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DAILY SURVEY 19.04.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: WE SUPPORT FIGHT AGAINST SMALL ARMS SMUGGLING

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade, on April 18, that Serbia supported the German-French initiative to tighten control and redouble efforts in the region to fight the illegal channels and smuggling of small arms and light weapons. "From the very beginning, Serbia has strongly supported this German-French initiative and expressed unequivocal readiness to provide its full support in the performance of jointly charted goals," Dacic said ahead of the first meeting of the coordinating group in charge of fighting illegal small arms trade. He said the conference showed France and Germany's interest in backing projects in small arms control in Serbia. Dacic said the purpose of the initiative was to boost transparency, strengthen regional dialogue and buttress institutional and legislative capacities in the area, which is important in the context of the road to the EU. "Serbia has largely met EU standards in the area. Laws in this area are fully harmonized with EU regulations," Dacic said.

VUCIC: I EXPECT AN INTERESTING MEETING WITH MOGHERINI

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on April 18 that his forthcoming meeting with the European Union's high representative for foreign policy and security, Federica Mogherini, would be interesting and that one of the main topics would be Kosovo. "People in Serbia should know, we talk about relations between Belgrade and Pristina; everything else accounts for 10 percent of our talks, and these relations represent the biggest obstacle on our European path," Vucic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS). Vucic said he expected encouragement from Mogherini about Serbia's European path, at their April 19 meeting. As for the report by the European Commission, he said he did not like to "judge what others have said.|" In his words, the positive estimate of the EC had become usual, because it is "normal to progress when you are on some path." "That is good news, but we are doing this for ourselves, to have a better legal order, and organized economy," Vucic said.

VUCIC: INCIDENT WITH CROATIAN PARLIAMENT DELEGATION VERY BAD FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on April 18 that the incident, trampling the Croatian flag, caused by Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj in the Serbian parliament during a visit by a Croatian parliamentary delegation, was very detrimental to Serbia and a bad message about the Serbian people. Appearing in a program of the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, Vucic said he condemned any trampling or setting fire to the flag of Croatia or any other sovereign country, calling it "unforgivable." "The question is why it happened, and I don't have an answer. Our part is to condemn, and there we differ from Croatian officials, who -- apart from President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, have condemned nothing, from the burning of Serbian flags to calling me a Chetnik during my visit to Zagreb," Vucic said. He said he was "terribly" sorry over the decision by PM Andrej Plenkovic to call back the delegation, but added that Seselj had caused incidents in the parliament during the address of High Representative Federica Mogherini and that she had left neither the parliament nor Serbia. "We won't let anyone threaten our guests, but how can you react when it's an MP? Did we receive Jandrokovic poorly?" the president asked. According to him, the consequences of the incident will be visited on the 186,000 Serbs living in Croatia today. "They will feel worse tonight, and announcements about the monument in Dvor na Uni to be erected to Alojzije Stepinac, who was convicted of crimes against Serbs will not receive any attetion either. It will be overshadowed by the stupidity we committed here," Vucic said.

GOJKOVIC AND JANDROKOVIC: SERBIA AND CROATIA SHOULD CONTINUE TALKS ABOUT OPEN ISSUES

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - The speakers of the Serbian and Croatian parliaments, Maja Gojkovic and Gordan Jandrokovic, concurred in Belgrade on April 18 that there was room for the improvement of relations between the two countries and that dialogue about open issues should continue. Gojkovic and Jandrokovic said at a joint news conference in the Serbian Parliament that the visit by the Croatian Parliament speaker to Belgrade represented a continuation of the dialogue initiated by the two countries' presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. The two parliament speakers discussed the development of cooperation between Serbia and Croatia, parliamentary cooperation, Serbia's European integration and the position of national minorities. "This is an important signal for the development and improvement of our bilateral relations," Gojkovic said, estimating that this visit had "opened the door" to deepening parliamentary cooperation. In her words, they particularly discussed the improvement of the position of national minorities in Serbia and Croatia and the models of representation of the Croatian national minority in the Serbian Parliament. "Our mutual wish is for this visit to be an incentive for our inter-state commissions and representatives of executive authorities to work hard and with dedication on improving and solving open issues between our two countries," she said. Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic said their meeting was important for deepening cooperation between Serbia and Croatia, recollecting that he was the first Croatian parliament speaker to pay an official visit to Belgrade.

