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Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selaković at the meeting of the UN Security Council on the report on the work of UNMIK - 18 October 2022

Mr. President,
Madam Special Representative,
Ladies and gentleman,
 
It gives me honor to address this distinguished body once again and to discuss the latest report of the Secretary-General on the work of the UNMIK.
 
I would like to thank the Secretary-General and the Special Representative for submitting the report. We take note of the efforts that Ms. Ziadeh makes in performing this very responsible duty, especially bearing in mind the necessity of a comprehensive overview and the complexity of the situation on the ground.
 
I also take this opportunity to underline that the Republic of Serbia highly values the activities of UNMIK in Kosovo and Metohija, established under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. We advocate for its continued operation in an unchanged and undiminished scope and capacity, especially bearing in mind that the Mission has not yet achieved the main goal of its mandate - a peaceful and normal life for all citizens of our southern province.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
Unfortunately, the last few months have not brought more stability in Kosovo and Metohija and the situation in the Province is not exactly as presented in the report. Unilateral moves of Pristina continue to consciously and systematically deepen ethnic differences, causing discrimination against the non-Albanian population. To our knowledge, 105 ethnically motivated attacks have been recorded since the beginning of this year. In addition, Pristina is actively working on administrative and bureaucratic obstacles, by taking measures that were not agreed upon in the dialogue as the basic mechanism for negotiations and reaching solutions between Belgrade and Pristina. Pristina’s approach is problematic in many ways. This irresponsible conduct of Pristina is consciously sabotaging the efforts not only of Belgrade, but also of the EU and other involved parties of the international community, with the clear intention of achieving two goals - the first being to avoid the implementation of assumed commitments. The second, the ultimate and far more alarming goal is the intimidation, marginalization and persecution of Serbs.
 
In all previous statements before this this distinguished body, Pristina focused on what happened in the past while failing to mention, which is painful to witness, how non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija live today. Serbs are still intimidated in different ways, forced to leave their homes, villages and cities. Those displaced are discouraged from returning to where they were born and lived their lives. The provisional institutions work systematically to remove and erase as much as possible of the cultural and national diversity that is left. At the same time, Pristina is consciously fueling inter-ethnic tensions using all available methods. Attending religious celebrations seems to be a crime in Kosovo and Methohija. It is the case of Nikola Nedeljković who was arrested for allegedly "inciting ethnic hatred and intolerance", but actually his imprisonment was for attending the St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) celebration. Nikola was sentenced to eight months in prison without any material evidence. On the other hand, let me remind you that even to this day there is not a single perpetrator held legally accountable for the more than 1,000 Serbs killed since 1999. Due to planned intimidation, almost all towns and villages in Kosovo and Metohija are ethnically cleansed. Representatives of Pristina are ignoring the suffering, insulting the open wounds of the Serbs who had to leave their ancestral homes, and I underline, there are more than 200,000 of them. Such conduct has not change for last 23 years and is in complete opposite to the democratic values and principles that the provisional institutions of self-government often promote in their statements. 
 
Therefore, I consider it necessary to emphasize that the true political will of the involved international actors and Pristina is necessary in order to create the conditions for the beginning of the end of discrimination on a national basis and common life in the Province.
 
Esteemed members of the Security Council, I would like to draw your attention to the rigid, problematic and extremely irresponsible conduct of the other negotiating party within the dialogue. In achieving the above-mentioned goals, Pristina applies the so-called policy of reciprocity, a well-thought-out, malicious strategy that, unfortunately, was not constructed independently. By continuously insisting on mutual recognition as a central part of the dialogue, the so-called policy of reciprocity demonstrates the essential unwillingness of the current political leadership of Pristina to find any compromise solution. Let me remind you that the talks between Belgrade and Pristina did not start with last elections in Pristina, but have been in progress for 11 years since the technical dialogue started (8 March 2011). Therefore, we assess as inadmissible attempts to disregard the current format of the dialogue, and annul the agreements only because they are not to the liking of the current political factors. It is unacceptable that the current geopolitical circumstances are being used to simply erase what has been painstakingly worked on for years. Belgrade, I underline, was institutionally involved in the dialogue from the very beginning, while the commitment of the other side has varied and continues to vary depending on the political option that is in power.
 
The harsher political rhetoric and narrative of the current leadership of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina are accompanied by concrete destabilizing steps. In the reporting period, measures on license plates were imposed, disguised as attempts at alleged integration into society. Let me remind you again, there was no agreement on such measures in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that even today we will hear from the representative of Pristina that their side has fulfilled all obligations, but the decision on re-registration of license plates shows that Pristina is not only failing to fulfill what has been agreed upon, but it nullifies the results of the dialogue, creating a new crisis all over again. The effect of such forcibly imposed measures is best illustrated by the fact that since the decision was made a single-digit number of re-registered vehicles with Serbian license plates has been recorded, of which only two are Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija. This is another indicator that Pristina does not enjoy full support, but that, on the other hand, it continuously provokes the natural reaction of the Serbian population, which cannot endlessly be subject to the arbitrariness of temporary institutions.
 
I believe that even today we will hear already known narrative of representatives from Pristina who try to present every reaction of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija as an activity organized by Belgrade in alleged attempts at destabilization. Such claims are simply not true. Serbia, for its part, cannot in any way contain the revolt present among the non-Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija. It is an undeniable fact that citizens' protests represent a voice against many years of institutional violence and the deprivation of rights of the non-Albanian population, which, in this case, is denied the right to peaceful enjoyment of private property acquired in a legal manner. Pristina does not cease in its attempts to confiscate property, and, as is well-known, one of the targets is the Serbian Orthodox Church. By calling into question the return of property to the Dečani Monaster Pristina paradoxically does not execute the decisions of its own so-called Constitutional Court.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I thought for a long time how to best illustrate the true picture of everyday life of the non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija. I will mention only some of the facts. Numerous ethnically motivated incidents, hate speech, intimidation, violations of the right to a fair trial, threats to the right to freedom of movement and religious rights, desecration of churches and graves were recorded in the last reporting period as well. The frequent attacks on the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church are also unacceptable, and especially the humiliating attitude towards the Serbian cultural and spiritual heritage, including the 4 monuments that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Numerous administrative and technical barriers are imposed on priests and monastic communities, making it difficult and even impossible for them to survive on church properties.
 
When it comes to civil rights, try to imagine that the basic political and civil right to vote has been taken away from you. 
This is precisely what the Serbs in the Province have experienced along with frequent intimidation and violent incursions of the ROSU special forces, which are an instrument for the implementation of Pristina's goals under the pretext of allegedly fighting crime. In December last year Bratislav Nikolić the president of municipality of Štrpce has been detained, as suspected of the organized crime and corruption - still not charged, kept in detention unit in Podujevo, only for the reason to make additional and final pressure on the Serbian community living in the enclave of Štrpce.
 
How can this be justified as the fight against crime when special forces are used to raid village festivals, schools and kidnap drivers of ambulance transporting infusion containers and medicines? What are the motives behind and how can one rationalize these actions? Just try to imagine and put yourself in the shoes of Ms. Dragica Gašić, the only Serbian returnee in Djakovica. Imagine that you are still not allowed to buy bread because of your origin and nationality, because you live in a municipality that the local Albanians proudly consider forbidden to non-Albanians. Imagine that as many as eleven Albanian civil society organizations demand your expulsion, as well as a ban on any non-Albanian ever returning to that town. Then you will realize the level of intimidation that Serb returnees are facing. It will be clear to you why the percentage of returnees is below 2% and why it is still one of the lowest in the world. Let me pose a question - are these the characteristics of a society that presents itself to the world as a fully fledged democracy and a factor of stability in the region?
 
We are aware that the dialogue has a wider dimension and that it can affect the situation in the entire region. This is reflected in every statement given by Serbian officials, including the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić. "It is better to negotiate for a hundred years than to fight for a day" are the words of our President that best describe the policy of peace, reconciliation, and regional cooperation pursued by the Serbian leadership, which is guided by the vision of building a common and prosperous future of the Balkans.
 
I believe that it is a duty of today's leaders to create a clear common vision for the future generations. Such a vision was shown by the leaders of Belgrade, Skoplje and Tirana by creating Open Balkan, an initiative from the region for the region, which is already producing concrete results. Serbia has on several occasions reached out to Pristina inviting it to join this initiative. We counted on an awareness of the importance of economic connectivity and progress for the benefit of the citizens of the entire Balkans. However, our invitation was not met with understating from the other side. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen, 
 
We categorically reject Pristina's argumentation regarding the alleged unconstitutionality of the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities. It is clear that Pristina's attitude towards this obligation reflects its attitude towards the Serbian people in the Province. It also indicates that Pristina is against Serbian people being organized as an ethnic community and thus exercising their collective rights. The aim of their approach, as a preferred model, is a community without Serbs, such as those in Pristina, Djakovica or Pec, or some similar localities in the Province. For our side, it is unacceptable that Pristina has refused to fulfil its obligations and discuss the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities for as much as 3,470 days but I assure you that, regardless of this fact, Serbia will not give up on its efforts to find a compromise solution for the current situation.
 
I will remind you that the representatives of Pristina, although they often repeat in their statements that the case of the so-called Kosovo is a fait accompli, continue not to be recognized by the majority of UN member states for 14 years now. If the so-called Kosovo's independence is a reality, how come that we have the dialogue? And how come that Belgrade is faced with increasing pressures as regards the need for mutual recognition? What the current political leadership of Pristina refuses to accept is that Belgrade cannot be left out in the search for a final solution. The same also applies to the case of the increasingly frequent indications about Pristina's upcoming membership in international organizations. Will these moves help to create the necessary atmosphere for dialogue? Are we, in this way, rewarding Pristina's destructive behaviour and refusal of dialogue? Our view is that the attempts of the so-called Kosovo to join international organizations are an unacceptable act and Serbia will work decisively against such steps.
 
During the last session in April this year, we could hear the calls of some members of the UN Security Council to reduce and even terminate UNMIK, with the explanation that Pristina has its own functional institutions. However, the circumstances I have presented to you and the situation on the ground remind us again that international presence in our southern province is still necessary. In this regard, we support the efforts made by UNMIK, KFOR, EULEX and OMIK within their mandates. The Serbian and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija has the highest confidence in the international presence and considers it a guarantor of security, which additionally confirms that international missions need to remain engaged in an undiminished scope and capacity in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
 
In conclusion,
 
I would like to point out that lately in all international forums we keep hearing calls for respect of the principles of the UN. We support the territorial integrity of all UN member states. But, what about Serbia? I would like to ask the esteemed members of this distinguished body whether the need to implement the principles of the UN Charter applies only to some or all of its members? As a country that consistently respects international law and still suffers the consequences of it being violated, we believe that the UN Charter and international law, including the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, should be respected by all and apply indiscriminately to all UN member states. It was this body that more than two decades ago adopted Resolution 1244, which confirmed the territorial integrity of Serbia. This fact did not prevent certain countries from recognizing the so-called “Kosovo” and thus violating the UN principles, but also the resolution that they adopted, by adjusting international law to their interests and goals. Precisely because of this, the more and more frequent mentioning of the case of "Kosovo" is an indication that the precedent made opened a Pandora's box, because the strength of each principle rests on its full and universal application and unconditional adherence.
 
You will notice that I posed a lot of questions in my statement and I express hope that today we will hear answers to at least some of them from you, esteemed members of the UN Security Council and representatives of Pristina, because the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija, of any nationality, whether they are Serbs or Albanians deserve it.
 
All the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija have every right to expect an improvement in the atmosphere and the reduction of tensions on the ethnic level, which are a prerequisite for a normal life. For such a step to be made, we need constructiveness, which is not lacking on the Serbian side, genuine support of international actors. I emphasize that Serbia has always been and remains deeply committed to finding a sustainable solution by peaceful means, for the sake of peace, stability and a common future.
 
Thank you.
 
Source/Photo: www.mfa.gov.rs
 

Selaković: 100 meetings and 12 signed agreements on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly - 24 September 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković stated that the delegation of Serbia completed very intensive diplomatic activity in New York within the 77th UN General Assembly. A total of 100 meetings were held on the sidelines of the 77th session, and that 12 agreements, protocols and memoranda were signed with state representatives with whom he had the opportunity to meet and discuss various issues.
 
Minister Selaković stated that the 77th session of the UN General Assembly was an opportunity to hold a series of meetings on the sidelines of the session with foreign ministers from several world countries and with US representatives and members of Congress, as well as representatives of the American-Jewish Committee, the Alliance of Civilizations, and the World Economic Forum.
 
“Summing up this year's UN General Assembly session and the meetings held on sidelines, I can proudly say that a total of 100 meetings were held, of which 95 with foreign ministers and five with representatives of the American-Jewish Committee, the Alliance of Civilizations, and the World Economic Forum”, Minister Selaković stated.
 
Minister Selaković emphasised that it was an excellent opportunity to affirm our policy, and added that foreign ministers from different countries were impressed after hearing the extraordinary address by President Aleksandar Vučić at the UN General Assembly.
 
“They were impressed by that speech. It was a speech that confirmed Serbia’s consistent respect for international law, respect for the role of the UN and respect for the resolutions of the UN Security Council in force. Serbia is not a large country geographically and in terms of population, but a country that firmly believes that the commitment by small and middle-sized countries to international law is our strongest ally in the fight for the protection of vital state and national interests”, Minister Selaković stressed.
 
Minister Selaković said that there were exceptional discussions, both with representatives of the countries that recognized the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, as well as those that did not, confirming once again their support and commitment to the protection of the vital principle of inviolability of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of internationally recognized UN member states.
 
“This year has been very challenging for the UN. Multilateralism is in a kind of crisis and it is of vital importance to return multilateralism and back on the scene and strengthen the role of the UN.  Our struggle for the protection of our state and national interests in Kosovo and Metohija, precisely in the light of the struggle for respect for the application of international law, relevant UN decisions, such as Resolution 1244, will remain our focus and something that Serbia will fight for. This reaffirmation of the role of the UN is something that guarantees greater success in that fight”, Minister Selaković said.
 
The head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out that the meetings held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session were an excellent opportunity to sign a series of agreements, protocols, and memoranda with representatives of different countries.
 
“We concluded a total of 12 agreements, memoranda and protocols, and today we will complete a very intensive diplomatic activity by signing the Agreement on the abolition of visas for official and diplomatic passports with Senegal”, Minister Selaković concluded.

Source/Photo: www.mfa.gov.rs


Cooperation between Serbia, Hungary at historical maximum - 9 September 2022

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic pointed out today during a meeting with President of Hungary Katalin Novak, who is on an official visit to Serbia, that the cooperation between the two countries is at a historical maximum and that Serbia is fully committed to its further deepening.
 
Novak added that it is very important that both sides remain committed to this, because today's exceptional relations between the two countries are the result of good cooperation and the efforts of their leaders in the previous decade.
 
The Prime Minister expressed great gratitude for Hungary's continuous support and assistance to European integration of Serbia, which is of great importance for us.
Novak pointed out that Serbia needs the European Union just as much as Serbia needs EU membership, which is Hungary's stance and which she communicated to all her partners in Europe.
 
Brnabic added that the presence of Hungarian Minister of Trade and Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto at the Open Balkans Summit in Belgrade at the beginning of the month is of exceptional importance not only for Serbia, but for the entire region.
 
President Novak praised the establishment of the Open Balkans initiative and expressed Hungary's determination to closely monitor its further development and results.
 
She believes that the attitude of the Republic of Serbia towards the Hungarian national minority in our country should be an example to all other countries in Europe, and expressed her gratitude to Brnabic for that.
 
Source/Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs

Selaković: Mutual support and sincere friendship between Serbia and Hungary - 2 September 2022

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, met today in Belgrade with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Péter Szijjártó.
 
Minister Selaković expressed satisfaction with the frequent and regular contacts between the high and top level officials of the two countries, and stated that the relations between Serbia and Hungary are at the highest level in the modern history, and added that they are based on strategic partnership and sincere mutual support and friendship.
 
Minister Selaković added that Serbia is looking forward with great pleasure to the upcoming visit by the Hungarian President Katalin Novák, which will be another proof that our country ranks high on the list of Hungary's foreign policy priorities.
 
During the meeting, special emphasis was placed on the continuation of the improvement of economic ties between Serbia and Hungary, increased cooperation in the field of energy, as well as cooperation through joint infrastructure projects.
 
The two colleagues also referred to the importance of strengthening regional cooperation through initiatives such as the Open Balkans, noting that economic cooperation is a good way towards the overall progress in the region. Minister Selaković thanked his colleague for supporting this initiative and for participating in today's Open Balkans Summit.
 
The head of Serbian diplomacy once again expressed appreciation for Hungary’s sincere and strong support to Serbia at the highest political level in the process of European integration and in international organizations.
 
Selaković informed his colleague in detail about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the position of the Serbian people in the province, as well as about the efforts of the President Aleksandar Vučić towards ensuring peace and stability in the region.
 
The two ministers exchanged views on the situation in the world and the region, including the issue of illegal migration, highlighting the importance of interstate cooperation in dealing with that challenge. 

 


Relations of Serbia, Hungary the best in recent history - 10.8.2022.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic underlined today, during the talks with Hungarian Ambassador to Serbia Atilla Pinter, who is ending his mandate in Serbia, that the relations between the two countries have reached the highest point of development in recent history owing to, first and foremost, mutual understanding, trust and dedication to strengthening partnership.
 
Brnabic expressed gratitude to Pinter on his personal engagement in the development of bilateral relations, recalling that the two states established strategic partnership last year, and that record values of the bilateral trade cooperation were recorded in 2021.
 
She expressed her gratitude on the strong and continuous support that Hungary provides to Serbia on a daily basis in the process of European integration at the highest political level and for persisting in its stance on the necessity of enlargement of the European Union.
 
The Prime Minister also pointed out that Serbia extremely appreciates the commitment and support of Hungary to the preservation of peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija, and, above all, in light of the latest developments of 31 July and the previous days.
 
Pinter said that Hungary sees Serbia as the most important economic partner in the Western Balkans, with the Hungarian government trying to support investors' investments in the Serbian market.
 
The Prime Minister expressed her gratitude for the support of Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orban when it comes to gas storage for Serbia's needs.
 
This is of great importance at a time when we are all facing serious global challenges and we are trying to make the citizens of our country feel it as little as possible, she underlined.
 
Joint projects were also discussed at the meeting, such as cooperation with the government of Hungary in the cleaning of Lake Medjuvrsje, and the importance of continuous holding of joint sessions of the two governments, which resulted in significant improvement of economic cooperation, signing of agreements and memoranda, as well as implementation of joint projects.
 
Source/Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs
 

Folk Dances and Songs Ensemble of Serbia KOLO performs in Budapest - 21 May 2022

Folk Dances and Songs Ensemble of Serbia KOLO will premiere the play "Falcon Song" directed by Gábor Mihályi, choreographer and director of the Hungarian State Folklore Ensemble MANE, on Thursday, May 26th, at the National Dance Theatre in Budapest. This will be the first international presentation of "Falcon's Song".

Information on the link: http://www.tancszinhaz.hu/musor/budapesti-bemutato-solyomenek-sokolova-pesma/2046

Also, the KOLO Ensemble will hold a concert of traditional dances and songs on Saturday, May 28th, at the Heritage House in Budapest.
 


Selaković: Hungary is one of Serbia's key partners - 16 May 2022

Today in Brussels, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selaković met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Péter Szijjártó. 
 
Minister Selaković noted that full membership in the EU remained Serbia’s strategic commitment, adding that Hungary’s unequivocal support, as one of the key partners, was highly appreciated. The two officials discussed a wide range of regional and geopolitical topics, with special emphasis on the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine and its impact on the situation in Serbia and Hungary.
 
Minister Selaković thanked Hungary for showing understanding for Serbia's foreign policy positions and state interests. He also informed his colleague about the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, stressing that Belgrade had been consistently committed to reaching a solution through dialogue, unlike the other side, as evidenced by Priština's application for membership in the Council of Europe.
 
Source/Foto: www.mfa.gov.rs
 

Selaković: Serbia is actively involved in combating terrorism, radicalism and extremism - 11 May 2022

 Today, in Marrakesh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selaković participated in the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Minister Selaković said that Serbia was committed to the multilateral aspect of the fight against terrorism, adding that he firmly believed the United Nations should be the key forum for international cooperation in this field.

Minister Selaković stated that Serbia was fulfilling all international obligations pertaining to the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, especially those related to the introduction of arms embargoes, including bans aimed at non-state actors, terrorist organisations and related individuals. He emphasised that Serbia was a signatory to 15 international conventions against terrorism. “By participating in multinational UN and EU peacekeeping missions, Serbia is making a concrete contribution to preserving regional and global security,” Minister Selaković said, paying tribute to a member of the Serbian Army, Lieutenant Colonel Dejan Stanojević and his colleagues, who tragically lost their lives on March 29 in the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Serbia does not diminish the importance of other international forums, which is why it joined the Global Coalition from the very beginning, and selflessly contributes to international efforts to fight ISIS, primarily through various forms of donations in military equipment, ammunition, and training in Iraqi security forces”, Minister Selaković said. He added that as a candidate country for membership in the European Union, Serbia gave its full contribution through active participation in European policies on the fight against terrorism, and had developed a strategic cooperation with EUROPOL.

Minister Selaković noted that Serbian criminal legislation provided instruments to prevent and punish the encouragement, organisation, and participation of its citizens in wars or conflicts in foreign countries. He explained that the Serbian judicial authorities had completed proceedings against 7 persons engaged in foreign battlefields, and that several investigations against persons connected with terrorist activities were underway.

Minister Selaković said that the fight against terrorism, radicalism and extremism was a priority, and that Serbia was actively involved in combating these challenges and threats at the domestic, regional, and international level.

 


Foreign Minister Selaković meeting with the Head of the EU Delegation and the Ambassadors of the EU Member States - 02. Mar 2022.

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.


National holiday in Serbia - 15 and 16 February

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-MwafmeAEUA0iHaMzH9F-J-0LtbErJJt/view


Selaković and Szijjártó: We are witnessing the brightest moments in Serbia―Hungary relations – 7 February 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selaković met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó in Belgrade today.

At the press conference following the meeting, Minister Selaković emphasised that Serbia and Hungary were experiencing the best and the brightest moments in the history of their bilateral relations which were formalised with the last year’s signing of the strategic cooperation agreement by the respective Prime Ministers, Viktor Orbán and Ana Brnabić.

“The quality and the frequency of our dialogue are proof of the good relations between Serbia and Hungary, a road paved by Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán,” Minister Selaković said, noting how the personal relationship between the two leaders can forge exceptional bonds between the two peoples and the two countries. Minister Selaković explained that Hungary’s Prime Minister and he discussed the overall cooperation between the two countries: economic cooperation as well as cooperation in infrastructure and energy sectors.

In terms of economic cooperation, Minister Selaković said trade in 2021 had reached its peak, i.e. that trade went over the 2 billion euros limit, making Hungary our top EU partner, along with Germany and Italy.

