Friday • June 13 • 2008
9 ISSN 1820-8339
No. 1 / Friday, June 13, 2008 Dec. 18, 2008 Weekly Issue No.Issue 16, Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday,
EU Bringing Bosnia-style to Kosovo Lure of Tadic Alliance Paralysis Splits Socialists
While younger Socialists support joining a new, pro-EU government, old Milosevic loyalists threaten revolt over the prospect. The new EU mission could end up making Kosovo ungovernable by cementing the country’s ethnic partition, analysts say.
party over which way to turn. “The situation in the party seems extremely complicated, as we try to convince the few remaining laggards that we need to move out of Milosevic’s shadow,” one Socialist Party official complained. “Dacic will eventually side with Tadic in a bid to guide his party into the European mainstream, but much of the membership and many officials may oppose that move.” Nikolic agreed: “The question is will the party split or will the ‘oldtimers’ back down,” he noted. Fearing they might not cross the 5-per-cent threshold to enter parliament, the Socialists teamed up with the Association of Pensioners and the United Serbia Party, led by businessman Dragan Markovic “Palma”. Pensioners leader, Jovan Krkobabic, Palma and Dacic are all pushing for a deal with the Democrats. The reported price is the post of Socialist leader Ivica Dacic remains the Serbian kingmaker deputy PM, with a brief in charge of EULEX official, Imre Palagi, and Gracanica Commander, Nebojsa Popovic, on the first day of the mission Photoleader. by FoNet security for the Socialist faces extinction unless it changes. to Serbia’sPolice late president, Slobodan By Rade Maroevic in Belgrade In addition, the Socialists are barHowever, a strong current also Milosevic, and reformists who want the green light Euroto its Many observers that the entity for or autonomous territory in Bynegotiations Branka Trivic other ministries, includflows in the oppositeargue direction, led ofgaining the Serbia party togave become a modern ense on a new gov- that deployment in Kosovo. outcome could be a sort of dual sovthe north of Kosovo that’s not under in Belgrade ing capital investments, Kosovo and by party veterans enraged by the pean social democrat organisation. ernment have divided the ranks In return, the EU had to accept ereignty, reminiscent of Bosnia’s the authority of Pristina,” he adds. education, Belgrade media reported. prospect of a deal with Tadic. After eight years of stagnation, of The the Socialist Party, which holds To prevent this, Bugajski says the creation of Republika Srp- Serbia’s three conditions: to operate two-entity stalemate. Tadicgovernment has denied has talktoofmonitor horseMihajlo a amounting founder of Kosovo the Socialists returned to centre stage theska balance power the under In truth, Markovic, this duality, UN Security Council resolution was a of poison pillbetween for Bosnia. theparty, “de facto” partition monitors in order to make sure neutral20 in respect to Kosovo’s trading with the Socialists, maintainIt’s extraordinary EU is … 1244, recently warnedofofKosovo, a crisis the after be winning of the 250 seats in tothe main blocs and hasthat yetthe to announce has been inopts place 1999. that carrieswould out itsgomission and forget implementing offering Kosovo thesupport. same medi- status ing EULEX that ministries only to if Dacic forever thesince pro-European parliament in theabout May 11 elections. which side they will Kosovo.to working for the earlier plan, and which byBut analysts argue that the“natUN throughout cine”, a blogger Kosovo web those committed bloc, abandoning the Socialists’ theAhtisaari pro-European nation“It looks as if on theaSocialists will the With Denisa Kostovic, an analyst with passed the UN Security Council. plan is bad for the Kosovo government site wrote recently. government’s “strategic ural” ideological alist blocs Pristina’s almost evenly matched, move towards a government by London School of goal”. Economics, it will nowpartners. lose “de jure” sov- the Despite outright rejec- because “The same medicine” refersled to the the same time, Dacic seems reMarkovic, a prominent supporter the Socialists now have blueprint, the final say the Democrats,” politicalbetween analyst MialsoAtpoints to the functional divide of Ban Ki-Moon’s it ereignty over north Kosovo as well. six-point plan negotiated the tion thecall UNoff andnegotiations EU missionswith in now silently into force. will during have nothe say 1990s, about the luctant to UN and Serbia, which the Security ofPristina Milosevic is between on the fate of the come country. lan Nikolic, of the independent Cen- will which is