Belgrade, August 28, 2012
SERBIA - EU
KACIN: DATE FOR TALKS START NOT TO BE SET IN 2012
NOVI SAD, August 27 (Tanjug) - European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin stated Monday that Belgrade will not start its EU accession talks in 2012.
The date for the beginning of membership talks will certainly not be set this year, but it will be announced once Serbia proves that it is ready for the EU accession, Kacin said after a meeting with President of the Vojvodina Assembly Istvan Pastor.
Kacin started on Monday a three-day visit to Serbia, during which he will also meet Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and other highranking officials.
He said he will come to Serbia again at the end of September with a delegation from the European Parliament, and again in October, with a delegation of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Relations. All these visits are intended to explain to Serbia's institutions that they should show that Serbia is fully committed to the task and prove that a date for the start of negotiations can really be obtained, said Kacin.
According to him, the most important topic that will be discussed during the visits will be Chapter 23, dealing with judiciary, rule of law, freedom of the press and other freedoms, while the second most important one will be the fight against organized crime and corruption.
Without all of that there will be no rule of law and without the rule of law there will be no foreign investment, Kacin said, adding that this vicious circle that needs to be cut as soon as possible.
Kacin said that Vojvodina is Serbia's strongest card on its EU pathway. Kacin commented on a recent decision by the Constitutional Court of Serbia declaring unconstitutional a decision under which Vojvodina can have its office in Brussels by calling it silly. If Nis and Kragujevac can have their own offices for a number of years, I cannot see a reason why Vojvodina could not have one as well.
The European rapporteur said he believes that it is time to cool emotions down and observe the entire situation from a neutral perspective. Someone needs to rise above that level and estimate how much damage Serbia is throwing upon itself every year by persistently deceiving itself with some ghostly apparitions which are just not and never have been there, Kacin said, adding that Vojvodina was a "collateral damage" of the policy towards Kosovo.
Kacin said that Serbia has finally come to a point of having a new government take a much more rational approach to Kosovo, rather than an emotional and historical one like before. An opportunity for political and especially economic cooperation, free movement of people, goods, ideas and capital needs to be found, Kacin said, stressing that it was precisely what is needed for economic recovery of Serbia and the region.
Kacin said that the EU wants to encourage Serbia to prove itself to itself as no European institution can do for Serbia or in the name of Serbia anything they are not mandated with.
The EP rapporteur also noted that the union has increased the amount of money given to Serbia considerably and that more than a half of the funds going to the Western Balkans are intended for Serbia. I am certain that Vojvodina will know how to make use of these funds, but I am afraid that other parts of Serbia do not have the human or administrative potential needed for the activation of these funds, Kacin said, stressing that Vojvodina's experience in that sense is precious for Serbia.
He said that the Serbian economy is the biggest economy in the region and if the economy starts to grow it will be good for the whole region. Kacin's host Istvan Pastor touched on calles heard over the previous weeks for the issue of Vojvodina to be internationalized, which he opposes. "For me, this word is truly problematic. The Vojvodina issue should not be internationalized, since it cannot be hidden," Pastor said.
NIKOLIC, KACIN URGE HIGHLEVEL POLITICAL DIALOGUE
BELGRADE, August 27 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and European Parliament's Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin said in Belgrade Monday that Serbia's European path was a priority and that a highlevel political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should be established as soon as possible.
Nikolic said that there were still doubts when it came to interpretations about what the previous government had signed and that nonattending of regional conferences was to the detriment of Serbia alone, pointing out at the same time that the desire to join the EU was a dream of every serious politician in Serbia, but not one to be embraced at all costs, the press office of the president said in a release.
Kacin praised moves the Serbian government has made so far in the fight against crime and corruption, stressing that the struggle to reform the judiciary should remain a priority for the government. Touching on to the situation in the southern Serbian province, Kacin said that efforts to secure multiethnicity and rule of law were a central activity of the European institutions in that region.
Nikolic and Kacin sent the message that peace and stability in the region were a necessary condition for further progress and a better life for all citizens, according to the release.
KACIN:SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION IS CANCER OF SOCIETY
BELGRADE, August 27 (Tanjug) - The European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin stated Monday evening that he agreed with the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic that systemic corruption is a cancer of society.
