Belgrade, January 26, 2012
SERBIA - EU
JEREMIC: MAJORITY IN FAVOR OF SERBIA'S CANDIDACY
BELGRADE, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Wednesday that the majority of European countries have already decided to support granting the EU candidate status to Serbia in March, but that this cannot be guaranteed.
Jeremic said in a statement for Tanjug after meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi in Rome that at this point it is not possible to predict the outcome of the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, but that there is still room for reaching a consensus of all EU memberstates on granting the candidate status to Serbia.
We are devoted to finding a solution, we found a series of bilateral mechanisms for consultations and remain closely associated not only with those who have already decided to support us, but also with those who have not made their decision, Jeremic told Tanjug.
He added that Serbia is facing several weeks of comprehensive diplomatic engagement aimed at the European process. Jeremic said that the technical dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is an important part of the decisiontaking among the EU memberstates and expressed belief that those who are engaged in the dialogue will do the best possible job.
Jeremic is on oneday visit to Rome during which he met with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and with President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini.
TERZI: SERBIA SHOULD GET CANDIDATE STATUS IN MARCH
ROME, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata stated in Rome on Wednesday that his country strongly supports Serbia's European path and expects that Serbia would be granted EU candidate status in March.
Italy hopes that the Council of Ministers and the European Council would adopt a positive decision regarding this matter, but this will depend on the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Terzi told a news conference after the meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.
He added that Italy is very interested in seeing this chapter closed and reiterated Italy's strong support to the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU.
Asked by Tanjug to comment on the political conditions unexpectedly imposed on Serbia on December 9 when the decision on Serbia's candidate status was to be adopted in Brussels, Terzi reiterated that the conditions were not fair. According to him, such conditioning was terminated after the meeting of foreign ministers of EU member countries on Monday.
Jeremic said that Italy is one of the major allies and most fervent supporters of Serbia's European future, which is very important for Serbia.
The Serbian minister stated that the summit of the two countries' governments would be held in Belgrade in March when Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is supposed to visit Belgrade together with Terzi and other Italian ministers.
Jeremic is staying in an oneday visit to Rome during which he also conferred with Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Italian parliament Gianfranco Fini.
JEREMIC: ITALY, SERBIA TO HOLD SUMMIT IN BELGRADE IN MARCH
ROME, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Wednesday in Rome that a summit of the governments of Italy and Serbia would be held in Belgrade in March.
After meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Jeremic said that the preparations for the summit are underway, and that Belgrade will host the entire Italian government headed by Prime Minister Mario Monti. It will be an honor to welcome the Italian government, Jeremic said.
This, however, will not be the only opportunity for representatives of the Italian government to visit the capital of Serbia, Jeremic noted and added that a ministerial meeting of the Adriatic Ionian Initiative would be held in Belgrade in April. One of the participants of the meeting will be Giulio Terzi, he said.
Serbian currently chairs the Adriatic Ionian Initiative. Jeremic is on oneday visit to Rome during which he met with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and with President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini.
COE ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON SERBIA
STRASBOURG, Jan. 25 (Beta) - The Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on Jan. 25 adopted a resolution calling on Belgrade and Pristina to continue the dialog and implement the achieved agreements.
According to the resolution, adopted with 90 votes for and three against, while three MPs abstained from voting, Serbia has achieved considerable progress in many areas, but noted that certain key problems, such as judicial reform, fight against corruption and election law had not been solved yet.
Before monitoring could end, Belgrade's remaining tasks include judicial reform, efficient anticorruption regulations, improving situation in the media and rights of minorities, Roma in particular, according to the document.
In the next period, the CoE will direct its attention to the mechanisms for establishing sustainable democracy, including judicial reform, building a transparent party financing system, independent media and full implementation of law on freedom of speech and association.
Seventeen amendments were submitted to the resolution, of which nine were adopted, including the one on improving the status of the minorities and the prevention of violation of sexual orientation freedom. The assembly also adopted the amendment calling on Belgrade to "bring to justice the helpers" of Hague tribunal indictees Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic.
