Daily Survey

Belgrade, March 30, 2012

SERBIA – ITALY

TADIC: SERBIA BEST TO INTERNATIONALIZE ITALIAN ECONOMY

MILAN, March 29 (Tanjug) –President Boris Tadic said in Milan on Thursday that he thought internationalization projects could help the Italian economy grow, and that Serbia was the best destination for that.Addressing the participants of a business forum on the possibilities for investments and economic cooperation in Serbia, Tadic stressed that he wished for such meetings to lose their formal dimension and gain a fully practical one, for as many contacts and agreements to be made as possible and for Serbia to be seen as the best location in Southeastern Europe for project development.The message is clear, he stated. Serbia intends to establish cooperation related to economy, small and medium companies and strenghten Italian companies by internationalizing the production of some parts by moving it to the Western Balkans, he continued, adding that he was convinced Serbia was the best destination.Tadic noted he had first met with Lombard President Roberto Formigoni, pointing out that it was their third meeting in the past few years, and that the conclusion of the meeting was that business and economic ties between Serbia and Lombardy should continue to improve.On Friday, the second day of his visit to Italy, Tadic will attend another business forum, in Trieste, and meet with President of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region Renzo Tondo.

TADIC MEETS ITALIAN POLITICIANS AND BUSINESSMEN

MILAN, March 29 (Beta) – At the start of his two-day visit to Italy, President Boris Tadic had talks afternoon with President of Lombardy region Roberto Formigoni, who voiced commitment to closer economic cooperation, as well as cooperation between the University of Milan and Serbian universities and institutes.According to the data of the Lombardy Chamber of Commerce, the region's share in the trade between Italy and Serbia totals EUR 700 million.Following the meeting with Formigoni, Tadic said that they addressed the issue of Serbia's participation in the 2015 Expo which will be held in Milan, and that he will back the cooperation of Serbian companies with companies from that Italian region.Addressing the journalists, Formigoni said he discussed improvement of all forms of cooperation with the Serbian President, especially in science, and announced new joint projects in that field.Tadic said that he agreed with Formigoni's initiative.Those who invest in education stand better chances of developing their economies, Tadic said.Later in the evening, Tadic will meet representatives of the Italian companies that are taking part in the Business Forum in Milan.On Friday, Tadic will visit the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and confer with the region's president Renzo Tondo in the region's seat, Trieste, where he will also attend an Italian-Serbian business forum.During his visit, Tadic is accompanied by 70 Serbian businessmen who will present their potential at the business forum.

