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

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

The President pointed out that Serbia had a growth of 5.2 percent in the first quarter, while the Eurozone was at minus 3,2 percent, in the second quarter Serbia had a growth of 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 for months.                                       

He said that the state made significant efforts to procue 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 anly 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, ge 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 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 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 Herzegovna 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 smaler 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


2 January 2021 Minister Selakovic: New ambassadors will be appointed this year, but the goals remain the same

This year, Serbia could finally have Ambassador 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, emphasiying that the work is being done gradually, becaause 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 Amassador in Beijing'', Selakovic said.                         

The Minister, who took over the foreign policy sector in the Government a little over two months ago, p;oints 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 hat 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 tht 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 mantains 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 in the future.                                         

In this context, he states that the so-called ''mini-Schengen'' initiative for market unification of the region, which originated fromAleksandar 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 denominatior, 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 wya 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 limate in bilateral relations with the United States - the most important country in the world, as our lacing communication with them in the past seriously affected te 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 whic we must strive,and not give up in doing so, to find what we have in commont, 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


29 Decembar 2020 President Vucic: Serbia to remain on the course of a winning policy of stability

Preservation of peace, taking care of the health and better living standard are key for Serbia in 2021, underlined President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic, convinced that even though the completion of this ambitious and by no eans 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 teh 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 dow on criminal groups, but also to ensure even bigger investments in the police and army forces.                        

"Serbia is the country that recorded the highest growith 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 rase its credit rating to an "investment" one, which will ut 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 thos 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 actvities to attract foreign investors will continue, then that work will be done on investments in agriculture, primarily the food industry, new machinery, and digitaliyation of agriculture.            

President Vucic also emphasized that the goal is for salaries in teh 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 Serba 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 test performed.                            

Speaking about tourism, the President said taht, 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 implementaton 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 Kosova 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 purse a policy of peace in the region and will endeavour to cooperatie with Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica and others.


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