far from an original Although from Tuesday morning, and judicial systems Council adopted in late November. the nationalists. seen ascustoms representative of the “old- Kosovo, Nikolic believes the Socialists, led police, tre of Policy Studies, said. “But such idea.we don’t reach an agreement UNwill police the north. It concerns the deployment in all in the party who want to stay EU “If by remaining Ivica Dacic, comeand overcusto intimers” a move might provoke deeper diviHowever, she points out that even Moreover, the international comKosovo of a 2,000-strong EU rule toms officers in Kosovo technically with the DSS andinRadicals, the bolpartrue to appears the former regime’s policies, Tadic, if only out of a pragmatic sions even split the party.” Ahtisaari plan some ways to EULEX control, dethe munity to have legalised the the of lawand mission, known as EULEX, switched ty leadership decide on future even though these almost ruinedPristhe stered sire to ensureseems their political survival. Simultaneous the ethnicwill divide in Kosovo. It mission not to have any division of Kosovo, although comprising police,negotiations judicial, and held cus- new only Dacic provided for ethnic minorchoice butofto younger work closely with tina’s independence steps”, announced, following toms officials, which and willnationalreplace other Socialists for good. has been recog- not “The group Socialists with the pro-European protection within Kosovo’s Kosovo Serb-dominated by more than 50 countries. the UN mission that attention has administherights first session of country’s new parSome younger Socialist officials ity gathered inaround Dacic seems to be nised ist blocs have drawn to a UNMIK constitutional framework, but also areas. To add insult to injury, Washingtered the former Serbian province liament on Wednesday. have voiced frustration over the conin the majority”, Nikolic said, adding deep rift inside the Socialists. Whilst the same law enforcement ton, which has been instrumental in for “territorialisation” of ethnic misince 1999. tinuing impasse within their own nority that these reformists the party supporting This loyal troops Source: Balkan Insight (www.balkaninsight.com) rights through the setting up of have changedbelieve their clothing, Kosovo’s independence, That divides was the“old-timers” concept. EULEX
started deployment only on December 9, although it should have been in place THIS on JuneISSUE 15, when OFKosovo’s constitution came into force. The Belgrade Insight mission was first rebuffed by BelSUPPORTED BY: grade IS which saw it as “legalising” Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. It was only after the mission was redefined and put under UN umbrella
ID cards and vehicle registration plates from UN to EU, this might not satisfy local Serbs, who claim they Business Insight will ignore EULEX and work only with UNMIK. This leaves it unclear whether the local police units, to be reinstated in Kosovo’s north, will be accountconomists are warning that proable to UNMIK directly,over or Serbia’s through longed uncertainty EULEX to UNMIK. future could scare off investors, lead to higher inflation and jeopardise prosperity for years to come. “This year has been lost, from the standpoint of economic policy,” says Stojan Stamenkovic of the Economics Institute in Belgrade. page 5
“ethnic municipalities”. backed the UN six-point plan. While the Ahtisaari plan forms “It does smack of some sort of partition plan or dual, parallel author- part of Kosovo’s constitution, it has Neighbourhood Matters ity, which is not good, given the fact been rejected in the Serb-dominated that Bosnia is not a fully functional north. Many wonder if this legal state,” says Janusz Bugajski, a Bal- mess can be solved. kans expert with Center for Strategic “The international community ofand International Studies. hile the football world watch- fered a formula of ‘creative ambiguity’ “It could be the thinatend the es events unfold the of EuroPage 3 wedge towards accepting some sort pean Championships in Austria and Switzerland, Bosnia is experiencing NEIGHBOURHOOD a soccer rebellion, led by fans, playYves de former Kermabon, incoming head ers and stars who are enraged ofbyEULEX, tells our correspondent, what they see as corrupt leaders Krenar Gashi, that both Serbs and Alof the banianscountry’s will comefootball to see association that workleaders. ing with the EU mission is in their own interest. page 10
EDITOR’S WORD POLITICS Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari says Serbia must recognise past wrongs in its relationship with By Mark R. Pullen Kosovo, before it is ready to join the European Union.
