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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



EC’s Stano expects Belgrade-Pristina energy agreement soon

June 17, 2022

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told Radio Free Europe that he expects Belgrade and Pristina to sign a final agreement on energy next week.

Stano said in a written statement to RFE that the European Union expects negotiators from Belgrade and Pristina to finalize the issue in Brussels next week. Serbian negotiators met with officials of the Kosovo power grid company (KEDS) in Istanbul last week for talks attended by EU officials. A Turkish consortium has been managing KEDS since 2013.

Kosovo and Serbia signed an energy agreement in 2013 under which the Elektrosever company would have been in charge of billing but that company was never formed and the residents of the four majority-Serb municipalities in the north of Kosovo – Mitrovica North, Leposavic, Zvecan and Zubin Potok – have not been paying their power bills for more than 20 years. KUDS reported losses of 40 million Euro in 2021 alone.

Pristina’s chief negotiator Besnik Bislimi confirmed early this week that an energy agreement is near.

EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak to Euronews Albania that an important agreement would be reached by Belgrade and Pristina next week, adding that he hopes Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti will meet in Brussels before the summer break.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/ecs-stano-expects-belgrade-pristina-energy-agreement-soon/

Brnabic: Change negotiating position over demand to recognize Kosovo

June 17, 2022

Outgoing Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Friday that Serbia’s negotiating position with the European Union should change if recognition of Kosovo is the condition for membership.

“We have been told that Serbia should not be surprised that an increasing number of people in the EU are saying it can’t become a member unless it recognizes Kosovo,” Brnabic said that Prespa Forum in the North Macedonia lake resort of Ohrid. She said that changes the goals adding that the recognition statement came from Croatian President Zoran Milanovic and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

That is not what we have in the official negotiating position, she said showing the audience a copy of the negotiating position including Chapter 35 on the normalization of Serbia-Kosovo relations.

According to her, no one from the EU ever officially said that this would be a condition for membership, Brnabic said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/brnabic-change-negotiating-position-over-demand-to-recognize-kosovo/

SNS nomination for Belgrade mayor draws criticism

June 17, 2022

The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) Presidency decided to nominate Aleksandar Sapic for Belgrade mayor, drawing criticism from the opposition and observers.

The decision was released by outgoing Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, herself a high-ranking SNS official, at a news conference after the meeting. The party presidency also decided not to keep Goran Vesic in the post of Deputy Mayor, replacing him with Vesna Vidovic. Brnabic said that Sapic was the only contender. Sapic, a former national waterpolo team player, headed the New Belgrade municipality for several years before merging his party into the SNS.

The Belgrade City Assembly is scheduled to meet on Monday, June 20 to decide on the nomination. The SNS and its allies hold a majority in the Assembly.

Opposition Don’t Let Belgrade D(r)own official Dobrica Veselinovic said that Sapic “is in gray zones at all levels”, adding that he is “not fit to be mayor”. “He kept quiet about destruction in the city, did nothing about construction without permits and the destruction of green areas,” he said. Veselinovic said that Sapic was in a conflict of interest because he can’t hold the post of head of New Belgrade municipality and occupy a seat on the Belgrade City Assembly.

Danas daily journalist Safeta Bisevac said that she does not expect Sapic to do anything good as mayor because “he will have to implement his party’s policies”. “The best thing for Sapic would be to use his term in office to tackle his New Belgrade municipality like he said during the election campaign,” she said recalling illegal construction in New Belgrade and problems with floating restaurants.

Nova S journalists Zeljko Veljkovic said that Sapic does not have the predisposition to be a good mayor, adding that he will use his position to push forward projects in his own interest or in the interest of the SNS.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/sns-nomination-for-belgrade-mayor-draws-criticism/

Russian Ambassador sees no change in Serbia’s attitude

June 17, 2022

Russian Ambassador Alexander Bocan-Harchenko told N1 that he sees no fundamental change in Belgrade’s attitude towards Moscow.

Speaking live on the Iza Vesti (Behind the News) show, the ambassador said that the European Union is forcing Serbia to impose sanctions but itself remains one of Russia’s biggest international trade partners.

Speaking about changes in Serbia’s attitude towards Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, the ambassador said that Moscow was disappointed by some things such as Belgrade’s vote in favor of a UN resolution condemning the invasion. “We are maintaining friendly relations and seeking to understand the real reason for that,” Bocan Harchenko said. “It would be stupid to say that we are indifferent. We are disappointed but we fully understand the reason why Serbia had to vote as it did. It was forced because of the unbelievable pressure from the West beyond every understandable limit,” he added.

