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Friday • June 13 • 2008

9 ISSN 1820-8339

771820 833000


No.Friday, 1 / Friday, June 2008 Weekly Issue Issue No. 14, Nov. 28 13, - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Brammertz’s WillSplits Caution Serbia Lure of TadicReport Alliance Socialists

Theprosecutor’sdraftreport,obtainedexlusivelybyBalkanInsight,stopsshortofsayingthatBelgradehasfullycooperatedwith While younger support joining a new,fugitives pro-EU old the war crimes tribunal inSocialists the Hague and says that handing over the remaining is still agovernment, key issue for the country. “The office of the prosecutor is Milosevic loyalists threaten revolt over the prospect. currently working closely with the

Socialist leader Ivica Dacic remains the Serbian kingmaker

to Serbia’s late president, Slobodan Milosevic, and reformists who want the party to become a modern Euroense negotiations on a new govpean social democrat organisation. ernment have divided the ranks After eight years of stagnation, of the Socialist Party, which holds the returned to centre stage the balance of power between the Brammertz believes there is still more toSocialists do. after winning 20 of the 250 seats in main blocs and has yet to announce parliament in the MayBalkan 11 elections. which they will support. tives from the 1990s wars. Byside Gjeraqina Tuhina InWith thethereport, Brammertz welpro-European and nation“It looks if the Socialists will inasBrussels comes the arrest of two Bosnian alist blocs almost evenly matched, move towards a government led by key report by the chief pros- war crimes suspects, Stojan Zuthe Socialists now arrested have the in final say the Democrats,” political analyst Mi- pljanin - who was June ecutor at the UN’s war crimes fate of the country. lan Nikolic, of theSerge independent Cen- - on andthewartime Bosnian Serb Presitribunal, Brammertz, believes the Socialists, led tre of Policy Studies, said. “But Radovan Karadzic, who was on Serbia’s cooperation with such the dentNikolic July. He says theyover “rep-to court, will stopprovoke short ofdeeper sayingdivithat arrested by Ivicain Dacic, will come a move might in SerBelgrade fullysplit cooperating, Tadic,important if only outmilestones of a pragmatic desions andiseven the party.”Balkan resent bia’s cooperation with office of the Insight has learnt. sire to ensure their political survival. Simultaneous negotiations held prosecutor.” In the draft copy of his report that “The arrests group of younger withbe thesubmitted pro-European national“The were carriedSocialists out by will to theand United Nagathered around to be ist blocs haveCouncil drawn attention to a the authorities of Dacic Serbiaseems and were tions Security on December of improved and effective 12, Brammertz stops short of saying the in result the majority”, Nikolic said, adding deep rift inside the Socialists. coordination thatThis Serbia is fully“old-timers” cooperating loyal with leadership that these and reformists believe between the party divides the International Criminal Tribunal political and judicial authorities and for the former Yugoslavia at The security services,” Brammertz states. He also praises the efforts of the Hague. Full cooperation is necessary THIS ISSUE government to improve coif Belgrade wants to pushOF on with its Serbian Business Insight operation with the tribunal and recEuropean integration.Insight Belgrade ognises that the Belgrade authorities The prosecutor emphasisISchief SUPPORTED BY: es that the critical area of coopera- are facing problems arresting the tion between The Hague and Bel- remaining two suspects because of conomists are previous warning governthat proof the grade remains the apprehension of shortcomings longed uncertainty over Serbia’s by Vojislav Kostunica. the two remaining war crimes fugi- ment led future could scare off investors, lead to higher inflation and jeopardise BUSINESS prosperity for years to come. yearand hasabeen lost, from the The Serbian market is starting to cial “This probity balanced budgof economic says feel the pinch of the global finan- et,standpoint and demands from policy,” the unions Stojan Stamenkovic the Economemployers for aof‘social concial crisis, and the government in and Belgrade is trying to balance the tract’ and ‘taxinholidays’ ics Institute ease the competing requirements of finan- pain. page 5 By Rade Maroevic in Belgrade



Costs Mounting


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authorities ensure access to party overtowhich wayfull to turn. the relevant documents,” Bram“The situation in the party seems mertz says. extremely as wethattry However, complicated, Brammertz notes to convince few remaining lagSerbia has not the done enough to help thegards tribunal theneed case to against thatinwe moveMomout of cilo Perisic, a former Yugoslav army Milosevic’s shadow,” one Socialist chief accused of crimes against huParty official complained. manity during the 1992-1995 war in “Dacic will eventually side with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tadic a bid to guide hisSerbia party into Wheninthe court ordered to produce documents relevantbut to much the the European mainstream, case, in hisand report, notes of Brammertz, the membership many offithat Serbia submitted a response that cials may oppose that move.” “the prosecutor considers to be inadNikolic agreed: “The question is equate and incomplete.” will party split or will ‘oldThe the chief prosecutor alsothe warns that witness remains a timers’ back protection down,” he noted. serious concern Serbia. menFearing theyinmight notHe cross the tions that the office of the prosecutor 5-per-cent threshold to enter parliacooperates closely with local authoritheissue Socialists teamed upthat with tiesment, on this but emphasises the Association of Pensioners the “witnesses in some cases have and been threatened and have tobusinessappear United Serbia Party,failed led by to man testify on a voluntarily basis.” Dragan Markovic “Palma”. “Because of the serious questions Pensioners leader, Jovan Krkobaabout the safety of witnesses in Serbia, Palma and prosecutor, Dacic are alltogether pushing thebic, office of the forthe a deal with the Democrats. with registry’s victims and witness section, continue to pursue Thewill reported price is the closer post of cooperation with the Serbian deputy PM, with a brief in authoricharge of ties to resolve these questions,” Bramsecurity for the Socialist leader. mertz says, according to the draft. In addition, the Socialists aretrip barBrammertz refers to his latest gaininginfor ministries, to Serbia his other conclusion, whereincludBelgrade in charge ofKosovo coordinaing officials capital investments, and tion with The Hague tribunal education, Belgrade media outlined reported. their strategy to bring the remaining Tadic has denied talk of horsewar crimes fugitives to justice. trading with the Socialists, maintain“Should these plans be successing that ministries would go only to fully implemented, the analytical capacity reinforcedto and necessary those committed working for the political support maintained, government’s “strategic goal”. additional results could be achieved,” At the same time, Dacic seems reBrammertz says. luctant to call off negotiations with The completion of cooperation the the nationalists. with Hague-based war crimes tribunal as areach giantan obstacle in “If stands we don’t agreement Serbia’s road to European integrawith the DSS and Radicals, the partion, with powerful European Union ty leadership will decide on future member states such as The Nethsteps”,insisting Dacic announced, following erlands that all remaining the firstbe session of country’s parfugitives brought to justice new before Serbia is allowed to apply to become liament on Wednesday. a candidate forInsight EU membership. Source: Balkan ( Mladic stands accused of genocide, including the murder of up to 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) civilians in Srebrenica during the 1992-95 war, while Hadzic, faces 14 counts of war crimes allegedly committed against Croatian civilians between 1991 and 1993.

faces extinction unless it changes. However, a strong current also flows in the opposite direction, led by party veterans enraged by the prospect of a deal with Tadic. Mihajlo Markovic, a founder of Photo by FoNet the party, recently warned of a crisis ifHe Dacic the pro-European saysopts the for agencies in charge have efforts to locate “natand bloc,increased abandoning the Socialists’ arrest former Bosnian Serb military ural” ideological partners. leader, Ratko Mladic and former Markovic, prominent Croatian Serb arebel leader,supporter Goran of Milosevic during the 1990s, is Hadzic. seen as representative “oldHe considers also thatofthethesearch fortimers” the fugitives andwho their support in the party want to stay networks is “more andpolicies, widetrue to the former active regime’s spread” and he takes into account the even though almost ruined the planning and these coordination between Socialists for good. different security services. Some younger Socialist officials “However, the work of the present authorities is complicated by the have voiced frustration over theneed contotinuing overcome the shortcomings the impasse within theirof own previous management of the civilian security services, in particular, their failure to analyse and act upon information obtained,” Brammertz argues. Neighbourhood Matters In the draft report, he also notes that Serbia has made progress in assisting the Office of the Prosecutor in terms of access to the archives, inhile the football worldaccess watchcluding progress on obtaining es security events unfold the Euro- Source: to the state agencyatarchives. pean Championships in Austria and Switzerland, Bosnia is experiencing NEIGHBOURHOOD a soccer rebellion, led by fans, players and formerofstars who arelitter enraged The practice throwing and by what public they see as corrupt leaders polluting spaces in Macedonia has long been common. However, of the country’s football association new laws may soon change this decleaders. ades-long habit. page 10

Football Rebellion


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Political Predictability

The government is expected to survive a no-confidence motion called Mark R. Pullen byBythe nationalist opposition, but there are fears that if the nationalists continue obstructing the work of parliament, the speed with which necessary European Union legislation is passed will slow down, jeopardising the country’s bid to join the EU.

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BELGRADE Even though a law was passed in 2005 prohibiting smoking in have enclosed arMany of us who experieas, people continueSerbian to light elections up in ofenced numerous fices, public transport and even rate on ourselves as pundits wheninit hospitals. Most notably, members of comes tohave predicting election reparliament been caught breaksults moves. ing theand verypost-election laws they passed, in the very We placefeel theyin-the-know passed them.because our experience of elections in SerPage 4 bia has shown us that (a.) no single party or coalition will ever gain the OUT & ABOUT majority required to form a government, and we (b.) explore political anegotiations This week, jewel of a city Belgrade - Pancevo. willclose nevertobe quickly concluded. Even when the Democrats achieved their surprising result at last month’s general election, it quickly became clear that the result was actually more-or-less the same as every other election result in Serbia, i.e. inconclusive. This is likely to continue as long as Serbia’s politicians form new political parties every time they disagree with their current party leader (there are currently 342 regPage 10 istered political parties in Serbia). Drawn-out negotiations are also the norm. One OUT Belgrade-based GOING Ambassador recently told smoky, me he Loud, intimate, sweaty and wasreporter also alarmed our thinks by he the maydistinct have found nirvana among in a clubSerbian called lack rock of urgency the Living Room. Living isRoom politicians. “The country at a seems to be more about standstill and I don’t camaraderie understand and playing music than about pertheir logic. If they so eager to forming on stage andare having perfect progress lighting andtowards sound. the EU and encourage investors, how come they Page 12 go home at 5pm sharp and don’t work weekends?” SPORT Surely the situation is urgent Rugby League may bea set takeoff enough to warrant littleforovertime. in Serbia. Several stalwarts of the game spoke exclusively to Belgrade Insight about the game’s prospects, in a country abundant with natural talent but no tradition.

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Think you know Belgrade?

Think again!