Many of us who have experi3 enced numerous SerbianPage elections rate ourselves as pundits when it BELGRADE comes to predicting election reThe Serbian capital’s small lesbian sults and post-election moves. and gay community has learned to We feel in-the-know because safely manouvre what they see as ofour experience ten hostile streets. of elections in Serbia has shown us that (a.)Page no single 4 party or coalition will ever gain the & ABOUT majorityOUT required to form a government, and (b.) This week, our political travel negotiations correspondwilltakes never concluded. ent usbe to quickly Smederevo, home to a striking fortress and a Even medieval when the Democrats variety of festivals to tempt winter achieved their surprising result at visitors. 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 registered political parties in Serbia). Drawn-out negotiations are also the norm. One Belgrade-based Page 10 Ambassador recently told me he was also GOING alarmedOUT by the distinct lack of urgency among Serbian politicians. “The country is atbuta It’s not everyone’s idea of fun, standstill andwhich I don’t for the crowd oftenunderstand frequents Club onto to a theirPlastic, logic. Ifbeing they crammed are so eager dance floor with the beautiful people progress towards the EU and enof Belgrade is probably their idea of courage investors, how come they heaven. go home at 5pm sharpPage and 13 don’t work weekends?” Surely the situation is urgent SPORT enough to warrant a little overtime. The Serbian champions, Partizan, lead the first division halfway through the season, but still have plenty to worry about.
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Ahtisaari: Serbia Must Face Past Wrongs The Nobel Peace Prize winner says the country must recognise mistakes in its relationship with Kosovo before it is ready to join the European Union.
he former Kosovo envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, says the Serbs “have to be able to live with their past.” Serbia ignored Kosovo’s declaration of independence earlier this year, although it has since been endorsed by more than 50 countries. Ahtisaari says he supports all Balkan nations entering the EU, but that Serbia must first “recognize that something went terribly wrong” in the way it dealt with its former province. Speaking to reporters in Oslo, before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the former Finnish President also said “Kosovo is independent and that process is irreversible.” He said he is “satisfied with the fact that more than 50 countries have recognised Kosovo.” The so-called Ahtisaari plan, a blueprint for Kosovo’s supervised independence, was never accepted at the UN, due to objections from Russia and Serbia. Until March last year Ahtisaari mediated Serb-Albanian talks on Kosovo as the United Nations special envoy. Ahead of the ceremony, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, told the Belgrade daily Politika, in an interview, that Ahtisaari “is controversial” but that he is also “deserving of the award”. Mjoes said that the Nobel Committee recognized Ahtisaari for his involvement in Namibian independence, Aceh’s autonomy
Martti Ahtisaari within Indonesia and the Kosovo status talks. “That engagement was controversial, but he did all he could,” Mjoes said of the Kosovo issue.
Foreign Minister’s Kosovo Claim Irks Portugal
ortugal’s Foreign Minister, Louis Amado, has denied he phoned his Serbian opposite number a day before Lisbon recognised Kosovo, to explain why his government was taking the move. Recently, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told Belgrade’s B92 television that the Portuguese Foreign Minister called him one day before Lisbon recognised Kosovo’s independence, to tell him that Lisbon authorities had to take the decision due to heavy pressure. Apparently surprised by these allegations, Amado denied he called his Serbian counterpart before Portugal recognised the independence of Kosovo. “Honestly, that’s completely false,” Amado said in Brussels on the margins of the European Union foreign ministers’ meeting. “I never called him and there was never any reference to pressure.” Portugal recognised independence of Kosovo on October 6, one day before the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of sending Serbia’s request to question the legality of Kosovo’s independence to the International Court of Justice. However, Amado told journalists that he explained “the roots of his government’s decision” to Serbian officials during his last visit to Belgrade. “I did speak with Vuk Jeremic when I visited Belgrade, and that’s
Photo by FoNet “Ahtisaari came to his own conclusion on Kosovo, which was not generally accepted, so he had to say that his mission was over. Still, more than fifty states supported
Serbian Church ‘Most Trusted’ in Montenegro
Vuk Jeremic when I explained all the reasons why we did that [recognise Kosovo], as I have explained it to my government, to opposition parties, and generally to Portuguese society,” Amado said. “That is what certainly many other states that did recognise Kosovo and intended to have very good relations with Serbia have done,” he added and stressed that “obviously there is certainly a problem of language and concept.”
