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DAILY SURVEY 30.04.2018.
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SERBIA

VUCIC NOT OVERLY OPTIMISTIC, PROMISING TO FIGHT FOR LIFE TO WIN IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

SKOPJE, 27. April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on April 27 that he was not very optimistic about Kosovo and Metohija, but that he would fight for life to prevail in the territory, as a solution had to be found for the future. "It is important to talk about the future, and try to solve the problem, however bitter and resentful I may feel... I am not very optimistic, but as I have said before, I will fight for life to win," Vucic told reporters in Skopje. After a meeting of the regional Brdo-Brioni Process leaders, President Vucic said that talks with Pristina's representatives had to continue, because "the stupidest" thing was to close the door to dialog. "I have said that we want to continue the dialog. Perhaps I am not the best person for the task at this point... If it is not me, it will be someone else, but Serbia has to keep the talks going," Vucic said. The president warned that "people are leaving in search of a better life, because many in the Balkans still think we should fight each other," adding that it was high time that they stopped. "I will do my best to end this 'circulus vitiosus' and take us all out of it," Vucic said. The Serbian president said that at the Brdo conference he had noted that he was tired of the story of two sides, and that he showed what Belgrade had done, and what Pristina had yet to do. "We exchanged words, Thaci and I. Thaci said that we did not meet the requirements from an energy agreement, when an energy agreement does not exist. The Brussels agreement says that we are going to discuss an energy and telecommunications agreement. Okay if that is how you want it," Vucic said, adding that he did not shake hands with Thaci.

VUCIC: SERBIA, CROATIA APPEAR RIDICULOUS IN THE EYES OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

SKOPJE, 27. April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on April 27 that the reciprocal steps that Serbia and Croatia had introduced against each other made them look ridiculous in the eyes of the international community. "It is important to understand that we both look ridiculous in the eyes of the international community, like two enormous logs. It does not really matter that it is not our fault, and that as a state you have to make reciprocal moves, because we all look ridiculous, as everyone in the world is asking themselves what is wrong with these two," Vucic told reporters in Skopje, where he attended the annual meeting of the Brdo-Brioni Process leaders. President Vucic added that "Serbia and Croatia live in two different worlds, even more so when it comes to Jasenovac and other important issues, moral rather than historical." Vucic also said that Serbia should mind its own business and try not to take part in something that could tarnish its reputation. "Let them do their job, we should mind our own business instead, keeping our own interests in mind," the president said.

VULIN: JASENOVAC IS SYMBOL OF MY WORLD, BLEIBURG EPITOMIZES PLENKOVIC'S

BELGRADE, 27. April 2018 (Beta) - "Jasenovac is a symbol of my world" while Bleiburg is Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's symbol, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on April 27, in a reaction to Plenkovic's words that a Serbian government decision to ban the Croatian defense minister from visiting Serbia until further notice "is not a reciprocal move." "Ours are two different worlds indeed. Jasenovac is a symbol of mine, and Bleiburg symbolizes Plenkovic's. I am an anti-fascist," Vulin was quoted as saying by his ministry. The Croatian prime minister said earlier on April 27 that Serbia had made a bad decision to declare Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic a persona non grata, explaining that it made no sense to compare the incomparable, and that "there is no reciprocity behind Damir Krsticevic's statement about two worlds." The Serbian government decided that the Croatian defense minister was no longer welcome to Serbia as a reaction to his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vulin being banned from visiting Croatia, after saying that "only the Supreme Commander of the Army of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, can make that decision, not Croatian ministers."

PRESENTATION OF INDEX OF GOOD ADMINISTRATION AT LOCAL LEVEL

BELGRADE, 27. April 2018 (Beta) - The Index of good administration at the local level was presented in Belgrade on April 27, as an indicator of whether towns and municipalities have fulfilled their legal obligations and instituted good practices in areas such as accountability, anti-corruption, efficiency, equality under the law, transparency and participation. According to Serbian Minister of State Administration and Local Government Branko Ruzic, local government and public administration in Serbia in general have been undergoing fundamental reforms in the past years, which are meant to provide for modern, efficient and helpful administration. The minister said the good administration index was an important mechanism for the self-assessment of a local government, which uses a set of well-defined questions to provide a more objective image of the state of cities and municipalities, and concrete recommendations to improve in the areas of efficiency, accountability, transparency, equality and anti-corruption. He urged all towns and municipalities of Serbia to start filling out the Index, stating that this was in their interest. German Ambassador to Belgrade Axel Dittmann said the efficacy of public administration was crucial among Serbia's obligations to bring it closer to membership in the European Union, as over 70 percent of EU directives will be executed at the local level. Djordje Stanicic, general secretary of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, said the Index gave local governments the opportunity to become better and more professional in providing services to citizens. The Index of good administration at the local level is executed within a project called Improving Administrative Efficiency and Efficacy at the Local Level, implemented by the Standing Conference from November 2017 to December 2019 with the financial support of the German GIZ developmental cooperation agency.

BRDO PROCESS LEADERS MEET IN SKOPJE

SKOPJE, 27. April 2018 (Beta) - An annual meeting of the Brdo-Brioni Process leaders took place in Skopje, on April 27. The participants were welcomed by Macedonian President Djordje Ivanov, together with the presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, the states that initiated the Process, Borut Pahor and Kolinda Grabar-Kitanovic, respectively. Apart from these three presidents, the conference was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, his Montenegrin and Albanian counterparts, Filip Vujanovic and Ilir Meta, "Kosovo's" Hashim Thaci and the chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic. This year's special guests were President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the Bulgarian prime minister, Bojko Borisov. The Brdo-Brioni Process was launched by Slovenia and Croatia in 2013, to support the Western Balkans' full integration with the European Union, and to stabilize the situation in the region by strengthening regional cooperation and resolving open issues.

ECONOMY

BRNABIC: SERBIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH AT TEN-YEAR PEAK

BELGRADE, 28. April 2018 (Beta) - The expected growth of GDP in the first trimester of 2018 was 4.5 percent, considerably higher than the projected value of 3.9 percent, according to the latest estimates, the Serbian government said in a press release on April 28. "The growth of the Serbian economy in the first three months of the year is considerably higher than average growth in the region and in the European Union," the press release reads. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said it was the highest recorded growth in the past decade and called it the result of reforms launched by the previous cabinet headed by sitting President Aleksandar Vucic. "Equally important as the growth rate is the fact that the model of economic growth is changing. Instead of debt and consumption, which were the basic engines of the Serbian economy ten years ago, growth is now founded on sustainable sources, primarily production, investment and innovation," Brnabic said. There is a RSD6.1 billion surplus in the Serbian budget. A RSD40.1 billion deficit was planned for the first four months of the year. "This exceptional result that we have achieved additionally obligates us to continue to work on reaching the projected growth by the end of the year. There is no room to relax," the prime minister said.

DAILY SURVEY

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