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Entry into Serbia without coronavirus test and commission permission
The proposal of the crisis response team for the protection of the health of the population from the infectious disease COVID-19 on opening border crossings and free entry of all persons into the Republic of Serbia was adopted, without the necessary coronavirus test and commission permission.
The testing on personal request will cost RSD 6,000 on the territory of the entire Republic of Serbia, while for students and minors, testing will still be free.

Ensemble of National Theater from Belgrade in Shanghai

For the first time in its 150 years long tradition, National Theater ensemble was guest of National Theater of Shanghai, in P.R. China, with it's renowned performance "The Lady of the Camellias", Alexandre Dumas, fils, in adaptation of Željko Hubača, directed by Jug Radivojević.

Ensemble performed the play two times in Shanghai, from July 11. until July 16. 2017.

Thank you all for this wonderful happening!


Dacic: “Support of EU partner countries of the Central European Initiative is very important to us”

Statement by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the Annual Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Central European Initiative (CEI), Minsk, 22 June 2017:

"Mr. Chairman,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

To begin with, I would like to thank Minister Makei and Secretary General of the Central European Initiative, Ambassador di Vietri for the exquisite hospitality and exceptional organization of this Annual Meeting of the CEI Ministers for Foreign Affairs.

It is my pleasure to have the opportunity today to participate in the exchange of views on connectivity in the wider region of Europe, the current situation following the major migratory movements, the rising security threat to, and reform of, the CEI, as a bridge connecting the macro-regions of Europe.

For a long time now, and in the last five years in particular, the Republic of Serbia, when prioritizing, has not distinguished between its goals of internal reforms, European integration or regional cooperation. Through various connectivity projects and forms, Serbia has been working on the widest possible infrastructural interconnectivity of this part of Europe, with the aim of being able to represent a valid, recognizable and competitive region, both regarding roads of all types and energy independence.

"The Connectivity Agenda", established in the WB6 format within the framework of the Berlin Process, is of particular importance to us. You are aware of Serbia's priorities in this regard, considering that we have presented them repeatedly at various events. I would only like to mention one, which is the construction of Nis-Merdare-Pristina-Tirana-Durres motorway. Our expectations from the incoming WB Summit in Trieste also include the allocation of additional funding for the implementation of three concrete projects amounting to over EUR 60 million, which we presented to the EC as a priority.

At the most recent China- CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries) Leaders' Meeting, an agreement was signed on the modernization of the existing railway and construction of high-speed railway connecting Belgrade and Budapest, to run the first transport service of this kind in the region.

The seat of the South East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO) has for more than 10 years successfully operated in Belgrade, and which should, naturally, be transformed into the seat of the future Transport Community Secretariat and, taking into account all the advantages of its location, Serbia has already submitted its candidature for the seat to the EC. This would ensure the continuation of the existing institutional cooperation and its structure.

In parallel with all of the above, Serbia is actively participating in the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor project amounting to EUR 162 million, the completion of which would ensure interconnections of power transmission systems between Serbia and Romania as well as  between Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also upgrade to high-capacity transmission lines within the Serbian power grid. These projects will considerably strengthen the energy exchange and energy security in the region. Furthermore, preparations are also underway for the works on the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection, and our side urges that a final decision on the funding of this project be made as soon as possible.

Through all these projects, Serbia is showing readiness to connect with its neighbours, the wider region and the rest of Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In addition to our common challenge of a stronger connectivity in the wider CEI region, the migrant crisis remains a particular challenge facing all of us. Despite the fact that over 1.4 million migrants transited the territory of Serbia in the past two years and that there are over 7 thousand of them staying there at the moment, the stability has been maintained thanks to extraordinary efforts, there have been no major threats to stability, and Serbia's treatment of migrants has throughout been in full accordance with international norms and standards. It is of crucial importance to us that the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement not be suspended, so as to increase the level of mutual cooperation, both at the identified migration routes and in the wider Europe region, with the aim of overcoming this problem.

Considering that Serbia has been in the least favourable situation, having in its territory a considerably larger number of migrants compared to other Western Balkan countries, we believe that the largest portion of the funds earmarked within the new special measure should be granted to Serbia, particularly in the context of an, at times, unequal treatment of the countries facing this problem, depending on whether they are EU Member States or not.

