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DAILY SURVEY 14.05.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: EUROPEAN, GLOBAL STABILITY HINGES ON NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA, EU, NATO

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on May 11 that the normalization of relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) on one side, and Russia on the other, was a key condition for stability, economic growth and all forms of progress in Europe and the world. Dacic explained at an international inter-parliamentary conference in the Serbian parliament building that Serbia was a small, yet proud state, willing to protect its national interests in the best way and contribute to regional, European and global peace and progress at the same time. "Serbia is conducting a military neutral policy, and has no intention of joining existing military alliances. It is on these grounds that it is cooperating with NATO as a partner, via the Partnership for Peace Program. A neutral military status is no obstacle to the development of partnership in the best interests of global and regional security," Dacic said at a panel debate called, European Security: The Relationship between NATO, EU and the Russian Federation. Minister Dacic added that Serbia had been maintaining transparent cooperation with Russia, which was in no way detrimental to the country's ties with the Alliance or to achieving the strategic foreign policy goal of joining the EU. "I believe that a good relationship between Russia and NATO is key to peace and security in the world, and instrumental in successfully responding to global challenges and threats, including terrorism, extremism, radicalism and all other forms of contemporary security challenges," he said. The Serbian foreign minister said that the Kosovo issue was of key importance for regional and European security alike, but that it was also Serbia's chief political and security challenge.

VUCIC: CITIZENS OF SERBIA TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINION ON KOSOVO SOLUTION

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on May 11 that the citizens of Serbia would be given a say on a solution for Kosovo. At a joint press conference with Chairman of the EU Affairs Commission in the German Bundestag Gunther Krichbaum, President Vucic said that Serbia was ready for talks and for a compromise, but not for blackmail and threats. "The citizens of Serbia will have an opportunity to state their opinion on what we think is a rational compromise," Vucic said. The Serbian president said that Germany was a major trade partner to Serbia and that he believed that that would not change in the next 30 years, which clearly showed how important it was to maintain the best possible relations with Germany. Vucic said that additional reforms in the area of the rule of law were expected to attract more German companies.

VUCIC, BORISOV TALK OVER TELEPHONE

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - In a May 11 telephone conversation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic discussed the EU integration process ahead of an EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia. President Vucic confirmed that he would take part in the May 17 summit, contributing to the stabilization of the situation in the Western Balkans, with a special emphasis on the Belgrade-Pristina relationship, and reducing tensions after the unfortunate events in the north of Kosovo, the Office of the President said. Vucic said that Serbia would continue to contribute to regional ties. The Office also said in a press release that the president and the prime minister discussed plans and projects for gas links between the two states, along with opportunities to act together in arrangements with stronger partners, so that they could protect the interests of Serbia and Bulgaria.

KRICHBAUM: I DON'T THINK AGREEMENT ON KOSOVO HAS BEEN MADE

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - Chairman of the EU Affairs Commission in the Bundestag Gunther Krichbaum said during a May 11 visit to Belgrade that he did not think Western diplomats had agreed on a solution for Kosovo. At a joint press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the German parliamentarian said he did not know whether diplomats from the Quint states had met or not, but that he did not think that an arrangement had been reached. Krichbaum said that "diplomatic meetings are always fruitful," but that he was not aware of any agreement. "I do not think it exists, and it cannot exist," the German official said, answering a journalist's request for his comment on a report by the Pristina-based Gazeta Express that the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy had discussed the Belgrade-Pristina talks and that reports suggested that they could end in an agreement by the end of the year. President Vucic said that Serbia possessed certain information, and that in the coming days it would be clear what was going on. "Something happened. I have certain information. We will know what in the coming days," Vucic said. The Serbian president said that "all of them treat Kosovo as a state." "For me, it is not problem to say that we think differently," Vucic said.

