Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 19.10.2018.
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BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - In a speech at an Oct. 18 ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of Serbia's admission to the Council of Europe, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stressed that membership in that organization had substantially enhanced the level of human rights protection in the country, consolidated democracy and the rule of law and led to a thorough reform of institutions, although he reiterated that Serbia opposed Kosovo's admission to that organization. "Pristina's possible request in that vein will be regarded by us as unacceptable because it is completely opposite to the basic legal principles of membership in international organizations, the CE Statute and Security Council Resolution 1244. We believe that the CE should continue with its status-neutral engagement in Kosovo," Dacic said. Dacic also said that Serbia had met almost all of its obligations and duties stemming from its membership in the CE, that it had entered a postmonitoring procedure in the ministers' committee, due to which it expected the CE Parliamentary Assembly to end its regular monitoring procedure when it next met. The Serbian foreign minister said that Serbia was firmly devoted to membership in the EU, peace and the further development of regional stability, advancing neighborly relations and cooperation through dialogue. "The solving of all remaining problems and disagreements in accordance with international law is an important element of our policy in regional relations and it has already begun yielding significant results - mutual relations have been advanced, which has directly helped the region's European prospects," he said. Dacic favored overcoming differences and divisions in Europe through constructive dialogue.


BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland stressed in Strasbourg on Oct. 18 the importance of the decision that made Serbia a member of the CE as a step which contributed to introducing European standards and reconciliation in the region. "Today, Serbia has ambitious plans for institutional changes and reforms," Jagland said on the 15th anniversary of Serbia's admission to the CE. Jagland added that the CE had the goal of monitoring the reform process and recalled that the CE's Venice Commission had given its opinion on draft constitutional amendments regarding the reorganization and strengthening of judicial independence. Serbia's decision to join the CE meant distancing from international isolation and a step toward European values and standards which were and are critically important to reinstating security and stability in the region of the Western Balkans, Jagland said. At that time Serbia demonstrated a willingness to face the aftermath of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Jagland said. He also said that owing to support for the reconciliation process, Serbia had achieved a better international reputation.



BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Oct. 18 that a stronger EU presence was needed in the Western Balkans for the preservation of peace and stability in the region. Vucic said at the Belgrade Security Forum that a stronger EU presence was necessary especially after the failure of the referendum in Macedonia and the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order for the EU to remain "the kind of dream, the light of democracy and freedom which we strove towards." Vucic said the EU should offer something big and "tangible" to the Western Balkan countries, adding that it was obvious that the people in Macedonia did not like what they were being offered, and that the EU had not counted on that. "We never asked the EU for more money, we are grateful for all donations; I am saying this because we need to do something big in the Western Balkans, to offer something big for the future of the Western Balkans, because if we underestimate the will of the people and the disappointment which we have not counted on, I am afraid that will put us in a situation where we will be unable to preserve peace and stability," Vucic said. He said Serbia adhered to the idea of preservation of peace and stability in the region. "Serbia is a predictable and reliable partner in the region," Vucic said, adding that Serbia would continue down its European path.


BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on Oct. 18 that, despite the problems within the European Union and the years of enlargement fatigue, enthusiasm was once again visible in that context as of the end of last year, but that it was necessary for Serbia and the Western Balkans to be included in the changes taking place in the Union before they became members. Speaking at the opening of Belgrade Security Forum, Van der Bellen said that more courage and vision was needed to materialize the Western Balkans' efforts to become part of the European Union, and that this was necessary both on the part of candidate countries and on that of the Union. Serbia is the key player for stability and security of the Western Balkans, but also for the region's path to the EU. It is obvious, however, that some fundamental issues must develop roots in the society before admission. Bilateral problems, border problems, internal problems and obstacles to trade - all that must be solved before admission. The countries joining the Union still have a lot to do, but I hope the Union will continue to be present here as a vision, he stated. The Austrian president added that much courage was needed to propose a concrete solution instead of the frozen conflict, and praised Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for having the courage to do that. Vucic had taken many steps in the right direction, working on the political and economic cooperation with many. Serbia has an important role in that, but all of us from the European Union must continue to work on that, he said. He said that the Western Balkan region was a priority of Austria's EU presidency, because the idea of national states faring better alone than in the company of neighbors was obsolete. Van der Bellen added that he would always believe that the power and strength of the Union was much greater than any individual country and that Europe would be strong only while it was united.



BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian government adopted at an Oct. 18 session a resolution on adopting an action plan for the adoption and implementation of the EU's acquis in the area of agriculture and rural development within accession talks with the EU, which, according to a statement, meets the criteria necessary to open Chapter 11 on the aforementioned areas. The government statement said that adoption of the document was one of two criteria for opening negotiations in the area of Chapter 11, along with filing a request for funding from the IPARD II program which is regarded as met. "The action plan for Chapter 11 contains a plan and the dynamic for adjusting national legislation in the area of agriculture and rural development with the legislation of the EU common agricultural policy in the pre-accession period," the statement said. It added that the Action Plan for Chapter 11 would be handed to the European Commission via official channels as a response to the first criterion for opening negotiations in Chapter 11.


BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and French Ambassador to Belgrade Frederic Mondoloni said on Oct. 18 that cooperation between Serbian and French police forces in the fight against organized crime was excellent, especially in the fight against drug and arms trafficking, human trafficking and suppression of illegal migration. According to the statement of the Interior Ministry, Stefanovic and Mondoloni also discussed possibilities for improving this cooperation through new projects. The statement added that Stefanovic had told the ambassador about the stands and arguments of Serbia against the request of the "so-called Kosovo" for admission to Interpol.


BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - The director of the government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric, talked on Oct. 18 with members of the delegation of the European Council on Foreign Relations about the situation in the Western Balkans and possibilities for, as he said, overcoming the heritage of the conflict-ridden past. According to a statement released by the Office, Djuric informed the delegation, headed by the former EU representative in the Brussels dialogue, Robert Cooper, about the reasons for Belgrade's insistence on a compromise regarding the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, saying that only that kind of solution would guarantee lasting peace and stability in the region. "Belgrade's initiative is not just a peace venture, but also a maturity test for the elites participating in that process. Only compromise, as specific as it may be, can bring a prosperous and secure future to the peoples of the region, while all other solutions based on unilateral acts can only induce new hostilities and future conflicts," Djuric said. He informed the members of the delegation about the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and the series of recent attacks against them and their property, saying that these were "dangerous demonstrations of force by Pristina, which undermine the efforts for the peaceful resolution of the frozen conflict."



BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Oct. 18 that around 4,500 students had been included in the country's dual education system and that the objective was to reach 30,000 to 40,000 students. Along with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Vucic attended the signing of a contract by seven Austrian logistics and transportation companies doing business in Serbia with the Zemun Transportation and Technical School. Based on the contract, which was signed at the Terminal Beograd customs office, 30 students will be schooled in technical sciences and transportation in the Gebruder Weiss, Cargo Partners, Lagermax, Schenker, Kuhne und Nagel, Quehenberger and DM companies. Serbian Chamber of Commerce President Marko Cadez said that contracts on dual education "are the crown and foundation of firm cooperation between schools and companies." Austrian Chamber of Commerce Vice President Richard Schenz said that Serbia still needed qualified labor. Austria's support for developing dual vocational education in Serbia is being realized through the DualVET project being conducted by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce with the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) as of October 2017.


BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met on Oct. 18 with Chinese CRBC chairman Lu Shan to discuss new projects, including the construction of a highway connecting Preljina and Pozega, the building of the Fruska Gora Corridor and the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Nis railway. Mihajlovic said that CRBC was one of the most important partners and that it had participated in building the Zemun-Borca bridge and modernizing the Belgrade-Budapest railway, which is in progress. "We are building a section of Corridor XI from Surcin to Obrenovac together. We are also awaiting the start of the building of the Preljina-Pozega highway section, as well as the Fruska Gora Corridor, i.e. a fast route between Novi Sad and Ruma," Mihajlovic said. At a meeting attended by Chinese Ambassador Li Manchang, she said that it was very important to the Serbian government that a contract on financing the Preljina-Pozega highway section be signed as soon as possible, where work would begin in March 2019 according to plan. Lu Shan said that Chinese Minister of Transportation Li Xiaopeng, who visited Belgrade within the Third Summit of Ministers of Transportation of China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries, toured the construction site of a bridge over the Sava river which is part of the Surcin-Obrenovac road segment and lauded the good cooperation that had been achieved between the Chinese contractors and the Serbian side. Zorana Mihajlovic and Lu Shan signed an annex to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Fruska Gora Corridor construction project.


BELGRADE, 18 October 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic talked on Oct. 18 with representatives of the Russian company Gazprom Energoholding, which is interested in investing in energy projects in Serbia, read a press release issued after their meeting in Belgrade. Gazprom Energoholding is the daughter company of Gazprom, which deals in electric energy and is the leading company in that sector in Russia. The general director of Gazprom Energoholding, Denis Fedorov, said the company was ready for new projects in the renewable energy sector and that it would like to start its expansion on the European market from Serbia. He stressed that the experience of Gazprom Neft, the majority owner of the Serbian Petroleum Industry (NIS), was positive, and that the joint project of Gazprom Energoholding and NIS in the Power and Heating Plant (TE-TO) in Pancevo was also successful. The plan, according to the press release, is for the annual electricity production in TE-TO Pancevo to amount to 1,400 gigawatt-hours, which is enough to supply 230,000 average households. "Leading Russian energy companies are present in Serbia through cooperation between Gazprom and Srbijagas and through the majority stake of Gazprom Neft in NIS, but we wish to expand this cooperation in other aspects of energy production, in cooperation with Russian partners," Antic said. The meeting was attended by the general director of NIS, Kirill Tyurdenev, the general director of Srbijagas, Dusan Bajatovic, and the representatives of power company EPS and the Ministry of Mining and Energy.


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