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008


Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

EU Reforms Face Parliamentary Delay

Whilethepro-Europeangovernmentlookslikelytosurviveano-confidencevotewithease,themoveraisesfearsthat the opposition is embarking on a policy of obstruction. By Julijana Mojsilovic in Belgrade

President of Parliament , Slavica Djukic Dejanovic and her deputy, Natasa Jovanovic ciple that Kosovo is a part of Serbia. But Zoran Stojiljkovic, a political analyst, told Balkan Insight that the attack is essentially opportunistic. “EULEX is as good a reason as any for the opposition to attack the government,” he said. “They are trying to remain in focus, and to be heard in the parliament and across the country.” Serbian state television broadcasts parliament sessions live. The EU mission had been expected to deploy in Kosovo in December following a recent debate at the UN Security Council. Stojiljkovic said that the Serbian nationalists were not likely to get their motion through, adding: “Even when you do not have a hypothetical chance of winning, you still have to try.” Nebojsa Spajic, another analyst, also said the opposition stood

no chance of winning the vote, but warned about the dangers of delays to the work of parliament. “The ruling coalition’s majority of 128 deputies [out of 250] is so stable that the opposition cannot succeed,” he told Balkan Insight. “But what the opposition does on a daily basis in parliament is worrying,” he added. “The delay in passing pro-European laws not only slows the country down on its path to the EU, it also puts on hold potential foreign investments.” “The business community is waiting for new regulations and is in limbo. Old laws are not in force; new ones have not been passed. This status quo is harmful for the country and the longer it lasts, the more damage it will do”, he added. Spajic said ways exist to curb the opposition’s obstructive tactics, but

Photo by FoNet

“it is up to those in power to do that, if they want to speed up Serbia’s European integration”. So far, the pro-European parliamentary majority has failed to restrain opposition filibustering, even after the President of Parliament, Slavica Djukic Dejanovic and her deputy started fining deputies who speak longer than the rules allow and those who do not stick to their subject. Spajic said fines were not an efficient penalty because “their parties will pay the fines, and they will do it again, because they are against Serbia’s European future”. He added that while he could accept that all forms of political struggle were valid, “as an ordinary citizen, I’m concerned about the overall situation in the country”, as a direct consequence of that struggle. Source:

Serbia’s Hunt for War Suspects ‘Intensifying’


Rasim Ljajic says the search is intensifying

In Brief UN Security Council Approves EU Kosovo Mission The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s report on the wrapping up of the UN mission in Kosovo and the beginning of the handover to an EU mission, EULEX. The UN plan for the handover to EULEX, was drafted in cooperation with Serbia and the EU, and confirms Serbia’s conditions for agreeing to the deployment. The plan proposes keeping the northern region of Kosovo under UN administration and declaring the EU mission to be neutral regarding Kosovo’s final status. Officials in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, continue to object to the UN plan, demanding that EULEX’s mandate include the implementation of a plan by former UN Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari, which envisages internationally-supervised independence for Kosovo.


erbia’s pro-European government is expected to survive a no-confidence motion called by the nationalist opposition, which most observers view as an empty gesture. However, there are fears that if the nationalists continue obstructing the work of parliament, the speed with which necessary European Union legislation is passed will slow down, jeopardizing the country’s bid to join the EU. The nationalist block in parliament, made up of the Serbian Radical Party, the Democratic Party of Serbia, led by former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and his minor ally, New Serbia, earlier this month demanded the no-confidence vote in the coalition government that took office in July. They said the deployment in Kosovo of a new EU law-and-order mission, EULEX, the lack of any strategy to address the recession, excessive salaries for staff in public companies, price increases and a range of other issues had prompted the move. A rebel wing of the Radicals, who recently formed their own party, the Serbian Progressive Party, said they would support the motion. However, the opposition Liberal Democrats, holding 12 parliamentary seats, promised to “defend the government more strongly than the government itself will do”. The Liberal Party leader, Cedomir Jovanovic, pledged his party’s support, “regardless of the fact that… [government] policy has sentenced the whole of society and each and every citizen of this country to [a life of] day-to-day survival”. The nationalists are most angry about the government’s assent to the deployment of the EULEX mission in Kosovo. They say this violates the prin-



he chief of Serbia’s council for cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal says efforts to locate and arrest former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic are intensifying. Rasim Ljajic told local daily Vecernje Novosti that the search for Mladic has “never been more serious or all-inclusive,” adding that it would continue to intensify until the fugitive is apprehended. He said that operations such as the raid in mid-November, on a factory in Valjevo, about 100 kilometres southwest of the Serbian capital Belgrade, would continue, in an effort to not only locate Mladic but to cut off all financial and logistical support being provided to him by allies within Serbia. The Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Serge Brammertz, is expected to submit a report on Serbia’s cooperation with the court to the United Nations Security Council next month. Ljajic said that he believed that Brammertz’s report would be “neither positive nor negative,” but added that he hoped that the prosecutor would “confirm that the political will

for full cooperation exists in Serbia, after being convinced of it by the serious actions we are carrying out.” Serbia’s efforts to cooperate were outlined to Brammertz’s during his visit to Belgrade.

LjajictoldlocaldailyVecernje Novosti that the search for Mladichas“neverbeenmore serious or all-inclusive.” Full cooperation with the tribunal stands as a key obstacle on Serbia’s road to European integration, with powerful European Union member states, such as The Netherlands, insisting that all remaining fugitives be brought to justice before Serbia is allowed to apply to become a candidate for EU membership. Mladic stands accused of genocide, including the murder of up to 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) civilians in Srebrenica during the 1992-95 war, while Serbia’s other remaining fugitive, former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, faces 14 counts of war crimes allegedly committed against Croatian civilians between 1991 and 1993.

Organ Case Backed By Hague Data Serbia has received information from the United Nations war crimes tribunal that supports its own investigation into allegations of the kidnapping and murder of ethnic Serbs during the 1998-99 Kosovo war, a spokesman for Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor said. Spokesman, Bruno Vekaric, told Serbian broadcaster B92 that files obtained from The Hague are consistent with Belgrade’s own findings that kidnapped Kosovo Serbs were taken to a location in northern Albania, killed, and their organs harvested.

Serbian - Montenegrin Citizenship Deal ‘By the End of 2008’ Serbia’s Interior Minister Ivica Dacic says an agreement could be signed between Serbia and Montenegro on dual citizenship by the end of this year. The negotiations on dual citizenship between Montenegro and Serbia started in Belgrade on October 1st with a meeting between Jusuf Kalamperovic, the Montenegrin Interior Minister, and Dacic. The problem of dual citizenship arose because Montenegrin law does not allow for dual citizenship.


belgrade chronicle

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Serbians Find it Hard to Kick the Habit

WhilstsmokinghasbecomeaminorityhabitinmostotherEuropeancountries,Serbianscontinuetolightupseeminglywhereverand whenever they choose, and whilst there are some fairly draconian laws, enforcement is light. By David Galic


fforts are being made in Belgrade to prohibit smoking in enclosed areas, particularly at the workplace, but like many things in this country, change and reform are slow and full of obstacles. Even though a law was passed in 2005 prohibiting smoking in closed areas, stressing bans in companies where there are non-smokers working, people continue to light up in offices, most notably in the Serbian parliament itself. An initiative was presented by the parliamentary environmental protection council in late October to secure a room for smokers in the parliament and a strict enforcement of the law, which the parliament itself passed. With such complete failures to lead by example, it is no surprise that little is being done to stop smoking in public and private companies as well. It becomes clear that there is a long way to go when one considers that far from banning smoking altogether, many employers are struggling to restrict their staff to a designated smoking room. In addition, nurses in hospitals can be seen smoking at the reception, doctors’ offices are full of smoke, as are offices of school teachers, university professors, airport personnel and just about any other public institution that comes to mind. Bus and tram drivers smoke while operating their vehicles, as do workers and patrons in most restaurants, cafes, bars and fast food kiosks in Belgrade and around Serbia. Though health and sanitation inspectors are obligated by law to inspect such buildings and then impose fines for all violations of the law, this does not seem to happen on a regular basis. Health inspection officials said that progress has been made in Belgrade, especially in hospitals and other health facilities, thanks not only to the law against smoke in closed areas, but also labour laws within the healthcare sector that prohibit smoking in hospitals.

Studies say that just 35 per cent of Serbians smoke. You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. “Efforts being made in the fight against smoking are obviously far from where they should be, but in the healthcare sector specifically, it is a lot more developed than in other areas,” Coordinator of the Health Ministry’s Belgrade inspection office, Jelica Radulovic told Belgrade Insight. Though neither she nor the ministry had specific data available, she said that the city inspectors have levied at least 50 on the spot fines for smoking violations. The fine is the equivalent of about €55. The Health Ministry announced, in early 2008, an new initiative to put the law into action, which would

Smoking Fines 50,000 – 500,000 dinars – If certain public transportation – trains, airplanes, boats - do not provide a special area where smoking is allowed. 10,000 – 50,000 dinars – For smoking indoors in educational, health, and pharmaceutical institutions, in food factories and food preparation areas, in sports and entertainment facilities, and places where public meetings are held. 50,000 – 500,000 dinars – If a “no-smoking” sign is not visibly displayed where smoking is forbidden. 5,000 dinars – For smoking where no-smoking signs are displayed.

include higher fines for violations, taxes on cigarettes, and designating areas in public spots, and workplaces for smoking. Health Minister, Tomica Milosavljevic, said, when announcing the initiative, that the law would soon be bolstered with strict prohibitions of smoking and fining of violations that would be in accordance with European standards. However, at best, the ministry has had little appreciable impact with such minor initiatives as moves prohibiting political parties from distributing lighters for promotion during the last presidential election campaign and funding research into the effects of smoking in pregnant women. Non-smokers do not even have a hotline to call where they can anonymously report violations of the smoking laws and are left, in most instances, helpless and forced to endure second-hand smoke in their work places and any other public facilities they may frequent. The laws against smoking in enclosed areas are respected most in the headquarters of foreign companies in Serbia and in embassies. For example, the Serbian office of the Deloitte, a consulting and financial advisory company in Belgrade, has a cafeteria adjacent to its offices where its employees can smoke. “The cafeteria is divided into smoking and non-smoking sections, and employees can go there whenever they need to have a cigarette,” employee Milos Savic told Belgrade Insight. Habits are hard to break, and smoking is a cultural phenomenon

that has never been subjected to any kind of regulation in Serbia. Recent studies show that 35 percent of people in Serbia smoke, while the last EU survey conducted in 2006 showed that only 27 per cent of EU citizens smoked, along with a trend indicating that the number would steadily decline in coming years, after falling off from 33 to 27 per cent between 2002-2005. While the price of cigarettes keeps growing around the world, they are

Photo by David Galic still affordable in Serbia. An average pack can be purchased for less than €1 in Belgrade - cheap even with the average monthly income in Serbia well under €500. It becomes clear that in order to reduce the number of smokers in Serbia, laws must not only be on the statue book but also effectively and efficiently enforced. It takes time to change cultural habits that have been acquired over decades, but a few hefty fines would certainly speed up the process.

Smokers outside a Belgrade office building

Photo by David Galic

belgrade chronicle

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Festival Puts Fun Spin on Science

New Year Festivities to be Downsized

Doessciencemakeyouyawn?Thethreedayfestivalofscienceaimstochangethatviewwith interactive displays and hands-on experiments.


he annual New Year’s Eve festivities on the streets of Belgrade will not be as elaborate this year as in recent years, in response to the world financial crisis and a decrease in funds allotted for the event. Instead of the three stages in the main squares that were organised last year, there will only be one, in front of parliament. There will also be no foreign artists booked for the festivities.

