International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

EU to invest 80 million Euro to fight pollution in Kosovo

December 20, 2019

The European Union said on Friday that it would invest more than 80 million Euro to improve air quality in Kosovo, Pristina media reported.

According to EU officials in Kosovo, Pristina has been one of the most polluted cities on Earth over the past few days with school children wearing face masks and activists putting face masks on monuments to Mother Theresa and former US State Secretary Madeleine Albright.  

The EU and Kosovo authorities signed an agreement to reconstruct the Kosovo B thermal power plant 10 kilometers from Pristina and upgrades to central heating systems for 2,000 households.  

Kosovo Environment Minister Fatmir Matoshi said that state institutions no longer use coal for heating and added that the practice of rewarding power company employees with bags of coal was no longer in place.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a554233/EU-to-invest-80-million-Euro-to-fight-pollution-in-Kosovo.html

Prices rise two percent in first three quarters

December 20, 2019

Year on year prices rose by two percent on the average in the January-September 2019 period, the Serbian Statistics Office said on Friday.

The biggest overall rise in consumer prices in that period were for unprocessed food and in the services industry, the Statistics Office said in its latest quarterly report.  

The biggest rises were in the prices of food, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a554173/Prices-rise-two-percent-in-first-three-quarters.html

Third quarter unemployment rate lower in Serbia

December 20, 2019

Serbia’s unemployment rate was lower in the third quarter than in the second quarter of 2019, the Republic Statistics Office said on Friday.

A total of some 2.9 million people were employed in the third quarter of the year and 308,400 over the age of 15 were registered as unemployed, the Statistics Office said in its quarterly report.  

The unemployment rate in the third quarter stood at 9.5 percent compared to 10.3 percent in the second quarter. The number of people registered as unemployed dropped by 25,600 in that period.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a554171/Third-quarter-unemployment-rate-lower-in-Serbia.html

Average monthly salary higher in third quarter

December 20, 2019

The average monthly salary in Serbia in the third quarter of 2019 stood at 54,285 Dinars (1 Dinar – 118 Euro), the Republic Statistics Office said on Friday.

According to the latest data released by the Statistics Office, that is 10.9 percent nominally higher than the same period a year earlier and 9.5 percent in real terms.  

The average monthly salary was also lower by 0.5 percent nominally than in the second quarter of 2019 and 0.2 higher in real terms.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a554167/Average-monthly-salary-higher-in-third-quarter.html

WB: Serbia can reach 7 pct growth with reforms in next years; IMF: 4 pct in 2020

December 19, 2019

Linda van Gelder, the World Bank (WB) Regional Director for Western Balkans, has said Serbia could reach seven percent of economic growth if it implements a new programme of reforms, the news agencies have reported.

However, the WB warned that not a single country in Europe had a seven percent growth in consecutive years and that only the Baltic states and Poland recorded it occasionally.

The estimate for Serbia is based on the fact that since 2014, Belgrade managed to neutralise the budget deficit, to almost halve the unemployment rate and reduce the public debt to some 54 percent of the GDP, the WB said in a report.

Ekaterina Vostroknutova, a lead economist in the WB’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Region, said that Serbia could double its GDP in ten years if it had an annual growth of seven percent, while if it was five percent, it would take the country 14-15 years fro the same result.

On Thursday, The International Monetary Fund Executive Directors' Board said the third scrutiny of Serbia's economic agenda, supported by Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) ended successfully, the country's National Bank (NBS) said on Thursday, the Beta news agency reported.

The IMF added that Serbia continued to thoroughly implement the defined economic programme with good domestic growth factors, low inflation, healthy financial system, implementation of structural reforms and further reduction of the public debt's participation in the GDP.

The Fund projected Serbia's economic growth for 2020 at four percent.

The Bank warns that “Serbia’s manufacturing industry needs three times more workers to produce the same product than an EU average company requires."

According to the WB, Serbia needs to raise public and private investments to five and 20 percent of the GDP respectively, i.e., to a total of 25 percent of the GDP, instead of current 19.4 percent.

It must be followed by increased efficiency of the investments.

The country needs to improve workforce qualification since it lacks adequate workers. Serbia should work on promoting its export, on financially helping expending companies more, improve the business environment and empower the competition.

However, the WB said that the current productivity growth of one percent per year was not enough to reach the GDP of seven percent.

It also said that if the country reduced the state presence in the economy, especially by cutting down its part in the ownership or suspend favourable status that state companies enjoyed and lessen the obstacles to the competition, it could save at least one percent of the GDP.

The Bank added that the state aid was “excessive and wrongly distributed to unproductive state companies."

The reduction in that aid from one to 1.5 percent, the Bank said, and its transfer into more productive businesses, like public investments, would increase the economic growth.