SERBIA & DANIELI SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

BELGRADE, March 29 (Tanjug) –Representatives of the Republic of Serbia, the City of Sabac and company Danieli & C Officine Meccaniche SpA signed the Memorandum of understanding whereby the first formal step was made toward the realisation of the investment of the Italian industrial giant in Serbia after nine months of negotiations.The investment worth around EUR 500 million envisages that a steel plant should be built in the Sabac industrial zone, western Serbia, which would employ around 1.000 people. President Boris Tadic pointed out after the signing that the memorandum offers clear guidelines and that the Serbian government and Sabac local government will do all they can to realise the investment.We have a completely clear vision of Serbia's economic development and we are aware that we need to realise it in difficult times when the economic growth of a majority of European countries is dropping, Tadic stated and added that despite the current situation, Serbia needs to enhance its economic development which can be achieved only through investments such as this one.The president underscored that due to the economic situation in the world, the new government would have to be constituted immediately after the forthcoming elections and it should adopt certain systemic measures in order to reduce foreign exchange deficit and enhance the growth of the local economy.He warned that the most important national interests cannot be defended without economic growth which constitutes the prerequisite of success in the continuation of the European integration process and success of Belgrade's policy with regard to the Kosovo-Metohija issue.Speaking about the details of the future investment of Danieli, Tadic specified that it has nothing to do with the Smederevo steel plant because it would be producing completely different kinds of steel products which would be used for exports and the needs of local companies such as Fiat Automobili Srbija.Danieli's arrival to Serbia would be important not only because of the great number of jobs, it would also be important because of the fact that the company should bring most advanced technologies to Serbia and give a significant contribution to the reduction of the country's foreign exchange deficit.The president said that all investments in Serbia, from the republic to the local level, would continue working in order to attract foreign investments, and he expressed gratitude to Danieli's management for choosing Serbia as the investment destination. The memorandum was signed in the Serbian Presidency building by Minister of Economy and Regional Development Nebojsa Ciric, Danieli Executive Director Franco Alzetta and Sabac Mayor Milos Milosevic.President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) Milos Bugarin said on Thursday in Milan that Italy is one of Serbia's most significant economic partners, and added that political activities done by the Belgrade authorities assisted in attracting investments.Opening the Italian -Serbian Business Forum in Milan entitled 'Serbia: Prospects for investments and economic cooperation' on Thursday afternoon, Bugarin said that Italy is among Serbia's best partners as regards foreign trade, particularly when it comes to the EU member states.Bugarin recalled that Milan also hosted a Serbian-Italian business forum seven years ago, Milan, and that since then the scope of foreign trade was increased by 5.5 percent, and stood at USD 3.2 billion in 2011.In a statement to Tanjug, Bugarin underlined that the ratio between Serbia's import from Italy and export to that country amounts to 72.5 percent, although these are different kinds of economies, and countries which differ greatly in size. The PKS president stressed that the other reason for holding the business forum is an excellent cooperation at the state level, referring to projects such as Fiat, and at the level of local communities- the project of gasification.According to Bugarin, the cooperation is also quite good in the domain of agriculture and process technology, as well as textile and furniture industries.Having all that in mind, it is no surprise that as many as 70 Serbian companies and around 15 branch offices in Italy will take part in the Milan business forum which will be held on Thursday and Friday, Bugarin said.Italy is also among serious investors in Serbia, with over USD 2 billion invested since 2001, and there have been announcements of new investments this year, which will be the biggest since Fiat's arrival in Kragujevac, Bugarin noted.The business forum is meant to help improve business connections and find new partners, as well as to establish a stronger economic cooperation between the two countries, he said.The PKS president pointed out that Italy was also important to Serbia as a role model when it comes to small and medium companies.Tadic's appearance at the forum is a great political incentive for businessmen, he stated.There is no apprehension among investors because of Serbia's coming elections, Bugarin noted."The simple fact that 2011 was the year before the elections and that we received the most direct foreign investments compared to all the other countries in the region is a cause for joy that shows that foreign business partners recognize Serbia as a very attractive investment destination. I hope the trend will continue," Bugarin remarked.The Milan business forum was also opened by Vice President of the Milan Chamber of Commerce Giuseppe Castelli and Serbia's Ambassador to Italy Ana Hrustanovic. The speakers included Serbia's State Secretary for Eocnomy Branislav Zec as well.Castelli announced that a delegation of the Lombard Chamber of Commerce will visit Belgrade on April 2, and that the coming months will be used to work on everything that had been agreed.Tadic is set to meet Lombard President Robert Formigoni in Milan on Thursday.

TADIC TO ATTEND BUSINESS FORUM IN TRIESTE

TRIESTE, March 29 (Tanjug) –President Boris Tadic will continue his visit to Italy on Friday by meeting with President of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region Renzo Tondo in Trieste, where he will also attend an Italian-Serbian business forum.On Thursday, Tadic had talks with President of the Lombardy region Roberto Formigoni, and then with representatives of the Italian companies that are taking part in the Business Forum in Milan.Addressing the businessmen, Tadic said he thought internationalization projects could help the Italian economy grow, and Serbia was the best destination for that.Tadic stressed that he wished for such meetings to lose their formal dimension and gain a fully practical one, for as many contacts and agreements to be made as possible and for Serbia to be seen as the best location in Southeastern Europe for project development.The message is clear, he stated. Serbia intends to establish cooperation related to economy, small and medium companies and strengthen Italian companies by internationalizing the production of some parts by moving it to the Western Balkans, he continued, adding that he was convinced Serbia was the best destination.Serbia and Italy have close economic and political cooperation, which has intensified in recent months.At the beginning of March Belgrade hosted the second Serbia-Italy Summit, with the participation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who pledged Italy's support to Serbia on its path to the EU.