Re-appraise your views of science at the three day festival.


any of us recoil whenever the ‘s’ word is used. But the organisers of this year’s science festival have set out to use a fun and interactive approach to attract people who might otherwise not be interested in science. The event will be held from December 5-7 in the May 25 Museum, and will include experiments that are enjoyable and easy to understand, in which visitors can actively participate, heightening the experience and perhaps sparking new interest in the sciences.

Organizing the fair is the “Noc Muzeja” (Night of the Museums) artist-production team, which is known for the annual event when all the city’s museums and art exhibits stay open at night and feature special programmes designed to encourage interest in the arts. Some 140 young scientists will present experiments during the threeday fair, covering physics, biology, astronomy and genetics. There will be experiments with lasers, explanations of forensic experiments often


Despite the restricted funds, city officials told local media that the street party would be as entertaining as ever, with high-quality sound systems, fireworks at midnight and a high level of security to ensure everyone had a safe and enjoyable time. The small skating rink, open over recent years during the festive season, at Nikola Pasic square, will also operate as planned from December 20th, until January 20th.

Source: seen in crime shows on television, and realistic recreations of what dinosaurs looked like. The Science Ministry and the Belgrade Education Secretariat are helping to fund the project. Because of the great interest shown last year, the fair has been moved to a more spacious location and extended to three days. More information is available on the festival’s website

The 2008 New Year Festivities


Belgrade Ponders Rail Plans


raffic congestion and dilapidated transport infrastructure pose a constant problem in Belgrade, a city of 1.8 million people. In order to address these problems, Serbia is considering whether to take a loan from China to finance the construction of a metro network in the capital and other infrastructure projects, Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic says.

Mayor Dragan Djilas

However, Belgrade’s Mayor Dragan Djilas, believes that other options may prove more cost effective. In a statement Dinkic said that “a request was forwarded to the Chinese government” earlier this month. He did not elaborate on the size of the proposed loan. The construction of an underground railway system in Belgrade has been debated since the late 1970s


but no plans have ever been implemented. Dinkic noted that Turkey recently borrowed as much as €700 million at an annual 2.5 per cent interest rate from China to finance infrastructure development and described such conditions as favourable, and Infrastructure Minister, Milutin Mrkonjic, claims that two metro lines could be built over the next seven years. However, construction of an underground railway in Belgrade requires approval from city hall and the parliament and Djilas has declined to confirm any plans, claiming that the city’s first move would be to hire experts from Vienna and Munich to investigate what kind of transport infrastructure would best suit Belgrade’s traffic systems and available budget. Despite the Minister’s confidence in the metro project, which he said would cost slightly more than €1 billion, Djilas said a more likely scenario was renovation of the overland rail network to re-connect a majority of the suburbs with the centre. The Mayor said that this would be the best solution, as this is an existing resource that was currently completely unused. Djilas said the plan would involve getting trains to stop at each station in 15-20 minute intervals. This, he said, would represent an optimal solution for people living outside the city for their journeys in and out of the centre.

Rail or metro? The authorities must decide Source:

We fly for your smile.



Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Serbia Gloomy About Economic Prospects for 2009

Real Estate Why the High Apartment Prices in Belgrade?

Asthecentralbankstrugglestohaltthecurrencyslide,thegovernmentwrestleswith IMF-enforced spending cuts that could hit growth and cut salaries.

COMMENT by Ian Mihajlovic


Mira Eric-Jovic, Vice Governor of the National Bank, has her work cut out.

By Aleksandar Vasovic


he Serbian market is starting to feel the pinch of the global financial crisis, and the government in Belgrade is trying to balance the competing requirements of financial probity and a balanced budget and demands from the Unions and employers for a ‘social contract’ and ‘tax holidays’ to ease the pain. Serbia’s central bank has unveiled a set of interim rules to improve the liquidity and solvency of commercial banks amid a worsening credit crisis. Mira Eric-Jovic, the Vice Governor of Serbia’s National Bank, said commercial banks would no longer be required to increase their capital to meet a compulsory capital-adequacy ratio if their credit activity growth was more than 15 per cent. Policymakers have also scrapped “capital adjustments for extended loans,” if capital-to-household lending ratio is more than 150 per cent, due to the swift decline of the dinar, Eric-Jovic said. Eric-Jovic also said policymakers will consider boosting a compulsory reserve requirement in 2008 for fresh external borrowing. Last month, the bank also increased its benchmark rate by 2 percentage points to 17.75 per cent, in an apparent attempt to halt the fall of the dinar which has lost almost 10 per cent of its value against the euro since January. The National Bank of Serbia has sold significant foreign currency reserves during 2008, forced into action by the declining dinar and a

pullout of investors who are steering clear of countries that are funding current-account deficits, particularly those in developing economies. On November 17, the government secured a $518 million credit line from the IMF to safeguard its currency reserves. But one government official said the measure had been in vain. “We have practically already wasted the money secured from the IMF through interventions on the currency market,” the official told Belgrade Insight on condition of anonymity. “It was a drop in the ocean,” he said. But many economists remain pessimistic. “The measures are halfhearted and will be short-lived,” predicted Vladimir Vuckovic, an economic analyst with the Belgrade-based web site. “We need a strategy, not palliative care,” he said. Miodrag Zdravkovic, an economist, blamed the poor structure of Foreign Direct Investments throughout the western Balkans for part of the effect of the crisis. Most former Yugoslav republics focused on privatising state-owned assets to raise funds, instead of encouraging green field investments, he said. Privatisation receipts were not invested in infrastructure or debt reduction but funded continued government spending. And now that those receipts have largely dried up, “the poor structure of FDI is demonstrating itself right now… as the crisis spills over directly into the financial systems of the western Balkan countries,” Zdravkovic added. The government of Mirko Cvetkovic is attempting, with mixed success, to make Serbia’s economy more attractive to investors at a time when

Photo by FoNet

many are pulling money out of risky emerging markets. Two weeks after it secured the deal with the IMF, the Cabinet is trying to make good on its pledge to cut government spending. Ministerial budgets will be cut by 20 per cent in 2009, the Economy Ministry will end most subsidies for tourism, while the ministry’s Development Fund will be overhauled. The Fund will cut back on investments for new enterprises and focus on funding existing small and medium-sized companies. The government will also cut subsidies for agriculture. “We will definitely lack revenues, whatever we do,” a government official said. “Without revenues we cannot pay the public sector and at the moment we cannot see a strategy that can change that.” Meanwhile, unemployment stands at 17 per cent and 6,000 jobs were lost during October and November with the prospect of more to come if there is not a short term turnaround. Average wages are around 400 euros a month and under the terms of its IMF deal, the government agreed to freeze 2009 wages and pensions at 2008 levels. Serbia’s Association of Employers has suggested a joint action plan, binding the government and the unions into a social contract. Employers would not lay off staff and workers would refrain from strikes, easing some of the social pressure, while the government would help struggling workers through such measures as tax holidays. The plan is unusual but “it is the only plan so far…it is a good basis to start with,” said’s Vukovic.

hile some real estate markets around the world are experiencing dramatic price drops, why is the cost of residential real estate in Belgrade still high in comparison with capital cities in the region, and how is the global economic crisis likely to impact Serbia’s long-term real estate market outlook? Recent talk of price drops has worried sellers, but the answer lies in access to finance and, in the old maxim, supply and demand. The current global financial ‘correction’, as some are terming it, has its roots in the availability of lowcost, high-leverage credit that has supported the price of real estate in some developed markets, notably the United States and Britain. Although mortgage finance existed in Serbia in 1970s and 1980s, until 1989, 95 per cent of apartments remained under social ownership. A real estate market emerged during the 1990s when people were given the right to buy their apartments, although any mortgage debt was all but wiped out during the hyper-inflation of the 1990s, leaving housing stock largely mortgage free. Mortgage lending only restarted in 2003, accounting for about €40 million, or 0.3 per cent of GDP. Even by 2006, mortgages made up less than 1 per cent of GDP but have become more easily available in past two years as prices have risen and investor confidence is being slowly restored. Difficulty in obtaining mortgage loan approval is another reason that lending is not more widespread because, without a substantial deposit, the cost of real estate is too high for most people. For example, a 40sqm apartment in Belgrade’s centre, where prices are in the region of €3000 per sqm, would require a monthly salary of €2000, and a 20 per cent deposit. Even an apartment far from the centre at half the price, would require a monthly salary of €1000, which is more than double the average salary in Serbia. Instead of relying on credit, many Serbs purchase their home outright. Indeed, new purchases are often made with cash, the avail-

ability of which has led to the evolution of a crude financing model for small local developers. Local developers pre-sell apartments to waiting buyers, who often pay the full apartment price upfront, or in instalments throughout construction of the project, sometimes achieving favourable price reductions from the developer in exchange for ‘financing’. Of course, there is a risk the developer will default, and some such cases have emerged. If people choose to mitigate risk, newly completed apartments are available and can be bought at market price, finished and ready to move in. Either way, mortgage financing risks brought about by the credit downturn have yet to impact on real estate prices here. The second reason influencing high apartment prices in the country’s capital is supply and demand which is keeping prices high, even where lending is available. After almost two decades of slow growth in the construction of new apartments, experts predict that Belgrade would need to construct 100,000 new apartments to keep up with current demand. In the 1990s, there was a particularly low level of building activity and by 1998 only around 10,000 apartments were being built per year, against 56,000 annually two decades earlier. In 2007, the figure had reached only 19,000. To compound this shortage, young working people, or those in university, often live with their families, as do their parents in many cases, due to the shortage and expense of real estate. Given the current supply bottleneck, we have not yet seen price drops like those in Western Europe and America. But the global crunch is affecting the residential real estate in other ways. As larger construction projects rely heavily on cross border finance, they are affected by external interest rate fluctuations, and indeed credit supply. Due to credit restrictions, we can expect to see more equity investors. In fact, with access to lowcost land that can often be bought only with cash, local developers are seeking financial partners to take advantage of continuing opportunities. Ian Mihajlovic is an M&A advisor working in Belgrade.


Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Companies & Markets

EU Gives €1.5 Million for Development of SME Sector


Dejan Jovanovic plans to strengthen SME’s

he European Union has set aside €1.5million for a twoyear project to develop policies and procedures for Small and Medium Size Enterprises according to Dejan Jovanovic, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development. The project aims to strengthen national and regional institutions and to put in place an innovation policy. Jovanovic said that project will give 150 Serbian enterprises the opportunity to improve their ability to innovate. “These companies will have a chance to acquire additional information and know-how in order to develop their innovation potentials and improve Source: their operations, which is very impor-

EBRD notes improvement in Serbian transition


he European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, stated in its 2008 report that Serbia has shown improvement in the economic progress made in its period of transition. According to the bank’s rating system, Serbia’s progress was rated at

The EBRD Headquarters

2.85 this year, up from 2.7 in 2007. The EBRD stated that the strengthening of the financial sector and increased trade liberalization were both key factors in the improvement shown by Serbia in 2008. The bank noted that Serbia has shown “significant progress in regional and European integration” matters, noting that it is possible for Serbia to become a member of the World Trade Organisation by 2009. Despite economic growth, the EBRD states that the high inflation rate is still a big problem in Serbia, as is increased public spending. The report states that Serbia would potentially attract many lucrative foreign investments if political stability is maintained in the country, adding that Serbia’s location makes it very attractive to foreign businesspeople. The bank expressed concern over the Kosovo situation, though the report states that the EBRD is certain that Belgrade would not let the Kosovo issue slow European integration progress and reforms within the country. The report concludes stating that Serbia needs to work on privatizing large public and state-owned companies at a much faster rate than it is currently doing, and that a lot of work needs to be put into infrastructure, especially in the sectors of energy, communications and traffic.

tant for competition and the creation of new jobs,” Jovanovic said. The project aims to assist the SME sector in the Ministry of Economy, the SME Development Agency and the SME Council of the Government of Serbia. The project leader, Stephen O`Mullane, said that the criteria for selection of 150 SME’s that would participate in the project would be defined soon and that that the primary goal of the project was “support to development of a market economy and socio-economic and regional unity through development of an internationally competitive and innovative private sector”.

