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DAILY SURVEY 01.02.2018.
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SERBIA

EP PRESIDENT WITH BRNABIC, GOJKOVIC AND DACIC

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated in Belgrade on Jan. 31, at a meeting with the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, that she expected the announcement of the European Commission's Enlargement Strategy would be a clear signal that European states viewed Serbia as a future equal member of the Union. According to the Serbian government's statement, Brnabic said Serbia was ready for opening the negotiation chapters more swiftly, adding that the end goal of the reforms was not just full EU membership, but also the internal development of society. Brnabic stressed that regional cooperation and the development of relations with neighbors were among the foreign policy priorities of Serbia, and that it was ready to solve open bilateral issues through dialogue and cooperation through regional initiatives.
After his meeting with the speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Maja Gojkovic, Tajani said enlargement was once again one of the EU's main priorities and that Serbia was progressing in the process of European integration. At a joint news conference, Tajani said the EU recognized Serbia's progress on the European path and that Serbia was a bridge between Brussels and other countries.
During a meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, Tajani said the European Union supported the resumption of dialogue on the normalization of relations with Pristina, as the only reliable way towards the entire region's stability.

DACIC, TANIN TALK SECURITY, POLITICAL SITUATION IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met with the U.N. Secretary General's special envoy and UNMIK chief Zahir Tanin in Belgrade, on Jan. 31 to discuss the situation in Kosovo and Metohija ahead of a U.N. Security Council session on the work of the mission in KiM. Dacic and Tanin examined the sensitive political and security situation in KiM, especially in the wake of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, and attempts to do away with the Special Court for Kosovo Liberation Army crimes, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release. Other areas stressed were the importance of a continued and full UNMIK presence, and action to create the conditions for a normal and dignified life for Serbs and members of other non-Albanian communities in KiM, the press release reads. Dacic said Serbia attached great importance to preserving the current pace and format of Security Council sessions on this topic. The Serbian minister voiced gratitude to the effort exerted in carrying out UNMIK's mandate, and the expectation that the mission would continue to implement it in line with Resolution 1244.

VUCIC: NEED TO INTENSIFY INVESTIGATION OF IVANOVIC'S MURDER

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Jan. 31 stressed the need to intensify the investigation of the murder of the leader of the Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice, Oliver Ivanovic, and that the murderers and those who had ordered it had to be brought to justice. "We demand and request that the investigation be more intensive and that the murderers and those who ordered it be brought to justice," Vucic said in Belgrade, at a joint news conference with the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. Ivanovic was murdered on Jan. 16. Vucic reiterated that the European Union expected Serbia to sign a legally binding agreement with Pristina, after which Serbia could become an EU member. "Tajani did not give any warnings, but said what was true - that the EU expects us to make a legally binding agreement with Pristina, after which we can become an EU member," Vucic said. The Serbian president said he and Tajani had discussed the rule of law, regional stability, peace and how Serbia could accelerate its path to the EU. "The European Parliament supports Serbia's membership and we discussed concrete topics about how and in what way we could accelerate our path to the EU," Vucic said. He thanked the president of the European Parliament for supporting Serbia because, as Vucic said, he was a man who demonstrated true respect for Serbian citizens. "If only Europe had more people with that approach to Serbia, who would show such respect, I am convinced we would have been much more diligent in the past 18, 19 years and would have accomplished better results," Vucic said.

VUCIC: I WILL GO TO CROATIA ON FEB. 12 AND 13

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on Jan. 31 that he would visit Croatia on Feb. 12 and 13, at the invitation of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. At a joint news conference with the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, Vucic said that, during the visit, he would meet with Croatian officials and representatives of the Serb people there. "I believe it is extremely important that we talk and solve the problems between the two states. It is important to think about what is needed and what we can do together," Vucic said. He stated that he would talk to Croatian officials about what should be done to help the Serbs in Croatia, stressing that he would ask the authorities there for help in reviving the Serb-populated villages, in solving the problems with regard to the missing and property issues. Vucic said he would be going to Croatia with the desire to do something good for "our children and the future." "I hope we will move things forward a little. We cannot expect or fear that things could be much worse than this," Vucic stated. On Jan. 30, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic invited Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to visit Croatia in mid-February. Vucic said he would talk with the president of Republika Srpska (RS), Milorad Dodik, on Feb. 1 and, also soon, with the Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mladen Ivanic.