KRICHBAUM MEETS WITH PM BRNABIC, MINISTER JOKSIMOVIC

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met on May 11 with Gunther Krichbaum, Chairman of the EU Affairs Commission in the German Bundestag, saying that Germany was Serbia's important strategic partner. Her office quoted her as saying in a press release that Serbia was investing great efforts to remain recognized as a reliable, credible and predictable partner to Germany. The Serbian prime minister said she believed the upcoming summit in Sofia would confirm the EU perspective of the Western Balkans. The German MP said that that Serbia's progress in approaching EU membership, was not just the progress that the country was making for the sake of membership in the Union, but also in ensuring a safe future for the state and its citizens, reiterating that Germany would continue to support Serbia's EU perspective. Kirchbaum said that Serbia, with its good infrastructure and qualified workforce, was an attractive market tor German investors, which the large number of German companies operating in Serbia proved.
The German official also met with Serbia's minister in charge of EU accession, Jadranka Joksimovic, who informed him that Serbia had prepared negotiating positions for five accession chapters, and that it expected a new set of chapters to open by the end of June, under Bulgaria's presidency of the Council of the European Union. Joksimovic specified that Serbia was ready for Chapters 33 (financial and budgetary provisions), 9 (financial services), 13 (fishery), 18 (statistics) and 17 (economic and monetary union).

FABRIZI: IT'S ONLY NATURAL FOR WESTERN BALKANS TO JOIN EU

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi said on May 11 that it is "natural" for the Western Balkans to be in Europe, describing it as a geopolitical investment not only in terms of security, but prosperity and political relations as well. At an inter-parliamentary conference called To Peace and Development Through the EU Idea hosted by the Serbian parliament, the EU ambassador said that the Union's enlargement strategy to include the Western Balkans focused on regional cooperation, good neighborly relations and the development of regional ties. In a reference to Serbia's neutral military status, Fabrizi said that a country's entry into the EU did not necessarily imply accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), explaining that not all EU states had joined the Alliance, and that he was glad that NATO had recognized Serbia's military neutrality. In his opinion what matters is that Serbia and the Alliance have maintained good, solid cooperation. President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Paolo Ali said that the Alliance and the EU played an important role in the Western Balkans, and that it was clear that Europe could never be complete without the region's full integration, adding that Serbia had greatly contributed to stability in the Balkans. Speaking of relations between the EU, NATO and Russia, Sergey Kislyak, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Parliament, said they were "in a disappointing state," describing them as "concerning." The Russian official said the post-Cold War agreement with the West that it would not expand further than Western Germany's border had been disregarded.

SOLTES: SERBIA TO TRY AND SOLVE MOST CRITICAL ISSUES BY NOVEMBER

BELGRADE, 12 May 2018 (Beta) - Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Igor Soltes said on May 12 that Serbia, as an EU candidate, should try and solve the most critical issues by next October and November, because it would be much more difficult for the country to do so later given that elections for the European Parliament were scheduled to take place in 2019. At an international parliamentary conference called, The Idea of the EU: Towards Peace and Development, Soltes said that there was ample room for what Serbia needed to do in the areas of administration, judiciary, anti-corruption struggle, and fundamental rights, and that Belgrade should continue its talks with Pristina. Soltes also said that the EU was Serbia's number one trade, economic and mobilizing partner, as well as one of its biggest donors. Deputy chairwoman of the Serbian parliamentary committee on EU accession Elvira Kovac said that the Union's enlargement was equally important for candidate countries and the EU. Her Romanian counterpart, Stefan Musoiju, said that Romania would continue to promote a constructive approach and support for enlargement during its presidency over the Union. Macedonian MP Slavica Sumanska Miteva said that the EU had begun as a dream of the few but had come to offer hope to many. Secretary-General of the European Movement in Serbia Suzana Grubjesic said that the Western Balkans were the only region the EU would include in its expansion drive. "It is in the best interest of the EU to have Serbia by its side, just like it is in Serbia's best interest to be part of what is still a better place," she explained.

ECONOMY

MIHAJLOVIC: MAJOR ITALIAN CONSTRUCTION DELEGATION TO VISIT SERBIA LATE IN MAY

BELGRADE, 11 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met with new Italian Ambassador to Serbia Carlo Lo Cascio on May 11 and discussed cooperation in the areas of transportation and infrastructure. Mihajlovic stressed her department's good cooperation with Italy, particularly stressing the importance of the experience and know-how that Italian companies had brought to Serbia. According to a press release by the ministry, the two officials also discussed the up-coming visit of an Italian construction delegation, spearheaded by the ANCE construction association, due to arrive in Serbia late in May. This will be a chance to learn about infrastructure projects whose realization is planned in the near future, the statement stressed. Lo Cascio highlighted the Italian side's readiness to deepen cooperation between the two countries through concrete projects. It is a great honor for me to come back to Serbia after ten years as ambassador. Our countries have good relations in all sectors, and I am sure we will do a lot together, Lo Cascio said.

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