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Foreign Minister Selaković meeting with the Head of the EU Delegation and the Ambassadors of the EU Member States

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković met today with the Head of the EU Delegation Emanuel Giofre and the Ambassadors of the EU Member States accredited to Serbia.

Minister Selaković informed the ambassadors present about the Conclusion of the National Security Council, which was adopted by the Government of Serbia on February 27 - regarding the situation in Ukraine.

The Serbian Foreign Minister said that Serbia deems the outbreak of the crisis and conflict in Ukraine deeply regretful, emphasizing that Serbia considers it very wrong to violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of any state, as in the case of Ukraine. In this regard, Foreign Minister Selaković reiterated that Serbia very clearly insists on the respect for the principles of international law, pointing out that this is the foundation of the Serbian foreign policy.

FM Selaković underscored that Serbia gives fully supports the negotiations between the two sides and all credible international efforts to find a peaceful and political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Mr. Selaković pointed out that Serbia will continue to consistently maintain peace and stability in Southeast Europe in these challenging times, emphasizing that modern challenges also show that all disagreements on our continent must be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue.


Belgrade to get Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic attended today in Geneva the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Serbia, the first of its kind in the Western Balkans.

The agreement was signed at the headquarters of that forum by Director of the Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment Mihailo Jovanovic and Managing Director and Head of the Forum's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Jeremy Jurgens.

The centre in Serbia will be the 16th in the network of centres of the World Economic Forum in the world and the first in the region of the Western Balkans.

The new centre will start operating on 1 March and will function as a non-profit organisation and a platform for public-private partnership and cooperation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while the focus of work will be on artificial intelligence and bioengineering.

This centre will work within the Serbian government’s Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment and will cooperate with scientific institutes, state institutions and the private sector.

The signing of this document was also attended by founder and Executive Director of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab and President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, with whom Brnabic had previously met.

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Opening of cluster 4 important turning point for Serbia

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated in Brussels today after the Intergovernmental conference on the accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union (EU) that today is a very important date and a turning point for Serbia.

Brnabic said that in line with the new methodology, Serbia has opened cluster 4 – Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity, and within cluster 4, four chapters have been opened.

The Prime Minister underlined that this is a great success on which she wants to congratulate all citizens of Serbia and she thanked President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic on the support and understanding he showed.

An important segment of the new methodology is political management of integrations. What we have done in the mandate of the new government is that we manage, together with Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic, the integration process and all reforms, first and foremost in the field of the rule of law, politically in full, and that yielded results, the Prime Minister said.

She said that the opening of the chapters is a huge motivation for further reforms in the field of the rule of law, public administration and the economy.

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Selakovic in talks with the Chief of the General Staff of Greece

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic met today with the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros.

Selakovic assessed that the highly dynamic political dialogue at the top and high levels greatly contributed to the friendly relations and excellent cooperation between our two countries.

In this context, he recalled his bilateral visit to Greece and the meeting he recently had with Minister Dendias on the fringes of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Stockholm.

The Minister underlined that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija was the main political and security challenge for Serbia, emphasizing that we were committed to dialogue and reaching a compromise solution, despite all the obstructions caused by the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina.

Thanking his interlocutor for the principled position of his country on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, Selakovic expressed the expectation that Greece would remain consistent in such stance.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out that Serbia was committed to preserving regional stability and security and establishing closer economic cooperation.

In line with our key foreign policy priority, namely membership of the EU, the Minister stated that our country was committed to cooperating with all EU member states and institutions in the field of the common security and defence policy.

The Minister recalled that Serbia contributed to the European and global security by participating in EU- and UN-mandated missions and operations, and that it was the first in the region and among the top ten countries in Europe in terms of contributions to peacekeeping missions.

When it comes to military cooperation between Serbia and Greece, Selakovic noted that it was good, that it was carried out through joint military exercises, training and advanced training in the educational centres of the two countries, and that we were interested in its further strengthening.


Selaković spoke with Giaufret and EU ambassadors

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, met with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Emanuele Giaufret, and the ambassadors of the EU member states accredited in our country.

Selaković emphasized that EU membership is an absolute priority of our foreign policy and strategic commitment, conveying that we are fully committed to the reform process and the improvement of all segments of our society.

He assessed that the dynamics of accession negotiations should be in line with our reform efforts, but that it is encouraging that this year's European Commission report on Serbia's progress has a more positive tone than the previous one, and that, in that sense, we expect that an Intergovernmental Conference will be held by the end of the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council, at which two clusters will be opened.

 

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Selaković and Gouillon presented the "Mother Serbia" award to Đorđe Mihailović

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, and the Director of the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, Arnaud Gouillon, presented the "Mother Serbia" recognition to Đorđe Mihailović, the keeper of the Zeitenlik military cemetery, in Thessaloniki today.

At a ceremony at the Serbian Consulate General in Thessaloniki, Selaković said that Đorđe Mihailović, and his father and grandfather, who were also guardians of the Zeitenlik, belonged to a generation that kept the memory, as the holy grail and ray of life.

As he said, the Serbian people bow with awe and gratitude to their fallen heroes from the First World War, because Serbia exists because they existed.

"Today, in this place, we can say that we belong to the best and bravest. That we belong to the honest people and hosts who, above all, loved their homeland and family. A century and something after they fell close to the homeland, we can proudly say: we are yours", Selaković said.

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Selaković at Zeitenlik: Serbia is still fighting for honour and freedom and wins in all fields

On the Day of Reconciliation in the First World War, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Selaković, visited the Serbian military cemetery Zeitenlik in Thessaloniki, where he laid a wreath and emphasized that we paid a high price to live in a sovereign, free and upright Serbia today.

"Serbia is still fighting for its own and the honour and freedom of its people in every place, and it is winning in the economy, in education, in sports, it is winning in all fields, and today's victory was made possible by our glorious ancestors and their victory 103 years ago, on 11 November 1918", said the head of Serbian diplomacy.

Minister Selaković emphasized that 11 November, our victory day, when we entered the history of the world in golden letters, is something that we should celebrate and mark in the most solemn way.

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Serbia expects support for opening clusters by end year

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today in Paris that she expects positive news and support from France for opening one or two clusters at the intergovernmental conference to be held in December.

At the press conference, Brnabic stated that she talked with French President Emanuel Macron about the situation in Serbia, primarily in the context of European integration, i.e., whether we can count on the country's support for opening a cluster at the December intergovernmental conference.

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UNESCO’s role extremely important for preservation of Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today that severe examples of endangering the Serbian cultural, historical and spiritual heritage in Kosovo and Metohija are proof of the important role of UNESCO in protecting and preserving heritage.

At the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, Brnabic emphasized that four jewels of the Serbian medieval cultural heritage in Kosovo – Visoki Decani, Pec Patriarchate, Gracanica and Bogorodica Ljeviska, have been preserved thanks to the fact that they are inscribed on the endangered world heritage list. Hundreds of other sites and monuments are endangered.

The Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is of immeasurable importance, not only for the national identity of Serbia, but also as a part of the esteemed European and world heritage, she underlined.


The 62nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival will take place from November 4th to November 14th, 2021

Discover subversive filmmakers and the best films from all over the world in the three competition sections of TIFF: International Competition (a program with films from across the Globe), Meet the Neighbors Competition (with first or second features from Greece's extended "neighborhood") and Film Forward Competition section (with films that go beyond the conventions of film genres).