Bocan Harchenko said the Serbia never suffered that kind of pressure from Russia, adding that his statement that imposing sanctions would cause economic and social harm is not a form of pressure. According to him, Serbia-Russia relations are at the level of 8 out of a possible 10. “We never start from the fact that we are a great power when building relations, let alone with a friendly country. Our friendship is built on mutual interests and respect,” he said.

The Ambassador said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Belgrade was cancelled from the outside by those who do not want Serbia to conduct an independent foreign policy. “The visit would have strengthened Serbia’s position and Lavrov could have expressed our views on Kosovo and Republika Srpska,” he said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/russian-ambassador-sees-no-change-in-serbias-attitude/

Coronavirus UPDATE: No deaths, 337 new cases

June 16, 2022
The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily bulletin on Thursday that there were no deaths from coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours.
It said that 6,547 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 337 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The total number of people tested to date stands at 9,815,229 with 2,021,601 confirmed cases.
The bulletin said that there are 81 hospitalized cases, including 9 patients on ventilators.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-no-deaths-337-new-cases/

Dodik says he has high expectations from his upcoming meeting with Putin

June 16, 2022
Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, who is attending the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg where he met with Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, said he was expecting a lot from his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin.
He assessed his meeting with Russian FM as a sort of a preparation with the meeting with the Russian president.
“We have some more important topics to discuss, they are certainly of economic nature. I will try to find out what I am interested in regarding the politics, his assessments and observations, for how long it might last, how will the world look like afterwards,” said Dodik, according to the public broadcaster in Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity, RTRS.
Lavrov thanks Dodik for Serb stance on sanctions
He said “we must think about what is going to happen with us in the new constellation of relations.”
They told us they are not abandoning their friends, that they still stand with their friends who share the same values and those are the identity values related to people, state and everything that matters. I am very pleased with the fact that things here are evolving in accordance with earlier plans and that I am going to talk to Putin and Gazprom general manager tomorrow already,” he underlined.
Speaking of his meeting with Lavrov, Dodik said they also discussed the European Union's military deployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EUFOR/Althea mission.
“They do not want the stability to be jeopardised in Bosnia and Herzegovina and they will absolutely rationally approach this matter at the (UN) Security Council. I am convinced that our stance will be followed and approved in a way, about extending Althea and that this is something that can build some sort of trust in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Dodik.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/dodik-says-he-has-high-expectations-from-his-upcoming-meeting-with-putin/

Russian ambassador-Status of Republika Srpska among top foreign policy goals

June 16, 2022
The status of Republika Srpska remains one of the most important foreign policy goals of the Russian Federation, regardless of all problems that Russia is currently facing, Russian ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said in Belgrade on Thursday.
Speaking at a book promotion at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, the ambassador said it was Russia's commitment to fight for the preservation of Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-majority entity, and its rights, which was clearly affirmed in the talks of President Vladimir Putin, his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic and Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Milorad Dodik.
He said he was “perfectly aware” of the attempts to rule out Russia from solving the problems related to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he assessed as “impossible, just like it is not possible to solve the Kosovo issue without Russia, which is permanent member state of the UN Security Council.”
He assessed the preservation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the deal which ended the Bosnian 1992-95 war and introduced the country's constitutional system, as the most important task not only in the region but in the whole Europe if Europe wants this part of its continent stable.
“However, all developments ordered by Washington, Brussels, NATO and EU, foremost the so-called appointment of the so-called high representative as well as other decisions pose a continuation of the annulment of the Dayton (agreement) in a wish to centralise Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Botsan-Kharchenko, referring to the international peace envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina whom Russia does not recognise.
According to him, the most dangerous goal of those activities is to reduce or eliminate special relations between Republika Srpska and Serbia which are, as he said, brotherly and natural.
“Which is why the fight for the preservation of the Dayton agreement and its principles matters. Only based on the Dayton (agreement), Bosnia and Herzegovina can remain decentralised country, with preserving of Republika Srpska in full scope and capacity,” he underlined.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/russian-ambassador-status-of-republika-srpska-among-top-foreign-policy-goals/

