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DAILY SURVEY 06.11.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH NEW BELGIAN AMBASSADOR

BELGRADE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - At a meeting with Belgium's new ambassador to Serbia, Adam Koenraad, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic expressed thanks for his country's support to Serbia's accession to the European Union (EU), expecting Belgium to continue its efforts to ensure an adequate assessment of Belgrade's reform drive. Minister Dacic suggested that economic ties between Serbia and Belgium should be stronger, based on more dynamic foreign trade and fresh Belgian investment, given that some 50 Belgian firms were already operating in Serbia, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported. The minister and the ambassador agreed that bilateral relations were good, but that there was room for improvement. They also discussed opportunities to improve bilateral ties, along with Serbia's EU accession, Kosovo and Metohija and multilateral cooperation, the Ministry released.

DACIC MEETS NEW CZECH AMBASSADOR TO SERBIA

BELGRADE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on Nov. 5 with the Czech Republic's new ambassador to Serbia, Tomash Kuhta, to discuss bilateral relations, Serbia's accession to the European Union (EU), Kosovo and Metohija and multilateral cooperation.The minister and the diplomat underlined their readiness to deepen and strengthen traditionally close relations between the two states in all areas of mutual interest. They were also pleased to see that they had developed a dynamic, continuous political dialogue, expecting that high- and highest-ranking visits to come would provide another incentive to overall cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted the two as saying in a press release. Minister Dacic expressed thanks for the republic's unwavering support to Serbia's EU accession, both through its efforts within the Union, and as part of the Visegrad Group. Having pointed out that there was great potential for more dynamic cooperation in general, particularly in agriculture, Ambassador Kuhta underlined that Czech business owners had recognized that potential, saying they had expressed considerable interest in investing in Serbia, the ministry released.

VUCIC, KURZ: SERBIA, AUSTRIA SHARE FRIENDLY RELATIONSHIP, STRONG TIES

BELGRADE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz agreed at a Nov. 5 meeting in Belgrade that the two states had developed a friendly relationship, good cooperation and strong bilateral ties.Vucic said at a joint press conference that political cooperation with Austria was good, but that economic cooperation was even better, adding that this year's bilateral trade would reach over a billion euros for the first time. "Our bilateral relations are very good, trade will reach over a billion euros this year, and we'll be more successful in the future," Vucic said, confident that Kurz would encourage Austrian businesses to invest in Serbia. Kurz agreed that "good, friendly relations" and "strong ties" existed between the two states. A few hundred thousand Serbs and Austrians of Serbian descent live in Austria, while some 400 Austrian firms have created 20,000 jobs in Serbia," the Austrian chancellor said. He congratulated Vucic on Serbia's economic growth, describing it as "impressive." "Economic growth of over 400 percent is a very impressive result for Serbia, and something that Austria, and other EU states, wish for themselves. What made it possible were the reforms carried out in 2014 and 2015," Kurz said. He also said that the Western Balkans "were of great help" to Austria and the EU in handling illegal migrations and human trafficking, thanking "Vucic and all those responsible along the Balkan route." "With partners like the Western Balkans, you fight against human trafficking and illegal migrations with confidence," the chancellor said. Speaking of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Kurz said it's imperative not only to continue the talks, but to end them successfully, because it was a precondition for Serbia to join the EU. "A unique opportunity is emerging to leave history behind, and move towards a successful future," Kurz said. He added that Serbia's entry into the Union was only possible if Belgrade and Pristina reached a solution at the negotiating table, which is why the dialogue needed a successful end. "I sincerely hope that such a success is possible, because I'm confident the region deserves to be part of the EU," the Austrian politician said, adding that the EU would be complete only after the Western Balkans and Serbia joined in. Vucic said he "understood the chancellor's message perfectly well," thanking him for "saying it openly," because the citizens of Serbia "need to know what the conditions for EU accession are." "People in Serbia need to know that trade with the EU accounts for 68 percent of total trade, while the region accounts for another twenty, and that we'll no longer have investors (unless Serbia's journey to the EU continues)," Vucic said. Kurz shared Austria's position that a Belgrade-Pristina agreement providing for durable peace deserved support, even if it called for a change of borders. "If the region reaches an agreement that's able to guarantee long-term peace, we'll not obstruct it, but support it instead," Kurz said, adding that it appeared to be a prevailing opinion within the Union, too. The Austrian chancellor said that he was aware that there's a long way ahead of Belgrade and Pristina before they could reach a deal, adding that the EU had to provide "active support" to the agreement, not to "hinder it." The Serbian president said that Serbia and Austria had different opinions on Kosovo and Metohija, but that he was "thankful" for Vienna's view that it should support any solution the Serbs and the Albanians might arrive at. Speaking of Belgrade's agreement with Pristina, Vucic said that the Serbs and Albanians were miles away from any solution whatsoever, but if they managed to reach a compromise, "it would guarantee peace in the next 100 years." The president reiterated that it was not possible for "Serbia to get nothing," but that Belgrade would be a partner to anyone who's ready to talk.

