DAILY SURVEY 13.06.2018.
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BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic wished a happy Russia Day, June 12 to the citizens and the president of the state, Vladimir Putin, also wishing them prosperity and well-being in the future. Vucic read his letter to Putin at the Russian embassy, saying that the national holiday was important to all Russian friends, too, as they respected the centuries of Russian statehood, the eternal values of patriotism and commitment to freedom and independence, as well as the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of the Russian people. "As your sincere friend, I'm very happy to see that Russia is a strong and independent state, which with you as the president, and relying on your vision and clear political thought, has been very successful. The new May decree is yet another confirmation that with the years of commitment and hard work, you have indebted the modern Russian state, contributing to political stability, the unity of goals and consolidation of society," Vucic said in the letter. The Serbian president also expressed his gratitude for Russia's support to Serbia's substantial national issues, primarily Kosovo and Metohija. "Our firm relationship, built on mutual respect, understanding and trust, makes me confident that I can continue to expect your full support in strengthening bilateral ties and carrying out joint projects, to which Serbia will give its full contribution as a reliable partner and a true friend," he said. Vucic said that the Russian and Serbian peoples were bound by a true historical friendship, and that their mutual trust could serve as a good example to many nations across the world.


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, who during a visit to France met the country's Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, said that a Kosovo army was unacceptable for Serbia, and that any disrespect for the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 could destabilize the region. The Serbian defense ministry quoted the French minister as saying that her country respected President Aleksandar Vucic's policy and Serbia's neutral military status. "I have underlined again that setting up a Kosovo army is absolutely unacceptable for Serbia, and that the move, contrary to Resolution 1244, might destabilize the Balkans. For that reason, Serbia, as a pillar of peace and stability in the Balkans, can say with certainty that it enjoys great respect from France," Vulin said. The Serbian minister said that France was a friendly state, respectful of Serbia's neutral military status. The two ministers discussed cooperation between the two armies, as well as cooperation in the two states' military education, the future and military staff of peacekeeping missions.


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin said on June 12 that the two countries were linked by 1,000 years of brotherly love and mutual understanding and announced support to Belgrade for "the most complex issues." "We will support Belgrade in the most complex issues, including preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia. We know that the Serbs are a resilient people. We will support Serbia in looking for an acceptable compromise with Pristina. It is important to look for one without arrogant foreign pressure," Chepurin said in Belgrade at a Russia Day reception. At the ceremony in the Russian Embassy, he said that the reception had been attended by "a record number" of Western ambassadors and added that "this instills optimism." "We will develop our ties with Serbia with zest in the political, economic, military technical and cultural spheres. We will develop ties between cities and regions," the Russian ambassador said. He announced that all games played by Serbia and Russia in the upcoming World Cup in Russia would be broadcast on a big screen at the Belgrade Russian Center. Russia Day celebrates the memory of the adoption of the Declaration on the State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on June 12, 1990. The Declaration marks the start of constitutional reforms in Russia which at the time was one of 15 republics of the former Soviet Union. The reception was attended by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, ministers Ivica Dacic, Nebojsa Stefanovic, Zoran Djordjevic and Vanja Udovicic, leader of the Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj, representatives of political parties, the diplomatic corps, Serbian Armed Forces, religious communities and others.


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly's delegation welcomed improvements in the accommodation of migrants and refugees in Serbia, and the parliamentarians noted that other member states of the organization could learn from the positive examples, the OSCE said in a June 12 press release. They suggested, however, that Serbia's capacities had to be expanded and adjusted to the needs of unaccompanied minors. The delegation led by Nahima Lanjri, which also included a few other members of the OSCE Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism (CCT), ended its visit to Serbia on June 12, having met with Serbian government officials, representatives of the international community and civil society, migrants and refugees, in order to assess the ongoing trends, the position of unaccompanied children in particular. During the three-day visit, the major themes were improvements to the national legislation and the existing challenges in the implementation of laws. "Serbia's efforts to support migrants, children in particular, didn't go unnoticed," Lanjri said, having noted that nearly 90 percent of migrant children attended primary schools in Serbia, regardless of their legal status. Serbia's new law on asylum and temporary protection is considered an important step towards full respect for international law, especially a series of important rules for unaccompanied minors to benefit from, she explained. The OSCE delegation chief said that a more objective and systematic tool to verify the age of children was still required, in order to help them find proper accommodation, and protect them against abuse. The delegation warned that unaccompanied minors constituted a particularly vulnerable category, as they were exposed to the risks of exploitation and sexual abuse by traffickers - a threat that deserved further attention.



BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Head of the IMF Mission to Serbia James Roaf agreed on June 12 that extraordinary financial results had been achieved and that it was important to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability, and to boost sustainable economic growth in Serbia. As released, Brnabic discussed with Roaf a new program called the Policy Coordination Instrument, to be signed with the financial institution. Roaf underlined that over the past two days he had had constructive talks with Finance Minister Sinisa Mali, and that tangible agreements had been made to be implemented under the new program. It was noted that a tax administration reform was one of the Serbian government's priorities, expected to ensure stronger ties with the national economy. Roaf added that Serbia's relevant ministries were committed to the implementation of a salary reform in the public sector, and that it was important to carry it out as quickly as possible. Roaf underlined that the IMF had recommended that the fiscal space in the budget be used for public investment, but that it was also possible to reduce the existing tax burden on the economy, which would be discussed in more detail in September, when the Fund's delegation would visit Serbia again. Roaf underlined that a low inflation rate of 1.1 percent this past April was a great success for Serbia.


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said at a June 12 meeting in Belgrade with the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission, James Roaf, that his ministry's priority was to reform the Tax Administration, and that a contest for consultants would be published by the end of June, to separate the basic purpose of the office from its side duties. It was said at the meeting that it was very important to identify a systemic solution, and that standardized procedures should be established in the tax administration. Also, the staff should be trained for how to keep up with the global changes in the sector, the Ministry of Finance reported. A Tax Administration reform is necessary to support economic growth and open new jobs, the ministry quoted Roaf and Mali as saying. Another theme of the meeting was the continuation of tax reform. On the first day of the IMF team's visit to Belgrade, the two officials also discussed a pension and pay raise, and a package of incentives to improve the business environment and boost competitiveness. The IMF Mission wraps up its visit to Belgrade on June 13.


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met on June 12 with Serbia's new ambassador to Austria Nebojsa Rodic to talk about enhancing relations between the two countries in the area of infrastructure. Mihajlovic underscored that good political relations were an excellent precondition for successful cooperation between the two countries in the area of the economy and infrastructure and acquainted ambassador Rodic with current and planned projects that Serbia was realizing in the areas of transportation and infrastructure. "Serbia is today a politically and economically stable country open to new investment. We are finishing Corridor X, continuing the construction of Corridor XI, rebuilding Serbia's railways and building them, modernizing ports and advancing air traffic," she was quoted as saying by her office. She added that Rodic had done much as ambassador to Azerbaijan to enhance relations between the two countries and that she hoped that his new office would contribute to even better cooperation between Serbia and Austria "as there is room for excellent economic relations."


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met on June 12 with the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, and a delegation of U.S. Bechtel to discuss the construction of a highway to link Pojate and Preljina. The construction ministry quoted Mihajlovic as saying that the Morava Corridor was a very important project for Serbia, as it would link Corridors X and XI through an area inhabited by nearly 500,000 people, and that it was in the best interest of the government that the construction project be launched as soon as possible. Bechtel's President for International and Government Affairs David Welch said that the company was aware of the importance of infrastructure for the development of Serbia, thanking the Serbian deputy prime minister for her commitment to the project. The ambassador expressed support to the project, adding that the U.S. investor's role in the highway construction would be an important step in developing bilateral relations. It was explained at the meeting that changes to the general urban plan were under way, as well as changes to the project documentation for one of the three sections of the new highway, owing to anti-flood protection measures along the Western Morava River. The 110-kilometer long Morava Corridor, linking Pojate and Preljina, will connect all major cities, towns and municipalities in central Serbia, namely, Cicevac, Stalac, Krusevac, Trstenik, Vrnjacka Banja, Kraljevo and Cacak.


BELGRADE, 12 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Chamber of Commerce President Marko Cadez met with representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on June 12, including the bank's Vice President Alian Pilloux, to discuss advancing and developing national projects and new programs for supporting SMEs in Serbia, the Chamber has said in a statement. The EBRD representatives lauded "the business and investment environment in Serbia and positively evaluated economic stability and the country's developmental path" and showed interest in enhancing the financial market in Serbia, introducing a framework for micro financing, cooperation on regional infrastructure and energy projects as well as the further development of major companies. The EBRD will transform Belgrade into the center of its activities in the Western Balkans, Pilloux announced, which he said would mean a big positive change. We see the Chamber as a very important partner in supporting the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects, especially in advancing the efficiency of their realization, Pilloux said. According to him, a new program of combined EBRD financial support and European Union support for small and medium-sized enterprises is planned, which will be reviewed with the minister of finance. The participants of the meeting said that there was room for investing in the development of small companies as well and that it was a good time for speeding up the privatization of large systems and wrapping up reforms.