“Cooperation on infrastructural projects as well as the construction of the fast rail between our capital cities and the Balkan Stream for energy connectivity are very important,” Minister Selaković stated, adding that he had also discussed with Minister Szijjártó the status of members of national minorities and cooperation in the border belt.

Minister Selaković further noted that cooperation between the two Foreign Affairs Ministries was on an upward trajectory, highlighting the importance of the Collocation Agreement. “As of several weeks ago, for the first time Serbia has its permanent diplomatic presence in Valleta, Malta, within the Diplomatic-Consular Representation (DCR) of Hungary. Knowing how large our community is in Malta, this will allow them to sort out their affairs more efficiently and more expeditiously,” he said. Minister Selaković expressed a special gratitude to Minister Szijjártó for his personal efforts to advocate for Serbia’s need to become a full member of the EU as soon as possible.

Minister Szijjártó stated that a strategic partnership between Serbia and Hungary was mutually beneficial, highlighting several of the most important results of the advanced Serbia―Hungary cooperation in the field of economics, energy, fight against illegal migration, and dealings with national minority communities.

On the topic of energy, Minister Szijjártó stated that Serbia and Hungary would be suffering the energy crisis that has shaken up the western part of Europe, had they not been cooperating in this area. “Had we succumbed to the threats of sanctions, had we not defended our own national interests, and had we not build the gas pipeline, today we would be having serious problems,” he emphasised.

Minister Szijjártó also said he was pleased on account of the successful cooperation in the prevention of illegal migration, to mutual benefit. Concerning the minority communities, Minister Szijjártó stressed that, out of all the Hungarians living outside of their fatherland, it was those living in Vojvodina who were being treated the most fairly by their home state, and that national minorities linked and advanced the two countries. He explained that the fate of the two countries as well as of the Hungarians in Serbia and the Serbs in Hungary would be decided at the upcoming elections taking place in both Serbia and in Hungary on 3 April.

“I wish your President and your Government much success at the elections, and let us hope that the results of the elections on both sides of the border will be such that the two peoples may enjoy the benefits of our cooperation for a very long time”, he concluded.


Belgrade to get Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution - 7 February 2022

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. Addressing the press, Brnabic pointed out that this agreement is the result of many years of joint work between Serbia and the World Economic Forum.

We started talking in 2018, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, then 2020 hampered us a bit, but we continued to plan in 2021 and here we are today, she said. According to her, the centre will be focused on the development of artificial intelligence, biomedicine and biotechnology, and on the ways in which digitalisation can raise the productivity of companies and the entire economy.This is what further leads to higher salaries, a better standard of living, as well as to an economy that is mainly based on knowledge, creativity and innovation, Brnabic emphasised.

Today, we have received great recognition for everything that Serbia has done in the field of digitalisation, development of high technologies and paradigm shift – from an economy that was based on labour-intensive investments to digital development. That is why this agreement shows that Serbia has been recognised as one of the leaders in the economy and IT industry in the last six years, the Prime Minister pointed out and assessed that this is the announcement of the beginning of an even closer cooperation between Serbia and WEF. She added that they will have a joint meeting with the 16 WEF centres for the fourth industrial revolution in the world every month, at which they will talk about what each of them is doing, since each has a different focus. That is how we will hear what everyone is doing every month, learn from each other and I am sure that the centre in Belgrade will be one of the best, the Prime Minister said.

According to her, this gives us visibility, the opportunity to further establish Serbia as an investment destination, a country good for living and investing in new technologies and knowledge.

Jovanovic said that the ecosystem formed around the centre will use the infrastructure of the National Platform for the Development of Artificial Intelligence, the Centre for Genome Sequencing and the future bioeconomic centre – BIO4 Campus.

Izvor/Foto: Tanjug


Opening of cluster 4 important turning point for Serbia - 14 December 2021

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.

I would like to thank all EU Member States, as well as the European Commission, for their support and understanding. They have shown that they are open, that they are ready to see, to listen, to reward everything we have done and therefore this is a great motivation to continue, not even in the same way we have worked so far, but to go faster and to work better, she noted.

Brnabic voiced hope that Serbia will open cluster 3 in 2022, which is ready, and that preparations for the opening of cluster 5 are on the agenda.

The Prime Minister underlined that environmental protection is gaining importance and that this topic is increasingly present and important in Serbia. Regional stability, dialogue with Pristina and the economy also remain our priorities.

I am satisfied, and we talked about that today, about economic results Serbia is achieving. I expect our growth this year to be 7.5 percent, the Prime Minister pointed out.

She said that the degree of harmonisation of Serbia with the foreign and security policy of the EU currently stands at 65.55 percent.

Brnabic also thanked Slovenia for the successful EU presidency, she thanked EU Member States on their support, as well as the European Commission, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs

Photo: Tanjug


Selaković: Serbia and Hungary are two friendly and fraternal countries - 25. Nov 2021.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, stated in Budapest, after talks with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó, that the high level of cooperation between the two friendly and fraternal countries, whose relations are the most developed in their history, was once again confirmed.

At a joint press conference, Selaković pointed out that the establishment of a strategic partnership between Serbia and Hungary is the crown of relations which are developing rapidly and which are a true example of good neighborly cooperation and orientation towards the future.

The head of Serbian diplomacy stated that the content of the dialogue between our two countries is imbued with personal trust and the relationship that exists between President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Selaković pointed out that today's meeting with his Hungarian colleague Szijjártó is the sixth in less than a year, and that they should see each other even more often because it is good for the relations between the two countries. On this occasion, he reminded of a number of infrastructure projects in the field of railways and energy that were launched in the past period between Serbia and Hungary.

"On the one hand, we talked and we will talk about deepening economic cooperation. We expect that for the first time this year, the level of trade will exceed two billion euros. For us, when it comes to EU members, Hungary is the third partner after Germany and Italy, but with a tendency of constant growth", Selaković stated. According to him, it is important for Serbia that our exports to Hungary increased by 41 percent in the first nine months of this year.

Selaković added that the number of Hungarian companies operating in Serbia is constantly increasing, and that it shows how much the two economies are connected and how much good political relations contribute to the intensification of economic cooperation. As he pointed out, the support that Hungary provides to Serbia on its European path was also discussed at the meeting.

"Once again, I thank my dear friend for the firm and undoubted support that Hungary, but he personally and Prime Minister Orban as well, provide to Serbia's European path. The fact that Hungary is promoting Serbia everywhere as a key country in the Western Balkans, in terms of political stability, economic development and the impact on peace and stability in the entire region, is something that is extremely important for us", Selaković emphasized.

Minister Szijjártó stated that the relations between Hungary and Serbia can be characterized as friendly, from which both nations benefit.

Szijjártó emphasized the importance of cooperation between the two countries in combating illegal migration, and added that Hungarian police officers are participating in the protection of Serbia's southern borders.

The Hungarian Minister paid special attention to the railway connection between the two countries, specifying that the Hungarian section on the Budapest-Belgrade high-speed rail line will be completed by 2025, and that the section on the Szeged-Subotica route will be completed by the end of 2022.

Szijjártó expressed satisfaction with the intensification of economic cooperation with Serbia, specifying that the trade exchange between Serbia and Hungary has increased by 39 percent so far this year, and that the value of Hungarian investments in Serbia is growing.

Szijjártó referred to the collocation agreement, stating that based on it, Hungarian diplomatic representatives have already started working at the Serbian Embassy in Zambia, and that they will be present in the Democratic Republic of Congo from next year, while Serbian diplomats will work from Hungarian embassies in Malta and Chile.

"All this serves the interests of both countries and clearly shows trust between the two countries, bearing in mind that a joint diplomatic mission can only be created with countries we trust, and this also contributes to the international success of both countries", Szijjártó said.


President Vučić attended the ceremony marking the beginning of works on the Novi Sad-Kelebija section - 22 Nov 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, attended the ceremony marking the beginning of works on the Novi Sad-Kelebija section within the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railway project today, and the event was also attended by Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Chen Bo.

President Vučić said that with this great undertaking, we are gaining a lot and we are raising our Serbia.

President Vučić pointed out that if we do not think about the future, we cannot have it, and that in exactly three years, before the end of 2024, we will have the Belgrade-Novi Sad-Vrbas-Subotica-Kelebija railway built.

"Looking ahead, decades in advance, we are ready to welcome the future and we know very well what we need to do to be fully prepared. This is one of the great and important tasks ahead of us", said President Vučić, adding that this is important for the future of Serbia.

President Vučić referred to the fact that we should not forget that for three decades we have not known what a decent train and a decent railway are, as well as that we do not use trains.

"We will enjoy this and this will be meaningful both through construction and through what we are yet to receive, which are higher salaries and pensions, a higher standard of living and a better future for our children", said President Vučić, emphasizing that this changes almost everything in our country.

President Vučić stated that we will have 183 km of magnificent railway through Serbia, and 167 km through Hungary, a total of 350 km of railway, and that it will be faster to get from Belgrade to Budapest.

"All this says what we are able to do when we believe in ourselves, I guarantee you, just one thing, that we will continue to fight, and that you will be proud of your country and that you will provide a future for your children", President Vučić concluded, underlining that this is a great success with which Serbia has gained a lot.

Source/Photo: Presidency/Dimitrije Goll


Selaković spoke with Giaufret and EU ambassadors - 18. Nov 2021.

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.

The Minister said that Serbia maintains an intensive dialogue with EU officials and added that we look very positively at the decision of the Foreign Affairs Council to consider a way to include partners from the Western Balkans in the discussion on foreign and security policy.

The head of Serbian diplomacy emphasized that the EU is Serbia's most important foreign trade partner, informing his interlocutors that the trade exchange between Serbia and the EU has increased by 52% in the last seven years, and the export of Serbian products to the EU increased by 64%, which is a joint result, as he assessed. Selaković said that Serbia is fully committed to preserving peace and stability in the region through cooperation and open dialogue, emphasizing the "Open Balkans" initiative as a way to connect the region economically.

When it comes to the process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, Minister Selaković said that our side is fully committed to dialogue, and that we have fulfilled our obligations, but that Pristina persistently avoids fulfilling its own, citing as an example that for eight and a half years nothing has been done regarding the establishment of the Association of Serbian municipalities. In addition, according to him, Pristina's unilateral moves on the ground, four in the last two months, further endanger peace and stability.

The Minister informed the heads of missions about the fight against the pandemic in Serbia, expressing readiness for further cooperation with partners from Europe and the world in the joint fight against the corona virus.

Ambassador Giaufret thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs Selaković for the reception of the ambassador of the European Union in the Palace of Serbia. Ambassador Giaufret welcomed the current level of cooperation between the EU and Serbia in the field of common security and defense policy, as well as the important contribution of Serbia to EU missions and operations.

"We really hope that we will be able to further develop the harmonization of Serbia's foreign policy with the European Union", the ambassador said.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council had a strategic conversation on the Western Balkans on Monday, and a political dialogue on foreign and security policy was held in Belgrade two days ago, a couple of weeks after the publication of the Annual Report, Ambassador Giaufret pointed out.

"In the Foreign Affairs Council, there is broad support for the EU's strong engagement in the region and further joining the region in our foreign policy efforts. We had a good exchange of views on that today, and we will work on further integration of Serbia and the region at all levels", the ambassador concluded.


Meeting with the ambassador of Hungary - 17 Nov 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, received the Ambassador of Hungary, Attila Pintér today, with whom he discussed bilateral relations and various cooperation between the two countries, and especially the implementation of joint infrastructure projects.

President Vučić pointed out that the relations between Serbia and Hungary are at the highest level in the common history, thanks to mutual understanding and trust, emphasizing Prime Minister Orban's commitment to strengthening the partnership between our two countries.

On this occasion, President Vučić also expressed his gratitude for the active support that Hungary provides to Serbia in the process of European integration.

Ambassador Pintér informed President Vučić about the progress in the reconstruction of Serbian schools in Hungary, for which the government in Budapest allocates significant funds, in order to contribute to the improvement of the position of the Serbian minority.

Thanking the Hungarian Government for caring for the Serbian minority, President Vučić and Ambassador Pintér discussed plans to erect memorials to important figures from the common history in Belgrade.

The interlocutors paid special attention to the upcoming laying of the foundation stone for the section of the railway from Novi Sad to Kelebija, emphasizing that this project, as part of the single European railway network and Corridor 10, is of strategic importance not only for Serbia and Hungary, but for Europe as a whole.

The two interlocutors also discussed other joint projects, emphasizing that it is in the interest of both countries that a high level of political relations ensures an even greater economic cooperation.

Source/Photo: www.predsednik.rs


UNESCO’s role extremely important for preservation of Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija - 12 November 2021

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.

Source/Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


Address of the President of the Republic of Serbia at the United Nations climate change conference COP26 held in Glasgow - 2nd November 2021

 "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. In concrete terms, we see the special contribution of our expert team in finalising negotiations on the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which refers to the establishment of the global market and non-market mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to remaining provisions referring to advanced transparency framework and common timeframes for Nationally Determined Contributions, which are the key provisions of the Agreement that have not yet been covered by the decision that is to be adopted by the Conference, i.e. all member states.

We, therefore, believe that this is an exceptional opportunity for Serbia to give its full contribution to the finalization of negotiations, which, we hope, will secure full implementation of the Paris Agreement.

As a result of strong economic development, modelled for Serbia by 2050, the impact of the implementation of climate measures to employment will be optimal, through new jobs creation and creation of new industries which have not existed so far.

One billion euros was raised at the first green bonds auction in Serbia, which clearly confirms the trust of international investors in our green agenda, but also to the economic and political stability of our country. Incomes from green bonds issuance will be used for financing renewables, energy efficiency, sustainable water management, prevention of pollution and circular economy development and biodiversity preservation. And as you can see, dear friends, my people made a terrific speech for me, but I am going to add a few more words and a few more questions for those that are coming from big powers and that haven’t answered yet several questions: Number one is: how are we going to finance all these activities? We’ve heard the story of trillions of dollars that are at our disposal. My question would be: what would be the interest rate, what would be the terms for taking these amounts of money, and actually how are we going to tackle that issue? Number two: how are we going to treat the nuclear power plants? Are we going to shut them all or are we going to build them more?

Then, how are we going to build more renewables if we already started endorsing populist movements against wind parks, new hydropower plants, and are we going to put in jeopardy the level of our public debt to GDP ratio if we raise huge amounts of money?

How are we going to treat natural gas, and how are we going to secure decent prices of natural gas and electricity power as well?

And, I came here using an electric car from Edinburgh to Glasgow. But, how are we going to do mining and refining of lithium, nickel, cobalt and many other very important minerals?

In the end, we all know what is our final aim, what is our final target. But, it’s not a fairytale – we’ll have to work a lot, we’ll have to be 100 per cent dedicated, and we’ll have to be more honest with each other.

The health of people living in Serbia depends directly on the implementation of this Agenda, just like the health and life of each living being on Earth depends on arrangements that will be reached here and on national implementation of the respective arrangements.

Perhaps it is the right time to listen and hear the cry of Mother Earth because if we lose this race against time, our children will inherit an irreparably polluted Planet.

Thank you very much for listening to me."

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: Dimitrije Goll


Continuous communication with EU on further reforms - 22 October 2021

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.

The Prime Minister assessed that this year’s Report on the progress of Serbia gives an objective evaluation of everything the Serbian government has achieved on speeding up the political and economic reforms, by which one of the strategic priorities has been fulfilled. According to Brnabic, it is of particular importance that the European Commission has given a clear recommendation that Serbia reached the criteria necessary for opening two clusters of chapters.

Today we have an opportunity to present to you, as representatives of the EU and EU Member States, additional information on the adoption and implementation of all necessary reforms, the Prime Minister stated. For this reason, it is important that this meeting is being held immediately after the release of the European Commission’s Report and before the final decision of the Member States on whether they will support the opening of clusters, she said. Brnabic voiced her hope that these additional explanations will contribute to Serbia obtaining consent for the formal continuation of negotiations by the end of this year.

She also underlined that the European Commission’s recommendation for the further opening of clusters is very important politically, not only as an incentive to the government to continue implementing its reform plans with motivation and responsibility, but also to the citizens of Serbia and all in the region, who in this way receive once more a clear confirmation on the perspective of membership in the EU. The Prime Minister pointed out that Serbia wishes to make additional progress in all areas, especially in the field of the rule of law and that continuous communication with the Delegation of the EU in Serbia and all Member States is of particular importance to that end.

Joksimovic stated that the Report provides the necessary balance in the evaluation of everything Serbia has achieved in the previous period. According to her, in some segments the implementation of reforms is faster, in some other somewhat slower, but progress has been noticed in all areas and is noted down in the Report itself.

She voiced hope that the general assessments from the European Commission, which speak in favour of honesty, dedication and capability of the Serbian government to implement policies which are important for the accession process in time of pandemic, will be a sufficient orientation for the Member States to agree on the further opening of clusters.

Ambassador Giaufret expressed gratitude to the Serbian government for convening this meeting with ambassadors of the EU Member States, describing it as a positive indication of Serbia’s dedication to strengthening dialogue on reforms for the sake of solving priorities and necessary activities identified in the yearly Report of the European Commission.

Source/Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


Ceremony marking the beginning of works on the reconstruction and modernization of the railway Subotica – Horgos - state border with Hungary, 18 October 2021

18 October 2021 Ceremony marking the beginning of works on the reconstruction and modernization of the railway Subotica – Horgos - state border with Hungary The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, attended today the ceremony marking the beginning of works on the reconstruction and modernization of the railway Subotica – Horgos - state border with Hungary - (Szeged). "Dear friend, I am grateful that with a lot of courage and a true vision for political relations between Hungarians and Serbs, you created the conditions for completely new relations in which we, Serbs, believe that a stronger Serbia will mean a stronger Hungary. I am happy and proud to be able to say something like this today, in Horgos. We can do a lot together, together we are many times stronger, and everything we build and do shows how much together we can achieve better results. After the completion of this project, the entire area between Szeged and Subotica will become a development hub for tourism, trade and rapprochement of our cultures and peoples", President Vučić pointed out and added that the railway will bring great and concrete results, but that it also shows us that we are in the center of Europe. He said that the completion of works on this railway is planned for November next year. "What is more beautiful and important than living in peace and trusting each other? Serbia has learned a lot from the Hungarian experience, and today it is looking at how to solve energy problems. And we will approach this issue together, as was the case with the gas supply", said President Vučić and emphasized that Subotica has a fantastic future. He announced the reconstruction of the hospital in Subotica, which will cost 40 million euros, a stadium of 22 million euros, and said that four million euros will be set aside for the renovation of the theater. The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, thanked President Vučić for inviting him to today's event. "We are in an unusual situation. We want to renovate the 150-year-old railway line, and in fact we are laying the foundation stone, because this is a symbol. A symbol of cooperation and joint progress of Hungary and Serbia, which are building a new, common future. We have an agreement with President Vučić, which guarantees that both Hungarians and Serbs will have equal benefits from this cooperation. The citizens of both cities lost a lot because traffic on this railway line became impossible. Foreign forces only brought us unrest and war. Everything that came from outside led to conflicts and backwardness of both nations. The time has now come for us to take our destiny into our own hands", said the Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán, emphasizing that Serbia is the gateway to the Balkans and a key country for Europe's security, and that Hungary is committed to Serbia's membership in the European Union. Source: www.predsednik.rs Photo: Dimitrije Goll


Selaković in UNSC: Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues, 15th October 2021

