International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Minister: Trucks from Bosnia allowed to pass Croatian border despite new rules

May 27, 2021

Trucks carrying goods from Bosnia will be allowed to cross the Croatian border on roads where they would not be allowed to do so according to a recent decision by Croatia until the issue is completely resolved, ministers of both countries agreed on Thursday.

Croatia’s decision on the re-categorization of roads, which will take effect at the end of the month, was expected to cause immense damage to businesses in BiH.

According to the new rules, transit traffic would not be allowed for trucks exceeding 7.5 tons on some roads with border crossings between the two countries.

This means that transport companies from BiH that travel on those routes and transport goods that are exported or imported into the country would not be able to pass border crossings on roads covered by re-categorization.

The issue caused an uproar in Bosnia. BiH House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Denis Zvizdic, said that it could be an intentional move by Croatia to create “a new kind of pressure” on Bosnia.

Croatia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, and Bosnia’s Minister of Communication and Traffic, Vojin Mitrovic, discussed the issue on Thursday and announced an initiative to resolve the problem of the five border crossings in question.

“It was also agreed that until the issue is officially resolved, trucks from BiH can cross the disputed border crossings without hindrance,” Minister Mitrovic confirmed for ATV.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/minister-trucks-from-bosnia-allowed-to-pass-croatian-border-despite-new-rules/

Ex BiH Indirect Taxation Authority head gets nine years in prison for corruption

May 27, 2021

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sentenced the former director of Bosnia’s Indirect Taxation Authority, Kemal Causevic, to nine years in prison and ordered the confiscation of property worth 1.7 million Bosnian Marks (BAM) from him for abuse of office, money laundering and receiving bribes.

Causevic and 53 others were arrested in a June 2014 police operation dubbed ‘Pandora’. Among those arrested were numerous employees of the Indirect Taxation Authority, as well as those working at customs terminals. The indictment was confirmed in 2017.

Prosecutor Dubravko Campara assessed that it had been proven that Causevic had contacted textile traders Anes Sadikovic and Sedinet Karic at the beginning of 2007 and “agreed to favour their companies to the detriment of others.”

Campara noted that witnesses in the case said that Sadikovic and Karic, in return, gave Causevic 1,000 BAM per imported truck. He added that Causevic received more than 1.7 million in that way. Nearly 1.3 million BAM from Sadikovic, and about 425,000 BAM from Karic.

Sadikovic was sentenced to two years, while Karic to one year behind bars.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/ex-bih-indirect-taxation-authority-head-gets-nine-years-in-prison-for-corruption/

Intl community in BiH condemns Dodik's attack on political analyst Tanja Topic

May 27, 2021

The OSCE Mission to BiH and the Swedish Embassy in BiH on behalf of the OSCE 2021 Swedish Chairpersonship, the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the EU Delegation to BiH, the German Embassy in BiH, the U.S. Embassy to BiH, and the British Embassy to BiH strongly condemn the latest attacks on the personal and professional integrity of Banja Luka-based political analyst and journalist Tanja Topic by the Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik, the statement said on Wednesday.

Below is the full statement from the above-mentioned signatories:

“Threats and intimidation, as well as any kind of pressure, are absolutely unacceptable especially when expressed by high ranking political figures. Public officials are expected to set an example and serve as role models for respectful and accountable behaviour, and we use this opportunity to recall this obligation. Threats, insults, and misogynistic comments against media professionals which we have seen taking place across Bosnia and Herzegovina represent an attack on freedom of expression and on the democratic values of a society.

Such threats must cease immediately, and we expect the relevant authorities to guarantee freedom of the press and freedom of opinion, which constitute core values of the OSCE and the European Union and remain preconditions for any country that aspires to join the EU. The safety of journalists, analysts and media representatives must be ensured at all times.

We are encouraged that 11 non-governmental organisations have spoken out about the use of threats and intimidation and welcome efforts in BiH to speak out in protection of democratic values.”

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/intl-community-in-bih-condemns-dodiks-attack-on-political-analyst-tanja-topic/

Vucic says pressure over Kosovo will increase

May 27, 2021

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday that the pressure on Serbia would increase over Kosovo.

Speaking after lunch with the elders of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Vucic said that Greece is raising its relations with Kosovo to a new level. “We hope for friendship and that recognition will not happen,” he told TV Pink. Vucic said that talks had been held with the Greek Ambassador but that no steps were taken. “I pointed out the many dangers, the many important meetings about Kosovo and there is no doubt that there will be pressure on Serbia,” he said.

Vucic said on Tuesday that developments in relations between Athens and Pristina were not good news for Serbia.

Patriarch Porfirije and the Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church attended lunch with the president during a break in the Church Assembly at the St Sava Temple.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vucic-says-pressure-over-kosovo-will-increase/

Serbian regulator to sanction Happy TV regarding BiH concentration camp claims

May 27, 2021

The Council of the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) of Serbia decided to initiate the procedure of imposing measures against "TV Happy," in connection with the show "Good morning, Serbia", broadcast on February 22, this year.

According to the REM, the measures will be adopted in accordance with Serbia’s Law on Electronic Media.

