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DAILY SURVEY 30.06.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: CREDIBLE ENLARGEMENT POLICY KEY TO REGION, EUROPE

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on June 29 that membership in the EU was Serbia's strategic national goal and stressed that a credible EU enlargement policy was key to both the region and all of Europe. Opening a conference, The New International Reality - Challenges and Perspectives at the Belgrade City Assembly, Dacic said that the EU's enlargement policy, "which is facing an identity crisis today and questioning the purpose of its existence," was a special challenge for Serbia and the region. "We are aware of all of these numerous challenges, as well as the need for carrying out a series of reforms at the level of the EU, but we feel that the preservation of a credible enlargement policy, based on clear and equal criteria is key for both the region in which we geographically belong and for all of Europe," Dacic said. He recalled that "in the EU's global security strategy, presented in June last year, it was clearly stated that the policy of enlargement was a strategic investment in the security and prosperity of Europe" and added that this offered assurances that the "EU, too, is aware of the importance of its most successful policy which ought to bring stability and progress to the region and all of the EU." Dacic said that military neutrality did not mean that Serbia did not want to join NATO, but that it did not want to join any military alliance, and that this did not prevent it from having good relations with the western military alliance.

SERBIAN CABINET HELMED BY ANA BRNABIC VOTED IN

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - On June 29, Serbia's Parliament elected a new cabinet with 21 ministers and three without portfolio, headed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. The new government was elected by calling each MP by name to vote yes or no. A total of 157 MPs were for her election, 55 were against and none abstained. MPs from the ruling United Serbia party and the opposition Enough Is Enough, Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party, Serbian Radical Party, Democratic Party of Serbia, Dveri movement, Liberal Democratic Party, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, MPs from the New Serbia-Movement for Serbia's Salvation caucus, and MPs from the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak and the New Party voted against the cabinet. The cabinet was supported by MPs from the ruling coalition gathered around the Serbian Progressive Party, Socialist Party of Serbia, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, Party for Democratic Action and opposition MP from the Green Party Goran Cabradi voted for the government. The new government's members were then sworn in, which marked the beginning of their term. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and the ministers took the following oath: "I pledge loyalty to the Republic of Serbia and am bound by my honor to respect the Constitution and law, that I will perform the duty of being a member of the government conscientiously, responsibly and with commitment and be devoted to preserving Kosovo and Metohija within the Republic of Serbia." The swearing in was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Vojvodina Assembly Speaker Istvan Pastor, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, representatives of the judiciary, Serbian Armed Forces, security services, religious communities and diplomatic representatives.

VUCIC, SCOTT DISCUSS VISIT TO U.S., REGION, COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, talked in Belgrade on June 29 about bilateral relations, the situation in the region, the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and Vucic's visit to the U.S. on July 17. "They discussed the topics for the forthcoming visit of the Serbian president to the U.S. on July 17, and concurred that the talks with Vice President Michael Pence and other officials of the administration in Washington D.C. would be a strong incentive for the development of Serbian-U.S. political and economic relations," read a statement released by Vucic's office. Vucic and Scott concurred that relations between the two countries were on an upward trend and that the U.S. provided continuous support to Serbia's efforts in meeting the conditions for EU membership, strengthening the rule of law, modernizing the economy and becoming a pillar of stability in the region. As for the situation in the region, the Serbian president and the U.S. ambassador said they hoped the "relations in the Western Balkans would develop in the direction of peace, stability and cooperation," and that "it is necessary for all in the region to give their contribution to that." They also discussed the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, stressing the need to continue the dialogue and implement the Brussels agreements. Vucic asked Ambassador Scott to convey to President Donald Trump his gratitude for sending a presidential delegation to attend the ceremony of his inauguration as Serbian president. Scott congratulated Vucic on the successful ceremony on June 23, stressing that the U.S. was looking forward to cooperating with the new government which the parliament was to appoint.

VUCIC: CONTINUOUS DIALOGUE AT ALL LEVELS NECESSARY FOR SERBIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on June 29 with MPs from Russia's parliament Sergei Zheleznyak and University of Lomonosov professor Olga Zinovieva to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and various regional and international questions. A statement from the Presidency said that Vucic had said that a continuous dialogue at all levels was important for relations between Serbia and Russia, a dialogue that contributed to developing political relations to each side's benefit. He pointed out that Serbia, as an independent and militarily neutral country, had chosen European integration as its foreign policy priority, but that must not and would not upset good relations with Russia. During the meeting the participants concluded that good political relations were the basis for enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, for which there were big yet insufficiently developed opportunities. The Serbian president voiced his thanks to Russia for sending a high-level delegation to his inauguration and reception last week, which was a testament to the importance that Russia's leadership ascribed to relations with the authorities in Belgrade.

