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DAILY SURVEY 31.10.2018.
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SERBIA

VUCIC: NOVEMBER WILL BE A DIFFICULT MONTH FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, 30 October 2018 (Beta) - On Oct. 30 Serbian President said that November would be a difficult month for Serbia due to several steps planned by Pristina, such as its proclamation of a Kosovo army and attempts at taking over energy infrastructure in northern Kosovo and Metohija. At a news conference after a government session which he participated in, he said that he was concerned by information from the Elektromreza Srbije power transmission company that Pristina's institutions were trying to "forcibly stop the transmission of electricity from Novi Pazar to Kosovo's north" and that these institutions were preparing to celebrate the declaration of the Kosovo Armed Forces on Nov. 28. He said that this decision was contrary to the Kosovo Constitution and all international agreements reached so far. "They are illegally accusing us of preventing the free transmission of electrical energy - because the Albanians are stealing electricity, and the only reason why Serbia is reacting to this is so that we can still say that the power grid is ours," Vucic said. He said that a debate on this issue would be led in European institutions on Nov. 6, and that a decision on the matter would be made on Nov. 9. Vucic said that he would send a letter to Germany and France and recalled that the Brussels Agreement envisaged the creation of two companies for producing and transmitting electricity, which would be controlled by the Community of Serb Municipalities. "Meanwhile we will have the adoption of a decision on Kosovo's admission to Interpol and a debate in the Assembly in Pristina where they want to limit the purview of their organization, after which we will pose the question of what the dialogue with Pristina is for," Vucic said. He also said that "unity and the strength of the people is needed now more than ever" and that Serbia would oppose all of the aforementioned measures with the "small capacities" that were at its disposal.

VUCIC SAYS ADDITIONAL EUR50 MILLION TO BE INVESTED IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

BELGRADE, 30 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Oct. 30 that more than RSD6 billion, or around EUR50 million, would additionally be invested over the next 18 months in Serbian communities in Kosovo and Metohija. After a Serbian cabinet session with Kosovo Serb representatives, which was attended by the president, Vucic said that the investment would be used to provide incentives for the operation of certain factories in northern Kosovo, the construction of a "magnificent Clinical Center" in Kosovska Mitrovica and a hospital in Gracanica. Vucic added that the government would also invest in refrigerator facilities and assistance to farmers south and north of the Ibar River, the construction of tourism hubs such as Banjska, wrapping up investment in infrastructure and roads, waterworks and a university.

VUCIC: I'LL SAY TO MACRON WHAT I THINK OF KOSOVO'S ARMY

BELGRADE, 30 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Oct. 30 that he might have a chance to talk to President Macron during his visit to Paris, on Oct. 30, and that he would tell him what he thought about the establishment of a Kosovo army. Vucic said to reporters at the Palace of Serbia that he didn't know whether he would meet Albanian representatives in Paris or not, but that he was always ready to talk. The Serbian president said he was quite anxious about what might happen to Serbia and the Serbs. When asked about Serbia's reaction to the establishment of a Kosovo army, Vucic said that Serbia was in a difficult position, but that it would protect peace and stability in every way. "We'll protect peace and stability in every way, but we won't let anyone exile, persecute or kill the Serbs," Vucic was explicit. Vucic is visiting Paris to attend the Armistice Day ceremonies.

KUKAN: SERBIA PROGRESSING, REFORMS NEED TO BE STEPPED UP IF JOINING IN 2025 IS GOAL

BELGRADE, 30 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbia is making progress in European integration, yet there are areas in which reforms need to be expedited to achieve the optimistic goal of membership in the EU by 2025, European Parliament MP Eduard Kukan said on Oct. 30. Kukan, who presided over the ninth EU-Serbia Parliamentary Committee on Stabilization and Association for the European Parliament, said that he had had intense talks in Belgrade, that he had met with top state officials and representatives of the NGO sector. Vladimir Orlic, who chaired the Committee on the side of the Serbian Parliament, said at a joint news conference that "talking about the 2025 prospect is worth it, but the job needs to be finished and reforms stepped up." According to Kukan, the business climate in Serbia has improved. He said that he was pleasantly surprised when he heard the Dutch and German ambassadors and other EU ambassadors with whom he had met in Belgrade say that the business environment was improving and that "it is worth coming to Serbia to do business." "Serbia is advancing in many areas and is seen as a positive constructive player in regional cooperation," Kukan said. According to him, the authorities' actions in the battle against corruption and organized crime were appreciated, but that there was much more that needed to be done in that respect. This, he said, pertains to the freedom of the media. Kukan and Orlic said that after the two-day meeting a joint resolution was adopted.

ECONOMY

LJAJIC MEETS QATAR'S DELEGATES TO DISCUSS INVESTMENT

BELGRADE, 30 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic met on Oct. 30 with Qatar's government and business representatives to discuss fresh investments in Serbia. After a meeting in the Serbian government building, Ljajic underscored that this was the largest delegation from Qatar so far, representing a large number of financial institutions, too, including the Qatar Development Fund and the Qatar Investment Fund. Ljajic said that the business owners from the peninsular Arab country were interested in investing in Serbia's agriculture, tourism, catering industry and spa resorts. "I also believe the energy sector offers great opportunities for cooperation. We have discussed the establishment of joint ventures in that and some other sectors," the minister said. During a four-day visit to Serbia, the delegates will meet with Serbian government officials and private sector representatives.

SERBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: SERBIA IS RELIABLE PARTNER TO ITALIAN COMPANIES

BELGRADE, 30 October 2018 (Beta) - Italy is one of the leading investors in Serbia, having invested over EUR800 million in the country, but Serbia is still open to fresh investment and new partnerships with Italian businesses - this was one of the conclusions of the conference titled New Economic Opportunities for Italian Regional Companies, in Verona. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce reported that Jelena Jovanovic, director of the Chamber's Sector for International Economic Relations, said that in terms of individual size of investment, the Italians were coming second in the top five. Presenting the potentials of the Serbian economy to Italian companies and officials of the Veneto region, Jovanovic underscored that major advantages of investing in Serbia were financial incentives, ranging from government subsidies to tax and customs benefits, as well as free trade agreements that allowed producers in Serbia to reach billion-strong consumer markets. She went on to say that other important areas of cooperation included agriculture, the food industry, construction materials, wood processing, furniture production, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, textile industry and the IT sector. Veneto's businesspeople who attended the conference believe that Serbia is a reliable business partner and a good investment destination in different sectors. An agreement was made at the conference that Veneto's firms should send their representatives to Serbia as soon as possible. The conference was organized by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce to advance bilateral economic cooperation, boost investment and commercial ties in strategic sectors.

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