15th October 2021 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. Mr. Tanin, Please accept the expressions of our gratitude for your engagement and the cooperation we achieved during your term of office. Mr. President, Deep regret and concerns are raised by the fact that the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija in the past period has been marked by an increasing number of various ethnically motivated attacks and incidents targeting Serbs, which was also stated in the Report; that the provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) in Pristina continue to take unilateral steps and refuse to implement the agreements reached in the Brussels dialogue; and that institutional discrimination against Serbs, attacks on the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the undermining of the economic sustainability of Serb communities in the Province have continued. We are witnessing that dangerous provocations by Pristina are taking place every day, at an accelerated pace, thus seriously threatening the safety of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and directly violating the agreements and arrangements reached within the Brussels dialogue. The latest violent incursion of the so-called ROSU units into the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, on 13 October, is the ninth incursion of its kind. Tear gas, shock bombs and unbridled violence are becoming a matter of everyday life for Serbs in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, and that must be stopped immediately. In the last attack with firearms and chemicals used by Pristina special forces, 71-year-old Verica Djelic died as a result of chemicals used in the intervention, 10 unarmed civilians were wounded, one of them 36 years old Srećko Sofronijević was critically wounded in the back with of an automatic rifle. A three-month-old baby, who miraculously remained unharmed, was also the target of the shooting. The false excuse for the latest unilateral action, as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell called it, was the fight against organized crime and smuggling. Ladies and gentlemen, Serbia is strongly against organized crime and smuggling, but the members of the UNSC should know that such an important and general global goal, which we all share, was cynically used for an armed attack on unarmed civilians, which began with an automatic rifle raid of pharmacies in which patients of Serbian and other nationalities are supplied with vitally important medicines. Four days before the local elections in Kosovo and Metohija, in order to gain votes in an irresponsible and inhumane way, fully motivated by separatist goals, the current PISG regime used medicines on which people’s lives depend to prove its position on the status contrary to UNSCR 1244. Only a few days earlier, another provocation on the part of Pristina led to a dangerous crisis, when personnel of the so-called ROSU unit, armed with long firearms and reinforced with armoured vehicles, were deployed to administrative crossings between central Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija - Brnjak and Jarinje – in order to remove Serbian license plates and replace them with temporary ones, thus violently preventing the free movement of citizens. These events do not fall within the reporting period covered by the latest Report of the UN Secretary General on the work of UNMIK, but it is incumbent upon us to address them on this occasion, in order to have everyone understand how dramatic the situation on the ground has been and how serious the consequences of Pristina's unilateral actions can be. The incursions of heavily armed Pristina police formations, composed exclusively of Albanians, into the north of Kosovo and Metohija, under various pretexts and motives, with the use of excessive force, are provocations that have an extremely dangerous potential to destabilize the already sensitive security situation on the ground. The goal of the latest incursions of Pristina’s special force personnel into the north of the province was to provoke the Serbs and additionally intimidate them with a demonstration of force, as well as to provoke Belgrade to react hastily in some way. It is obvious that with such moves Pristina aims to erase the 10 years of dialogue, which is the only way to resolve open issues. These provocations once again demonstrate that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina, not only do not intend to implement everything agreed in the Brussels dialogue, but that their goal is to completely deny dialogue as a means of resolving problems. An effective response to Pristina's lack of credibility and their dangerous play with fire, which could have unforeseeable consequences, cannot be provided by calling on "both sides" for constructiveness and restraint, which has long been a manner in public communication of some important factors in the international community. There is only one source of destabilization, it has a name – and that is the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina - and after the events of 13 October, it is clear that it can and needs to be stopped by urgent and decisive action of the international community. It is now quite obvious that these are no longer sporadic and isolated provocations by Pristina, but that this is an organized campaign of ethnically motivated violence and discrimination against Serbs. We also express our concern over the latest imposition of tariffs by Pristina on certain products originating from central Serbia, which was made public on 8 October. We remind you that the unilateral decision of Pristina to impose duties on products from central Serbia in November 2018 resulted in a de facto complete trade blockade and a long-term stalemate in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. In contrast to Pristina, which persistently seeks to raise barriers towards central Serbia through unilateral acts, Belgrade is persistently and consistently working to liberalize the flow of people, goods, services and capital, which is the basic goal of our "Open Balkan" initiative. North Macedonia and Albania joined this initiative, but Pristina did not. Distinguished members of the Security Council, In the period from March to September this year, which is covered in the latest Report, close to 100 ethnically motivated attacks were carried out against Serbs, their private property, religious and cultural heritage sites. The increase in the frequency of attacks was accompanied by the strengthening of the intensity of ethnically motivated violence, which more and more often targets children, the elderly, women, the few returnees present there, as well as churches and other property of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This systematically intensifies the ubiquitous sense of insecurity of the remaining Serbs, but also deters potential returnees, who are in fact being told that local Albanian communities can attack them with impunity and prevent them from returning to live in their own homes. The most striking example of the position of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is the case of the displaced person Dragica Gašić, who moved into her apartment in the municipality of Djakovica again in early June. In that town – to which local Albanians proudly refer as a place forbidden to Serbs - Ms. Gašić, on her return, first faced physical and verbal attacks by citizens of Albanian nationality living there. Instead of being provided protection, that seriously ill woman then became a victim of institutional persecution as well, that the local self-government bodies and the police unleashed against her. Since this is a person who is the first and only Serb returnee to Đakovica after more than twenty years, it was to be expected that, at that moment, at least civil society organizations would attempt to protect her rights. However, NGOs from Djakovica soon joined the activities aimed at the expulsion Ms. Gašić, including those receiving funding from international donors for projects related to strengthening democracy and the rule of law. I must also mention the latest attack on the house of the only remaining Serbian woman in the center of Pec, retired teacher Rumena Ljubić, whose windows were stoned twice in just 24 hours on 13 October. Dragica's and Rumena’s fate is a frightening reflection of the real situation of human rights that almost every one of over 200,000 displaced Serbs and non-Albanians would face in Kosovo and Metohija - provided that they gather the courage to return to their homes in the Province after more than twenty years. I would like to remind you again that since 1999, only around 1.9% of internally displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians have achieved a sustainable return to Kosovo and Metohija. Therefore, I believe that the aforementioned will encourage the members of the Security Council and the international presence on the ground to devote priority attention in the future to the issue of the return of displaced persons, which is an important part of the UNMIK mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. I therefore thank the Secretary-General in particular for keeping this extremely important issue in focus and for calling again, in the conclusions of his Report, for the creation of conditions for the sustainable return of internally displaced persons and the sustainable reintegration of returnees. Distinguished members of the Security Council, Serbian medieval monuments in Kosovo and Metohija, including monuments that, due to their exceptional value but also constantly being subject to threats are inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, are still among the most endangered cultural heritage in Europe. I wish to recall that there are over 1,300 Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija. Attacks on Serbian cultural and religious heritage are at the same time attacks on the identity of Serbs in the Province and directly affect their sense of safety. A striking example of disrespect for Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province is the case of the Visoki Decani monastery. The monastery, which has been the target of attacks and shelling several times since 2000, is still secured by KFOR forces due to being under a threat. It is faced with a series of hostile actions, and the perpetrators are not deterred by the fact that this is a World Heritage Site. Despite frequent declaratory statements, even the decision of the so-called "constitutional court" of the PISG in Pristina five years ago confirming ownership of Visoki Decani Monastery over 24 hectares, is not respected. We welcome the assessment made by the UN Secretary General in his Report. Dear Mr. President, The Republic of Serbia remains committed to finding a compromise political solution, as prescribed under Resolution 1244, which will ensure lasting peace and stability. We firmly believe that dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues. As a state committed to the respect for international law and a member of the United Nations, Serbia opposes any attempt at establishing an artificial balance between the parties in the dialogue, as well as the relativization of responsibility for unilateral acts. We note with concern that not even eight years after reaching the Brussels Agreement, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities has not been initiated, although Belgrade has fulfilled all its obligations under that agreement. There are also numerous and repeated examples of Pristina violating or obstructing agreements reached in dialogue, in the areas of energy, justice, freedom of movement and visits by officials. One such example is the verdict sentencing Ivan Todosijevic to two years in prison, which is also pointed out in the Secretary General's Report. The Brussels Agreement was directly breached, which was also stated by the representatives of the European Union. With its conduct Pristina caused immeasurable damage to the reconciliation process in Kosovo and Metohija. Despite the interpretation from the European Commission that this is a violation of the Brussels Agreement, because Todosijevic had to be sentenced by a panel consisting of the majority of judges of Serbian ethnicity, Pristina still does not take any action in this regard. Pristina also continued with the practice of banning Serbian officials from entering the territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. We believe that it is important that the international community, and especially the European Union, as the guarantor of the agreement, firmly insists that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina start implementing all the agreements reached. Distinguished members of the Security Council, As before, the Republic of Serbia remains fully committed to resolving the issue of missing persons, as also demonstrated through full cooperation with relevant international mechanisms as well as participation in the work of the Working Group on Missing Persons. We expect that the representatives of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina will fulfill their obligations. Bearing in mind everything I delivered here today in my address, we hold the position that the international presence in Kosovo and Metohija, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, is still necessary. In addition to UNMIK, the presence of KFOR as the main guarantor of security and EULEX, due to its engagement in the field of the rule of law, is also important. I would like to emphasize once again that Serbia fully supports respect for international law, comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and activities of UNMIK in an undiminished scope and with adequate financial resources, so that the Mission fulfills the mandate entrusted to it under the Resolution. Thank you.


President Vučić attended ceremony of the beginning of works on the modernization and rehabilitation of the Niš-Brestovac railway - 30 September 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have attended today the ceremony of the beginning of works on the modernization and rehabilitation of Niš-Brestovac railway at the international Corridor 10 as well as signing of the agreement between the Public Company Koridori Srbije and Consortium STRABAG AG and STRABAG d.o.o. Beograd on the construction of the first phase of the Highway of peace in the section Merošina – Merošina 1.

“In Donje Međurovo the 23km long railway is build and 75 percent of it will be financed by the European Union. It is enormous money for us, great encouragement and respect. This railway and highway are important both for us and Europe. I am very grateful to Mrs Von der Leyen for coming to Niš today and Niš becomes the center of all Balkan corridors, it becomes the Balkan crossroads”, said President Vučić adding that Serbia was entirely committed to the implementation of the agreements signed so far under the auspices of the EU.

“We will do our best not only to preserve peace, but also to reach more agreements which would mean security of everyone in the Balkans and better life and economy for all of us. We know what our job is. As much as we can, taking into account the difficulties due to the relation with Priština, we will do everything to make progress on the European path”, said President Vučić and thanked the President of the European Commission for kind words and wish to see Serbia in the EU.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, emphasized that today Serbia had already gone a long way to the EU membership, it had made an incredible progress and efforts in the past years and improved conditions in different sectors. She said that she strongly supports the European integrations of Serbia.

“This is a very special moment. Signing of this agreement is a symbol of our great cooperation and projects of connections through which we jointly build our European future, because the future of Serbia in the European Union is better. The corridor connects Serbia to Austria and Greece and is really the driving force of economy. It is the driving force for the Serbian economy, investments, the economic plan which already functions in Serbia”, said the President of the European Commission.

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: Dimitrije Gol


Selaković in New York with 28 foreign ministers on economic successes of Serbia and K&M situation - 25 September 2021

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. The Serbian Foreign Minister says that he surely used this opportunity, too, to introduce Minister Lavrov to the latest events in northern Kosovo and Metohija, the situation of the dialog between Belgrade and Priština and very clear and unambiguous attitude of President Aleksandar Vučić regarding the continuation of the dialog and subsequent events in K&M.

“We discussed the principled support of the Russian Federation, which is constantly present not just in Moscow, Belgrade, in the field, but also here in the East River, by the delegation of the Russian Federation as the permanent member of the UN Security Council. Of course, we will continue to maintain this type of dialog. What Minister Lavrov said was that we could count on the support of the Russian Federation in future with regards to our interests in K&M”, highlighted Minister Selaković.

He said that he had had the opportunity in New York to hold 33 meetings, of which 28 with ministers of foreign affairs, whom he had introduced also to topicalities related to the latest events in Kosovo and Metohija, but also to our principled position regarding the observance of the international public law, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Minister Selaković said that his colleagues at the meetings had praised the substantial and fantastic success of Serbia in the consolidation of the economic sphere and transformation of what had been on the edge of collapse and economic disaster seven years before to the fastest growing economy in Europe, which Serbia was in the past two years. He said that most of his interlocutors had supported our reforms and expressed great respect toward what President Aleksandar Vučić and Serbia had done in the previous period. Many of them, says the Serbian Foreign Minister, showed great interest in the manner in which Serbia organized the figth against Covid 19. “It was a great pleasure and pride to represent the Republic of Serbia in all these meetings. Many of my colleagues confirmed their arrival to Belgrade to the Conference on 11th and 12th October, which is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Non-Allied Movement”, said Minister Selaković.

He emphasized that it was not just the evidence of how much they had cared to come to Belgrade to the conference, but also to see and witness the Serbia which after several decades of attempts to fight different challenges rose to its feed, was economically consolidated and turned towards its traditional friends.

“That is a great deal and our country will surely during October be one of the spots on Earth of greatest importance for multilateralism, for cooperation among the countries which share the same values, the values entered into the UN Charter and which are based on the promotion and fight for peace, equality, observance of the international public law and rights of every country to pursue its path to happiness and better and more ordered society in compliance with the wishes of its population”, said Minister Selaković.

He said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, would come to Belgrade to the conference on the occasion of the Non-Allied Movement adding that we had strategic cooperation with Azerbaijan and frequent contacts. “We agreed to realize as soon as possible after the Belgrade conference his bilateral visit to Serbia”, added Minister Selaković.

He said that it had been agreed to intensify the cooperation and finalize the agreements which should be signed and after that realized when the meeting of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev took place. Minister Selaković says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had recently received its sector for economic diplomacy and there were great expectations from it and one of the tasks was to deepen the cooperation with Azerbaijan.


Telephone conversation of President Vučić and General Secretary of NATO - 26 September 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, has discussed today by phone with the General Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg about, as the General Secretary said, worrisome situation in northern Kosovo and Metohija.

President Vučić said that Serbia had not violated either Brussels Agreement or Resolution 1244 by anything, by any single move or in any manner jeopardized peace preservation.

“The complete occupation by armored vehicles of northern Kosovo and Metohija has lasted for seven days and it is conducted by Priština and everyone in the international community “are thunderously silent”, said Serbian President.

“However, everyone is worried all of a sudden when they spot Serbian helicopters and airplanes at the territory of central Serbia, because apparently they should not exist, or should not take off until they receive the approval from Kurti or someone from the international community”, says President Vučić.

Serbia observes all international agreements it signed, Serbia will always conduct responsibly and seriously, but Serbia is still asking when the formation of SMC will start and when Kurti’s armored units will be withdrawn from northern Kosovo and Metohija.

Finally, with the gratitude to General Secretary Stoltenberg for the fair relation and wish to listen to the Serbian side, President Vučić asked about the norm and international regulation violated by Serbia? Today, yesterday or any time?

The two interlocutors agreed to stay in constant touch due to necessity of the preservation of peace and stability in the entire region.

Source/Photo: www.predsednik.rs


Solid and friendly relations of Serbia and Hungary - 23 September 2021

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, has met in New York today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto.

The Ministers discussed the realization of the conclusions passed at the recent sixth Joint session of the two Governments and tasks of the two ministries.

On this occasion, Selaković stated that regular and frequent meetings of foreign ministers of Serbia and Hungary were the evidence of solid and friendly relations of the two countries, which were at the highest level in the recent history.

Friendly personal relations of presidents Aleksandar Vučić and Viktor Orban and frequent exchanges of high and top-level visits, according to his words, provide stable political foundation for the development of all aspects of cooperation of Serbia and Hungary.

On this occasion, Selaković also thanked Hungary for its consistent and explicit support to Serbia in the process of European integrations and attitude that our country, as an economic and political regional center, belonged to the EU.

Minister Selaković introduced his interlocutor to most recent provocations of Priština and current situation in Kosovo and Metohija.

According to words of Minister Selaković, Serbia will continue to be the pillar of stability of the region and promoter of a peaceful and political solution to conflicts but insisting also that the international community invest efforts in order to prevent hazardous and destabilizing activities of Priština.


Pristina seriously jeopardised regional stability - 25 September 2021

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic warned today that Pristina has seriously jeopardised local and regional stability after sending heavily armed special units to the north of Kosovo who are exerting ` against the peaceful Serbian population. Brnabic spoke at the general debate of world leaders, as part of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

We bring the Prime Minister's speech in its entirety:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I have the great honor to address you today on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia. Esteemed Excellencies Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Mr. Volkan Bozkir and Mr. António Guterres, I would like thank you for the active engagement, dedication, and leadership you have shown during these difficult times for the United Nations and all of humanity. Serbia shares your conviction and we remain fully committed to supporting your efforts.

This year, we come together at a decisive moment in our history. Covid-19 has shaken our foundations to the core. At the same time, we are increasingly witnessing and experiencing effects of climate change. And, finally, we are seeing significant shifts in global partnerships and alliances, trade wars between traditional partners and allies, protectionism instead of openness and free market, and overall uncertainty at an unprecedented scale. Some of the pressing and extremely emotional issues that we have locally, in the Balkans, are still unresolved and while we are trying – and Serbia is especially dedicated to this – to change the future by working together and creating alliances, through initiatives such as the Berlin process or Open Balkan, others are trying to disrupt these processes, and instead of focusing on the future, they want to recreate the past – whatever the cost of that may be. But, let me start with COVID: COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical weaknesses in the architecture of global governance. It has threatened to erase the progress many nations have achieved in recent years. It has placed nations at a junction between isolation and collaboration, between panic and hope, between chaos and order.

The pandemic questioned some of the basic tenets of the open and cooperative international order. Global exchanges, international communication, cross-border trade have all seen a vast decrease. Curfews, restrictions on freedom and lockdowns of entire societies have created uncertainty in many segments of the individual lives of our citizens or – for that matter – our own individual perception of what freedom in today’s world even means. For Serbia, this pandemic threatened to undermine everything we have been doing for the past 7 years, to crush all of the results and accomplishments of difficult reforms we initiated in 2014, and to propel us back to the times of high unemployment, rising public debt, uncontrollable deficit, and overall desperation. Much as in any other country, COVID-19 has tested our nations’ resiliency and, this time, unlike during the global financial crisis – which was of much more limited scope and incomparable in consequences to COVID-19 pandemic – Serbia stood strong.

The reforms we undertook in the pre-COVID times made us more resilient than ever. The fiscal consolidation, the budget surplus we had, efficient and predictable investment environment, became a lifeline that saved us from a recession during the pandemic and one that ensured we could support our citizens and our economy during these, most difficult of times. Despite the effects of the crisis, Serbia has managed to preserve financial and economic stability.

In 2020, we recorded a decline in GDP of only 0.9% – one of the best results in Europe. Our public debt remained below 60% of our GDP, average salary continued to grow by almost 10%, while despite the pandemic the number of people employed increased by over 3%. The recovery in this year has been stronger than expected – our GDP will grow approximately 7%, and perhaps even stronger.

Prior to the pandemic, we have opened our borders to investment, technology, and ideas, and we managed to create peaceful and stable environment that allowed us to pursue rapid domestic transformation, with innovation and knowledge-based economy as the foundation. The innovative advances we had made allowed us to diversify our capabilities when the virus hit – through e-Government, online education and digital textbooks, or central software system for a successful vaccination rollout. We invested heavily in health infrastructure and strengthened the health system in order to respond to the current crisis, eternally grateful to the health care workers for their dedicated struggle.

Our decision to put geopolitics aside, and people at the center of our policies, is the reason we were able to acquire vaccines quicker than most other nations. We did not discriminate between manufacturers, did not care whether vaccines are from the East or from the West, but chose to negotiate with all vaccine manufacturers deemed safe by regulators. This openness gave us the ability to purchase vaccines from around the world, giving our citizens the unique freedom to choose which vaccine they prefer.

Excellencies,

Serbia believes in solidarity between nations, multilateralism and helping others when in need. Since the beginning of this year, we have made it our mission to support our neighbors, and all those in need, with COVID-19 vaccines and we have also allowed foreign nationals to come to Serbia to receive the vaccine which will protect their lives. In total, Serbia has donated or allocated over a million doses of vaccines – of which 230.000 doses to the region; 300.000 doses for foreign nationals which came to Serbia to get vaccinated; and additional 570.000 doses to countries of Africa and Asia.

We will keep doing so, to the greatest extent possible, and until COVID-19 is behind all of us. That is why we have also taken steps to acquire the technology to produce at least two types of COVID-19 vaccines to help improve global access so we can all be safe and victorious. However, as stated by dignitaries of some of the largest nations during this General Assembly, there are other pressing issues that all of us need to keep addressing without any delay and in a bold manner – and that is climate change.

Serbia has redoubled its efforts to make our country safer and cleaner for its citizens, and by doing so, contribute to the fight against climate change and for environmental protection. We are strongly committed to the implementation of the sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We are committed to global efforts and will continue to work actively to meet our obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are about to submit our revised Nationally Determined Contributions to contribute to this critical global effort. We have already announced our intention to reduce greenhouse gasses for at least 33.3% compared to 1990, and 13.2% compared to 2010, which we are currently incorporating into our energy and climate strategic documents. We work strategically on planning and investments in this sector.

These investments are extremely expensive, requiring years and decades of commitment and a systemic approach - but we are clearly set on the path of this transformation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Of all the challenges we face, the most worrisome for Serbia is the maintenance of peace and stability in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. For more than two decades, we have been constantly drawing international attention to the problems that non-Albanian population is facing in Kosovo and Metohija.

Physical safety, respect for and protection of human rights, especially of minority communities, are far from satisfactory. We are now witnessing a constant increase in the number of attacks targeting Serbs, their property and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. To illustrate, there were 55 such incidents in 2014, 62 in 2016, 71 in 2020, and 100 since the beginning of this year. The total number of attacks in 2020 has already been surpassed by June of this year. According to the UN, Kosovo and Metohija is still the territory with the least number of returnees (internally displaced Serbs) of all post-conflict areas in the entire world!

I will give you just a few examples to depict how life of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija looks like.

On the 11th of May the house of Radoje Pumpalović, 81-years old returnee to Kosovo in the village of Dubrava, in Istok municipality, was attacked. This was the 5th attack on him in the same year. Again… he is 81 years old.

Since June 2021, multiple attacks were carried out against Dragica Gašić, 59-years old woman, the first Serb returnee in Đakovica after 22 years since the end of the conflict. Attacks include stoning of her apartment, banning her from shopping for food in the local store and petitions by civil society organization demanding her eviction from the city.

On 2nd of July, in the village of Gobulji near Vučitrn, a group of Albanians attacked 13-year old Nikola Perić. The attack occurred when he was returning home from the school playground with three friends.

Attacks on Serbian medieval churches, monasteries and monuments in Kosovo and Metohija, make them some of the most endangered cultural heritage sites in Europe. Monastery Visoki Dečani was recently listed, by Europa Nostra, as one of the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe in 2021. The Advisory Panel of Europa Nostra noted that Dečani is the only monument in Europe under robust military protection for a continuous period of 20 years, although it constitutes a monument of ultimate historical and cultural importance for Europe and the world. This spiral of violence occurring in Kosovo and Metohija culminated at the beginning of this week.

On the pretext of enforcing new license plate rules, Priština dispatched heavily armed special units to the north of the province. This is yet another brutal violation of the Brussels Agreement, and this irrational show of force has ignited a major crisis. It disrupted the supply of food and medication to Serb communities in the north of the province.

Local Serbs who peacefully gathered to protest this measure were met with tear gas and police brutality, thus seriously threatening local and regional stability. Despite of all the challenges and daily provocations, Serbia remains strongly committed to finding a compromise-based solution that will ensure lasting peace and stability. Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached – are the only proper way to resolve all open issues.

However, almost 9 years after reaching the Brussels Agreement, as the 1st agreement on normalization between Belgrade and Priština, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities – the backbone of this agreement – has not yet even begun.

I would like to appeal, once again, to the international community, and especially the European Union, as the guarantor of the Brussels Agreement, to firmly insist that the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Priština start implementing all of the agreements reached. The Republic of Serbia, by defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the same time defends international law, the UN Charter, legally binding UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and the supreme authority of the Security Council when it comes to the preservation of international peace and security.

We attach special importance to the activity of the UN mission in Kosovo and Metohija and expect it to continue to implement its mandate in the Province in accordance with this resolution.

Dear friends,

Our generation shares the common destiny of the modern world, which is becoming increasingly complex in terms of geopolitics, technology, health, climate. In the face of these challenges, Serbia will continue nurturing international partnerships, on a predictable and transparent basis. We will continue pursuing the rule of law reforms on our EU path, which is our strategic foreign policy goal. We see this as inseparable from achieving sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.

We will host, together with the Republic of Azerbaijan as the current chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, a commemorative high-level event marking the 60th anniversary of the First Non-Aligned Movement Conference, which was held in Belgrade in 1961. We are very much looking forward to hosting our friends from all parts of the world in Belgrade in October this year. We will further enhance cooperation across the Balkans, through the Open Balkan initiative and Berlin process, by opening borders, harmonizing differences, and further integrating our region.

In conclusion, Over the past 7 years, Serbia has been transformed: we sparked an economic revival, created opportunities for young people, cultivated a tech boom, and improved Serbia’s position abroad. The progress we have made has allowed Serbia to better face and survive the pandemic. The world now faces a turning point. The recovery from COVID-19 and sustainable reconstruction will not proceed if issues, new and old, are not handled by joint forces and collaborative international actions. This pandemic taught us one important lesson: unless all of us are safe, no one is safe – so we can either win together, all of us – regardless of how rich or poor, large or small, from Europe, Asia, Africa, America or Australia, or fail together.

But, if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the issue of climate change, should have taught us to stand together.

Thank you.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs


Prime Minister Brnabic at Global COVID-19 summit organised by White House - 22 September 2021

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.

Thanks to years of investment in digitalisation and development of eGovernment, we have managed to organise a complicated and complex vaccination process very efficiently and in a way that it is focused on citizens, she explained. However, as she added, from the very beginning we were aware that this is not just a matter of our citizens and only our struggle. In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all safe or no one is safe.

