International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

SBB favourite Internet provider in Serbia, young people’s most wanted employer

February 12, 2021

The research by Belgrade Youth Fair and the Employer Branding agency declared on Friday SBB as the most favoured Internet provider among people in Serbia between 18 and 30 years of age, and one of the most wanted employers in the IT sector in the country.

SBB has again proved that its users can rely on the quality of top innovative services and that they recognise and appreciate it.
Besides the users’ satisfaction, the company’s priority is the contentment of its employees, professionals, experts and educated young people who work responsibly.

Among the SBB employees, 46 percent are with the company for over five years, and 28 per cent for over a decade. Among the managers, 38 percent are younger than 40.

As the company says, that is why young people recognise SBB as one of the most wanted employers in Serbia.

SBB offers its users an exclusive TV content on its N1, Nova S, Sport Klub, Pikaboo, Vavoom channels and some of the most-watched talk shows.

The latest, accurate and unbiased news is broadcast daily on N1 TV, the only media in Serbia trusted by over 60 per cent of viewers polled by the Centre for Media Researches and the second on the most influential media list among Serbia’s young population.

SBB will continue to show it can face all the challenges, meet its users’ needs and take care of its employees’ happiness.

SBB is a part of the United Group as is N1.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/sbb-favourite-internet-provider-in-serbia-young-peoples-most-wanted-employer/

Serbian FinMin says government adopted documents for new aid package

February 11, 2021

Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said on Thursday that the government had adopted all the documents needed to launch the third package of aid to help the economy deal with the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the laws needed to implement the aid will be adopted in April.

He said the package is worth 249.4 billion Dinars and includes three payments of 50 percent of the minimum wage per employee, once-off payments of 60 Euro to all adults, and 50 Euro to every pensioner as well as new loans as part of the guarantees scheme for the economy. The minimum wage payments will start on April 8, he said adding that the payments will be for the March, April, and May salaries, the minister specified and added that companies will have to apply for every payment. “There are two conditions – they can’t lay off more than 10 percent of their staff within the three months following the last payment and if they apply for the payments they lose their right to dividends (from state-owned companies),” he said.

According to Mali, the minimum wage payments will be made for a total of 1.4 million employees because the aid package has been expanded to include big companies. He said the catering and tourism industries and car rental companies will get another payment of the entire minimum wage.

The minister said that last year’s loan guarantee scheme will be expanded by another 500 million Euro and another guarantee scheme will be set up for the companies with the biggest problems.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-finmin-says-government-adopted-documents-for-new-aid-package/

Serbia invites offers for fast track trains

The Serbian Construction, Traffic, and Infrastructure Ministry published a tender for electric trains capable of speeds of up to 200 km/h, the eKapija portal said on Thursday.

The three trains will be used on the Belgrade-Novi Sad-Subotica line. They have to be at least 100 meters long with a minimum of 300 seats, LED lighting, handicapped facilities, two bars, WiFi, sound system, and visual monitoring, the tender said, adding that control, diagnostics, and steering will use CAN and Intranet connections. The offers have to include maintenance and operation training.

The first train has to be delivered by October 31 and the remaining two by December 31, 2021, with a two-year warranty and obligation for the supplier to do software maintenance. The offers have to include bank guarantees of 3 percent of the offered price, eKapija said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbia-invites-offers-for-fast-track-trains/

RERI sues Serbia’s power company for thermal power plants’ pollution

February 10, 2021

Serbia's Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institut (RERI) filed a lawsuit with the Belgrade Higher Court on Wednesday against the country's power company EPS, charging it to endangering public health by pollution from its thermal power plants.

Jovan Rajic, a lawyer and the RERI Managing Board president, said the pollution from two thermal plants, ‘Nikola Tesla’ and ‘Kosotolac,’ spread across Serbia’s borders and added their sulfur dioxide emissions were six times higher than permitted.

The National Plan for Reducing Emission (NERP) set the allowed emissions until 2027.

„The lawsuit demands EPS to adjust the emissions to the permitted level form 2021-2027,“ Rajic said. The aim of the reduced emissions should affect the people’s health, he adds.

Rajic said the lawsuit was the first of the kind in Serbia and that the law article it was based on had been in force for quite some time, but that no one had so far used it in a form and size of the RERI’s suit.

He added the Court was the last instance RERI addressed to after it tried to alert the Environment Ministry’s inspection which provided different excuses for not checking the complaint, saying EPS did not violate the regulations.

After it became clear the inspection would reveal nothing, RERI was left with no option but to file the lawsuit, Rajic said.

According to him, the lawsuit is backed by experts’ opinion, based on the international findings, which say the two thermal power plants annually emitted 300,000 tons of sulfur dioxide. In comparison, some 150 power plants in the European Union emitted only twice as much – about 600,000 tons.