Moreover, in the International Program we find the sections: Open Horizons and the Open Horizons - Another Take subsection, Balkan Survey, Special Screenings, Out of Competition and ’Round Midnight. TIFF, also, presents the podcast section, which includes in competition and out of competition podcasts. TIFF, also, presents the best films from the annual Greek production, tributes and cinematic surprises and gives the opportunity to film professionals to connect at the dynamic TIFF's Agora, the Industry section of the Festival. 

 


Minister Selaković and Archbishop Ieronymos II on the closeness of the two peoples and the church

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, met today in Athens with the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, Ieronymos II, to whom he conveyed the greetings of the Serbian Patriarch Porphyry and thanked for the consistent support to our country and people.

"The support and understanding that the fraternal Greek people show towards Serbia and the Serbian people, which last as long as the two peoples, is something that has helped us and helps us survive in difficult situations and times, knowing that there is someone who shares our views of the world and the value system", Selaković said.

According to Selaković, the help and support of the Greek people and the church in difficult times for the Serbian people is something that is not forgotten and that testifies to a true brotherly feeling.

As the head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out, Serbs do not have the same feeling towards any other fraternal Orthodox people as they do towards the Greek people.

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Selaković in Athens: Peace and stability in the region a condition for economic growth and progress

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Selaković, met today in Athens with the head of Greek diplomacy, Nikos Dendias, whom he thanked for the principled and clear support of that country for preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as for supporting our European integration.

After the meeting, Minister Selaković said that Greece supports finding a solution to the Kosovo-Metohija problem through a dialogue on the normalization of relations that Belgrade and Pristina are conducting under the auspices of the EU.

"Also, I informed my Greek colleague about the latest events in Kosovo and Metohija and everything that happened during September and October", said the head of Serbian diplomacy.

Minister Selaković emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership between Serbia and Greece, which was made official when it was signed in 2019 during the visit of President Aleksandar Vučić to Athens and the holding of the High Council for Cooperation between Serbia and Greece.

"We are convinced that in the next period, when the epidemiological conditions are met, we will continue with this good practice and organize the fourth High Council for Cooperation in Belgrade", said Minister Selaković.

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Traditional friendship and excellent cooperation between Serbia and Greece

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, met today in Athens with the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and on that occasion conveyed the greetings of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and thanked Greece for its support to our country.

Traditionally close and good historical relations, mental and spiritual closeness of our two peoples were crowned, according to Minister Selaković, in 2019 with the Strategic Partnership Agreement.

Strategic partners should help each other, and Serbia was honored to help its Greek friends when it was difficult for them during the recent fires, Selaković said, emphasizing that the fraternal Greek people will always be able to count on the help of the Serbian people.

"Greek support is present in two issues that are extremely important to us, one is support for a vital issue, and that is support for our territorial integrity and sovereignty when it comes to Kosovo and Metohija, and we express hope that this support will continue. The second is support for our EU membership", Selaković said.

 

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Selaković in Athens with Greek businessmen

Today in Athens, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, presented to the Greek businessmen gathered in the Greek-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry the economic results of Serbia in the past few years and the investment potentials of our country.

At a working breakfast with Greek businessmen, which was also attended by representatives of the Greek government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Selaković said that Serbia is today the fastest growing economy in Europe.

Minister Selaković made a detailed comparative analysis of the situation we had seven years ago and the one we have today, thanks to the reforms implemented in the meantime. As he reminded, in 2014, the public debt of Serbia was 79 percent of GDP, unemployment was 26.9 percent, we had a decline in the economy of minus 3.6 percent, as well as a low level of foreign investments.

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Address of the President of the Republic of Serbia at the United Nations climate change conference COP26 held in Glasgow

"Your Excellences,

distinguished delegates,

dear Sarah, At the very beginning,

I feel obliged to thank Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Her Majesty’s Government for exceptional hospitality. I feel privileged to represent the Republic of Serbia at this important place and at the highest-level world forum, in working on the most important topic of today – promoting climate awareness.

We all agree that we must make investment into climate and environment.

We all, likewise agree, that future generations must be educated in order not to repeat the mistakes we made, by hurting the only Planet that makes life possible.

I am very honoured that the Republic of Serbia is co-chairing this year’s Conference as a Non-EU representative of the Eastern Europe Group.

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Serbia attaches great importance to friendship and cooperation with Greece

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, met today with the Ambassador of Greece in Belgrade, Yorgos Diacofotakis.

Selaković said that Serbia attaches great importance to friendship and bilateral cooperation with Greece, as evidenced by the strategic partnership established between our two countries. According to the minister, the opportunity to confirm such relations and continue the political dialogue will be his upcoming official visit to Athens at the beginning of next week.

The head of Serbian diplomacy conveyed that he expects that, after the epidemiological situation calms down, the Fourth Meeting of the High Council for Cooperation between Serbia and Greece will be held in Belgrade.

According to him, Serbia is also interested in further intensifying the dialogue with Greece and within the framework of regional cooperation, where the trilateral format with the Republic of Cyprus has a special place.

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Continuous communication with EU on further reforms

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, together with Minister of European Integration and Chief Negotiator Jadranka Joksimovic, met today with Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret and the ambassadors of the EU Member States.

The topics of the meeting were 2021 EU Enlargement Package and in particular the Report of the European Commission on Serbia for this year, as well as the next steps in the process of accession to the EU.

She underlined that Serbia has continuous communication with the Delegation of the EU and all Member States and that it speaks openly about further reforms, first and foremost in the field of the rule of law.

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Selaković in UNSC: Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues

Distinguished President of the Security Council,

Esteemed members of the Security Council,

Distinguished Special Representative,

I would like to thank Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Guterres and Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Mr. Tanin for the report submitted and for their efforts made towards the implementation of the UNMIK mandate. I would also like to thank the members of the Security Council for the continued attention they have devoted to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. The Republic of Serbia highly values the activities of the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija and supports it in carrying out its work as efficiently as possible, pursuant to the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve lasting peace, stability and security in the Province.

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Selakovic hosts dinner for ministers of NAM member states

Serbian FM Nikola Selakovic on Sunday hosted a ceremonial dinner for foreign government ministers who will attend the 60th anniversary summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Belgrade.

The dinner was attended by more than 30 foreign guests, heads of delegations in the rank of ministers, as well as by Serbian government ministers.

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Selaković in New York with 28 foreign ministers on economic successes of Serbia and K&M situation

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, has stated that in New York he introduced foreign ministers of 28 countries to economic success of Serbia but also to the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, which he also discussed with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, who told him that we could count on the support of the Russian Federation, with regards to Serbian interests in K&M.

Summarizing results of his visit to New York within the session of the UN General Assembly, Minister Selaković says that one of the last meetings was with Minister Lavrov, which was their third meeting in the previous nine months.

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Prime Minister Brnabic at Global COVID-19 summit organised by White House

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic participated today at the Global COVID-19 summit, organised by the White House, which was opened by US President Joseph Biden.

The video messages are attended by a large number of world leaders and officials of international organizations, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, British and Canadian Prime Ministers, Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many others.

In the message, the Prime Minister pointed out that Serbia was among the first European countries to procure a covid vaccine, and that she was the first European Prime Minister to receive the vaccine.

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President Vučić: We have decided – our goal is the EU, but China is an important partner

 

We have decided – our goal was and remains the EU, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said in an interview with the German daily "Handelsblatt", adding that there is no alternative for Serbia, but also stressing that China is an important partner for Serbia, and that the task of the state is to take care about the interests of its citizens.

 

He thus answered the question of what Serbia will choose once it has to choose between close relations with Beijing or the EU. Vučić emphasized that Serbia wants to become a full member of the EU.

