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DAILY SURVEY 20.04.2018.
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SERBIA

VUCIC: WE DISCUSSED EC REPORT, REGION AND KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on April 19 that he and European Commissioner Federica Mogherini had discussed the report of the European Commission (EC), and that Serbia would work to progress in the rule of law, because that would provide additional legal security and possibility to attract investors. Speaking at a news conference in Belgrade, he said they had also discussed the issues in which, according to the EC, Serbia had made little or no progress, and that they had not agreed on all issues. Vucic said they also discussed the situation in the region and the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, which made him "very concerned." "I am convinced and I hope that, with support of Mrs. Mogherini and others, we can and must avoid all risks and obstacles on our path," Vucic stated. He said he was the most pleased with the part of the report about Serbia's efforts in the economic sphere, and the success it had accomplished there. He added that 68 percent of Serbia's trade was with EU countries.

VUCIC, NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT MEET

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbia's military neutrality is not an obstacle to developing cooperation with NATO but is rather in the interest of strengthening regional stability, President Aleksandar Vucic said at a meeting with NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Paolo Alli on April 19. Vucic, a statement from his office said, stressed the importance of cooperating with KFOR for the safety of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. The two officials concluded that the top-level dialogue between Serbia and NATO had been intensified. Paolo Alli stressed that NATO respected Serbia's military neutrality and its definition of cooperation according to its needs and supported the efforts that Serbia was investing in preserving stability in the Western Balkan region. President Vucic and Alli concurred that the participation of a Serbian parliamentary delegation at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's annual sessions as an associate member contributed to mutual understanding, the statement said.

BRNABIC, MOGHERINI: SERBIA HAS MUCH WORK TO DO IN AREA OF RULE OF LAW, MEDIA FREEDOM

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a meeting with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini that despite the European Commission's mostly positive evaluation, Serbia had a long way to go in the areas of rule of law and freedom of the press. In a statement, the Serbian cabinet said that Brnabic had hailed the EC for recognizing Serbia's efforts to conduct political and economic reforms and its devotion to regional cooperation. Brnabic said that Serbia needed to approach further reforms in accordance with the EC's assessments and recommendations in the report. Mogherini and Brnabic said that preserving peace and stability in the region was crucial and stressed the importance of continuing the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Mogherini said that it was important to Serbia that Bulgaria was chairing the EU Council, as that EU member state understood the current situation and events in the region of the Western Balkans, adding that devotion to political and economic cooperation of the region was key to faster progress in the EU accession process. She said that it was necessary to raise the awareness of Serbia's citizens and the region of the importance of joining the EU, which would secure peace and stability in the region and raise the standard of living of all citizens in this area.

BRNABIC: FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF COOPERATION WITH NATO WITHOUT MEMBERSHIP ASPIRATIONS

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbia is devoted to further developing its cooperation with NATO even though it is militarily neutral and has no aspirations toward membership in the alliance, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at an April 19 meeting with NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Paolo Alli. She stressed that Serbia had proved itself a reliable partner ready to cooperate with NATO and other international actors, especially through the Partnership for Peace program, a statement from her office said. Ana Brnabic underscored that KFOR's presence in Kosovo and Metohija was of great importance to Serbia, especially after a recent incident in which Kosovo special police arrested Serbian Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric. Paolo Alli stressed that Serbia and NATO were connected by a common interest to preserve peace and stability in the region. The representatives of the delegation told the Serbian prime minister that they understood how sensitive the question of Kosovo and Metohija was for Serbia and pointed out that it was important to continue looking for a lasting and sustainable solution. Ana Brnabic said that the Serbian public's attitude toward NATO was still burdened by the heavy legacy of the past, despite numerous areas of cooperation, which needed to be further developed such as fighting terrorism, human trafficking, organized and cybercrime. The two sides arranged a resumption of joint activities directed at raising the level of security and exchanging knowledge and experience, the statement said.

SERBIAN, MONTENEGRIN MINISTERS OF JUSTICE: BILATERAL COOPERATION IN JUSTICE, OTHER AREAS EXCELLENT

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - The ministers of justice of Montenegro and Serbia, Zoran Pazin and Nela Kuburovic, said in Podgorica on April 19 that bilateral cooperation in the area of the judiciary, but in other fields as well, was excellent and that a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two ministries was the basis for further improving relations, especially where the European integration of the two states was concerned. They said that the ministries of justice of the two countries were of vital importance to the citizens of Serbia and Montenegro, and that joint projects that would be supported by the EU would additionally expedite the development and improvement of the rule of law. Pazin and Kuburovic agreed that the Serbian Ministry of Justice would support Montenegro's efforts to strengthen its criminal sanction system and hand over the source code to the SAPA program which will enable the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice to maintain adequate records and manage the prison system. The two ministers agreed that there were no open issues in the area of judicial cooperation, and that the Marovic case was not under the jurisdiction of the two ministries until the conditions were met for initiating a request for extradition, the Serbian Ministry of Justice said. During her visit to Montenegro the Serbian minister of justice met with Supreme Court Judge Vesna Medenica to discuss improving the judicial system within the process of European integration. The collocutors agreed that it was necessary to improve direct cooperation between the courts of both countries which, they said, would contribute to the faster and better exchange of information in providing international legal assistance.