Kosovo’s independence. He did a great thing in Namibia, as well as in Aceh. There’s still work to be done in Kosovo, that is true,” Mjoes told the newspaper.
he Serbian Orthodox Church is the most trusted institution in Montenegro, according to the latest survey by Podgorica’s Centere for Democracy and Human Rights. The Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro has been at odds with a local self-styled church. Police in September arrested 65 people who protested against plans by the Montenegrin Orthodox Church to build a monastery. The protesters blocked roads near the town of Niksic to prevent the head of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, Bishop Mihajlo, and his followers from reaching the building site. The demonstrators, followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro pelted police and Montenegrin Orthodox Church supporters with eggs. The Montenegrin Orthodox Church has not been recognised by other Orthodox Christian churches.
Ostrog Monestary in Montenegro
The sample of 1,013 citizens in Montenegro shows that 43 per cent do not support the government’s decision to recognise Kosovo while 20.8 per cent support the recognition decision. 12.9 per cent said they understand government’s decision to recognise Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. Montenegro itself separated from a loose union with Serbia in 2006. About a third of Montenegro’s 700,000-strong population consider themselves ethnic Serbs and are pushing to maintain close ties with Belgrade. Among the supporters of Kosovo’s recognition are the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and ethnic Albanian minorities. Two thirds of those polled supports Montenegro’s membership of the European Union while 47 per cent are against Montenegro’s bid to join NATO.
Continued from page 1
EU Bringing Bosnia-style Paralysis to Kosovo in Kosovo, hoping that the rule-of-law will be gradually established, enabling the constructive resolution of disputes”, says Kostovic. She is not sure the strategy is constructive, however, adding that she is not the only such pessimist. “Many observers are looking at Bosnia now, believing Kosovo is growing into yet another BiH, and that divisions will run so deep that any progress, political or economic will simply be paralysed.” Daniel Serwer, director of the US Institute of Peace, is another pessimist. The UN plan is “a stealth proposal for the partition” of Kosovo. UNMIK lacks the courage to withdraw and EULEX lacks the courage to deploy. As to Serbia’s aim, he has no doubt that its intent is to keep the northern part of Kosovo as separate as possible from the rest and governed by Belgrade. A truly status-neutral proposal, he says, would have ruled out partition and stated that whatever Kosovo’s status is, it would remain a single entity within its well-established territory. Gerald Knaus, head of the European Stability Initiative, also sees the Bosnian entity nightmare looming over Kosovo: “It’s not the functional system to set up a state”, he told Balkan Insight. The EU did not plan for anything reminiscent of Bosnia’s setup, he adds. Brussels just wanted to deploy its mission because the credibility of the EU depended on deploying it, but the price for the EU may be costly in the longer run: “The Ahtisaari plan is not being adopted by the UN, and if the EU is also seen to distance itself from his plan, it could inflict huge damage on Brussels’ legitimacy down the road.” James Lyon, a Balkans expert with the Democratization Policy Council, agrees. In a recent comment made to Radio Free Europe, he said that EU bureaucrats “are not singing off the same sheet of music. There’s the sense that the EU is floundering on this”. The first few days of the EU mission deployment were peaceful. What comes next is anybody’s guess. Source: www.BalkanInsight.com
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Gay Belgrade Remains Locked ‘in the Closet’ The Serbian capital’s small lesbian and gay community has learned to safely manouvre what they see as often hostile streets.
Profile of the Week
Mladjan Dinkic By Slobodan Georgijev
Belgrade’s lesbian and gay scene remains largely underground
By Vanja Petrovic in Belgrade
raffiti declaring “Send Karadzic to The Hague” had appeared one day on “Eifranloo’s” street. Later that day, walking back home, a man he describes as a neo-Nazi was standing next to the graffiti. “He started yelling: ‘Do you know who drew this? I’m looking for the person who did this because only a fag could have written this, and you look like one. Did you?’” Eifranloo, 20, who wants to be referred to only by his nickname, says he just kept on walking, ignoring the thug’s comments. He says he has learned how to avoid conflict of this sort. Eifranloo has been living in Belgrade for over a year, and avoids outright expressions of his sexuality in public. When walking on the street with his boyfriend, he certainly doesn’t hold his hand. “Belgrade is pretty anti-gay, but also anti-anything that deviates from the Balkan norm,” he says. “However, I don’t feel unsafe. I’ve learned how to act, but I think that if a foreigner came to Belgrade and wasn’t aware of how to keep his sexuality hidden, he’d run into trouble. In this city you have to think hard before you make any move.” Many activists, and people, from the gay and lesbian community, echo these sentiments. They say that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, LGBT, scene in Belgrade is very small precisely because of the unwelcoming and often homophobic atmosphere. They believe this is rooted in several systematic failures, such as the refusal of the police to offer adequate protection and in the unwillingness of most politicians to be associated with “anything gay”.
