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DAILY SURVEY 08.05.2017.
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SERBIA

NIKOLIC: GUARD'S OPERATIONS SUCCESSFUL AND PROFESSIONAL

BELGRADE, 5 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said at a May 5 ceremony marking the 187th anniversary of Serbia's Guard that members of the Serbian army's elite unit were successful in fulfilling their tasks and taking care of the safety of the citizens. "Today's Guard is as successful and professional as it has always been in all three missions of the Serbian army, relying constantly on its honorable legacy and proudly protecting the country," Nikolic said at the Belgrade Dedinje barracks. The Serbian president was confident that the Guard, decorated six times in its honorable history, would continue to perform its duties responsibly and diligently. "Continue to protect the honor of the Republic of Serbia and the peace and safety of its citizens," Nikolic said. The president said that the Guard was a unit of military honor and military values, which had existed "for nearly as long as the modern Serbian state." President Nikolic had previously decorated the Serbian army units and institutions. The ceremony was attended by Minister of Defense Zoran Djordjevic and Serbian army chief-of-staff General Ljubisa Dikovic. The present-day Guard was established on Nov. 30, 2006, following the transformation of the Guard Brigade.

VUCIC, EICHHORST EXPECT BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE TO CONTINUE

BELGRADE, 5 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and European External Action Service (EEAS) Director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey Angelina Eichhorst said on May 5 they expected talks between Belgrade and Pristina to continue soon, as the only way to address open issues. At a meeting in Belgrade with the EEAS official, Vucic said that Serbia was committed to mutually acceptable solutions in the dialog, while fully protecting Serbia's national interests, the Serbian cabinet said. Vucic underlined that the Community of Serb Municipalities had to be established based on the Brussels agreement, implying Serbia's role in the process. The two officials expressed concerns over the situation in the Western Balkans, the cabinet said in a press release. Vucic underlined Serbia's commitment to the policy of regional stability and cooperation, as one of the Serbian government's foreign-policy priorities. Vucic and Eiichhorst also noted Serbia's continuous progress in the EU integration process, in implementing necessary social and economic reforms, hoping that the pace at which the accession chapters had been planned to be opened in Serbia's talks with the EU would be upheld, the cabinet released.

VUCIC: FUTURE OF SERBIAN-GERMAN RELATIONS DIFFERS CONSIDERABLY FROM THE PAST

BACKI JARAK, 6 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on May 6 that the future of Serbian-German relations would differ considerably from the past. At a monument unveil in Backi Jarak commemorating the Germans who lived in the Danube region, the Podunavske Svabe, most of whom left Serbia after World War II, Vucic said that these Germans were not "guests in our territory." "At the beginning of the 20th century, Backi Jarak was inhabited by 2,127 Germans, 47 Hungarians and two Serbia, but today is nearly an ethnically pure Serb town. You, our friends, Podunavske Svabe, are not guests here, but fellow land and business owners, like us," the prime minister said. Vucic said that the new monument to the ethnic Germans was a sign that Serbia respected victims of a different ethnicity, too. "This is an important day for all of us, a day that brings joy to Serbs and Germans alike. We, the Serbs, are making a civilisation difference today from our past behavior, and from other peoples, too. We are making it clear that we can show respect to victims from other nations, too, because that is the only way for us to demand respect and justice for our own," Vucic said. The German ambassador to Serbia, Axel Dittmann, said that his government and Chancellor Angela Merkel attached great importance to the monument to Podunavske Svabe in Backi Jarak, thanking Vucic without whom, as he put it, it would have never been erected. The ambassador underlined that Germany and Serbia were partners in Europe, and that Germany was strongly committed to Serbia's EU accession. "We are aware of the dark chapters of our past, but it is precisely because of them that we look firmly to the future," the diplomat said, adding that from 1944 to 1946 there was a concentration camp in Backi Jarak, where aside from the Germans, people of other ethnicities were killed, including Hungarians.

VUCIC WISHES RUSSIANS A HAPPY VICTORY DAY

BELGRADE, 5 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic sent a congratulatory message to Russia on the occasion of Victory Day, saying that the Russian people had heroically in World War II managed to root out fascism and save the whole world from that dark force, Russian agencies have reported. In his video address in Russian, Vucic said that Victory Day was one of the most important days in the history of all humankind. "Of all the states in the world, the Russian people sustained the greatest losses during the Great Homeland War (1941-1945) and will always remain as an example of complete courage and patriotism. With their heroic deeds in World War II, they rooted out fascism and saved the world from that dark force. The courage of soldiers of the Red Army deserves respect and an indestructible feeling in our hearts," Vucic said. Vucic also said he was proud because the Serbian people, fighting side-by-side with other peoples, had contributed to the victory against Nazism and won peace and freedom. "I congratulate Russia, the Russian people and all of freedom-loving humanity on this great day, the Day of Victory against Fascism," he said.The Day of Victory against Fascism, May 9, will be marked in Serbia and across Europe in a number of events and by honoring the victims of World War II.

