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DAILY SURVEY 04.10.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC IN MOSCOW: INTER-GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE IN BELGRADE IN NOVEMBER, AHEAD OF PUTIN'S VISIT

MOSCOW, October 3 2018 (Beta) - The session of the Russian-Serbian inter-government committee will be held in Belgrade at the start of November, ahead of the announced visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated in Moscow on Oct. 3. After a meeting with the Russian deputy prime minister, Yuri Borisov, who is also the co-chairman of the Russian-Serbian Inter-Government Committee for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, Dacic said the topics of the November meeting of this committee would be all those that are significant for cooperation between the two countries, the Serbian Foreign Ministry has stated. In Moscow on Oct. 3, Dacic also met with Alexei Muller, the president of the Gazprom company, who, in Dacic's words, informed him "about the works on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline and the course of their talks with Bulgaria, regarding the realization of the pipeline through Bulgaria towards Serbia." Dacic stressed that this was a very important matter for Serbia, because "it is being supplied with gas via one single route - from Russia via Ukraine." Dacic also participated in the international energy forum in Moscow on Oct. 3, Russian Energy Week, while Minister for Energy Aleksandar Antic had separate talks with the Russian side, it said in the statement.

VUCIC: SERBIA AND GERMANY REACH HISTORIC LEVEL OF BILATERAL RELATIONS

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - President Aleksandar Vucic on Oct. 3 congratulated German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel on German Unity Day, saying he was proud that the two countries had now reached a historic level of bilateral relations, characterized with deep mutual trust. "Our economic cooperation is also reaching new heights and I believe that an increase of German investments reflects on a changed perception of Serbia and its bigger reputation in Germany. I am thankful to German companies for providing jobs for some 50,000 people in Serbia, but also for giving an example of how more work and diligence can produce success and better standards," Vucic said in his letter. Vucic also said he hoped that in the coming years, bilateral relations would continue to develop for the mutual benefit and in the spirit of European values. He also said that the strength of Germany was the strength of the EU and that he was convinced that Germany would help with the EU in handling challenges and overcoming them successfully as it was of the utmost interest for Serbia's EU future. "Along with gratitude for all the support of Germany to Serbia's EU path, I would like to confirm that Serbia, as a reliable partner, will be a strong pillar in preserving peace and strengthening democracy in the Western Balkans, which owing to the Berlin Process has headed toward stability and cooperation," Vucic said in the letters.

SERBIAN PRIME MINISTER GREETS NEW GERMAN AMBASSADOR

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Oct. 3 met with the new German ambassador in Belgrade, Thomas Schieb, and discussed economic cooperation, Serbia's European integration and regional connecting. Brnabic welcomed the new ambassador and thanked him for the good cooperation so far, both economic and political. She pointed out that Serbia appreciated Germany's suggestions and viewed them as constructive assistance in overcoming potential challenges on the path to EU membership. The prime minister informed the ambassador about the process of reforms, especially in the field of digitalization, as a precondition for the more transparent work of public administration and an efficient mechanism for fighting corruption, and thanked Germany for support in the introduction of dual education, with the assessment that it was already showing good results. While congratulating the prime minister on her dedication to reforms, Schieb pointed out that good cooperation would continue in the future and that Germany was satisfied with the business climate for further investments.

SERBIA AND UNICEF'S JOINT PROJECTS FOR EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - The president of the Coordinating Body for Gender Equality, Zorana Mihajlovic, met on Oct. 3 with the director of UNICEF in Serbia, Regina De Dominicis, and discussed joint projects for the education of children and young people about the prevention of child marriages and improvement of the position of Roma children. "The Coordinating Body for Gender Equality is open for all forms of cooperation with UNICEF with the aim of improving the position of children and young people in Serbia," Zorana Mihajlovic said, adding that work with children was very important for a gender-equal society which Serbia is striving for, and which is free of violence and discrimination. The office of Zorana Mihajlovic stated that Regina De Dominicis said a stable government and a defined path to the European Union had contributed to Serbia's progress in improving the position of young people. Mihajlovic and De Dominicis also discussed the survey about the position of women and children in Serbia, and the need for all relevant institutions to join the activities for improving the living conditions for young people and support the fight against early and child marriages.