That is why, in addition to procuring vaccines for our citizens, we donated vaccines to the citizens of the Western Balkans, but also to other countries, she reminded and specified that Serbia donated 230,000 doses of vaccines to the region, we vaccinated foreign citizens in Serbia with approximately 300,000 doses and set aside we have 570,000 doses of vaccines for countries in Africa and Asia.

Brnabic mentioned that Serbia has already started the production of covid vaccine from one manufacturer, and that it will start production from another by the end of the year, because in that way we want to help and support all people and countries that need vaccines.

This is a pandemic in which we will either win together or lose together, but we must fight together, the Prime Minister repeated.

That is why Serbia supports the goals of this global summit, she emphasised, and expressed her gratitude to the United States of America and President Biden for organising the summit and supporting joint efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccines are the only way out in the fight against the pandemic, concluded Brnabic.


Marking the Remembrance Day of all Serbs who died and were expelled in the armed operation "Storm" - 5 August 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, attended the marking of the Remembrance Day of all the victims and expelled Serbs in the armed operation "Storm" and said that Serbia remembers!

"Today, when we remind ourselves again of what happened in August 1995, the terrible pogrom, the expulsion of more than 250,000 Serbs, the exodus and ethnic cleansing, we, at the same time, and finally, remind ourselves of who we are, what we are, where we come from and where we are going. Thank you all for being here together tonight and for showing how much we love our people", said President Vučić, adding that we will not forget any of the things that the Krajina people had to go through.

"For us, these are not just terrible numbers of victims", said President Vučić and emphasized that Serbia will not forget. "History has never been rewritten like today. That is why I want to remind us all not only of what others have done to us, not wanting us to exist, but also of what we have done to ourselves, just as if we ourselves did not want to exist", said the President, noting that we must never again allow Serbia to forget its silent heroes.

President Vučić emphasized that we must never again cover our eyes, ears, and mouths in front of something that truly was a pogrom and the downfall of all humanity.

"Pretending that this is not true, avoiding saying it, is a crime not only against the victims, but also against ourselves, every living Serb, people from Krajina, as well as Serbia and its future", said President Vučić and underlined that people can stand up straight and live with themselves and the others without hesitation, fear and doubt, only if they remember.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia must fight for peace and cradles with children, as well as that not remembering annuls and erases us from the history and the future, depriving us of the right to tomorrow.

"Our mission is a happy future for us and for the new generations! Today's Serbia is based on a clear identity and a culture of remembrance", said President Vučić and reminded that everything that had been neglected for decades had been done, and that a strong Serbia has become the master of its own destiny.

"Eternal glory to you, Serbian martyrs who perished in the "Storm" and all other pogroms. Your children are in their Serbia, taken care of, loved and successful. Sleep peacefully, Serbian falcons, the future of your children is our vow", concluded President Vučić and thanked everyone who showed that night how much they love their country and that Serbia remembers.

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: www.predsednik.rs


Working visit of the Prime Minister of Hungary to the Republic of Serbia - 8 July 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, met today with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, who was in Belgrade as part of a one-day working visit.

President Vučić thanked the high guest for his personal commitment to the exceptionally good relations between Serbia and Hungary, as well as for his full contribution to stabilization in the region. In his address after the meeting, President Vučić pointed out that the Hungarian government and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are true friends of Serbia, who openly support Serbia's European path, even when they suffer criticism for it, and that relations between Serbia and Hungary are currently the best in our modern history.

"In the future, we will try not only to maintain such good relations between the two countries and the two peoples, but also to raise those relations to an even higher level", said President Vučić, adding that Hungary also has a sincere friend and a reliable partner in Serbia.

The President emphasized that Hungary was on the 13th place of Serbia's economic partners, and that, in a short time, it reached the fifth place, and that cooperation with that country is rapidly developing both politically and economically.

President Vučić assessed that it was Prime Minister Orbán who was largely responsible for such a development of overall bilateral relations, which enabled not only the development of good neighborly partnership, but also economic progress.

"In 2020, we had almost two billion euros of trade exchange, and in the first five months of this year, that was additionally increased by 23 percent. We have more and more companies importing and exporting goods. Special thanks to Orbán because Hungarian companies made 16 large investments last year. Three of them are on the territory of northern Serbia, i.e. Vojvodina, and 13 are south of the Sava and the Danube. This speaks of the friendship with the whole of Serbia, and it goes without saying that Serbia will always help Hungarians living in its territory", said President Vučić, adding that Serbs today have extremely good relations with Hungarians in Vojvodina, which are based on mutual respect and trust. President Vučić also reminded of the project of modernization of the Belgrade-Budapest railway, as well as the reconstruction of the railway between Subotica and Szeged, which is especially important for the people who live in one country and work or study in the other.

"We also connected gas pipelines and we are proud of that. That is a historical success of the two countries ... We covered all topics. We believe in the European future and further assistance of Hungary on that path, as well as the member countries of the Visegrad Group, because it is very important for the regional cooperation of our countries", said President Vučić.

In his address, the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, said that he unequivocally supports Serbia and its membership in the EU, because the entire Western Balkans is behind Serbia.

"Until Serbia is integrated, the Western Balkans will not be integrated. Serbia is a key country and the European Union should understand that", Prime Minister Orbán emphasized and added that the key to the stability of the region is exactly Serbia.

During the visit of Prime Minister Orbán, President Vučić presented the Order of the Serbian Flag, First Class to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó and emphasized that he always clearly stated at every intergovernmental conference between Serbia and the European Union that Serbia must join the EU as soon as possible.

"He fought for the truth and was not ashamed of his friendship with Serbia. And we are infinitely grateful to him for that. But I also thank Viktor Orbán for leading such a policy. I am sure that this Order will be another link in the chain of our friendship", said President Aleksandar Vučić.

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: Dimitrije Goll


Meeting with the President of the Hungarian National Assembly - 6 July 2021

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, received the President of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér today, with whom he agreed that relations between the two countries are at the highest level in history, based on mutual understanding and trust.

President Vučić expressed expectation that this high level of relations will be confirmed by the establishment of a strategic partnership. He also thanked Hungary for its strong support for Serbia's European integration.

President Vučić supported the parliamentary cooperation between the two countries and expressed satisfaction with the signing of the Framework Agreement on Partnership between the Hungarian Parliament and our National Assembly. The importance of infrastructural connections and projects, such as the modernization of the Belgrade-Budapest railway and the reconstruction of the Subotica-Szeged railway, as well as the connection of the gas infrastructure, was emphasized in the conversation.

The President of the Hungarian Parliament, Kövér, thanked for everything that is being done in Serbia in order to improve the position of the Hungarian national minority, and the two interlocutors stated that the Hungarian minority in Serbia and the Serbian community in Hungary represent a kind of bridge between the two countries.

The Hungarian official also emphasized Serbia's role in preserving peace and stability in the region, which is important for his country as well.

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: www.predsednik.rs


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


President Vučić presented a decoration to Hungarian Minister Péter Szijjártó - 8. July 2021.

Today, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, presented the Order of the Serbian Flag, First Class to the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó.

Szijjártó was awarded on the occasion of 28 June, Vidovdan, for special merits in developing and strengthening cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Hungary.

Szijjártó thanked for, as he said, an exceptional decoration, which is a great honor for him.

"If we want to be honest, I should share this decoration with at least two Serbian ministers, Nikola Selaković and Jadranka Joksimović, because they are fighting extraordinarily for Serbia's membership in the EU", Szijjártó said. He added that the decoration should belong to everyone who has been helping the Western Balkans in Hungary since 2010 and keeping the focus of Hungarian policy on that region.

"We believe that the EU cannot be complete without the Western Balkans and Serbia, and we know that there is no vacuum in geopolitics and that if the EU misses the integration of this region, someone else will take that place. Since we have already lost Great Britain, we do not want to lose the Western Balkans too", Szijjártó pointed out.

He pointed out that the decoration gives him a new impetus to fight even harder for Serbia's accession to the European Union.

Vučić pointed out that Szijjártó is a sincere friend of Serbia and that it is a great honor for him to personally present him with the decoration today.

"Szijjártó has special merits in the development and strengthening of cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Hungary, relations that are excellent throughout the history of the two countries", said Vučić.

He pointed out that Szijjártó always and at every intergovernmental conference between Serbia and the EU clearly and unequivocally pointed out that Serbia must join the EU.

"He fought for the truth, he was not ashamed of his friendship with Serbia and we are grateful to him for that. We are grateful to Hungary and Orbán for such a policy, and we are sure that this decoration will also be just one link in the chain of our friendship and everything we must and can do in the future", Vučić said.

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, and the head of Hungarian diplomacy, who arrived on a working visit to Serbia today, were welcomed at the "Nikola Tesla Airport" by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Nikola Selaković.

Source: Tanjug


President Vučić participates in the Mini Schengen conference - 29th June 2021

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić participated today via a video link in the conference "Mini Schengen" with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev.

The officials discussed further steps in regional cooperation, as a process vital to the progress of the Western Balkans and the European path as a whole. The interlocutors agreed that the countries of the Western Balkans need membership in the European Union, but also that the European Union needs the Western Balkans just as much since the region is surrounded by EU borders and the countries aspiring to membership share common European values.

The President of Serbia and the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia have expressed the wish that the four European freedoms - the movement of people, goods, services and capital, begin to be implemented as soon as possible throughout the region, and that in this context they will provide full support to the regional common market at the Berlin Process Summit to be held on the 5th July.

"We are aware that only by working together and accepting regional cooperation within various regional initiatives such as the common market, regional Schengen, green corridors or the Berlin Process, can we bring our economies closer, increase the well-being of our people and bring in large investments that would otherwise not be possible for any of us individually", is one of the joint conclusions of this video conference.

The interlocutors agreed to meet in Skopje on July 29th to review the progress in the implementation of existing initiatives and projects and to sign additional agreements between the three countries related to the implementation of the Berlin Process commitments, as well as cooperation and assistance in the event of natural disasters and relief measures for trade, export and import.

"We call on and encourage our colleagues from the region to sign and implement similar agreements, so that the vision of a common political and economic space across the Western Balkans would soon, through the single market, become an important part of our citizens' daily lives," said the Serbian President and Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia.

The interlocutors pointed out that despite the delays in the enlargement process, they will continue to try to identify new ways, policy areas and financial instruments for all three countries to increase their contribution to Europe, strengthen ties with the European Union and gradually integrate the region into the single European market. Speaking on the Green Agenda, the interlocutors issued a joint call to the European Union and the United States to join countries across the region to support the development of projects that could be invested as soon as possible to improve environmental protection and increase the widespread use of renewables as part of the EU Economic and Investment Plan implementation and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.

"Our countries have a huge potential for sustainable growth and development of this sector. We will ask for practical support to find out which projects can improve our region in terms of renewable energy sources for our citizens and for the green energy future of the EU ", said the interlocutors during the "Mini Schengen" video conference and concluded that only regional connecting, with the EU support, can contribute to the overall stability and progress of the entire region and Europe.

Source:www.predsednik.rs

Photo: www.predsednik.rs


Bilateral relations between Serbia, Hungary best in history - 5 July 2021

Prime Minister Brnabic stated today, during the meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary Laszlo Kever that bilateral relations, especially political relations, are the best in history, and that Hungary is the third most important partner of Serbia in economic terms.

Brnabic expressed gratitude for the strong and continuous support that Hungary provides to Serbia on a daily basis in the process of European integration at the highest political level and for persisting in the position on the necessity of EU enlargement, regardless of all difficulties, because, as she emphasised, full membership in the EU the right option for our country.

The Prime Minister added that regional connections are of exceptional importance and in that context she cited the example of the Visegrad Four, emphasising that it was Hungary that opened that door to Serbia.

According to Brnabic, cooperation between the two countries on infrastructure projects is developing well, especially when it comes to the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Budapest railway, the beginning of works on the modernisation of the Szeged-Subotica-Baja railway, expansion of the Horgos border crossing and investments of Hungarian companies.

The fact that Serbia and Hungary have an agreement on the joint use of the premises of diplomatic and consular missions in the world testifies to the friendly bilateral relations, the Prime Minister added.

Kever agreed with the Serbian Prime Minister that the relations between the two countries are at the level of friendship, which was also contributed by the positions of minorities with, as he said, both sides of the border – Serbian in Hungary and Hungarian in Serbia.

The personal contribution of Prime Minister Brnabic is also significant, Kever added. He also confirmed that the joint session of the government of Serbia and the government of Hungary, which is planned for September, should give additional importance to mutual relations.

Hunagary also believes that Serbia is its most important economic partner in the Western Balkans, and that mutual friendship is not just a subjective feeling, but an opportunity and a way to strategically support the two countries, Kever concluded.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs

Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


Selakovic: Strong support of the V4 to the European perspective of the Western Balkans - 28 June 2021

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic participated today in Poznan in the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) and the Western Balkans.

Selakovic stated that today's meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm the V4's strong support to the European perspective of the Western Balkans, point out the need to continue reforms of our societies with full understanding of the obstacles that are ahead of us, but were not faced by the V4 member states when they were joining the EU.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out that Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, when they negotiated on EU membership, knew for certain that they would be given an EU accession date once reforms were implemented and obligations met, and that this was something that the Western Balkans did not have today.

"This was another opportunity to appeal to colleagues to make their support for us even stronger, in order to avoid what seemed to us to be the case in the Western Balkans, and that is that bilateral issues are being raised and used as a kind of obstacle to the continuation along the European path, as well as to show unity in some things", the Minister explained.

The Minister emphasized that the importance of regional connectivity, primarily in the economy, was discussed at today's meeting, and underlined in particular that Serbia, through the policy pursued by President Vucic and the "mini-Schengen" initiative, showed at every step that the fate of the entire region was as important as the fate of Serbia itself.

“It is important for us that European integration provides the preservation of peace and stability in the region. Peace and stability in the Western Balkan region are essential to us. Serbia has contributed to the preservation of peace and stability at every step and will continue to do so in the future", Selakovic said, expressing confidence that Brussels would appropriately evaluate everything we did on the European path.

 


Address by the President of the Republic of Serbia at the session of the United Nations Security Council - 09. June 2021.

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. The second part of the speech will be dedicated to issues that are opened by the six –month Report on the work of the Mechanism by Mechanism President Mr. Agius and Report by the Chief Prosecutor Mr. Serge Brammertz, especially regarding current cooperation of the Republic of Serbia and the Mechanism. The third part of my speech, and I noticed that in many of your statements even today, is going to be the view of Serbia on everything that took place in The Hague Tribunal and what the Tribunal verdicts brought to people in the region of former Yugoslavia.

The Republic of Serbia has initiated before the Security Council, on several occasions, the issue of possibility of serving sentences passed by the ICTY and Mechanism in the Republic of Serbia. Beside the efforts to move this issue from “square one”, not a single response was obtained from the Security Council. The majority of persons that are serving their prison sentences are citizens of the Republic of Serbia, and it comes naturally that the Republic of Serbia is interested in enabling them to serve their prison sentences in the Republic of Serbia. ICTY and the Mechanism are making references to the Security Council as an institution in charge of dealing with this issue. I am ready to reiterate here the readiness of the Republic of Serbia to take over obligations and liability for executing prison sentences that the Tribunal or Mechanism passed on the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, under the monitoring of the Mechanism and full respect for the authority of the Mechanism regarding early release.

Mr. President

A particular problem that we are facing with is disturbance by the judicial institutions established in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, which is within Serbia and which is under Interim Administration of the UN. We are witnesses of attempts of retrial for two citizens that are serving their prison sentences for which they had already been trialed before the ICTY. More concretely, in previous period there was an attempt for hearing of Nebojša Pavković and for obtaining extradition of Vlastimir Đorđević. I urge on the Mechanism and Security Council to prevent attempts of violation of the principle ne bis in idem, a civilization principle that was confirmed in Article 7 (1) of the Statute of the Mechanism and to disable retrials for persons already convicted by the ICTY, particularly to make sure that it is not done in the territory which is under interim UN administration.

Mr. President,

President of the Mechanism (Mr. Carmel Agius), apart from the regular Report, delivered also on 11 May 2021 a letter to the President of the Security Council, whose subject is the alleged omission of the Republic of Serbia to apprehend and turn over to the Mechanism Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta, indicted of contempt of court, claiming that in this way the Republic of Serbia was acting contrary to its obligations towards the UNSC Resolution 1966 (2010) and asking the Security Council to take measures in order to ensure that Serbia meets the alleged obligations in accordance with the Mechanism Statue and Resolution 1966.

The point of the argumentation of the President of the Mechanism comes to that that the Republic of Serbia has the obligation to deprive of liberty and extradite to the Mechanism its citizens accused of contempt of court, regardless of the nature of accusation, circumstances under which such an order was made and consequences that might result from its implementation. It is about accusations that do not refer to sever violations of international humanitarian law and that are related to a case before the ICTY, which ended in 2018 (Vojislav Šešelj case), by acquitting the defendant in the first instance, and upon the Prosecutor’s complaint the defendant was declared guilty and sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment, which was covered by the time he spent at the UN Detention Unit. Judge Agius states that Serbia ignores its obligations in accordance with the Resolution 1966 (2010). Quite the opposite- the Republic of Serbia takes seriously its obligations regarding cooperation with the Mechanism. After the warrant for apprehension and extradition of the two persons accused of contempt of court to the Mechanism had been introduced, the Higher Court in Belgrade established that assumptions for their apprehension and extradition to the Mechanism had not been met. The decision is founded on the rules of international law and domestic law of the Republic of Serbia and it is mandatory for holders of the executive power in the Republic of Serbia. I would remind here that the first decision of a sole judge (Aydin Sefa Akay, 12 June 2018), that was acting in this case was that the criminal prosecution of V. Radeta and P. Jojić for alleged contempt of court was to be forwarded to the judicial authorities of the Republic of Serbia. In procedures that followed, the argument of the alleged unwillingness of the witnesses to cooperate with the judicial authorities of the Republic of Serbia was stated for the first time, and the decision on deprivation of transferring the case to the jurisdiction of the judicial authorities of the Republic of Serbia was based on the respective argument.

The Republic of Serbia expressed its readiness to take over the court procedure against Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta on several occasions and it provided appropriate guarantees. Additionally, the Republic of Serbia fully recognizes and accepts the obligation of the Mechanism to monitor trials that were transferred to national courts with the help of international and regional organizations, as well as to take measures envisaged by Article 6 of the Statute of the Mechanism. I would remind here that the Republic of Serbia extradited to the tribunal all the persons indicted by the Prosecutor’s Office, and among the respective mostly highest political, military and police officials; it enabled presence of vast number of witnesses, delivered extensive documentation. Obligation of the Mechanism, in accordance with the Resolution of this Security Council, is to take measures that enable transfer of cases to national justice system. In previous practice, 13 cases were transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2 to Croatia and only one to Serbia.

The last but not the least, I want to remind all of you here of the fact that France- of course as a sovereign and independent country- upon request for apprehension and extradition of Florence Altman for publishing documents and contempt of court, refused the request for extradition, with an explanation that it does not extradite its citizens.

For far smaller offence you ask as to extradite our citizens Jojic and Radeta, showing both the distrust to Serbian justice and judiciary and Serbian State, as well as a fact that the rule from ancient Rome is still valid – quod licet lovi non licet bovi. It does not harm to underline that high-level officers and politicians were not trialed for crimes against Serbs, and that crimes against Serbs remained unsanctioned before ICTY and Mechanism. Let me remind you, just as an example that Ademi and Norac case for ferocious crimes against Serb civilians in Medački Džep was left to Croatian justice institutions. Proven crimes against Serbs, like those of Ramuš Haradinaj, Naser Orić, then Ante Gotovina and other indicted for military operation “Storm” that led to a complete ethnic cleansing of Serb population in the big part of today’s Croatia, resulted before the ICTY in acquittals. Many horrible crimes against Serb civilians that were committed in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, and that resulted in ethnic cleansing, simply were not the subject of interest of the ICTY. What’s very important and not to leave anything unclear, Serbia is a country that condemns all crimes and all criminals who perpetrated them in the region of former Yugoslavia.

However, it is interesting that despite often criticism Serbia is the only one that speaks openly and condemns crimes perpetrated by Serb nationals, while in other regional countries they do not speak at all about crimes that representatives of those nations committed against members of Serbian people. And I want to emphasize once again here in front of you that Serbia condemns terrible crime in Srebrenica and extends its deepest condolences to the families of all killed in that massacre. And there are no “buts” about the respective. Nevertheless, we are here to analyze results and penal policy of ICTY and the Mechanism and it was such that it has never gained trust among Serbian people, no matter where they live. And not because we Serbs do not acknowledge crime committed by some of our compatriots, but because

The Hague Tribunal, with exceptions, was judging only to Serbs and in all three territories of former Yugoslavia- Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo and Metohija, which some of the SC Member States see and name of course, contrary to law and legal norms and UN Resolutions, as an independent state. I would try to plastically prove to you how The Hague justice was tailored even though I know that it will not come to understanding of many of you, but to me it is important because of the history, facts, and school books that will be made in accordance with the facts. Namely, Serbs were sentenced to totally 1138 years of imprisonment, and to 8 life imprisonments. At the same time, The Hague Tribunal did not sentence a single Croat for crimes against Serbs, neither in actions Medački Džep, nor Flash and Storm. How politically cunning it was done in the Tribunal, and all wrapped in the form of law and justice.

Prosecutors of The Hague Tribunal chose on purpose three military and political leaders of Croats, Bosniac Muslims and Albanians, on all three mentioned territories, committed against Serbs. – Ante Gotovina, Naser Orić and Ramuš Haradinaj. It is interesting that following the same pattern, the same pattern, this injustice was shared. Namely, all of them were sentenced in the first instance procedure, with the exception of Ramuš Haradinaj, because not a single witness survived. Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment in first-instance procedure, while by a mysterious decision of the second instance council and 3:2 judge ratio, the verdict was changed to acquittal. Naser Orić, for crimes against Serbs, was also sentenced in first instance verdict, but by a mysterious decision of the second instance court, and again 3:2 ratio decision was an acquittal and he was set free of any liability. Let me reiterate, all witnesses in process against Ramus Haradinaj, either committed suicide or were killed under very, very strange circumstances.

Let me conclude, I do not want to believe that someone wants to say that there had been no crimes against Serbs, but judging by the verdicts of The Hague Tribunal, no one- absolutely no one- is responsible for those crimes. Nevertheless, we in Serbia will show responsibility and we will fight for peace, stability and reconciliation in the region.

We ask UN Security Council Member States to help us with rational and pragmatic approach and respect for international law and not by attempts of further humiliation of Serbia. Serbia is a small country, with proud and courageous people, the one that gave the biggest sacrifice during the WWI and WWII; people who wants to leave in peace with their neighbors. And when I am asking you for this, I do not think I am asking for too much.