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Serbia has achieved great success in the field of digitalization

 

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, stated at a gathering dedicated to digitalization and the IT sector, which was held in New York, that since she became Prime Minister, she is most proud of Serbia's success in the field of digitalization.

 

Brnabić, who is on a two-day visit to the United States, said that when she was elected Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government in August 2016, she wanted to do everything to change the public administration and what bothered her as a citizen.

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Serbia strongly supports Berlin Process

 

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic participated today in the online Summit of Leaders of the Berlin Process, which discussed the concrete results achieved during its seven-year term, plans for the next period and initiatives aimed at providing support Western Balkans on its way to the European Union.

 

The focus of the summit was on building a common regional market related to four fundamental freedoms: free movement of people, goods, services and capital, for which the Action Plan was adopted in November last year, and from which the region would have special benefits.

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Address by the President of the Republic of Serbia at the session of the United Nations Security Council

 

Dear Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, members of the delegations

 

I would point to a few ongoing issues in my speech that refer to the competences of the Mechanism, namely, the possibility of serving the sentences passed by the ICTY and Mechanism in the Republic of Serbia, with the current practice of disabling early release of the sentenced persons as well as obligation of the Mechanism regarding protection of sentenced persons.

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Serbia and Greece to sign an agreement on abolition of roaming charges

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met today in Athens, on the eve of the Delphi Economic Forum, with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the President of that country, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

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Selakovic: Serbia demonstrated that solidarity does not solely have to be the privilege of the rich

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic participated today in the Adriatic and Ionian Council of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and the Ministerial Meeting of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, stating that it was necessary to include all available resources of this initiative more directly in finding common answers to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Vucic: We consider Europe our home

President Vucic said tonight that the visionary idea of Robert Schuman brought a true victory of the new trust after the Second World War and faith in the unification of differences in peace and solidarity, with the message that Serbia has that faith, as well as hope that it will become a country that will be gladly regarded in the European family of nations.

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Selakovic congratulates Josep Borrell on Europe Day

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic extended a congratulatory message on the occasion of 9 May, Europe Day, to High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, expressing confidence that the idea of uniting in diversity, in peace and solidarity, would continue to be the guiding idea of the European Union.

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Meeting with the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe

 

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the Regional Director of the World Health Organisation for Europe Hans Kluge, to discuss cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as cooperation in improving health care in our country and other joint activities.

 

President Vučić thanked Dr Kluge for his personal engagement and support during the current pandemic, especially for technical assistance and expertise. On this occasion, he informed the WHO official about the results of immunisation in Serbia and plans on how to provide the vaccine to all citizens who want to get it.

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WHO describes immunisation process in Serbia as impressive

 

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic talked today with World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge about the epidemiological situation and the course of immunisation of citizens in Serbia.

 

Brnabic expressed gratitude for the cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, technical assistance and expertise, emphasising that the support of this organisation is very important for our country.

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Selakovic: Pristina persists in its campaign of hatred against the Serbian people

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic stated today that Pristina further persisted in its campaign of hatred against the Serbian people, which was most drastically seen in the unfounded accusations of mass rapes and genocide.

 

At the UN Security Council meeting discussing the Report of the UN Secretary-General on the work of UNMIK, Selakovic emphasized that the efforts of the provisional institutions in Kosovo and Metohija to create a narrative about mass rapes of Albanian women were obvious, and that propaganda methods and lies were used for that purpose. 

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Selakovic: Political extremism of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is becoming stronger

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic warned, at the United Nations Security Council meeting, that the political extremism among Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija was not decreasing, but on the contrary, was becoming stronger. 

 

At the meeting discussing the Report of the UN Secretary-General on the work of UNMIK, Minister Selakovic recalled that the obligation to form the Community of Serb Municipalities  remained unfulfilled for 2,917 days now and that, in fact, 19 April marked eight full years since the agreement was reached in Brussels, while Pristina still refused to follow up on its commitment and enable the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities.  

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Greek delegation visits Al Dahra Serbia company

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Minister of Rural Development and Food Spilios Livanos visited the Al Dahra Serbia company in Padinska Skela this afternoon, accompanied by the Head of Serbian diplomacy Nikola Selakovic.  

The guests from Greece and Cyprus showed interest in exchanging experiences with Al Dahra, which is the owner of the property of the Agricultural Corporation Belgrade (PKB), as well as in joint investments in agriculture.

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Foreign Ministers of Greece and Cyprus visit the Church of Saint Sava with Minister Selakovic

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic visited the Church of Saint Sava today with the Heads of diplomacy of Greece and Cyprus, Nikos Dendias and Nikos Christodoulides, and informed them about the details of the construction and interior of the largest Orthodox church in the Balkans.

 
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Trilateral meetings with Greece and Cyprus every six months

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic held today a trilateral meeting with Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, and Greece, Nikos Dendias.

 

On that occasion, the Serbian Foreign Minister emphasized that he talked with his colleagues about the European future of our country, but also that he reached an agreement on meetings to be held every six months, where they would discus topics from a number areas of interest to Serbia, Greece and Cyprus.

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Clear and unequivocal support of Greece to Serbia's EU membership

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic thanked Greece today for its clear, unambiguous and strong support to our European path, emphasizing that our Greek friends and strategic partners were among those who extended the strongest support to Serbia's full membership of the EU.

 

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Selakovic: Fight against all forms of crime is a priority of the Serbian Government

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic said today that the fight against all forms of crime was a top priority of the Serbian Government and an integral part of the EU accession process.

 

"It is also our moral duty, in order to leave a better world for the generations to come", Selakovic said participating via video-link at the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Kyoto.     

 

 

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Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana elected as the new Patriarch of Serbia

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected His Eminence Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana, PhD, as the new Serbian Patriarch, in its convocation in Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade on 18 February 2021.

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President Vucic: Serbia is ready for dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija, but will refuse being humiliated

 

President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Army Aleksandar Vucic attended a demonstration of capabilities of one part of Serbian Army units in the "Rastko Nemanjić" barracks in Pancevo. On this occasion, President Vucic stated that Serbia was ready to continue the EU-facilitated dialogue with Pristina at any point, while respecting also the position of the United States as well as the positions of Russia and China.    

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Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia

 

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met earlier today with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, to discuss Serbia's European path, continuation fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of political and economic reforms, with particular emphasis on the rule of law and plans for new EU investments in our country.

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Minister Selaković: Serbia is committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative

 

Serbia is committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and its corresponding Strategy, as a framework within which we conduct activities that strengthen the European path of our country, all the while creating an even better place to live in together with the participating EU Member States, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković said at the video-conference of the Fifth Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

 

"Despite the difficult challenges faced amid the coronavirus pandemic, during its Chairmanship of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, Serbia succeeded in maintaining continuity in the implementation of the fundamental values adopted by signing the Ancona Declaration", Minister Selaković stated today.

 

The Serbian Foreign Minister said that our country was committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) and that when its assumed its yearlong Presidency of the Initiative and Chairmanship of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, it had ambitious plans - first and foremost, Serbia had planned to continue to deepen cooperation in the framework of the Adriatic and Ionian region

 

The Minister explained that, through joint efforts, concurrently with the traditional activities, Serbia managed to continue pursuing the so-called new activities launched during the previous chairmanship.

 

"The process aimed at expanding AII participation demonstrated in last year’s Budva Declaration, and the admission of North Macedonia and of San Marino to membership of the Initiative successfully continued during the chairmanship of the Republic of Serbia too", Selaković said.

