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DAILY SURVEY 02.02.2018.
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SERBIA - SLOVENIA

PAHOR, BRNABIC DISCUSS CONDITIONS FOR COOPERATION OF BUSINESSES

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic talked in Ljubljana on Feb. 1 with Slovenian President Borut Pahor, who stressed that it was the obligation of the two governments to secure better conditions for more direct cooperation between the two countries' businesses. Brnabic and Pahor concurred that Serbia and Slovenia were "dedicated to improving cooperation through open political dialogue and mutual support in important issues," stated the Serbian government. They also stressed the importance of cooperation through regional initiatives and processes, like the Berlin Process and the Brdo-Brioni Process which had significantly contributed to the deepening of cooperation in the Western Balkans. They also said cooperation within the "mechanism" of cooperation between China and countries of East and Central Europe was very important. Ana Brnabic told Pahor that Serbia particularly appreciated the help and support of Slovenia in the process of its European integration, and that admission to the EU was the strategic foreign policy goal of Serbia. Brnabic confirmed Serbia's readiness to develop the "regional investment agenda" and cited as an example the work of the Serbian-Slovenian mixed committee for economic cooperation.

BRNABIC, CERAR: SERBIA AND SLOVENIA HAVE EXCELLENT POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - The prime ministers of Serbia and Slovenia, Ana Brnabic and Miro Cerar, concurred on Feb. 1 that Serbia and Slovenia had excellent political, economic and cultural relations, but that there were still more possibilities for cooperation. After the fourth joint session of the governments of Serbia and Slovenia, held at the Brdo Castle near Kranj, Brnabic said that "there are quite a few issues that we are working on together," adding that cooperation in joint appearance on third markets should be developed. "Political and economic relations are excellent and we hope these relations will become even better in the future. Friendship with Slovenia is important to us. Our trade is growing continuously. In 2017, trade amounted to more than 1.5 billion euros, with exports from Serbia to Slovenia having grown by 16 percent and from Slovenia to Serbia by around 2.5 percent, while trade in 2016 was worth around 915 million euros," Brnabic said. She pointed out that Slovenian investors were an important link in Serbia's economic development, and that Slovenia was the eighth biggest investor in Serbia. Brnabic thanked the Slovenian government and that country's citizens for their support to Serbia's European integration, and reiterated that Serbia was strategically oriented toward the EU. The Slovenian prime minister said Slovenia was supporting Serbia on the path to the EU, and the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. "Trade in 2017 was the highest in the past 10 years. Serbia is among the most important foreign trade partners of Slovenia. In Serbia, 1,500 companies are completely or partially owned by Slovenians, and they employ 25,000 people," he stated. Cerar further said they had also discussed the division of the property of SFRY and, in that context, the Slovenian cultural heritage.
After the session of the governments of Slovenia and Serbia, the Slovenian minister of labor, Ana Kopac Mrak, and her Serbian counterpart Zoran Djordjevic signed an agreement on the employment of Serbian citizens in Slovenia and the memorandum of cooperation in the field of occupational health and safety. Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and the general secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Serbia, Veljko Odalovic, signed a plan of working consultations of the foreign ministries for 2018, while the two countries' ministers of culture, Vladan Vukosavljevic and Anton Persak, signed a letter of intent between the two ministries.

BRNABIC IN LJUBLJANA: ALL INDICATORS SHOW RECOVERY OF SERBIA'S ECONOMY

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in Ljubljana on Feb. 1 that all indicators showed a gradual recovery of Serbia's economy and that the Serbian government had the responsibility to continue improving the business environment. Speaking at the opening of the Business Forum in the Slovenian capital, Brnabic said that "Serbia nowadays does not look like the country that it was only four years ago," when, as she said, it was faced with serious financial and economic problems, and that it could now "boast fantastic results." "Thanks to reforms, Serbia attracted around 2.6 billion euros in foreign direct investments in the course of 2017, which is much more than the entire region combined," Brnabic added. As she said during the Business Forum in Ljubljana, the Serbian government now had the responsibility "to take a significant step forward, on this healthy foundation, toward much more dynamic growth" and continue to improve the business environment. She also said Slovenia was one of the most important foreign investors in Serbia, with a large number of Slovenian companies employing thousands of people, and that there were more and more Serbian companies on the Slovenian market, as well. Brnabic added that the Serbia-Slovenia trade trend was continuously improving and that in 2017 trade totaled upwards of 1.5 billion euros.