JOKSIMOVIC, FABRIZI: REPORT ON SERBIA'S PROGRESS GOOD, EFFORTS SHOULD CONTINUE

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic and Head of the European Union mission to Serbia Sem Fabrizi agreed on April 18 that the European Commission's report on Serbia's progress on the path to the EU showed good results, adding that Serbia should continue its European journey. Joksimovic said in the Serbian government headquarters that the report was balanced, measured and good for Serbia, as no area was considered to be marked by backsliding. She said the report was important because it provided good arguments for EU member states to support Serbia in opening new negotiating chapters. The minister stressed that she expected Serbia to open more than two chapters in the negotiating process after this report. She said the report noted that there were delays in the Law on the Anti-Corruption Agency and added that the Serbian government was aware of this and would work on it. The minister stressed that the report mentioned progress in forming the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, which, she said, surprised the Serbian side as there has been no progress. Fabrizi said the report showed that the Serbian government was dedicated to Serbia's European path and added that he supported the government in its further pursuit of EU membership for Serbia.

VULIN DISCUSSES CHALLENGES, COOPERATION WITH MEMBERS OF NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin had talks in Belgrade on April 18 with the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, about security challenges in the region and regional cooperation in the field of defense. Vulin said during the meeting that Serbia was open for cooperation with partners in the West and East alike and that it would not abandon its position of military neutrality, which is its permanent orientation, the Defense Ministry has stated. They concurred that cooperation between Serbia and NATO would continue within the Partnership for Peace program, the statement reads. Vulin also said the fundamental security threat for Serbia was "the process of the illegal and forceful secession" of Kosovo and Metohija, and that "the forming of the so-called Army of Kosovo is not acceptable and is against Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council," the statement reads. The delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO was headed by the chairman of the sub-committee for future security and defense capacities of the Committee for Defense and Security, Joao Rebelo.

PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION SITTING IN NOVI SAD

NOVI SAD, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - In a two-day session in Novi Sad, the parliamentary assembly of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation will deal with the subject of advancing cultural cooperation and multiculturalism in BSEC countries, which includes Serbia, in order to encourage dialogue on preserving cultural values. The head of the Serbian parliament's standing delegation to the BSEC parliamentary assembly, Igor Becic, said at the opening of the conference that Serbia had a lot to say about multiculturalism, tolerance and pluralism. "Serbia pays attention to fostering cultural and ethnic variety, and Vojvodina has centuries of a tradition of good relations among numerous ethnic groups, different cultures, religions and languages, which is why it is a good place for today's conference," Becic said. Vojvodina Premier Igor Mirovic addressed the participants in the session of the Committee on Culture, Education and Social Issues, stating that advancing cultural cooperation within the BSEC was important to Serbia and Vojvodina. Mirovic said it was the strategic commitment of his provincial government not just to preserve multiculturalism as a way of life, but also to continually improve it.

FRENCH AMBASSADOR: WE SUPPORT SERBIA'S ADMISSION TO EU UNEQIVOCALLY

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - The French ambassador to Serbia, Frederic Mondoloni stated on April 18 that France supported the admission of Serbia and the Western Balkans into the European Union unequivocally. Mondoloni told reporters in Belgrade that French President Emmanuel Macron had said during his address to the European Parliament that two lines should be followed simultaneously, stating that reforms in the EU did not mean stopping the enlargement process. The ambassador said Macron meant that the first line was to bring European prospects closer to the Balkans and connect it with the European project, and that the second goal was the internal reform of the EU. "It is not a matter of one or the other, but one and the other," said the French ambassador, adding that France had not changed its stand about the Western Balkans' admission into the EU, nor made it stricter, stating that this goal can only be accomplished if the Union is reformed. In his words, President Emmanuel Macron wants the EU reform to take place as soon as possible, perhaps even by 2025. The French ambassador said Macron was elected president on the basis of a platform that is bound to the reform of the EU, that he does not want to belong to a generation of "somnambulists", or people with their heads in the sand, and that he was aware of the fact that the Union needed a reform. The French ambassador said the Union would be stronger with Serbia than without it, and that France recognized the fact that Serbia was a factor of stability in the region. He added that France had supported the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans, in which the year 2025 is mentioned as the framework time for Serbia's admission, and stated that Serbia's destiny was in its own hands now.

ECONOMY

BRNABIC: PLANT OPENING IMPORTANT FOR NEW TECHNOLOGY TOO

BELGRADE, 18 April 2018 (Beta) - The opening of a new Henkel factory in Krusevac is important not only for new jobs, but also for the new technology and knowledge coming in, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in Krusevac, on April 18. The PM said she expected Henkel to become one of the top ten exporters in Serbia after the opening of the new Krusevac plant, which is one of the reasons why she had come to the town. Brnabic added that Henkel was a socially responsible company which had invested hundreds of thousands of euros in the local community. German Ambassador Axel Dittmann said Henkel was a symbol of the increasingly dynamic economic relations between Germany and Serbia. He recalled that some 400 German companies with 44,000 employees operated in Serbia, and had invested EUR2 billion in Serbia since 2000. The new factory is worth EUR20 million and will employ 50 new workers when at full capacity. Henkel currently has 200 full-time employees in Krusevac, while another 500 work for it through agencies.

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