 

Minister Selaković pointed out that, during its AII Presidency, Serbia built on the experiences of previous chairs and that it closely cooperated with the incoming Slovenian Chairmanship, counting on the support and expertise of the Permanent Secretariat of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative seated in Ancona. The Minister thanked the AII Secretariat, on behalf of our country, for evaluating Serbia’s Chairmanship-in-Office in this report as “successful and dynamic”.

 

"We planned to bring the Serbian AII Presidency/EUSAIR Chairmanship to an end at the 5th Annual Forum and due to generous support of the European Commission and the extremely constructive approach of the current Chair – Slovenia, we are having the 5th Forum these very days", Selaković said.

 

The Minister pointed out that the pandemic had grown into an unprecedented threat to all of the participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and to the Adriatic and Ionian region as a whole, which is why they were all forced to impose protective measures, at the time when Serbia, fully supported by the AII Secretariat, had already carried out 17 out of the 35 activities envisaged in the chairmanship Calendar of Events.

 

"The pandemic happened just as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, having become a regular member of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce at the beginning of Serbian chairmanship, was ready to organize a number of events aimed at the solidification of our mutual cooperation", the Serbian Foreign Minister underlined. 

 

Minister Selaković concluded his statement by expressing unequivocal readiness for further cooperation with all participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and wishing the Slovenian colleagues a lot of success in implementing the tasks envisaged during their current Chairmanship.

 

 

Belgrade,

28 January 2021


Selaković and Dendias: Very good relations between Serbia and Greece

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selaković talked today on the phone with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic Nikos Dendias.

 

Minister Selaković assessed that the bilateral relations between Serbia and Greece were very good, friendly and characterized by cooperation in all fields. He underlined Serbia's commitment to further developing the strategic partnership with Greece.

 

Selaković stated that Serbia was interested in further intensifying the dialogue with Greece also in the framework of regional cooperation, through a quadrilateral format with Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the establishment of a trilateral format with Cyprus.

 

The Serbian Foreign Minister extended an invitation to his Greek counterpart for a visit to Serbia in the period ahead, with the expectation that conditions would allow the visit to be realized as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Belgrade,

28 January 2021


Minister Selakovic speaks for Politika: The year of rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy

 

Serbia's foreign policy positions are naturally being adjusted to the new developments at the international level, but our foreign policy priorities have not changed in a long time. Our top and most important interest is to preserve good-neighbourly relations and stability and peace in the region and, in the same context, to find a peaceful and just solution to the problems in Kosovo and Metohija, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said in an interview with Politika daily.

 

Another lasting interest of ours is full membership of the European Union, because this is the type of society we strive for. At the bilateral level, our goal is to strengthen ties with traditional friends, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, but also to build new partner relations with the United States. One of the most important tasks of our foreign policy is to improve the position and protect the rights and identity of our people in the region, as well as to provide various types of support to Serbs in the diaspora. All these are very important and more often than not complementary goals, Nikola Selakovic pointed out.

 

 

What kind of relations do you expect Serbia to have with the new U.S. administration?

 

It is too early to speculate about this in public. The new presidential administration in Washington is currently preoccupied with internal issues and this will be the case for some time. There are people in the team of President Joseph Biden who have dealt with our region, and it is likely that the Balkans and Serbia will be the focus of the U.S. foreign policy at some point. I will remind you that President Vucic and President Biden not so long ago had very substantive talks in Belgrade, after which our President stated that he had the opportunity to talk to someone extremely well acquainted with the situation in this part of the world and an extraordinarily prepared interlocutor. Taking their personal relationship into account, but also the importance of enhancing the ties between Serbia and the United States, we have reason to expect that a meeting between the two presidents will be organized in the foreseeable future. I am sure that the nature and dynamics of the relations between Serbia and the United States will be influenced by the fact that Ambassador Marko Djuric now represents us in Washington, whose presence at President Biden's inauguration ceremony is an important signal and, I believe, a harbinger of positive developments in bilateral relations between our two countries.

 

How would you describe our country's relations with Moscow, Brussels and Beijing?

 

Russia is our traditional friend and that friendship goes beyond merely political ties. These are deep spiritual, cultural and civilizational bonds, and it is only natural that we have a mutual interest in improving those ties, even though they are at a very high level. We have a relationship with the People's Republic of China which is, in addition to the sincere iron-clad friendship between our peoples and high political representatives, based on deep trust and mutual support. Full membership of the European Union is Serbia's strategic orientation that all our friends are aware of, but our country does not forget its friendships, but strengthens and promotes them instead, and approaches all with honesty and no ulterior motives. In this context, we do not seek any preferential treatment, but only the right to freely and independently make decisions about our future and relations with all who respect us.  

 

Could Serbia pursue a different foreign policy than the one it is pursuing at the moment?

 

It is always possible to have a different policy, just look at the foreign policy of Serbia ten, twenty or thirty years ago, examine the results at that time and you will realize how irretrievably expensive that policy turned out to be. Whether a policy is right, at either foreign or domestic level, is measured through its results and effect on the lives of citizens and the fate of the entire state.

Our foreign policy priorities are not being defined on a whim, but are instead the result of a serious and deep examination of our complex position and strategic thinking about ways to improve it. Today, Serbia has a better international reputation and credibility than two decades ago, and the main reason for that is that our results have shown how serious and responsible we are as a country. That kind of credibility is not achieved by trickery, but only by hard and well-thought-out work on oneself. And I need to emphasize on this occasion as well that the main inspiration for such an attitude towards politics, the state and its future comes from none other than President Aleksandar Vucic. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have the opportunity on a daily basis to see the level of appreciation and respect President Vucic enjoys beyond the borders of our country.

 

 

When can we expect the vacant posts of Serbian ambassadors and consuls across the globe to be filled?

 

That is one of the main tasks for 2021. This will be a year of reinvigoration and I believe also rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy. Our country, given its size, has a fairly extensive diplomatic network, which provides it with great opportunities for deepening political and economic relations with countries in all parts of the world. But we need more fresh and energetic staff, people who will be the most honourable representatives of a modern and dynamic Serbia. There are such people in Serbia, and we do need a serious rejuvenation, in order to avoid wide generation gaps in our personnel, and to lay the foundations of a modern career diplomacy.

 

 

How would you describe your relationship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic?

 

President Vucic and I are, in addition to having close and friendly relations, by virtue of the work we do and our constitutional competencies, the closest collaborators in the realization of Serbia's foreign policy goals. This allows me to talk to him often, and on many occasions learn a lot of new and important things. President Vucic is a man who inspires people around him with his strategic and visionary approach to politics, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to be part of his closest team of associates over the years, and to have had him as a kind of political mentor. In any case, his vision of Serbia as a modern, progressive and prosperous state, which independently and on its own will decides on its destiny, is my wish as well and key motivation for political engagement. For only such Serbia is a country that its own citizens, as well as Serbs beyond our borders, can confidently rely on, while also being an inspiration to the entire region.

 

Source: Politika


President Vucic: Serbia is the first in Europe in terms of growth

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic pointed out that Serbia is the first in Europe in terms of economic growth, which will be officially confirmed at the end of March, and that this was possible owing to the reform measures taken since 2014 and the rapid opening of the country after the first wave of corona virus.

 

The President pointed out that Serbia had a growth of 5.2 percent in the first quarter, while the Eurozone was at minus 3.2 percent, in the second quarter Serbia had a minus 6.3 percent, while the Eurozone was at minus 14.7 percent, and in the third quarter, when the Eurozone was at minus 4.3 percent, Serbia's figure was only minus 1.4 percent.

Vucic stated that Montenegro, for example, recorded as much as 26 percent minus in the third quarter.

 

Furthermore, the President emphasized that hospitals were built and renovated in our country, and that two hospitals were built from the ground up in just four months.

