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Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Ambassador Sam Fabrizi, to discuss the continuation of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges in the mass vaccination process.

President Vučić thanked the EU for its support to Serbia in the conditions of the pandemic and expressed hope that the first contingents of vaccines from the COVAX program will arrive soon.

"Serbia was among the first to join this programme, thus proving again to be a reliable partner of the European Union," said President Vučić and stressed that our country has taken a serious and responsible approach to fighting the pandemic, as evidenced by comprehensive measures adopted by the Serbian Government to preserve the health and lives of people, both citizens of Serbia and its surrounding.

Ambassador Fabrizi assured that the EU will continue to provide full solidarity to Serbia. Last week, the European Commission announced the allocation of 12 million euros for Serbia from the EU Solidarity Fund, which is another indicator of the EU's support for Serbia since the outbreak of the pandemic. The EU will continue to work to ensure a fair and global distribution of vaccines. In this regard, Ambassador Fabrizi stressed the importance of the COVAX program. The EU and Team Europe, as a true global donor, have already pledged more than 2 billion euros for the programme. The Ambassador commented positively on Serbia's contribution to the COVAX program and congratulated Serbia on the results achieved in the vaccination process, as well as on the timely and decisive measures taken in the fight against the coronavirus.

On this occasion, President Vučić also confirmed that cooperation with the European Union and full membership of Serbia remains one of the key foreign policy priorities of our country. He particularly emphasised that Serbia is sincerely committed to further reforms, which it approaches with responsibility and seriousness, and that through cooperation with the institutions of the Union and its members, it strives to adopt and apply best practices.

Ambassador Fabrizi pointed out that despite the current challenges caused by the pandemic, the EU keeps the issue of enlargement very high on its agenda, given the new methodology to be presented by the European Commission.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia expects the European Union to monitor and evaluate the dynamics of Serbia's accession negotiations and evaluate its reform efforts, and that our country is ready to continue working with its European partners on the implementation of reforms and numerous joint projects. In this regard, they also discussed specific joint infrastructure projects.

"We will continue to work intensively on fulfilling the European agenda, aimed at opening new chapters and faster progress on the path to EU membership," concluded President Vučić.

President Vučić and Ambassador Fabrizi discussed the process of harmonising the legislation of Serbia with the legislation of the European Union and agreed that more energetic work is needed in the area of the rule of law.

The two interlocutors also discussed judicial reform, including the constitutional process, the fight against corruption, media freedom and the resumption of inter-party dialogue.

Ambassador Fabrizi particularly underlined the need for concrete improvements to provide a suitable environment in which the freedom of the media and the role of civil society can be realised unhindered and without pressure.

President Vučić especially emphasised that he advocates that the representatives of all media do their job in an atmosphere of complete freedom of expression and that he remains personally committed to that since media freedom is one of the greatest achievements of democracy.

17th March 2021


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

8 March 2021

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.    

Minister Selakovic emphasized that Serbia, in its Second Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessment from 2019, identified as its goal to eliminate cybercrime, human trafficking, terrorism and irregular migration.

The Serbian Foreign Minister pointed out that our country had established in a timely manner a normative and institutional framework that regulates prevention of abuse in this area, as well as that the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Cybercrime, a special court department and a special police unit were established. 

The Minister underlined that, in the field of the fight against corruption, Serbia was guided by the postulates set out in the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption.

Selakovic pointed out the efforts made by the Anti-Corruption Agency, as an independent state body, to protect the public interest, build individual and institutional integrity, strengthen transparency and accountability of the public administration.

"We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism, including extremism and radicalism, and call for them to be fully eradicated, while implementing the relevant UN resolutions and conventions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy", the Head of Serbian diplomacy underscored. 

In order to combat these complex phenomena efficiently and successfully, Selakovic said, it was of vital importance to build capacities of our societies and states, while exchanging experiences at the regional and global levels.

Minister Selakovic thanked Japanese Ambassador Hikihara for the skill he showed in conducting the talks on harmonizing and adopting the Kyoto Declaration, which, as he stressed, was an important indicator of the commitment to creating and maintaining the institutional framework for crime prevention as one of the main preconditions for promoting sustainable development goals.

"Back in 1970 when Japan hosted this event for the first time, we demonstrated strong political will to draw attention to the problem. Today, it is incumbent upon us to reaffirm this willingness and resolve and translate it into concrete steps", the Serbian Foreign Minister said.