My country is strongly committed to addressing potential terrorist threats and all forms of violent extremism and to, in cooperation with partners worldwide, contribute to their elimination at regional, European and global levels. Even though we were among the first in the region to warn of this problem, both in the context of Islamic radicalization and the domino effect of the so-called Arab Spring, sadly it is only today that the hazards of all manifestations of radicalism and the use of force in international relations, regardless of motivation, perpetrators and originators, are fully understood.

Serbia is one of the twenty-five members of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts tasked with ICT development in the context of international security, and as the only member state from the CEI region it has been visible in the efforts aimed at finding global solutions for building confidence among states and for establishing international rules, norms and a code of conduct. Serbia has devoted due attention to aligning itself with the EU's Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, whose priorities include cybersecurity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can say that CEI is a "bridge" between the European Union Member States, on the one hand, and candidate and aspirant countries that have not yet joined the EU, on the other. Serbia considers extremely important its membership of this regional initiative, providing a framework for enhancing regional cooperation and accelerated European integration, particularly in the light of EU accession negotiations. In this respect, we consider exceptionally important the support of those EU Member States that are our CEI partner countries.

As one of the oldest regional initiatives in the continent of Europe, currently bringing together 18 states, CEI is a regional initiative whose experience and reputation can produce a significant added value in the process of connecting European macro regions. Therefore, I am pleased to note that significant efforts have been made to that effect.

Irrespective of other formats and organizations, CEI has retained its relevance which will be, I strongly believe, only affirmed through the revision of documents and the adoption of a new Plan of Action.

Locally, Serbia and its institutions, universities and civil society have fully recognized the capacity of funds and CEI invitations for cooperation, as reflected in a large response to the CEI Cooperation Fund's Call for Proposals 2017.

I believe that, in the period ahead, it will be necessary to make additional efforts to expand its range of activities, and ensure CEI's greater visibility as a high-level forum for discussions on political and sectoral economic issues. Therefore, I look forward to deepening cooperation between the organization and other regional and global actors, similar to what has already been established with the UN and the EU. A good example of the foregoing is the announced strengthening of cooperation with the OSCE, and the joint projects which we support, as a country aware of the importance of the organization's field presence. We further believe that by augmenting funds and, possibly, individual contributions such as those that we, too, made in 2014, will enable the necessary strengthening of the CEI Fund for joint projects.

Serbia has recognized the need for modifying internal CEI regulations, and supports the endeavours to reinforce sectoral interaction within the CEI framework through additional ministerial meetings, whose themes would deal with connecting the wider region in the areas of transport, customs, energy, and others that are deemed necessary. Serbia also has a clear interest in intensifying cooperation through inter-parliamentary fora. It has supported the work of the Group of Experts for Guidelines review, and we hope that the results will follow shortly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to commend the efforts made by the Republic of Belarus as country currently holding the CEI Presidency, expressing at the same time my best wishes for chairing the regional initiative, in the period to come.

Thank you."

EU Integration Process of the Republic of Serbia

The Republic of Serbia signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union on 29 April 2008, and the SAA came into force on 1 September 2013. By means of this Agreement, the Republic of Serbia and the European Union have entered for the first time a stage of relations regulated by an all-embracing agreement, whereby Serbian EU membership prospects have been reaffirmed. The Republic of Serbia applied for EU membership on 22 December 2009. The European Council passed a decision to grant Serbia the candidate status for EU membership on 1 March 2012, while on 28 June 2013 it decided to open the accession negotiations with the Republic of Serbia.

Course of Accession Negotiations

The Common Position of the European Union (EU) on the accession negotiations with the Republic of Serbia, which was adopted by the EU General Affairs Council (GAC) on 17 December 2013, and subsequently approved by the European Council of 19-20 December 2013, consists of two documents: introductory remarks of the EU at the First Inter-Governmental Conference between R. Serbia and the EU, and the Negotiating Framework of Serbia's EU accession. The Negotiating Framework embodies principles, the essence and procedures of the overall negotiating process. The emphasis is laid on the conditions in which a candidate country will embrace and execute the EU acquis communautaire, divided into 35 thematic chapters. The EU expects the Republic of Serbia to ensure full implementation of the key reforms and legislation, particularly in judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organized crime, public administration reform, independence of institutions, media reform, non-discrimination and protection of minorities. Particular importance is attached to the harmonization of the dynamic of the negotiating process, i.e. a uniform progress in all areas. This particularly refers to Chapter 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and Chapter 24 (justice, freedom and security) where progress has to follow the dynamic of other chapters. The above-stated procedure will also apply to issues within Chapter 35.