The Serbian delegation expressed regrets that the resolution did not propose the end of monitoring of Serbia.
SCHULZ: SERBIA DESERVES CANDIDATE STATUS IN MARCH
BELGRADE, Jan. 26 (Tanjug) - The newlyelected president of the European Parliament (EP), Martin Schulz, stated that Serbia deserves to be granted an EU candidate status in March.
Schulz said that the conditions laid in the process of European integration have to be met.
The European Commission, as the EU's executive body, recommended that Serbia be given the status. However, the final decision has to be made unanimously by all EU leaders, he said, adding that it is soon to speculate on whether the unanimity will be reached in March. I am completely sure that the majority in the EP will give their consent and support the candidate status for Serbia, Schulz said in an interview for Thursday's edition of the Belgrade daily Vecernje novosti.
The pace of accession depends on many factors, above all on how fast Serbia will continue with political and free market reforms, as well as on its constructive role in the region. I would like to see Serbia as an EU member as soon as possible, though this will not happen in the near future, he said.
Schulz pointed out that, with President Boris Tadic, Serbia has made some great strides on its EU path. You caught Karadzic, Mladic and Hadzic, indicted by the UN war crimes court. You adopted the resolution on Srebrenica. These were not easy decisions, he said.
The EP president also said that Serbia achieved great progress in view of the reform of its judicial system, heading towards a functional market economy, fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law.
You should continue with all the reforms regardless of the plans about the EU membership, he said.
According to Schulz, Serbia can increase the possibility of becoming an EU candidate in March by making further progress in the normalization of relations with Pristina.
The dialogue with Kosovo is an important factor of Serbia's accession path. The two parties should discuss very concrete issues, such as recognizing university diplomas, energy, trade and telecommunications. Belgrade and Pristina should also fully implement the agreements reached in the dialogue mediated by the EU, Schulz pointed out.
When asked whether the model of "the two Germanys" is acceptable as a solution to the Kosovo issue, Schulz replied that this is an invalid and inappropriate comparison.
The historical, political and diplomatic context is pretty much different. What is important is for Serbia and Kosovo to gradually normalize mutual relations in a pragmatic way, he said.
AUSTRIA PUTS IN EFFORT FOR SERBIA'S EU CANDIDACY
BELGRADE, Jan. 26 (Tanjug) Austrian Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection Rudolf Hundstorfer stated on Thursday that Austria will continue to put in effort for Serbia to be granted the EU candidate status.
Austria's stand is that the EU should also include this part of Europe, Hundstorfer said.
Serbian Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rasim Ljajic said that Serbia deserved the EU candidate status for all the reforms it has carried out since 2000.
He thanked the Austrian government for its assistance to Serbia's reform process.
Hundstorfer and Ljajic signed on Thursday an agreement on social security, which will assist 300,000 Serbian citizens living and working in Austria in claiming their rights in the domain of social and work protection.
JEREMIC AND DACIC TO ATTEND PRAYER BREAKFAST
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, Minister for Diaspora Srdjan Sreckovic and Serbian Renewal Party leader and former foreign minister Vuk Draskovic will represent Serbia at the Prayer Breakfast in the United States on February 2, the Serbian Embassy in Washington told Tanjug.
The Prayer Breakfast will be held in Washington in the presence of U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. political and military representatives, and honored guests from across the world.
The central event is a speech given by the American president and one of the guests, whose identity is kept secret until the last moment. The whole event is a series of meetings with congressmen, thematic conferences and seminars with participants from the whole world.
The traditional Prayer Breakfast was established in 1953 under President Dwight Eisenhower, who brought together a group of congressmen for an event whose goal was to help overcome the divisions existing in American society at the time.
Later on, invitations to the breakfast started being extended to foreign delegations as well.
LJAJIC MEETS WITH DAVUTOGLU AND CELIK IN ANKARA
NOVI PAZAR, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Labor and Social Policy Rasim Ljajic paid a visit to Ankara where he had separate meetings with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Celik tabling the two countries' economic cooperation.
