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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.

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

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

The President pointed out that Serbia had a growth of 5.2 percent in the first quarter, while the Eurozone was at minus 3.2 percent, in the second quarter Serbia had a 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 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


 
 
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!


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


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