International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Serbian Energy Minister: Lithium study before the referendum

June 12, 2021

Serbian Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic stated that the citizens of Serbia will be informed about all the facts and results of the studies related to the "Jadar" project before they will have the opportunity to vote on it in a referendum.

„Certainly, the citizens will have the final say in the referendum, but they must know all the data. The state is responsible, we will be completely clear and show all the facts. We still don’t know what the impact on the environment will be, because the study has not been completed,“ Mihajlovic stated in a statement.

According to her, lithium is a development opportunity because it opens the possibility for Serbia to get a chain of production of lithium, lithium batteries and an electric vehicle factory.

„It’s an opportunity to have an average salary of between 5,000 and 12,000 euros in that area. Everything will be made public, and according to what we know so far, if we decide to do so, it will be an underground exploitation mine, new technologies will be used and most of it will be digitized. It is certain that all regulations, not only domestic but also European in terms of environmental protection, will have to be respected,“ said Mihajlovic.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-energy-minister-lithium-study-before-the-referendum/

Serbian Interior Mnister: Arrested police inspector failed the polygraph test

June 12, 2021

Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said Saturday that the arrested inspector of Organised Crime Unit, Bozidar Stolic, failed on all issues of the polygraph examination.

According to the statement of the Ministry of the Interior, Vulin said that Stolic, who was ordered to be detained for up to 30 days, committed an act of betrayal and that all those who do so will go through the same as their clients.

„All of us who fought and who are fighting against all organized criminal groups in our country could have been liquidated, destroyed with our families, as far as the police chief, employed in the Service for the Fight against Organized Crime, Bozidar Stolic is concerned,“ Vulin pointed out.

Vulin noted that thanks to him, Radoje Zvicer, Veljko Belivuk and Marko Miljković received information, while Zvicera continued to be informed „after this infamous, criminal organization Belivuk – Miljković finally and definitely fell.“

„He gave information about his friends, about the people he worked with, with whom he fought, or at least they believed that he was their comrade-in-arms – for money. Since the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, declared war on crime, we have not had a more difficult moment, and the most difficult thing is when you see that the man with whom you shared bread betray and sell you for a handful of cash,“ the Minister stated.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-interior-mnister-arrested-police-inspector-failed-the-polygraph-test/

Interior Minister: Belivuk and Zvicer groups capable of destabilizing Serbia

June 12, 2021

Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin stated on Saturday that organized criminal groups of Veljko Belivuk and Radoje Zvicer are capable of destabilizing entire countries and that the subject of destabilization in Serbia would be the "removal" of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

During a guest appearance on TV Prva, Vulin said that some secret services help such criminal groups transport drugs across the ocean and distribute them for the sake of political destabilization of countries „that are disobedient.“

„Is there a better way to destabilize a country without liquidating the highest official, is there a better way than using that money to bribe officials, or to use that money to infiltrate some people into fan groups that can gather a large number of young people on the street without them even asking why,“ said Vulin.

Speaking about the alleged leader of the „Kavac clan“, Radoje Zvicer, who is on the run, Vulin said that Zvicer „sneered“ at Vucic because he led the fight against crime, „before which he was a respectable citizen of Montenegro and a caterer.“

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/interior-minister-belivuk-and-zvicer-groups-capable-of-destabilizing-serbia/

Croatia logs 125 new COVID-1 cases, 9 deaths

June 12, 2021

In the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered 125 new COVID-19 cases while nine people have died, the national COVID-19 response team said on Saturday.

There are currently 1,128 active cases in the country, including 408 hospitalised patients, 35 of whom are on ventilators.

A total of 358,504 cases of coronavirus have been registered in the country since the outbreak of the disease in February 2020 and 8,132 of them have died. A total of 349,244 people have recovered, including 195 in the past 24 hours.

Currently 6,445 people are in self-isolation.

To date a total of 2,074,221 people have been tested for the virus, including 4,701 in the past 24 hours.

By 11 June a total of 2,087,157 doses of vaccines were administered. So far 1,401,647 people have received at least one dose while 685,510 have received both shots.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/croatia-logs-125-new-covid-1-cases-9-deaths/

Kosovo returns two Belgrade busses from border crossing

June 12, 2021

Two buses with visitors, heading from Serbia to Serbian communities in Kosovo on the night between Friday and Saturday, were returned early in the morning from Jarinje, Kossev writes.