EICHHORST MEETS MINISTERS KUBUROVIC, DJORDJEVIC

BELGRADE, 5 May 2017 (Beta) - The European Union's representative Angelina Eichhorst met in Belgrade with Serbian justice and defense ministers Nela Kuburovic and Zoran Djordjevic. The European External Action Service (EEAS) Director for Western Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey, Angelina Eichhorst, said at a May 5 meeting with Minister Kuburovic that Brussels was continuing to give its clear political support to Serbia on its way to the Union. Eichhorst underlined that Brussels had made it clear to all EU members that it was very important for Serbia to join the European family, because everyone considered the country a pillar of stability in the Balkans, the Serbian justice ministry said. The EU official said that the measures named in the action plans for negotiating chapters 23 and 24 were very important, especially those related to the independence of courts, and a more active role of the civilian sector in all areas. Eichorst and the Serbian defense minister, Zoran Djordjevic, met in Belgrade, on May 6, to discuss the role of Serbian troops in EU peacekeeping missions, and the current security situation in the region. The Ministry of Defence said that the two officials agreed that cooperation between the ministry and the European Defense Ministry (EDA) was very good, and that there was potential for expansion and development.

J. JOKSIMOVIC: THE EU IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK

ZRENJANIN, 5 May 2017 (Beta) - Minister in charge of European integration Jadranka Joksimovic voiced hope on May 5 that Serbia would become part of the "European family," because the European Union was the best place to live and work. "I hope that we will be a part of the European family and live in a better environment," Joksimovic said at the opening of a one-day EU Project Fair dubbed The European Union and Serbia at Work, organized for the first time in Zrenjanin. Along with the acting head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Oscar Benedict, she toured stands at the fair, which showcased 30 projects financed by the EU within its cooperation with Serbia. Among the projects presented at the fair were cross-border, cultural, employment and innovation programs, aid to the displaced, refugees and the Roma population, the Erasmus+ program, socio-economic development of the Danube region in Serbia, civil society, human rights and the media, EU assistance to flood-affected regions of Serbia and European Affairs Fund programs.

BENEDICT: SERBIA'S FUTURE IS IN THE EU

ZRENJANIN, 5 May 2017 (Beta) - Acting head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Oscar Benedict said on May 5 in Zrenjanin that Serbia's future was in the European Union. Speaking at the opening of the European Village event at Medison hall, Benedict said that membership in the EU was nothing abstract, but was rather useful to the citizens. "All that we do, we do for the citizens and that is why we are here today," said Benedict, adding that everyone in Zrenjanin was celebrating Europe Day and the city's European spirit. Zrenjanin Mayor Cedomir Janjic said that Zrenjanin today was "a Europe in miniature," and that several events taking place in the city contributed in a special way to the efforts Serbia was making in the EU accession talks. During the European Village event, children from Zrenjanin kindergartens and elementary schools presented and promoted EU member states, their cultures, traditions and interesting characteristics at numerous stands and on the main stage. A How Well Do I Know Europe quiz was held and the three students who demonstrated the most knowledge of EU countries were given prizes - a tablet, bicycle and rollerblades. The European Village event was launched by the elementary school in the village of Tomasevac in 2012 and was soon joined by other schools. The idea emanated from the fact that 75 percent of youth and children had never had the opportunity to travel to European Union countries, and a desire to promote the diversity of peoples and states that make up modern-day Europe. The opening of the event was attended by minister in charge of European integration Jadranka Joksimovic, the ambassadors of Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland and representatives of the provincial government and the French Institute from Novi Sad.

MINISTRY: EBRD WILL BE SERBIA'S PARTNER IN FUTURE PROJECTS

BELGRADE, 5 May 2017 (Beta) - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) representatives said in a May 5 meeting with Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic that the financial institution would continue to be Serbia's partner in future infrastructure projects. The interlocutors discussed the implementation of EBRD-financed projects in Serbia's road and railway infrastructure, reforms in the field and railway modernization, the Ministry said in a press release. Mihajlovic presented to the EBRD representatives the dynamic of project implementation in the road and railway Corridor 10, the results of reforms implemented in the railway sector and the pace of railway modernization. Another conversation topic was the EBRD's potential role in privatization or public-private partnerships in Serbia. Speaking of corridors, Mihajlovic stressed that Serbia, due to its geographic position, was the shortest route connecting the East and West, and that infrastructure links to the region and Europe were very important in that context. "It is important for us to be connected, to have modern roads and railways, which particularly goes for railway Corridor 10" she said.

SEVENTY-FIVE BRIDGES RECONSTRUCTED FROM EU DONATIONS

KOVACICA, 5 May 2017 (Beta) - Over the past three years the European Union has earmarked EUR172 million worth of grants to Serbia, and the sum was also used to reconstruct 74 bridges damaged in the 2014 floods, director of the Office for Public Investment Management Marko Blagojevic said on May 5. Touring a bridge on the Tamis in Kovacica, Blagojevic said it was the 75th bridge rebuilt thanks to an EU donation and added that the works had been done in a way to make the bridges safe and secure for any future potential natural disaster. "These are relatively small bridges, between six and 60 meters long, but at the same time bridges that signify life for local communities," said Blagojevic. The bridge on the Tamis in Kovacica, which was damaged during the May 2014 floods, has been in operation since past January, while the reconstruction lasted from September to December 2016 and cost roughly EUR350,000. Acting head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Oscar Benedict said that great care should be taken in Serbia to prevent repeat floods and disasters due to heavy rainfall. Kovacica Mayor Milan Garasanin thanked the EU for the donation and underscored that the bridge on the Tamis was very important for the municipality of Kovacica.

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