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DAILY SURVEY 12.06.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: A STRONGER EU TO CURB GROWING POPULISM, RIGHT-WING POLITICS, SUPPORT MULTILATERALISM

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on June 11 that a decline in global cooperation, growing right-wing politics and populism called for a stronger European Union (EU). Dacic was speaking at a Central European Initiative (CEI) conference in Split, Croatia, suggesting that EU enlargement was the best guarantee of regional stability, and that the progress each state made in the EU accession process had a positive effect on the others. "Abandoning multilateralism as a trend, clashes along European boundaries, growing rightist movements and populism, the global radicalization and banalization of politics, terrorism that has survived the defeat of the so-called Islamic State, migrations, Britain's decision to leave the EU are just some of the reminders that Europe and the EU should grow stronger and become united, in order to achieve shared interest within the continent, and globally," Dacic said. The Serbian foreign minister said that the Union's enlargement policy was one of its strongest tools, not only to boost the region's stability and economic prosperity, but also the stability and safety of the Union. "In spite of the obvious political and economic challenges the EU is facing today, we are confident that a clear EU membership perspective has always been, and still is, a major driving force for a series of reform activities and positive regional developments," Dacic said in a speech forwarded to Beta. The minister said that it is very important for Serbia, as well as the Western Balkans at large, that the EU integration process continued, with the expectation that all EU members would be offering unequivocal support and understanding along the way. Dacic described the CEI as a bridge between EU members and EU candidate countries, adding that Serbia's CEI membership was important, even more so in the accession process. The Serbian foreign minister welcomed the efforts by Croatia, the CEI's current chair, wishing the neighbor every success in its term.

DACIC DISCUSSES BILATERAL COOP, EU INTEGRATION WITH ITALIAN COUNTERPART

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, in the Croatian coastal town of Split on June 11, met with his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi to discuss bilateral relations and Serbia's EU integration process. The two officials confirmed good political bilateral relations and expressed their interest in further developing them, including the continuation of holding joint government sessions, while Italy reiterated its backing of Serbia's EU integration, according to a release from the Serbian Foreign Ministry. The meeting was held on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Central European Initiative, whose members include Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Montenegro.

DACIC MEETS WITH U.N. REPRESENTATIVES TO MAINTAIN THE EXISTING SCOPE OF UNMIK

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on June 11 with the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita, and Head of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Zahir Tanin, who reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining the Mission's activity in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244. The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release that the two U.N. officials had noted Serbia's contribution to the preservation of peace and global security, having sent more than 300 peacekeepers to five U.N. peacekeeping missions. Minister Dacic said that it was necessary to maintain the existing scope and mandate of the U.N. mission in Kosovo and Metohija, to guarantee Kosovo's status neutrality. The Serbian foreign minister said that Serbia was committed to a durable compromise for the Kosovo and Metohija issue, and that Serbia would continue to take part in U.N. peacekeeping operations, contributing to collective security.

VUCIC DISCUSSES ATTACKS ON SERBS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA WITH U.N. OFFICIAL

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - President Aleksandar Vucic met on June 11 with U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita. Vucic welcomed the good cooperation with the U.N. and stressed the importance of UNMIK in ensuring peace and stability and the protection of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, but he expressed concern because of the frequent attacks by ethnic Albanians on local Serbs, according to a statement from Vucic's office.The meeting was also attended by UNMIK Chief Zahir Tanin. Vucic handed Keita a list of incidents registered in May as "evidence of systemic and serious violence against Serbs in the Province," the statement said. "Serbia believes the presence of UNMIK in Kosovo and Metohija is very important as the mission enjoys the most trust of the Serbs and other non-Albanian citizens," Vucic said. He further said that Serbia was committed to participating in the collective security system, mentioning the increasing number of Serbian army and police personnel in U.N. peacekeeping missions. Keita thanked Vucic on the engagement of Serbian personnel in U.N. peacekeeping operations. According to the statement, Vucic hailed the effort of U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres particularly in conflict prevention, noting that he believed a more coherent approach and the strengthening the institutional structure of the U.N. would ensure more efficiency in response to crisis situations.