Lavrov thanks Dodik for Serb stance on sanctions

June 16, 2022
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov thanked the Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Milorad Dodik for his stance on sanctions against the Russian Federation at a meeting in St. Petersburg on Thursday, as Dodik himself said that BiH had not joined the sanctions.
Lavrov and Dodik met on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, where the Bosnian Serb leader is due to meet with President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
As reported by the Serb entity's broadcaster, Republika Srpska Radio Televizija RTRS, Lavrov thanked the Serb member of the BiH Presidency for his views regarding the sanctions against Russia.
“I know that there are many of those in BiH who want to destroy the friendship between Republika Srpska and Russia. I had hoped we would meet in Belgrade, but you know why, unfortunately, that did not happen,” Lavrov said during the meeting with Dodik.
Dodik in Russia, announces meeting with Lavrov
Lavrov was to have visited Belgrade last week and met with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić and Dodik, but the visit was cancelled after his plane was banned from flying over neighbouring countries.
In a statement to the media, Dodik said that the West is angry because BiH has not imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation, and that the Serb side is under strong pressure because of that.
“We are under serious pressure, especially regarding the conflict in Ukraine. We are being asked to join the sanctions against Russia, but Republika Srpska will not allow that,” Dodik said. He added that he was attending the International Forum in St. Petersburg as a representative of the Republika Srpska entity.
Addressing the forum Dodik said that BiH remains unstable because it is under the protectorate of the Western world.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/lavrov-thanks-dodik-for-serb-stance-on-sanctions/

Dodik at St. Petersburg Forum-West wants to take control of Russia's resources

June 16, 2022
Speaking at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on Thursday, the Bosnian Serb member of BiH’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, said that Bosnia did not join sanctions against Russia because its Republika Srpska (RS) entity did not allow it.
“We are under serious pressure, especially in regard to the conflict in Ukraine. We are asked to join the sanctions against Russia, but Republika Srpska does not allow that,” said Dodik, according to RTRS.
Dodik, who is also the leader of the ruling party in the semi-autonomous Serb-majority entity said, declared that he is participating in the St- Petersburg event as a representative of Republika Srpska.
He said that “BiH remains an unstable country because it is under the protectorate of the Western world.”
Dodik said that the world is in a serious crisis that requires serious analysis, and that there is a very high level of mistrust at the global level. The crisis in international relations stems from “decades of unresolved conflicts,” he said.
Dodik said the West never stopped going further to the East or gave up its intention to control Russia's resources. He said that “the conflict in Ukraine is being waged to the last soldier, all in order to weaken Russia and take control of its resources.”
He stressed that the world today has only three true leaders, the presidents of Russia, China and Turkey – Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/dodik-at-st-petersburg-forum-west-wants-to-take-control-of-russias-resources/

Doris Pack-Western Balkan countries need politicians truly committed to EU path

June 16, 2022
The European Union neglected the Western Balkans in recent years and now, in light of the war in Ukraine, the EU should "rethink" how the path towards EU membership for aspiring countries should be built, former European Parliament Member, Doris Pack, told N1.
“What we in the last years didn’t do is now the problem. We were not really engaged in the Western Balkans. We were not outspoken enough,” she said, noting the although reports on the situation in regional countries were presented each year, the EU did not push local political leaders to do what is necessary.
Pack said, however, that it seems such a policy is still ongoing in regard to the Western Balkans, although this is not what is needed.
She argued that what the region truly needs is politicians who are truly committed to EU integration and willing to do what must be done in order to reach that goal, instead of “only speaking” about it.
She noted that now Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are also seeking EU membership.
“I think this brings us now into new situation now. The war in Ukraine cannot allow us to say no to Ukraine, or even to Moldova, Georgia. So I think we have to rethink how the way to the European Union should be built, as the entire process as it has been in the past few years “didn’t mean anything” for citizens or politicians in countries aspiring to join the EU.
Pack also commented on many other ongoing issues in region. The entire interview, in English, can be seen in the video above.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/doris-pack-western-balkan-countries-need-politicians-truly-committed-to-eu-path/

Slovenian President to Michel-BiH should get unconditional EU candidate status

June 16, 2022
Slovenian President Borut Pahor has sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel calling for an accelerated enlargement process to the Western Balkans and for Bosnia and Herzegovina to receive unconditional EU candidate status.
In his letter, Pahor noted the situation in the Western Balkans, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in light of Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the effects of the war on European security, as well as the European Union as a guarantor of security and stability.
“Although I sincerely support all efforts to give Ukraine and Moldova candidate status, I am increasingly concerned about the situation in the Western Balkans, for which we have always proclaimed a European perspective, but which is moving further and further away,” he wrote.
Pahor wrote that “the most obvious negative consequences” of this can be seen in BiH, adding that “nationalism and tendencies to change borders are growing, and all that leads to even greater instability, which endangers the security not only of BiH and its immediate neighbourhood but also of the European Union.”
Pahor argued that BiH should, of course, be expected to meet all the conditions that are necessary, but “the order should be different – so first candidate status should be granted, and then the conditions should be fulfilled.” He expressed the belief that this would strengthen the pro-European forces in the country and the dynamics of internal adjustment to European norms.
“I am sincerely convinced that the European Union is the answer to all the questions of the Western Balkans. Therefore, I ask you to take concrete steps towards a faster enlargement process in the Western Balkans, especially granting candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Pahor wrote.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/slovenian-president-to-eu-council-bih-should-get-unconditional-candidate-status/

