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DAILY SURVEY 09.05.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: INDIA, NEPAL AND SRI LANKA - THREE VOTES FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, 8. May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said after a series of visits to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka that Serbia could count on "three sure votes in favor of its territorial integrity and sovereignty." "These visits are very important as they took place many years after the last top-level meetings. Serbia's senior officials haven't travelled to Sri Lanka for 21 years, while the last highest-ranking visits to India and Nepal happened 10 and seven years, respectively," Dacic said. The Serbian foreign minister described his talks as "very positive," adding that the officials he talked to promised not to change their position on Kosovo's independence, the Serbian foreign ministry reported. "From a political viewpoint, these were extremely successful visits. Serbia didn't use the good standing of the past often enough, allowing the other side to work with our friends, as we didn't maintain regular communication with them, nor did we brief them properly," said Minister Dacic, having visited the three states from May 2 to May 8. The economic relations could be better, Dacic said, adding that it's very important to organize business conferences and link chambers of commerce. The minister also suggested that a visa-free regime should be considered for Nepal and Sri Lanka. "It is possible to raise the number of scholarships for their students, but it is also necessary to identify the best modes of cooperation in tourism, the pharmaceutical sector, medicine and military industries," Dacic said. The foreign minister also said that the plan was to continue talks with all "friendly states," so that they would maintain their positions on the territorial integrity of Serbia, and that Belgrade would also work with the states expected to withdraw recognition of Kosovo's independence.

VUCIC: SERBIA ON EUROPEAN PATH BUT WILL NOT INTRODUCE SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

MOSCOW, 8. May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Moscow, on May 8, that Serbia would not introduce sanctions against Russia. "Serbia is on a European path, but when it says that it will not introduce sanctions against the Russian Federation, then that means that it will not introduce them. When it says that it will not join NATO and that it is militarily neutral, they know that that means that," said Vucic, who was to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later on May 8. The Serbian president said that there were many topics to discuss with Putin, with whom, he said, he had met more times than all of Serbia's heads of state in the past 30 years together, which meant "greater cooperation and greater trust." "Simply, things change at a daily level in the modern world. I am also happy that our relations are such that, when necessary, despite the difficult situation [...], that Putin called even then -- when there was a crisis in northern Kosovo," Vucic said, referring to a fire in a Moscow shopping mall in which scores of children died. He said that he expected "a long, friendly and open discussion" with Putin. "We will discuss speeding up economic cooperation, energy, above all the Turkish Stream and gas supply to Serbia, military-technical cooperation, and most of all global and regional policy, the preservation of Serbia's neutral military status, and Kosovo," Vucic said. Vucic said that he would seek Putin's counsel and ask for his opinions, and also voice certain pleas as "Serbia is too little a country to expect anything from Russia." He said that early on May 9 he was scheduled to attend a Victory against Fascism parade and lay wreaths with Putin, followed by participation in an Immortal Regiment march. "This is a sign of the genuine and open friendship between Serbia and Russia. This is an important signal for Serbia and a huge honor for its representatives," Vucic said, adding that he would invite Putin to visit Serbia for the celebration of victory in World War I, the addition of Vojvodina to Serbia and other important victories in WWII in 1944.

RUZIC, KOPRIVNIKAR: PEOPLE ARE KEY TO GOOD GOVERNANCE

BELGRADE, 8. May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of State Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic and his Slovenian counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Koprivnikar, signed on May 8 a memorandum of cooperation in professional development, involving the exchange of knowledge, experience and best practices in the area, as well as internship programs. Minister Ruzic said that the support and experience of neighbors were very important to Serbia, especially from those who went through the EU accession process. "Serbia has developed cooperation with Slovenia in many areas of public administration reform. At today's joint session of the Serbian and Slovenian governments, we focused on professional development, exchange of relevant knowledge and experience, as we have agreed that staff were key to good governance," the Serbian minister said. Koprivnikar said that an institution or an organization couldn't be successful without educated, trained and motivated staff.

ISRAELI AMBASSADOR ON UNDERSTANDING, FRIENDSHIP AND SOLIDARITY WITH SERBIA

BELGRADE, 8. May 2018 (Beta) - The Israeli ambassador to Serbia, Alona Fisher-Kamm, said at a May 8 reception in Belgrade to celebrate Israel's 70th birthday that the bilateral relationship was based on mutual understanding, friendship and solidarity. The deep feelings are the result of historic events, a strongly integrated Jewish community in Serbia, shared interests and visions for the future, the ambassador said. She added that the 70 years behind Israel were the years of challenges and wars, but her country "always aspired to peace and reconciliation." Israel has managed to protect its democratic values as a basis for the spirit of tolerance, creating a society where religion, cultures, nations, tastes and aromas intertwine, the ambassador said. The Israeli diplomat described her country as young, modern and dynamic, proud of achievements in agriculture, agrarian technologies, water management, IT technologies, innovation and cyber safety. There are 70 Israeli companies operating in Serbia today, contributing to bilateral relations as well, Fisher-Kamm said. The ceremony hosted by the Belgrade City Hall was used to present the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as a kibbutz, a unique socialist agricultural community, and an innovation center, where the guests used VR glasses in a virtual tour of Israel.

ECONOMY

SME DIGITIZATION IN SERBIA ACCORDING TO AUSTRIAN MODEL

BELGRADE, 8. May 2018 (Beta) - Representatives of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce held in the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce on May 8 a seminar for members of regional chambers of commerce in Serbia on its own model for the digital transformation of small and medium sized enterprises which will be applied by Serbia. Deputy general manager of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Mihailo Vesovic told BETA that this organization had established a Center for the Digital Transformation of SMEs. "Digitization is a global trend and the survival of companies depends on it," Vesovic said. He added that larger companies were solving this problem on their own, while the Serbian Chamber of Commerce would aid SMEs. The more digitization is advanced, he said, the bigger the advantage firms will have. "We will make a network of regional consultants from these chambers who will act as support for digitalization according to the Austrian and German chambers of commerce, with the help of the German GIZ organization for international cooperation," Vesovic said. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce, he said, will train at least 20 consultants who will receive certificates and assist the transition to digital by SMEs.

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