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DAILY SURVEY 08.11.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF BULGARIAN, ROMANIAN PARLIAMENTS

BELGRADE, 7 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Croatia's new ambassador to Belgrade Gordan Bakota agreed on Nov. 7 that the two countries should focus on the future and removing the standstill in the operation of joint interstate commissions for resolving open issues. They agreed that a planned visit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to Zagreb "would represent a positive step in relations between the two countries and voiced their readiness for both sides to work jointly on creating the conditions for its realization as soon as possible," the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Dacic wished the Croatian ambassador a courteous welcome and successful term, voicing the conviction that the two countries would establish more meaningful relations based on respect and neighborliness.
The Serbian foreign minister also met with representatives of Romanian parliament's Senate committee on foreign policy and its House of MPs, and a delegation from the Bulgarian parliament's Foreign Policy Committee to discuss the support of these countries for Serbia's European integration and cooperation between the three states. Dacic thanked his guests for their support for Serbia's European integration, which the two delegations reiterated and confirmed that the Western Balkans would be high up on the list of priorities of the chairmanships of both countries over the EU Council in the first half of 2018 or 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The Ministry released a statement on Nov. 7 saying that Dacic had sent a telegram with his condolences to the Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh after the death of 69 people in a typhoon and the enormous material damage it had caused, saying that Vietnam could count on Serbia being a true friend and reliable partner.

VUCIC TO EU AMBASSADOR: SERBIA WILL DO EVERYTHING TO JOIN EUROPEAN FAMILY

BELGRADE, 7 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a Nov. 7 meeting with Head of the EU Mission to Serbia Sem Fabrizi that membership of the Union was Serbia's priority, and that his country would do everything to join the European family, but that for the Belgrade-Pristina talks to continue, the groundwork should be laid first for an agreement to set up the Community of Serb Municipalities. "Before a new round of talks between Belgrade and Pristina begins, the part of the Brussels Agreement referring to the Community of Serb Municipalities should be implemented, as 1,670 days have passed since the date the decision should have been implemented," Vucic was quoted as saying by the Office of the Serbian President. Fabrizi and Vucic also discussed Serbia's EU accession, the rule of law and freedom of the media, the importance of strengthening the judiciary and rule of law in order to meet European standards, and opportunities to attract new investors to Serbia.

VUCIC EXPECTS IMF PRESENCE IN SERBIA TO CONTINUE AFTER ARRANGEMENT EXPIRES

BELGRADE, 7 November 2017 (Beta) - At a meeting with James Roaf, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission in Serbia, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he hoped the financial organization would remain present in Serbia after a three-year arrangement with the Fund expired. Another conclusion made at the meeting was that Serbia had done a great job while implementing the arrangement with the IMF, expiring in February 2018, the Office of the Serbian President reported. Vucic and Roaf discussed the status of public finances, reforms in public corporations and the public sector, a budget framework for 2018 and conditions for making a new arrangement with the Fund, which would not involve borrowing. The Serbian president and the head of the IMF mission to Serbia agreed that the labor market was improving as new jobs opened in the private sector, and unemployment rates dropped. The IMF mission on Nov. 7 completed a visit to Belgrade, and the final, eighth review of the country's arrangement with the Fund.

SERBIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER MEETS WITH KAZAKHSTAN'S PRIME MINISTER

BELGRADE, 7 November 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian parliament speaker, Maja Gojkovic, met in Astana, on Nov. 7, with Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Serbian parliament reported. Gojkovic and Sagintayev agreed that "a dynamic political dialogue, led by the two presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Nursultan Nazarbayev, provides a great incentive for development of cooperation between the two states in many areas," where inter-parliamentary cooperation played an important role, too. Gojkovic said that "Serbia is committed to accession to the European Union, as well as to cooperation with traditionally friendly states, like Kazakhstan." The Serbian speaker thanked Kazakhstan for refusing to recognize Kosovo's independence, "underlining the importance of continuous debates on the Kosovo issue by the U.N. Security Council." At a meeting with Tokayev, special emphasis was placed on the great potentials of Serbian-Kazakhstani cooperation, and on the need to expand bilateral trade.

IMF: SERBIA'S GDP TO GROW TWO PERCENT THIS YEAR, 3.5 PERCENT IN 2018

BELGRADE, 7 November 2017 (Beta) - Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission to Serbia James Roaf said on Nov. 7 that Serbia could expect a GDP growth rate of two percent this year, rising to 3.5 percent in 2018, underlining that the IMF mission had agreed with the authorities on the key parameters of the 2018 national budget. The priority is to preserve the achievements in fiscal discipline, which required a lot of effort, with support to the initiatives to encourage growth, including larger public investments and an easier tax burden on low-income workers, Roaf said at a press conference in the Serbian government building, after the last, eighth review of Serbia's ongoing precautionary arrangement with the Fund, expiring next February. Roaf added that with a pay and pension raise that had been arranged, the 2018 fiscal deficit would be 0.7 percent of GDP, in line with the need to maintain fiscal sustainability and reduce the public debt. Roaf quoted projections that the general state balance should be around the break-even point this year, against the originally planned budget deficit of 1.7 percent of GDP. He also said that the remaining structural flaws in the public sector had to be addressed, adding that permanent solutions were still lacking for problematic companies, in the petrochemical industry and mining in particular. Roaf said that the IMF Board of Directors would discuss the last review report late in December, and discuss an approval to end the arrangement, in which Serbia had not used the funds approved.
Serbian Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic said that at the end of October the budget surplus was RSD79.4 billion, a billion euros over a revised plan. The minister said he would like Serbia's cooperation with the Fund to continue within a new program.
The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) governor, Jorgovanka Tabakovic, said the central bank had been praised by the Fund for a successful monetary policy, a low and stable inflation rate and financial stability in the country. She said that Serbia's total hard-currency reserve was EUR10.6 billion, putting the net reserve at EUR8.9 billion, which was why it was not necessary for Serbia to use the Fund's loan.

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