Ljajic, Davutoglu and Celik agreed that it is necessary to continue and complete the projects in Serbia which are financed by Turkey, Novi Pazarbased Regionalna TV reported.
During Tuesday's talks the ministers pointed to the importance of construction of the Novi Pazar-Sjenica and Novi Pazar-Tutin roads, as well as Turkey's participation in construction of the Belgrade South Jadran highway, which should stretch through Sandzak.
The ministers also agreed on the importance of completion of works on the Ladjevci airport, whose launch will contribute to strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries.
SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE
TADIC SUPPORTS REGION'S BUSINESS INTEGRATION
BELGRADE, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic met on Wednesday with a delegation of Serbian and Slovenian businessmen, representatives of a summit of 100 business leaders from the region and supported the region's business integration, which aims to create new jobs and better business and living conditions, the president's press service has announced.
The meeting was held at the initiative of the summit's organizers, the Serbian and Slovenian associations of managers and, as a continuation of a dialogue between business and political leaders of the region started at the summit of 100 business leaders in Arandjelovac in October 2011.
Tadic supported the initiative to continue the economic integration, as well as all projects of cooperation between companies in the region, which will improve competitiveness, products, services and appearances on other markets. The delegation presented Tadic with the first result of the summit, the foundation of a mixed consortium of Slovenian and Serbian construction companies in Belgrade on Wednesday. The consortium was named Feniks.
Feniks initially comprised over 20 companies in order to appear jointly on other markets (mostly Russia, that is generally in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and in Asia). The project was initiated by Serbia's PSP Farman and Slovenia's Hidria corporation.
Members of the delegation informed Tadic that a regional management board of the 100 summit will be formed at the Serbian Association of Managers on Thursday to gather the most important companies from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia. They will then choose the president and agree on the board's goals and responsibility in improving economic relations in the region in the future.
SERBIA IS MONTENEGRO'S TOP TRADE PARTNER
PODGORICA, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Serbia was Montenegro's top foreign trade partner in 2011, with the trade totaling EUR 600 million, the Statistical Office of Montenegro (Monstat) said in a release Wednesday.
According to Monstat, last year most of the goods imported to Montenegro came from Serbia, the imports amounting to EUR 518.5 million. These imports are almost four the amount of the imports from Greece, the country that comes second when it comes to trade with Montenegro.
When it comes to exports from Montenegro, Serbia is again in the first place, as Montegrin exports to the country amounted to EUR 79.8 million. Hungary is second, with Montenegro exporting a total of EUR 76.9 million worth of goods to the country, and the third is Croatia, where Montenegro exported goods worth EUR 45.9 million.
According to Monstat, the total foreign trade of Montenegro for last year amounted to EUR 2.3 billion Euros, and was by 14.6 per cent higher than in 2010.
SERBIA, AZERBAIJAN SIGN AGREEMENT ON COOPERATION
BELGRADE, Jan. 25 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development and Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev signed an agreement on economic and technological cooperation between the two countries' governments.
The agreement should ensure loans for Corridor 11 under favorable conditions, according to the Serbian ministry. "It is very important to know that this agreement formally opened the possibility to ensure loans for the Corridor 11 section from Ljig to Preljina under very favorable conditions," Ciric said, adding that Serbia's expert team is already negotiating about it with Azerbaijani representatives.
If everything goes according to plan, the construction works should begin in late first quarter of this year, Ciric said at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Azerbaijan, noting the high level of political, economic and friendly relations between two countries that are expected to get even better in the future.
The agreement between the governments of Serbia and Azerbaijan will encourage the development and implementation of projects in the area of capital infrastructure and energy, transportation, agriculture, food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and in information technology, said the ministry.
Over the first eleven months of 2011, exports from Serbia to Azerbaijan amounted to USD 3.08 billion, a decline of 39.7 percent over the same period of 2010. Imports from Azerbaijan during this period were USD 114,000, which is lower by 78.03 percent compared to the same period the year before.