 

He said that the state made significant efforts to procure respirators, masks, gloves, protective suits, medicines, everything that was needed, and pointed out that work was being done on 10 general hospitals throughout Serbia, adding that all these were major achievements that were only possible owing to the success of the 2014 reforms, the enactment of the Labor Law, which yielded excellent results, and also through fiscal consolidation measures.

 

 

"These are unprecedented results for Serbia. Was Serbia ever before the first in Europe in terms of growth rate? We will get the results on 31 March that will confirm that Serbia is number one in Europe. All that was possible thanks to people who believed in difficult changes", Vucic said.

 

According to the President, this year, as many as six highways will be built in Serbia at the same time, and in this regard, he noted that Bulgaria has announced that the highway from our border to Sofia will be completed by the end of the year, after which it will be possible to use motorway to travel to Istanbul, which is very important to ensure that our country is on a transport route.

 

President Vucic emphasized that in 2020, the so-called year of corona, our country had a net inflow of foreign direct investment amounting to EUR 2.9 billion net, and three billion gross, which means that many foreign companies such as Toyota Tires, Boysen, ZTF and Brose have invested in Serbia even in this year of crisis.

 

The President said that Serbia has the highest average wages in the region, amounting to 511 or 512 euros, and that in February, due to the January increase, the average wage will be 535 or 536 euros, and that only in Belgrade in the last seven years the average wage increased by 180 euros or 40 percent.

 

 

That President said that Serbia was fourth in the region in terms of salaries before, and that today we are officially the first, and that the difference in relation to other countries will only increase faster. He also pointed out that the employment rate is growing in Serbia as well as that our public debt increased less than in most European countries. This is illustrated by the data that in Italy the public debt surged to 156 percent, in Germany to 87 percent, in France to 114 percent, in Croatia to 88 percent, while in Serbia it is at 57 percent.

 

The Serbian President announced that by Sretenje, 15 February, an additional package of assistance to the economy will be earmarked, and as he explained, it will be a new capital injection for companies, the trade, entrepreneurs, small, medium and large enterprises which, as he said, concerns 1,052,000 people within that system.

 

Vucic specified that it will most likely be help in the form of two or three payments amounting to half a minimum wage each, and that there will also be sectoral aid for tourism, hotel owners, travel agencies, guides, for bus carriers, through another half minimum wage payment.

 

The President added that efforts will be made to extend the guarantee schemes as well, which proved to be excellent, amounting to 1.5 billion, and this time, through the same system, two more portions amounting to 500 million each could be provided.

 

Vucic said that the first agreements with DFC worth 300 to 400 million dollars are expected in seven days.

 

He also stated that the state will endeavour to help pensioners further, in addition to increasing pensions by 5.9 percent in January, which will be reflected in their first checks in February, and added that pensioners should by March receive symbolic aid in the form of packages with vitamin C, D and zinc, which, as the President said, are small things, but they reflect the state's care and efforts made to protect health.

 

The President announced that negotiations on the procurement of the Chinese vaccine would be completed in the next seven to eight days, after the first quantities of the Pfizer and Sputnik V vaccines have arrived in Serbia, and pointed out that the Chinese vaccine was of exceptional quality, but probably the most expensive, which is why he wrote to the Chinese President and asked for a discount for our country.

Vucic thanked the Americans for deciding to sell the vaccine to our country and noted that no one in the region other than Serbia has received it, except for the small quantity that Albania got.

 

He pointed out that our state relied on itself and its own capacities, and that our state leadership anticipated that vaccines within the European COVAX plan would arrive late.

 

The President rejected the claims about bad results of Serbia in the fight against the corona virus and stated that our country has recorded the lowest corona virus mortality rate in the region.

 

He presented statistical information indicating that Slovenia had 144 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, North Macedonia 126, Bosnia and Herzegovina 123, Bulgaria 115, Montenegro 115, Hungary 110, Croatia 107, Romania 85, and Serbia 51.

 

"The mortality rate in the region is as follows: Bulgaria 3.9, Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.7, Hungary 3.11, North Macedonia 3.03, Romania 2.48. Slovenia 2.15, Croatia 1.99, Montenegro 1.4, and Serbia 1.0. This can be seen in the graphs and is no fabrication", the President stressed.

 

He said that the state will fight for vaccines, and that only Serbia, in the Western Balkans, received significant quantities of vaccines, other than a smaller quantity that Albania received, and added that in one day since the registration for vaccination opened, as many as 63,000 persons have registered.

 

President Vucic expressed his belief that the year ahead will be better than the previous one as well as that the corona virus will be defeated through vaccination of citizens.

 

 

Belgrade,

12 January 2021


Every Serb in the diaspora is potentially a lobbyist

 

Our compatriots living abroad are one of the great potentials that the state has not recognized in the right way so far, which is why a different approach is needed to the issue of how to strengthen our diaspora and use the good will of people who are potential lobbyists for the interests of Serbia and the Serbian people, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said.

 

"When it comes to Serbs in the diaspora, and especially in the region, this issue has been a kind of an unattended crop which requires a lot of work, and even when a lot is done at once this is not apparent immediately ", Minister Selakovic stated in an interview with Tanjug.

 

He emphasized that the appointment of the Director of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region for the first time after almost seven years since this body was formed within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows that it is one of the priorities of the Ministry he is at the helm of.

 

Selaković notes that intensive efforts have been long underway on forming a plan to make the diaspora more visible both outside the borders of Serbia and in the mother country itself.

 

"Every person in the diaspora is a potential lobbyist for the interests of our country and people, and we need to find the right way to use that", he said.

 

That much can be done in that regar Selakovic illustrates with the fact that only in Switzerland, in 24 cities, there are Serbian cultural and artistic associations which amounts to more than 3,000 young people who get together in order to preserve our tradition, culture, the Serbian language and history.

 

"If they were able to set up such associations in 24 cities, it speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of these people. There is so much enthusiasm, energy and love in these people. We need to explore ways to help them and use their good will and potential", the Minister points out.

 

He also cites the example of an emigrant family in Canada, the Varaklic family from southwestern Serbia, who sends Christmas packages for children in the Raska region every year. He adds that they have so far donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-governmental organizations for those needs alone, but he says that we do not see that here.

 

"The state does not recognize this, and these are people who gained success as entrepreneurs working in a distant country, who can be serious lobbyists for Serbia, for Serbian interests, someone who represents us in the best possible way", Minister Selakovic said.

 

Minister Selakovic also pointed out that Arnaud Gouillon has been appointed as head of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region and described him as a man of extraordinary energy, great love for the Serbian people, which he showed in his engagement towards Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, where they were seriously endangered. 

 

"By doing so, he showed and set an example to many of our compatriots of what an individual can do. And when one such individual focuses energy, enthusiasm and love for people, on work done within the state administration system, I think that the preconditions have been created for such activities to yield good results", Minister Selakovic said.

 

Source: Tanjug


Minister Selakovic: New ambassadors will be appointed this year, but the goals remain the same

 

This year, Serbia could finally have Ambassadors and Consuls General appointed to about a third of the currently vacant positions in the country's diplomatic and consular missions in the world, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic is convinced that most of these positions will be filled, as he points out, by the best possible people.

 

"In the next year, I am convinced that the majority of these vacancies will be filled", Selakovic told Tanjug, emphasizing that the work is being done gradually, because the state wants to show that is has a quality staff who will represent Serbia's interests in the best possible way.

 

The Head of Serbian diplomacy reminded that in a number of diplomatic missions, the four-year mandate of Ambassadors and Consuls General has already expired, so that the procedure for appointing new ones will follow, after their recall.