Based on the document issued to them this morning at the crossing, it is stated that the reason is that no request for an organized visit was submitted.

One of the organizers, Marko Jelic from the Independent Association of Students from Belgrade, told Kossev that they have been organizing visits to monasteries and monuments in Kosovo for years and that they have never announced their visits.

He said that they were familiar with the procedures at the crossings and that they followed them when they arrived at Jarinje.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-returns-two-belgrade-busses-from-border-crossing/

Scientist: Serbia has just over one percent of world’s lithium

June 12, 2021

The construction of the Rio Tinto mine in the Jadra Valley "is not a referendum question at all", and Serbia does not have ten, but slightly more than one percent of the world's lithium reserves, said Biljana Stojkovic, a professor at the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade.

„Germany has almost three times bigger stocks, and it does not allow those things to be done on its territory,“ Stojkovic told N1.

She said that even during the previous administration speculations regarding Serbia’s lithium reserves were „inflated“, and that the scientific fact that Serbia has only about one percent of the world’s reserves was hidden.

Stojkovic added that ecology can be a „capsule that can start a serious change“ in Serbia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/scinetist-serbia-has-just-over-one-percent-of-worlds-lithium/

NBS: Credit rating of Serbia BB +, with prospects for further increase

June 11, 2021

The Standard & Poor's agency kept Serbia's credit rating at BB +, with stable prospects for further increasing and obtaining an investment rating, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) said on Friday.

In the decision, the agency said Serbia’s credit rating was supported by the NBS credible monetary policy and a moderate level of public debt.

The agency added the significant resilience of Serbia’s economy in previous years and the fact that the country did well in the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic with significantly smaller macroeconomic imbalances compared to the period ten years ago had strengthened the country’s economy and created space to react quickly and with adequate measures right at the beginning of the crisis.

The agency said the NBS kept inflation at a low and stable level below two percent for many years before the pandemic outbreak.

It added the indicators of economic growth of Serbia’s economy in 2020, despite the pandemic, recorded a decline of only one percent. It already exceeded the pre-crisis level in the first quarter of this year.

The agency expects that the share of the fiscal deficit in the GDP will be on a declining path again from next year, to which the growth of economic activity will significantly contribute.

It added that foreign direct investments, which were largely directed to export-oriented sectors, entirely covered the current account deficit for six years.

The NBS added that it could be realised with the continued inflow of foreign direct investments, which increased the export capacities of Serbia’s economy.

As factors that may affect the rating increase in the future, the agency sees the further improvement of balance of payments movements, which may be even better than the current projections.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/nbs-credit-rating-of-serbia-bb-with-prospects-for-further-increase/

Slovenian professor says PM Jansa does same with media as Serbia’s Vucic

June 11, 2021

Professor and the head of the Journalism Department at the University of Ljubljana, Marko Milosavljevic, spoke to the Euronews TV about the various ways in which he said Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and his associates threatened media freedom and democracy in the country, drawing a parallel with what Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic did in his country.

He said that the entry of Hungarian funds and owners was increasing in Slovenia, with the help of some party financing, Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) had founded more than 20 media in the last few years.

„Those are relatively small media, but they only repeat and reinforce the messages that the party wants to convey. They also control the largest website in the country, which Slovenian Telecom owns. Here we see a similar pattern, as in Serbia, for example,“ Milosavljevic said.

He added that „Vucic in Serbia, as is well known, uses Telekom Srbija for many of his media plans, including the obstruction of the opposition media, such N1.“

Milosavljevic said that a similar pattern exists in Slovenia, „with the sale of the largest website, which was stopped last week because Hungarian investors made a weak economic offer, only two million Euro.“

„On the other hand, the offer was also made by the multinational corporation United Group, which operates in Serbia, and is not exactly friendly with Vucic. So, it was clear that Vucic and his ally Jansa would not support the sale of that website to such an owner and would not allow the website to be sold to anyone other than Hungarian investors. That is what happened,“ he added, describing the media situation in Slovenia as „poor.“

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/slovenian-professor-says-pm-jansa-does-same-with-media-as-serbias-vucic/

RTS: No consent within EU on opening new chapters with Serbia in June

June 11, 2021

The European Union member states did not give the green light to Serbia to open new clusters in the accession negotiations with the bloc this month but agreed on holding an intergovernmental conference to present new methodology in the talks and next steps in the process, Serbia’s state RTS TV reported, quoting sources from Brussels.