BRNABIC: NEW INVESTMENTS CREATE JOBS, ENSURE ECONOMIC GROWTH

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Jan. 31 that attracting foreign investments was a priority for the Serbian government as they create new jobs and ensure economic growth. She told the conference EU-Serbia 2018: Investment, Growth and Job Creation, that Serbia was attractive to investors because it has reached macroeconomic stability and fiscal consolidation, while simultaneously exhibiting economic growth, which is unusual. "Last year, Serbia attracted 2.6 billion's worth of foreign investment and was the most successful in the region, but it must continue to improve its business climate," the PM said. According to her, the European Union is Serbia's most important partner, having raised its imports to the EU market by 80 percent -- 87 percent of which are industrial products. "The entire region now needs more employment," Brnabic said, adding that Serbia had reduced unemployment to 12 percent. She further specified that youth unemployment had shrunk from 52 percent in 2014 to 30 percent, but noted that it was still high. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani attended the conference too, saying that youth employment must be increased through the development of small and medium enterprises. We need a realistic economy and banks that will finance small firms. SMEs are at the heart of our economy and banks need to support them because they face issues with financing, he said. Financial contracts and agreements on modernizing railway infrastructure in Serbia and on executing a regional housing program were signed during the conference. The signatories were representatives of the Serbian government, the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe and Infrastruktura Zeleznica Srbije.

VUKOSAVLJEVIC AND DEL TODO: TRADITIONALLY GOOD RELATIONS OF SERBIA AND CUBA

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister for culture and information, Vladan Vukosavljevic, and the ambassador of Cuba, Gustavo Trista del Todo, had talks in Belgrade on Jan. 31 about the development of cultural cooperation between Serbia and Cuba. At the meeting, they agreed about continuing activities for signing the agreement on cooperation between Serbia and Cuba, and the exchange of artists who work in the field of contemporary creativity, the Serbian government stated. They concurred that relations between the two countries were at a high level, and that 2018 was important because of marking 75 years of diplomatic relations. According to the statement, Vukosavljevic and Del Todo concurred that culture was the essence of living and investment should be made in it, and that Cuba should have a greater presence in Serbia and vice-versa.

TAJANI CONFIDENT SERBIA WILL IMPLEMENT STATE OF LAW, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS REFORMS

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Jan. 31 voiced the conviction that Serbia would implement the reforms needed in the rule of law and freedom of the press in order to join the European Union. After meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Tajani said a great deal remained to be done in the areas of the state of law, constitutional reform and freedom of the press, but added that he was confident Serbia would do everything necessary, as all European countries have. He said the EU required the rule of law and freedom of the press from member countries, too. Sometimes we are strict. But if we want to be strict with others we must be strict with ourselves, as well, he added. Tajani said his conversation with Vucic had been very positive and that they had discussed how to accelerate Serbia's accession to the EU. He said Serbia was Europe, but that Serbia was a big country that carries a great deal of responsibility in the situation in the West Balkans. After meeting with Vucic, Tajani said the president of Serbia showed great foresight and that he admired his acceptance of an invitation from the president of Croatia to visit Zagreb, and his demonstration of a willingness to talk.

EU EXPECTS BINDING LEGAL DOCUMENT FROM BELGRADE, PRISTINA

BELGRADE, 31 January 2018 (Beta) - European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said in Belgrade, on Jan. 31 that the European Union expected a legally binding document to be signed between Belgrade and Pristina before Serbia can join the EU. What Vucic said is true, it is extremely important to us that there is a binding legal document between Belgrade and Pristina, Tajani said after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. In a joint address to the media, Tajani said the EU insisted that there should be dialogue on Kosovo. He added that the EU condemned the murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic and demanded that those responsible be brought to justice.

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