Also, the higher level of education needed in the private sector would increase the GDP for 1.3 percent, the WB said.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a553751/Serbia-can-reach-7-pct-growth-if-implements-reforms-WB-says.html

WHO: Over 6,000 people in Serbia die annually due to air pollution

December 16, 2019

Marian Ivanis, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday that more than 6,000 people in Serbia died yearly from the consequences of the air pollution in the country, the FoNet news agency reported.

In an interview with the Belgrade Danas daily, Ivanis said that in the polluted air the microparticles were most dangerous.

They enter deeply into the lungs and then spread through the organism carried by the blood.

Those damages blood vessels and causes stroke and heart attack, but also asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer, according to Ivanis.

He said the level of pollution depended, besides environmental protection and other factors, on the geographic position of a country.

"In Serbia, the air pollution rises during winter because of heating based on solid fuels," Ivanis added.

He said Serbia’s population was well informed about the air pollution since there was information which people could follow and adjust their life to that.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a552767/Air-pollution-kills-over-6-000-people-in-Serbia-per-year.html

Expenses higher than income in Serbia, Statistics Office says

December 16, 2019

Household expenses were higher than income in the third quarter of the year, the Serbian Republic Statistics Office said on Monday.

According to the latest statistics data, households had an average income of 66,909 Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) while expenses totaled 67,131 Dinars.

Wages accounted for 51.2 percent of overall monthly household income, pensions for 33.4 percent, income from farming, hunting and fishing 4.3 percent, other income 2.9 percent and social security payments 2.8 percent.

On the expenses side, money was mainly spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages (34.4 percent), housing, water, power, gas and other fuels (15.5 percent), transport (nine percent), communications 5.3 percent and health care 4.6 percent.

The Statistics Office polled 1,562 households across Serbia to collect the data.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a552973/Expenses-higher-than-income-in-Serbia-Statistics-Office-says.html

Vucic and Johnson's excavator begin work on Moravian Corridor

December 15, 2019

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic attended the start of the construction of the Moravian Corridor near Krusevac, and “Putevi Srbije” director Zoran Drobnjak said the excavator, located on the construction site, was driven by the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 Vucic announced that the highway from Pojate to Krusevac would be completed in two years, at the end of 2022 (the Cacak – Kraljevo section) and that the Kraljevo - Krusevac section would be completed by 2023. According to him, driving from Belgrade to Krusevac will take an hour and a half in only two years.

He added he was proud of everything that has been done so far and emphasized that "We will be able to go everywhere via highways."

Construction of the 112.3-kilometre Pojate-Preljina (Moravian Corridor) highway has begun near Krusevac, and works should be completed in four years. The road will connect all major cities of central Serbia with more than half a million people - Cacak, Kraljevo, Vrnjacka Banja, Trstenik, Krusevac, Stalac and Cicevac, as well as Corridor 10 and the Milos Veliki highway (Corridor 11).

The Pojata-Preljina highway will consist of three sections: Pojate-Krusevac (27.83 kilometres), Krusevac-Adrani (53.88 kilometres) and Adrani-Preljina (30.66 kilometres).

The maximum allowed speed on that road will be 130 kilometres per hour, and it will have 11 loops and 130 other structures, 71 bridges, 23 overpasses, five underpasses and 31 culverts.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a552585/Vucic-and-Johnson-s-excavator-begin-work-on-Moravian-Corridor.html

Bosnia and Serbia sign Belgrade-Sarajevo highway cooperation agreement

December 13, 2019

Bosnia and Serbia have signed a cooperation agreement on the construction of the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway on Friday in the Serbian capital and a joint body which will work on the project is expected to be formed within the next month.

Both Bosnia ‘s Deputy Transport and Communications Minister, Sasa Dalipagic, and Serbia’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Zorana Mihajlovic, called the project “very important” for their countries, with Mihajlovic explaining that the Friday agreement means work on the construction of the highway should now be faster and more efficient.

Construction began in October during a visit by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is financing the project.

"For us, this is a road that should connect two countries, the peoples in those two states, a road we call the road of friendship, which should lead us to the future and not toward the past and all the problems we had," Mihajlovic said.

Bosnia’s Ambassador in Serbia, Aida Smajic, expressed her belief that bilateral relations between the two countries will surely increase with the completion of the project.

"With projects like this one, both countries show a clear commitment to their path toward the EU and that this is their strategic goal," she concluded.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a552182/Bosnia-and-Serbia-sign-Belgrade-Sarajevo-highway-cooperation-agreement.html

Russian gas to Serbia via Bulgaria in May next year

December 12, 2019

Moscow’s ambassador to Sofia Anatoly Makarov said on Thursday the Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov promised him the gas from Russia would start running to Serbia via ‘Turkish Stream’ on May 31, 2020, the FoNet news agency reported.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently criticised Bulgaria for delaying the contraction of its part of the ‘Turkish Stream.’ Borisov said his country respected the European Union’s rules and invited Putin to Bulgaria to see for himself.

On Thursday, Makarov said he asked Borisov directly: “When the gas from Bulgaria will continue to Serbia? And he said on May 31. All right then. I’ll inform Moscow (about the deadline).”    