SERBIA

JEREMIC: VOTE ON UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT LIKELY

NEW YORK, March 29 (Tanjug) –Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said that in all likelihood there will be a vote for the president of the UN General Assembly, despite Serbia's efforts to reach an agreement.Jeremic, who is Serbia's candidate for the office, said the Lithuanian candidate is staying in the race. The UN General Assembly will decide by mid June who will take over the one-year presidency starting in September."We have done everything to reach an agreement, and a vote is not common, but it is not the first time this has happened," the foreign minister told Tanjug's correspondent in New York.He expressed belief Serbia would manage to win the necessary confidence to lead the UN in the next year."When it comes to Serbia, nothing is easy, but I think we have reason to be optimistic," said Jeremic.He said Serbia has had an active foreign policy toward the whole world in recent years and this will be appreciated come decision time.Jeremic was on a several days long visit to the UN, where he had over 40 bilateral meetings with a series of ambassadors.During his stay in New York, he met with representatives of India, the Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Poland, Norway, the United States, Russia, Slovenia, Guatemala, Columbia, Turkmenistan and Bahrain, among others.Jeremic's next destination is China, followed by Egypt.

DACIC: NOBODY CAN BOYCOTT POLICE

BELGRADE, March 30 (Tanjug) –Nobody in this country can boycott the work of police as police is national rather than anybody's private possession, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said in his comment on the recent call by Chairman of the Bosniak National Council (BNV) Esad Dzudzevic for boycotting the state institutions.The minister pointed out that the Interior Ministry had invited applications for jobs in the sector, adding that the police wanted to employ as many Bosniaks as possible."Nobody has the right, be that (Mufti Muamer) Zukorlic or Dzudzevic, to talk to police in such a manner," Dacic said.On behalf of the BNV in its technical mandate, Dzudzevic called on all Bosniaks Thursday to boycott the Serbian state institutions, because, he said, they were violating the human and minority rights of the members of the community.Islamic community in Sandzak Mufti Muamer Zukorlic has sent a similar message to the community earlier.

FREE CITIZENSHIP FOR SERBS FROM REGION

BELGRADE, March 29 (Tanjug) –The implementation of a government decision based on a recommendation from the council for relations with the Serbs in the region, stating that consular and administrative taxes should not be charged to them when they seek Serbian citizenship, has begun, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Diaspora announced. The Serbs in the region will be able to get Serbian citizenship for free, in accordance with the Republic of Serbia law on citizenship, Minister of Religious Affairs and Diaspora Srdjan Sreckovic stated.This manifests once again Serbia's support to Serbs abroad in exercising their rights guaranteed by international standards, but also support in preserving their national identity, Sreckovic stressed."This decision refers to all our compatriots in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Hungary, Romania and Albania," he explained."The Serbian government will soon propose steps to simplify and shorten the procedure required to get Serbian citizenship, so all our compatriots who wish to do so could become citizens of the Republic of Serbia as soon as possible," says the statement.

KOSOVO & METOHIJA

KOSOVO WITHOUT ASTERISK IN EP DOCUMENTS

BRUSSELS, March 29 (Beta) – The European Parliament (EP) refused the proposition of a group of MPs for Kosovo to be mentioned with an asterisk in the EP documents from now on, and called on the International Olympic Committee to make it possible for Kosovo to participate in the forthcoming London Olympics.On Thursday, EP adopted the resolution on Kosovo's progress which calls for giving Kosovo a clear European perspective, just like in the several previous resolutions.At the same time, in keeping with the agreement on regional presentation, EP rejected the amendment for Kosovo to be marked with an asterisk with a reference to the Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice.The parliament adopted the amendment of Green Party MP Ulrike Lunacek which states that the International Olympic Committee should be called to make it possible for Kosovo to take part in the Olympic Games.Still, the chances that the proposition would be accepted are minimal, regardless of the fact that the competition schedule has already been drafted, and EP has no power over the International Olympic Committee.A majority of EP MPs support Kosovo's independence and the Thursday resolution resembles the documents adopted in the previous years.In addition to the support to the Kosovo government in the European integration process, the resolution contains a series of serious complaints as regards the surge of organised crime, corruption and absence of the rule of law.At the same time, EP called on the Kosovo government to adopt a comprehensive plan for northern Kosovo, which the European Commission also demanded on several occasion.