DJURIC MEETS WITH U.N. REPRESENTATIVES: THREATENING STATEMENTS BY ALBANIAN POLITICAL ELITE A REASON FOR CONCERN

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - Director of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric met on June 11 with U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita to discuss the problems of the Serbs in KiM, particularly a series of attacks against them over the past month. Djuric was concerned because, as he put it, there were more and more "threatening and aggressive statements" by the Albanian political elite in Pristina, which in no way contributed to creating a stable regional environment. The Serbian government officials also said that the security situation in KiM required regular meetings on KiM by the U.N. Security Council, adding that the international military mission, KFOR, remained a key guarantor of peace and safety for the Serbs in KiM. Djuric also briefed the U.N. delegation about the Belgrade-Pristina talks. The meeting was attended by Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in Belgrade Simona-Mirela Miculescu, and head of the U.N. Mission in KiM (UNMIK) Zahir Tanin.

ECONOMY

MALI, ROAF: PUBIC FINANCES STABLE, NECESSARY TO PURSUE FISCAL DISCIPLINE

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - Finance Minister Sinisa Mali and James Roaf, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission to Serbia, on June 11 agreed that Serbia's public finances were stable, but that it was necessary to pursue fiscal discipline, continue cutting back the public debt and strengthening institutions. They said that it would mean a stronger economy and the creation of new jobs, according to a release from the Finance Ministry. They also discussed the announced hikes of pensions and public sector wages and also a package of incentives that could contribute to creating a better business climate and improved competitiveness. Mali and Roaf agreed that the new program "The Policy Coordination Instrument" (PCI) was important for an accelerated and sustainable economic and income growth, while preserving macroeconomic and fiscal stability. Mali thanked the IMF representatives on the cooperation so far and the successfully completed arrangement, stressing that the results had been achieved owing to a joint effort. Mali will continue talks with the IMF on June 12, when reforms of the financial and tax systems will be on the table. The IMF delegation, headed by Roaf, will stay in Belgrade until June 13.

RUZIC, ROAF DISCUSS PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFORM, WAGES

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - Public Administration and Local Self-Government Minister Branko Ruzic met in Belgrade on June 11 with James Roaf, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission to Serbia, to discuss the results of the public administration reform and wage system, according to a release issued after the meeting. Ruzic said that talks would start this summer with labor unions on the coefficient for public sector wages, noting that it would be the most difficult job as the wage reform would involve 470,000 employees. He thanked the IMF mission for its support in the previous period, saying he expected cooperation to continue as expert assistance would be of great importance in further wage system reform. "Much has been done in the past few years - laws and accompanying legislation have been passed which have set guidelines for further work so that we can know precisely who does what, at what performance level and for what amount of money," Ruzic said. He also said that the reform was not only contributing to the better management of public finances and human resources, but also to creating a fair and more transparent system and thereby to the higher motivation of public administration employees and the improved provision of services.

EBRD VICE-PRESIDENT: BELGRADE TO BE THE BANK'S WESTERN BALKAN HUB

BELGRADE, 11 June 2018 (Beta) - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Vice President Alain Pilloux said at a June 11 meeting with Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic that it would open the regional headquarters for all the six states of the Western Balkan region in Belgrade. "It's a major change, and a sign that the EBRD wishes to increase its presence on the ground, across the Western Balkans, and in Serbia, as the most important state of the region," Pilloux was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure. Minister Mihajlovic said at the meeting in Belgrade that considerable progress had been made in Serbia's projects financed by the EBRD, and that she expected more efficient cooperation with the bank on new projects, including the first leg of the Nis-Merdare-Pristina highway, linking Nis and Plocnik. "The projects financed by the EBRD along Corridor X, a road rehabilitation project, a traffic safety program, a railway modernization project and planned investments in waterways and air transportation were discussed at the meeting," the Ministry released.

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