DACIC: SERBIA AT RISK OF BECOMING VICTIM OF EU'S DISUNITED POLICY
BELGRADE, 3 February 2017 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Feb. 3 said that Serbia was at risk of becoming a victim of the EU's disunited policy on the ongoing migrant crisis. Speaking at a joint news conference with his Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek at the Serbian government Dacic said that nearly one million refugees has passed through Serbia since the outbreak of the migrant crisis. "We are faced with a situation in which the EU obviously does not have a unanimous policy and we are often at risk of becoming a victim of that disunited policy, that is of certain unilateral moves by certain countries," Dacic said. He also said that over the past year, major changes had occurred in the structure of the migrants as now only some 10 percent were from Syria, while the others were economic migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. According to Dacic, Serbia will have a major problem if a new wave of migrants happens and if Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria close their borders. He added that currently, there were some 8,000 migrants in Serbia. "We do not have sufficient capacities and there are already problems, which is why we plead with international organizations, the EU and others engaged in resolving this problem to help in overcoming the migrant crisis," Dacic said.
CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS SERBIA
BELGRADE, 3 February 2017 (Beta) - Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek visited Belgrade on Feb. 3, where he discussed the migrant crisis, the Belgrade-Pristina dialog and Serbia's bid to join the European Union with top Serbian officials. His talk with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic touched upon the migrant crisis and specific means the Czech Republic can offer in solving it, and the situation in the region and dialog with Pristina. Vucic briefed Zaoralek about the state of affairs in migrant reception centers and the humanitarian aid corming from the EU, and about the need for technical assistance to security structures. The two officials stressed the need to bolster trade and investment in both countries, and for cooperation in infrastructure and transport.
Zaoralek and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic agreed that the two nations had traditionally friendly relations, with in-depth and continual dialog at all levels. Dacic and Zaoralek told a news conference held in the Serbian cabinet headquarters that there was a mutual interest to develop and build upon all forms of cooperation further, especially economic.
Serbian Minister tasked with EU integration Jadranka Joksimovic said in the meeting with Zaoralek that Serbia expected to open three more chapters in EU membership talks late in February or in early March, the government said in a press release. Joksimovic said Serbia was technically ready for Chapter 26, which deals with culture and education, and for Chapters 20 and 29, which deal with industrial policy and entrepreneurship, and the customs union respectively. Zaoralek praised the progress of Serbia as an important Western Balkan country and partner in the EU integration process and positively rated the results of reforms conducted in the state, according to the press release.
MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER SPENDS TWO DAYS IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, 3 February 2017 (Beta) - Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic visited Serbia on Feb. 3-4 on his first official visit since his election. Markovic and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic agreed during their encounter in Belgrade that the two states could do a lot more in the areas of economic cooperation, especially when it came to energy and tourism, if they joined forces. The two officials said the key pre-condition was more efficient infrastructural linking between Serbia and Montenegro, especially the building of a highway and the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Bar railroad.
Markovic and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic said that the two states had good and friendly relations and that this was proof that the Western Balkans did not just have problems, but that there examples of concrete cooperation too. Addressing the press after his meeting with Markovic, Vucic said he was grateful to Markovic for picking Serbia to be the first country he visited as prime minister of Montenegro. Vucic stressed that Serbia respected Podgorica's sovereign decision to join NATO. Markovic said relations between Serbia and Montenegro were the best in 20 years and that this was a level that must not only be maintained, but heightened. He also said Montenegro followed and fully supported the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina.
Markovic also met with Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, Vojvodina Premier Igor Mirovic, Novi Sad Mayor Milos Vucevic and the Montenegrin diaspora in Vojvodina.
MIHAJLOVIC DISCUSSES INVESTMENTS IN SERBIA WITH CZECH ENERGY FIRM EPH
BELGRADE, 3 February 2017 (Beta) - Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic met on Feb. 3 with representatives of Czech energy group EP Holding (EPH) to discuss possible investments in Serbia's energy sector, according to a statement from the ministry. EPH's delegation, headed by Board of Directors Chairman Daniel Kretinski, is interested in investing in energy infrastructure and power and heating cogeneration plants. EPH is a leading energy group in Europe, which operates in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Hungary. In 2015, the company's value was assessed at EUR11.3 billion. In the same year, EPH posted EUR4.5 billion in operating revenues.