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

22 July 2021

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.

"We are connected by history, common culture, EU members are already undoubtedly our most important partners", he explained and added that the trade exchange between Germany and China is 3,000 times higher than between Serbia and China, and, as he noted, even despite that, Serbia's business operations with China are portrayed as a problem.

To the statement that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not congratulate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, and that he did so, he replied that Serbia is not Germany, but a small country. On additional insistence on what Serbia will do if it has to choose between the EU and China, he underlined that Serbia has already decided, that its goal was and remains the EU membership.

"Our biggest investors are from the EU. The EU accounts for 67% of our trade while 17 percent of the trade is with countries of the region that are all on the way to the EU. We cannot survive without the EU", he added.

"But can we do a lot of good things with China – of course. And we do that, just like Germany does", Vučić pointed out, and to the remark that the quality of the Silk Road projects was being criticized, primarily because of Chinese workers, he answered that the quality of roads or bridges, which Serbia is building with China, is excellent.

"We give jobs to those who submit the best offer to us. That is why I tell Europeans who criticize Chinese projects in our country – offer us a project for one euro more and you will get it", he emphasized.

In that regard, he pointed out that Serbia is building a railway to Northern Macedonia with 600 million euros of EU aid, stating that that offer was better than China's.

"There is often talk of a 180-kilometer railway to Budapest through the territory of Serbia, which is financed by China. But the railway that is being built with the help of the EU from Belgrade to the northern Macedonian border is twice as long and no one is talking about it. It is all too political", he stated.

Asked whether he welcomes the plans of the EU and the USA regarding an alternative initiative to the Silk Road, Vučić said that he supports everything that brings advantages to our region.

"The Chinese want to expand their presence everywhere, but many processes in the West are, frankly, more efficient and without problems. We still have a lot to learn from the West, but we are getting there", Vučić said.

He pointed out that China was an important partner for Serbia and added that when the consolidation of state finances began in 2014, our country received good conditions from China for development projects.

He also stated that a competition for a copper mine was announced in eastern Serbia, at the request of the EU, that no European company had made an offer for six months, and that it had then been taken over by the Chinese.

"Our job is to take care of our people", he said.

He reminded that the Serbian economy grew by 52% in eight and a half years, which for the EU means that Serbia could be a strong member and engine for the entire region.

Explaining how Serbia is developing so well economically, he pointed out that Serbia has an excellent workforce, which speaks English, that society and administration are digitalized, and that it has the most flexible labor law in Europe, as well as consolidated public finances.

He reminded that previously the public debt was at 78% of GDP, and that today it has been reduced, thanks to the strong growth of the economy, to 52%.

"We can afford to give investors an incentive to come", he added, emphasizing that Serbia offers investment assistance, but that, for example, subsidies were not the motive for the arrival of the development center of the company Continental.

He pointed out that, five or six years ago, only Serbia started using the dual education system in this region, which Germany, Switzerland and Austria also use, that tens of thousands of people are in dual education, and that this is appreciated by foreign investors, who, in addition, can work closely with universities as well.

Germany, he stated, is the most important trade partner and the largest investor.

We started with the arrival of small textile companies from Turkey, and now primarily large German companies are coming. Today, 71,000 people work in German companies in Serbia", he explained.

Vučić said that the European perspective is very important for investors, stating that Nidek, Toyo Tires or Mitsubishi are coming from Japan to Serbia because our country is on a stable European path.

Asked if he believes that Serbia will become an EU member in the foreseeable future, he said that he does not complain.

"It is certain that if we had received 45 billion euros of EU aid, we would have been much further economically. Instead, we received 1.6 billion euros from the EU. We are used to achieving our successes on our own", said Vučić.

The President of Serbia reminded that in Croatia, salaries used to be 2.2 times higher than in Serbia, and today they are only 1.7 times higher.

"We are closing the gap with our own efforts. If we were to become a member of the EU, then we would certainly not ask for the biggest subsidies", he assures.

He said that the Serbian path follows the German path to Europe, and that Serbia wants a fair chance.

"I believe Merkel's words. She is at the end of her term and I would not have to praise her anymore. But she gave us stability, freedom of travel to the EU, helped us with the migrant crisis in 2015, and asked the Minister of Economy Altmeier and others to work closely with us", he reminded.

Asked if there were any indications that the new German government would support Serbia in the same way, Vučić expressed confidence that it would be the same.

