underlined that after the entire year of continuing fall, the year-over-year inflation rate hit 2.7 percent in April, its lowest level since 1980.
EBRD ASSISTS THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
KRUSEVAC, May 15 (Tanjug) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will back around 60 projects aimed at small and mid-size companies in Serbia in 2012, by means of the so-called Business Advisory Services (BAS) programme, EBRD official Aleksandra Miladinovic stated in Krusevac. According to Miladinovic, projects in the sectors of energy efficiency and environmental protection will get financial support, while another budget line is aimed at projects connected to consulting. Women entrepreneurship should also receive support.During the presentation of the programme in the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Krusevac, Miladinovic said that around 320 small and mid-size companies received support in the course of five years.This is a donor programme aimed at small and mid-size companies as support in consulting services, Miladinovic said and added that there are two ways to help companies, and one of them refers to project co-financing.She noted that donation percentage depends on the location of the company, type of consulting service the company is using and the number of employees. She noted that the maximum funds granted to companies so far totalled EUR 10,000, or 25 to 75 percent of the project's net value.In addition to this, BAS programme will deal with activities aimed at market development which include various trainings, seminars and courses.
SERBIA – REGION
RS LEADERS: RS WILL MONITOR SERBIA-NATO RELATIONS
BANJA LUKA, May 15 (Tanjug) - Representatives of Serb parliamentary parties in Republika Srpska (RS) reached a consensus that before a decision is made about Bosnia-Herzegovina's (BiH) joining NATO it is necessary to conduct a referendum in RS, and that Serbia's attitude towards the Alliance should be "monitored."President of the Democratic People's Alliance (DNS) Marko Pavic said that the attitude of the party was that RS should not join NATO and that it should discuss its accession process with Serbia, because, he said, there should be no borders on the river Drina dividing those who are in NATO and those who are not."I think that all our partners will understand the decision of ours, as we do not want such a barrier on the Drina, and we want our citizens to have the right, as have the citizens of any other country in the world, to declare about it at a referendum," Pavic said after meeting with RS President Milorad Dodik and representatives of parliamentary parties of the BiH entity, BiH media reported.President of the Democratic Party (DS) Dragan Cavic said that the leaders of the Serbian parties in RS had agreed on the NATO joining issue, although it had been expected that there would be confronting views about it.President of the Party of United Pensioners (PUP) Ilija Stevancevic said that he saw no reason why RS should not join NATO if Serbia did, adding that he hoped that there would be no pressures on RS politicians in terms of imposition of solutions, as it had been the case with the Office of the High Representative so far.Chairman of the National Democratic Party Krsto Jandric backed the views of the presidents of the RS parliamentary parties.The meeting was also attended by RS parliament Speaker Igor Radojicic.
ICTY: BRIJUNI TRANSCRIPTS PROOF OF SERBS' EXODUS
ZAGREB, THE HAGUE, May 15 (Tanjug) - The Hague prosecutors pointed out before the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that the transcripts from the meeting of Croatian senior military and political officials on the Brijuni island in Croatia ahead of the Operation Storm confirm their intention to expel the Serb civilians, even if the Appeals Chamber decides that there had been no unlawful artillery attacks during the Operation Storm.General Ante Gotovina, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison for war crimes committed during and after the Operation Storm which was carried out in August 1995, is not a scapegoat, but rather a participant in the joint criminal enterprise, the Hague prosecution said in a statement before the Appeals Chamber chaired by Theodor Meron, the Croatian media reported.Gotovina and other participants in the joint criminal enterprise had a common purpose - the exodus of civilians, which was carried out by excessive artillery attacks, said Prosecutor Helen Brady.She underlined that Gotovina also ordered attacks on the entire Knin, which was, like other attacked towns, a civilian target in itself, despite the fact that certain military facilities were located there.Gotovina was directly involved in the intention to forcibly remove the Serb civilians from Krajina, said Prosecutor Douglas Stringer.He noted that the existence of the joint criminal enterprise is confirmed by the laws introduced shortly after the Operation Storm, whose aim was to prevent the Serbs' return to Croatia.For the prosecutors, the Operation Storm was not a military attack which led to unwanted consequences, but the attack with the intention of deporting civilians.The residents of Knin fled their town solely due to non-selective shelling which is confirmed by the fact that on August 4, 1995, 15,000 people were in the town, and a day later only 1,000.