Serbian EU accession negotiations formally commenced on 21 January 2014 in Brussels by the First Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) on Serbia's EU accession, where representatives of the EU and Serbia exchanged views, and the EU Negotiating Framework, the Negotiating Team of the Republic of Serbia and the IGC meetings calendar according to negotiating chapters were presented.

An initial step preceding the opening of each of the 35 chapters is the so-called screening, i.e. scanning and analytical review of legislation in force in the Republic of Serbia in a certain area and the legislation applicable in the EU. The analytical analysis stage of legislation begins with the so-called explanatory screening within which the European Commission presents to the candidate country the EU acquis communautaire divided into negotiating chapters, while the level of conformity of the candidate country's legal system with the legal system of the EU is assessed through the so-called bilateral screening. Then, the differences between the two legal systems and measures designed to overcome them are being identified, on the basis of which an implementation Action Plan is being drafted and its timescale defined.

Following the completion of the bilateral screening, the European Commission presents its Screening Report to the Member States, containing recommendations on the opening of negotiations for a certain chapter, and, possibly opening benchmarks. 

The screening process for Serbia began in September 2013 and was completed in late March 2015. The European Commission plans to submit all screening reports to the COELA Working Group for consideration by the end of 2015.

The Republic of Serbia wants the pace of the overall negotiation process to be as fast as possible, including the dynamic of opening (and closing) of as large a number of negotiating chapters as possible, during the current and the following year. However, the dynamic of the process itself depends not only on the Republic of Serbia but primarily on the EU and its Member States.

Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take an active part in the work of governmental bodies during the EU integration process. The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs is a member of the Coordinating Body, tasked with discussing the major issues and coordinating within the scope of the activity of public administrative authorities throughout the European integration process. The Coordinating Body Council deals with the current issues that arise in the integration process. The Assistant Foreign Minister responsible for security policy, in the capacity as Chairperson of Negotiating Group 31, was a member of the Council on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries out the activities concerning Negotiating Group 31- Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also participates in the work of the following negotiating groups concerning Serbia-EU accession negotiations, as a member of: Negotiating Group 23 - judiciary and fundamental rights; Negotiating Group 24 – justice, freedom and security; Negotiating Group 30 – external economic relations; Negotiating Group 34 – for institutions and Negotiating Group 35 – for other matters.

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his official capacity is a member of the Serbian Negotiating Team, participating in the drafting of negotiating positions, and is in charge of conducting negotiations on all chapters and in all stages of negotiations. Moreover, representatives from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the EU, serving as the Secretary and Vice-Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Conference, play an active role in the accession process and negotiations.

In order to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement signed between the Republic of Serbia and the EU, the following bodies, in which MFA representatives participate, have been established: the Stabilization and Association Council, tasked with discussing the major issues concerning the SAA implementation, whose membership includes: the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration, Head of the Negotiating Team, MFA State Secretary, Assistant Foreign Minister responsible for the EU, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the EU, SEIO Deputy Director, and a representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the EU as the Council Secretary; and the Stabilization and Association Committee, entrusted with the task of addressing specific issues concerning the SAA implementation, while holding, as appropriate, meetings in between the Council sessions, whose member is the MFA State Secretary as well. MFA representatives also participate in the work of the SAA Sub-Committee for justice, freedom and security.

Please find more information on relations between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union on the following link: http://www.mfa.gov.rs/en/foreign-policy/eu


Hungary strongly supports Serbia’s European integration and opening of new chapters

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic is on an official visit to Hungary.

Minister Dacic opened his visit by meeting with representatives of the Serbian community in Hungary. On this occasion, representatives of the Serbian community expressed their satisfaction with the development of the situation since the joint session of the two governments held last year, and argued in favour of the implementation of specific projects agreed upon regarding the position of the Serbian minority in Hungary.

This was also among the topics discussed in a meeting between Minister Dacic and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto.

Both Ministers expressed hope that a stable and continuous trend in the development of bilateral relations would be maintained further.

In the talks with the Head of Hungarian diplomacy it was agreed that a joint session of the two Governments would be held on 20-21 November in Nis.

The Hungarian side reiterated its strong support for the European integration of the Republic of Serbia, as well as for the opening of new chapters (5, 20, 25 and 26).

Against the backdrop of the referendum held in Hungary yesterday, the Ministers discussed the migrant crisis as well. In this context, the Hungarian side conveyed that it would provide assistance to Serbia by dispatching a contingent of 20 police personnel.