SLOVENIAN MINISTER: RULE OF LAW IS CRUCIAL FOR SERBIA'S PROGRESS ON EU PATH

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - The rule of law is the crucial one among the reforms Serbia is implementing in preparation for EU membership, Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said at the Brdo Castle near Kranj on Feb. 1, where the two countries' governments had a meeting. Erjavec said this during a meeting with the Serbian minister of European integration, Jadranka Joksimovic, and concurred with her that interstate relations were at a high level and that political contacts had been stepped up in the past few years, which is a good starting point for developing cooperation, stated the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. The Slovenian minister confirmed Slovenia's support to Serbia's European prospects and concrete assistance in its negotiations with the Union. "With adequate progress in reforms, where the rule of law is crucial, Slovenia will continue to support the high dynamic of the negotiation process," Erjavec said. The Slovenian news agency STA reported that Erjavec and Joksimovic "exchanged views" on the envisaged strategy of EU enlargement, which the European Commission is to present this month. The two ministers confirmed the intention of their two countries to continue the successful cooperation in the succession of SFRY, and pointed out that strengthening regional cooperation and honoring of agreements should continue.

SERBIA

VUCIC, DODIK ON INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IMPORTANT FOR LINKING RS, SERBIA

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik met in Belgrade on Feb. 1 to discuss infrastructure projects vital to connecting Serbia and RS. A press release from the Serbian presidential office said that during the meeting the importance of realizing these projects for fostering the region's economic development was emphasized. Vucic asked Dodik "to invest additional efforts, using his authority, to speed up the opening of the Ljubovija-Bratunac bridge, which will substantially improve the lives and work of people in that part of Podrinje," the statement added.

VUCIC: AGREEMENT ON NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS EQUALS LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Feb. 1 that there were different models of binding agreements on normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina, but stressed that the document was a window to the future which was supposed to solve current problems. "There are many different modalities, I favor not running from a solution and not maintaining a frozen conflict, I favor not having problems and not leaving our problems to our children; I know that no one wants to hear that, but that is looking to the future and a responsible approach," Vucic told reporters in Belgrade. He said that certain countries were proposing the model of two Germanies, while others felt that Serbia and Kosovo should solve their relations before signing an agreement. "It takes two to tango, others must understand as well that they must compromise, and not just Serbia, to reach an agreement both sides must be equally dissatisfied, or at least slightly satisfied," he said. Asked what was realistic in terms of what could be expected, Vucic replied that it would be a success if an agreement was reached. "If there is no agreement, that is a lot more lost time for Serbia and Serbs," Vucic said. Vucic also said that Spain's opposition to the further integration of Kosovo "is an excellent message from the Spanish people" and announced that Spanish King Felipe would visit Serbia. He also commented on his visit to KiM during which he had met with citizens of Laplje Selo, adding that in seven days an analysis of what had been promised and what had been done would be ready.

VUCIC: TALKS IN ZAGREB WILL BE DIFFICULT BUT HEALTHY

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Belgrade on Feb. 1 that he expected talks in Zagreb to be complicated and difficult, but healthy. He said that his visit to Croatia, scheduled for Feb. 12-13, had been planned for a long time, as well as that he did not understand the argument that now was not the time for visits, but that he accepted that. "I have absolutely no intention of surrendering in any way. My job is to protect Serbia's interests and have the best possible relations with Croatia," Vucic told reporters in Belgrade after attending a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Dedinje Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases. Vucic said that he believed that the talks were needed by both sides and that it was now the job of the presidents of both countries to rationally solve the clear and visible problems of Serbs in Croatia and vice versa. He said that missing persons lists, property rights, and pension rights would be the subject of the "difficult talks" with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. Vucic said that a lot had been done in improving the rights of the Croat minority in Serbia, but that the talks in Zagreb would be a foundation to see what more could be done and what could be improved.

ZORANA MIHAJLOVIC AND QATARI AMBASSADOR DISCUSS COOPERATION IN AIR TRAFFIC

BELGRADE, 1 February 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister of construction, transportation and infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlovic, talked on Feb. 1 with the ambassador of Qatar to Serbia, Mubarak bin Fahd Jassim Mohammed al-Thani, about the signing of an agreement on air traffic between the two countries, and about infrastructure. "Relations between Serbia and Qatar are getting better, as is cooperation with Qatar's national air carrier. Serbia has approved seven direct lines weekly between Belgrade and Doha, and I believe we will soon sign an agreement on air traffic, which will additionally strengthen the two countries' cooperation in this field," Mihajlovic said. She accepted the official invitation of the Qatari ambassador to participate in the Doha Forum, the most important political and economic conference, which rallies politicians, businesspeople, representatives of the academic community, experts and the civil society from around the world, which is held in December, stated the Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure. "I believe the Doha Forum will be a good opportunity, both for the signing of the air traffic agreement between Serbia and Qatar, and for bilateral meetings between our relevant ministers, the purpose of which is the further strengthening of cooperation between our two countries," said the ambassador of Qatar.

DAILY SURVEY

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