Belgrade, March 20, 2012
DACIC: EU AND USA HAVE EXERTED PRESSURE
BELGRADE, March 19 (Tanjug) - Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic confirmed Monday that EU and U.S. officials have exerted pressure against holding local elections in Kosovo, claiming this is not in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
Dacic stressed Serbia will respect Resolution 1244, but above all its Constitution, which has been the basis for calling elections in the past.
According to him, Serbia should call elections in its entire territory and this does not jeopardize anyone.
DELEVIC: EU IS SERBIA'S MAIN TRADE PARTNER
BELGRADE, March 19 (Tanjug) - The main foreign trade partner of Serbia is the European Union, accounting for 56 percent of domestic exports, which is more than exports to Russia, the United States, China and Turkey all combined together, Director of the Serbian government's EU Integration Office Milica Delevic said Monday.
Speaking before members of the Assembly of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), Delevic said that Serbia had exported 17 percent of its products to CEFTA countries and about 10 percent of them to Russia in 2011, but the coverage of imports by exports to the EU had reached 61.4 percent.
Last year, she said, the Serbian exports were something over EUR four billion, and imports about EUR 6.6 billion.
The Stabilization and Accession Agreement between the EU and Serbia saw the beginning of its implementation at the start of 2009.
Delevic stated that the benefits Serbia had reaped in the financial and economic terms were three times greater than the customs costs the EU countries had to pay while exporting to our country.
She noted that the interim trade agreement had been ratified by 24 countries, and it yet remained to be ratified by Austria, Greece, and Germany.
That Serbia is well on its way of getting closer to the EU can be seen in the fact that direct foreign investment amounted to around EUR 1.6 billion last year, while at the same time Slovenia and Croatia had inflows from abroad of EUR 1.3 billion together, said Delevic.
When it comes to the use of the funds from the EU preaccession IPA funds, Serbia has received some EUR 2.2 billion in the period between 2007 and 2011, she pointed out.
When Serbia becomes a fullfledged member of the EU, it will have available for drawing about four percent or about EUR 1.4 billion of the European funds, she said.
Delevic said that since July 2008, when Serbia had adopted its national strategy for European integration, our country had met about 80 percent of its obligations, that is, it had adopted 774 of the total of 973 of the regulations intended for harmonization with relevant European standards.
KONUZIN PROMISES NLS COOPERATION WITH RUSSIAN LIBRARIES
BELGRADE, March 19 (Beta) - Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Konuzin on March 19 visited the National Library of Serbia (NLS) and congratulated the institution on its 180th anniversary, read a statement from the National Library.
A statement says that during a meeting with the National Library management agreement was reached on cooperation with the National Library of the Russian Federation and the State Library in Moscow.
The statement also quoted Konuzin as saying that it was necessary to establish continuous cooperation between partner institutions in Russia and Serbia.
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN SERBIA STILL IN DECLINE
BELGRADE, March 19 (Beta) - Economic activity continued to decline in Serbia in 2012, and the current circumstances of the economy are worrisome, the managing board of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce said on March 19.
Chamber of Commerce head Milos Bugarin told the session that the growth of company nonliquidity had continued, that the unemployment rate was roughly 24 percent, and that the estimate of gross domestic product growth in 2012 had been reduced from 1.5 to 0.5 percent.
"EUR4.4 billion in debt become due this year, one billion Euros of which is a public debt. This would not be a problem were our economic growth higher, but with the economy on the verge of recession, it will be difficult to fund these obligations," he stated.
Bugarin also stressed that structural and tax reforms that would make business easier were absent in Serbia, adding that legislation on limiting payment deadlines, which the Chamber of Commerce helped prepare, had not yet passed.
Bugarin further emphasized that the Chamber of Commerce's recommendations to facilitate doing business in Serbia had been adopted only partially, and that parties were now passing off those ideas, such as tax system reform and valueadded tax collection after charging for goods, as their own in their election campaigns.
"All indicators in the Serbian economy are unpleasant and a quick reaction is needed," the president of the Chamber of Commerce warned.