Furthermore, our side expressed gratitude for the training on European integration the Hungarian Foreign Ministry provided to Serbian young diplomats and, in this context, offered to hold a training programme for a Hungarian diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.

Statement by Minister Dacic at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP)

Statement by FDPM and MFA Ivica Dačić at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Sofia:

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues,

May I begin by expressing gratitude to our hosts for organizing this meeting and for all the efforts they have made since assuming the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office last June.

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to attend our today's meeting and exchange views with colleagues on the latest developments in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As before, the Republic of Serbia's overarching objective in foreign affairs remains unchanged: European Union membership. Towards achieving this goal, Serbia has demonstrated consistency, both through the implementation of its ambitious reform agenda, as well as through its constructive approach to the dialogue with Pristina. I wish to take this opportunity to recall that the Republic of Serbia has completed the screening process with flying colours, paving the way for the Second Serbia-EU Inter-Governmental Conference, which was held in Brussels, on 14 December 2015. As a result, two out of 35 negotiating chapters were opened, namely Chapter 32 on financial control and Chapter 35 on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

Regrettably, Serbia had to wait for almost two years from the commencement of the negotiation process before opening its first negotiating chapters. We intend, which I hope will be supported by EU Member States – to significantly accelerate the negotiations and embark upon the negotiating chapters so vital to the reform process and the enhancement of the rule of law, such as Chapters 23 and 24 in the first place, as well as many other chapters. The opening of each and every chapter is extremely important to us, as a stepping-stone in the further process of alignment with European norms and standards.

A strong and stable economy is an important precondition for EU membership. In the previous period, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has succeeded in stabilising public finances, cutting the fiscal deficit and in adopting a number of reform laws in almost all areas, while fiscal consolidation measures created the basis for concluding the negotiations and signing a stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund. This added credibility to the efforts the Government has been investing, giving a particularly important signal to any potential investors. Considering the success of its work in the previous period, leading to the opening of first negotiating chapters with the EU, the Serbian Government will continue, as before, to persevere on its reform course.

The enlargement policy is certainly one of the vital EU instruments for ensuring not only stability and economic prosperity in the region but also the stability and security of the EU as a whole. This places particular emphasis on joint engagement of SEECP participants, in the light of their positioning towards EU institutions, projecting a positive image of the region as a whole, and keeping the EU focused on issues of interest to the region. In this context, the role played by EU Member States is vital, as they can contribute significantly to the process of bringing the whole SEE region closer to and eventually joining the European Union.

Speaking about the region, we must note that in the past year we faced numerous challenges together, challenges having a considerable capacity to destabilize, or even jeopardize the security, and yet we managed to preserve the stability in the region, where a large role was, no doubt, was played by the European Union and some EU Member States. The Republic of Serbia will continue to implement an open and constructive regional policy and remain committed to the best possible relations with all neighbours.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very glad that the priorities set by the Bulgarian SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office reflect the current developments in the SEE region. It is issues such as the migrant problem, connectivity in energy and infrastructure sectors and freedom of the media that are listed high among the priorities of all of us in South Eastern Europe.

Today, the majority of SEECP participants are facing the greatest migrant crisis since the end of the Second World War, while developments in the previous period point to the potential that the ongoing global migration wave might direct the movement of several million migrants towards the EU via the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Serbia is among those countries that are perhaps most aware of such a prospect because it is a transit country being at the very centre of the so-called "Western Balkans route".

Although the majority of migrants who enter the territory of Serbia from Bulgaria and Greece, through Macedonia, express intent to apply for asylum, it is clear that Serbia is just one of the countries on their way to Western Europe. Serbia, like EU Member States, faces the same pressure, especially in terms of available resources and means which are certainly far less than those available to EU Member States. In 2015 alone, over 600,000 people entered the territory of Serbia, most of whom came from Syria and Afghanistan. At times, the daily entries reached the 9,000 mark. Although we are well into winter now and the pressure has been reduced, a large number of migrants cross the border between Serbia and Macedonia every day. In January this year, nearly 60,000 migrants already entered Serbia.