Rajic said RERI did not exclude the possibility of addressing international courts.

However, he said he expected that decarburization would be mandatory in the whole of Europe, but that Serbia should do it on its own before being forced to which would be much more expensive.

Rajic said that similar lawsuits in Europe had „different success,“ significantly „in the countries with fragile democracies which more depend on coal like Poland and Bulgaria.“

„In democratic countries like England, two verdicts for air pollution were passed against London last year alone, since a court only dealt with the facts and laws,“ Rajic said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/reri-sues-serbias-power-company-for-thermal-power-plants-pollution/

Serbian central bank says reserves total 13.6 billion Euro in January

February 10, 2021

The National Bank of Serbia (NBS) said on Wednesday that its gross hard currency reserves were at the level of 13.6 billion Euro at the end of January, 111 million Euro more than at the end of December 2020.

The NBS said that it had sold 105 million euros net on the inter-banking foreign exchange market to maintain the relative stability of the Dinar exchange rate.

According to the NBS, net hard currency reserves, not including the hard currency held by commercial banks as mandatory reserves and other assets, stood at 11.28 billion Euro at the end of January and were 153.2 million Euro higher than at the end of 2020.

The value of the Dinar against the Euro remained virtually unchanged in January, it added.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-central-bank-says-reserves-total-13-6-billion-euro-in-january/

Serbian power company raises staff allowances following price rise

February 10, 2021

The Serbian national power company (EPS) is raising the food and vacation allowances for its employees following a rise in electricity prices as of February 1.

The daily food allowance was increased from 300 to 400 Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) and the vacation allowance from 32,300 Dinars to 40,000 Dinars net.

The Energy Ministry said in a written statement that those allowances are part of the rights enjoyed by EPS staff and regulated by collective contract. N1 has learned that EPS employees have not received those payments yet because the collective contract was signed just days ago by Minister Zorana Mihajlovic and the EPS Union.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-power-company-raises-staff-allowances-following-price-rise/

World Bank approves €56 mn loan to Bosnia for pandemic support

February 8, 2021

The World Bank (WB) has approved a €56 million loan for Bosnia and Herzegovina as support to small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

A loan contract was signed in Sarajevo on Monday by BiH Finance Minister Vjekoslav Bevanda and WB Country manager for BiH Emanuel Salinas with the loan earmarked for a project to support the recovery of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) and relieve the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“60% of the loan or €33.6 million is intended for the BiH Federation entity and 40% or €22.4 million for the Republika Srpska entity. The loan terms are favourable, with a maturity of 15 years including a 5-year grace period,” Minister Bevanda explained.

The development banks in the two entities will secure support through special credit lines for companies affected by the crisis in the past year.

BiH's entire economy is faced with grave consequences because of the pandemic and the country has recorded a huge drop in GDP.

According to the country's statistical office, in the first half of 2020, GDP contracted by 3.7% compared to the same period in 2019. Indicators for all of 2020 are still not available, however, the trends in the second half of the year were even more unfavourable and it is estimated that the fall in GDP could be even higher.

At the same time, BiH has recorded a fall of 17.5% in exports, with imports having fallen at a similar rate.

Private consumption has fallen by 4%, however, public spending has increased by 0.5% which can be attributed to the higher costs of financing the health sector and the need to support the economy and bail it out during the first wave of the crisis.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/world-bank-approves-e56-mn-loan-to-bosnia-for-pandemic-support/

Deputy Mayor says city metro to cost 4.4 billion Euro

February 8, 2021

Belgrade Deputy Mayor Goran Vesic said on Monday that the city metro will cost some 4.4 billion euros to build.

“A metro means that we will develop different parts of the city, reduce the number of buses, develop the BG Train and create an environmentally acceptable public transport. A metro means that we will live in a metropolis,” he told B92 TV.

He commented on opposition criticism of the project asking if “anyone normal can be opposed to the idea of a city of two million people having a metro”.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/deputy-mayor-says-city-metro-to-cost-4-4-billion-euro/

Chinese Zijin sells two tonnes of gold to Serbia’s National Bank

February 5, 2021

The Chinese ‘Srbija Zijin Cooper’ company said on Friday that in 2020, it earned 698 million Dollars by selling its products on the domestic and foreign markets, and sold more than two tonnes of gold to the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), the state RTS TV reported.

The largest foreign buyers included China, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia and Italy.

Last year, the company earned an additional 245.7 million Dollars by selling other goods – gold, silver, platinum, palladium, selenium and copper sulfate.

In the same period, 15.4 tonnes of silver were exported to China for ten million Dollars. At the same time, 11 kilograms of platinum and almost one hundred kilograms of palladium were sold in Switzerland, with a total value of about seven million Dollars.