All Parts of Russia - Serbia Energy Agreement to be Implemented


ergei Shoigu, co-chair of the joint Serbian-Russian economic cooperation committee and Russian minister for emergency situation reiterated that all three sections of the bilateral energy agreement will be implemented, the Beta newsagency reports Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic as saying. “Once again we have both agreed that the energy agreement consists of three fundamental parts - the sale of

the Serbian Oil Industry (NIS), the development of the South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia, and expanding the capacity of and modernizing the gas facility in Banatski Dvor,” said Dacic after the discussion in Moscow. “As long as there are such strong guarantees that the agreement’s three parts will be respected, then the first contracts should be concluded either by Dec. 20 or the end of the year,” said Dacic.

By Tijana Cvetkovic Low liquidity and continued downward trend were again the main characteristics of the domestic capital market last week. Continued growth in major European indices combined with the FED’s decision to input a further

Serbian Railways Signs Deal With Slovenian Firm Serbia’s state-run railways operator Zeleznice Srbije has signed a €1.3 million deal with Slovenia’s Ginex International engineering company for the construction of a building accommodating an underfloor wheel lathe for railway vehicles. This deal will be financed by a €60 million loan from the the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Zeleznice Srbije said in a statement. In April, EBRD said it would lend Zeleznice Srbije €100 million for the improvement of infrastructure. In 2007, EBRD invested more than €216 million euros in Serbia and last year and has said it plans the same amount of investment for 2008. In the first quarter of 2008, Zeleznice Srbije transported 2.9 million tonnes of cargo or 21 per cent more than in 2007. Bids for Prva Petroletka The privatisation agency has received two qualifying bids for the purchase of 70 per cent of the capital of Prva Petoletka, a producer of hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Bids have been submitted, one from Ukrainian “Lvivsky Avtobusni Zavody” Ltd (LAZ) and “City Transport Construction Investments” Ltd. and a second from a Russian consortium consortium of “Bummass” and “TG Rosmasstorg”. The privatisation agency now has 30 days in which to evaluate the bids before presenting their recommendations to the tenders committee for it’s decision. Serbia Claims €1 million for Property in Slovenia

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s tough negotiator


Market Watch: BELEX Continues to Fall on Light Trading $800 billion to stabilize the financial sector, unfortunately had no impact on the Belgrade Stock Exchange and the Belex15 recorded a new historic low of 544.54 points. Although, the index saw some growth on the 26th and 27th over the period November 21st to 27th, the BSE’s blue-chip Belex15 index shed 1.1 per cent over the period to 556.17 points, whilst the composite index BELEXline fell 1.6 per cent to 1,214.90 points. Over the period, total turnover declined 60 per cent in comparison to the previous week to just 550.7 million dinars. Foreign investors accounted for


32.3 per cent of the week’s overall trading on average with a higher participation on the sell side. Serbian Banks announced 3rd quarter 2008 financial reports which focused investors’ attention on banking sector this week. The most traded issue was AIK Bank with a traded value of RSD 56.5 million from 28,673 traded shares. Other strongly traded shares were Privredna Bank and Pirot based Tigar, with posted turnover of RSD 48.7 million and RSD 15.7 million respectively. Market investors should note that the Listing and Quotation Committee of the Belgrade Stock Exchange announced

that Tigar met requirements for market liquidity and will continue as a member of the Listing A- Prime market. Construction Company Napred was the week’s biggest gainer, rising 20 per cent to 3,000 dinars. Also in the black, Fidelinka from Subotica gained 14.3 per cent, while Dunav Osiguranje added 12.1 per cent. Pupin Telecom topped the loser board, plummeting 29.7 per cent. Also on the downside, Vrbas-based Vital tumbled 26.9 per cent and Vranje based Simpo sagged 23.4 per cent. Tijana Cvetkovic is an analyst with FIMA Fas Ltd. in Belgrade.

Slovanian business daily, Finance states that the Serbian government is backing claims for over €1 million for property formerly owned by Serbian enterprises. 27 Serbian enterprises, Finance claims, have requested the return of 46 properties which came under new ownership following the break-up of Yugoslavia and the formation of an independent Slovenian state. The list of enterprises includes Kragujevac-based Zastava, manufacturer of Yugo cars and Galenika, a major pharmaceutical company. $100 Million for New Loco’s Dejan Lasica, the Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure of Serbia, said that informal negotiations with the World Bank about a $100 million (€77.5 million) loan for the purchase of new locomotives for Serbian Railways were underway. Lasica, speaking at a press conference, said that the negotiations were still unoffical but that the loan would range between $80 and $100 million (€62 - €77.5 million). “The government of Serbia plans serious investments in the railway infrastructure and we expect the volume of rail transit through Serbia to increase significantly in the coming years,” said Lasica.



Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Kosovo Stunned by Alleged German Role in Blast AllegationsthatGermanintelligenceofficerstookpartinthebombingoftheEUbuildinginPristinahavesurprisedKosovars.

By Krenar Gashi and the BIRN team in Pristina


he furore over three German citizens arrested in Kosovo in connection with a bomb blast is likely to be discussed by the control commission of the German parliament. Kosovo police sources have told Balkan Insight that there are sustained suspicions that the men are intelligence agents, though Berlin has sought to dismiss this. The three, believed by Kosovo police and international media to be members of the BND, the German Federal Intelligence Service, were arrested last week on suspicion of having taken part in a bomb attack on the EU Special Representative’s Office in Pristina on November 14. Andreas Jackel, Robert Zoller and Andreas Drunken are likely to face terrorism charges, according to Kosovo’s prosecutor’s office. The motives, according to sources at the office, were to create fear among the population, interrupt the mission of the International Civilian Office, ICO and to cause overall destabilization. Lawyers for the men were quoted in the German media as saying the trio were not involved in the attack but had visited the scene “out of curiosity”, four hours after the blast, to take photographs. One government source in Pristina told Balkan Insight that the German government had tried to rescue its three citizens after they were arrested but the Kosovo authorities had not allowed this. Germany was one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence and is a major aid donor, which explains the shock felt in Kosovo and abroad over the claims surrounding the incident. Some German media have suggested the attack was the work of anti-EU Kosovars, opposed to the ‘Six point Plan’ devised by the EU in conjunction with Serbia, and the UN, which lays out plans for the EU’s lawand-order mission, EULEX mission in Kosovo. The plan is unpopular in Kosovo and has been rejected by the government. Others have suggested the entire case might be an attempt to silence the BND, which was allegedly looking into links between organized crime and the Kosovo authorities. Asked to comment on the issue, many analysts have described it as bizarre, while the German embassy in Pristina remains silent. Work of professionals The bomb was thrown at a time of high tension in Kosovo, after the government of Hashim Thaci had rejected the six-point plan for the deployment in Kosovo of EULEX. Sources within the Kosovo Police told Balkan Insight they were convinced the attack on the building of the EU Special Representative in Kosovo was the work of professionals.

Photo by FoNet

The three men have been remanded in custody until December 22nd. The building was damaged, though there were no injuries, which according to police sources was probably the attackers’ intention. “This was a professional piece of work,” a police source said, explaining that the material exploded a few minutes after it was thrown into the front yard of the ICO. “It’s clear that whoever did it didn’t want to cause human casualties but just to make big noise,” the same source went on. Two independent sources within the police told Balkan Insight that the three men were working for the BND. The BND, the acronym for the Bundesnachrichtendienst, has not confirmed or denied the information. German media said BND officials told investigators the three had been examining the scene of the explosion but had not been involved. According to Kosovo police, all three arrested men were running a business in Kosovo, the Logistic Coordination Assessment Service, LCAS, which was guiding and advising German investors in Kosovo. Asked whether they had any kind of collaboration with this company, the German Embassy in Pristina declined to answer. Terrorism charges A Pristina district judge meanwhile has ordered the suspects to be detained until December 22nd. Balkan Insight can reveal that the indictment on which the public prosecution in Kosovo is working will detail three main motives for the attack on the building, the headquarters of the ICO, the body that supervises Kosovo’s independence. Legal experts in Kosovo and lawyers for the detainees say the men could face jail terms of up to 20 years each if found guilty of terrorism. Lawyers for the men have stated they will oppose any extension of the men’s detention. A source within the public prosecutors office in Pristina told Balkan Insight that among the items of evi-

dence in the case is a video recording of the event, which allegedly shows one suspect throwing a substance into the ICO’s front yard from a building across the street. The video has not been seen by Balkan Insight. In addition, this source told Balkan Insight that some 20 witnesses would be questioned, while the video material and other hard evidence is being analysed by experts. On Tuesday, Eckart Blaurock, deputy head of the German embassy in Pristina, visited the prosecutor of the case, Feti Tunuzliu, to be briefed. Tunuzliu told Balkan Insight Blaurock had asked for the case to be dealt with as quickly as possible. In the meantime, a source in the Kosovo government told Balkan Insight that immediately after the arrests, the German government tried to repatriate its citizens. “They asked for a landing slot at Pristina international airport for a special plane,” a source said. The same source said the plane was supposed to bring in special intelligence forces who would take the three arrested Germans home. The source said he did not know exactly how this would have been carried out.

The EU building after the attack.

However, the regulatory authorities in charge of communications, acting on instructions from the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication, did not issue an immediate permit for the landing. “A permit was given only after the court took a decision to extend [the men’s] detention for 30 days, meaning there were no legal ways for the three men to be taken away,” the source said. Balkan Insight could not independently verify this information. The German embassy in Pristina has not commented. It “does not give any comments or information on consular cases,” Blaurock told Balkan Insight. Motives unknown A German government spokesman, Thomas Steg, meanwhile told a news conference that “the idea that the German government could be involved in terrorist attacks abroad is absurd”. Max Stadler, deputy chair of the German parliamentary commission supervising Germany’s secret services, agreed, noting that Germany

strongly supports the EU’s role in Kosovo. “As such, it would make no sense to attack the EU building in Pristina,” Stadler said. But these reassurances have not persuaded the public in Kosovo, which is still struggling to come up with explanations for the event. One issue that raises suspicions is the timing of the event,which occurred as international diplomats were piling pressure on Kosovo to drop its objections to the six-point plan. Although Kosovo’s President, Fatmir Sejdiu, and Prime Minister Thaci, downplayed possible links between the blast and the UN plan, many reports see links between the two. The German tabloid newspaper Bild, published an article saying that the bomb attack had been “the work of an anti-EU faction of Kosovars”. A German security expert, Elmar Thevessen, came up with another explanation. He told the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that BND agents had been investigating organized crime ties to the Kosovo government, which might explain why local officials were keen to get rid of them. Lulzim Peci, a security analyst from the Kosovar Institute for Research and Policy Development, KIPRED, said: “I don’t think the motives have anything to do with the policies of the German government, or of the BND itself. I believe this was more a private action of these men.” Lawyers for the accused, however, strongly deny that the men played any part in the attack. A Kosovo police source told Balkan Insight that they had ruled out the possibility that personal motives played a role in the attack. “Nobody stood to benefit personally from breaking the glass of the blue [ICO] building,” the source said.