STEFANOVIC: SERBIA NEEDS TO RESPECT CONSTITUTION

BELGRADE, March 29 (Beta) – Head of Belgrade's negotiating team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic stated that the non-binding decision of the European Parliament (EP) should be taken with great consideration, but that Serbia primarily needs to respect its own Constitution and take care of its national interests.We need to monitor EP's stands with great care, but their decisions are non-binding, and they cannot be in collision with Serbia's Constitution and laws, Stefanovic said commenting on the EP invitation for Serbia to refrain from calling local elections in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM).After the session of the parliament Committee on KiM Stefanovic told reporters that this is obviously the stand of a majority of EP MPs, but he recalled that these are the same MPs who previously adopted certain positive decisions for Serbia as well.It is a fact that we have our own Constitution, law, national interests and we need to stick to them, Stefanovic said.He added that everything needs to be done in order to continue asserting the 'both Kosovo and the EU' policy which also won the support of Serbian citizens.Earlier on Thursday, EP MPs passed the Resolution on Serbia's progress in the European integration process in which they called on Serbia to set the date when the talks on EU accession would be initiated as soon as possible, but they also called on Serbia to refrain from calling local elections in KiM.The resolution was adopted by a great majority of votes, and only 49 out of 754 MPs were against the document. The amendment regarding local elections in Kosovo filed by EP Rapporteur for Serbia Jelko Kacin is the only one out of the 12 such that introduces a change in the text of the resolution.

EP: SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN BELGRADE - PRISTINA DIALOGUE

BRUSSELS, March 29 (Beta) – The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Kosovo in Brussels on March 29, in which it welcomes the agreements reached so far and calls on Serbia to implement them fully and without delay. Amendments were adopted which declare the stand that Serbia would violate international law and the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 if it organized local elections in Kosovo. The European Parliament also adopted the amendment, with great difficulty, which reiterates the stand that all countries should recognize the independence of Kosovo, and the amendment of the European Parliament's rapporteur for Kosovo, Austrian deputy Ulrike Lunacek, for Kosovo to be enabled to participate in the Olympic Games. The proposal of the group of socialists and democrats, for Kosovo to continue to be referred to in the European Parliament with a footnote that states that its status is not concluded and that its representation is in keeping with Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice about its independence, was not accepted. In the resolution, the European Parliament members expressed concern over the fact that Serbia has not fully implemented the agreement regarding customs stamps and registry books, and urged Belgrade to guarantee the full removal of the barricades and allow access to crossings, and ease the Serbs' cooperation with EULEX and KFOR.

COMMITTEE: SERBS BETRAYED IN DEAL ON REGIONAL REPRESENTATION

BELGRADE, March 29 (Beta) – Members of the Serbian Parliament's Committee for Kosovo and Metohija who live in Kosovo, accused the government and the negotiating team of recognizing Kosovo's independence and betraying the Serbs in Kosovo with the agreement on the regional representation of Pristina. At the session of the Committee, the chief of the negotiating team Stefanovic, dismissed these claims as untrue and estimated that the agreement did not represent a betrayal or capitulation. He estimated that many false statements were made during the session of the Committee, and that this issue is being used in the election campaign and that he will not respond to the harsh qualifications against the negotiating team. Stefanovic pointed out that Serbia's representatives will walk out of any gathering where there is no footnote on Kosovo's nameplate, and that he will be reading the statement that Kosovo is an inseparable part of Serbia.

DACIC: ARREST OF THOSE THREATENING THE CONSTITUTIONAL ORDER

BELGRADE, March 29 (Beta) – Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stated on March 29 that anyone who threatens the constitutional order of Serbia in future will be arrested until the Serbs arrested in Kosovo are released. Dacic told reporters in Belgrade that Serbs are arrested in Kosovo who violate the alleged constitutional order there, and he asked how many of those in Kosovo who violate Serbia's constitutional order, could Serbia arrest. Dacic added that the arrest of two Albanians on March 28 was not a reciprocal measure or a political arrest, but that they were arrested on the basis of warrants issued earlier. The Kosovo Interior Ministry stated that the arrest of representatives of Serb "illegal institutions" who were carrying election material, was in accord with the stand of the Kosovo government that Serbian elections are illegal in the territory of Kosovo. A deputy of the Unified Serb Ticket in the Kosovo Assembly, Vesna Mikic, said it is possible that the Serb deputies will walk out of the Kosovo Assembly if the arresting of the Kosovo Serbs does not stop.

COOPERATION AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN U.S. AND KOSOVO

PRISTINA, March 29 (Beta) – Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and American Ambassador to Kosovo Christopher Dell in Pristina on March 29, signed a cooperation agreement between the governments of the U.S. and Kosovo. The bilateral agreement regulates continued diplomatic, economic and cultural cooperation. The U.S. Embassy in Pristina announced on March 28 that the signing of the bilateral agreement was an important achievement in its partnership with the Kosovo government.