STEFANOVIC, UAE AMBASSADOR DISCUSS COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian deputy prime minister and interior minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, had talks in Belgrade on April 19 with the newly appointed ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, Mubarak Saeed Al Dhaheri, about the development of cooperation between the two countries, the Interior Ministry has stated. They concurred that the signed memorandums of understanding in the security domain were a good basis for tighter cooperation between the two police forces in the fight against all forms of crime, the statement reads. Stefanovic and Al Dhaheri also considered a possibility for organizing joint training courses for the two countries' police forces.

DJORDJEVIC MEETS WITH EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR AMR ALJOWAILY

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister of labor, employment, veteran and social policy, Zoran Djordjevic, met on April 19 with the newly appointed Egyptian ambassador to Serbia, Amr Aljowaily, and discussed the development of cooperation. According to the statement, Djordjevic welcomed the ambassador, saying that he hoped Serbia and Egypt would improve cooperation in many fields during his mandate, especially in matters from the portfolio of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy. "We are open for Egyptian citizens who wish to work in Serbia and we guarantee that all their rights will be fully protected," Djordjevic said. Amr Aljowaily said that he would give his full contribution to improving the cooperation between the two countries in many areas. He mentioned the traditionally good and friendly relations between Serbia and Egypt, adding that he would attempt, during this year, to mark 110 years since the establishing of diplomatic relations in the best possible way.

MOGHERINI: I WILL INSIST THAT OBLIGATIONS LISTED IN BRUSSELS AGREEMENT BE FULLY MET

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said on April 19 that she would always insist that Belgrade and Pristina fully meet their agreements in Brussels. I always insist that it is necessary to fully conduct that which has been agreed on. I have reiterated again and again that we must get to work where the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities is concerned. Other elements of the agreement must be conducted, which have not yet been realized, Mogherini said in Belgrade. At a news conference after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Mogherini welcomed the start of the drafting of a Statute of the Community of Serb Municipalities, which she said, had been late for some time and pointed to the unfulfilled obligation of an agreement on energy as one in a number of unfulfilled obligations. I will not merely monitor but will additionally work so that we can secure other steps, Mogherini said. Vucic said that he was sure that the Albanians would not meet their obligations stemming from the Brussels Agreement and that he disagreed with Mogherini that there were other things that needed to be fulfilled as part of the agreement.

FABRIZI PRESENTS EC REPORT TO MAJA GOJKOVIC

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - The chief of the EU Delegation in Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, on April 19 presented the latest European Commission report on Serbia's progress in the process of association with the EU, to Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic. The statement of Maja Gojkovic's office reads that, during their meeting, she and Fabrizi paid special attention to the parts of the report pertaining to the parliament. Fabrizi presented the main guidelines for further reform processes and improvement of work on the EU path, stressing that the parliament had the key role, primarily as a supervisory body, the statement reads.

FABRIZI: SERBIA MAY JOIN EU IN 2025 IF IT CARRIES OUT REFORMS

BELGRADE, 19 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbia's admission to the European Union in 2025 is possible if it carries out the necessary reforms, the chief of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, said on April 19. Speaking at a presentation of the European Commission's report on Serbia's progress in reforms in the process of association, held at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, he said the deadline for admission had not been set. Providing that Serbia carries out the necessary reforms, and reforms are also necessary in the EU, in the euro zone, the banking union and in other fields, 2025 is the potential time for Serbia's admission to the EU, Fabrizi said. He went on to say that the period until 2025 was both long and short and that, from the moment of harmonization of all issues, two years were needed for ratification. Prospects exist, but the message from the European Commission's report is that there are many things which Serbia must solve urgently, starting from amending the Constitution, he added. The European Commission praised Serbia for most of the work it has done in the field of economy, but also warned that reforms of the Tax Administration and public enterprises should be carried out more quickly. It was also indicated that the policy of subsidizing foreign investments was non-transparent and that there was no systemic control of spending of those assets.

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