Photo by FoNet Source:


Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

New Laws Target Litter Lout Macedonians DraconianpenaltiesforbreakingpublichygienelawshavecomeasashockinMacedonia.

By Sinisa-Jakov Marusic in Skopje


he practice of hurling litter and polluting public spaces in Macedonia has long been common. Proof lies scattered everywhere, from the rubbish-strewn streets to plasticbottle covered beauty spots. Faced with these poor levels of public hygiene, the government has decided to end these practices by introducing draconian fines for polluters in a new public hygiene law. In a country where salaries average €250 a month, the fines are scary, ranging from €50 to €1,000 for individuals, and up to €4,000 for firms. Supporters say hitting people’s pockets is the only way to change Macedonians’ behaviour. Others argue that some of the new regulations are absurdly unrealistic. But so far, the government seem determined to enforce the new laws without exception, no matter how excessive they may appear to the public. Civil servants also face dire penalties. Ministers may be fined up to €1,000 if they fail to provide enough toilet paper in their ministry buildings. Heads of public institutions face fines of up to €500 if the buildings in which they work lack waste bins or hand dryers in toilets. More than 10,000 fines have been issued since the law came into force last month, police said, in a recent report. “I was fined for parking a car near a bin. There were no signs and I couldn’t see the bin but I still had to do eight days’ community service, picking up leaves,” complained Vukasin Markovic.

Others see the law as long overdue. “It was about time,” Petar Makarovski, a student from Skopje, said. “This is the only way, because practice has shown people don’t respond to appeals for a cleaner environment. You only accomplish something if you hit them where it hurts most, in their wallets.” Blagica Blazevska, an environmental inspector for the Skopje municipality of Karpos, says the campaign is delivering results. “People are more cautious now,” she told Balkan Insight, “there is less rubbish visible out on the streets”. Those who truly can not afford the fines always have the option of community service, she noted. “In our experience, nine out of ten choose public service,” she said. “Those who can afford to pay are few.” But the inspector conceded that grey areas in the new regulations were a problem. Police patrols and specially appointed “public sergeants”, working for local municipalities, have been given the authority to issue on-thespot penalties for a variety of misdemeanours, some of which perplex the average Macedonian. Alongside fines for throwing away cigarette butts, spitting or urinating in public, people can also be fined for such offences as chopping up firewood in public, slaughtering “chickens or other wild or domestic animals in public”, or dumping rubbish “from a window from any floor of a building”. “The fact that the law explicitly forbids anyone throwing rubbish from the window of a building shows these occurrences happen frequently,” Ilina Jakimovska, assistant professor of so-

cial anthropology at Skopje University, told Balkan Insight. Many Macedonians meanwhile say the rules are almost impossible to apply. “I have a dog and now the law says I may not throw his mess in a regular bin – but the whole of Skopje has only one bin especially dedicated for dogs,” one angry doglover said. Such cases highlight the gap between the ideal situation envisaged

by the authorities and the reality of everyday life in Macedonia, Jakimovska said. Laws are often tailored to an imagined ideal situation and thus become detached from real world, she argued. The professor said that for the new law to really take effect, inconsistencies have to be cleared up. More litterbins would help. Source:

Draconian laws are making a difference


Donorsarehurtingfromthefinancialcrisis,andwhilehistorysuggeststheywillcontinuetohelptheirgrantees, this may only be if the crisis doesn’t last too long.


oundations that support important programmes in the Balkans are suffering from the financial crisis in a way that makes their continued giving much more difficult. Much of the money that helps to develop the Balkans comes from private foundations that are giving the money they earn from investing their endowments. Endowments are usually invested in a mix of stocks, bonds and cash. But this year, stocks and bonds have lost so much of their value that, for many foundations, there are no profits, only losses. Even the mighty Harvard University, which has the largest endowment in the world, is suffering. Their endowment was worth 29 billion euros on June 30, but the portion invested in US stocks had lost 12.7 per cent by then, even before the massive losses of October this year. Moody’s, a financial analysis firm, estimates the endowments of most US universities will lose about 30 per cent of their value by the end of the year. Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, told the faculty and students that “endowment income has come to fund

more than a third of the University’s annual operating budget” and went on to warn that “while we can hope that markets will improve, we need to be prepared to absorb unprecedented endowment losses and plan for a period of greater financial constraint.” The situation is no better in Europe. Gerry Savole, chief executive of the European Foundation Centre, EFC, an umbrella group for foundations and corporate funders in Europe, reported recently that while individual situations vary in Europe, “the underlying concerns are the same: depreciating endowments; budget cutbacks; emergency asset management strategies; doing more with less”. Things may not be as bad as they seem. Steven Lawrence, senior director of research at the Foundation Center, a US-based group similar to the EFC, recently said that “the impact of the current crisis on their [foundations’] giving will be far less than current market conditions might suggest”. Lawrence points to foundations’ giving during previous economic downturns, which rarely decreased even when the underlying assets of foundations decreased in value. He also notes that most foundations base their budgets for giving on two-tofive year averages of their endow-

In Brief

EULEX to be Neutral on Kosovo Pristina _ The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon insists the EU’s new law-and-order mission to Kosovo, EULEX, is to take a neutral position regarding Kosovo’s independence. In a document given to the 15 member states of the United Nations Security Council, Ban appears to end the weeks of difficult diplomatic debate between New York, Belgrade and Pristina on the controversial deployment of EULEX to Kosovo.

Albanian Minister ‘Abused Power’ Tirana _ Albania’s Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha has been charged with abuse of power over alleged irregularities and misuse of public funds in the construction of the Albania-Kosovo highway. Basha was charged on Monday by General Prosecutor Ina Rama with abuse of power in the case, which is thought to have cost the state approximately €230 million. The evaluation was made using the average price of construction material and labour costs in comparison to those Albania is paying to build the road. Basha’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and called the prosecution “politically motivated.”

Thracian Chariot Unearthed in Bulgaria

Will the Financial Crisis Affect Giving?

By David Labrador


ment’s value, rather than their current value. This is especially true of large foundations, like many of those active in the Balkans. Indeed, many foundations insist they will not cut back on their giving. Ivan Vejvoda, executive director of the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a major regional donor, said “there will

“Theunderlyingconcernsare thesame:depreciatingendowments;budgetcutbacks;emergencyassetmanagementstrategies; doing more with less,” Gerry Savole said. be no change with respect to the previous years”. Others are more circumspect. Gara LaMarche, president of the Atlantic Philanthropies, wrote recently that while they would meet commitments previously made, they would “probably be somewhat more conservative in the coming period about big new commitments. For many foundations, though, there may be dramatically less new money to give out in the next few years”. Foundation officers may be even more concerned privately, than their public statements suggest. Ferdinand

Nikolla, executive director of the Forum for Civic Initiatives, a Kosovo NGO with a focus on the rule of law, reports that a large foundation recently told him that, because of the effect of the financial downturn on their endowment, they were scrapping all plans to work with new grantees in the coming year. “It is a challenging time for the donor community, no doubt, but we are lucky to have donors who are committed to working with us in bad times as well as good times,” he said. The key to foundations’ continued support of programmes in the Balkans may be how long the bad times last. Steven Lawrence, of the Foundation Center, bases his optimism on foundation giving during recent recessions in 1975, 1980, 1981-82, 1990-91 and 2001. But none of those recessions lasted a full two years, whereas the downturn underway now may last much longer. If it does, foundations that base their giving on two, three or even fouryear averages of their endowments’ assets may be forced to seriously cut back on giving in 2010. In that case, Balkan society will lose some of the support that it still badly needs. Source:

Sofia _ Archaeologists have unearthed an elaborately decorated 1,800-yearold chariot sheathed in bronze at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria. The bronze-plated wooden chariot is decorated with scenes from Thracian mythology, including figures of a jumping panther and the carving of a mythological animal with the body of a panther and the tail of a dolphin.

Croatia to Head UN Security Council in December Zagreb_As an elected temporary member of the United Nations Security Council, Croatia, in December, will preside over the world’s top security body, local media report. Croatia will have an opportunity to propose topics it considers important for improving of stability and peace in the international community to other Security Council members. Diplomats in Croatia’s Foreign Ministry told the Slobodna Dalmacija daily that “Croatia’s experience of war in the early 1990s and subsequent efforts to deal with the consequences of war and peace-building, make Croatia’s officials qualified to help devise solutions for various conflicts and crises.”

Lawsuit ‘Won’t Affect’ Macedonia Name Talks Skopje _ Macedonia will continue the UN-sponsored talks with Greece despite Skopje’s decision to take Athens to the International Court of Justice, Macedonia’s Prime Minister pledges. “We decided to seek justice in court after the chances for a positive outcome just from the talks proved to be insufficient. Of course, we will continue the negotiations,” said the country’s Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski. Gruevski added that he would be happy if a mutual agreement on the name issue was reached before the court process ended.


out & about

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Pancevo, A Jewel Close to Belgrade Thisancientriversidetownonthedoorstepofthecapitaloffersplentyofsightsandactivitiesforday-trippers.