"I know Armin Laschet, I talked to him while he was the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia. He is very smart and understands the situation in the Balkans, and he will certainly continue Merkel's policy towards our region as the new chancellor", he added.

Vučić also expressed his belief that Russia, if Serbia's accession to the EU were concretized, would not react similarly as in the case of Ukraine, as this is a sovereign decision of Serbia.

To an additional question in this regard, Vučić pointed out that whenever he met with Vladimir Putin, and there were 18 or 19 meetings, he told him that he was grateful for the traditionally close friendship with Russia, but also that Serbia is on a clear course towards the EU.

"He asked if it was our choice and I answered that EU membership is indeed our goal", he added.

When it comes to "Kosovo", Vučić emphasized that a compromise is needed regarding this issue.

"Only in this way can there be sustainable peace. Serbia wants peace, me as well. Let's stop with the madness of the past. Only then can the whole region become the engine of new growth for Europe", said Vučić.

Source: Tanjug

Serbia has achieved great success in the field of digitalization

20 July 2021

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.

She stated that, when she took office as Prime Minister, she knew what her priorities were and that first of all, digitalization needed to be raised to a higher level, that the education reform was supposed to begin, as well as work on strengthening the economy.

I believed in a country that believes in its people, because the Serbian people are creative. From 1 June 2017, we started working as an e-Government, i.e. we started exchanging data electronically, said the Prime Minister.

According to her, our citizens no longer had to go to, say, the Tax Administration, and since then, the public administration has exchanged 50 million documents, which means that citizens did not have to go from office to office for 50 million papers.

Brnabić pointed out that she is proud of what has been done in the field of education since she became the head of the Government, specifying that in September 2017, programming was introduced as a compulsory subject in primary schools.

Nobody believed that we could do that, but we cooperated with the private sector and some social organizations and we succeeded. At the moment, we are far ahead of numerous countries in Europe and the world, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister pointed out that she was most proud when the cornerstone was laid for the science and technology park in southern Serbia, noting that so far, our country has four science and technology parks.

She pointed out that Serbia has since become one of the most successful countries in the world in the field of technology, and that according to some parameters, it is among the ten countries in the world, or among the five, assessing that this is proof that the country can change quickly.

Answering the question about vaccination, the Prime Minister emphasized that our country has never seen it as a geopolitical issue, but as a health issue.

According to her, Serbia talked with producers from both the East and the West and was among the first European countries to sign agreements with the company Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm.

Unfortunately, many countries have viewed this issue as geopolitical. It did not matter to us, as long as the vaccines were safe, the Prime Minister emphasized and added that this was not the end of Serbia's success, because good organization was also needed.

Brnabić explained that the organization is another important thing in vaccination, because it is a logistically very difficult process, adding that, with the help of digitalization, success has been achieved and that everything we did in the previous years has paid off.

She stated that Serbia quickly established a system through which citizens could express interest in vaccination against the coronavirus and choose which vaccine they wanted to receive, as well as to be informed by a message when to go and get vaccinated.

Now I can log in on my phone, to see how many people have received the vaccine, how many more have registered, so that the effects of digitalization are obvious. We have made everything very efficient and easy for our citizens, the Prime Minister explained.

Answering the question of what she can tell other countries of the world about how to progress faster, Brnabić said that it is important to invest as much as possible in digitalization and education.

You need to teach children how to think, not what to think. Not all children will become IT experts, but what they can learn is an algorithmic way of thinking and how to make decisions, she said.

The Prime Minister mentioned investing in high-speed internet and providing infrastructure for start-ups as an important thing for progress, because more and more economies will be based on start-ups and innovations, emphasizing that people should be helped to start companies and implement their ideas.

Speaking about social networks, she pointed out that fake news has become the biggest problem on these networks and that it will remain so for some time.

This is the biggest challenge I face as Prime Minister, especially during the corona virus pandemic, she said, adding that social networks are also a great opportunity for politicians to communicate with citizens.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs

Incidents in Kosovo and Metohija in 2021

07/01 The Vučković family house in the village of Babin Most was broken into;
13/01 Petar Petković, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, was not allowed to enter;
16/01 At the “Jarinje” CCP, a bus with 40 passengers carrying season’s gift packages for children was not allowed to enter;
20.01 Inspection raided the Health Center in Štrpce, searching for vaccines;
28.01 Igor Popović, Assistant Director in the OKM, was not allowed to enter;