As a country midway along the Western Balkans route, Serbia suffers the consequences of the decisions made by all the countries that are either on its lower or upper end. Therefore, in the context of channels of communication set in motion after the EU Summit on the Eastern Mediterranean-Western Balkans Route, we specifically pointed to the need for early notification of all countries involved (Austria, Germany) so that all countries along the route be timely informed about regime change at the border and about any new measure applied in the countries of final destination. For example, after the countries on the upper end of the Western Balkans route decided to stop taking in economic migrants, followed by the decision of Austria to allow passage through its territory only to those migrants who expressly intend to apply for asylum in Germany and Austria, R. Serbia has started to act in the same way, as it cannot let the whole burden be shifted onto its shoulders.

We believe that we have so far acted as a credible partner to the EU, especially considering that we have shown readiness to take our share of responsibility and agree to provide temporary shelter for a number of migrants, though we are not an EU Member State. However, if there was a chain reaction and a drastic reduction in passage through or closing of borders (Germany, Austria, and further along the route), it would create a particularly dangerous situation for R. Serbia and the entire region. This would halt the flow of migrants and cause them to stay longer and in more massive numbers in Serbia, putting an enormous strain on us. For all our understanding and empathy we feel for migrants, we cannot allow R. Serbia to be turned into a kind of a collective centre for migrants. Serbia is not able, either, to re-admit the migrants who have transited through its territory and were refused asylum in the EU. It has neither the capacity nor the resources to do so, nor was it the country of their first entry.

I expect that we will discuss this subject later this week at the Informal (Gymnich) Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of EU Member States and Candidate Member States. I believe that it is very important that today's meeting of Ministers of the South East European Cooperation Process will adopt a Joint Statement on Migration Challenges.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Bulgaria every success in the next six months of their SEECP Chairmanship and to point out that, if necessary, we are ready to provide every assistance possible and share with them the experience we have gained during our 2012 SEECP Chairmanship.

Thank you for your attention.

Serbia makes its contribution to the China-CEEC Forum

Acting Assistant Foreign Minister Goran Aleksic was in Warsaw on 28 October, where he participated in the 6th meeting of National Coordinators of the cooperation mechanism between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries.

The meeting, hosted by Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, was attended by national coordinators of China and 16 CEE countries with the aim to agree directions of development of this mechanism as part of China’s strategic vision of joint development - “The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. Senior officials and representatives of CEE countries, in charge of cooperation with China within this mechanism, discussed the preparations for the forthcoming China-CEEC Leaders’ Meeting to take place in November 2015 in the Chinese city of Suzhou.

During the meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and Secretary General of the Secretariat for China-CEEC Cooperation Wang Chao, Acting Assistant Foreign Minister Aleksic stressed Serbia’s readiness to fully contribute to the improvement of the China-CEEC forum which also enriched the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Stressing the importance that China attaches to cooperation with Serbia, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister assessed that Serbia’s involvement in this mechanism has contributed to the rise of Serbian-Chinese relations, which is best reflected by the results in the infrastructure sector where Belgrade-Budapest railway modernization project has a special place as an integral part of the “Belt and Road”.

Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic


Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic:

“Serbia is fighting a tough, political and diplomatic battle to prevent the admission of the so-called Republic of Kosovo to UNESCO, struggling not only against untruths, injustices and double standards, but also against the intense lobbying and pressure by sponsors of Kosovo’s request with all countries that have not recognized the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo to at least abstain in the vote.

Voting procedure in UNESCO is specific; only the votes cast in favour and those against are counted, but not the abstentions. So, only a two-thirds majority of those voting in favour and against the motion will suffice to Kosovo, and not a two-thirds majority of all who voted. That is why Kosovo’s request passed through at the Executive Council of UNESCO, although it did not have a majority of votes.

Therefore, the statement by Bojan Pajtic that the government is making a mockery of it, even though it knows that Kosovo does not have a two-thirds majority, is the culmination of the political hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, because at the time of their government Kosovo became independent and was already recognized by 86 countries. Instead of engaging in the honourable struggle for the protection of the Serbian cultural and religious heritage, Bojan Pajtic and the Democratic Party use Kosovo as the topic for the attacks on the Serbian Government and Prime Minister Vucic and an escape from the harsh reality that today’s opposition in Serbia is
one of the most irresponsible, least capable and weakest in the Serbian history, both recent and remote.”

Entry into Serbia without coronavirus test and commission permission
Ensemble of National Theater from Belgrade in Shanghai
Dacic: “Support of EU partner countries of the Central European Initiative is very important to us”
EU Integration Process of the Republic of Serbia
Hungary strongly supports Serbia’s European integration and opening of new chapters
Statement by Minister Dacic at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP)
Serbia makes its contribution to the China-CEEC Forum
Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic
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