Windmill Restaurant and Locomotive cafe-bar

By Pat Andjelkovic


ancevo is a small town, approximately 16 kilometres northeast of Belgrade, close enough for a day visit but far enough away to make you feel that you’re out of the ciy. Bordered on three sides by the Danube, Nedela, and Tamis, it is the latter’s largest port. Although the town is an industrial centre, it has plenty to offer in terms of history, beautiful buildings, nightlife and culture. Pancevo is a jewel of archeology, with evidence in its surroundings of human existence from prehistoric times. Getting there From Belgrade, the only way to get there is over the Pancevo Bridge. Spanning the Danube for just over a kilometre, it connects two large regions of Serbia, Sumadija and Banat. The original bridge was built in 1935 but was destroyed during the war to slow the advance of the German army. It’s the only bridge over the Danube in Serbia that was not destroyed during the NATO bombing of 1999. The Bridge is heavily used and also has a railway line running down its middle. It is scheduled for major reconstruction, but since it is the only bridge over the Danube in this area, closing it entirely would be impossible. Go straight over and look for the signs for Pancevo. Do respect the marked speed limits, as the police are frequently out with their “Stop” lollipops. After you’ve gone most of the way, you’ll see where the road veers to the right. You’ll have the choice of going off and onto the continuation of the highway that leads around the city, or onto an overpass that looks as if it’s going left. That leads to the old road to Pancevo, and is the road I always take, since it takes you more directly downtown. This narrow road is very dark at night, so care is needed on your way back. Arrival When you pass over the Tamis River, you will be in Pancevo. On your right is an open green area along the river, where, in the summer, people picnic, play sports, or spread out

Photo by Pat Andjelkovic

their towels for sun-bathing. You’ll also see small boats docked along the river. Nearby is the Hotel Tamis and an attractive restaurant, Vetrenjaca, in the shape of a large orange windmill. Vetrenjaca serves classic Serbian fare, from grilled meats to home-cooked dishes and spicy fish soup. Their palacinke (pancakes) served with a foamy wine sauce, are delightful. Depending on what you choose, plan on spending around 1,100 dinars per person without wine. In summer, you may dine on the outdoor terrace facing the river. Adjacent to the restaurant is an old locomotive with several wagons that have been turned into a coffee shop and bar. A bit smoky for my liking, but this is Serbia. Culture

monasteries in Serbia, Vojlovica monastery, sadly now surrounded by several oil refineries. The monastery is located on the road to Starcevo, just a short distance away. Although it stands on ancient holy ground, it was formally established in the 15th Century by monks fleeing the Turkish invasion. Visits must be planned in advance through the Tourist Association of Pancevo. In nearby Starcevo, you can find remnants of a little settlement from the Neolithic era, with foundations of several houses, each with a hearth, as well as painted ceramic earthenware. Many of the objects discovered here are in the Town Museum. You might like to check with the Tourist Association and plan your trip to coincide with the Djurdjevdan Tournament, the Pancevo Carnival, the Theater Festival, Jazz Festival, or the Motorcycle Weekend, held annually in the town. Hungry? If you just want a little something to tide you over until you

its two towers which each feature a clock visible from just about anywhere in town; the Orthodox Church of Preobrazenska, an impressive combination of Byzantine, Roman, Renaissance and Serbian styles, with icons painted by Uros Predic; and the Boromeo Roman Catholic Church. Other places worth a look from the outside and possibly a visit inside, are the Town Library and Historic Archive, one of the largest in Serbia, housing a vast selection of books, including nearly 500 rare volumes. If you’re interested in architecture, the Old Army Headquarters’ facade will be of interest, as will numerous other buildings. If you like cycling, a bicycle path takes you around the town. Like most other places in Vojvodina, Pancevo is quite flat, and many locals use bicycles to get around. There’s a flea market just at the end of town on the road toward Kovacica. It’s quite large but does not offer a lot more than its counterpart in Belgrade, though some say if you hit it on the right day, you can find any number of antiques. It’s not a place to visit after rain or in damp weather; very muddy! Pancevo boasts a number of large parks - pleasant for a stroll, a bike ride, or to let the kids blow off steam. Best to find their exact locations by picking up a map at the office of the Tourist Association of Pancevo, just off King Peter’s square. Pancevo has one of the oldest Bust of famous painter Uros Predic

There’s a lot to see and do, depending on the season. Parking isn’t much of a problem, so leave your car near Kralja Petra I square and check the signs to see if you are in a parking zone for which you have to pay, or park down by the windmill restaurant and walk in. Most of Pancevo can be accessed on foot. The square itself is attractive, featuring a monument to King Peter I and a religious monument featuring a large cross in its centre. The square is bordered on three sides by nettle trees, sometimes known as hackberry trees, maples, and lindens. Keep your eyes open for birds such as tits and even a longeared owl, that often takes refuge in winter in the courtyard of the Town Planning Directorate. In the old town square stands the Grammar School, named after Uros Predic, (18571953), who was born in nearby Orlovat. Predic was one of the greatest Serbian Realist painters, known for his monumental historical painting, Kosovo Maiden (Kosovska Devojka), as well as his many portraits. Pancevo’s town museum, next to the park, features permanent archeological, ethnic, historical, and art exhibits. On the other side of the museum stands the Church of Our Holy Mother’s Assumption, dating from 1807. Inside are several 19th-century portraits, and the choir founded in 1838 is still active today. Other churches of interest are the Baroque Orthodox Church of Uspenska, Do your Christmas shopping in Pancevo’s Tourist Office long a symbol of Pancevo, thanks to

really want to eat, keep a lookout for some of the town bakeries. Try to find a shop that is a no-frills one; just bread and buns, no fancy neon lights or trimmings! Otherwise, Pancevo offers a selection of affordable and pleasant eateries, in addition to the touristy Vetrenjaca mentioned earlier. Best to let your eyes be your guide; see something you like? Go in and check it out first. Town and surroundings The most attractive picnic and leisure site is Deliblatska pescara, or Deliblato sand, which partially lies within the municipality of Pancevo. The largest sandy terrain in Europe, it was once part of a vast prehistoric desert. Often, it is referred to as “the European Sahara” and as “the oldest desert in Europe”. A Special Natural Reserve, it is also an exclusive hunting area. Pat Andjelkovic is a teacher, writer and a long term expat.

Photo by Pat Andjelkovic

Photo by Pat Andjelkovic

the belgrader

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008


Dining Out

Caffe Caffe

Overshadowedinthepast,atleastintermsofnotoriety,byits nearneighbour,Zodiac,CaffeCaffehaslongbeenturningout some fairly accomplished food.

By “Trencherman”


enjak is home to embassies and their staff, Western expatriate workers and their families, international schools and some wealthy local business people. It’s understandable, therefore, that at least one or two restaurants are ready to separate those people from their cash. The undisputed champion of this game for some considerable time was Zodiac, which served up competent if not inspired cuisine to an elegant collection of the ladies-wholunch, ‘biznismen’, diplomats and a coterie of wannabees. With Zodiac currently out of commission for a re-fit, Caffe Caffe seems to be taking up some slack and finding a table can be difficult, especially at weekends. The restaurant has around 25 covers inside and perhaps another 20 on a heated and enclosed

terrace on the street outside. After cutting our way through the thick fug of smoke, early on a Sunday evening, we were greeted and squeezed on to a cramped table. The extensive menu is largely Italian with an occasional nod to various points around the world, from the Far East to France, and the wine list, although not extensive, covers local producers and old and new world wines. We chose to start with a rocket, peppers and cucumber salad, and grilled peppers with pine nuts and capers, followed by beef fillet in a Bordeaux sauce and a Thai style chicken breast. To drink, we selected a Bagueri Sivi Pinot. Two halves of a laterally sliced pepper were filled with a mixture of pine nuts, capers and sautéed onions, steeped in balsamic vinegar. The whole ensemble had been grilled so that the pepper had started to char but still retained some firmness. To be picky, perhaps the pine nuts could have been toasted, but otherwise this was an excellent dish. The salad was fresh, the rocket, hot and spicy and the peppers crisp. It’s a hackneyed phrase, but nonetheless a truism, that one eats with one’s eyes and presentation of the entrees was excellent. Artful, but not too fussy. Little stacks formed from sautéed potato slices garnished

Caffe Caffe, accomplished, if not necessarily authentic, cuisine each dish and two chive sprouts were neatly arranged on the chicken breast. Sauces were carefully placed and the result was very pleasing. I’d not been asked how I wanted my steak cooked and the kitchen’s decision to make it medium-well would not have been my choice. It was, however, tender. The Bordeaux sauce was not an intense reduction of shallots, stock and red wine monteed au buerre (would that it were) but was a pleasing wine and tomato sauce with some cherry tomato halves thrown in for good measure. Whilst the chef may well have been to Thailand, I suspect that his Thai-Style sauce would not be recognised in downtown Bangkok. It was

sweet and strongly flavoured with whole coriander seeds, which made a great combination with the grilled chicken breast but there was no hint of any of the typical Thai spices of chilli, lemon grass, galangal, ginger, basil … I could go on. So, whilst the mains were not in anyway authentic, they were good, flavoursome and exceptionally well presented. The wine was a good choice. The Bagueri winery is in the Goriska Brda region of Slovenia, and turns out some accomplished wines. The pinot gris is one. Golden yellow, with intense honeyed fruit, but balanced with enough acidity to keep the palate clean.

Photo by Sophie Cottrell To finish we had a fabulous chocolate soufflé, well risen and oozing with rich chocolate sauce, served with a little vanilla ice cream and a forgettable slice of semi-freddo, which I strongly suspect came direct from the catering supplier with little interference from the chef. The bill accompanied the coffee and given the combination of location, regular clientele and indeed the quality of the food, was a pleasant surprise. Price Guide: 2,500 – 3,000 for three course with a modest wine. Caffe Caffe Vase Pelagića 48 Tel. 011 3693 030

We Recommend Everyweekwefeatureaselectionofrestaurantspickedbyourteam.Theygiveaflavourofwhat’soutthereontheBelgraderestaurantsceneandshouldprovide youwithafewalternativestogetyououtofyourdiningrut. OurchoicesmaynotalwayshavehadthefullTrenchermantreatmentbutyoucanbesurethatoneof us has eaten there and enjoyed it.

Stara Hercegovina

Allo Allo


If you ever had the hankering for the good old days of plates pilled high with meat fresh from the farm and ale right out of the barrel, head over. You certainly won’t leave hungry and you will definitely get a feel for real Serbian food.

A little Italian place with good cheap food, friendly waiters and a fun atmosphere. Pizza, pasta and also live music on most nights. What more could you want from a restaurant?

From the outside, it scarcely looks like a restaurant. From the inside, it hardly looks like a Mexican restaurant. The menu mostly offers Mexican food, but there is also European and Serbian food. Live Mexican music on most nights.

Looking for a vacation, but don’t have the money? Try the first Japanese restaurant to open in Belgrade. On the menu is traditional sushi, sashimi, tofu and teriyaki chicken. The inside fuses Japanese art with modern, comfortable décor and is the closest to Asia you’ll get in Belgrade.

Not many restaurants can boast average prices and an opera stage. This British chain can. Serving international food with an emphasis on French cooking, “Little Bay” is something a little out of the ordinary.

Carigradska 36 Tel. 011 3245856

Misarska 6 011 3246974

Mladena Stojanovica 2a 011 663366

Gospodar Jovanova 46 011 2184183

Dositejeva 9a 011 3294163



Veprov Dah

Restoran Daco

One of Skadarlija’s famous restaurants, “Two White Doves” has Serbian food and a great location. So, if you don’t feel like the treacherous walk down Skadarska, eat at this restaurant and still enjoy the charm of this historic quarter.

Primarily a pizzeria, but it has everything from pasta to vegetarian dishes. It’s a small restaurant, but the atmosphere is nice and not too cramped,

One of the posher restaurants in Belgrade, the prices reflect that fact. However, the diners here don’t seem to mind. The food selection is a modern spin on Serbian food and is not as heavy as traditional dishes tend to be.

Also known as the Scottish Pub, you can tell that this place is serious about its heritage. So if boars heads mounted on the wall, waiters in skirts and traditional pub fare does it for you ... There is often live music and the place gets really crowded at weekends.

Arguably the best Serbian restaurant in Belgrade, Daco has everything that Serbian food is famous for: ajvar, kajmak, grilled meat, rakija; the list goes on. It’s authentic, so you will get a taste for the real thing.