He, however, believes that the current government and the president can lead Serbia forward.
Speaking to reporters after talks with Nikolic, Kacin said that only Serbia itself can achieve rule of law, and that Europe has no intention of interfering in its internal affairs.
Kacin said that he believes that Serbia will take this decisive step.
KONUZIN: RUSSIA READY TO REALIZE LOAN FOR SERBIA
BELGRADE, August 27 (Tanjug) - Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandar Konuzin stated at Monday's meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic that his country is ready to realize the EUR 800 million loan for Serbia's development projects.
Ambassador Konuzin expressed belief that Russia is ready to offer help to developing Serbia, so that the two countries' relations could be fostered even further, reads the release by the president's office.
Nikolic and Konuzin discussed the aspects of the upcoming meeting between the Serbian president and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is to be held in Sochi on September 11.
The Serbian president thanked Russia for its help in the fight against fires that are raging through Serbia these days, and for the fast reaction of the Russian authorities in view of Serbia's request for engagement of another firefighting aircraft.
BARON: SERBIA IMPORTANT FOR BALKANS, EUROPE
BELGRADE, August 27 (Tanjug) - The head of the NATO Office in Serbia Brigadier General Ornello Baron said Monday that Serbia is important for the Balkan countries and Europe and will play an important role in Europe in the near future.
Baron said during a panel on Serbia in the new century that the position of Serbia is midway between the eastern and western civilizations. He also pointed to the tumultuous history of Belgrade city, which was destroyed and rebuilt more than 40 times, which shows that it has an extremely significant geostrategic position. If you draw a 300 kilometers circle around Belgrade, you will see that all the main roads of the Balkans are leading to Belgrade, he said.
All roads in the Balkans pass through Belgrade. The majority of the Balkan capitals are twohours drive away from Belgrade, Barron recalled. Corridor 10 is also of great importance and, when completed, it will link Istanbul and Berlin and the southern and northern European corridors, he said.
The capital of Serbia, Baron said, also connects two key maritime zones in the Balkans and is located in the center of three major navigable water routes in the Balkan Peninsula. Baron added that the trade from the EU to Asia is greater than to the United States and that it is important to note that these trade routes are passing through Belgrade.
That is why Russia and China are trying to invest in Serbian traffic and communication systems, Baron said, adding, however, that crime routes from Turkey and the Caucasus also pass through Belgrade and Sofia.
SERBIA- ECONOMY, FINANCE
GOOD CHANCES OF RUSSIAN INVESTORS ARRIVING
BELGRADE, August 28 (Tanjug) - There are good chances of new Russian investors coming to Serbia, head of the Russian Federation's trade office in Serbia Andrei Hripunov said on Monday.
Serbia is a very important partner to Russia in the region and there are good chances for further expansion of the trade, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries, but energy remains the main focus, Hripunov told Tanjug.
He stressed that large Russian companies were already present in Serbia and that medium and small companies were arriving in increasing numbers.
Both countries got new governments recently, he noted, adding that Russia was willing to consider new suggestions for cooperation and that they will be discussed at an investment conference in Moscow in late September, which will be organized by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Russian office of trade in Serbia believes there are no obstacles in Serbia to an arrival of Russian investors in greater numbers, Hripunov remarked.
Russia does not require special terms for Russian investors, compared to other companies from Europe and the world, he stated, adding that the important thing was to be able to work according to the law, in a good investment climate and with transparent legislation, Hripunov said.
Sometimes a Russian investor comes to Serbia, signs a privatization deal and then later new debts or problems appear that were not clearly indicated, he pointed out.
There will be more transparency in legislation because of Russia's joining the WTO and there will be some additional options available to Russian and Serbian companies, which can only benefit them, he remarked.
Commenting on the two countries' economic cooperation so far, Hripunov said he was satisfied completely with the implementation of the 2008 agreement on cooperation between them.
He listed some large deals, like furnishing the gas storage facility in Banatski Dvor, preparations for the construction of South Stream, work on the Pancevo oil refinery, which is part of NIS, creation of a joint insurance company, Sogas, and arrival of one of Russia's biggest banks, Sberbank, in Serbia.