The new enlargement methodology groups chapters into six thematic clusters, and cluster four, whose opening has been announced, deals with transport policy, energy, environment and trans-European networks.

The decision to hold the political inter-governmental ‘explanatory’ conference seems like a compromise in a sign of support of Belgrade to continue with reforms that could lead to new clusters being open at some future meeting, RTS said.

The sources told RTS that the European Commission (EC) advocated the opening of clusters three and four on June 22, arguing Serbia showed results and that the opening would encourage further improvement in the area of the rule of law.

However, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Croatia and Bulgaria maintained more time and concrete results were needed for opening new clusters. Some countries also insisted on Serbia’s insufficient compliance with the EU foreign and security policy.

Keeping in mind the EC view and strong support of some EU member states for opening new clusters, the EU will try to encourage Belgrade after 18 months without any chapter opened, RTS reported.

The EU opened accession talks with Serbia in January 2014. Out of 35 chapters, Belgrade opened 18 and temporarily closed two.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/rts-no-consent-within-eu-on-opening-new-chapters-with-serbia-in-june/

RFE: Serbia supports EU’s Declaration against Belarus

June 11, 2021

Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported on Friday that Belgrade supported the European Union Declaration against Belarus' decision to redirect Rayan Air flight to Minsk and arrest journalist Roman Protasevich.

EU adopted the Declaration on May 24, allowing the member states and candidate countries to join later, RFE said.

It added official Belgrade had not published the decision and the EU had not confirmed it either.

RFS said that an EU webpage was updated on June 9 and that it could mean Serbia adjusted its stand on that day at the latest.

It is not clear if the support of the Declaration also meant the support of the announced sanctions.

EU Declaration says the redirection of the plane and the arrest was yet another Belarus’ regime attempt to silence all opposition voices.

It also called on Protasevich’s urgent release and an international probe into the incident.

Besides Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania were the Western Balkans’ countries that supported the Declaration.

Serbia also supported the EU Declaration against Belarus in 2020, which said the country’s citizens „showed wish for democratic changes,“ but that the presidential elections last year „were neither free nor fair.“

However, RFE recalled that Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic then said she hoped Belarus’ President Aleksandar Lukashenko „won’t be angry“ with Serbia.

Russia currently hosts joint military exercise ‘Slav Brotherhood 2021’ with Belarus and Serbia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/rfe-serbia-supports-eus-declaration-against-belarus/

Kosovo’ Kurti: Serbia to accept Kosovo’s independence reality

June 11, 2021

Albin Kurti, Kosovo's Prime Minister, told the MPs on Friday his Government's goal in the dialogue with Belgrade was for Serbia "to accept the reality that Kosovo is an independent state" and to "start establishing the responsibility for the crimes committed" in the 1988-1999 war.

Kurti asked the opposition to support him in the dialogue with Belgrade on the normalisation of relations but failed to give more details about the talks with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic due in Brussels on June 15.

„It’s a problem now with an election cycle starting in many important decision-making centres. That makes the process extremely sensitive and unpredictable. At the same time, there is an idea that Kosovo is in a hurry to resolve its status. We are independent, and the time can change the reality in Serbia so that it admits its crimes and our independence, and not to change it,“ Kurti said.

He said the European Union should pressure Serbia.

In the meantime, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Friday the meeting within the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will be held next Tuesday morning, June and that it would be followed by a news conference.

The meeting will be mediated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and the EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak, the EEAS statement said.

The opposition leaders criticised Kurti for talking about the dialogue and saying no word about the next steps in it. They said he behaved irresponsibly and was not ready for the negotiations.

„What has happened with Serbia’s apology before the dialogue; what has happened with war damage, with missing persons, with an internal dialogue about talks with Belgrade? You’re going to Brussels on Tuesday without any conditions,“ Lumir Abdixhiku, the leader of the Kosovo Democratic League, said.