Almost a thousand tonnes of copper sulfate, worth 1.7 million Dollars, were sold on the domestic market in 2020 and exported to Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria.

In January 2021, the company sold goods worth 65.6 million Dollars.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/chinese-zijin-sells-two-tonnes-of-gold-to-serbias-national-bank/

Air Serbia moving to JFK Terminal 1

February 5, 2021

Air Serbia said on Friday that it would be moving from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 at New York’s JFK International Airport as of June 3 this year, adding that the terminal is only for international flights.

It said that Terminal 1 will be the biggest and state of the art terminal at the airport following reconstruction, four times bigger than now, it said. „We are proud to join the home of all main international airlines. Our passengers will be able to enjoy more space and smaller crowds, and in the near future, once the reconstruction is finished, Terminal 1 will be the most luxurious ones in the whole of New York and the surrounding area,“ the press release quoted George Petkovic, VP Americas, Air Serbia as saying.

Air Serbia started informing passengers about the change in terminals by test message, on its website and social media accounts. The Serbian national air carrier operates two weekly flights to New York, on Thursdays and Saturdays, with plans to increase the number once the pandemic stabilizes.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/air-serbia-moving-to-jfk-terminal-1/

FinMin says Serbia saved millions through swap transaction

February 5, 2021

The Finance Ministry said on Friday that Serbia has saved 16.5 million Euro by reprogramming a debt through a swap transaction with the Kuwait Investment Authority, converting Dollars to Euro at a significantly lower interest rate.

Serbia will repay the reprogrammed debt, contracted at an interest rate of 1.5 percent, in Euro at an interest rate of 0.393 percent saving some 16.5 million euros, a press release said.

It said that the share of Dollars in the overall public debt has been reduced from 13.1 to 12.3 percent.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/finmin-says-serbia-saved-millions-through-swap-transaction/

Serbia’s public debt at 56.8 percent of GDP

February 5, 2021

The Finance Ministry said on Friday that Serbia’s public debt totaled 26.6 billion Euro or 56.8 percent of the GDP at the end of 2020.

The public debt was unchanged at the end of December compared to November 2020, it said.

The country’s public debt at the end of 2019 was 23.94 billion Euro or 52 percent of the GDP.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-public-debt-at-56-8-percent-of-gdp/

Serbia’s 2020 budget deficit 8.3 percent of GDP

February 5, 2021

The Finance Ministry said on Friday that Serbia’s budget deficit totaled 459.1 billion Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) in 2020 or 8.3 percent of the GDP.

The ministry said that was 24 billion Dinars or 0.5 percent of the GDP better than planned, specifying that the budget income stood at 1,257 billion Dinars and expenditure at 1,716 billion. It said that the deficit in December last year was 84.3 billion Dinars.

The fiscal deficit at the overall state level in 2020 was 442.8 billion Dinars with a primary deficit of 332.6 billion. The ministry said that the deficit at the overall state level was eight percent of the GDP or 0.9 percent better than planned at 49.5 billion Dinars.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-2020-budget-deficit-8-3-percent-of-gdp/

Over 1,000 Croatian companies invested some € 900 million in Serbia

February 4. 2021

Over a thousand companies from neighboring Croatia had so far invested 900 million Euro in Serbia, while the two countries had an annual trade exchange of nearly a billion Euro, Marko Cadez, the head of Serbia's Chamber of Commerce, said on Thursday.

„Many Croatian firms have bought Serbia’s companies, and an increasing number of firms from Serbia has been successfully investing in Croatia. The economic cooperation had not stopped even when political relations between two countries had been tense,“ Cadez told Croatian Hrvatska Rec weekly.

Cadez added that 1,039 Croatian companies in Serbia employed some 10,000 workers.

As of 2017, the two countries’ trade exchange has been around a billion euros. In 2019, Serbia exported goods worth 568 million Euro, while it imported products worth 518.5 million Euro from Croatia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/over-1000-croatian-companies-invested-some-e-900-million-in-serbia/

Floating waste removed from Potpecko reservoir on Lim river

February 4, 2021

Tons of floating waste has been removed from the Potpecko reservoir on the Lim river, the Serbian Environmental Protection Ministry said on Thursday.

The operation to clean up the reservoir which was flooded by garbage early in January after heavy rains. Serbian Minister Irena Vujovic met online with her counterparts in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina to organize the cleanup of the Lim and Drina rivers.

The ministry said that other long-term measures would be put in place to solve the problem, including the construction of a waste dump and disposal of existing landfills. Vujovic is quoted as saying that the waste in the Lim and Drina rivers are a problem that Serbia can’t solve without its neighbors, adding that the important thing is to find a lasting solution through regional cooperation.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/floating-waste-removed-from-potpecko-reservoir-on-lim-river/

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