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DAILY SURVEY 03.01.2018.
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SERBIA

VUCIC THANKS BORISOV FOR BULGARIA'S SUPPORT TO SERBIAN EU ACCESSION

BELGRADE, 31. December 2017 (Beta) – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke on the phone with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Dec. 31, to extend his New Year greetings and express thanks for Bulgaria's support to Serbia's accession to the European Union. The Office of the Serbian President quoted Vucic as saying that he expected Serbia to make great progress in the accession talks with the Union in 2018, confident that he could continue to rely on Bulgaria's strong support. The Serbian president wished the prime minister every success in Bulgaria's first EU presidency, set to revolve around the European future of the West Balkans, for which he was very grateful as it would strengthen the stability and cooperation in the region. Vucic and Borisov also discussed the importance of the EU-West Balkans summit to be hosted by Bulgaria next May, bilateral ties and specific projects to build infrastructure and energy links between the two states, the Office announced in a press release.

BRNABIC RULES OUT FASTER TRACK TO EU BY RECOGNIZING "KOSOVO", INTRODUCING SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

BELGRADE, 30 December 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has said that, to Serbia, accepting "Kosovo's" independence and introducing sanctions against Russia to speed up the process of European integrations were not an option. "Were we to say today: 'Sanctions to Russia and we acknowledge' Kosovo's' independence' - this road to Brussels would be much easier and faster. But that is not a road that is in Serbia's interest... This road is absolutely not an option for Serbia," Brnabic said in a New Year's interview with the Politika newspaper. The prime minister said that the EU was Serbia's strategic direction, but not at any cost. "The road of reforms, though, where you have rule of law, more efficient courts, where you are cracking down on corruption, have an efficient and transparent state administration, a predictable business environment -- this is all part of the road that lead to the EU, and is in our interest," she said. Speaking on the state of the media, the prime minister said that the media in Serbia were more free than in 2010 or 2011, and that there were many more websites and "so-called investigative media" outlets, which was good. She said that she had set a serious precedent when she met with representatives of the Group for the Freedom of the Media because she was aware that it was just one group, in which there were no representatives of the biggest journalistic society in Serbia -- the Association of Journalists of Serbia.

MOGHERINI: EUROPEAN ROAD FOR BALKANS IN 2018 TO BE DECISIVE

BELGRADE, 2 January 2018 (Beta) – EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini listed 12 events that marked 2017 on her blog -- while the third on the list is the Balkan countries' bid to join the EU, to which this year would be decisive. "It was not an easy year in the Balkans," Mogherini wrote, and recalled that she had visited the region's six capitals during the year, in some cases, at times of deep political crisis. "The path towards reforms has restarted (although there is still much work to do) and the compass of European integration is showing the way. 2018 will be a crucial year, to consolidate and make this path irreversible," Mogherini wrote. "It would be an important result not only for the region, but for the whole of Europe," she noted. The past year was marked by a reigniting of European unity, including the Union's 60th anniversary and the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation on defense. As another important moment in 2017, Mogherini stressed a meeting between the EU and the African Union -- a sign that cooperation between these two institutions encompassed all sectors, including working together to save the lives of migrants. Mogherini also held up as important May 9, Europe Day, which she marked in the U.N. Security Council, given that the EU is an irreplaceable pillar which supports international law, multi-lateral diplomacy and the U.N. system. Another important event in 2017, she said, was the EU's devotion to a historical nuclear agreement with Iran, reiterating the Union's stance on solving the Middle East conflict through the model of two countries. On the list of events that Mogherini said had marked 2017 was the start of training the Libyan coast guard, an April conference in Brussels on Syria which focused on rebuilding the war-torn country, as well as a meeting of EU leaders and six Eastern partnerships - Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

STATE DEPARTMENT CALLS ON "KOSOVO" LEADERS NOT TO CANCEL LAW ON SPECIAL COURT

BELGRADE, 30 December 2017 (Beta) – The U.S. State Department has called on "Kosovo's" leaders to not change the prerogatives and jurisdictions of the Law on a Special Court for crimes by the former Kosovo Liberation Army. In a statement, the State Department said that the U.S. were deeply disturbed by the latest attempts in the "Kosovo Assembly" to deactivate a Law on the Special Court for Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Other Grievous Crimes committed in KiM 1998-2000. "We applauded 'Kosovo's' political leaders when they adopted the law and constitutional amendments in 2015 when the court was founded. We now issue strong calls to the current political leaders and delegates in the 'Kosovo Assembly' to not ruin these achievements by deactivating the Law on the Special court, now or in the future", the statement said. The State Department recalled a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the quest for justice in the Balkan's had not ended, and that the U.S. remain committed in their support for justice and the victims. The State Department released the statement after a U.S. embassy in Pristina statement on Dec. 29 which said that those who claim ("Kosovo's" leaders) that the removal of the Special Court will not adversely affect "Kosovo's" international relations are mistaken. On Dec. 22 the "Kosovo Assembly's" presidency tried to reach a decision to call an emergency session of the "Kosovo Assembly" which would deactivate the Law on the Special Court.

COUNTRY CODES FOR SERBIA, SLOVENIA AND MONACO TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM USE IN "KOSOVO" AS OF JUNE

BELGRADE, 2 January 2018 (Beta) – The country calling codes for Serbia, Monaco and Slovenia, 381, 377 and 386 respectively, which have been in use by "Kosovo's" stationary and mobile network operators, will be withdrawn as of June this year. In the announcement, the "Kosovo Broadcasting Corporation's" Serbian-language website quoted the RAEPK, a regulatory authority for electronic and postal communications, adding that there would be no international telephone operators in "Kosovo" in 2018, as the territory would have its own dialing code -- 383. Based on the Brussels agreement, "Kosovo" was granted its own country code, 383, in December, 2016.

SCOTT: SERBS HAD EXAGGERATED HOPES FOR TRUMP

BELGRADE, 30 December 2017 (Beta) – The U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, said that some Serbian citizens might have harbored much too high a hope that the election of Donald Trump as the new American president would change that country's policy toward Serbia and the region. These hopes might have been exaggerated, because all states base their policies on interests, and there have been no major changes in the Trump administration, which is aware of the importance of Europe and Serbia's full integration into the European Union, the ambassador said in a New Year interview to the Blic daily. Speaking of a Russian-Serbian humanitarian center in Nis, the U.S. diplomat said that "the noise" surrounding the topic had come from those wishing the firefighters trained to assist in emergencies to get diplomatic and territorial immunity. That's not normal. We and the Serbian leaders alike should ask ourselves why that is so important for Moscow and why they demand it. What do we say to them? Serbia should be very careful and suspicious about it, because it's not right. We will continue to be suspicious, and to question the ultimate goal of granting diplomatic status to the center in Nis, Scott said. When asked about "Kosovo", the ambassador said that only lengthy talks and a direct agreement between Serbs and Albanians could produce a sustainable solution, including the Brussels dialogue supported by the U.S.

DAILY SURVEY

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