SERBIA - K&M - DIALOG
STEFANOVIC PRESENTS TO COOPER KOSOVO REPRESENTATION MODELS
BELGRADE, Jan. 25 (Beta) - Belgrade's chief negotiator in the dialog with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic on Jan. 25, presented to EU mediator Robert Cooper several possible models for Pristina's regional representation, which all fully respect U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244.
Stefanovic and Cooper discussed regional representation of interim authority in Pristina and the implementation of the achieved agreements in the Belgrade-Pristina dialog, read a statement from the Serbian cabinet. The statement however did not give details of the models proposed by Stefanovic.
The two officials assessed that the agreements achieved in the dialog were being implemented at a good pace, stressing that it was necessary that both sides invest additional efforts toward a full implementation of these agreements.
Over the past few days, European officials said the continuation of the dialog with Pristina and resolution of Kosovo's regional representation were important for further EU integration of Serbia.
Prior to the meeting with Cooper, Stefanovic told BETA that Serbia was still being under subtle pressure to give up Resolution 1244 in a solution for Pristina's representation, which he described as unacceptable for Belgrade. Cooper will visit Pristina on Jan. 26.
STEP CLOSER, BUT SOLUTION STILL NOT CLOSE
BELGRADE , Jan. 26 (Tanjug) - Head of the Serbian government's press office Milivoje Mihajlovic said Thursday that Belgrade and Pristina are one step closer to a solution for regional representation of Kosovo, but that a final solution is still not very close.
"The only model as far as the Serbian government is concerned is that Pristina be represented in line with Resolution 1244. The plaque in front of Pristina's delegation should day Kosovo 1244 or UN. Yesterday we came a step closer to a solution, but we are still not close," Mihajlovic said appearing on Radio Television of Serbia.
He pointed out the Serbian government does not want to keep Pristina from appearing at regional forums, but wants to contribute to regulating the situation in the province.
According to him, the Serbian government insists that Kosovo's institutions be represented in line with international documents i.e. in line with the document which is key to the relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
Asked if Serbia was pressured to recognize Kosovo in Wednesday's meeting between EU mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Robert Cooper and head of Belgrade's negotiating team Borislav Stefanovic, Mihajlovic said pressure is always present and the countries which have recognized Kosovo will always advocate this position, but pointed out Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence.
Mihajlovic said most of the agreements reached to date in the dialogue are already being implemented, while the agreement on university degrees will soon be implemented fully.
"I think there is a chance we will achieve something regarding integrated administration of crossings. This is a technical matter and an agreement in principle has been reached," Mihajlovic said.
Asked about the upcoming referendum in northern Kosovo, he said a certain level of talks with local Serb representatives will continue, but the referendum will affect neither Serbia's European path not the situation in the province.
EP FOREIGN COMMITTEE ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON KOSOVO
STRASBOURG, Jan. 25 (Betas) - The European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on Jan. 24 adopted a resolution on Kosovo calling on the five EU countries, which have not recognized Kosovo's independence, to do so.
The draft resolution, which the European Parliament is to debate in March, underlined "the importance of an EU prospect for Kosovo and the countries in the region," stressing that "the EU strategy that would make that prospect tangible for Kosovo's citizens has not been successful thus far."
The document, published on Jan. 25, dismissed the possibility of a division of Kosovo and underscored the importance of the implementation of the Martti Ahtisaari plan, which would give broad autonomy to the Serbs in Kosovo's north. At the same time, the draft resolution expressed deep concern over unstable and tense situation and violence in the north of Kosovo.
The document further emphasized the importance of the dialog with Belgrade and expressed the concern that the achieved agreements had not been implemented yet.
Speaking about challenges for Kosovo, the document cited the return of the refugees and displaced persons, fate of the missing, fight against corruption and discrimination, protection of cultural heritage, judicial reform and freedom of media.