COOPER URGES BELGRADE, PRISTINA TO ACT RESPONSIBLY

BRUSSELS, March 30 (Tanjug) –EU Mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Robert Cooper reacted to recent arrests in Kosovo by calling on both Belgrade and Pristina to act responsibly, pointing out that political problems cannot be solved through arrests.The European Union expects from both sides to fulfill the commitments they have assumed during the dialogue, Cooper said in a media release.Calling for the implementation of the agreements the two sides have reached so far, Cooper pointed to a view by the EU that political problems should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, rather than through a selective law implementation.Cooper issued the release as a comment on a recent arrest of a number of Kosovo Serbs for "jeopardizing security," which was followed by another arrest at the Konculj administrative crossing, of two ethnic Albanians for whom Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said had been detained for espionage and drug trafficking.

DACIC: PRESSURES FOR RELEASE OF KOSOVO SERBS GO ON

BELGRADE, March 30 (Tanjug) –Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stated that the Ministry will continue exerting pressures on the international community with a view to ensuring release for Serbs arrested in Kosovo, and announced that he would meet with families of Kosovo Serbs on Saturday who expect support from the Serbian government.Dacic said that they are not causing jeopardy to anyone, but he reiterated that anyone who dares to bring Serbia's constitutional order in danger in the time to come would be arrested.Serbs arrested in Kosovo do not cause jeopardy to anyone and their arrest only opens an ugly chapter in the story in which anyone can fear arrest, Dacic said.He expressed criticism of the international community because Serbs in Kosovo were placed in detention and nobody from the international community reacted. He also noted that he personally conferred with many officials regarding the case.On the other hand, Dacic noted, the entire international community and NGOs voiced vociferous stands when two Albanians were arrested.We can see that the Thursday response was embodied in the house arrest for the four Serbs, Dacic stated and announced that he would meet with Serb families on Saturday because they expect the Serbian government to back them.The four Serbs arrested by the Kosovo police are head of the Vitina municipality Srecko Spasic, municipal administration employees Ivica Nojkic and Aleksandar Stojiljkovic and police officer from Urosevac Svetozar Neskovic.They are suspected of undermining Kosovo's constitutional system, because the police found electoral rolls and the stamp of the Serb municipality of Kosovska Vitina in their possession.After the arrest of the four Serbs, the authorities also arrested two Kosovo Albanians on the Konculj crossing on espionage and drug smuggling charges, Dacic stated.The Kosovo police searched the homes of the arrested men and arrested Jovica Balosevic during one search, but he was soon released.The Kosovska Kamenica municipal court released four Kosovo Serbs from prison late on Thursday but they will stay under house arrest.This is not the first arrest of Serbs at the Bela Zemlja checkpoint, which is located on the road between Bujanovac and Gnjilane, since the Kosovo police arrested employees of the Serbian postal service twice as they carried mail from central Serbia.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

TADIC: NEXT GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE TO PASS DIFFICULT MEASURES

BELGRADE, March 29 (Beta) – Boris Tadic said on March 29 that the next government would have to pass a series of complex and difficult measures, but he did not specify which kind of measures he was talking about. Tadic said that some of the measures the new government would pass would surely be directed toward resolving the chronic problem of Serbia's foreign trade deficit which has been ongoing for decades. "We have an entirely clear vision of the economic growth of Serbia. We are aware that we have to accomplish this vision in very difficult circumstances, where the economic growth of most European countries is falling," said Tadic after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Serbian government, the city of Sabac and the Italian company Danieli.

SOUTH STREAM CONSTRUCTION IN SERBIA BEGINS IN NOV

BELGRADE, March 29 (Tanjug) –The construction of the South Stream pipeline stretch through Serbia will begin in November, head of Srbijagas Dusan Bajatovic said, adding that everything was ready for the signing of a long-term contract on cheaper gas for Serbia from Russia."The contract is finished, and we are going to harmonize the price to make it lower," he stated without specifying when the document would be signed.The only thing left is for the two governments to verify international agreements, which is necessary in order to sign a contract on gas supply for Serbia, he told reporters.He said the long-term contract on gas pupply for Serbia was ready for signing, adding that Russia had once already lowered its gas price to Serbia, 12 percent for 2012, and that otherwise the gas would cost USD 70-90 more.Serbia expects more price cuts at the signing of the long-term gas contract with Russia, he stressed.