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DAILY SURVEY 08.10.2018.
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SERBIA

AFTER JUNCKER'S WARNING, VUCIC SAYS CANNOT RULE OUT DANGER OF WAR IF BALKANS ARE ABANDONED

BELGRADE, 6 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Oct. 6 that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's warning about the danger of war in the Balkans if the European Union does anything toward the admission of the region was "perhaps exaggerated," but added that he would not rule it out "if we are left to our own devices." Answering reporters in Sremska Mitrovica, where he attended the opening of a new plant of the Italian company Labor SRB, Vucic said Serbia's role was to keep the peace in the region, which is why it would pass over "many provocations." Juncker warned on Oct. 5 that there was danger of war in the Balkans if the EU does nothing toward the admission of the region's countries. If we strip the Balkans of an EU outlook, we could have what already happened in the 1990s on our hands, sooner or later, he said. The EC president admitted that the EU integration of the countries was still a long way off, and that the region had not made enough progress to allow for integration before 2025. Juncker said the EU should be deeply involved in the Balkans and not allow the idea that the EU was not serious about the prospect of accession to take hold. He added that some EU members had an aversion toward admitting these countries, but he did not say which. The "ground is still fertile" for a new armed conflict in the region, Juncker said, insisting that border disputes had to be resolved before admission so the EU does not "import" instability from the Balkans.

VUCIC CONGRATULATES RUSSIAN PRESIDENT ON HIS BIRTHDAY

BELGRADE, 7 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Oct. 7, congratulating the Russian president on his birthday, the Office of the Serbian President reported. Vucic wished Putin "good health and a happy life," together with the "wisdom, strength and will to continue his successes as Russian president, defending the interests of Russia, and firmly leading the brotherly Russian people along the path of progress," the presidential office released. "I am grateful for Russia's assistance in defending our state and national interests, through active support at the United Nations and all other international organizations where Serbia is protecting its territorial integrity and sovereignty, independence and freedom-loving tradition," Vucic said. The Serbian president added that "it's with joy" that he awaited the Russian president's upcoming visit to Serbia. Having thanked Vucic for his birthday wishes, Putin confirmed he would visit Serbia: "See you in Serbia, dear friend," the presidential office quoted Putin as saying.

CEREMONY TAKES PLACE TO COMMEMORATE VICTIMS OF JAJINCI

BELGRADE, 7 October 2018 (Beta) - A commemoration took place on Oct. 7 in the Belgrade suburb of Jajinci, which during World War II the Nazis killed more than 60,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists. The ceremony was attended by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic plus ministers, representatives of former concentration camp prisoners, anti-fascists, the WWII National Liberation Army and diplomats. A representative of the Association of Jasenovac Concentration Camp Prisoners, Momcilo Cekic, recalled the atrocities that happened in just one month in Jajinci, Kraljevo and Kragujevac. Cekic added he wished to clarify that the claims of "bloodsucking vampire Croatian Ustashas that Jasenovac was a shelter for children" were not true. "First we were attacked by hunger, then poor hygiene. The little humanitarian assistance that reached Jasenovac was taken by the Ustashas, and whatever was left was taken by the children - we were slated to die anyway," said Cekic, who survived Jasenovac when he was five and a half. The ceremony was organized by the government's committee for looking after the tradition of Serbian liberation wars, while it was attended by a government delegation headed by Prime Minister Brnabic and defense and justice ministers, Aleksandar Vulin and Nela Kuburovic, Minister of Labor, Veterans and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic, and Minister of Sports Vanja Udovicic. The commemoration was also attended by the Jewish Community Union, representatives of Roma, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi and a number of other ambassadors and diplomats. The Jajinci memorial park is the site where the occupiers killed more than 60,000 Serbs, Jews, members of the National Liberation Movement and anti-fascists from 1941 to 1944.

EU, WEST BALKANS SIX SIGN ACTION PLAN TO FIGHT TERRORISM

BELGRADE, 5 October 2018 (Beta) - The European Union (EU) and the six Western Balkan countries signed on Oct. 5 a Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans. The European Commission hailed the plan as a big step towards joint security and the protection of citizens. The joint action plan is a follow-up to the European Commission's strategy for the Western Balkans and the Sofia Declaration signed on March 17 and strengthens joint efforts to combat terrorism, according to a press release. The action plan provides a framework for the fight against terrorism, calling for ambitious and specific measures to reach the five goals of the fight against anti-terrorism, including the prevention of radicalization, the more effective exchange of information, the struggle to cut off terrorist financial sources and protect citizens. The agreement was signed at the EU-Western Balkans ministerial forum in Tirana by European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and representatives of the six Western Balkan partners, the European Commission said.