At the very end, Serbia is the fastest growing country of the Western Balkans region and we cannot progress unless our relations with neighbors, friends and other countries are good, solid and better. That is why- despite the selective justice that was applied in The Hague Tribunal- we will be open for any dialogue, any kind of cooperation and we will look towards the future and not towards the past. And I have only one message for the citizens of Serbia and citizens of Serbian nationality in the entire region- keep your heads up, neither Serbia nor Serbian people are convicted of anything and it is up to us to work even more diligently, to open factories and to fight for our children and our future.

Long Live Serbia!


Minister Selaković presented the new e-Consulate service - 20 May 2021

A new service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "e-Consulate" was presented in Belgrade today, intended for foreign citizens who apply for a visa and aspire to come to Serbia to work. On that occasion, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic said that this service was one of the indicators of good development of our country, which, as he pointed out, was becoming a magnet for serious foreign companies, which brought a large number of workers from other countries to work in Serbia.

"Not to be pretentious, but completely realistic, this service represents a turning point in the functioning of our system. E-Consulate and digitalization of the procedure for issuing work visas for foreign citizens who want to work in Serbia, is the first electronic service offered by the Foreign Ministry, and I can promise you that this is indeed our first, but by no means the last e-service", Selakovic emphasized. The Head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out that "e-Consulate" reflected the modernization of an extremely important segment of the activities of diplomatic and consular missions of Serbia, and that we were actually talking about something that was essential for the further development processes of our country. The Minister recalled that, when the President of the Republic visited the construction site of the Moravian Corridor, he was told that some construction works were delayed because Bechtel company was not issued work visas on time.

“The moment we saw that and heard the President, I alerted the services in the Ministry. We were surprised, as we knew that the issuance of visas in Turkey had a good dynamic, and then we determined that it was actually workers from Bangladesh who applied for a visa through our Embassy in India, where we have a problem with staff shortage”, the Minister explained. As he added, this is a demanding and laborious task, each of our employees had to receive the documentation on paper, check it, then request additional information, and only then forward it. "Today, this has been fantastically perfected for our consular officers, all that documentation is submitted in electronic form. We used to have two filters to check the documentation, now we actually have three. And the work is significantly more efficient", Selakovic pointed out. As he emphasized, this is a service which was promised less than four months ago and it becomes available on Monday, in 95 diplomatic and consular missions of Serbia, i.e. in all our embassies and consulates general. The biggest result of that endeavor, the Minister pointed out, apart from the advantage it would bring in the future work, was the fact that it was not a project of one state body, but a joint endeavor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IT and eGovernment Office, General Secretariat of the Government, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, National Employment Service. “We did an extremely good job in record time. This is to the pride of our Ministry, to the pride of the entire state. I am convinced that in the period ahead, we will further modernize our affairs and make Serbia one of the few countries that has such mechanisms and such state-of-the-art provision of consular services", Selakovic said.

Speaking about the "e-Consulate" portal itself, the Minister explained that there is a cartoon of Nikola Tesla and the building of the old railway station with one crane, which actually symbolizes a historical fact - that Tesla was in Belgrade in the year when it was built. "Today it is the place behind which the Belgrade of the future is rising, and what we managed to do together is an indicator of something that is the future of Serbia, the development of artificial intelligence, IT and creating conditions for more people to live and arrive here in Serbia in the future seeking good life and employment", concluded the Minister.

The Director of the Office for IT and eGovernment, Mihailo Jovanovic, said that this was the first time that e-services were focused on foreign citizens, which was the case with our citizens so far.

In the period from 1 January 2019 to 17 May this year, the most applications for Serbian visas were submitted at the Embassy in Beijing, 6,766 applications, then in New Delhi - 2,973, Shanghai 2,115, Tokyo 1,798, and Cairo 1,756. In that period, 1,270 requests were submitted in Algiers, 1,095 in Jakarta, and 1,077 in Beirut. In terms of their nationality, Serbian D visa for employment is most requested by citizens of China - 9,516 applications, followed by India 1,955, and Ukraine - 673.


Vucic: We consider Europe our home - 8 May 2021

 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. Congratulating everyone in Serbia and the EU on Europe Day, Vucic reminded that 9 May was also the day when the great victory of freedom is celebrated, which was won with huge sacrifices.

"While the horrors of war were still fresh in memory and Europe was healing the wounds of World War II, it also had people like Robert Schuman who understood that future can only be created based on the reconciliation of nations and their unity", Vucic said at the reception on the occasion of Europe Day. He pointed out that the European peoples dared to see the recent adversaries as future allies. "Schuman's visionary idea that peace will be preserved, if the creative forces are commensurate with the dangers that threaten, that Europe will emerge from specific achievements, has brought a true victory of newly found trust and faith in uniting differences in peace and solidarity", Vucic said. He said that Serbia, although it did not always look like that, had that faith, as well as the hope that our concrete achievements, on the long and not easy path to EU membership, would be adequately valued. “And that with your help, support and criticism, Serbia will become a country that you will be happy to see in the European community of nations. I believe that with our support, help and criticism, we would also contribute to the EU becoming an even better place to live", Vucic said. Full membership of the EU, with a compromise solution to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, is a way to achieve the goal and make Serbia orderly and successful, which would mean that we are on a good, European path, the President of Serbia said.

Vucic said that we still had to make a lot of efforts in reforms, not because someone is asking us to do that, but because we know that it brings us and the country a benefit. He also pointed out that the reforms in the rule of law were exceptionally important, which were now being approached with much more responsibility. "In our country, there is a race in who will say that they are more in favour of Europe, while saying under the table that they are the least for Europe. Europe does not belong only to those who would like to use European money, it does not belong to those in the government who say that they are on the European path because they believe that they are in that way preventing the opposition from coming to power, nor to those who think that this is the only way to get hold of power. It belongs to all of us, but we cannot take from Europe only what we like without accepting what we do not like", he explained. I know, he added, how difficult it is to us in Serbia to hear criticism concerning Kosovo as well as in the field of the rule of law. "I saw for myself that we are the ones who did not pay enough attention and apply a dedicated approach to the burning problems in that area. I believe that with greater zeal we will be able to change the attitude of the citizens of Serbia and gain greater respect from the EU for what we are doing", he pointed out.

President Vucic also pointed out that the EU was undoubtedly the largest donor, investor, and by far the most important trade partner of Serbia, and recalled that about two-thirds of all trade and even more service activities were EU related and that these were facts, whether someone liked it or not. He pointed out that seven years ago when he became the Prime Minister, three times fewer people were employed in companies that came from EU countries than today. "Despite all the problems, it shows how much we managed to do together and make good results, to provide people with life, security at work, to show that we can take care of them more", Vucic said, noting the great EU assistance in the field of education. He said that during the recent visit to the EU, which he assessed as the best one so far, Serbia received additional support for infrastructure projects, primarily for modernization, i.e. essentially the construction of a new Belgrade-Nis-Presevo railway. He said that this was confirmed in the letter of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, pointing out that this was the best letter he had ever received from Brussels.

"I am grateful to Von der Leyen for pointing out that this is a game-changer in our relations. It is a turning point because that support exceeds everything we have done together when you look at the scale, strength and significance of that project", he said. He said that Serbia and its citizens considered Europe as their home and that is why we wanted to give our best contribution to peace through regional connectivity, the Berlin Conference and mini-Schengen. "Encouraged by the message of European officials, I hope that I will be able to host them soon so that we can discuss the further acceleration of our European path", Vucic concluded.

Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia Sem Fabrizi hosted a reception tonight on the occasion of marking 9 May, Europe Day. In addition to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the reception in the Belgrade City Assembly was attended by Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, European Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimovic, representatives of the diplomatic corps and public figures. Europe Day was established in memory of the beginning of the creation of the European Union (EU) and the Day of Victory over Fascism in the Second World War. The reception is held in memory of 9 May 1950, when the Schuman Declaration was signed, which laid the foundations of the European Union, a project that brought the longest period without war on the Old Continent.

Source: Tanjug

Photo: Tanjug


Selakovic congratulates Josep Borrell on Europe Day - 8 May 2021

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.

"I am deeply convinced that the Republic of Serbia, through a policy of peace and good-neighbourly cooperation, can contribute to the European Union becoming an even better place to live, with the sincere belief that our achievements on the path to membership in the European family of nations will be adequately valued", reads the congratulatory message by Minister Selakovic, adding that the European perspective gave a strong impetus for our country to comprehensively implement political, economic and social reforms with the aim of becoming a full member of the European Union in the foreseeable future.

The Serbian Foreign Minister underlined that Serbia historically, culturally and in terms of values, belonged to the circle of countries united under the flag of the European Union and expressed hope that not only our country, but also our neighbours in the Western Balkans, would have the opportunity in the near future to become a part of what is without a doubt the most successful peace, democratic and economic project in the history of our common continent.

Selakovic also took the opportunity to extend gratitude on behalf of Serbia to the European Union for its assistance in the fight against the infectious Covid-19, emphasizing that our country highly appreciated the expressed solidarity and support in the difficult times of the pandemic outbreak and expressing confidence that the period ahead would see us contribute by joint forces to identifying solutions for overcoming the economic consequences of the corona virus pandemic.


President Vučić met via video link with representatives of the IMF delegation - 21st April 2021

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić talked today via a video link with the representatives of the delegation of the International Monetary Fund led by the Head of the Mission, Jan Kees Martijn. The interlocutors concluded that Serbia's main goal remains to preserve the hard-earned reputation of a fiscally secure country, as well as to continue with a responsible fiscal policy so that public debt does not exceed 60 per cent of GDP, whereby Serbia continues to work on further economic growth.

During the conversation, President Vučić and Jan Kees Martijn especially referred to the incentive measures and adopted three packages of measures to help the economy and citizens, which preserved macroeconomic stability and even achieved a higher employment rate.

Martijn commended the responsible economic policy of Serbia and the successful crisis management during the pandemic.

"Serbia achieved one of the best results last year despite the challenges of the pandemic", Martijn said, noting that Serbia was one of the few countries to which the IMF did not adjust the initial projection of the 5% growth rate it gave last year.

President Vučić added that following the first quarter of 2021, Serbia is well on its way to achieving the planned growth of 6% as planned, since one of the main focuses of the Government is investing in large infrastructure projects and intensifying work on attracting foreign direct investments.

"In 2020, Serbia was at the very top in terms of economic growth in Europe, and I am convinced that this year we can enter the first three or four countries in terms of growth", said President Vučić, adding that he was satisfied that Serbia still, despite the pandemic situation, has an extremely strong inflow of investment.

President Vučić and Jan Kees Martijn also discussed a new advisory arrangement, which is of special importance in light of the improvement of the general investment climate in Serbia, as well as in the context of even greater investor assurance.

"Given Serbia's tremendous progress over the past eight years, the priority goal of this arrangement will be to preserve the results achieved, but also to provide support for further implementation of structural reforms aimed at even faster, stronger and more sustainable growth", said President Vučić and thanked the IMF and the personal engagement of Jan Kees Martijn in the professional and expert support that Serbia is counting on.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia will pay special attention to reforms in public companies, and that priorities will continue to be investments in infrastructure, creating an even better climate for investments, greater investments in the environment, science and capital projects, which will further contribute to the long term stable financial growth in the coming years.

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: www.predsednik.rs


Meeting with the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe - 20th April 2021

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.

Dr Kluge congratulated President Vučić on his leadership and personal commitment to provide vaccines. He emphasised that Serbia, with its good immunisation strategy, ranked among the global leaders, thus becoming an example of humanity and solidarity by enabling vaccination of elderly people in rural areas, foreign citizens and donating vaccines to other countries.

"Serbia has accepted the vaccine as a life-saving product and has not looked at it geopolitically", said Dr Kluge.

The two interlocutors agreed that the world should increase production capacities for vaccines, as well as develop new adequate therapies for the fight against COVID-19, and, in this regard, work on increasing the level of citizens' trust in science.

President Vučić informed Dr Kluge about the plans for improving the work of the Institute for Virology, Vaccines and Sera "Torlak".

"We want to make 'Torlak' one of the best vaccine factories in Europe", said President Vučić.

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: www.predsednik.rs


WHO describes immunisation process in Serbia as impressive -19 April 2021

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.

She informed the WHO Regional Director for Europe about the course of immunisation of citizens in Serbia, expressing her belief that, thanks to the large number of vaccinated people, we will be able to create collective immunity and return to normal life.

Kluge assessed the immunisation process in Serbia as impressive, and added that Serbia has made a good decision to offer citizens all available vaccines used in the fight against coronavirus. Expressing concern over the emergence of new strains of the virus, he stressed the need to speed up the immunisation process and show mutual solidarity.

The WHO Regional Director for Europe praised Serbia for the humanity it has shown by donating vaccines to the countries of the region and enabling vaccination for those who do not have a sufficient number of vaccines for their citizens.

The Prime Minister said that Serbia will continue to cooperate with the countries of the region and help in accordance with its capabilities.

When it comes to the project "Roadmap for Health in the Western Balkans 2021-2025", it was stated that, if epidemiological conditions allow, a regional meeting will be held in Belgrade at the end of the year, important for future improvement of cooperation between countries in the field of health challenges.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs

Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


Selakovic: Pristina persists in its campaign of hatred against the Serbian people - 13 April 2021

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.

"It is clear that there were victims on all sides in the conflict, as well as that our side has evidence of numerous Serb victims. But the precondition for ensuring the protection of rights that belong to each individual victim is a rational and well-argued approach", Selakovic said responding to the slander of the Pristina representative.

Selakovic underlined that, contrary to the claims of politicians from Pristina about 20,000 raped Albanian women, the information provided by the Commission for the Verification and Recognition of Sexual Violence Victim Status indicates 912 raped persons, however, failing to include in this number the Serb women who were victims of violence.

"Let me emphasize that Serbia condemns every act of sexual violence in conflicts and is committed to achieving justice for all victims. The number of victims certainly does not diminish the horrific effect of this type of violence on each victim individually, but also, speculating on numbers does not contribute to justice being served and leads to politicization and slowing down the reconciliation process", Selakovic said.

Regarding the genocide accusations, Minister Selakovic stated that they only went to prove that Pristina further persisted in its campaign of hatred, propaganda and open hostility towards the Serbian people.

"Through statements given on a daily basis, they attempt to paint a picture that Serbia is to blame for everything and that genocide was committed against Albanians, all in order to hide their own responsibility for the committed crimes", the Serbian Foreign Minister said.

He underlined that anyone who knew what the definition of genocide implied would understand that it was not Serbia that committed something, but that the Serbian people was instead a victim of the "state-building" project of the Kosovo Albanians, based on the dangerous idea of ethnically clean territories, as evidenced by more than 200,000 expelled Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija.

"We are convinced that the civilized world will not agree to be their accomplice in concealing and covering up their crimes, and that a clear message will be sent to them that they must take responsibility for their actions", Selakovic said.

He reminded that until 1999, around 40,000 Serbs lived in Pristina, and that today there were only about twenty of them, that around 17,000 Serbs lived in Pec, and that today there were only the Serbian nuns in the Patriarchate of Pec, that around 12,000 Serbs lived in Prizren before the war, and that today only 17 families remained there, and that in Urosevac, out of 10,000 Serbs who lived there before the war, only the family of a Serbian priest remained.


Selakovic: Political extremism of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is becoming stronger - 13 April 2021

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.

The Minister reminded that the current Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina repeatedly threatened to unite the self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania, and that he also stated that the dialogue with Belgrade was low on the list of his priorities.

Minister Selakovic pointed out that it was high time for Albanian leaders in Pristina to show responsibility in fulfilling their commitments, but also a sincere commitment to reaching a compromise solution and building mutual trust.

"Serbia is determined and will not give up on identifying a compromise solution, which will be sustainable for future generations as well. The only way to build lasting peace and stability in our region is by working to build trust and insisting on positive political agendas", Selakovic concluded.

According to the Minister, lasting peace and stability can only be achieved if none of the participants in the dialogue pursued maximalist demands and insisted on the complete humiliation of the other. He pointed out that the Serbian and Albanian peoples, as the two most numerous peoples in the Western Balkans, needed to find a way to reach reconciliation and a basis for cooperation, both in terms of the economy and in achieving shared prospects for membership of the European Union. "Belgrade has made sincere steps in that direction, by being one of the initiators of the idea of relaxing the flow of people, goods, capital and services, popularly referred to as "mini-Schengen", the Minister underlined. Pointing out that Serbia had time and time again demonstrated its commitment to dialogue as the only way towards a peaceful, political solution to the problem in Kosovo and Metohija,

Selakovic underscored that the recent elections in the Province confirmed that political extremism among Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija was not decreasing, but on the contrary, was becoming stronger, which could be seen during the recent pre-election process. Minister stressed that political pressures on Serbs continued even after the election process was completed, by denying Serbs fair representation in provisional institutions as the new so-called government in Pristina decided to assign only one ministry to the Serb community.

"Serb returnees represent a particularly vulnerable category, who spend their every day in fear of being attacked. I remind you that the southern Serbian province is still an area with the lowest return rate of displaced persons in the world", the Minister said and emphasized that, in the last year alone, more than 80 attacks and incidents took place in our southern province, targeting Serbs, their property and religious sites. It is particularly worrying for the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, Selakovic noted, that in the previous period, and especially in March this year, there were frequent physical attacks on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

"A striking example of the disrespectful attitude towards Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province, whose exceptional universal value UNESCO confirmed by inscribing them on the World Heritage List, is the case of the Visoki Decani Monastery", the Minister underlined. Furthermore, the Serbian Foreign Minister assessed as concerning the breaking into the Health Center in Strpce by police inspectors and officers, in January this year, who conducted a search aiming to discover Covid-19 vaccines there, originating from central Serbia.

"Although we consider this to be an intrusion into a health care institution, our reaction was restrained this time as well. We did not want our decisions to cause escalation and politicization of activities that are solely aimed at protecting public health. We organized the vaccination of citizens from Kosovo and Metohija at three locations in central Serbia and thus clearly demonstrated that people's lives are the top priority to us", the Minister stressed.

Minister Selakovic stated that Serbia highly valued the activities of UNMIK mission in Kosovo and Metohija and that it supported it in carrying out its work as efficiently as possible and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve security in the Province.

Selakovic said that the international missions in Kosovo and Metohija - UNMIK, KFOR, EULEX and the OSCE mission, under the administration of the United Nations and in line with UNSC Resolution 1244, played a key role in the preservation of peace and protection of the population.

"We support and respect their engagement and efforts made in the framework of their mandates, with the common goal of creating conditions for a peaceful and safe coexistence of the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija. The Serb and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija have the utmost confidence in the international presence and consider it a guarantor of security and a barrier against the arbitrariness of the provisional institutions in Pristina", the Minister emphasized. He said that this demonstrated the need that international missions remain engaged in an undiminished scope, in order to consistently implement UNSC Resolution 1244.

Selakovic further emphasized the importance of KFOR international forces and pointed out that any unilateral attempt to assign to someone else or that someone else assumes a part of KFOR's mandate and responsibilities constitutes a violation of UNSC Resolution 1244.

The Minister also noted as unacceptable the unilateral decisions on the formation of the Pristina "Ministry of Defence" and launching the process of transforming the so-called "Kosovo Security Forces" (KSF) into the so-called "Kosovo Army".

At the beginning of his statement, Minister Selakovic lodged a protest against the abuse of the video format of the session by the representative of Pristina as she had a flag of the self-proclaimed "Kosovo" placed behind her, and the representative of Russia did the same.

Below is an integral version of the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic

Distinguished President of the Security Council,

Distinguished Special Representative,

Esteemed members of the Security Council, At the outset,

I have no choice but to lodge a protest against the abuse of the video format of this session on the part of the representatives of Pristina in order to promote the symbols of the so-called statehood of Kosovo.

Despite the fact that the representatives of Pristina were warned on several occasions, including by the President of the Security Council at the previous session, that such abuses of Security Council sessions are absolutely unacceptable and constitute a flagrant violation of the Security Council rules on participation of representatives of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina, under Rule 39 of the UN Security Council Rules of Procedure, we are again faced with their reckless disregard for the rules of this distinguished body.

Let me reiterate our call for the necessary steps to be taken to prevent such abuses. It is my great pleasure to address this august body at the meeting on the work of the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija.

At the outset, 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, and also to 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 and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve security in the Province.

Mr. President,

In the previous period we have faced political instability in Kosovo and Metohija.

We recently had elections in the Province, which unfortunately confirmed that political extremism among Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is not decreasing, but on the contrary, is becoming stronger. We have witnessed Albanian leaders competing among themselves in efforts to find the best way to provoke an incident in Serb communities, in order to score political points of the Albanian electorate. Under the pretext of amending the voter list, a large number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija were deprived of one of their fundamental political rights - the opportunity to elect their political representatives.

Out of approximately 140,000 of citizens of Kosovo and Metohija who were removed from the voter list in the latest election process, 85% are Serbs. Despite numerous challenges and problems, the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija have shown, by high turnout and a convincing victory of the Serb List which won all ten seats reserved for Serbian representatives, that nothing can stop them from resolutely defending their position.

Political pressures on Serbs continued even after the election process was completed, by denying Serbs fair representation in provisional institutions as the new so-called government in Pristina decided to assign only one ministry to the Serb community. Distinguished members of the Security Council, Unfortunately, it was not only during the election activities that we witnessed the unreasonable anti-Serb policy being pursued by the provisional institutions in Pristina. This goes to the length of breaking into the Health Center in Strpce, in the south of Kosovo and Metohija, by police inspectors and officers from Pristina, in January this year, who conducted a search aiming to discover Covid-19 vaccines there, originating from central Serbia, which they did not find. In doing so they demonstrated force and threatened to arrest the director of the Health Center, medical staff and doctors.

At a time when the whole world is fighting the pandemic with vaccines being the only way to end this challenge, while Serbia is showing support and solidarity by donating vaccines and medical equipment to all in need in the region, Pristina wants to destroy vaccines only because they originate from central Serbia. As the whole world expresses gratitude to medical doctors, who have made great and heroic sacrifices in combating the virus, the provisional institutions in Pristina are attacking Serbian doctors for doing their job. Although we believe that intrusions into health care institutions are inadmissible, our reaction was restrained this time as well.

We did not want our decisions to cause escalation and politicization of activities that are solely aimed at protecting public health. We organized the vaccination of citizens from Kosovo and Metohija at three locations in central Serbia and thus clearly demonstrated that people's lives are the top priority to us. Serbia continues to be ready to help all in need of assistance, and we call for reason and responsibility, especially in such difficult times.

Mr. President,

Attacks targeting Serbs and their property have been on the rise. In the last year alone, more than 80 attacks and incidents took place in our southern province, targeting Serbs, their property and religious sites. According to the information provided by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and Metohija, in the second half of last year, the number of incidents increased by more than 30% compared to 2019.

Therefore, we cannot agree with the assessment that the "security situation in Kosovo remained stable, with a few incidents reported affecting non-majority communities".

Last weekend, for example, an entirely unprovoked physical attack by a group of Albanians on two Serb young men took place in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica. Serb returnees represent a particularly vulnerable category, who spend their every day in fear of being attacked.