02/02 Two Ristić brothers were wounded by firearms in Laplje Selo;
03/02 KLA graffiti were inscribed on the Krstović family house in Goraždevac;
03/02 The mast and flag by the Monument to Serbian victims in Goraždevac were broken;
04/02 Archeological items were stolen from the Hermitage of St Petar of Korisha, near Prizren;
05/02 The Jovanović family house in the village of Mogila was broken into;
10/02 A KLA Billboard was placed in Čaglavica;
10/02 The Vučković family house in the village of Berkovo was broken into;
13/02 The TV PINK and TV Kraljevo crews were not allowed to enter;
15/02 The RTS crew, filming the series „The Right to Tomorrow“ was not allowed to enter;
26/02 Serbian boy M.M. was stabbed by Albanians in Kosovska Mitrovica;
28/02 Team of the Arilje Handball Club was not allowed to enter;

03/03 A Serbian house in Gračanica was broken into, money and personal documents were stolen;
04/03 Two Goranis in Globočica were wounded by two Albanian men;
05/03 Serbian boy L.P. was hit in Gračanica by car with an Albanian driver who fled the scene;
06/03 On All Souls’ Day, Orthodox church of St. Peter in the village of Klokot, Municipality of Kosovska Vitina, was broken into and some money was stolen;
06/03 On All Souls’ Day, Orthodox church of Holy Trinity in the village of Parteš, Municipality of Gnjilane, was broken into, and from it were stolen money, a hand-made shroud and an icon;
07/03 A tombstone in the graveyard of the village of Binač was stolen;
07/03 A Serb restaurant-owner in the village of Šilovo, Municipality of Gnjilane, was shot in the leg by an Albanian;
12/03 From the parish house under construction, next to the Church of the Holy Apostle Luke in the village of Vitomirica, Municipality of Peć, construction material was stolen;
12/03 ROSU members searched the premises of the Municipality of Klokot, then searched the family house of the Municipality President and arrested him;
13/03 Church of 40 Martyrs of Sebastes in the village of Drajkovce, Municipality of Štrpce, was broken into and its money was stolen;
13/03 Church of St. Dimitri in the village of Donja Bitinja, Municipality of Štrpce, was broken into;
15/03 Church of St. Kyriako in the village of Gornja Gušterica, Municipality of Gračanica, was broken into, demolished, and looted;
16/03 At the “Jarinje” CCP, Ms. Svetlana Miladinov, Assistant Director in the OKM, was not allowed to enter;
18/03 Church of St. Marko in the village of Šilovo, Municipality of Gnjilane, was broken into, and its money and sound system were looted;
25/03 KLA graffiti were inscribed on the wall of the Health Center in the village of Suvi Do;
27/03 At the “Tabalije” CCP, the Kosovo Police did not allow 17 football players of the FC „Šumadija“ to enter Kosovo and Metohija;
30/03 Ms. Mila Anđelković, a returnee whose family house has been illegally occupied by the Albanians, was arrested;

10/04 Serbian youngsters Marko Nikolić and Miloš Rošić, while sitting in a cafe in the north of Kosovska Mitrovica, were attacked by bottles;
12/04 Health clinic in the village of Gojbulja was broken into;
13/04 Teenager Luka Dimitrijević was attacked in Gračanica;
15/04 Albanian flags were waved followed with an attempt of incursion into the Clinical Hospital Center in the north of Kosovska Mitrovica;
16/04 Petar Petković, Director of the OKM, was not allowed to enter;
18/04 Ms. Tamara Grujić, a RTS journalist, was arrested in Vučitrn;
18/04 The front door of the elementary school in Obilić were demolished;
26/04 Lazar Đoršević and his family were attacked by Albanians, while at their own estate in the village of Gojbulja;