Bulevar Despota Stefana 3 011 3239079

Blvd. Kralja Aleksandra 011 421401

Kajmakcalanska 2, 011 2404 142

Strahinjica Bana 52 064 2802332

Patrisa Lubumbe 49 011 782422

Dva Bela Goluba

Ikki Sushi

Little Bay


the belgrader

Going Out

Living Room Loud,intimate,sweatyandsmoky,our reporterthinkshemayhavefoundrock nirvana. By David Galic


he goal set before the opening of Living Room two years ago by owner Zlatko Josic was simple - give Belgrade a club where people can enjoy rock music every night. The club is located in the Student Cultural Centre, the SKC, one of the oldest hubs for live rock music in the city, containing a hall that can fit 1,000 people, a smaller club for a crowd of about 350 and now Living Room, a café/bar with a live rock show almost nightly. “The appeal of Living Room is its intimate atmosphere,” says Danilo Nikodinovski, who works at the club as a soundman and promoter, organizing showcases for local bands on Wednesdays. The lack of a real stage in the club brings the experience of live music back to its essential and primal form, making eve-

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

ryone an equal, taking part in unison to create the atmosphere. When hardcore and metal bands play, it is hard to pick out the band in the mass of sweaty bodies and flailing hair converging on the stage area. Though this may not bode well for the people at the back of the club, trying to watch a band, it harks back to the golden age of live modern rock – like seeing Bad Brains at CBGB’s in 1982, when half of the club was on stage with them, jumping on each other. Living Room seems to be more about camaraderie and playing music than about performing on stage and having perfect lighting and sound. It also has widespread appeal. Mondays are for showcasing blues artists, there are several days of cover bands each week and there is an open invite to bands of any and every style that want to play live. “Another big reason for its popularity is that bands do not have to pay to use the club - they get all the money from the door while the club gets the money from the bar,” Nikodinovski says. Two years since it opened, Living Room is going strong, and Josic - a rock club and concert promoter in Belgrade for years - knows his business well, investing regularly to make the club better. This year, the small club got its own bathroom after having to share with the

We Recommend


Public Enemy

If Flavor of Love made you fall in love with the good-looking and articulate Flava Flav, you’re in luck. Public Enemy, will be performing live in Belgrade this week. The group includes members with names such as Professor Griff, DJ Lord and Terminator X, so get your alter ego ready to get down. Tickets are available at Bilet Servis, Trg Republike 5 November 28 Belgrade Fair, Hall 12, Bulevar Vojvode Misica 14 Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-3pm.

Rock music gets back to its roots at Living Room other two clubs within SKC, and it has had air conditioning installed after people complained of the heat in the summer. The only remaining problem is the ventilation, which is sparse since the windows must be closed and padded so that the music doesn’t



annoy residents in surrounding buildings. But this is a minor complaint. It is a rock club, after all, and as the saying goes: “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” So, it should it be understood that “If you can’t take the smoke, get out of the Living Room.”


‘La Boheme’

Contemporary Russian Film

Starving artists who cannot pay their rent on time, a former girlfriend who returns with her new age lover and the tragic love story between a seamstress and a playwright intertwine in Puccini’s opera. Tickets are available at Bilet Servis, Trg Republike 5 National Theatre, Francuska 3 Fri, 9am-9pm, Sat, 9am-3pm.

Two films are being shown as part of the ongoing Russian Film Festival. The first, ‘Hero Ilya Muromec and Monster Nightingale-thug’, shown at 6pm, is an animated short about stereotypical good guys and bad guys who suffer from blows to their egos. The other, ‘The Game’, shown at 8 pm, covers the Russian football team’s, comical preparations for their most important game. Tickets are available at the Sava Centar’s box office. Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9.



The Russian Cossack State Dance Company is widely acknowledged as Russia’s premiere Cossack dance troupe. This world-class company of 40 dancers, musicians and singers brings with it a dynamic and breathtaking production, which will both dazzle and delight theatregoers with feats of skilled, acrobatic Cossack dance. Sava Centar, Great Hall, Milentija Popovica 9 Tickets available at SC ticket office and Bilet Service, Republic Square 5.

Her genre is fado, Portuguese traditional music, distinguished by sad sounds about everyday life. Mariza has made the genre more popular, recording songs with Sting, and winning a “Best European Artist in World Music” award. Tickets are available at the Sava Centar’s box office. Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9


Russian Cossack State Dance Company



Willard Grant Conspiracy

Alice Cooper

In Verdi’s opera, an enslaved Ethiopian princess falls in love with a military man who has sworn his loyalty to the Pharaoh. Things are further complicated when the Pharaoh’s daughter decides to get involved and falls in love with him as well. Tickets are available at the National Theatre. National Theatre, Francuska 3

Country music is not usually associated with California. However, the Willard Grant Conspiracy had the album of the month according to a US magazine, Uncut, and their sounds were likened to Johnny Cash. Tickets are available at the Student Cultural Centre’s box office. Student Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48.

Not many 60-year-olds can still say that they’re cool, and Alice Cooper is no exception. Nevertheless, when you have made your career out of being a rock musician, you get the hang of it after a while. Alice Cooper has been entertaining people for over five decades and usually has a few interesting additions to his shows, such as live snakes or guillotines. Tickets are available at Bilet Servis, Trg Republike 5 Mon-Fri, 9am9pm, Sat, 9am-3pm. Belgrade Arena Bulevar Arsenija Carnojevica 58.


the belgrader

Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

What’s On

Vicky Cristina Barcelona 12:30, 14:30, 16:30, 20:30 & 22:40 Eagle Eye 13:50, 16:10, 18:50 & 21:10


Tuckwood Cineplex Kneza Milosa 7, tel: 011 3236517

Roda Cineplex Pozeska 83A , tel: 011 2545260

Quantum of Solace 16:00, 18:15, 20:30 & 22:45 Turneja (The Tour) 21:00 Pineapple Express 23:05 Body of Lies 15:45, 18:15 & 20:45 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 15:50, 17:55 & 20:00 Nights in Rodanthe 17:00 & 19:00 Eagle Eye 23:15 Quarantine 16:45 & 22:05 Bankgkok Dangerous 23:20

Quantum of Solace 18:00, 20:15 & 22:30 Body of Lies 20:00 & 20:20 Wall E 16:00 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 18:30, 20:30 & 22:30 Jelenin svet (Jelena’s World) 16:15 & 18:15 Nim’s Island 16:30


Dom sindikata Trg Nikole Pasica 5, tel. 011 3234849 Turneja (The Tour) 16:30 & 18:30 Quantum of Solace 18:15 & 20:15 Bangkok Dangerous 20:30 & 22:30 Body of Lies 17:00, 19:00 & 22:45 Quarantine 16:15 & 22:15 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 16:00, 18:00, 20:00, 21:00 & 22:00 Ster City Cinema Delta City, Jurija Gagarina 16 (Blok 67) tel: 011 2203400

50 years of Big Band RTS Serbia’s favourite Jazz orchestra continues a series of concerts in celebration of its 60th anniversary. Sava Centar, Great Hall Milentija Popovica 9 November 28, 20:00 Tickets available at the Sava Centar ticket office and Bilet Service, Republic Square 5

Body of Lies 12:10, 15:00, 18:20, 20:50 & 23:20 Quantum of Solace 11:30, 13:10, 13:40, 15:50, 18:00, 19:30, 20:10 & 22:20 Bangkok Dangerous 17:30, 21:40 & 23:40 Nights in Rodanthe 17:50 & 22:00 Mamma Mia! 13:30, 15:40 & 19:50 Quarantine 23:30

Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra Special guests are Vrelo, an ethno group from Ruma. Belgrade Arena Bulevar Arsenija Carnojevica 58 November 29, 20:00 Tickets available at Belgrade Arena ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5

Tea Break MUSIC REVIEW David Galic


elgrade quartet Tea Break won over both judges and fans with their Orange County-style melodic punk, emerging victorious in the Serbian leg of a global battle of the bands competition and so advancing to the December finals in London. Taking cues from legendary Californian punk rockers like Bad Religion and Pennywise, Tea Break craft energetic pop-punk with precision and class, paying attention to every detail of the presentation, from production to promotional photographs. “The recipe is continued work, determination without compromise, belief in yourself and the band, and in what you are doing,” drummer Petar Patraskovic, known as “Cookie,” told Belgrade Insight. The band has several EPs and one full-length album now out, all

of which the band released independently. The reason Patraskovic explained, is that labels in Serbia have little interest in music sung in English, especially in the rock format. This has led the band to aspire more towards the international music scene instead of going for local exposure. “Since so few media outlets support new music, bands have no way of reaching a broader audience and are forced to do everything themselves, from videos, booking, internet presentation and sale, to releasing their material,” he said. The lack of room for manoeuvre in Serbia, as a band playing “foreign” music, was one reason why Tea Break signed up for the battle of the bands competition, the winner of which will receive $100,000 and international exposure. Tea Break triumphed over some 40 other bands from Serbia and will battle bands from 35 different countries in London on December 14-15. In a bare-knuckled old-school rock’n’roll approach, each band will be given the same equipment and stage, and eight minutes, to show what they can do.




14th Festival of ‘Film d’Auteur’ ‘View into the world’ Presenting independent films from all over the world. Dvorana Kulturnog Centra Kolarceva 6 November 26 - December 3 Screenings at 10:00, 12:00, 13:30, 17:30 & 20:00 Tickets available at DKC ticket office, Kolarceva 6

National Theatre Republic Square 1a Swan Lake One of the most revered of classical ballets, composed by Tchaikovsky. It tells a story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. November 28, 19:30 Tickets available at National Theatre ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5 Who is singing there yonder? Ballet set to the music of Serbian composer Vojislav Voki Kostic. December 4, 19:30 Tickets available at National Theatre ticket office and Billet Service, Trg Republike 5

35th International Fair of Food, Drinks and Equipment & 16th International Wine Fair Whist these are ssentially trade shows, these concurrent exhibitions will nevertheless have something interesting for the gourmet, or oenophile Belgrade Fair, Hall 3 Bulevar Vojvode Misica 14 November 26 - 29, 10:00 - 19:00 Tickets available at Belgrade Fair ticket office

OPERA Sava Centar, Great Hall Milentija Popovica 9 Nabucco Verdi’s opera in four acts, directed by Austrian director Karel Dragac and conducted by Johannes Harnait. Nabucco follows the plight of the Jews as they are attacked and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. December 3, 19:00 Tickets available at the Sava Centar ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5

CLUBBING Andergraund, Pariska 1a Ewox, Emil H. (Cyberpunk) Milos Pavlovic (Momentum) November 28, 22:00 Tapas bar Dositejeva 17 Funky Monks DJ Set November 28, 22:00 The Tube Dobracina 17 Smirnoff Saturday Nite Party Ian Pooley & Peppe November 29, 22:00

My Picks

Obuca Maja

Every week Rian Harris tells usoneofherfavouriteplaces to shop.