SERBIA, NETHERLANDS PROMOTE AGRICULTURAL COOPERATI
BELGRADE Serbian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Goran Knezevic and Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Netherlands Roald Lapperre held the third regular annual meeting of the Working Group for Cooperation on Agriculture between Serbia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In a statement the ministry said that future joint projects of Serbia and the Netherlands of importance for the agricultural sector were discussed. One of the topics was the accession of Serbia into the European Union, as well as the implications of EU integration on the agricultural sector.
Also, it was agreed that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management forms a working group to support the performance of the Netherlands as a partner country at the Novi Sad Fair in 2014.
That working group will consist of representatives from the Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of the Netherlands, the Dutch Embassy and representatives of the Novi Sad Fair. A webportal containing all important activities and projects implemented since 2000 was officially launched today.
EXPORT MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT FOR SERBIA
BELGRADE, August 27 (Tanjug) - Instead working on a model that would be based on development of services, high consumption, export and growth of external debt, Serbia should turn to a model that would rely on production aimed at export, Marko Culibrk, the president of the Assembly of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, has said.
Production of motor vehicles and components, machines, electronic equipment and devices, information technology and food has to become the pillar of development of the country's economy and export in the next years, Culibrk wrote in his text published in the latest edition of Korak magazine.
Increasing the productivity of these industrial sectors is a path leading to strengthening of their competitiveness and the basis for providing growth of standard on stable and longterm foundations, he said.
According to Culibrk, reaching annual rates of growth amounting to five percent is the key for economic recovery.
He also said that socially responsible state is a term increasingly mentioned both worldwide and in Serbia.
As Culibrk put it, the US and Great Britain, although belatedly, got rid of the illusion that the society of services has replaced the industrial society.
He stressed that industry is still the backbone of the German economy, but also the main engine of development in the countries that are part of emerging economies the BRICS countries.
The traditional model of economic development, which has been dominant in Serbia for the past ten years, has not led to the promised economic stabilization and economic upswing, Culibrk noted.
This resulted in reduction of production, dismissal of workers and increase in the number of unemployed people, he added.
Serbia has to opt for gradual substitution of everything it can rationally and successfully produce by itself, provided that other appropriate measures discourage imports, encourage exports, introduce incentives and establish branches of production that are of special importance to preserving vital state and national interests, Culibrk concluded.
SERBIA - K&M
SERBIA WILL DEFEND ITS CULTURAL HERITAGE IN KOSOVO
LEPOSAVIC, August 27 (Tanjug) - Director of the government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Aleksandar Vulin said Monday that Serbia will defend its cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija before all relevant international institutions and organizations.
Attempts to abolish the Serbian cultural and national identity will fail, Vulin said in Leposavic, where he opened the first permanent exhibition of the Museum of Pristina Archaeological and Ethnographic Heritage in Kosovo Heritage for the Future.
He said that the United Nations, UNESCO and the European Union will be asked to keep what the history of the Serbian people created under Serbian name.
NORTH KOSOVO SERBS GIVE FULL SUPPORT TO BELGRADE
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, August 27 (Tanjug) - Representatives of the Serbs from northern Kosovo Monday gave their full support to the state leadership in everything they will do in line with the Serbian Constitution and UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
The Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) will actively participate in creating platforms and reaching an overall consensus on KiM, Director of the government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) Aleksandar Vulin said after a meeting with representatives of the northern Kosovo Serbs in the city of Kosovska Mitrovica. "We are concerned over certain representatives of Pristina imposing their terms on the future talks, and even talking about suspending them, because after each such statement we hear about a returnee getting beaten or about an attempt on their life taking place, and sadly, sometimes even about some of them getting killed," said Vulin.
He said he saw a causeandeffect relationship when it came to such statements and such events, urging the international community to prevent any violence from breaking out. Vulin discussed the current situation in the province with representatives of the northern Kosovo Serbs, at what was their first official meeting since Vulin took his office, for more than three hours.
Chief of the Kosovska Mitrovica district Radenko Nedeljkovic said after the meeting that he agreed with the director of the Office for KiM they should together make up a single team and promised to give full support to Vulin and the government. "We wish to resolve all the problems together with the official Belgrade," said Nedeljkovic.
Besides Nedeljkovic, the meeting was also attended by the presidents of the four Serbian municipalities in northern Kosovo, presidents of local assemblies and MPs in the Serbian parliament representing this region.