ECONOMY

IMF MISSION: STRUCTURAL REFORMS PRIORITY FOR SERBIA NEXT YEAR

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - At a meeting between Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and James Roaf, head of the Internationa Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, on Oct. 3, it was said that structural reforms would be a priority for Serbia next year. They talked about the initial results of the program of macroeconomic and structural reforms, backed by the Policy Coordination Instrument. At the meeting, also attended by Finance Minister Sinisa Mali and Public Administration and Local Self-Government Minister Branko Ruzic, Roaf praised Serbia's macroeconomic achievements. He stressed that an increase of nominal GDP and a decrease of the public debt's share in GDP were of particular importance, adding that more great news was that the economic growth rate had been revised from 3.5 to 4.2 percent for the entire year, according to a release from the Serbian government. Roaf also praised the Finance Ministry for setting the Tax Administration reform as a priority for 2019, the release said. Brnabic stressed that very good macroeconomic results had been achieved this year, noting that it was important to maintain the trend of swift growth also throughout the next year. She also said that in order to achieve the expected growth it would be important to invest in public projects and infrastructure and pursue incentives for the development of innovation in the economy.

IKEA TO INVEST ANOTHER EUR50 MIL, CREATE 400 JOBS IN SERBIA. CEO IKEA

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - South East Europe Stefan Vanoverbeke said on Oct. 3 that the furniture maker and retailer would invest EUR50 million in building a new IKEA store in Serbia, which would generate 400 jobs. At a meeting with Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, Vanoverbeke said that open cooperation with the Serbian authorities had contributed to a decision on further investments, noting that the total value of IKEA's investments would stand at EUR120 million. "The plan is to start building a new retail park next spring and to open its doors in the spring of 2020. I suggest the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry to ensure efficient project execution, as has been the case so far," he said. Mihajlovic said that IKEA's new investments would mean new jobs and budget revenues.

AMCHAM PRESENTS MENTORSHIP PROGRAM FOR PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - AmCham in Serbia, in cooperation with the prime minister's office, in Belgrade on Oct. 3 presented a mentorship program "HResource" for training public sector employees through the exchange of experience between the public administration and the private sector.

HResource will feature 28 participants from the private and public sector and will be implemented by the National Academy for Public Administration. The participants will be divided into mentorship pairs and over the next three months, they will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge about "human resources" through various activities, workshops and work on joint projects. "The participants will gain a new perspective of human resource management as they will be working directly with colleagues from the private sector. On the other hand, the program will contribute to interconnecting public sector employees," Public Administration and Local Self-Government Minister Branko Ruzic said. AmCham President Jelena Pavlovic said that HResource objectives included professional development and the exchange of experience between the state and businesses.

EBRD LAUNCHES TRADE READY INITIATIVE IN SERBIA

BELGRADE, October 3 2018 (Beta) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched an initiative to expand small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to finance and trade-related business advice, Biljana Scekic, the Advice for Small Business (ASB program) regional director for the Western Balkans, said on Oct. 3. At the presentation of the new initiative Trade Ready in Belgrade, she said that access for the SME sector would be facilitated for funding and business advice. The EBRD's initiative has been supported by donor funding from the EU and Luxembourg. Steffen Hudolin, Head of Operations at the EU Delegation to Serbia, described funds as one of the biggest needs of SMEs. He said that the EU had created possibilities for ensuring funds for SMEs through banks by providing EUR20 million in guarantees for a credit line worth EUR100 million, noting that the support was envisaged for some 700 enterprises. Luxembourg's Ambassador Jean-Louis Thill said that his country was the leading financier in the EU candidate countries.

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