Public attitudes in Serbia have yet to reflect the sweeping changes that have been made in Western countries in recent decades in relation to lesbian and gay visibility. A study by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, found that 70 per cent of Serbs still see homosexuality as a disease. More than 50 per cent of people in Serbia think state institutions should work to prevent homosexuality, and 50 per cent also think that homosexuality poses a danger to society. Recently, however, Queeria, an organisation for the promotion of gay and lesbian culture, received a €3,000 grant from the Ministry of Culture for the development of a website. This was the first time an LGBT group had received any funding from the Serbian government.
Source: www.wordpress.com “In this country, we experience violence, we experience hate, we experience discrimination, but the problem that Queeria tries to highlight is political disqualification, which is by far the most damaging,” says Slobodan Stojanovic, a member of the organisation. “To be honest, this is a fairly small grant, but the minute this became public there was a discussion about who works in this ministry, and whether they are gay, or married,” he said, adding that the tone of the discussions only highlighted the way in which lesbians and gay men remained outside political life. Predrag Azdejkovic, also from Queeria, echoed Stojanovic’s statement, saying that the reasons that contributed to the small size of the gay
Boris Milicevic, lesbian and gay rights activist
scene in Belgrade went very deep. “The gay population faces many negative messages on a daily basis, which differ in intensity from attacks on one’s dignity to death threats,” Azdejkovic said. “These messages lead to fear, retreat from public life, and hiding, and often result in you starting to hate yourself,” he added, explaining that this was why many gay Belgraders chose to remain “in the closet”. However, Azdejkovic said Belgrade was still less homophobic than other Serbian towns and cities such as Jagodina, Krusevac, and Cacak. Boris Milicevic, an LGBT activist and program manager of Belgrade’s gay club, Apartman, said the city had an advantage over Jagodina, Krusevac and Cacak. “The advantage of Belgrade is that it is a city of 2 million, so you can hide there more easily than in smaller towns. And since Belgrade is the capital, LGBT groups can more easily pressure the government,” Milicevic said. Milicevic added that although Belgrade’s gay scene was small, it did exist. There were now several clubs like Apartman, Toxic and Black. A source, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not an “out” activist, told Belgrade Insight that some gay clubs in Belgrade were neither public nor mainstream for safety reasons. This 22-year-old student from New Belgrade added: “The scene here is pretty undercover. If everyone knew where these places were, who knows what might happen?” He agreed with Eifranloo that he has learned how to act in order to stay safe in Belgrade. “I can’t hold my boyfriend’s hand when we’re walking down the street, I’m used to that,” he said. “I don’t expect this to change. This the Balkans, after all.”
ladjan Dinkic, currently the Deputy Prime Minister, the Economy Minister and the President of the G17 Plus party, has once again found himself centre-stage. Over the past few weeks he’s been caught up in the “large salaries affair”, concerning executive payrolls in government-run companies. A member of Dinkic’s party, Bojan Kristo, CEO of Belgrade airport, has resigned after a flurry of media reports opened up the issue of the “large” salaries of managers of state-run companies. In recent media appearances, Dinkic said that this media “lynching” is an attack against him and his party. Many believe that the affair was quietly organised by the Democratic Party, Dinkic’s coalition partner, to arrest Dinkic’s growing influence over the country’s financial system. Both Dinkic and his party have been in government since 2004. and President Boris Tadic’s current coalition is the third government in which G17 Plus has played a significant part, despite some estimates that if they ran independently, they would not win enough votes to enter parliament. He is seen as a master of media “spin”, always in the spotlight, and close to some influential newspaper and magazine editors. He still believes that the “world is run by economists” but in the meantime, having actively entered the world of politics, he has realised that without support of the media such power is unachievable- he has twice (in 2003 and 2006) played an active part in the toppling of the Serbian government, with quite some help from tabloids. Today, with the tables turned, when he is the one pursued by the tabloids, he takes the blows bravely, albeit whilst also explaining that the attacks against him are coming from special interest groups and lobbyists the majority of which, he says, are in Russia, and which want to turn Serbia into a Russian province. He started his political career in the 1990s, working for the Spektra marketing agency which managed campaigns for the Democratic Party. Later, he worked at the university and wrote a book analysing the downfall of economy in Serbia in the 1990s. He is credited with putting the banking and fiscal system in Serbia in order, earning the title Man of the Year from the weekly publication Vreme (2002) and Finance Minister of the World (2006). Dinkc is one of Serbia’a great political survivors and whatever the storms around him right now, you can probably count on him weathering them once again.
