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DAILY SURVEY 08.09.2017.
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SERBIA

VUCIC: WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIES CAN BE A STRONG ECONOMIC PARTNER TO THE EU

SARAJEVO, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Sarajevo on Sept. 7 that the countries of the Western Balkans could create a regional economic zone and combined be a significant economic partner to the EU, even stronger than some EU member states individually. At a joint conference with Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency chairman Dragan Covic, Vucic reiterated that Serbia respected the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and favored strengthening political, economic and other ties between the two states. Vucic said that he had invited members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency to visit Belgrade before the year ended. "Serbia is a friend to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we will act as a friend and you will be able to see that in the months and years that lie ahead," Vucic said after meeting with the members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency and a meeting of delegations from the two states in Sarajevo. The visit was the first by a Serbian president in six years and Vucic's first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina since being elected president. Dragan Covic said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's visit to Sarajevo marked a new era of relations between the Bosnian Presidency and the president of Serbia. Covic said economic topics had been discussed with the delegation from Serbia, the question of borders as well as joint infrastructure and energy projects between the two states.

BRNABIC, MACEDONIAN AMBASSADOR DISCUSS NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met in Belgrade on Sept. 7 with the Macedonian ambassador to Serbia, Vera Jovanovska Tipko, to discuss the further development of good neighborly relations and regional cooperation. During the talks, Brnabic said that Serbia and Macedonia had a lot of room for developing mutual relations, especially in the fields of economy and tourism, the Serbian government has said in a press release. She added that the implementation of the Action Plan for the regional economic space in the Western Balkans was an important issue, which would make cooperation easier and better. The two officials concurred that there could be no economic prosperity without political stability, and that an honest and open dialogue was the only way to settle all open issues. Ana Brnabic also said that she had invited Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to visit Belgrade, and that the visit would represent a positive step in the two countries' relations.

SERBIA COMMENDED FOR APPROACH TO MIGRANT CRISIS

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - The speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Pedro Roque, commended Serbia in Belgrade on Sept. 7 for its humanitarian approach to the refugee problem, adding that not even some EU countries had such an approach and were erecting fences and walls instead. After a meeting with Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, Roque declared support to Serbia's European integration and said that, when it became a member, Serbia would give a strong contribution to the European Union, like it was currently doing in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean. Serbia, according to Roque, is very active in that organization. It currently holds the post of vice president and, in 2019, it will host the General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, the organization that rallies the Mediterranean countries of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Maja Gojkovic said that more than a million migrants had passed through Serbia, and that there were around 5,000 of them in reception centers. She added that Serbia had special programs for the vulnerable migrant population, primarily children and women.

VULIN MEETS IRANIAN DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin met on Sept. 7 with the deputy defense minister of Iran, Nasrollah Kalantari, and discussed the accomplishing of Serbia's foreign policy goals. Vulin told the guest that Serbia based its defense policy of military neutrality, while cooperating with partners in the East and West alike, the Defense Ministry has stated. Vulin said international law had to be abided by and thanked the Iranian side for its principled support to Serbia's legitimate efforts for preserving sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija.

STEFANOVIC, SLOVENIAN MINISTER OF INTERIOR ON COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - The interior ministers of Serbia and Slovenia, Nebojsa Stefanovic and Vesna Gjorkos Znidar, met in Brdo Castle near Kranj on Sept. 7 to discuss continued cooperation and Slovenia's further support for Serbia in the process of European integration. The subject of the talks mostly focused on Slovenia's support for Serbia as regards Chapter 24 - Justice, freedom, security, the Serbian Ministry of Interior said. Stefanovic also talked in Brdo Castle near Kranj with Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) director Thomas Guerber on projects for supporting the Interior Ministry of Serbia, especially for managing the border, but also other projects that can contribute to raising efficiency.

DIGITAL 2017 CONFERENCE OPENS IN BELGRADE

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - A two-day regional conference on trends in the areas of telecommunications and the media, Digital 2017, opened in Belgrade on Sept. 7, where it gathered a large number of domestic and regional experts who will discuss the challenges they face in the market. The conference, organized by the Color Media Communications company at the Metropol Hotel, was opened by Minister of Culture and Information Vladan Vukosavljevic, who said that digitalization was one of the government's strategic goals and that, in that respect, Serbia was on par with other countries in the region. State secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matic said that according to an index of growth in telecommunication technologies Serbia was in 55th place. Indian Ambassador to Serbia Narinder Chauhan said that digitalization had become a cornerstone of the policy of the Serbian cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

FABRIZI PRAISES REFORMS IN ECONOMY

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - The chief of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, had separate meetings in Belgrade on Sept. 7 with Serbian Minister of Economy Goran Knezevic and the minister of trade, tourism and telecommunications, Rasim Ljajic. During the meeting with Knezevic, Fabrizi praised the reforms that had been carried out in the field of economy, and pointed out that they had to continue. Knezevic presented to Fabrizi the five priority fields for the Ministry of Economy and pointed out that exchange of experience was very important for the ministry he was in charge of. At the meeting with Ljajic, the chief of the EU Delegation to Serbia stressed that the EU was ready to provide expert and any other form of assistance to Serbia for it to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and for strengthening regional economic cooperation. It was pointed out that the EU was Serbia's most important trade partner, that 67 percent of Serbia's overall exports went to the EU, and that the coverage of imports with exports had reached a historic maximum of over 80 percent.

ANTIC: GAS INTERCONNECTION WITH ROMANIA ALSO IN CONSIDERATION

BELGRADE, 7 September 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian minister of mining and energy, Aleksandar Antic, said on Sept. 7 that Serbia was actively working on the project of the gas interconnection with Bulgaria, but that it was also interested in an interconnection with Romania. "We are monitoring the gas projects in the region with great attention. For Serbia, the gas interconnection with Bulgaria is a crucial project, and we are closely considering the interconnection with Romania, which had good results in exploring its gas fields in the Black Sea," Antic told reporters. In Alexandroupoulis, Greece, at the first oil and gas forum organized by the Hellenic Association for Energy Economics and the American-Greek Chamber of Commerce, Antic met with the Greek and Bulgarian energy ministers, George Stathakis and Temenuzhka Petkova. Antic announced that a new meeting of the relevant ministers of Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria would be held in Bucharest on Sept. 28 and 29, to discuss gas interconnection projects and sign a declaration, on the basis of which the three states would harmonize the dynamics of realization of these projects. He added that the next trilateral meeting of the energy ministers was to be held at the end of the year in Belgrade.

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