BRNABIC, KURZ DISCUSS SERBIAN-AUSTRIAN COOPERATION, EU INTEGRATION, REGION

BELGRADE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met on Nov. 5 with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to discuss bilateral cooperation, economic ties between the two states, Serbia's integration in the European Union (EU) and the current situation in the region, Brnabic's office reported in a press release. The Serbian prime minister thanked Austria for its support to Serbia in the accession process, and in opening new negotiating chapters, confident that the country's support would continue in the future. The two top-ranking officials agreed that the two states were important economic partners to each other, having noted that a large number of Austrian companies had launched their operations in Serbia, opening some 20,000 new jobs. The Serbian PM and the Austrian chancellor discussed broader economic ties, and stronger cooperation in the banking sector. Kurz praised "the results of the Serbian economic reform and impressive success in reaching a high growth rate, economic stability and recovery." Prime Minister Brnabic said that Belgrade was prepared to continue talks with Pristina, and that it proved its commitment having fulfilled the obligations arising from the Brussels agreement, expecting Pristina to start implementing what had been agreed before. Brnabic thanked Austria for its support to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, as well as the country's assistance to Serbia in improving e-administration and strengthening the capacity of state administration. The chancellor said that Serbia proved to be a reliable partner in fighting illegal migration and human trafficking. Kurz also thanked Serbia for the assistance and support it had been offering to the struggle.

JOKSIMOVIC, HUBER TALK COOPERATION

BELGRADE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic met on Nov. 5 with Ruth Huber, deputy director of the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC) and head of cooperation with East Europe, and discussed mutual cooperation to contribute to the process of Serbia's European Union integration, a government press release read. Joksimovic thanked Huber for Switzerland's assistance to Serbia's bid to join the EU and for the country being among the biggest donors. The minister also briefed Huber on the results of reforms, primarily in bolstering institutions and implementing standards. Huber said Switzerland was ready to assist Serbia's progress in EU integration and praised the work to define a multi-year plan for financing from development assistance funds. She said Switzerland's Strategy of Cooperation with Serbia, whose total 2018-2021 budget is EUR95 million, was mostly focused on administration, economic development and employment, i.e. sustainable energy and resilient towns.

