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DAILY SURVEY 05.07.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC, DITTMANN: RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA AND GERMANY ARE EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic received the German ambassador to Serbia, Axel Dittmann, on a farewell visit on July 4. They concurred that bilateral relations were exceptionally good and characterized by developed cooperation in all fields, the Serbian Foreign Ministry has stated. Dacic thanked Ambassador Dittmann for his personal contribution to the development of bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Germany, stressing that, during his mandate, comprehensive cooperation had intensified, as did the dialogue at high and top levels, where a constant trend of improvement has been registered. Dacic also expressed thanks for Germany's strong support to Serbia in the process of European integration, while Dittmann said Germany would continue this support, the statement reads. The German ambassador thanked Dacic for the close and excellent cooperation with the Serbian Foreign Ministry.

VUCIC: INFRASTRUCTURE AND KOSOVO TO BE DISCUSSED IN THESSALONIKI 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated in Thessaloniki on July 4, ahead of the session of the High Council for Cooperation of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, that he would speak primarily about infrastructure and important political issues, including Kosovo, during his address. In a statement to reporters ahead of the meeting with the prime ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, Alexis Tsipras, Bojko Borisov and Viorica Dancila, Vucic said he would ask Greece and Romania, which have not recognized Kosovo, to maintain that stand. "Two of three countries have not recognized Kosovo and I will ask them to remain firm in their stand. And I will try to once again explain to our Bulgarian friends what our stance is regarding Kosovo and Metohija," Vucic told reporters in Thessaloniki. The Serbian president said he was pleased to be able to meet, for the fourth time in this format, with the "friendly countries" Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. "I expect primarily to discuss infrastructure, important bilateral and overall political and regional issues," Vucic said. Asked to comment on a text by the correspondent of Komerssant, Genady Sisoyev, which BETA has published, about the visit of Ukrainian President Petro Porosenko to Belgrade, representing a logical continuation of Serbia's current foreign policy and an attempt to balance between Russia and the West, which neither the West nor Russia are satisfied with, Vucic said he welcomed this text by Sisoyev. He said he was "very proud of the comment by Sisoyev, who always tries to write a comment" which is against him as the president. "Not the Americans, or Europeans or Russians - none will control the policies of Serbia but the people of Serbia. We are an independent country of proud and dignified people. We have our interests and pursue our policy - not somebody else's. We are nobody's puppet or appendix to be controlled. Nor can anyone from America or the EU summon me and order me what we should do," Vucic stated.

VUCIC CONGRATULATES U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY, INVITES TRUMP TO SERBIA 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on July 4 congratulated Independence Day to U.S. President Donald Trump and invited him to visit Serbia. "It will soon be a full century since the Serbian flag flew at the White House. While recollecting our alliance in history through that great example of a shared past, I wish to once again invite you to visit Serbia in this jubilee year, as the first U.S. president in almost 40 years. Your visit would be of the utmost importance for the further improvement of overall cooperation of our two countries, to which Serbia is strongly committed," Vucic wrote in the message. He wished the U.S. further progress and well-being to its people, with the message that Independence Day was important for all those who respect and look up to the values of the Declaration of Independence - that all men are created equal, with the right to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. "I am using this opportunity to thank you for the support the U.S. provides on our European path, and especially for support to the efforts Serbia is investing in preserving peace and stability in the Western Balkans," Vucic wrote.

STEFANOVIC, FRENCH AMBASSADOR DISCUSS POLICE COOPERATION AND MIGRATIONS 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic had talks with the French ambassador in Belgrade, Frederic Mondolini, about the issues of migrations and cooperation between the two countries' police forces. They concurred that cooperation in the fight against organized crime was at a good level. According to the statement, the topics of the meeting were migration challenges, how to solve them and the roles of France and Serbia in them. Mondolini commended Serbia for its efforts in the fight against terrorism, with the assessment that the Serbian police were the most efficient in the region in that fight. He said he held the efficiency of the Serbian police in high regard, just as he did the way in which Serbia acted in the previous years during the migrant crisis. Stefanovic reiterated the stance that a joint solution at the level of the whole of Europe was the only solution to the problem of irregular migrations.

AMBASSADOR ON U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY: AMERICANS ARE TRYING TO CREATE BETTER FUTURE

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade Kyle Scott said on July 3, at a reception in honor of U.S. Independence Day, that Americans were trying to "reach as high as possible," to lead and to create a better future. "The leaders of our revolution were visionaries, idealists, courageous men with conviction, who took bold steps to chart a new direction for the future of our nation and our people. They weren't unanimous, but looking to the future, they created a new nation and set the U.S. on a path that transformed our history," the U.S. ambassador said in his residence at the celebration of the 242th anniversary of the independence of the U.S. Top Serbian officials were present. Scott said that, for decades, Americans have celebrated Independence Day with their families, friends and neighbors. "We rejoice with you, our Serbian neighbors," the U.S. ambassador told the guests at the celebration, whose theme was "Village Fair." Scott said that 2018 was the year of the centennial of the day when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson flew the Serbian flag on the White House as a sign of respect and support to Serbian allies. At the reception, U.S. marines presented the ambassador with a U.S. flag, which was followed by the anthems of Serbia and the U.S. Among the guests at the Independence Day celebration in Belgrade were Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, ministers Ivica Dacic, Zorana Mihajlovic, Jadranka Joksimovic, Zoran Djordjevic, Nenad Popovic, Vanja Udovicic, Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Belgrade Mayor Zoran Radojicic, parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej and EU Delegation to Serbia chief Sem Fabrizi.