The fact that one family of returnees was the target of seven attacks clearly indicates the persistence of those who do not want Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. There is absolutely no trace of political will in Pristina for 212,995 displaced Serbs who have been living outside Kosovo and Metohija for 22 years to return to their homes. Since 1999, the rate of sustainable return of internally displaced persons in Kosovo and Metohija has been only 1.9%, which according to the UN data is officially the lowest percentage of return of expelled population after a conflict anywhere in the world. At the same time, while arresting internally displaced persons, Pristina authorities are exerting the strongest of pressures on the Specialist Chambers in The Hague.

The aim is to completely prevent the further processing of a number of cases against members of the terrorist KLA, on charges of serious crimes committed during the conflict in Kosovo and Metohija against both Serbs and persons belonging to other nationalities.

President of the Specialist Chambers Madam Trendafilova recently warned that, should the pressures continue, this would have very dramatic consequences to the trials in progress. President Trendafilova underlined as highly problematic the phenomenon of witness intimidation, who are key for conducting proceedings successfully and rendering a proper verdict. Although the wait to raise indictments was far too long, we consider it commendable that efforts have finally been made to punish the perpetrators of numerous serious crimes which were committed during the armed conflicts a little over two decades ago, but also upon the arrival of the international forces to Kosovo and Metohija.

For example, no one has been held accountable to this day for the killings and abductions of 17 journalists in Kosovo and Metohija, which is currently the largest number of unsolved cases of murdered and kidnapped journalists in Europe. Furthermore, the perpetrators of any of the mass crimes committed against Serb civilians after 1999 have not been brought to justice. I will remind you of only a few of these cases: 14 Serb farmers were killed in the village of Staro Gracko, 12 displaced Serbs were killed and 43 wounded in the attack on the "Niš Express" bus in Livadice near Podujevo, and in Gorazdevac near Pec unknown persons fired automatic weapons on children who were swimming in the Bistrica river. Two Serb children were killed then, and four were seriously injured.

We expect the EULEX Mission to continue to support the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor's Office, as well as its additional engagement in the field of the rule of law. Special attention needs to be devoted to witness protection, and determining the fate of missing persons. International missions in Kosovo and Metohija - UNMIK, KFOR EULEX and OMIK are an integral part of the international civilian and security presence in our southern province, under the administration of the United Nations and in line with UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999), and play a key role and make an outstanding contribution to the preservation of peace and protection of the population.

We support and respect their engagement and efforts made in the framework of their mandates, with the common goal of creating conditions for a peaceful and safe coexistence of the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija.

The Serb and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija have the utmost confidence in the international presence and consider it a guarantor of security and a barrier against the arbitrariness of the provisional institutions in Pristina. This further demonstrates the need that international missions remain engaged in an undiminished scope, in order to consistently implement UNSC Resolution 1244.

I would like to further emphasize the importance of KFOR international forces and point out that any unilateral attempt to assign to someone else or that someone else assumes a part of KFOR's mandate and responsibilities constitutes a violation of the UNSC Resolution 1244, while also being a potential source of instability and tensions.

I will remind you that Pristina, contrary to international law and completely ignoring the interests and positions of the Serb community in the Province, would not abandon its plans to install a new security actor in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. We consider the unilateral decisions on the formation of the "Ministry of Defence" and launching the process of transforming the so-called "Kosovo Security Forces" (KSF) into the so-called "Kosovo Army" to be unacceptable.

I would like to reiterate that such unilateral moves on the part of Pristina constitute a gross violation of the UNSC Resolution 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement, according to which only the International Security Forces, that is KFOR, have the mandate for all military aspects of security in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. In this context, an additional reason for concern is the announcement of the construction of the largest base of the "Kosovo Security Forces" in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, which Serbs in the north of Kosovo and Metohija perceive as the most open provocation and threat to their physical safety.

Distinguished members of the Security Council, It is particularly worrying for the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija that in the previous period, and especially in March this year, there were frequent physical attacks on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In just two weeks, as many as seven Orthodox landmarks in the province were targeted by vandals, at a time when we all remember the March 2004 pogrom against Serbs and Serbian holy sites in Kosovo and Metohija. The condition of the Serbian cultural and spiritual heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is humiliating, including the four monuments that are inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger (Visoki Decani, Holy Virgin of Ljevisa, Gracanica and the Patriarchate of Pec). Numerous administrative and technical barriers are imposed on priestly and monastic communities, which makes it more difficult or even impossible for them to survive on church property. A striking example of the disrespectful attitude towards Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province, whose exceptional universal value UNESCO confirmed by inscribing them on the World Heritage List, is the case of the Visoki Decani Monastery. Distinguished members of the Security Council, The reason for the nervous behaviour of Pristina is all too obvious, as the project of the so-called independence today fails to be recognized by more than a half of the United Nations Member States, including five members of the European Union.

However, it is high time for Albanian leaders in Pristina to show responsibility in fulfilling their commitments, but also a sincere commitment to reaching a compromise solution and building mutual trust. I will remind you that the current Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina has repeatedly threatened to unite the self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania in the past. A member of his party publicly said last weekend that the self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania would be united, I quote, "with rifle and gunpowder, or referendum boxes". I need not explain why such dangerous ideas constitute a direct threat to peace and stability. They violate Resolution 1244, while continuously destabilizing not only our southern province, but the entire region as well, and in no way contribute to the dialogue process, but instead hamper it again. We have demonstrated time and time again our commitment to dialogue as the only way towards a peaceful, political solution to the problem in Kosovo and Metohija.

Even today, after many years of negotiations, but also failure to fulfill what was agreed and constant unilateral moves and provocations on the part of the provisional institutions in Pristina, we are still ready to sit down at the table and talk. We are ready for dialogue but not to be blackmailed and threatened and especially not for ultimatums recently presented by Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina.

I will remind you of his statement that the dialogue will be low on the list of priorities of the Pristina authorities. It is bewildering how Pristina refers to ultimatums completely undermining any chance of dialogue, as the European Union also pointed out, as "principles" and how it persistently insists that Belgrade should recognize the unilaterally declared independence of "Kosovo", upon which, they believe, all else would be resolved. What is the purpose of the dialogue then, if Belgrade is only expected to recognize the so-called Kosovo? Does the dialogue imply that one side should give up everything only for the other to win it all? And does the dialogue, in Pristina's opinion, imply that what was agreed should not be fulfilled? I will remind you that Pristina still refuses to follow up on its obligations arising from the agreements reached so far and does not agree to discuss their implementation within the dialogue. And the situation is quite simple - in April 2013, the first agreement was signed in Brussels, which envisaged four obligations: one for Pristina and three for Belgrade. Belgrade has fulfilled all obligations, while the only obligation that the provisional institutions in Pristina had - to form the Community of Serb Municipalities - has remained unfulfilled for 2,917 days now.In fact, 19 April marks eight full years since the agreement was reached in Brussels, and of Pristina's failure to fulfill the obligation to form the Community of Serb Municipalities.

Distinguished Mr. President,

Regardless of the discouraging messages heard from Pristina and the fact that the dialogue has been in progress for many years, Serbia is determined and will not give up on identifying a compromise solution, which will be sustainable for future generations as well.

Lasting peace and stability can only be achieved if none of the participants in the dialogue pursues maximalist demands and insists on the complete humiliation of the other.

The Serbian and Albanian peoples, as the two most numerous peoples in the Western Balkans, need to find a way to reach reconciliation and a basis for cooperation, both in terms of the economy and in achieving shared prospects for membership to the European Union. Belgrade has made sincere steps in that direction, by being one of the initiators of the idea of relaxing the flow of people, goods, capital and services, popularly referred to as "mini-Schengen".

As far as Serbia is concerned, we are convinced that the only way to build lasting peace and stability in our region is by working to build trust and insisting on positive political agendas. The inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija, of any nationality, whether they are Serbs or Albanians, do not deserve anything less.

Thank you for your attention.


Marking the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the NATO aggression - 24 March 2021

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic made a statement on the occasion of marking the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the NATO aggression.

"Your Holiness, distinguished Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, distinguished Speakers of the National Assemblies of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, distinguished Prime Ministers of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, distinguished Ministers of both Governments, dear guests and friends, representatives of the Serbian People from Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, thank you for the fact that we are all together tonight and that the Serbian spirit is unbreakable and invincible.

One child a day and a little more than that. That is the most difficult, sickening and painful number of the NATO aggression from 1999. Killed, stopped, guilty of nothing, having committed no sin, without the right to defence, without the right to justice and without the right to life.

No one has ever been held accountable for this crime, a crime greater than a crime. No one, for the 2,500 killed civilians, but also soldiers and policemen who were only guilty of guarding, protecting themselves and their homes. No one has ever been held accountable for more than 6,000 persons injured.

Even today, 22 years after the aggression, it is not possible to explain that, there is no universal justification, despite all the work done to that end, there is no reason, it makes no sense, and only names remain, as eternal as sin.

Miljana Milic, fifteen years old,

Vladimir Milic, twelve years old,

Miomir Mladenovic, fourteen years old,

Dragan Dimic, three years old,

Julijana Brudar, ten years,

Olivera Maksimovic, twelve years old,

Miroslav Knezevic, thirteen years old,

Dajana Pavlovic, five years old,

Stevan Pavlovic, eight years old,

Marko Simic, two years old,

Milica Rakic, three years old,

Ivan Ivancic, seven years old,

Marko Ivanovic, three years old...

And the list goes on, eighty nine names, not only Serbian ones...

The senselessness of sheer killing did not choose. Sixteen children, aged two to seventeen, from the Ahmetaj and Hasani families, were killed in a convoy returning home to Prizren.

In one headline in the West, this was simply explained as a "tragic mistake". The deaths of Marko Roglic, Milan Ignjatovic, Gordana Nikolic, Irena Mitic, Milica Stojanovic, Bojana Tosovic, Branimir Stanijanovic, our Sanja Milenkovic...could not expect or get even such an explanation.

Those deaths were not tragic, for those who caused them, much less a mistake. It was just an excuse, a miserable excuse.

They were a result of intent and a clear decision, as a severe judgment against one country, its people, its children.

And that is why today we will refrain from speculation in giving a name to everything that happened during the spring of 1999. Because a crime happened, a heinous and terrible one. And it was an aggression, not a bombing, not an intervention, not a campaign, not an operation. An aggression is what happened. An attack on a sovereign country, without a decision of the United Nations, without a sufficient reason that would justify attacking the then Yugoslavia or a neighbouring or NATO country.

No one was attacked by Serbia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at that time. They attacked us, with one goal. To defeat us, to keep killing us, and in the end to take away a part of our territory.

And no matter how much we analyze things today, no matter how harsh and critical we are towards ourselves, our policy and leadership at the time, it is clear that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia were left with almost no choice then. The choice was horrible, either the loss of territory and people on the one hand, or the complete disappearance of the Serbian state, morals, honour, Serbian spirit, names and surnames. And we could not help but lose. Nineteen big ones attacked one small country, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They attacked both Serbia and Montenegro. And even when they don't talk about it today, in one of the two independent countries, those are the facts. And that small country, and that small nation, to all nineteen of them so great and powerful, held a lesson in what matters most - honour, morals and love for freedom that a nation can have.

Yes, justice, lest we forget justice. All those nineteen great ones today still silently talk about their military success, avoid answering questions, while - can you imagine, one small, only numerically small Serbian people, that small but magnificent nation, with sadness, tears in their eyes, proudly remembers their resistance and struggle against the nineteen cruel and arrogant ones.

We lost a lot, we lost our fathers, brothers, spouses, children, but the honour and Serbian heart are still there, to protect Serbia, which is eternal and indestructible. We lost children, we lost people, we lost control over a large part of the territory, we lost billions because of the destroyed infrastructure and economy.

And all that was left for us was the body of a tortured, destroyed country, a country in disintegration, mutilated, looted, wounded, deserted, and guilty, condemned for everything that happened not only in the 1990s, but throughout history.

A country that, even ten years after the aggression, did not have the strength to stand up, rise to its feet, and do anything but be silent, or bow its head and obediently apologize, for everything, even for its dead, even for its murdered children.

Today, it is no longer that failed, tortured, devastated, mutilated Serbia.

Today, it is Serbia, which has found its strength and its pride again.

Serbia, which calls things by their real names.

Serbia, which turned its back on war and defeats, and started working.

Serbia, which rose to stand on its own feet and has a voice of its own.

Serbia, which, even when they don't believe it, they listen to. Which is capable, which is growing, and is no longer part of the problem. Serbia, which is and will be, at least we will do our best to this end, the very solution that enables the entire region to live in peace and understanding.

And that Serbia, today, when there are still many more bombs in the world than vaccines, sends not bombs, but precisely those vaccines to the region. Today, it is ready to produce them as well, and in just a few months we will do just that, but not only for ourselves, but also for others, for the entire Balkans.

We are ready, and we are willing to help.

We are not ready to be and we will not be silent, nor be humiliated again.

We draw the right to that not only from the victims we had, but also from the fact that we stopped looking at others only a long time ago, and looking for fault and guilt only in them, and not sometimes in ourselves as well.

We looked at each other and admitted. Every loss, every defeat and every crime that someone committed in our name, every failure and every wrong policy.

And we are no longer doing anything that could endanger anyone.

We continue to work and work, and grow more and more, gaining strength with only one goal - to be the best in economy and education, health, in culture, science, sports...

And we want to be safe, on our own. We want our army to be much stronger than it was in 1999. So that we never again face a situation that someone is killing our children, destroying the country, or expelling our people.

We want to remain free, to decide our own destiny, and for no one to take everything away from us ever again, and give us nothing.

And that nothing today, and I will repeat it as much as necessary, is the idea of some great, powerful ones, but also those who serve them, the idea that "Kosovo" should recognize us, so that we could recognize "Kosovo".

We do not need that recognition. And Serbia will not allow you to walk over our victims, our history, our past, but also to walk over our future. You will get the answer of reasonable, kind and responsible people. We need a compromise. We need all the obligations that we and Pristina have assumed to be fulfilled, but only we have fulfilled them so far.

And this is not our whim. It is not a phantasmagoria about a Serbian world that we want to create.

Even today, when they threaten us with the formation of a Greater Albania, when they say that the Community of Serb Municipalities is not going to happen, it is ours to be calm, to take care of our people in Kosovo and Metohija, but to send a clear message to all those great, powerful ones that we are not as weak as we were, that we will be able to preserve what is our own, not touching anything that belongs to anyone else. After all, Serbia is not and will not be but a handful of oats that every crow from the whole wide world can eat. As for those who used the strength and power of the nineteen arrogant and cruel ones, I only ask them not to threaten us. Please, please, don't threaten us. They should not think that Serbia is broken and that it will not have the strength to respond. Please, please, our Albanian neighbours, do not threaten us. And we ask all others, who have demonstrated their cruelty towards Serbia, not to help you in that. That is all we are asking and nothing more.

And we will respond to calls for peace, calls for compromise, and always with good will, because we do not want to have children killed again. And we do not want the children of others to suffer again. But do not underestimate Serbia, and do not look at Serbia with the same eyes as you did in 1999. T

oday, Serbia is much stronger, much more powerful. Today, Serbia is a united country of togetherness, not a divided one. Today, Serbia is incomparably stronger and better in every aspect than it was in 1999, from the economy to our army. And we will never threaten anyone, we just ask you and request from you to respect us and nothing more.

Today, we are building roads that will connect us, among ourselves, with the region and with the world. Until the end of the year, we will work on eight motorways, on eight routes in the entire Balkans, not only Serbia, eight roads of peace and cooperation.

Only a crazy person would trade this for war, for dead children, for demolition and new loss. And yes, we want to have the closest relations with everyone who took part in the aggression against our beautiful Serbia, we have forgiven a long time ago, but no, we will never forget. And don't ask us to. That one day, every year, we will remind both ourselves and you. The nineteen of you, the most powerful, strongest, greatest in terms of might and force, but not so much when it comes to honour and morality. We will keep remind you and ourselves, just so it would never happen again. Not to us only, but to none other freedom-loving people in the world.

And if we have an offer, today it reads as follows: we are ready to make the whole Balkans a winner, for everyone to win, as long as no one tries to make Serbs the only losers.

And the path to this goal is not difficult at all.

We just need to respect and understand each other and not try to humiliate each other.

And not to touch into what everyone paid the highest and bloodies price for. Freedom. And we, Serbs, know the price of freedom.

Into our right to have it, to keep it and to remember all the victims who are part of it.

And our defeats, our lives and our children are built into ours. And the lives of our heroic pilots, and our giants from Kosare and Pastrik, and our children, innocent, completely innocent, and only guilty of living in Serbia.

This is too high a price to be quiet about it.

Because that would mean that we are ready for another defeat, for another humiliation.

And we are not.

And when all go quiet, we will keep repeating.

A child a day, and a little more. This was how much you killed us. In an aggression that even you did not understand why you carried it out.

And we will keep repeating this, just so it does not happen to us again.

With special reverence, we are fulfilling our obligation to pay tribute to all innocent Serbian victims who laid their lives on the altar of the homeland, both civilians and our heroic soldiers and policemen, the heroes of Kosare, Prizren, Mitrovica.

Today, for us Serbs, life in Kosovo and Metohija is like Via Dolorosa, using their last strength on the road to Golgotha, but we would not be Serbs if we were not capable to "exist in a terrible place".

And today, tonight, I can conclude with one important sentence. On the soil of Europe, there was, and today is stronger than ever, an indomitable, unwavering, unconquerable and never conquered Serbia.

May eternal glory be to all the victims of the NATO aggression and let us all exclaim together - long live free and proud Serbia", President Vucic said.

Source:www.predsednik.rs

Photo:www.predsednik.rs


Commemorating Remembrance Day of 17 March 2004 - Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic participated today in the commemoration of the Remembrance Day of 17 March 2004 - Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija. He said that exactly 17 years ago, a pogrom took place in Kosovo and Metohija, and that pogrom surpassed all other crimes.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest, these words of Elie Wiesel, a camp survivor and Nobel laureate, make it forever incumbent upon us not to remain silent against crime, regardless of who and for what reason committed it", President Vucic stated and added that we remembered and learned every lesson in which we were losers, each one in which we were silent to our own victims, and each one when we were ready to forget.

"Serbia is no longer weak today, nor is it a country of losers, it does not threaten, but it does not forget either, it is ready for talks, but not for humiliation. Serbia, just like everyone else, has the right to take care of its people, their safety and well-being. The right to life is a fundamental human right and we will always defend it", President Vucic said.

President Vucic said that pogrom surpasses all other crimes, because it is not only an act, but an intention, a policy, a premediated attempt to forcibly cleanse persons belonging to other peoples and faiths from a region or a country.

"We have no right to remain silent to that", said the President of Serbia, emphasizing that we have an obligation to be winners without blood spilled and war, to be the best in the economy, healthcare, sports, education and everything else that implies development and progress.

"We also wish others to work on themselves and be successful, because we are aware that crime is a tool for losers that winners do not need, as they remember, but forgive and move on, while the losers keep spinning in the same vicious circle. We Serbs do not want to be that anymore, we want a future in which we will remember, but from which we will not return. We know what happened and we call it by its real name", President Vucic concluded.

Photo: Dimitrije Goll


Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union - 17th March 2021

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today in Belgrade 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. 


Selakovic: Relations between Serbia and Hungary reached a historic high - 16 March 2021

After the meeting with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic pointed out that the relations between Serbia and Hungary were at the historically highest possible level which was the result of increasingly frequent activities between officials of the two countries and good relations between President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Selakovic and Szijjártó today signed Protocol on co-location, and the Head of Serbian diplomacy stated that they signed three very important protocols to the Memorandum on co-location.

Communication was established on a quarterly basis, and the Memorandum stipulates that Serbia and Hungary jointly use premises, namely that in countries where one of the two states does not have a diplomatic/consular mission of its own uses the premises of the Embassy of the other state.

Selakovic said that today they specifically signed that Hungarians can use our embassy in Lusaka, and that Serbian diplomats can use Hungarian embassies in Malta, but also in Santiago (Chile).

"It is important that the relations between the two countries are truly friendly, and these three protocols we signed today are in fact a strategic partnership before the strategic partnership agreement, because when you share your embassy and your consulate with someone, then this is someone you trust absolutely. A firm trust between friends and good neighbours has been built between Hungary and Serbia as two, I can freely say, more and more fraternal peoples", the Serbian Foreign Minister said.

Emphasizing that Serbia and Hungary were fighting the Covid-19 pandemic together, Selakovic congratulated Hungary on the remarkable success it achieved in combating Covid-19 lately and thanked Hungary for its selfless assistance to Serbia in the form of medical equipment and ventilators for the Clinical Center of Vojvodina in Senta, but also for the aid that Hungary provided to Banja Luka.

Selakovic pointed out that the economic cooperation with Hungary was at an exceptional level, and in this context he noted that the trade in goods between the two countries last year - in the year of Covid - recorded a growth and amounted to EUR 1.940 billion.

He said that Hungary became the third trade partner of Serbia among the EU countries, adding that there was a growing interest of Hungarian investors for Serbia.

The Minister thanked Hungary for its support to Serbia in European integration and stated that this country supported the opening of all chapters for which Serbia had prepared a negotiating position, a total of even more than five at the moment, not only chapters 2, 3, 14, 21 and 27, but also chapters 10 and 22.

When it comes to cooperation between the two countries on the issue of treatment of national minorities, Selakovic said that the Hungarian authorities took particular care of the Serbian national minority as well as the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

"It is extremely important for us that Hungary takes over Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in May. This is very important for us, having in mind the indications that Pristina is applying for membership in the Council of Europe", Selakovic said.

The Serbian Foreign Minister underlined that the joint implementation of projects would continue in the fields infrastructure, transport and economy.

He said that the first part of the Belgrade - Budapest railway was being built at a fast pace, that the first section from Belgrade to Novi Sad would be completed next year, continuing the construction towards Subotica, but also that a public call was expected to be issued on 29 March for the reconstruction of the Subotica - Szeged - Baja railway line.

Selakovic also stated that he expected that, depending on the epidemiological situation, the sixth Joint Session of the two Governments would be held, and that an agreement on strategic friendship between the two countries would be on the agenda.

Szijjártó: We have shown the meaning of good-neighbourly relations

At a joint press conference with Minister Selakovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó pointed out that in recent years the two countries showed what good-neighbourly relations meant and how both sides can benefit from those relations.

Szijjártó underlined four points of cooperation between the two countries, namely the economy, treatment of national minorities, infrastructure and the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister Szijjártó said that Hungary wished to encourage the foreign investment of Hungarian companies and that Serbia had a very important role in this context.

He stated that Hungary, with 7.5 billion forints, provided support for three leading Hungarian companies to invest 13 billion forints in Serbia, including "MOL", which covers 20% of the market in Serbia, then one of the leading companies producing feed mix for livestock, and "OTP Bank", which, he added, was already the second largest in the Serbian banking sector.