Ramush Haradinaj, the head of the Alliance for Future of Kosovo, said: „I see the leader who chose to avoid us, to hide… “

Kurti replied he was not there to meet the opposition MPs expectations but those of Kosovo’s people and that the debate was about the dialogue so far, not about its next phases.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-kurti-serbia-to-accept-kosovos-independence-reality/

Russian ambassador: Serbia is friendly, fraternal state, most reliable ally

June 11, 2021

At the Russian Day's reception in Belgrade, Aleksandar Bocan-Harchenko, the Russian Federation's ambassador to Serbia, praised his host country as Moscow's most reliable ally.

„Serbia is a great, friendly, fraternal state for us, the most reliable ally in which we have many trusts especially due to the relations between our presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Vladimir Putin,“ Bocan-Harchenko told the reception at the Russian Embassy.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, and other high-ranking officials attended the reception.

Vucic and Vulin wished Russia, the Russian people and Putin further development and prosperity.

Bocan-Harchenko said he expected new joint projects in infrastructure, transport and energy projects in the development of the cooperation between Serbia and Russia.

He added the Russian Federation supported Serbia in respecting international law and protecting its sovereignty and integrity.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/russian-ambassador-serbia-is-friendly-fraternal-state-most-reliable-ally/

Serbia allows Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for 12-15 years olds

June 11, 2021

Serbia’s Medicines and Medical Devices Agency said on Friday it had approved the use of Pfizer anti-coronavirus vaccine for children of 12 to 15 years of age.

“The medical conditions and the highest expert criteria regarding safety and efficiency of the vaccine are met, and it can be used for children between 12 and 15 years of age,” the Agency said.

In March, Pfizer said its vaccine proved safe and effective for children of that age.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbia-allows-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-12-15-years-olds/

OSCE head in Serbia to UNS: You’ll have our support in fight for media freedom

June 11, 2021

Jan Braathu, the head of the OSCE mission in Serbia, said on Friday his organisation would support journalists in the country in fighting for media freedom and improving the safety of media people.

Visiting the Association of Serbia’s Journalists (UNS), he said OSCE backed the work of the Press Council.

The meeting agenda included the Group for Journalists’ Protection and Safety and the implementation of the Media Strategy in Serbia.

The talks also focused on local media in the country and the need to deal with their problems more efficiently.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/osce-head-in-serbia-to-uns-youll-have-our-support-in-fight-for-media-freedom/

Serbia’s indebtedness grows – for one own 1.69 borrowed Dinars

June 11, 2021

The total liabilities of companies in Serbia reached 10,758.8 billion Dinars, according to the final accounts of companies and entrepreneurs for 2020, analysed by the Business Registers Agency (APR) in the 'Annual Report on Business Operations in 2020,' published on Friday.

The level of total indebtedness increased from 1.56 in 2019 to 1.69 in 2020, which means that an entrepreneur uses 1.69 Dinars of borrowed money for one Dinar of own capital.

With more intensive borrowing, the total liabilities of companies increased by 10.4 percent and, according to APR, to hit 10,758.8 billion Dinars, while the total loss increased by 8.5 percent, reaching 3,818.5 billion Dinars.

„The financial capacities of the economy increased last year, but the total losses also went up. The economy borrowed more to overcome the difficulties in business, and the problem with maintaining liquidity, which was present in previous years, was slightly alleviated last year,“ Ruzica Stamenkovic, of the Register of Financial Reports in APR, said.

She added that when the coronavirus pandemic significantly increased the business risks, Serbia’s economy managed to record profitability and employment, with an increase in financial capacities and liabilities and losses.

The business assets of companies have increased, and their value is 17,178.2 billion Dinars, while the capital has risen to 8,029.5 billion Dinars.

„The analysis of those data also shows that the companies’ sources increased by two percent in the past year and reached the value of 6,382.1 billion Dinars,“ the APR statement said.

The total profit of companies amounts to 433.5 billion Dinars and is higher by 20.7 percent than last year, and the number of employees increased by 43,592 workers.

(1€ = 117.44 RSD)

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-indebtedness-grows-for-one-own-1-69-borrowed-dinars/

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