VUCIC, UNWTO SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSS SERBIA'S TOURISM POTENTIALS

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic talked on June 29 with the secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization, Taleb Rifai, about the tourism potentials and promotion of Serbia as a tourism destination, the president's press service has stated. Vucic said that the number of foreign tourists grew by 20 percent over the past year, and that this was a new opportunity for Serbia's promotion as a new destination. During the meeting with Rifai, Vucic stressed that it was necessary to find new models for promoting the Serbian tourism offer and asked for UNWTO's help in creating a new tourism brand. "In the coming period, Serbia will work on creating an overall image of the country as a safe and attractive tourism destination," Vucic said. The UNWTO secretary-general said that tourism was the future of Serbia. "The point is not in what you have, but how you use what you have. It is important that this country's leadership has recognized the potentials of tourism," Rifai said. He congratulated Vucic on the efforts to promote Serbia as a new tourism destination and said it was necessary to work towards enabling the easier arrival of foreign tourists in Serbia, and on the better promotion of the country and creation of a new brand.

EUR66.5 MILLION FOR DANUBE DEVELOPMENT, RIVER TRANSPORTATION VOLUME GROWS

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - The planned investment in the development of river transportation and protection of natural characteristics of the Danube, amounting to EUR66.5 million, will enable Serbia to utilize one of its biggest natural and economic resources, the Serbian minister of construction, transportation and infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlovic, said on June 29. On the occasion of international Danube Day, Mihajlovic said that her ministry, with help from the European Union, had secured significant funding for the development of navigation on the Danube, which would enable the volume of river transportation to grow and investments to increase. "Works will start in September on the project to remedy the six critical sectors on the Danube, from Belgrade to Backa Palanka, and to introduce the system for the electronic marking of the Danube's navigable route," Mihajlovic said. The total value of those two projects is EUR18 million, and they are being financed from the IPA 2013 program. Upon the proposal of the ministry, the European Commission approved the financing of the modernization of the lock on the dam of the Djerdap hydroelectric power plant, to be realized from 2018 to 2020, which will be the first major reconstruction of that facility in 40 years. The total value of the project is 28.5 million euros, where the EU is financing 40 percent of the works, or EUR11.5 million, while the remaining 60 percent, which is 17 million, will be secured from the budget. It was announced that a tender was also under way for designs for the Port of Smederevo, the building of which is planned for the period from 2018 to 2020, and which is intended to speed up the development of the Danube and Branicevo districts and provide cheaper transportation for all companies.

LJAJIC: DANUBE'S GREAT POTENTIAL FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian minister of trade, tourism and telecommunications, Rasim Ljajic, said on June 29 that the Danube was one of the three priority destinations in Serbia, with the biggest potential for the growth of tourism, but also for the economic development of the regions it runs through. "We have worked much on the development of infrastructure in the past three years and we have many plans for the construction of new ports, bicycle and hiking routes," Ljajic said ahead of the opening of a conference on the sustainable development of tourism in the Danube region. He added that four docks were built on the Danube in 2016, and that three more were expected this year. Ljajic pointed out that the Danube had great potential, since it connected 10 countries and 120 million people, and that it had a multitude of cultural contents - around 40 localities protected by UNESCO and more than 30 national parks. Ljajic said that tourism significantly contributed to the world economy and it accounted for 10 percent of the global GDP last year.

CADEZ: AFRICAN BUSINESS REPRESENTATIVES TO ARRIVE IN BELGRADE

BELGRADE, 29 June 2017 (Beta) - Over one hundred business representatives from the South African Republic and other sub-Saharan African nations will participate in a large Serbian-African business summit with companies from Serbia and the region of the Western Balkans in Belgrade this fall, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce said on June 29. The summit will serve as a networking event and concrete business arrangements will be discussed, which, according to Serbian Chamber of Commerce head Marko Cadez, who is visiting Johannesburg, will "open yet another door for producers from Serbia and the entire region for higher exports in the vast and primarily import-dependent market of Sub-Saharan Africa, which encompasses 49 countries with over a billion people." Meanwhile, he added, African businesses will be presented with the possibility of exporting products via Serbia as a distributive hub to the markets of the EU, Russia and other countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States. The summit was supported by the government and president of the South African Republic Jacob Zuma, who met with Cadez to discuss possibilities for forging stronger economic ties between Serbia and the South African Republic, and all of Sub-Saharan Africa, too. Cadez said that in addition to trade, cooperation was possible in carrying out joint projects and the transfer of know-how, technology and investments. "The potential for mutual investments is the biggest in agriculture, construction, infrastructure, the machine industry and environmental protection," Cadez said after the meeting.

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