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DAILY SURVEY 21.02.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: ALLIANCE BETWEEN SERBIA, FRANCE IMPORTANT
BELGRADE, 20 February 2018 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met in Paris on Feb. 20 with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss improving bilateral relations between Serbia and France. Dacic and Le Drian said that this year was very important for remembering France's and Serbia's alliance on the centennial of the end of World War I, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. Dacic said that France's foreign minister would visit Serbia on April 12 and 13 and added that this would be an introductory visit ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit, due to take place at the end of the year. "France wants to be a leader, where assistance to Serbia on our European road is concerned. Serbia is aware of its obligations on this road, the need to continue reforms, to resolve all open issues in the Balkans in a peaceful way and using dialogue, and by that I mean the question of Kosovo and Metohija," he said. During his stay in Paris, Dacic laid a wreath on the grave of An Unknown Soldier underneath the Arc de Triomphe and wrote an entry into the Golden Book. "To an unknown hero, who gave his life for the freedom of the people of Europe and the future of our children, the Republic of Serbia gives its honors and expresses enormous gratitude. The Republic of Serbia and its people, even one hundred years after the end of the Great War, have not forgotten the sacrifice of brave soldiers who gave their lives for Serbia and France. Let glory be theirs forever!," Dacic wrote.

VUCIC PLEDGES WILL DO EVERYTHING TO SHED LIGHT ON FATE OF MISSING PERSONS IN WAR IN CROATIA
BELGRADE, 20 February 2018 (Beta) - On Feb. 20 Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told members of the families of persons gone missing in the war in Croatia that "the state bodies of Serbia will do everything to achieve visible progress in finding missing persons and shedding light on their fate." Vucic met with a delegation from the Alliance of Associations of the Families of Captured and Missing Croatian Defenders. "After listening to all of the problems that they face in finding their sons, fathers, brothers and other family members, President Vucic said that the Serbian state authorities would do everything to help members of the families of missing persons in Croatia and achieve visible progress in finding missing persons and shedding light on their fate, although this is a lot harder with two decades of conflict between us," a statement from Vucic's office said. Earlier on Feb. 20 Vucic met with representatives of the Croatian national minority in Serbia, headed by Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina leader Tomislav Zigmanov, and announced that better days were coming for the Croatian national minority in Serbia.

SERBIAN PM, BRITISH AMBASSADOR DISCUSS EBRD SUMMIT FOR THE BALKANS
BELGRADE, 20 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met with the British ambassador to Serbia, Denis Keefe, to discuss bilateral relations, the situation in the region and the Western Balkans Investment Summit hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Feb. 26 conference taking place at the EBRD headquarters in London will be attended by the Serbian PM, too. Her office reported in a press release that the prime minister and the ambassador had reaffirmed the importance of the investment summit as "a tangible result of European and international institutional commitment to supporting the Western Balkans, in order to accelerate their accession to the European Union." The conference is also viewed as "an opportunity to present the region's great economic potentials to investors." Prime Minister Brnabic underlined that regional peace and stability were Serbia's priorities, and that she expected the Western Balkans Summit, a part of the Berlin Process taking place in London, on July 10, to be yet another contribution to regional ties. Brnabic thanked Great Britain for its support to the EU integration of Serbia and the Western Balkans, solidifying the stability of that part of Europe, Brnabic's office released.

IFC SUPPORTS PROJECT FOR IMPROVING SERBIAN BUSINESS CLIMATE
BELGRADE, 20 February 2018 (Beta) - Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and vice president of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Georgina Baker signed on Feb. 20 an agreement on cooperation between the Serbian government and that organization regarding support for the realization of a Project for Improving the Business Environment in Serbia. The project is supported by Britain and will last until Jan. 1, 2021, the Serbian government said. The purpose of the agreement is reducing the administration businesses face by analyzing 1,750 administrative procedures that pertain to doing business and giving recommendations for their simplification, optimization or cancellation, while one of the goals is to enable the implementation of 100 procedures electronically. A statement said that the project would save businesses at least USD8 million and enhance competition by removing a minimum of two anti-competition practices in chosen areas. Brnabic stated that electronic administration was key to solving the three biggest problems that the state administration was facing - the problems of efficiency, transparency and corruption. She said that digitalization would lead to a substantial reduction in administrative obstacles, whereby it would advance the development of the private sector and entrepreneurship. The IFC representatives lauded the Serbian government's efforts to create a better business environment which would enable more investments, foreign direct investment, strengthen competition, boost employment and the citizens' standard of living. The signing ceremony was attended by IFC Regional Manager for the Western Balkans Thomas Lubeck and British Ambassador to Serbia Denis Keefe.

SERBIAN, ALBANIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS DELEGATIONS DISCUSS ENHANCING COOPERATION
BELGRADE, 20 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Nemanja Stevanovic met on Feb. 20 with a delegation from the Albanian Foreign Ministry, and the participants of the meeting voiced their conviction that bilateral relations and cooperation between Serbia and Albania were on the upswing and would continue to grow. The participants of the meeting said they were sure that the two countries would have more intense cooperation in the area of EU integration, as membership in the EU was a key strategic goal shared by Serbia and Albania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The two officials said that there was "a substantial, untapped potential for enhancing cooperation in the economic sphere," and that both countries were oriented towards intensifying cooperation at the regional level with an emphasis on projects being realized under the Berlin Process. The Albanian delegation is visiting Belgrade for political consultations between the two ministries at the level of political directors, while it is headed by general director for political and strategic issues of the Albanian Foreign Ministry Ferit Hoxha, the statement said.

DAILY SURVEY

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