CONGRESSMAN POE: TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS SHOWN IT WANTS BETTER RELATIONS WITH SERBIA

BELGRADE, November 3 2018 (Beta) - U.S. congressman Ted Poe, who co-chairs the Serbia Caucus, said on Nov. 3 that he had given the Serbian authorities the message that the U.S. supports the position of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic that Belgrade and Pristina should reach agreement in their dialog without outside influence. In an interview he gave to BETA, Poe said that, with the Trump administration, the U.S. had taken the position that Belgrade and Pristina should find a solution on their own, without any imposed ideas about what their relationship should be. The Trump administration, especially state secretary Mike Pompeo, have shown that they want better relations with Serbia and that they want Serbia and Kosovo to solve a conflict that has never yet been solved. I think that's a good thing, Poe said. The congressman from Texas said he had had good meetings with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and President Vucic, adding that he was impressed by them and believed Serbia to be in good hands with both individuals and their platforms. The U.S. wants to continue to help the prime minister and president in what they want to do to give Serbia stronger influence in the region. The U.S. supports that, but also in the issue of Belgrade and Pristina. We support the president's position in the effort to arrive at some kind of agreement between the two sides without outside influence... That's the main message I gave the president and the prime minister, Poe said. He voiced the conviction that the U.S. government has a more positive attitude to Serbia and that everything possible should be done in Washington, too, to move toward closer Serbia-U.S. relations. The U.S. has taken the position that Belgrade and Pristina should solve the problem themselves, as opposed to outside influence, saying this is the way future relations between Serbia and Kosovo should be, the U.S. congressman said. Poe, who called himself a big supporter of Serbia, said Serbia was key to the stability of the entire region, and that stability could spur new American investment. When you have stability and cooperation, they want to come. There's a lot of them here, but more need to come. I think it'll help Serbia, but also U.S.-Serbia relations, Poe said. About a letter on Serbia he sent to Secretary of State Pompeo with a group of members of congress, Poe said it was very positive and encouraged the U.S. to continue the already developed policy and have stronger ties with Serbia, and that Washington had no red lines when it comes to the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina. Poe said he was withdrawing from Congress, since he was not taking part in the election on Nov. 6, but that he would continue to be active in th Serbia Caucus. Poe said it was not known who would succeed Missouri Democrat Emmanuel Cleaver who now co-chairs the caucus, but that several members had shown interest. The Serbia Caucus includes members of both parties. It has to be that way, because the caucus is more efficient when you have a Republican and a Democrat as co-chairs. It's one of the reasons why we were a successful caucus. The caucus has done some good things, I think. The main thing is that it brings awareness of the importance of long-term Serbia-U.S. relations," he said. He recalled that the Serbian flag was one of two flags ever to be flown on the White House when President Woodrow Wilson praised the Serbian people and army for bravery at the end of World War I. He also remembered Serbs who helped American pilots who were shot down in World War II. We want to elevate relations with Serbia, we want to enhance engagement, we want more Americans from Congress to come to Serbia, but we also want more Serbs coming to the U.S., to the House of Representatives, to help that dialog, Poe said.

ECONOMY

NIKOLIC THANKS CHINESE PRESIDENT FOR ASSISTANCE TO SERBIA

BELGARDE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - The president of the Serbian National Council for the Coordination of Cooperation with Russia and China, Tomislav Nikolic, attended a reception hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, to celebrate the launch of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shangai. Nikolic was quoted by his office as saying that he had enjoyed "a very friendly, cordial and quite lengthy conversation," with the Chinese president, which he used to thank him for the "unconditional support and assistance China has been providing to Serbia." President Xi Jinping underlined that he was satisfied with cooperation with Serbia, promising that the country could rely on his support to every official Chinese-Serbian project, Nikolic's office released.

OVER 80 PARTICIPANTS FROM SERBIA, REGION AT BELGRADE FOOD FAIR

BELGRADE, November 5 2018 (Beta) - The first fair of high-quality food, Belgrade Food Show, opened on Nov. 5 with over 80 participants from Serbia and the region, presenting their fruit, vegetable, meat and dairy products. The two-day fair was organized by USAID and the Association for Promoting Serbian Food, in order to bring the Serbian and regional food industries closer to foreign buyers. Serbian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Branislav Nedimovic said the Belgrade Food Show would help participants land new contracts and partnerships, and recognize the best opportunities for investment. U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott said Serbian food was of excellent quality, which is why it should have an important place on the international market. "Food has a big role in Serbian society. I think it's time for more people worldwide to recognize and discover the top-quality food products Serbia makes," Scott said. According to him, advancing the Serbian food industry cannot be achieved "through American assistance alone, rather the state and private sector need to work together to elevate the competitiveness of Serbian food." The Belgrade Food Show was supported by USAID through the Competitive Economy Project, geared toward bolstering the Serbian food industry, especially fruit and vegetables.

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