Daily Survey

Belgrade, May 29, 2012

SERBIA

FORM INSTITUTIONS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

BELGRADE, May 28 (Tanjug) – Serbia's president elect Tomislav Nikolic and former president Boris Tadic agreed on Monday all institutions in Serbia should be formed as soon as possible so they could start solving the country's problems.Tadic and Nikolic stressed their joint goal was a better life for the people, solutions to economic and other issues, EU integration, a consensus on Kosovo and battle against corruption and crime.Tadic, who held a joint news conference with Nikolic after their meeting, said the two had agreed institutions should be formed as soon as possible in order to avoid an institutional vacuum.The meeting was not just about the transfer of authority, but also about how institutions should function in the future, Tadic underscored."We talked about how important it is to avoid an institutional vacuum, transfer the authority as smoothly as possible and form institutions on all levels, local, national and presidential," Tadic explained.It takes time to conduct the technical negotiations on forming the government and get parties to back that government, Tadic emphasized, adding that synergy on all levels was necessary, regardless of which parties formed the government.According to Tadic, the meeting with Nikolic was another good discussion between them two recently, and definitely not the last one.The country's political stability can be viewed with a lot more optimism now, because there will be no more conflicts about what should be done between those who run the country, Nikolic remarked."President Tadic and I discussed about Serbia's future," Nikolic said, adding that they discussed future cooperation regardless of who forms the government.Nikolic said the change of presidents had been the first democratic transfer of power, as Tadic was not replaced by a leader of another political party, since he had resigned as the SNS president.Nikolic pledged to give the mandate to form the government to anybody as soon as they managed to secure the parliamentary majority.He said that Serbia needed economic prosperity and that the fight against crime should be successful.Nikolic said that Tadica and he had agreed to commit fully to the talks in order to reach a consensus on the Kosovo-Metohija issue, since, he said, it was not only a matter concerning only the head of state or the prime minister, but rather "all the citizens who placed their trust in us."He thanked Tadic for being open to cooperation and for showing awareness about the clock ticking out and about the need for government to be formed as soon as possible.Nikolic said that he, for his part, and the government for their part, would involve all their friends from across the world to help ensure economic progress and success in the fight against crime in the country and make citizens have no fear about those to be elected into power in the future being bad."There are no more bad guys in Serbia, as the country will from now only be led by those who are better than their predecessors," Nikolic said, adding that he hopes he will take his oath by the end of the week.In the meantime, Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, Serbia's parliament Speaker and acting president of the country, arrived at the presidency building for talks with president-elect Nikolic.SPS leader Ivica Dacic and parliament's Secretary General Veljko Odalovic arrived together with her.

MIHAJLOVIC: GOVT. WORKS AT FULL CAPACITY

BELGRADE, May 29 (Tanjug) – Head of the Serbian government's office for media relations Milivoje Mihajlovic said Tuesday that the current government and its ministers would be working at full capacity until the selection of the new government and that only after the new parliament got composed would the government go on to function in a purely technical manner.Under the Serbian Constitution, when a new parliament is formed, the mandate given to the government currently in function and to the parliament that selected the government ceases. Upon the termination of its mandate and until new government is selected, the current government only performs tasks defined by law, which means it has only a technical capacity, cannot propose laws and does not make important decisions, but it deals with current affairs completely unhindered, Mihajlovic told Tanjug.During the technical mandate, all ministries work at full throttle as besides the ministers and state secretaries, there are also professionals - assistant ministers and heads of relevant departments - to deal with tasks set before the government.Given that the selection of the new government does not coincide with the forming of new composition of parliament and that it could take months, even years, for the procedure to complete, it is clear that both the targeted and logical interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution and laws do not question the authority of government whose mandate to deal with current affairs has expired, even though some of its members may have become members of parliament in the meantime, Mihajlovic said.When it comes to state secretaries and employees in ministerial offices, it is undisputable that their duties do not end with the expiry of their terms, but last until the new government is formed, he added.

NIKOLIC: SERBIA WILL NEVER ENTER NATO

MOSCOW, May 28 (Tanjug) – Serbia's newly-elected president Tomislav Nikolic told Russia Today that he is a nationalist, but also a democrat who will respect European values."Probably a lot of time will pass till the western press accepts me and treats me fairly, as during many years they wrote negatively about me," Nikolic said in an interview for the Russian TV station.Speaking about Serbia's EU path, he said that the process should stop "only if they ask us to renounce a part of our territory - Kosovo and Metohija.""The moment they impose such conditions I will tell people immediately," Nikolic said, and added that if the citizens no longer want to see him in the position, he will resign as the president.Asked whether a referendum on joining the EU will be held, he replied positively, adding that this will be done the moment when all the conditions are fulfilled for Serbia's entry to the EU."My only fear is that they will impose conditions that I personally wouldn't accept, but the citizens would probably say "let's fulfill them, too, because we want to be in the EU,"" Nikolic added."Will Serbia enter the EU? I don't know," said the new president-elect, and pointed out that today it is clear that the country will not be in the EU in the next 10 years.When asked whether he is ready to maintain dialogue with Pristina and its Prime Minister, Nikolic said he is ready for talks but not with Hasim Taci, because of the suspicions that he committed crimes against Serbs.Speaking about the idea of the division of Kosovo, Nikolic said that at this moment, and from the point of view of the constitution, this is not possible."If the majority of the citizens of Serbia say yes in a referendum? I don't know," he added.Nikolic said that he would prefer not to have to make the choice between the EU and Russia."I would like Serbia to be a home with two doors, one to the West, and the other to the East. Serbia simply belongs to the East as well as to the West. I know where my heart is and everybody in Serbia knows that, but I also think that we can be a good bridge between Europe and Russia and the best partner of Russia in the EU," he underscored."Serbia will never enter NATO, as this is the will of the majority of the Serbian people," Nikolic said, and voiced belief that the EU will never impose this request as a condition for full-fledged membership.