MCALLISTER HOPES FINAL VERSIONS OF SERBIA REPORT WILL BE ADOPTED LATER THIS MONTH

BELGRADE, 4 October 2018 (Beta) - David McAllister, the rapporteur for Serbia before the European Parliament, said on Oct. 4 that the final version of the EP resolution on Serbia, which he submitted earlier, would be discussed on Oct. 9 and that he hoped that the EP would adopt the final version of the report in its session on Oct. 28 or 29. After meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, he said he hoped that the report would be adopted with a broad majority, i.e. that he expected major support from the members of the EP. McAllister also said that it was "always good to hear" what Vucic had to say about the report, and that they had gone over the contents together, but that the process of accession was very complex. We are talking about a big job here, which requires numerous and complex reforms. With 14 open chapters, Serbia is continuing on its path toward the EU. Several new chapters are technically ready to be opened and I will insist at the Serbia-EU inter-governmental conference that they be opened, McAllister said, adding that broaching the chapters was an encouraging signal to continue with reforms. For further progress in the EU accession process, McAllister singled out Chapters 23 and 24 as the most important, side-by-side with continued effort in negotiations with Pristina.

STOLTENBERG: SUCESSFUL BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE IS KEY TO REGIONAL PEACE

BELGRADE, 6 October 2018 (Beta) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that he wholeheartedly supports the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and that it is imperative to continue the talks as they are very important for peace and security in the region. In an Oct. 6 interview published by the Blic daily, Stoltenberg said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would continue every effort to normalize the security situation and reduce tensions in the region," because the people of the region deserve a better future as part of the Euro-Atlantic community." "This is precisely the reason why we fully support the continuation of the EU-mediated dialog between Belgrade and Pristina. The dialog is key to Belgrade and Pristina, and it is equally important to peace and security in the region as a whole," the NATO secretary-general said. He noted that the NATO expected both side to demonstrate commitment and moderation. "At this point, it is still necessary to improve the situation in Kosovo, and local forces, including the Kosovo police, are making good progress. We have noted the progress and the ability of local institutions to care for law and order," Stoltenberg said.

STOLTENBERG: BOMBING OF SERBIA WAS ABOUT REMOVING MILOSEVIC

BELGRADE, 6 October 2018 (Beta) - NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg said on Oct. 6 that many people in Serbia still had bad memories of the 1999 NATO bombing, but that its purpose had been to protect civilians and stop the regime of then-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. I stressed that we did it to protect civilians and stop the Milosevic regime. But my most important message is that we need to look to the future, Stoltenberg told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation after a lecture at the Faculty of Philology, where most of the student's questions were about the bombing of Yugoslavia. He added that NATO supported the Belgrade-Pristina dialog, and not just politically. The dialog is necessary to overcome differences and find a political solution. NATO supports it. Not just politically, but also by being present in Kosovo in the form of KFOR, whose task is security. We will remain there to protect all communities, Stoltenberg said. After the lecture at the Faculty of Philology, he toured Studentski Park.

ECONOMY

VUCIC SHARES WORKING BREAKFAST WITH PRESIDENT OF VENETO

BELGRADE, 6 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic hosted a working breakfast for President of Venetto Luca Zaia on Oct. 6 and inaugurated a new Labor Srb company plant together with his guest in Sremska Mitrovica on Oct. 7., the Serbian presidency has said. Vucic said that the visit by the Italian delegation was an opportunity for Italian businesses to learn more about Serbia's investment potentials. Zaia recalled that some 600 Italian firms were operating in Serbia, most of which from the Veneto region, like Geox, Calzedonia and Benetton.

VUCIC: SMEs FUTURE OF SERBIA

BELGRADE, 6 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Sremska Mitrovica, on Oct. 6, that the wood processing industry should become a serious export item and stressed that encouraging entrepreneurship and spreading an entrepreneurial spirit was one of the countries most important strategic goals. At the inauguration of another Italian Labor SRB plant in the city, Vucic said 80 percent of GDP in the Venetto region came from small enterprises with no more than 15 employees. "That is what needs to be the future of Serbia. We need more small and medium enterprises, to encourage people and boost their entrepreneurial spirit. We will bring a big company, an investor, to every town, but we need Serbian small investors, too," Vucic said. According to him, the wood processing industry needs to be made into a serious export especially because this failed in the past. He told those present to tell small investors not to seek better conditions in other countries in the region, as Serbia would give them five to ten percent better terms. Noting that Serbia and Italy were great friends, the Italian ambassador to Belgrade Carlo Lo Cascio said economic ties were the main pillar of bilateral cooperation. Italy decided to invest in Serbia politically and economically many years ago, when many foreign partners were hesitant, because we are confident Serbia's future is in the EU. We are proud to be among the first in Serbia. Today, we are one of the biggest foreign investors because our factories in Serbia employ around 5,000 people, the ambassador said.

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