He pointed out that one of the best examples was the way Serbia treated the Hungarian national minority in the territory of our country.

"This is in our common interest. So far, we have invested 120 billion forints in economic development projects in Vojvodina", Szijjártó said.

Speaking about the infrastructure, Szijjártó said that connecting the gas pipelines of the two countries was of great importance.

"For us in Hungary, that means serious diversification of supply, because by October we will be able to complete the 15 kilometers we need to connect our system with the gas system coming through Serbia, and in that way we will be connected to the South Stream pipeline", Szijjártó said.

When it comes to the fight against the coronavirus, Szijjártó pointed out that Serbia and Hungary were front-runners when it comes to vaccination, noting that Serbia was among the best in the world, and that Hungary was currently the second in the EU.

He believes that the reason for that success is the fact that neither of the two countries allowed the issue of vaccination to be politicized.

"We did not accept that someone who is far away and who does not know our conditions should decide instead of our experts. The Hungarian and Serbian Governments listened to their reason and did what was necessary to safeguard the health of their populations. If we had not opted for vaccines from the east - from China and Russia, a significantly smaller number of our people could be vaccinated in a short time", Szijjártó said.

As for Hungary, as Szijjártó stated, if the vaccine had not been procured from China, they would not have been able to carry out vaccination in that number, that is, 3.5 million fewer people could be vaccinated by May.

He also stated that a batch of vaccines from China, which was agreed for the end of April, would arrive in Hungary tomorrow.

Source: Tanjug


Minister 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.


Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana elected as the new Patriarch of Serbia - 18 February 2021

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.

Immediately after the election a thanksgiving service was officiated and Many Years was chanted to the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije. Bells at Saint Sava Cathedral in the Vracar district of Belgrade rang a few minutes before 4:00 pm indicating that the 46th Patriarch of Serbia was elected.

Newly-elected Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije (Peric) was born on 22 July 1961 in Becej, to father Radivoje and Mother Radojka. He was baptized as Prvoslav. He finished primary school in Curug, and the “Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj” Grammar School in Novi Sad. He was ordained a monk according to the rite of small schime by his spiritual father, then hieromonk Dr. Irinej (Bulovic), at Decani Monastery on Sunday of St. Thomas in 1985.

He graduated from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade in 1986, when the then Bishop of Raska-Prizren Diocese, future Serbian Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory, ordained him a hierodeacon at the monastery of Holy Trinity in Musutiste.

He attended postgraduate studies in Athens from 1986 until 1990. That year, upon the blessing of Bishop Dr. Irinej of Backa, he joined the monastery of Holy Archangels in Kovilj, where he was ordained as hieromonk and became its abbot.

Many young monks and novices came to the monastery following him. These were the years when the Kovilj Monastery became a spiritual center for many young people: intellectuals, artists, popular actors and rock musicians, especially from Novi Sad and Belgrade. Since then abbot Porfirije has particularly dealt with drug-addicted patients. In 2005, he formed for this purpose a therapeutic community called “The Land of the Living”, which is recognized as the most successful drug-addiction therapy project and, under the leadership of Bishop Porfirije, it has more than a hundred residents in camps throughout Serbia today.

During the ordinary meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade on 14 May 1999 he was elected as Bishop of Jegar, Vicar of the Diocese of Backa.

He defended his PhD thesis Possibility of knowability of God in St. Paul’s understanding according to the interpretation of Saint John Chrysostom at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens in 2004.

He became a lecturer at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology - Department of Pastoral Psychology - succeeding famous psychiatrist, academician Dr. Vladeta Jerotic. His lectures have been attended not only by students of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, but other Belgrade faculties as well.

Together with a group of experts: psychologists, doctors, criminologists, sociologists, Bishop Porfirije founded a civic association that deals with the resocialization of victims of destructive religious sects and cults.

Bishop Porfirije has not been just president of the Steering Board for a decade, but a real spiritus movens of the Humanitarian Fund “Privrednik”, which has provided scholarships for a great number of gifted, but poor pupils and students, regardless of their nationality or religious affiliation.

In 2005, the National Assembly elected him as representative of all Churches and religious communities, to be a member of the Council of the Republic Broadcasting Agency, and in 2008 the RBA elected him its president. As President of the Council of the Republic Broadcasting Agency, Bishop Porfirije supported the long-term interests of society and citizens, unaffected by political influences.

Since then, church radio stations have been heard in the broadcasting spectrum of Serbia. He has made a key contribution to launching of a series of radio and television shows dealing with religious topics.

In 2010, The Holy Assembly of Bishops entrusted him to establish military chaplaincy in the Serbian Armed Forces. The fruits of his labour in that field include not only the suitable legal regulations, but also the selection of military chaplains, the organization and equipping of churches at barracks and performance of the first religious services.

His expert theological works Bishop Porfirije published in magazines both in Serbia and abroad. He participated in a large number of scientific conferences and symposia across the globe.

Bishop Porfirije, as one of the most prominent contemporary Serbian clergymen and intellectuals, has an extremely wide circle of friends, not only in the Homeland, and he fosters personal friendship and close cooperation with priests and representatives of other Churches and religious communities.

He speaks Greek, English, German and uses the Russian language, while his style of communication is always adapted to his interlocutors.

He was enthroned as the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana on 13 July 2014 in the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Zagreb. The solemn Hierarchal Liturgy was served by Serbian Patriarch Irinej, accompanied by a large number of archbishops of the Serbian Church and other sister Churches, as well as priests and monks, and pious people.

Source: SPC/Serbian Orthodox Church


Sretenje Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia


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.

The President said that he would rather put his "head on the chopping block" than sign any document with a recognition and reminded that he had already once refused to do so in Washington, where there were two versions of the agreement.

He stated that he immediately had his delegation leave the meeting, that he told the U.S. delegation that Serbia would not sign such an agreement, while conveying that Serbia would always endeavour to hold peaceful talks in order to preserve peace, but that it would not take any humiliation.

The Serbian President thanked the U.S. President Joe Biden for the letter of congratulations on the occasion of the upcoming Statehood Day, in which, in addition to the usual emphasis on commitment to promoting economic cooperation, regional stability and democratic values, he unequivocally called for mutual recognition of Serbia and "Kosovo" as a result.

Mutual recognition between Serbia and "Kosovo" is not part of any act of any world organization, the President pointed out and reiterated 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.

According to the president, the situation is difficult and will only be increasingly difficult.

"As I told you three days ago, I can see it and I expect it, I can see the situation slowly tightening, because the conflicts between them at the global level have been increasing and intensifying, and then we have to pay the price", the President said.

President Vucic said that said that it was up to our state to continue strengthening the country in the economic sense.

The President added that the role of the army was very important in the highly complex security and political conditions of the modern world, and that was why Serbia needed to do everything it could to deter any potential aggressor and attacks on citizens and the country.

"The policy of strengthening the armed forces will continue at a faster pace", the President emphasized, adding that the goal was for the Serbian Army to play a stabilizing role with regard to the political developments in the region.

According to him, it should be clear to everyone that Serbia was not a punching bag and that not everyone could attack and threaten it like it was the case in the past.

Vucic said that he was pleased with what he saw and that a lot had been done in the previous period, pointing out that the salaries of military personnel would be significantly increased as of April.

President Vucic also stated that investments in the Serbian Army would continue, whom he told that he expected the Army to continue to be the guardian of our country, its integrity and freedom.

"We expect you to be the guardians of our country, its integrity and freedom, the defenders of our people, the guardians of the homeland, the protectors of the interests of the state of Serbia and to be a deterrent factor for every aggressor and anyone who might consider attacking Serbia", Vucic said.

The military exercise called "Spearhead" demostrated the capabilities of the 72nd Special Operations Brigade, and the event, which the President of Serbia and the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Army assessed as very good, was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojsa Stefanovic and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilovic.

Photo: Presidency of Serbia / Dimitrije Goll

Belgrade, 7 February 2021


Bank account for Consular and visa payments

Please be advised that you can make a bank transfer for E-visa and Consular payment to the following bank account:

Embassy of the Republic of Serbia
1068 Budapest
Dózsa György út 92/b


MKB  Bank Zrt,
1056 Budapest, Vaci u.38
Currency: EUR
IBAN HU15 1030 0002 5011 8441 4882 0024
SWIFT (BIC) code: MKKB HU HB

Communication regarding the E-visa and consular fee:

Last name, first name, passport number


Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia - 4th February 2021

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.

President Vučić thanked the EU for its support to Serbia in structural reforms and economic measures and the EU investments in our country. The President especially expressed hope that the first contingents of vaccines from the COVAX programme promoted by the European Union will arrive soon.

"Serbia was among the first to join this programme, thus showing once again that it is a serious and reliable partner of the European Union. I am convinced that together, with solidarity and mutual understanding, we will manage to get out of this crisis and continue working to recover the economy," said President Vučić, adding that the EU is the most important foreign trade and investment partner of our country since two-thirds of our trade and investments are related to EU countries.

The Head of the EU Delegation, Sem Fabrizi, affirmed that the EU will continue with solidarity to the fullest extent and that it will continuously work on ensuring the distribution of vaccines both in Serbia and in the Western Balkans countries. He expressed satisfaction with the Government of Serbia's results, especially emphasising that timely and decisive measures taken in the fight against the coronavirus contributed to maintaining the country's economic stability during the pandemic.

"Thanks to the current structural reforms, Serbia, in line with the accession process, has shown resilience to the crisis and the ability to mitigate the effects on the economy with excellent results in the healthcare area", Sem Fabrizi said, stressing that the pandemic did not affect the undoubted commitment of the Western Balkans to the EU process.

Ambassador Fabrizi also introduced President Vučić to the new head of the EIB's Office for the Western Balkans, Alessandro Bragonzi, who pointed out that it was a great honour for him to take over activities for the region at a time when it is facing such a difficult crisis.

The European Investment Bank invested 873 million euros in the Western Balkans during 2020, which is about 50 per cent more than in the previous year. Most of the assets, i.e. 531 million euros, are in line with the European Union's priorities for increasing connectivity and has been invested in the construction and modernisation of transportation infrastructure in the region.

"Serbia will continue its outstanding cooperation with the EIB, as we are strongly committed to building an economy based on sound and solid foundations, as well as on innovation and all other projects supported by the EIB so far, which have undoubtedly contributed to our good economic results in 2020", said President Vučić and pointed out that further improvement of the health system in Serbia, development of the infrastructure network and implementation of the green and digital agenda remain key priorities of Serbia. The President also expressed hope that with the EIB's support, the planned projects will be successfully completed.

"Following this commitment, Serbia is determined to create an even more favourable business climate with additional packages of subsidies for the investors from the EU who want to invest in our country", said President Vučić.

"The European Union and the European Investment Bank, with the approach of 'Team Europe', support Serbia's strategic goals, including in the field of connectivity, environment and energy and work on priority projects such as reconstruction and construction of an additional building of the Clinical Centre of Serbia, reconstruction of the Clinical Centre Vojvodina, modernisation of railway infrastructure, gas interconnector from Bulgaria, Mir highway and Corridor 10", said Ambassador Fabrizi and expressed the EU's readiness to continue with investments that will encourage further economic growth of Serbia, which are at the heart of the new EU economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans.

He said that Serbia must continue its European path and that further support of the Union in strengthening, adopting and implementing reforms is critical, for the benefit of the citizens.

"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 Serbia's legislation 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, the fight against corruption, media freedom and the resumption of inter-party dialogue.

Ambassador Fabrizi and President Vučić confirmed the importance of continuing the EU facilitated dialogue with Priština.

Belgrade, 4th February 2021


Minister Selakovic speaks for Politika: The year of rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy - 26 January 2021

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


Open Call for the Co-Financing of Projects for the Translation of Representative Works of Serbian Literature into Foreign Languages in 2021

Open Call for the Co-Financing of Projects for the Translation of Representative Works of Serbian Literature into Foreign Languages in 2021:

https://www.kultura.gov.rs/konkurs/30/600690372a8d5


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 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


New "Balkan Stream" gas pipeline opened

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić opened this morning a new Balkan Stream gas pipeline in Gospođinci near Žabalj. The pipeline passes through Serbia from the Bulgarian to the Hungarian border.

"This is an important day for our country, let the gas start flowing and let us be even more successful. I wish you a Happy New Year, and I want to thank all our Russian friends who participated with us in constructing this pipeline.

Congratulations on a tremendous job, this is of great importance for the industry, the progress of the Serbian economy, but also of great importance for all the citizens of our country," said the President.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia provided energy stability and security through the "Balkan Stream" gas pipeline, which is vital for attracting new investors, and added that gas is distributed from that place through the system of primary and secondary gas pipelines.

"This guarantees us a more certain and secure future. When you have gas in each municipality, then you can attract everyone who wants to open factories. There is still work to be done, but this pipeline guarantees us a more certain future. With the support of Russian partners, Serbia has managed to secure supplying its territory with gas. But from here, it will also go to Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina," said President Vučić.

He pointed out that we procure gas through that gas pipeline at a price of up to 155 dollars, with much lower transport costs than through another gas pipeline through which we have been supplied so far.

The President noted that additional USD 30 were charged for delivering gas through Ukraine and Hungary to Serbia plus USD 18 for distribution across our territory.

Considering the high price of the gas pipeline construction, the favourable circumstance is that together with our partner, we will charge the transit tax and thus pay those costs, said the President.

President Vučić announced that the gas would be brought to many municipalities where it is not available, which will additionally attract everyone who wants to open factories.

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Botsan-Kharchenko, said that this is the best New Year's gift.

"This gas pipeline will provide stability to Serbia and an opportunity for the development of internal infrastructure and energy stability," the Ambassador pointed out.

The Balkan Stream is part of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, a project of Russia's Gazprom and Turkey's Botash, to provide a stable gas supply to Turkey, southern and southeastern Europe. The pipeline is 930 kilometres long with a capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The first arm passes through Turkey, while the second arm runs to Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. Serbia and Bulgaria call that part of the gas pipeline the "Balkan Stream".

Belgrade, 1st January 2021


Every Serb in the diaspora is potentially a lobbyist - 3 January 2021

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 - 2 January 2021

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 - 29 December 2020

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


Minister Selakovic met with leadership of the Danube Commission in Budapest – 18 December 2020

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met today in Budapest with leadership of the Danube Commission and discussed importance of the Danube for the promotion of regional economy and an intensive flow of people and goods.

The interlocutors assessed that it is important to use the economic potentials of the Danube, but also to preserve its natural beauties, i.e., to meet the environmental standards.

Minister Selakovic emphasized that Serbia will be able to invest more in infrastructure on the Danube, owing to the successfully implemented reforms in the past years, and to take part in the implementation of the strategic projects of the Danube Commission.

Minister Selakovic wrote into the visitors' book that, since it was founded in Belgrade in 1948, the Danube Commission has been a thread of cooperation and friendship among the member countries.

"The Danube was a river of peace throughout all the difficult periods in the turbulent history of our region", Selakovic wrote down.

Source: Tanjug


Selakovic with the Ambassadors of the Visegrad Group countries

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic today met with the Ambassadors and representatives of the Embassies of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries which consists of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The Minister said that Serbia was a constructive partner to the member states of the Visegrad Group, that meetings like today’s one were very important for encouraging further activities and added that the Visegrad Group was an example of successful European integration, regional cooperation and the fight for common goals.

We are grateful for the strong support of the Visegrad Group member states to our EU accession path, Selakovic said emphasizing that full membership in the EU remains one of Serbia's key foreign policy priorities and that the new government's focus is on the rule of law and further implementation of comprehensive reforms.

The Minister said that the experience of the Visegrad Group in regional association is invaluable for Serbia as it can be applied in the region of the Western Balkans within the "mini-Schengen" initiative and be useful to all member states.

We are grateful to the Visegrad Group for the initiative to establish the Western Balkans Fund which is actively working to promote cooperation between the civil sectors as well as to improve the quality of life of the region's population, the Minister said.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy stated with satisfaction that bilateral relations with the countries of the Visegrad Group were very good and that Serbia was interested in further intensifying the political dialogue at the highest level with all member states.

Minister Selakovic pointed out that the realization of bilateral visits at the highest level would make a firm basis for further strengthening of our relations and that it would create new perspectives of mutual cooperation, especially in the field of economy and investments.

Belgrade, 22 December 2020


Minister Selakovic: Hungary encourages its companies to invest in Serbia - 18 December 2020

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic said today that Hungary has earmarked EUR 130 million to support 24 companies from this country to invest in Serbia and added that the funding was not only meant for Vojvodina, but parts of our country south of Sava and Danube rivers as well.

At a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó in Budapest, Minister Selakovic thanked Hungary for giving an impetus to its companies to invest in the Serbian market and pointed out that this would further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Serbian Foreign Minister expressed special gratitude to Hungary for the support to our country in European integration process and emphasized that today the voice of Serbia, through Hungary, is heard much louder in Brussels than before. "One day when Serbia formally becomes part of the European family, which it historically already is, Hungary will be among those to whom Serbia will owe the greatest debt of gratitude", Selakovic underlined. He pointed out that this support was visible at all levels of government, from the President of Hungary, through Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, but also to all ministers in the Hungarian Government.

Selakovic also said that his visit to Hungary was the visit to a neighbouring country, with which Serbia promoted good-neighbourly relations into friendly relations in the previous period.

"Today's meeting is an opportunity to affirm those friendly relations and to talk about what binds us and what can bind us even more", Selakovic said.

He stated that during the meeting, they talked about energy and the need for Serbia and Hungary to be better supplied with gas. Selakovic recalled that Serbia has completed the construction of its part of the gas pipeline from the Bulgarian to the Hungarian border, and expressed hope that Hungary will receive gas from the TurkStream in two years, when it builds its part of the gas pipeline.

"In that way, we will make our economies safer and better supply them with gas, and that will also affect the protection of the environment", Selakovic said. The Minister said that gas has no nationality but only a price, stressing that Serbia will buy the gas that has the lowest price, but also the one that can reach our households most easily. According to the Minister, the topic of conversation was also infrastructure - construction of a high-speed railway from Belgrade to Budapest, which should contribute to a better flow of goods, greater competitiveness, but also more frequent, safe and fast travel for tourists.

"We are convinced that the epidemic will not last forever and that Serbs and Hungarians will visit each other, that Hungarians will come to Belgrade and Novi Sad, but also visit south of Serbia", Minister Selakovic said.

The Serbian Foreign Minister also thanked Hungary for the help it provided to Serbia during the coronavirus pandemic, which is another in a series of examples of friendly and good mutual cooperation.

When it comes to national minorities, Selakovic expressed his belief that the Hungarian national minority in Serbia and the Serbian national minority in Hungary were one of the strongest links in the relationship between Serbia and Hungary. He said that he was proud that Hungarians in Serbia, as well as other members of national minorities, have all the rights guaranteed to all the citizens of Serbia. 

He thanked Minister Szijjártó and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for talking about it at all world forums, adding that this was of invaluable importance for Serbia.

Szijjártó: Brussels responsible for Serbia not opening chapters

Minister Selakovic thanked Hungary for having a careful and caring attitude towards the Serbian national minority, and especially towards the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary - Diocese of Budim. He said that if one takes into account the entire History of Serbia-Hungary relations the centuries of friendship and cooperation are largely prevailing, adding that this cooperation is today present in all aspects of life.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó said that Serbia was this year ready to open five new chapters in its EU accession process, but that neither Serbia nor Hungary, who supports it along the European path, are to blame for the fact that no chapters were opened, but Brussels instead.

"I see no reason for not being able to open those chapters. In the latest meeting with my EU colleagues I asked them what the reason was, and they told me that there was no specific reason and that the reason was political".

He stressed that only Brussels can be held responsible for the fact that chapters were not opened, while expressing hope that the period ahead will see opening of new chapters.

"There is no reason for this not to happen", Szijjártó said and added that if NATO could admit North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania to its membership, he sees no reason for the EU not to do the same with Serbia.

He underlined that Hungary will do everything to help Serbia in the European integration process and become an EU member state as soon as possible. In his media statement, Minister Szijjártó said that Serbia-Hungary relations have never in the history been as good as today, and that significant efforts were made to this end in the previous period.

"Our destinies are tied together because of the historic past, Hungarians in Vojvodina and strategic projects in the interest of the development of both countries", Minister Szijjártó said. He stressed that the biggest Hungarian companies were present in Serbia, such as OTP and MOL, and that the interest of Hungarian businesses for Serbia has been constant, adding that Hungary supports its companies in investing in the Serbian market.

He said that 24 Hungarian companies will invest multiple billions of forints in Serbia in the months ahead. Furthermore, Szijjártó said that the development of Belgrade-Budapest railway line will contribute to this route being used for imports and transport of Chinese goods, thus enhancing the competitiveness of Serbia as well as Hungary in the region and the global market. When it comes to gas, Szijjártó said that Hungary started construction works on its part of the gas pipeline, to be connected to the pipeline coming from Serbia, adding that the gas provided via TurkStream will ensure better gas supply. In view of the expected new migrant wave, Szijjártó said that Hungary will send its police personnel to the border crossings in the south of Serbia, in order to decrease the influx of irregular migrants.

He commended Serbia's treatment of the Hungarian national minority, adding that it can serve as an example to entire Europe.

Minister Selakovic: Gratitude to Hungary for assistance in providing treatment to Anika

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic said today that Hungary will provide accommodation and medical assistance before and during the period the two-year-old girl Anika Manic is receiving her treatment.

At a joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó, Minister Selakovic thanked the Hungarian friends for assistance to this little girl who will soon begin to receive her treatment at a hospital in Budapest.

Selakovic said that helping Anika was the first issue he collaborated on with Minister Szijjártó, since assuming his duties as Serbian Foreign Minister. In the past several months Serbian citizens have united in a mission to collect the funding for the treatment of the two-year-old Anika Manic who suffers from a rare disease, so that she could receive necessary treatment in January.

Source: Tanjug


Selakovic: Hungary will continue to support Serbia on its EU path - 18 December 2020

Hungary is one of the most vocal advocates of Serbia joining the European Union and the good news is that it will continue to support Serbia on its European path, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said today in Budapest after a meeting with the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Minister Selakovic emphasized that he noted with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó, in a meeting earlier today, that if the opening of chapters was only up to Hungary, Serbia would have this year opened all five chapters it is prepared for in the negotiating process.

"Hungary will continue to support Serbia, this is good news that we had no doubt about to begin with, taking into account the way our relations have been developing", Selakovic said to the Serbian media as he brought his official visit to Hungary to an end.

He added that the fact that Hungary was providing financial assistance to 24 Hungarian companies to invest in Serbia, not only in its northern parts but south of Danube and Sava rivers as well, demonstrates Hungary's view of Serbia's European path.

"If this was not their position, they would not encourage, support and incentivize their business community to invest in Serbia like they do today. We would like to have more joint investments, as Prime Minister Orbán also underlined today", Minister Selakovic said. He added that they agreed on the development of tourism and that both sides wish that more Hungarians visited Serbia as well as that more Serbian citizens went to Hungary.