 

One of the "vacant" spots is the post of the Serbian Ambassador to China.

 

"We are working hard to find the best possible solution for our new Ambassador to China and as we appointed one of the best people in the state system as Ambassador to the United States, who, I am sure, will perform his duties in the best possible way, I am convinced that it will be the same for the Ambassador in Beijing", Selakovic said.

 

The Minister, who took over the foreign policy sector in the Government a little over two months ago, points out that circumstances in the world, as well as Serbia's position in it, have changed, but that Serbia's foreign policy goals do not change: the country remains strategically committed to European integration and, while pursuing the EU path, it will also strengthen traditional friendships with Russia and China, as well as promote and strengthen new partner relations with the United States.

 

"Relations in the region, good-neighborly relations, regional cooperation are also important for Serbia, because this fits into the set of requirements on the European path. But, even regardless of the European path, it is always important who you live next to, who you live with, what your neighbors are like and what the relations are like in the neighborhood", Minister Selakovic said.

 

He also points out that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija is of inestimable importance, it being the main national and state issue for Serbia and the Serbian people.

 

"When I say that circumstances are changing, but not the goals - the EU and European integration was our goal seven years ago as well, but look at what our room for maneuver was then, in terms of economic aspects, and look at it today. Circumstances changed, and then you adjust your actions to these changed circumstances, to the best extent possible", Minister Selakovic said.

 

He reminds that foreign policy priorities for 2021 were also outlined by the President of the Republic, and that maintaining peace and stability in the region is the absolute priority.

 

"Only in a peaceful and stable region of the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe can Serbia thrive economically, culturally and scientifically - in every respect. Peace and stability in the region  are “sine qua non” without which there is no development and progress. Serbia has acted, is acting and will act as a factor that stabilizes the entire region and maintains peace in the region, showing that it is the region that benefits everyone the most", Minister Selakovic said.

 

Relations in the region have always been complex, and the region, Minister Selakovic noted, is to our great regret, burdened with issues that we cannot have a bearing on, and which concern

the past.

 

Serbia's approach is to seek room to influence what is happening today and what will happen

happen in the future.

 

In this context, he states that the so-called "mini-Schengen" initiative for market unification of the region, which originated from Aleksandar Vucic and was met with a positive response from the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, is one of the opportunities to do much more for the region.

 

"To show how much more we can do if we act together and if we seek our common denominators, and not what separates and divides us ", Selakovic points out.

 

When it comes to relations with the United States, Selakovic said that one should not expect the great powers to change their positions the way we would like, want or imagine, but that it is important that the Ambassador in Washington, Marko Djuric, also emphasized that his task, among other things, will be to make efforts to change the climate in bilateral relations with the United States - the most important country in the world, as our lacking communication with them in the past seriously affected the position of the Serbian people and Serbia.

 

"I am convinced that Djuric will work seriously on that, together with President Vucic, Prime Minister Brnabic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and contribute to a large extent to changing that climate", Minister Selakovic said.

 

 

He points out that it is extremely important for Serbia to promote its partner relations with the United States to a higher level.

 

"This is a country with which we cooperate closely in many areas and a country with which we must strive, and not give up in doing so, to find what we have in common, our common ground and good examples of our cooperation in the past, and to create space for such cooperation in the future as well", Minister Selakovic concluded.

 

Source: Tanjug


President Vucic: Serbia to remain on the course of a winning policy of stability

Preservation of peace, taking care of the health and better living standard are key for Serbia in 2021, underlined President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic, convinced that even though the completion of this ambitious and by no means easy task will be anything but straightforward, best results can be achieved by working in concert with the Government, while ensuring security and a future of certainty for the citizens.

The President said that Serbia has set for itself great and ambitious goals for the next year, notwithstanding the complex international and regional circumstances, and that it will endeavour to fully preserve peace and stability in the region and the country, while safeguarding the vital national and state interests.

"Serbia will remain on the course of a winning policy - the policy of stability", President Vucic said and stressed that our country remains on the European integration path and that it will carefully foster its friendship with Russia and China, while building a friendship with the United States as well.

According to the President, Serbia will continue to pursue a winning policy, with the country itself as a top priority, i.e., a policy that will enable Serbia to continue being one of the top three countries in Europe in terms of growth rate in the next two years.

A precondition for that, the President noted, is to crack down on criminal groups, but also to ensure even bigger investments in the police and army forces.

"Serbia is the country that recorded the highest growth in Europe in 2020", the President pointed out at the annual press conference and added that he expects to conclude a new arrangement with the IMF, as well as that Serbia, by the end of next year or early 2022, will raise its credit rating to an "investment" one, which will put our country's rating on par with the most developed EU countries.

As the greatest success in 2020, Vucic noted that Serbia will end the year with the highest growth rate in Europe, which, as he said, is expected to be from minus 0.75 percent to minus one.

"I am proud to be the President of a country that is the European champion in terms of GDP", Vucic pointed out and added that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also pleased with Serbia's success.

According to President Vucic, this result will encourage Serbia to accelerate its European path, while continuing friendships with those who did not turn their backs on Serbia when it was at its darkest hour, namely Russia and China.

The President pointed out that the activities to attract foreign investors will continue, then that work will be done on investments in agriculture, primarily the food industry, new machinery, and digitalization of agriculture.

President Vucic also emphasized that the goal is for salaries in the public sector to average between 560 and 570 euros by the end of the year. Only in Belgrade, the average salary would be around 700 euros.

President Vucic reminded that the salaries of health care workers will increase by five percent from January 1, while the salaries of others in the public sector will increase by 3.5 percent and an additional 1.5 percent as of April 1, while corporal, private first class and non-commissioned officer army ranks will get an increase of an additional 10 percent. He noted that the minimum wage will be increased by 6.6 percent and so will pensions from January 1, by 5.9 percent, with the plan that the average pension amounts to 270 euros by the end of 2021. The President especially pointed out investments in health care, reminding that two new covid hospitals have been opened and that the renovation and construction of health facilities continues throughout Serbia, while stressing that Serbia is by far the first in the region in terms of hospitalized persons per 100,000 citizens, which is why it has recorded a low mortality rate , and also that Serbia this year has been among the top three countries in the region according to the number of PCR tests performed.

Speaking about tourism, the President said that, next year, efforts will be made on the development of the Danube basin region, from Apatin to Kladovo, that the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge will be developed, as well as our mountain centers.

Discussing the field of culture and information, President Vucic said that the implementation of the media strategy and the completion of the reconstruction of the National Theater in Subotica are important for next year, and he announced investments in museums, especially emphasizing the relocation of the History Museum to the train station building. He also stated that the floor heating in the Church of Saint Sava will be completed next year.

He pointed out that the state will continue to take care of our citizens in Kosovo and Metohija, that no one can forbid Serbia to help its people, and that Serbia will not give up on helping our people.

As he emphasized, Serbia is ready to send medicines and vaccines to the Albanian population as well, and pointed out that in the upcoming period our country will pursue a policy of peace in the region and will endeavour to cooperate with Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica and others.


Serbian Prime Minister the first PM in Europe to receive a Covid-19 vaccine

Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ana Brnabic received today the first vaccine against the coronavirus made by Pfizer company, at the Torlak Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera.

Brnabic, who is the first European Prime Minister to receive the vaccine, pointed out that this day may be the first since 6 March that we have a reason for a smile on our faces as it marks the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic in Serbia, but also in Europe and the world.

As Prime Minister and as someone who leads the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team, I felt obliged to be the first to receive the vaccine, to show that we believe in it, as well as in our institutions - the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia and experts who worked round the clock to test the vaccine, she said.