Former concentration camp detainees Fikret Alic, Satko Mujagic and the Association of Detainees Kozarac filed a lawsuit after scandalous allegations by host Milomir Maric and his guest Predrag Antonijevic, director of the film “Dara from Jasenovac”, that people in Omarska concentration camp were thin due to tuberculosis and that it was a concentration camp from which people could leave whenever they wanted.

“Milomir Maric was the first to express the opinion that the camps were in fact open type camps from which anyone could leave, to which Antonijevic confirmed those allegations, mentioning ‘the skinny one from tuberculosis’ referring to Fikret Alic, the man behind the wire; from a photograph that went viral across the world in 1992,” the court charges said.

Serbia’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights also requested a reaction against the show.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-regulator-to-sanction-happy-tv-regarding-bih-concentration-camp-claims/

Telekom Serbia wins Tax Authority contract

May 27, 2021

Telekom Serbia heads a group of companies that have been awarded a contract to set up an e-fiscalization system in the Tax Authority worth almost 10 million Euro.

The state-controlled telecommunications company heads the group which includes Serbian Business System doo and Wireless Media along with Omni Logika, Data Tech International and MD&Profy, all of them based in Belgrade. The contract is worth 1.15 billion Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars).

A post on the government’s public procurement portal confirmed that the Tax Authority gave the contract to the group headed by Telekom. The public procurement portal said that the contract was awarded to the sole bidder. The e-fiscalization system has to be launched by January 2022.

The winning bid was submitted just two minutes before the deadline on May 24. It included a 36 month guarantee on the equipment and a 45 day payment deadline. Telekom Serbia will be in charge of administrative and financial management of the project. Wireless Media will have a 25 percent share of the contract and will manage the project and be in charge of quality control, delivery of software licenses, implementation and integration of the system with the Tax Authority registry and integrated IT System. The Serbian Business System will have a 23 percent share and will be engaged on the delivery of equipment and licenses, installing and configuring equipment. Data Tech International will have a 30 percent share and will be engaged on installing, configuring, training and the integration of the advanced analytical platform with the Tax Authority registry. Omni Logika will have an 8.5 percent share and will be in charge of implementing the fiscal registry and integration of the single registry and integrated system in the Tax Authority. MD&Profy will have an 8.5 percent share and will implement the advanced analytical platform and integrate it with the Tax Authority system.

The Finance Ministry (which ordered the job) said that the job could not be divided into segments.

A group of companies headed by Telekom Serbia recently won a 7 billion Dinars contract to set up a central IT system to calculate public sector salaries. That job was also ordered by the Finance Ministry which secured budget funds for the contract.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/telekom-serbia-wins-tax-authority-contract/

Dacic wants international organizations to speak on constitutional amendments

May 27, 2021

Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic on Thursday called international organizations and diplomats to say whether they want to see changes to the parts of the Serbian constitution covering the judiciary.

Dacic called officials of the European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE and Western diplomats to voice their views clearly and inform opposition parties opposed to the proposed changes. He told a public hearing on the constitutional amendments that he does not want that issue, which he said is a condition for Serbia to achieve progress in the process of European integration, to turn into a political battle between the authorities and opposition. “This is not about a political battle but about independence of the judiciary,” Dacic said. “The paradox is that parliament wants the changes the most while judges and prosecutors are not supporting them. We get most of the criticism from the people who this concerns,” he said.

Dacic added that the EU officials were speaking up even though the amendments are in line with EU recommendations.

The public hearing was attended by represenatives of the EU Delegation, Council of Europe, OSCE, and the embassies of the United States, Great Britain, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Finland.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/dacic-wants-international-organizations-to-speak-on-constitutional-amendments/

Kosovo PM wants to visit Serbian Orthodox monastery Visoki Decani

May 27, 2021

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that he wants to visit the Serbian Orthodox Church monastery Visoki Decani.

According to Kosovo Culture Minister Hajrulah Ceku, Kurti wrote to Visoki Decani Abbot Sava Janjic saying that he would like to visit the monastery in the next few days and is waiting for a reply.

Ceku quoted Kurti as saying in the letter that the government is committed to protecting all cultural heritage, especially Orthodox churches. “A dialogue with the Orthodox clergy in Kosovo is the only way to a lasting solution,” the minister said.

Visoki Decani has been in the focus of attention over the past few months, amid claims that some of its property was being taken away to build a road and that it was not being protected although it is listed as part of the world heritage by UNESCO. The Abbot and Serbian authorities engaged in a war of words with the authorities in Pristina over the monastery.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-pm-wants-to-visit-serbian-orthodox-monastery-visoki-decani/

US Commerce Secretary’s tweet about Serbia draws varied reactions

May 27, 2021

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a Twitter post that Serbia is the economic engine of the region, drawing strong reactions from people from several parts of the former Yugoslavia.

“Serbia is the economic engine of the Western Balkans. We look forward to continuing and expanding our bilateral cooperation, particularly in ICT, infrastructure, healthcare, and clean energy,” Secretary Raimondo tweeted on the 140th anniversary of Serbia-US relations.