"This is one of the reasons why our strategic commitment is to focus, among others, on the Belgrade-Budapest railway construction project, which will make this type of transportation much faster and ensure its greater safety", Minister Selakovic said.

He stressed that, owing to the excellent personal relations between the Hungarian Prime Minister and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia and Hungary today can testify to having best possible relations in their recent history, and perhaps even in the history generally speaking.

Selakovic said that Serbia and Hungary are cooperating in most areas, adding that this included economy, infrastructure, energy, and investments of Hungarian entrepreneurs and state in the Serbian economy, culture and education.

"What we can be particularly proud of as two close states is the status and position of our national minorities, of Serbs in Hungary and Hungarians in Serbia", Minister Selakovic emphasized.

He expressed hope that Serbia and Hungary will soon hold the sixth Joint Session of the two Governments and that it will result in the signing of an agreement on strategic partnership.

"This will be the first strategic partnership agreement signed with a neighbouring country and I believe that it is only natural that this will be with Hungary, as we are already cooperating in a strategic way", Minister Selakovic concluded.

Source: Tanjug


Selaković in Szentendre with Bishop Lukijan of Budim - 18 December 2020

Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković visited today the Szentendre Cathedral, part of the Diocese of Budim of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and met with the Bishop Lukijan of Budim.

The collocutors discussed the status of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary and Serbo-Hungarian Christian bonds.

The topic of conversation was also the functioning of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bishop of Budim expressed his gratitude to the state of Serbia for financing the restoration works within the Bishop's Palace, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the Cathedral.

The state of Serbia helped the restoration of the archives, depot and library comprising the winter chapel of Cyril and Methodius.

Source: Tanjug


Minister Selakovic delivers van vehicles and books to Serbian school - 18 December 2020

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic paid a visit today to the Serbian educational institution Nikola Tesla in Budapest where he handed over to its staff three passenger vans, to be used for student transport, and books for their library.

The vans are donated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the books are a personal donation of Minister Selakovic.

Minister met with Director of the school Jovanka Lastic and was given a tour of the kindergarten within the school complex, gym and the library. Minister Selakovic wrote the following in the visitors' book:

"One can only feel true pleasure and pride meeting with people who through their vision and energy move borders and change the world. Here in "Nikola Tesla" school centre in Budapest, this feeling is even stronger because the wonderful people here use one such energy to preserve the Serbian identity by enlightening new generations of young Serbs and furnishing them with knowledge, national tradition and culture".

Educational institution "Nikola Tesla" is the most important Serbian institution of its kind in Hungary. It includes a kindergarten, elementary and high school, and is currently attended by around 700 students.

Source: Tanjug


Minister Selakovic: Serbian and Hungarian diplomats under the same roof - 18 December 2020

The Memorandum of Understanding on shared use of premises of diplomatic and consular missions, signed today in Budapest between the Foreign Ministries of Serbia and Hungary, will allow Serbian and Hungarian diplomats to stay and work under the same roof.

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic shared this news in a statement given after he signed the MoU with his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó, noting that this was demonstration of the relationship of utmost confidence existing between the two countries.

"The Memorandum we signed today will enable Serbian diplomacy to be present in states where Hungary has its diplomatic and consular missions, while enabling the presence of Hungarian diplomacy in countries where we have Embassies, and they do not", Minister Selakovic explained.

He expressed hope that the first Annex enabling the implementation of the Memorandum will be signed soon, during the sixth Joint Session of the Governments of Serbia and Hungary.

"Our diplomats will be spending time under the same roof, working together and socializing. This will certainly result in a better cooperation between the two states and even more so in a brotherly and collegial cooperation between the two Ministries", Minister Selakovic concluded.

Source: Tanjug


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


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


Danube Commission: Press Release

Press Release:

https://www.danubecommission.org/uploads/doc/2020/en_press_94_session.pdf

 

 

 


J. Joksimović and Roth on Serbia’s negotiations and new methodology, December 15, 2020

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


Serbia – Emerging tech development hub

Serbia – Emerging tech development hub:

https://innovations.serbiacreates.rs/

 


DIGITAL CONTENTS - SERBIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS 2O2O -1th April 2020.

In order to safer overcome the social situation due to COVID-19 epidemic, and to facilitate access to cultural contents to the citizens of Serbia, as well as to users from other countries, the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Serbia offered a large scale of programs of National Cultural Institutions available in digital format (virtual tours, digital audio and video materials, photos, texts, 3D scanned objects, etc. in different languages

The official Site of the Ministry of Culture of Serbia:

http://www. kultura.gov. rs/cyr/

http://.www.kutura.gov.rs/en/

SERBIAN FILMS (disponible on-line / feature-length films)

1. Next to me (Pored mene, 2015), Stevan Filipović (drama,l l0 minutes)

https://www.fcs.rs//en/films/film-database?/page=film&id=1314

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v:hpKAFBgOUZc

2. Skinning (Šišanje, 2O1O), Stevan Filipović (drama, 98 minutes)

https://www.fcs.rs/en/films/film-database/?page=film&id=169

Link:https://www.youtube. com/watch?v:tsH6lRftCEI

3. Sheitans Warrior (Šejtanov ratnik, 2006), Stevan Filipović,

(fantastic comedy, 94 minutes) 

http://www.fcs.rs/en/films/film-database/?page=film&id=152

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gxTOTmisxE


Corona virus: Information

https://covid19.rs/algoritam1/

https://covid19.rs/algoritam2/


The Republic of Serbia candidate for the UNESCO Executive Board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://ojdinfo.msp.rs/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/REPUBLIC-OF-SERBIA-CANDIDATE-FOR-THE-UNESCO-EXECUTIVE-BOARD-2019-2023.pdf


Commemorative gathering on the occasion of 20th anniversary of NATO bombing against Yugoslavia, 26th March 2019.

On the 26th of March, in Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Budapest was held an commemorative gathering on the occasion of 20th anniversary of NATO bombing against Yugoslavia.

For the representatives of the Military Attaché Corps and Serbian institutions and Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary was showed a movie about NATO bombing against Yugoslavia.

In his speech the Serbian Defense Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Duško Đekić told: “Twenty years have passed since war 1999th, NATO agression, but memories are still fresh, as well as the consequences of an unwanted conflict. At that time, part of the international community was involved armed forces at the end of the civil war on the territory of the former Jugoslavia, following political, economic and military goals. Soldiers in general do not support wars because they know their consequences, but they make decisions in a war, not about a war. From this reason armed forces in 1999th was stood at the forefront of the state's defense, according to Constitution and obligatons toward state, citizens and honor.”

Every year, March 24th, Serbia organize commemoration for the victims of NATO bombing and remembers victims from that and other wars in the past.

(On photos: Ambassador of Republic of Serbia in Budapest Mr. Ivan Todorov and Defense Attaché of Ministry of Defense of Serbia, Lieutenant Colonel Duško Đekić and the guests)


National Day and Armed Forces Day of Serbia, 18th February, 2019

On the 18th of February, in its Embassy in Budapest, the Republic of Serbia in Hungary celebrated the National Day and Armed Forces Day.

The celebration was attended by the representatives of the diplomatic corps, the corps of military attaches, high representatives of the political and cultural life of Hungary, representatives of the Serbian institutions and Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary, City Hall dignitaries, and many others.

The Ambassador of Serbia, H.E. Ivan Todorov, greeted the National Day to the Serbian community in Hungary, expressed his satisfaction with the actual state of relations between Serbia and Hungary, and thanked all the guests for the time they find to come to the Serbian Embassy to celebrate that special day for Serbia and its citizens.


Ambassador Todorov Presented His Credentials to President János Áder, 17th December, 2018

The newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to Hungary, His Excellency Ivan Todorov, presented his credentials to the Hungarian President, His Excellency János Áder in Sándor Palace in Budapest on 17th December 2018. Following the ceremony, Ambassador Ivan Todorov gave a short speech, in which he stressed his full committment to maintain good bilateral relations betwen the Republic of Serbia and Hungary.


National Day and Armed Forces Day of Serbia, 14th February, 2018

On the 14th of February, in its Embassy in Budapest, the Republic of Serbia in Hungary celebrated the National Day and Armed Forces Day. The celebration was attended by the representatives of the diplomatic corps, the corps of military attaches, high representatives of the political and cultural life of Hungary, representatives of the Serbian institutions and Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary, City Hall dignitaries, and many others.
State Secretary from the MFA of Serbia, H.E. Nemanja Stevanovic, stressed that bilateral relation between Serbia and Hungary were never better, and State Secretary from the MFAT of Hungary, H.E. Istvan Ijgyarto, affirmed the will of both countries to continue to develop already existing excellent relation in all fields.
The Ambassador of Serbia, H.E. Rade Drobac, greeted the National Day to the Serbian community in Hungary, expressed his satisfaction with the actual state of relations between Serbia and Hungary, and thanked all the guests for the time they find to come to the Serbian Embassy to celebrate that special day for Serbia and its citizens.
The ladies choir from the Serbian school „Nikola Tesla“ from Budapest, together with the music from Serbia, contributed to the pleasant time spent on the cocktail with Serbian food and drinks.


The 4th joint session of the Government of Serbia and Hungary took place in Budapest, February 8-9, 2018

The 4th joint session of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Hungary led by the Prime Ministers Ana Brnabic and Viktor Orban was held on February 8-9, 2018.
Prior to the joint session, a series of bilateral meetings of line ministers were held on specific issues of mutual interest, PM A. Brnabic and PM V. Orban had a separate discussion as well.
The joint session, attended by almost all ministers on both sides, confirmed the outstanding and friendly relations between the governments of Serbia and Hungary, their mutual readiness for their further improvement and development, the continuation of active support of Hungary in the process of Serbia's accession to the EU, as well as the orientation to the development of mutual economic cooperation, whereby of the particular interest is the readiness of both countries to spread their economic cooperation to the entire territory of Serbia. Special importance has been given to the connection of Serbia and Hungary in the fields of infrastructure, communication and traffic. Ten agreements have been signed in various fields, within the session, from infrastructure, agriculture and military cooperation to the extension of cultural and educational programs.
It was mutually estimated that both countries have done very much for national minorities and that there is significant progress in securing their rights and creating the conditions for the undisturbed expression of their cultural peculiarities and interests.
Within the framework of the joint session, a Business Forum as well as Energy Forum were held, where PM A. Brnabic and PM V. Orban were key speakers.
At the end of the visit, PM of the Republic of Serbia A. Brnabic was received in a courtasy visit by the President of Hungary, Janos Ader.


Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya signed a Cooperation Agreement, January 31, 2018.

Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya signed a Cooperation Agreement on January 31, 2018, with the aim to strengthening business relations and developing mutual cooperation. The agreement was signed by the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina, Bosko Vucurevic, and president of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya, Tamás Síkfői.
After the signing of the agreement on cooperation, the Ambassador Rade Drobac together with the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina, Bosko Vucurevic opened a conference devoted to the development of winery and wine growing in the region of Villány. The conference was held as part of a two-day visit of Vojvodina winemakers and tourist workers from Vojvodina to Pécs and the wine region in Villány, organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina, which led close to 40 Vojvodina winemakers and tourist workers who are engaged in wine tourism. In the Vojvodina delegation there were also professors from the Faculty of Sciences, the Institute of Viticulture at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Novi Sad.
Following the co-operation agreement and conference, the delegation of the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina and the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia visited the Temple of Saint Simeon Stolpnik in Pécs where the delegation was met by a priest Milan Eric and the president of the Serbian Association Pécs-Baranya, Petar Mandic.


The Embassy celebrated national Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, February 14, 2017

On the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Serbia and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Budapest held a traditional reception on February 14, 2017, which was attended by many guests from the Hungarian state institutions, diplomatic corps and military attaches corps, representatives of the Serbian community and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary.
The Ambassador Rade Drobac welcomed the guests and put in evidence the main results the country achieved in the past year, between them the economic stabilization of the country and the improvement of bilateral cooperation with Hungary. This is witnessed by very good personal relations of the senior officials of the two countries, numerous visits, open and friendly conversation on various issues, including minorities. He also stated that good bilateral relations is followed by the constant growth of trade and economic cooperation, and significantly improved cooperation in the field of infrastructure projects. Ambassador emphasized that the recent years so much has been done on both sides in order to resolve the issues that burden the minority communities, and underlined his satisfaction that the Hungarian side has taken in the past year concrete measures in the interest of the Serbian minority in Hungary.
The reception was attended by H.E. Laszló Szabó, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and Parliamentary State Secretary, who welcomed the participants and said that good bilateral cooperation is followed by the growth of trade and economic cooperation, and stressed the importance of modernization of the railway Belgrade-Budapest. When it comes to migration policy, Mr. Szabó said that bilateral cooperation between two countries is of the crucial importance, and pointed out the importance of the status of the Serbian national minority in Hungary, as well as Hungarian minority in the Republic of Serbia. At the end, the choir of the primary and high school of “Nikola Tesla” from Budapest performed the song “This is a Serbia”, followed by the informal celebrations.


The Embassy celebrated National Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, February 18, 2016

On the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Serbia and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Budapest held a traditional reception on February 18, 2016, which was attended by many guests from the Hungarian state institutions, diplomatic corps and military attaches corps, representatives of the Serbian community and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary.
The Ambassador Rade Drobac welcomed the guests and enumerate the main results the country achieved in the past year, between them the opening of the first negotiating chapters with EU, in December last year. Ambassador pointed out that regional cooperation and improving relations with the neighbors represent the priority of the Serbian foreign policy. In this regard, Ambassador R. Drobac added that bilateral cooperation with Hungary during the last year continues to go upward. This is witnessed by numerous visits of senior officials of the two countries, open and friendly conversation on various issues, including minorities. He also stated that good bilateral relations is followed by the constant growth of trade and economic cooperation, and significantly improved cooperation between two countries in one of the largest infrastructural projects in the region - the reconstruction of the railway Belgrade-Budapest in cooperation with China. Ambassador emphasized that in the recent years so much has been done on both sides in order to resolve the issues that burden the minority communities, and underlined his satisfaction that the Hungarian side has taken concrete measures to address issues of importance for the Serbian minority in Hungary.
The reception was attended by H. E. Sándor Pintér, Minister of Interior of Hungary, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary was represented by Zsolt Csutora, Deputy State Secretary for the policy of opening to the East, who welcomed the participants and said that bilateral relations between two countries are at the highest historical level, and in this regard stressed the importance of further developing the strategic cooperation between Hungary and Serbia. Mr. Csutora emphasized that Hungary will continue strongly to advocate accession of the Republic of Serbia to EU, and that the priority of the Hungarian Government is the promotion of good neighborly relations.


The Embassy celebrated the National Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, February 18, 2015

On the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Serbia and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, on February 18, 2015, the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Budapest held a traditional ceremonial reception, which was attended by many guests from the Hungarian State institutions, diplomatic corp, military attachés corp, police attachés, representatives of the Serbian Community and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary.
The guests were welcomed by H.E. Mr. Rade Drobac, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia, who emphasized the symbolism of the National Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, and pointed out the most important results that Serbia has made in the past year. In terms of bilateral cooperation with Hungary, Ambassador Drobac said that during the last year they were further improved, as evidenced by numerous visits on the highest level of two countries, as well as open and friendly discussions on a variety of issues, including the issue of minorities and the support provided by Hungary to the Republic of Serbia on its path towards the EU. The Ambassador of Serbia pointed out the fact that a certificate of good bilateral relations is a constant growth of trade, as well as the agreement on the largest infrastructural project in the region - the reconstruction of the railway Belgrade-Budapest.
On behalf of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, the guests were greeted by H. E. Mr. I. Ijgyártó, State Secretary for Cultural and Science Diplomacy, who said that the relations between Hungary and Serbia are stable and strong, as well as that the priority of the Hungarian Government is the promotion of good neighbourly relations. He stressed that the Serbian minority in Hungary and the Hungarian minority in Serbia play an important role and represent a significant foothold in the relations between two countries. Also, he added that the Hungarian priority is strengthening of bilateral relations, which will be the main topic of the next Summit of two governments, which will be held in Budapest, in June this year. Mr. Ijgyártó pointed out that Hungary supports the EU enlargement process, and provides full support to Serbia on its path to join the EU.


News
Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selaković at the meeting of the UN Security Council on the report on the work of UNMIK - 18 October 2022
Selaković: 100 meetings and 12 signed agreements on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly - 24 September 2022
Cooperation between Serbia, Hungary at historical maximum - 9 September 2022
Selaković: Mutual support and sincere friendship between Serbia and Hungary - 2 September 2022
Relations of Serbia, Hungary the best in recent history - 10.8.2022.
Folk Dances and Songs Ensemble of Serbia KOLO performs in Budapest - 21 May 2022
Selaković: Hungary is one of Serbia's key partners - 16 May 2022
Selaković: Serbia is actively involved in combating terrorism, radicalism and extremism - 11 May 2022
Foreign Minister Selaković meeting with the Head of the EU Delegation and the Ambassadors of the EU Member States - 02. Mar 2022.
National holiday in Serbia - 15 and 16 February
Selaković and Szijjártó: We are witnessing the brightest moments in Serbia―Hungary relations – 7 February 2022
Belgrade to get Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution - 7 February 2022
Opening of cluster 4 important turning point for Serbia - 14 December 2021
Selaković: Serbia and Hungary are two friendly and fraternal countries - 25. Nov 2021.
President Vučić attended the ceremony marking the beginning of works on the Novi Sad-Kelebija section - 22 Nov 2021
Selaković spoke with Giaufret and EU ambassadors - 18. Nov 2021.
Meeting with the ambassador of Hungary - 17 Nov 2021
UNESCO’s role extremely important for preservation of Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija - 12 November 2021
Address of the President of the Republic of Serbia at the United Nations climate change conference COP26 held in Glasgow - 2nd November 2021
Continuous communication with EU on further reforms - 22 October 2021
Ceremony marking the beginning of works on the reconstruction and modernization of the railway Subotica – Horgos - state border with Hungary, 18 October 2021
Selaković in UNSC: Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues, 15th October 2021
President Vučić attended ceremony of the beginning of works on the modernization and rehabilitation of the Niš-Brestovac railway - 30 September 2021
Selaković in New York with 28 foreign ministers on economic successes of Serbia and K&M situation - 25 September 2021
Telephone conversation of President Vučić and General Secretary of NATO - 26 September 2021
Solid and friendly relations of Serbia and Hungary - 23 September 2021
Pristina seriously jeopardised regional stability - 25 September 2021
Prime Minister Brnabic at Global COVID-19 summit organised by White House - 22 September 2021
Marking the Remembrance Day of all Serbs who died and were expelled in the armed operation "Storm" - 5 August 2021
Working visit of the Prime Minister of Hungary to the Republic of Serbia - 8 July 2021
Meeting with the President of the Hungarian National Assembly - 6 July 2021
President Vučić: We have decided – our goal is the EU, but China is an important partner - 22 July 2021
Serbia has achieved great success in the field of digitalization - 20 July 2021
President Vučić presented a decoration to Hungarian Minister Péter Szijjártó - 8. July 2021.
President Vučić participates in the Mini Schengen conference - 29th June 2021
Bilateral relations between Serbia, Hungary best in history - 5 July 2021
Selakovic: Strong support of the V4 to the European perspective of the Western Balkans - 28 June 2021
Address by the President of the Republic of Serbia at the session of the United Nations Security Council - 09. June 2021.
Minister Selaković presented the new e-Consulate service - 20 May 2021
Vucic: We consider Europe our home - 8 May 2021
Selakovic congratulates Josep Borrell on Europe Day - 8 May 2021
President Vučić met via video link with representatives of the IMF delegation - 21st April 2021
Meeting with the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe - 20th April 2021
WHO describes immunisation process in Serbia as impressive -19 April 2021
Selakovic: Pristina persists in its campaign of hatred against the Serbian people - 13 April 2021
Selakovic: Political extremism of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is becoming stronger - 13 April 2021
Marking the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the NATO aggression - 24 March 2021
Commemorating Remembrance Day of 17 March 2004 - Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija
Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union - 17th March 2021
Selakovic: Relations between Serbia and Hungary reached a historic high - 16 March 2021
Minister Selakovic: Fight against all forms of crime is a priority of the Serbian Government - 8 March 2021
Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana elected as the new Patriarch of Serbia - 18 February 2021
Sretenje Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia
President Vucic: Serbia is ready for dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija, but will refuse being humiliated
Bank account for Consular and visa payments
Meeting with the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia - 4th February 2021
Minister Selakovic speaks for Politika: The year of rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy - 26 January 2021
Open Call for the Co-Financing of Projects for the Translation of Representative Works of Serbian Literature into Foreign Languages in 2021
President Vucic: Serbia is the first in Europe in terms of growth
New "Balkan Stream" gas pipeline opened
Every Serb in the diaspora is potentially a lobbyist - 3 January 2021
Minister Selakovic: New ambassadors will be appointed this year, but the goals remain the same - 2 January 2021
President Vucic: Serbia to remain on the course of a winning policy of stability - 29 December 2020
Serbian Prime Minister the first PM in Europe to receive a Covid-19 vaccine
Minister Selakovic met with leadership of the Danube Commission in Budapest – 18 December 2020
Selakovic with the Ambassadors of the Visegrad Group countries
Minister Selakovic: Hungary encourages its companies to invest in Serbia - 18 December 2020
Selakovic: Hungary will continue to support Serbia on its EU path - 18 December 2020
Selaković in Szentendre with Bishop Lukijan of Budim - 18 December 2020
Minister Selakovic delivers van vehicles and books to Serbian school - 18 December 2020
Minister Selakovic: Serbian and Hungarian diplomats under the same roof - 18 December 2020
Minister Selakovic: Full EU membership remains a priority of the new Government
Brnabic and Borrell: Political and economic aspects of negotiations
Danube Commission: Press Release
J. Joksimović and Roth on Serbia’s negotiations and new methodology, December 15, 2020
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
President meets the ambassadors of the EU member states accredited to Serbia and the head of the European Union Delegation
Serbia – Emerging tech development hub
DIGITAL CONTENTS - SERBIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS 2O2O -1th April 2020.
Corona virus: Information
The Republic of Serbia candidate for the UNESCO Executive Board
Commemorative gathering on the occasion of 20th anniversary of NATO bombing against Yugoslavia, 26th March 2019.
National Day and Armed Forces Day of Serbia, 18th February, 2019
Ambassador Todorov Presented His Credentials to President János Áder, 17th December, 2018
National Day and Armed Forces Day of Serbia, 14th February, 2018
The 4th joint session of the Government of Serbia and Hungary took place in Budapest, February 8-9, 2018
Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya signed a Cooperation Agreement, January 31, 2018.
The Embassy celebrated national Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, February 14, 2017
The Embassy celebrated National Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, February 18, 2016
The Embassy celebrated the National Day and the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, February 18, 2015
News - Archive