KOSOVO & METOHIJA
DOLGOV: MARTY'S ALLEGATIONS SHOULD BE FULLY INVESTIGATED
MOSCOW, May 15 (Tanjug) - Russian Foreign Ministry Human Rights Commissioner Konstantin Dolgov said Tuesday that the issue of full investigation into the allegations about illegal trade in human organs in Kosovo was not only a legal, but also a moral obligation on the part of the international community and stressed that it was likely it would be carried through.The Prosecutor's Office is cooperating with their colleagues from Serbia and our ministry is backing them fully in their efforts to ensure the case of human organ trafficking in Kosovo is completely investigated, Dolgov told Tanjug. This is not only a legal, but also a moral obligation that can be met if there is enough political will, primarily in Europe, he added.Dolgov refused to disclose details about the investigation Moscow is conducting in cooperation with Belgrade, but said, however, that when it comes to the Russian government, there are no political obstacles to conducting a full international investigation, which should include all the allegations about the organ trafficking contained in the report by Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Dick Marty.I have had a private meeting with Marty and he left quite an impression on me over the two hours we talked together, Dolgov said, adding that the PACE rapporteur really knows a lot and that Marty introduced him to a lot of facts about the case.These are very heavy accusations, and Russia politically supports an independent and comprehensive investigation, Dolgov said. It is a matter of conscience, he added.The witness protection issue is still one of the major obstacles, Dolgov said, adding the there are people who do not want to see the investigation carried through, but Russia still manages to awaken interest in the issue in the framework its bilateral talks, in the OSCE and in the Council of Europe.The topic is met with understanding by our partners, Dolgov said, adding that he hopes there is a chance that those were involved in the crimes can be proven accountable.Unfortunately, experience shows that that the problem is widespread, rather than related to Kosovo and the Balkans alone, he added.He said that the main investigative body should be EULEX, adding that some of the victims at the Medicus clinic in Pristina were Russian citizens.Russia is constantly raising the issue of the investigation in different international frameworks, Dolgov stressed.In his report on illegal trade in human organs in Kosovo, Marty raised serious accusations against the current Kosovo senior officials, including Prime Minister Hasim Taci, marking them as organizers of kidnapping and taking away of civilians, mostly Serbs, from Kosovo to Albania, where they were killed after their organs had been extracted.Last year, the European Union launched a preliminary investigation into the case, with American prosecutor John Clint Williamson appointed Lead Prosecutor of the special investigative task force.
KFOR CONCERNED OVER THREATS AGAINST SERBS
PRISTINA, May 15 (Tanjug) - KFOR representatives expressed concern Tuesday over the flyers that call on Serb returnees in Metohija to leave Kosovo.Kosovo Force deputy spokesman Mark Stimmler told Tanjug that KFOR had been informed about the flyers and said that they were reason for concern.I cannot speak about the concrete steps KFOR will or will not take, because these are purely operational matters. KFOR takes seriously any threat to security and safety, and it is here to make sure that people feel safe, he said.Stimmler underlined that KFOR will react if it proves that there is a real threat to security and safety.Flyers, in which troops of the Albanian People's Army call on Serbs to move out from Kosovo because they are "criminals, either directly or indirectly," appeared Monday in the Metohija villages of Klinavac, Berkovo and Klina.The Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija condemned the flyers, and called on EULEX to establish who is responsible for the threats. The Ministry also urged KFOR to reinforce their troops in the returnee villages.