“We’re very happy we’ve been given this chance,” Patraskovic said, adding that confidence within the band was very high, considering they are on the verge of recording their new album and are in “top form” when it comes to playing. “The opportunity to play in London is a great success, but we hope we finish well and maybe even win,” the drummer said. “Why not?” Tea Break’s latest single, “Troublemaker”, is available, along with other music and merchandise, at the bands official website

of purple kitten heels with a buckle design was marked at 1,450 dinars. Really stylish platforms in shades of purple, navy and black were priced around 2,400. Whilst purple might not be to your taste, this shop regularly has something funky and inexpensive on offer. Obuca Maja Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 114 Mon – Fri, 9am-4pm. Sat, 9am-8pm.

By Rian Harris


f you are looking for a pair of shoes in the season’s hottest colour, purple, but don’t want to spend too much money on the latest trends, check out what’s available at Obuca Maja. On a visit last week, I counted at least a dozen styles of tall and short boots, flats, and heels in several different shades. Whilst the quality is not always great, the designs are fresh and the prices low. A cute pair

Vicky Cristina Barcelona FILM REVIEW By Andrej Klemencic


ne of Europe’s sexiest cities comes to life in a new Woody Allen film about two American friends seeking happiness one summer in Barcelona. Vicky, portrayed by Rebecca Hall, knows she wants a predictable life with a mildly boring American fiancée, Doug. Cristina, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a fiery poetic soul seeking stellar love and a way to express herself. The girls soon discover the true charm of the Old World when a painter Juan Antonio, played by

Javier Bardem, invites them to spend a weekend of lust outside the city. While flirtatious Cristina is instinctively drawn to his Spanish charm and openness, by a series of accidents it’s Vicky that ends up in the arms of Juan Antonio. The plot further evolves with the arrival of Maria Elena, Juan Antonio’s former wife, creating a complex love triangle. Allen’s trip to the heart of European-ness is rewarding. The brilliant dialogues subtly and without prejudice, deal with the contrast between de-personalised desire, as expressed by the Americans, and the lust for life in Europe’s warmest region. The characters are portrayed with various degrees of intensity. Johans-

son, after three films with Allen obviously his new muse, forms the weakest link. But even her performance has some quality. Bardem is finally able to live out his true Spanish self. But it’s a masterful Penelope Cruz, playing the role of the destructively passionate Maria Elena, who sets the screen on fire. All her acquired American-ness becomes invisible when living out a role in her mother tongue, and we see the raw beauty of the actress made famous by Bigas Luna’s film Jamon Jamon, in which she first met Bardem. Her passionate cynicism, which Allen skilfully guides between destruction and eroticism, makes this the best performance in her career.

Hollywood rumours say it will be hard for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress to go to anyone else. Allen is not visually obsessed with images of Barcelona, as are so many other filmmakers, using it instead as a setting for confronting two principles, the American and the European. The film deals with these with some humour and at the same time reveals the depth of these

cultural differences and shows how significant to both relationships and the perception of the self, they can be. Anyone who doubted that Woody Allen could function outside New York now has the answer. Fantastic crew, excellent script and insightful direction are strong recommendations for Vicky Cristina Barcelona to become one of your must-see films.



Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Rugby League Set for Take-Off in Serbia

Quasial: The Dorcol boys watch the final anxiously ...

Severalhigh-profilerugbyleague stalwarts spoke exclusively toBelgradeInsightaboutthe game’sprospects,inacountry abundantwithnaturaltalentbut no tradition.

By Zoran Milosavljevic


t was a rather unusual Saturday morning in the Quasial bar in downtown Belgrade as red-hot favourites Australia took on bitter foes New Zealand in the Rugby League World Cup final at the other end of the world, in the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The local outfit of Dorcol Belgrade crammed in around the bar’s television set and witnessed one of the biggest shocks in the game’s recent history as the Kiwis played the Kangaroos off the park to claim an historic 34-20 win over the hosts, sparking massive celebrations at home. It soon got pretty raucous in the Quasial too, as the Dorcol lads by

and large cheered on the underdogs, written off by most pundits after going down to Australia 30-6 in the sixweek long tournament’s opening fixture. “It’s a great result for the game because an overwhelming majority of experts saw an Australian victory as a foregone conclusion,” said one of the players as he downed a pint of beer chased down with a shot of homemade rakija. As much as elsewhere, rugby players in Serbia are no strangers to making an early start, especially if the occasion is right and this one was nothing less then perfect. Rugby league failed to get on its feet in Serbia during a 10-year trial period half a century ago, when it gave in to the globally more popular rugby union. It was rekindled in 2001 when three clubs – Dorcol, Novi Sad and Krusevac – founded the first division, that now comprises six teams, one of them a Belgrade University XIII, incorporating four of the capital’s faculties. Dorcol are the best team by a mile and the only champions in Serbia’s rugby league history. Jovan Vujosevic, the sports’ South East European Regional Development Manager, knows what is required to create a more competitive environment. “Our objective is to have a 12-team first division and we want as many non-Belgrade clubs as possible to make sure the game gets enough attention all around Serbia,” he told Belgrade Insight. “The

The Kiwi team perform the Haka after stunning Australia

Photo by Aleksandar Radivojevic situation is improving every year but we still haven’t been able to recruit enough young prospects, the cornerstone of all future endeavours. We have about 100 boys involved in our program at present and we want at least five times as many because this country is rich with natural talent for the game,” he said. Serbia really does appear to have enough home-grown depth as its junior teams have exceeded expectations at international level. Earlier this year, the under-18 side finished sixth at the European Championship and impressed with an outstanding performance against Scotland. They lost 38-34 to a golden try after leading 24-4 at one point and much of the credit for their rapid development goes to John Risman, the President of the Scotland Rugby League Association. Risman spends three months in Serbia every year to help develop the country’s youth ranks but he coached the Scots that day and admits he did so with mixed emotions. “I love being here and working with these kids because they are talented and skilful, Serbia has so many natural athletes,” he told Belgrade Insight. “But they need to understand the requirements of condition, communication and patience, the key requirements of rugby league,” he underscored. In 2007, the under-16s did even better by finishing fourth in Europe and next year Belgrade is set to host

Photo by FoNet

a top-level under-18 international tournament in which Australia and New Zealand are expected to participate. Vujosevic is confident it will be a major stepping stone for rugby league to expand in Serbia after a slow start. “Things were not done properly in the beginning because young talent was being neglected and only the senior team was getting enough attention,” he said. “But that has changed and we believe that we now have a good base to build on.” Translating talent into quality at senior level is a difficult task in any sport, especially in a country where rugby is still struggling to put itself on the map with even American Football drawing more attention largely due to weekly NFL broadcasts on the Sport Klub channel, which also screened the Brisbane final and which has plans to introduce a more regular rugby league schedule. Although Serbia have no chance of qualifying for the 2012 World Cup, they still have plenty to look forward to, after beating Germany 38-6 and the Czech Republic 56-16 to win the European Shield in 2007 and promotion to a higher division in which they lost to Russia 30-6 and were edged 20-16 by Lebanon, whose team is composed largely of Australian expatriates. Serbia’s first team coach Gerrard Stokes, who is also in charge of English top flight

club Whitehaven, following a spell at the helm of the New Zealand national team, knows that a long-term future depends on enticing as many young boys as possible to take up the sport. “Serbia needs development in rugby league, particularly at youth level,” he told Belgrade Insight. “The domestic scene needs to become bigger and more competitive and it also requires increased exposure to international games,” he said. That may be easier said than done as Serbia is very much in the early stages of establishing itself as a rugby nation but it’s not an impossible mission. At this point, hopes of a better future rest on the enthusiasm shown by the country’s rugby league pilgrims and expert guidance provided by the likes of Risman, Stokes and Mark Harrison, whose sponsorship of Red Star Belgrade, helped them finish third in this season’s national league behind Dorcol and Novi Sad. Harrison won the Serbia rugby league Sponsor of the Year award for his efforts and received his certificate to a warm round of applause by the appreciative Quasial crowd, still reeling from their Friday night exertions and seeing New Zealand make history on Australian soil.

The Russians were too strong for Serbia

Source: Serbia rugby league official website

Zoran Milosavljevic is Belgrade Insight’s sports writer and also a regional sports correspondent for Reuters.

Sport on TV Friday, Nov 28: French Top 14 Rugby Union: Toulouse v Bayonne (Eurosport 2 at 6.30 p.m.); Soccer: Hertha Berlin v Cologne (Sport Klub 8.30 p.m.), FA Cup – Barrow v Brentford (Sport Klub + 8.45 p.m.), Argentinean league match (Sport Klub + 00.15 a.m. Saturday) Saturday, Nov 29: Basketball: NLB Regional League – Partizan Belgrade v Vojvodina Novi Sad (FOX Serbia 4.00 p.m.), KK Zadar v FMP Belgrade (HRT 2 at 4.00 p.m.); Greek League – Olympiakos Piraeus v Kolossos (Eurosport 2 at 10.45 p.m.); Volleyball: Italian women’s league – Pesaro v Vicenza (Eurosport 2 at 4.30 p.m.), Red Star Belgrade v Partizan Belgrade (RTS 2 at 6.00 p.m.); Soccer: Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich (Sport Klub 3.30 p.m.), Hoffenheim v Arminia Bielfeld (Sport Klub + 3.30 p.m.), Aston Villa v Fulham (RTS 2 at 4.00 p.m.), Catania v Lecce (Sport Klub 6.00 p.m.), Lyon v Valenciennes (Sport Klub + 7.00 p.m.), Getafe v Real Madrid (FOX Serbia 8.00 p.m.), Juventus v Reggina (Avala 8.30 p.m.),

Heerenveen v PSV Eindhoven (Sport Klub 8.45 p.m.), Argentinean league match (Sport Klub + 9.20 p.m.), Sevilla v Barcelona (FOX Serbia 10.00 p.m.); NHL Ice Hockey: Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres (Sport Klub 1.00 a.m. Sunday). Sunday, Nov 30: Basketball: NBA Regular Season: Detroit Pistons v Portland Trailblazers (OBN at 11.50 p.m.), Handball: Serbia v Russia (RTS 2 at 7.00 p.m.); NFL: Doubleheader on Sport Klub (7.00 p.m. and 10.15 p.m.) Soccer: Ajax Amsterdam v Utrecht (Sport Klub 12.30 p.m.), Japanese J-League match (Eurosport 2 at 12.30 p.m.), Borac Cacak v Partizan Belgrade, (RTS 2 at 1.00 p.m.), Manchester City v Manchester United (RTS 2 at 2.50 p.m.), Inter Milan v Napoli (Avala and OBN at 3.00 p.m.), Various Italian league matches (Sport Klub 3.00 p.m.), Chelsea v Arsenal (RTS 2 at 5.00 p.m.), VFB Stuttgart v Schalke (Sport Klub 5.00 p.m.), Spanish league match (FOX Serbia at 7 p.m.), Croatian league match (HRT 2 at 8.10 p.m.).


Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008


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LEGAL SERVICES ILS Ltd. in association with Clyde & Co Gospodar Jevremova 47 Tel: 011 3038822 HARRISONS SOLICITORS Terazije 34 Tel: 011 3615918 KARANOVIC&NIKOLIC Lepenicka 7 Tel: 011 3094200


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Friday, Nov. 28 - Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Belgrade Insight, No. 14  

- Brammertz’s Report Will Caution Serbia - Kosovo Stunned by Alleged German Role in Blast - New Laws Target Litter Lout Macedonians