NIKOLIC TO INVITE JOSIPOVIC TO INAUGURATION

BELGRADE, May 29 (Tanjug) – The Serbian president-elect Tomislav Nikolic stated on Tuesday that he will invite Croatian President Ivo Josipovic to the inauguration in Belgrade.After the meeting with head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert, Nikolic also said that he "would never do anything that might damage the relations between the two states and peoples."Nikolic's inauguration is scheduled for June 11, and the president-elect is to take the oath of office on May 31.

SERBIA – EU

NIKOLIC AND DEGERT TALK BRUSSELS VISIT

BELGRADE, May 29 (Tanjug) – Serbia's president-elect Tomislav Nikolic said that he and Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert discussed the current situation in Serbia and his visit to Brussels scheduled for June 14.After the meeting, Nikolic told reporters at the SNS headquarters that he would meet with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in Brussels.He and Degert also discussed human and minority rights, the situation in southern Serbia and in Kosovo, and talks on Kosovo, as well as the requirements Serbia needed to meet in order to start EU accession talks, Nikolic added.

SPINDELEGGER: EU IS NOT EXERTING INFLUENCE ON SERBIAN COALITIONS

BELGRADE, May 29 (Tanjug) – Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger has said he is not aware of any representative of a Western country or the EU advocating for any special coalition in Serbia.Serbia does not need advice from outside about how to form its own government, Spindelegger said for Blic, a Belgrade-based daily, in his comment on a statement made by Ivica Dacic, the leader of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), that certain Western countries are exerting pressure on the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and the Democratic Party (DS) to form a "giant coalition."Spindelegger, who also serves as Austria's deputy prime minister, stressed that the results of the recent elections in Serbia had not changed the country's position in the European context in any way, adding that Belgrade is expected to improve its relations with Pristina and to further its reforms.The Austrian foreign minister said he would like to see a government carrying on with the reforms, European integration and regional cooperation.In the elections for parliamentary representatives, he added, the majority of the Serbian people voted for the parties claiming they are committed to the European path.The same thing was seen in the presidential elections, where we had both candidates in the run-off speaking in favor of the European integration, Spindelegger said.The Austrian diplomat believes that with the help of politicians such as former president Boris Tadic, the political process in the Balkans has finally entered a phase of cooperation, replacing the long-standing conflicts. There is no turning back now, he added.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

KACIN: IT IS TIME SERBIA DID SOMETHING FOR ITSELF

BELGRADE, May 28 (Tanjug) – Vice Chair of the European Parliament delegation for South-East Europe Jelko Kacin stated on Monday that it is high time Serbia did something for itself because the economic situation in the country is rather gloomy, citizens are exhausted and reserves have run out.The new government has to prove itself in action because there are a number of economic challenges ahead, and the country cannot move forward until the connections between politics, organised crime, corruption, monopoly and oligopoly are cut and until companies are closing down instead of new jobs opening, Kacin told reporters in the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce.This means that the rule of law is a precondition so that foreign investments could come to Serbia again because the trend of foreign investments is negative, Kacin stated and added that this is a moment of truth which Serbia needs to appreciate, both the ruling majority and the opposition, and to act in a responsible manner toward the present and the future.In response to the question as to whether Serbia could soon make use of the EU IPA funds, Kacin said that the IPA funds are for the most part allocated to Serbia and it is up to Serbia itself to get organised, take the money at its disposal and use it as an incentive for creating better prospects.The funds can be used most easily for the development of small and mid-size companies because they can develop at the fastest pace and open jobs for the youth, Kacin said.

STIMULATING CONSUMPTION IS NO SOLUTION FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, May 28 (Tanjug) – National Bank of Serbia Governor Dejan Soskic has said that stimulating domestic consumption in order to overcome the crisis is not applicable in Serbia because it would directly cause an increase in the country's trade deficit.Stimulation of domestic consumption could have an effect in large economies, which direct most of that spending on domestic products, Soskic told Tanjug.Serbia's options are limited, and if it decides to spend more, it goes against the fiscal rules, he noted.It would mean a higher public debt, which would at the same time be against the budget system law and cause an increase in the cost of financing the country's public debt, Soskic explained.Higher consumption in Serbia has a direct influence on the growth of the deficit in the balance of payments, and that deficit is one of the chief causes of the macroeconomic imbalance, the governor remarked.Since those options, suggested by experts around the world, are not realistic for Serbia, Soskic stressed there was only one way then, to reduce current spending and use every dinar in the budget rationally.Serbia should also try to increase the share of the funds going to infrastructure, meaning public investments, in its public expenditure, as it would stimulate economic activity and employment, but without raising the budget deficit, he said.The growth of the public debt has its limits, and unless Serbia does not take care of it, the market reacts by pressuring the national currency and raising the costs of debt payment, Soskic stated.If Serbia does not conduct a reform on its own, it is very likely the international and domestic market situation, to which it is very sensitive as a country, will force it to do so, Soskic underscored.