ECONOMY

GOVERNMENT, GERMAN DEVELOPMENT BANK SIGN MEMORANDUM ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SERBIA 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian government and the German Development Bank signed a memorandum of understanding on July 4, aiming to boost the development of entrepreneurship and self-employment in Serbia. The memorandum of understanding about the realization of the Serbian-German Program of promotion of entrepreneurship and self-employment was signed in the Serbian government by the directors of the German Development Bank's office in Serbia, Arne Goos, and of the Office for Public Investment Management, Marko Blagojevic. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who attended the signing of the memorandum, said it would help in removing two obstacles to starting a business - insufficient access to finance and risk of failure. In her words, the program will, on the one side, provide favorable and accessible sources of finance, through commercial banks which will partner with the German Development Bank and the Serbian government. On the other side, the program will provide virtually risk-free sources of finance because the state will take the risk upon itself through crediting and the creation of a guarantee system. She said the program was intended for many - from artisans and service providers, to farmers, and that it would be carried out by the Ministry for Commerce in cooperation with the Office for Public Investment Management. "I hope this will serve as a good incentive for the government to care for entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises," Brnabic told reporters and invited the commercial banks to join the project. The German ambassador to Serbia, Axel Dittmann, also attended the signing of the memorandum, and said the program was being developed through close cooperation between Serbia and Germany and that 12.9 million euros would initially be available. Dittmann said the goal was for 1,500 enterprises to be formed in Serbia in the beginning, but not to stop there because "Germany wants to contribute to the strengthening of small and medium enterprises, the improvement of the economy and reduction of unemployment." "Banks will be given a guarantee framework for crediting enterprises, and we will also help the enterprises through training programs, because ideas alone are not enough," Dittmann said.

MALI IN VIENNA ON ACTION PLAN ABOUT WEST BALKAN ECONOMIC AREA 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said in Vienna, on July 4 that the successful implementation of the action plan for the regional economic area in the West Balkans would contribute to growth of trade and employment in the region, lay the foundation to attract even more investments and contribute to the quicker harmonization of European Union standards. "That is what the Serbian government is striving for and that is why it is important that we implement this plan as efficiently as possible. By the way, since 2006, CEFTA has been the backbone of our economic cooperation and it will continue to play a pivotal role in our trade. Thanks to membership in CEFTA export, competitiveness and productivity have gone up, but some of its potential remains untapped," the minister told a meeting of commerce ministers within the Berlin Process. He added that Serbia had a surplus in its trade with the CEFTA members. According to him, trade and commercial cooperation with members of the organization is of strategic importance, and just last year Serbia had EUR3.9 billion worth of trade with CEFTA members, 3.1 billion of which in exports. That is why, Mali stressed, it is important to see how to reduce non-customs barriers to the development of trade in the region, as this would boost the development of infrastructure and new jobs, in line with the Serbian government's policy. "It's no use to build highways if the trucks carrying our goods have to wait for hours at borders to get the goods to the final destination," Mali said.

HAHN SUPPORTS PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH ONGOING DIALOG WITH BALKAN BUSINESS COMMUNITY 

BELGRADE, 4 July 2018 (Beta) - European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn voiced support at a meeting on July 4 of the Berlin Process members' commerce ministers for the joint proposal of Eurochambers and the Chamber Investment Forum of the West Balkan Six to set up an ongoing dialog between the regional business community and European institutions to make doing business easier, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce said in a press release. Marko Cadez, head of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Chamber Investment Forum board, said dialog would allow the early flagging of problems faced by business owners, while EU support would mean the swifter removal of obstacles to business and investing in the region. "We are already talking to European officials about allowing regional business to feel the progress in accepting European standards even before official EU membership, through lower business costs and higher competitiveness before foreign investors," Cadez said after the ministerial meeting where he represented the West Balkan business community. He added that "the idea is, when a set of regulations is aligned, that a part of it should be applied right away and make trade and investment easier right now, without waiting for all chapters to be closed and for the state to become an EU member." According to Cadez, the ministers of European countries and the six West Balkan economies participating in the Berlin Process credited the common regional chamber of commerce, founded last July at a summit in Trieste, for contributing to greater regional cooperation and to the implementation of a plan to establish a regional economic area. The participants in the ministerial meeting being held ahead of the London Summit on the West Balkans recognized "progress in the development of the dialog between the private and public sectors and creating a more competitive region, advocacy for removing barriers in mutual business and fostering a positive environment for attracting foreign investment," Cadez said.

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