Anti-fascists protest over destruction of Partisan Memorial Cemetery in Mostar

June 16, 2022
Locals in Mostar, as well as a number of people from Croatia, participated in a peaceful protest at the Partisan Memorial Cemetery on Thursday where 700 monuments were destroyed by unknown perpetrators two days ago.
“This is our common heritage. The red line has been crossed,” said the head of SABNOR, the umbrella association of anti-fascists and WWII veterans in Bosnia, Sead Djulic, adding that the destruction of the cemetery, officially a National Monument of BIH, represents an attack against the state itself.
He argued that there is a reason why it happened in this particular moment.
“All this should be viewed in the context of changing the law on the Ministry of the Interior in our canton, the results of the Brussels meeting and the continuous policy of Dragan Covic,” he said, accusing the leader of the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) party of propagating “ideas of neo-fascism and neo-Nazism in BiH.”
Djulic said that the generations that inherited anti-fascist ideas of peace, freedom and equality of all, must continue to promote them.
Among those protesting were 17 Croatian citizens, anti-fascists and veterans of the Homeland War, who said that what happened affects not just one country, but of the entire region, Europe and the world.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/anti-fascists-protest-over-destruction-of-partisan-memorial-cemetery-in-mostar/

Dzaferovic at Global Baku Forum-Intl community prevented worst scenario in BiH

June 16, 2022
Thanks to multilateral action and the work of the international community, “the spillover of war from Ukraine to Bosnia and Herzegovina has been prevented,” but more caution and determination are needed in order to ensure long-term stability in BiH, the Chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, said at the IX Global Baku Forum on Thursday.
At the forum, entitled “Challenges to the global world order”, Dzaferovic spoke about the way the world should respond to world crises such as migration, the pandemic and the aggression against Ukraine.
“We all bear the consequences of global crises globally, although we are not all equally responsible for them,” he said.
“The answer is logical and simple, but unfortunately because of the world, as it is today, it is difficult to achieve. We all know that the answer lies in greater justice, unity, solidarity, international law, and strong and effective multilateral mechanisms. However, it seems there is no way to achieve that. After every crisis, we say never again, yet they are constantly repeated, and humankind is responsible for that. Therefore, using the authority of the Baku Forum, we must constantly emphasise these things and be persistent in the fight for a better world,” he said.
Dzaferovic said that the Balkans and the South Caucasus are similar in that both are “crossroads – places where different worlds meet.”
“Often these places, being at the crossroads of the great empires, were the scene of conflict. But at the same time, they were places where civilisations and cultures meet. It is thanks to these meetings that new paradigms have been created in these places,” he said.
Dzaferovic argued that an example of this is Bosnia and Hercegovina.
“My country is not one of the great powers of the world, but it is an extremely important country, even in a global context, precisely because of its paradigm. For centuries, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been home to communities belonging to different cultural and civilizational circles: Islamic, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, Jewish, etc. Throughout its history, Bosnia and Herzegovina has developed as a community of diversity, developing special social practices and institutes, unknown to monoethnic societies,” he explained, adding, “knowledge and respect for other people's religious and traditional customs, as well as cultural syncretism and other practices, have over time become an integral part of the Bosnian identity that people in BiH are proud of.”
He argued that “something unexpected happened” throughout the past few decades, through globalization, major economic migrations and other processes.
“Multiethnicity, which to many seemed a deviation specific to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans, has become a feature of developed modern societies. It is now quite normal for people of all races and many cultures to live in one society. The whole world has become a crossroads,” he said.
The BiH Presidency member argued that whether states should be multiethnic is no longer a question, as they already are.
“The only question is how to organise life in them, for the benefit of all their members. The same is true of societies in the world, the same is true of the world as a whole, as a global society,” he said.
“The global order, as we have known it for decades, was founded after the end of World War II, as a counterbalance to the Nazi project which was aimed at destroying multiethnic societies, eradicating or enslaving entire nations, and regulating international relations through the principles of force and domination. The awareness that all parts of the world are interdependent, and that regional crises can turn into world crises, has prompted the international community to establish global institutions and an order based on rules. The mission of the United Nations, defined in its founding acts, is to ensure international peace through dialogue, tolerance and pluralistic awareness,” Dzaferovic said.
However, he argued that today, following the experiences of the pandemic and the aggression against Ukraine, it is often argued that multilateral institutions are unable to respond to the challenges of the era.
“We are witnessing a violation of international law,” he said, noting that “this process has not started now” and that the greatest failure after WWII was experienced by the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, between 1992 to 1995.
“For the first time since the founding of the UN, a war was launched on European soil aimed at forcibly seizing part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and exterminating the Bosniak people, as a community which was supposed to be protected by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide,” he said, explaining that, at the very beginning of the war in BiH, the UN Security Council “imposed an unjust embargo on arms imports to Bosnia and Herzegovina, preventing us from exercising our right to self-defence under the United Nations Charter.”
Meanwhile, the UN did not protect BiH, one of its members, as it was exposed to “brutal aggression from the neighbourhood,” he said.
“The fact that for more than three and a half years, mass crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina were committed in the presence of the United Nations military force, UNPROFOR, has ruined the credibility of this world organization. Finally, in July 1995, despite the presence of UNPROFOR, the Srebrenica genocide was carried out, the largest massacre on European soil since World War II, in which more than 8,000 people were killed in just a few days,” he said, adding that international institutions were able to prevent this but did not do so due to failure to indecisiveness.
“I see the greatest failure of the United Nations today in the fact that nobody expects them to stop the aggression against Ukraine and crimes against the civilian population. The adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the aggression in Ukraine is an important act, but if it entails all the ability of the UN, then there is no doubt that the system must be reformed. International peace and the inviolability of the borders of sovereign states cannot be held hostage by the vetoes of privileged states,” he said.
Dzaferovic then went on to speak about BiH, explaining that the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the war, was signed after NATO intervention based on a Security Council resolution, and was implemented thanks to the presence of NATO troops and the international community. The civilian aspect of the implementation was conducted primarily through the Office of the High Representative, the international official who has the powers to annul acts contrary to the Dayton Agreement and to sanction officials who violate this agreement, he explained.
Dzaferovic said that “the effectiveness of the international community in BiH has been demonstrated in recent months,” noting that, when the authorities in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity launched “a series of secessionist activities, seeking to overthrow state institutions” that ensure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, such as the army, justice institutions and tax authority.
“Members of the Peace Implementation Council have imposed sanctions on those responsible for secessionist activities, and the High Representative has used his powers to repeal acts contrary to the Dayton Accords, making a crucial contribution to stabilising the situation. Thanks to multilateral action and the work of the international community, the worst-case scenario has been prevented – the spillover of war from Ukraine to Bosnia and Herzegovina. But to ensure long-term stability we will need much more caution, wisdom and, above all, determination,” he said.
“I spoke about the challenges to the global order mainly through the example of my country, because the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina clearly shows that – when multilateral mechanisms fulfil their mission, things move forward and peace can be protected,” Dzaferovic said.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/dzaferovic-at-global-baku-forum-intl-community-prevented-worst-scenario-in-bih/