03/05 The Jaćović family house in Kosovska Vitina was stoned;
03/05 A window was broken on the car belonging to the deacon in Orahovac;
05/05 Miroslav Lukić from Velika Hoča sustained a broken nose after being physically attacked by three Albanians;
06/05 On the St. George’s Day, a group of thugs attempted to remove the Serbian flag from the Bell tower of the church of Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Klokot;
06/05 The church of St. John the Baptist, located in the center of the City of Peć, also known as the Metropolitan Church, was stoned and a window got broken;
09/05 The church of St. Petka in Kosovska Vitina was stoned;
09/05 In the village of Suvi Do, Municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica, three shots were fired into the air from the passing vehicle;
10/05 The church of Most Holy Mother of God in Lipljan was stoned;
11/05 The house of returnees Radoje and Miloje Pumpalović in the village of Dubrava, Municipality of Istok, was attacked, for the fifth time within the timeframe of a year;
20/05 The Jaćović family house in Kosovska Vitina was attacked once more;
24/05 In the church of St. Petka in the village of Donja Šipašnica, Municipality of Kosovska Kamenica, front door was burglarized, church was ransacked, and its holy relics were stolen;
26/05 The house of returnee Sreten Stojiljković, near Novo Brdo, was broken into, and his tools and firewood were stolen;
26/05 An outbuilding belonging to Božidar Zdravković from the same village (Ćeranovica Hamlet, returnee village Klobukar, Novo Brdo) was burglarized and a stove was stolen;
30/05 The signpost pointing to the Draganac Monastery in the Municipality of Novo Brdo was shattered.

03/06 “Greater Albania” graffiti were inscribed on a Serbian home in Orahovac;

10/06 Kosovo Police raided the Temple of Christ the Savior in Priština, after the liturgy;

11/06 Hate graffiti were inscribed on the Temple of Christ the Savior. Kosovo Police stood by, passively watching the desecration as it went on;

11/06 Ms. Darija Kisić Tepavčević, Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans' Affairs, and Social Affairs, scheduled to hold lecture to students, was not allowed to enter Kosovo and Metohija;

11/06 A group of 39 Christians believers on pilgrimage were prevented from visiting the monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija;

11/06 Bus carrying Christians believers was kept on hold for more than 5 hours at the “Jarinje” CCP;

12/06 Two buses carrying Serbian athletes and Christians believers was returned from the “Jarinje” CCP
14/06 Graves of families Stojanović and Šarić in Orahovac were desecrated;
19/06 A bus carrying 50 Christians believers from the parts of Central Serbia on route for the All Souls’ Day to Kosovo and Metohija;
20/06 Electrical installation in the church of St. Uroš in Uroševac was stolen;
21/22/06 Minister Vanja Udovičić was not allowed to enter into Kosovo and Metohija;
21/06 The front door of the church of holy Apostles Peter and Paul in the village of Talinovac near Uroševac was shattered, electrical installation taken down, and icons thrown around;
24/06 The family house of Staniša Stojanović in the village of Babin Most, Municipality of Obilić, was broken into, looted, ransacked, and the money was stolen;
26/06 A group of Serbian mountaineers was banned from hiking to the top of the Šar Mountain starting from Štrpce and the Brezovica Ski Center;
27/06 Repeated assaults against Dragica Gašić, the first ever Serbian woman returnee into Đakovica, coupled with the stoning of her apartment, pasting photos of deceased people, and announced protests of NGOs with requests for her eviction;
28/06 Stopping the vehicles with Serbian license plates on the road to Gazimestan while on way to celebrate Vidovdan, seizure of any Serbian symbols; a nun was searched, and a Montenegrin citizen was arrested and, two days later, remanded to a 30-day custody;
On that same day, several Serbian people were arrested just because they were singing the Đurđevdan song and uploading videos to social networks;
29/30/06 In the Gračanica Monastery, the tricolor of the Serbian Orthodox Church was stolen, and the mast on the monastery gate was broken. The photos of the desecrated church were posted on social networks, also depicting a black-clad Albanian holding the flag of “Greater Albania”. Few hours later, there was a video on social networks with that same masked Albanian burning the stolen flag;
30/06 Dragica Gašić was forbidden to install an armored door in her apartment, and the door got confiscated;
30/06 Four persons from Čačak were apprehended at Gazimestan on June 28, brought and interrogated before a prosecutor, over their T-shirts captioned “No Surrender”. According to them, those T-shirts were found in the trunk of their vehicle with Čačak license plates. They were questioned by prosecutor without interpretation, because the alternative to it, as they were informed, was to wait until the next day. They were fined with EUR 400, which they did not pay immediately, so the Kosovo Police system withheld their ID cards;
30/06 In Lipljan, a group of Albanians prevented several Serbian boys and girls to set up a basketball hoop in a local park;
01/07 An “ALBANIA UCK” graffiti appeared overnight on a billboard presenting the Monastery of Gračanica on the Gračanica – Laplje Selo road;
01/07 A group of Albanians has beaten up a 13-year-old boy, Nikola P, tearing off the cross around his neck and leaving him in bruises and contusions.

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