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DAILY SURVEY 08.01.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH FRANCE'S NEW AMBASSADOR

BELGRADE, 5 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Jan. 5 that he was confident that the newly-appointed French ambassador, Federico Mondolini, would contribute to the development of overall cooperation between Serbia and France. Mondolini said to Dacic that he had arrived in Serbia with a clear mandate given to him by the French president - to develop all aspects of bilateral cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted the new ambassador to Serbia as saying. The diplomat said that for France Serbia was a key state and partner in the Balkans, in terms of regional stability and economic cooperation alike. The Serbian government official described as very important an upcoming visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of WWI, in which Serbia and France fought as allies. Minister Dacic said he was pleased with very good bilateral ties with France, and the growing cooperation between the two states.

VUCIC, MACRON DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT OF SERBIAN-FRENCH RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 6 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian and French presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Emmanuel Macron talked over the phone on Jan. 6 to discuss the development of bilateral reations and Serbia's accession to the European Union (EU), the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS) reported. Vucic met with Macron in Paris, last December, when he attended the One Planet Summit that brought together the world's leaders to discuss the effects of climate change. During the Serbian president's visit to the French capital, Macron promised to visit Serbia before the summer of 2018.

VUCIC, SCOTT DISCUSS EXPANDING COOPERATION, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

BELGRADE, 5 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott met in Belgrade, on Jan. 5 and discussed stepping up cooperation between the two countries, freedom of the press, Serbia's European Union integration and the need to continue the Belgrade-Pristina dialog. Scott presented Vucic with a New Year's and Christmas greeting card from U.S. President Donald Trump, the Serbian presidential headquarters announced. Vucic said that Serbia had modelled its implementation of the rule of law, freedom of expression and the right to objective information on that of the U.S. and its administration. Scott voiced a readiness on the part of the U.S. to be Serbia's partner in reforms that pave the way to advancing rule of law and stressed that the imminent election would serve as a key chance for Serbia to demonstrate its dedication to democratic standards and freedom of the media. The Serbian president and the U.S. ambassador also discussed the need to continue the Belgrade-Pristina dialog, stressing the importance of an internal dialog on Kosovo. Scott said the U.S. administration wanted Pristina to remain committed to supporting the Special Court for Kosovo Liberation Army crimes, just like its demands that other countries in the region ensure justice for all victims of war atrocities. The two collocutors reviewed the progress of Serbian-U.S. relations in the past year and spoke about future cooperation and concrete proposals to improve it. Vucic and Scott recalled that this year would be the 100th anniversary of President Woodrow Wilson ordering that the Serbian flag be hoisted at the White House in a show of support for the U.S.'s Serbian allies, a press release reads. The officials agreed there was increased interest from U.S. companies in investing in the Serbian economy and that the investments were growing steadily. They also noted that almost 100 U.S. companies had invested around four billion dollars and hired approximately 17,000 people. Scott said that the U.S. supported the creation of a better business climate in Serbia through various programs and noted that 2017 had been marked by an increase of military cooperation between the two countries -- almost 100 joint activities included the largest joint paratrooper exercise on record. According to the press release, Vucic and Scott both voiced the hope that 2018 would favorable to Serbia's progress on the path to the EU, in light of the dedication of the Bulgarian presidency to the Western Balkans and the enlargement strategy being drawn up by the European Commission. Another topic touched upon was regional cooperation. Both officials affirmed the need to preserve the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

ECONOMY

BEST BID FOR AIRPORT CONCESSION FRENCH VINCI'S

BELGRADE, 6 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Jan. 6 that the French corporation Vinci Airports had made the best offer for a 25-year concession for the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade. During a visit to the National Museum of Serbia, Brnabic told reporters that the planned income from the concession and investments was EUR1.5 billion over the next 25 years, after which the airport will be handed back to Serbia. Brnabic said Vinci's bid was the best in every category - financial, technical and legal. She added that the French corporation already ran eight airports worldwide.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Vinci had offered EUR501 million for the concession, EUR417 million of which would be channeled into the national budget and the rest, EUR84 million, to small shareholders, i.e. Serbian citizens. Vucic said Vinci had an obligation to invest EUR732 million, and that the annual concession tax would range from EUR4.3 million to 16 million. He said there would be no layoffs at the airport as Vinci's contractual obligation was to keep the workforce, and underlined this as one of the deciding factors in the decision to pick Vinci. Vucic also said Vinci had also assumed the obligation of not changing airport fees for three years.

VUCIC ASKS CHINESE PRESIDENT TO HELP FIND A PARTNER FOR RTB BOR MINES

BELGRADE, 6 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Jan. 6 with the Chinese ambassador to Serbia, Li Manchang, to discuss economic cooperation and infrastructure projects, as well as a new partnership with the RTB Bor mining and smelting complex, the Office of the Serbian President said. The Office quotes the Serbian president as asking the ambassador to convey to Chinese President Xi Jinping a request for help in finding a strategic partner for the Serbian mine. The president and the Chinese diplomat described as very important ongoing infrastructure projects, including the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed rail, the final construction works along Corridor XI, on the Obrenovac-Ub and Lajkovac-Ljig sections, and a new highway construction project to link Preljina and Pozega. President Vucic added that it was Serbia's interest to step up the development of industrial parks in Belgrade and Smederevo during 2018. The Serbian president also conveyed "a special request to President Xi Jinping for the development of military and technical cooperation between Serbia and China," the presidential office said.

DAILY SURVEY

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