Reactions to her tweet varied from expressions of gratitude from some Serbians including Serbia’s Ambassador in Washington Marko Djuric to criticism of US policies over Kosovo, comparisons with the economies of other Western Balkan countries, claims that Serbia’s economy is not doing as well as Raimondo said and reminders of events in the wars of the 1990s as well as calls for US help to bring democracy.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/us-commerce-secretarys-tweet-about-serbia-draws-varied-reactions/

Agreement with Croatia: Donation of 30,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses for BiH

May 26, 2021

Bosnia’s Minister of Civil Affairs, Ankica Gudeljevic, signed agreements between BiH, Croatia and the AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company which will result in BiH getting a donation of 30,000 doses of vaccines against COVID-19.

“This created the necessary preconditions for the realization of the donation of 30,000 doses of vaccine against the COVID-19 infectious disease from the manufacturer AstraZeneca,” said the Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH.

The donation of the vaccines was announced during the recent visit of Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affair, Gordan Grlic Radman, to BiH. The Ministry of Civil Affairs said it is taking necessary actions to ensure that this donation is realized as soon as possible.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/agreement-with-croatia-donation-of-30000-astrazeneca-vaccine-doses-for-bih/

Sarajevo Canton PM: First shipment of Sputnik V vaccines expected in June

May 26, 2021

The Sarajevo Canton (KS) expects the first shipment of Sputnik V vaccines it managed to secure to arrive in June, KS Prime Minister, Edin Forto, said on Wednesday.

He noted that there were numerous problems in the negotiations because the Government of KS has no authority to negotiate on vaccine procurement so it managed to reach the manufacturer of vaccines against Covid 19 through wholesalers, TVSA reports.

Together with the Bosnian pharmaceutical company Bosnialijek, an agreement to procure the vaccines for a price of 9.95 USD per dose was reached.

Forto requested an urgent session of the KS Assembly, asking it to approve the agreement. He also asked the Government of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity to co-sign it.

Forto said the Sarajevo Canton will procure a total of 200,000 vaccines, while 300,000 vaccines are expected for FBiH.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/sarajevo-canton-pm-first-shipment-of-sputnik-v-vaccines-expected-in-june/

Coronavirus: Croatia reports 538 new cases, 21 deaths

May 26, 2021

Over the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered 538 new coronavirus cases and 21 related deaths, the national Covid-19 task force said on Wednesday.

The number of new infections was 66 percent up from the day before, when there were 323 new cases and 21 deaths. There are currently 3,112 active cases in the country and 1,034 patients in hospital care, including 102 on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, there have been 354,921 registered cases of the contagion and 7,971 deaths. A total of 343,838 people have recovered from Covid-19, including 424 over the past 24 hours. There are currently 12,360 people in self-isolation.

As Thursday, 1,608,291 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered, with 1,197,164 people having received at least one dose and 411,127 having received both shots. Croatia has a total population of about 4 million.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-croatia-reports-538-new-cases-21-deaths/

Sarajevo Canton to start issuing digital ‘vaccine certificates’ by Friday

May 26, 2021

In cooperation with the contractual system implementer Medit d.o.o. from Sarajevo, The Sarajevo Canton Health Insurance Institute will enable all residents to download the digital vaccination certificate, by the end of the week, so that they can be used for travel and other applicable purposes, Fena news agency reported Wednesday.

The download of the certificate will also be possible for persons who have been vaccinated outside the Sarajevo Canton, who have registered and submitted valid vaccination documents through a previously established application.

This certificate is easily verifiable from anywhere in the world either by scanning the QR code.

Citizens will be able to use the digital vaccination certificate for travel purposes, provided that the countries they travel accept the type of vaccine with which the person was vaccinated as well as this form of vaccination certificate, which depends on the border policy of each country.

In addition to the digital certificate, citizens will be able to download other documents related to Covid-19 through the same application – primarily the Decision of the Health Ministry on certain isolation due to Covid-19 as well as the Certificate confirming that the person recovered from Covid-19.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/sarajevo-canton-to-start-issuing-digital-vaccine-certificates-by-friday/

Bosnia registers another 145 coronavirus infections, 16 COVID-19 fatalities

May 26, 2021

A total of 145 new coronavirus infections and 16 COVID-19 fatalities were registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past 24 hours, healthcare authorities said on Wednesday.

Of the 2,063 people tested for the virus in Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity since Tuesday, 63 were positive and two COVID-19 patients passed away.

Healthcare authorities in the other semi-autonomous entity, Republika Srpska (RS), reported 73 infected among the 600 people tested, as well as 12 COVID-19 deaths.

Bosnia’s Brcko District reported nine new coronavirus cases, as well as two COVID-19 fatalities.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-registers-another-145-coronavirus-infections-16-covid-19-fatalities/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 10 deaths, 387 new cases

May 26, 2021

The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Wednesday that 10 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 6,811.

It said that 10,345 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 387 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 4,107,942 with 711,116 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 981 hospitalized cases, including 63 patients on ventilators.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-10-deaths-387-new-cases/

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