Underlining that it was an honour to do this for her country and be the first to pave the way for all citizens, the Prime Minister said that she agreed with President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic that the two of them receive different vaccines, so he will most likely receive the next one that arrives, most probably the one produced by China.

At the moment we have the Pfizer-BioNTech consortium vaccine, and the vaccines from the Chinese Sinopharm are expected in the near future, as well as certain quantities of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

She expressed her belief that at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of next year we will have the vaccine of the company AstraZeneca, and after that the vaccine manufactured by Moderna.

As we promised, all vaccines licensed in their countries and approved by relevant international agencies will be available to our citizens, and of course they will be tested by all of our agencies and institutes as well, the Prime Minister pointed out.

She said that prior to the vaccination of health care workers, Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar will also receive a vaccine shot as we endeavour to serve as an example and show how confident we are in the vaccines and institutions. Brnabic pointed out that Serbia, not counting Great Britain, is the first country in Europe to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the third to start a mass immunization and campaign for giving the vaccine - after Great Britain and Switzerland.

We achieved something very important and we will not stop even for a moment until the immunization of the population is completed, the Prime Minister said.

She specified that our country will receive another 16,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in January, as well as that together with other vaccines we will have a total of one million doses in January, and a total of approximately two million doses during the first quarter of next year.

There is a dynamic on which Pfizer delivers vaccines and it varies depending on the production, and this is the case with deliveries to both Serbia and all other countries worldwide.

We expected to receive 10,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech in December, however 4,807 doses arrived, the Prime Minister explained.

Serbia demonstrated that it is able to fight and succeed if we all work as a team, Brnabic said and called on all not to see the beginning of vaccination as the end of the fight already, but to continue to apply all measures instead.

This is to be certain and to be able to help our health care workers, and once the immunity is acquired we will be able to slowly start taking off the masks in 2021, but until then we should not see this as a victory but as the beginning of the end, the Prime Minister concluded.

After the Prime Minister, vaccine shots were also administered to the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and a member of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team Darija Kisic Tepavcevic and to Predrag Kon who is also on the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team. Furthermore, vaccine shots were also given to Head of the MMA Department for the Prevention and Control of Nosocomial Infections prof. Dr. Vesna Suljagic and academician Predrag Pesko, professor of Belgrade and Heidelberg universities and full member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

The first quantities of the vaccine arrived in Serbia on 22 December, and today they will be administered to patrons of nursing homes in Belgrade and Novi Sad. Serbia is the first country in the region to receive a shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

In addition to procuring the vaccine among the first countries in the world, even before EU countries, Serbia is one of the rare countries that managed to build and open two covid hospitals in record time.

The hospitals with 930 beds in Batajnica and 500 beds in Krusevac are a major contribution to the expansion of capacities and strengthening the health care system in the fight against coronavirus and, as President Vucic said, represent a monument of the future, that will talk about the accomplishments the state made in a short time.

Also, we recall that investments in health infrastructure have been large in Serbia, and since 2016, 80 health centers and clinics have been renovated, and works are underway on six large health centers.

This way more than EUR 200 million was invested in the reconstruction, construction and equipping of hospitals and more than 300 million in the renovation of clinics and specialized hospitals, and many have already been completed, such as the University Children's Hospital Tiršova, and KBC Zemun nad KBC "Dragiša Mišović" hospitals.

The absolute priority of the Serbian Government is the successful completion of health infrastructure projects that are underway, but great attention is also paid to health workers, whose salaries have, by 2020, been increased by 56.8% for specialist doctors, and 66.9% for nurses, while significant funding is invested in the education of health professionals, as well as in equipment and working conditions.

Like other countries, Serbia has faced great challenges this year, most notably health challenges, and all factors in the state were focused on preventing the spread of the virus and safeguarding the lives and health of citizens.

Serbia has faced these challenges better than many wealthier and more developed countries in Europe and the world.

Belgrade, 24 December 2020


Brnabic and Borrell: Political and economic aspects of negotiations

The Serbian government stated that at a meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between Serbia and the EU held today, the overall progress achieved in Serbia's accession negotiations so far was commended, as well as the adoption of an improved enlargement methodology that should accelerate Serbia's EU accession process.

The participants in the meeting exchanged opinions on the current political and socio-economic situation in Serbia, and above all on the further dynamics of negotiations on EU accession, cooperation within the Common Foreign and Security Policy, as well as regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.

Accordingly, they welcomed the fact that the new government has placed European integration, preserving public health and economic growth, as well as normalising relations with Pristina at the top of its priority list.

At the meeting held via video link due to the pandemic, the Serbian delegation was led by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic.

The EU delegation was headed by High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi.

Borrell especially expressed gratitude for the participation of Prime Minister Brnabic, which is not the usual format, but which unequivocally shows how much importance the Serbian government attaches to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and Serbia's European path.

The interlocutors discussed current relations between Serbia and the European Union, primarily the process of Serbia's accession to the EU, as well as political and economic criteria, harmonisation of domestic legislation with the EU acquis, as well as the implementation of the EU pre-accession assistance.

The EU representatives reiterated the EU's commitment to Serbia's European future and called for proactive and strategic communication between Serbia and the EU.

During the meeting, they also talked about the way in which Serbia is facing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of resolving the health crisis and in overcoming the consequences for the economy in general and the implementation of reforms.

The participants agreed that good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are key elements of the enlargement process, and to that end welcomed the continued dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and Serbia's consistent commitment to the process.

The EU representatives welcomed Serbia's significant contribution to military missions and operations, as well as Serbia's participation in EU battle groups, stressing the importance of further deepening cooperation on foreign policy issues.

The participants in the meeting also supported the Common Regional Market, launched by Western Balkan leaders at a summit in Sofia on 10 November, and recalled that the Western Balkans Economic and Investment Plan, adopted by the European Commission on 6 October 2020, provides a comprehensive framework to support economic convergence of Serbia and the EU region.

Belgrade, 17 December 2020


Minister Selakovic: Full EU membership remains a priority of the new Government

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic had talks today via video link with Head of EU Delegation in Serbia Sem Fabrizi and Ambassadors of the EU Member States.

On this occasion, the Serbian Foreign Minister emphasized that full membership of the EU remained one of the key foreign policy priorities of the Serbian Government, and that the European integration process was a strategic goal also aimed at promoting the quality of the society.

Minister Selakovic pointed out that Serbia was ready for an acceleration of the accession process' dynamic which is why it accepted the new methodology in the first place, and that it is now hoping that it will, in the period ahead, receive clearer guidelines on its implementation in the negotiating process.

The Minister said that Serbia has taken a number of important steps forward in the reform process, which were not fully reflected in the European Commission's Annual Progress Report.

The Minister reminded that our country opened 18 out of 35 negotiating chapters with the EU since 2014, provisionally closing two, and that it is at this point ready to open five new chapters.

Discussing the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, Minister Selakovic noted that the only right path towards a sustainable agreement was through dialogue and compromise.

He explained that it was necessary that topics of the talks include the issues being ignored by Pristina for years, despite having committed to them under the Brussels Agreement, such as the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities.

The Minister added that Serbia is deeply devoted to regional cooperation and that, as an important country of the region aiming to contribute to overall stability, our side has through its steps, among others, significantly contributed to decreasing the tensions with Montenegro.

Minister Selakovic also said that Serbia was very grateful to the EU and its Member States for the financial assistance, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Belgrade, 16 December 2020


J. Joksimović and Roth on Serbia’s negotiations and new methodology

Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović has held a video meeting today with Michael Roth, the Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office. They have discussed the current epidemiological situation in the two countries and the EU, as well as Serbia’s European integration process.