Source: http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a551934/Russian-gas-in-Serbia-by-end-May-2020.html

Miskovic: authorities don’t know state of the economy

December 12, 2019

Serbian businessman Miroslav Miskovic told the latest issue of NIN weekly that the top state officials do not know the real state of the economy.

The Delta Holding owner said that President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic should talk to the local business community not just foreign investors.

“President Vucic and Prime Minister Brnabic should talk more to local business people, hear the real problems they face, listen to suggestions about the direction the economy should take and what laws are needed to achieve those goals. I think the top state officials actually do not have the right insight into the state of the domestic economy and knowledge is the foundation of progress,” Miskovic said.  

“Serbia will be a much happier country if people in business, the people who employ others and pay taxes are asked about economic policy,” he said.

According to Miskovic, a traditional fear of business people exists in Serbia and business conditions are created by “politicians with no experience, theoreticians with no experience in practice, just so that the people who know about business don’t get to do it”. “Is that logical,” he asked.  

Miskovic added that he does not know of any foreign economy advisor alongside the political advisors from Austria, Italy, the UK that the government and president have, adding that “this says enough”.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a551684/Miskovic-authorities-don-t-know-state-of-the-economy.html

FIAT Serbia plant stops production for 2019

December 10, 2019

The FIAT Chrysler Automobiles Serbia plant in Kragujevac has completed its production of the 500L for this year and will continue production in mid-January, a union leader said on Tuesday.

Independent Union leader Zoran Markovic said that production at the plant ended on Monday afternoon, adding that factory employees had more than 130 days of paid leave this year, not including their vacation time and state holidays.

He said talks are underway with the plant management for a new year bonus which has been paid to staff since 2010. “The bonus is a reward for achievement and we feel that we deserved it in 2019 because we met all management demands. It’s not our fault that production was lower this year,” Markovic said.

The Union said the factory management has not released the number of vehicles produced annually for the past three years. Media reports have quoted unofficial information according to which some 40,000 FIAT 500L have been produced in 2019 in Kragujevac which is just one fourth of the plant’s capacity.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a551090/FIAT-Serbia-plant-stops-production-for-2019.html

WHO says 3,600 people die of pollution in Serbia

December 09, 2019

The Senior World Health Organization (WHO) official in Serbia Marijan Ivanusa said on Monday that some 3,600 people die from the consequences of air pollution in the country every year.

Ivanusa told the Serbian state TV (RTS) that air pollution affects people with cardiovascular and lung ailments in some way depending on the level of air pollution and length of exposure.

According to WHO data, some seven million people die of pollution every year across the world, including half a million in Europe. Ivanusa said that regular measurements have to be conducted to inform the public about air pollution levels.

Air pollution levels across Serbia were high over the weekend, especially in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica, Nis and Valjevo with experts saying that the weather contributed to the high pollution levels.

The RTS said that the air in Belgrade was highly polluted on Monday.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a550834/WHO-says-3-600-people-die-of-pollution-in-Serbia.html

IMF official: Serbia’s growth result of higher demand, exports and investments

December 4, 2019

IMF Resident Representative in Serbia Sebastian Sosa told the FoNet news agency at a meeting of regional economic leaders on Wednesday that Serbia’s expected economic growth of up to four percent next year comes from stronger domestic demand and higher exports and foreign direct investments.

He said the IMF believes that unemployment will also drop along with a stable fiscal situation. Serbia has achieved progress in terms of macro-stabilization and lower instability and is expected to have a low deficit of 0.5 percent of the GDP next year, he said.

The IMF does not expect to see problems internally, he said and added that there could be risks from outside such as weaker economic activity in the European Union which is Serbia’s biggest trade partner and greatest foreign direct investor.

Sosa said the announced rise in public sector salaries is higher than recommended by the IMF but does not endanger the country’s macro-economic and fiscal stability. He added that the rise in private sector salaries is based on healthy criteria.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a549596/IMF-official-Serbia-s-growth-result-of-higher-demand-exports-and-investments.html

Czech Avia Prime purchases Serbia’s planes maintaining company

November 29, 2019

Serbia’s Economy Ministry decided to sell JAT tehnika planes maintaining company’s 99.4 shares to Avia Prime firm from Prague, media reported on Friday.

The Czech company and Swiss SR Technics were the only contenders.

Avia Prime has 100 percent of ownership in the Slovenian Adria Tehnika and Polish Linetech. Piotr Kaczor, Avia Prime CEO, said his company would try to put JAT tehnika at the highest world level in the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) services,” where it traditionally belongs.”

JAT tehnika is based at the Belgrade “Nikola Tesla” airport. Its worth is estimated at 20 million Euros, with the starting tender’s price at 10.2 million.

The price Avia Prime paid for is not published.

The previous public call was annulled.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a548082/Czech-company-buys-Serbia-s-planes-maintaining-firm.html

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