Serbian minister meets Russian deputy PM in St Petersburg

June 16, 2022
Serbian cabinet Minister Nenad Popovic and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said that the two countries will invest maximum effort to secure unobstructed trade.
A press release from Popovic’s cabinet said that they met in Saint Petersburg on the fringes of the 25th international economic forum SPIEF2022. Popovic and Borisov are co-chairs of the Serbia-Russia Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee.
The press release quoted them as saying that solutions have to be found in day to day communication for the difficulties of exporters, especially in the transport of fruits, vegetables and other food. They expressed satisfaction with the high level of bilateral relations. Popovic said that Russia is Serbia’s fourth foreign trade partner.
“Serbia remains on the European path but we are expressly against the introduction of Sanctions against Russia and Serbia’s membership in NATO that bombed us,” Popovic said. He added that Serbia will continue protecting its interests in terms of Kosovo with Russia’s support as well as the Republika Srpska’s Dayton powers.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-minister-meets-russian-deputy-pm-in-st-petersburg/

Serbian FinMin says pensions to rise twice

June 16, 2022
Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said on Thursday that pensions would be raised later this year and again at the start of 2023 by 18-20 percent, adding that the decision to raise the minimum wage will be taken on September 15.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said earlier this week that pensions, the minimum wage and public sector salaries would be raised early next year at the latest.
A Finance Ministry press release quoted Mali as saying that taxes on salaries would be lowered and public sector salaries increased by at least 10-11 percent. He added that public finances are completely stable.
According to Mali, Finance Ministry officials will meet with International Monetary Fund experts on Friday to discuss changes to the formula used for pensions which would allow them to rise faster.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-finmin-says-pensions-to-rise-twice/

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