Joksimović and Roth have also talked about the issues related to the EU’s internal situation, particularly regarding the new seven-year budget, the place and the future of the enlargement policy and the Western Balkans, notably about all aspects of Serbia’s accession process, challenges and expectations from the new methodology, which should bring a faster negotiation process that would be better monitored and directed under stronger political steering.

Joksimović has particularly informed Roth about the fact that the Government of Serbia prepared a concrete implementation plan for the first negotiation cluster on the rule of law, which comprises five rule-of-law chapters that have already been opened, adding that the realisation of the plan has already begun.

“This serious implementation plan includes a repeated initiative sent to the National Assembly for the adoption of constitutional amendments, the adoption of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Media Strategy, as well as the Working Group on monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan and the Working Group on journalist safety and protection”, said Joksimović, according to the press release published by the Ministry of European Integration.

She has also stressed that GRECO recommendations for the fight against corruption have been published in a transparent way, and that further actions will be taken in line with them.

She has further presented all other important segments of Serbia’s reform policy in all six clusters, including Green Agenda, digitisation, Economic and Investment Plan for the WB, and stable and sound macroeconomic indicators, stressing that, therefore, this year, Serbia has again undeniably demonstrated that it deeply and substantively participates in key EU policies and that it is a credible European country.

Joksimović has emphasised that Serbia understands that the EU and member states will need some more time to define the application of the new methodology to Serbia’s negotiation process, and that it is therefore important to maintain a constant and open dialogue so as to direct the process in line with the new methodology.

She has expressed regret that conclusions on enlargement have not been adopted this year and that, consequently, the political Intergovernmental Conference with Serbia has not been held during the German presidency.

On the other hand, the Minister has expressed belief that the upcoming Stabilisation and Association Council will offer an opportunity to discuss all political and economic aspects of Serbia’s process at the highest level.

Roth has thanked Minister Joksimović for the information and issues she shared, as well as for Serbia’s proactive approach regarding reforms and active acceptance of the new methodology.

He has underlined that Germany supports Serbia and the enlargement policy, particularly welcoming all significant steps that the new Serbian Government has already taken, especially regarding cluster 1 – rule of law, where he stressed that they are an important and positive signal for Serbia’s European path.

He has agreed with Minister Joksimović about the need to urgently define the application of the new methodology to countries that are already in the accession process, where clusters of European policies and Serbia’s participation therein become an instrument for measuring progress in the accession process.

He has conveyed that Germany will advocate the holding of the political Intergovernmental Conference with Serbia in the first half of 2021.

The interlocutors have particularly discussed the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, agreeing that it represents another proof that the European Union gives strategic importance to a stable and sustainable development of the region, particularly in difficult circumstances of curbing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joksimović has thanked Minister Roth for Germany’s long-term and concrete assistance to Serbia’s European integration, not only at the political level, but also through providing development assistance for financing reform projects, and successful strategic investments that have created a significant number of new jobs.

The interlocutors have also agreed that it is extremely important that, through the COVAX Facility, Serbia has ensured that its access to vaccines procured by the EU will be almost simultaneous with the EU member states’ access.

Source: Tanjug


STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

On the occasion of 10 December, the international Human Rights Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia reaffirms its commitment to the principles and values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on this day in 1948.

The principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been the foundation for the development of international law in this field, and of the international system for the promotion and protection of human rights, as a unique achievement of modern civilization. It is incumbent upon us today to safeguard and strengthen the international system ensuring respect for human rights, to develop human rights standards, control the implementation of commitments, and also to continue cooperating with international and regional institutions on the protection of human rights.

Serbia is fully committed to the universal values of human rights and implementing in practice the international legal instruments relating to human rights. Our continued cooperation with the Human Rights Council mechanisms in the framework of the United Nations, with the Council of Europe and the mechanisms of the OSCE human dimension, represents an important segment of activities carried out by all state authorities, thus demonstrating our consistent commitment to the implementation of international human rights standards.

The international Human Rights Day is an opportunity to point out once again that Serb and other non-Albanian population is being deprived of its rights in Kosovo and Metohija and to call again on the international community to ensure the respect for the guaranteed international human rights norms and contribute to creating conditions for the return of internally displaced persons and giving them back their usurped property.


President meets the ambassadors of the EU member states accredited to Serbia and the head of the European Union Delegation

The President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today the ambassadors of EU Member States accredited to Serbia and the Head of the EU Delegation Sem Fabrizi in the Palace of Serbia, to talk to them about topics such as dynamics of the accession negotiations between Serbia and EU, stability in the region, regional projects, as well as the Economic and Investment Plan presented by the European Commission together with the Enlargement package. President Vučić once again confirmed that cooperation with the European Union and fully-fledged membership of Serbia remain one of the key foreign policy priorities of our country. He particularly emphasised that in this respect Serbia is honestly dedicated to further and deeper reforms, approaching them with responsibility and seriousness, and that it tries to adopt and apply the best practice through cooperation with institutions of the EU and its member states.

"Serbia will continue being dedicated to the promotion of peace and stability in the region, by improving bilateral relations with neighbours, and by strengthening regional cooperation while respecting all concluded agreements", President Vučić stated, adding that the European future of the Western Balkans is of utmost importance for both stability of the entire region and security and further prosperity of the EU.

Ambassadors pointed out that declarations on the common regional market and the Western Balkans green agenda, which were signed by Serbia and all leaders of the region, received a warm welcome in Brussels and EU Member Stated, and that good and solid connectivity and integration of the region largely facilitates the cooperation of the very Union with the Western Balkans in all areas of joint interest.

"As much as 70% of foreign investments come from the countries whose representatives are sitting here today", Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi said, adding that Serbia can rest assured the EU will continue supporting and investing in the Serbian economy. While Covid-19 has put all economies under stress, Serbian economy has resisted and proved its resilience. With the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, the EU will remain Serbia's strongest partner for economic recovery which will support infrastructures, green and digital transition. We welcome the announced reforms in the areas of rule of law, including judiciary reforms and media freedom. This is precisely the base for acceleration of the accession process and we encourage the new government to keep working and implementing in this direction", Fabrizi said.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia highly appreciates that the EU, despite numerous challenges it is facing has managed to preserve the enlargement issue on its agenda, especially through the recent adoption of a new, changed methodology of the negotiation process.

"In this respect, we expect from the EU that Serbia's accession negotiation dynamics follows and values our reform efforts", President Vučić said pointing out that Serbia is ready to continue working with its European partners on implementation of the reforms and numerous joint projects.

President Vučić particularly noted that Serbia welcomes the Economic and investment plan presented by the EC together with the Enlargement package, and expressed our country's readiness to continue working with the partners in the region on the implementation of this Plan so as to improve the economic potential of the region and achieve better infrastructure connection, which would bring us closer to the single European market.

"In this context, we hope the Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 will be adopted soon, because that will mean a possibility to use funds designed for reform implementation in Serbia and in the region", President Vučić said, reiterating that Serbia remains on its European path with an honest faith in cooperation with the European partners.

"2020 has been an extremely difficult year for all, especially the impact of COVID–19. When I look at new Government's commitment to implement reforms, the Economic and Investment Plan of the EU, the new methodology and increased cooperation to fight COVID-19, I see 2021 with a much more favourable perspective for progressing the enlargement", Fabrizi concluded.

President Vučić also pointed out that Serbia is prepared to work intensively with the EU Member States on finding an adequate response to the new challenges, such as COVID-19 pandemic.

Belgrade,

8th December 2020


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