Daily Survey

Belgrade, August 17, 2012

SERBIA

DACIC ON BELGRADE-PRIŠTINA TALKS, AGROBANKA CASE

BELGRADE, August 16 (B92, Tanjug) - Serbian PM Ivica Dacic has said that it is uncertain when the Belgrade Priština dialogue will continue.
He added that he would discuss the issue with EU officials in Brussels on September 4.
"It still has not been made clear when the talks will begin and in what format or what the topics in the dialogue could be," the prime minister explained.
Dacic said that it was still not clear whether Priština wanted to have the dialogue with Belgrade at a higher level, i.e. to move from the technical to the political talks.
He stressed that Belgrade was ready to take part in the dialogue with Priština and repeated that he would advocate positions that he had presented in his expose during the election of the new government.
Dacic said that no one would be protected in the Agrobanka investigation, which "will be lengthy and comprehensive".
When asked whether the probe will also comprise persons close to the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), which is headed by Dacic, he said that as far as he was concerned the probe could be as comprehensive as possible and that there would be no limits in this sense.
"No matter who is guilty, he should be held responsible, and there is no dilemma there. One can be close to any figure it does not matter," the PM said, stressing that the SPS had no connections with the Agrobanka case.
According to him, the probe will comprise all banks which are suspected of crime and corruption, and when it comes to business results of the banks, Dacic said that these were the issues of the very banks and companies.
Last week, the police arrested former head of Agrobanka Dušan Antonic, his son Milan and several more associates, who were remanded in custody for 30 days on suspicion of abuse of office that inflicted damages worth EUR 300mn to the bank.

STEFANOVIC: DEVELOPMENT OF PLAN FOR KOSOVO IS UNDERWAY

BELGRADE, August 16 (B92, Tanjug) - Serbian Parliament Speaker Nebojša Stefanovic said on Thursday the plan for Kosovo was in development.
He added that it was important to reach the broadest possible consensus about all the potential topics for future negotiations.
"I think president (Tomislav Nikolic) intends to create the broadest possible consensus on the political and social stage in Serbia," Stefanovic told Jedinstvo newspaper.
According to the speaker, it will allow everyone to know what is going on, what the platform is and to contribute to making it better.
"I cannot go into details, since the plan is in development and the platform is not done," Stefanovic stated, adding that the current framework was the Serbian Constitution and UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
"One of the ideas the Serbian side will advocate is for the UN to get involved in the talks," he noted, adding that Nikolic had stated that clearly as well by saying that UN involvement together with the role played by other international factors would help facilitate the talks at the current stage.
"No one expects the talks to be easy, nor for them to be something easy and pleasant for Serbia, but it is a process Serbia has to start," said the speaker.
According to Stefanovic, clear directions should be chosen so the people of Serbia will never wonder about what has been signed and what that means for the people.
"Serbia follows UN Resolution 1244, which defines our framework and allows us to take certain stands and defend them before international institutions. Thanks to that there can be no talk today of an independent Kosovo and it can never be independent without a UN decision, for which there is no political will," Stefanovic underscored.
"One of Serbia's most important foreign policy goals is to get the start date for the accession talks with the EU," he pointed out.
"Reaching an agreement on the start of the talks with the EU is priority number one. Our plan is to achieve that goal within a year. Of course, that involves meeting certain standards in terms of legislation and procedures the EU requires of us. Along with that, it is necessary to keep our national interest in mind, because our interests are the people of Serbia above all," the parliament speaker concluded.

FITCH LOWERS SERBIA'S RATING FORECAST TO NEGATIVE

NEW YORK , August 16 (Tanjug) - U.S. credit rating agency Fitch released on Thursday that it has reduced Serbia's rating forecast to negative and at the same time asserted the longterm sovereign credit rating in both foreign and local currency to BB level.
The negative projection reflects the aggravation of Serbia's fiscal position and its external funding, and apparently its low economic growth, Fitch agency explained.
Instead of focusing on the correction of the growing fiscal deficit and public debt, the new government amended the law on the central bank in a way that jeopardised the investors' trust, which can cause complications concerning the agreement on the new loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the release states.
Rating agency Standard and Poor's lowered the country's credit rating to BB with a negative forecast, and also noted that one of the main reasons for this is the recent adoption of the regulations which strengthen the parliament's control over the central bank.