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Ajvar For Christmas
Letter From the Editor
Dear readers, Christmas and New Year will soon be upon us, and here, at Belgrade Insight, we are working hard to help make the holiday season easier for you. In our December 19th edition, we’ll be publishing a special Christmas and New Year insert packed full of festive ideas for entertaining, going out, shopping and some hot tips on what to do with the kids when they’ve bored with all the toys that Santa put under the Christmas tree. Through talking to our readers – you – our team has realised it’s often difficult to find those special things you miss from back home and we’ve done our best to search them out for you. We’ve also got some great ideas for you if you’re having your own Christmas party. Oh, and if you’ve got visitors over the holidays, we’ve picked out places you should take them to. Whether you’re looking for a place to buy the festive turkey, looking for that last minute gift, wondering where the best parties will be, checking out places to visit with friends and family, our team of correspondents have left no stone unturned to make sure you have a wonderful time in right here in Belgrade. All that hard work has left us in need of a break too. So, whilst you celebrate the season, we will be taking a short break too after the next issue, but rest assured, we’ll be back with a host of new ideas, features and entertainment with our first edition of the New Year, which will hit the stands on January 9th. We want you to enjoy reading Belgrade Insight as much as we enjoy writing it, so if you have any tips, comments or advice on how we can make the newspaper better, we’d love to hear them. Your feedback is very valuable to us because, after all, we are writing this newspaper for you. I hope you enjoy our issue this week. Happy reading, Vanja Petrovic
Belgrade’s expatriates are all over the place when deciding where to spend their holidays.
s the season to be jolly approaches, Belgrade’s streets are being slowly decorated, and Serbs across the country are gathering things they will need to celebrate the New Year and Christmas. But, what are expats doing? Belgrade Insight found that the ways in which the capital’s honourary citizens are keeping up their native country’s traditions are as varied as they themselves are. Some will go back home, though many will stay in Belgrade because they have children who have grown up in Serbia, and their families have adapted, and celebrate a mix of the two traditions. Others still will take the opportunity offfered by the long holiday to take a break in the region. Ceiole Beuer, wife of a Swiss diplomat, has been living in Belgrade for over two years, but every Christmas, her family packs up and goes back home. “The holiday is not an extravagant affair, the most important part is to spend it with people you love”, she says. Nil Karli, from Turkey, an honourary Belgrader for five years now, ech-
Drivers will once again be able to use the road under the railway overpass on Jurija Gagarina towards New Belgrade, which has been closed since August. The street was closed in order for a new railway bridge to be constructed and the street to be widened to six lanes. The street is expected to be completely renovated by the end of next year. You have to adapt, says Louise oed Beuer’s sentiments and said her family will go back as well. “The kids will get a three week school holiday and we’ll go back to visit family back home. We don’t celebrate Christmas, but every New Year we have a tradition to spend it together playing bingo.” However, many expats say that a part of living abroad is soaking in your surroundings whilst at the same time staying true to the traditions that are important to you. “You just have to adapt because
Photo: Louise Maude it’s part of living abroad,” says Louise Maude whose husband is working in Belgrade. “But, yes, there are things that you miss, and often we go back home to get them,” she added. Cathy Cottrell, a British diplomat told us that the December Christmas break was a great time to get away. “Last year we spent the week in Kopaonik. The slopes were quiet, as the local schools had not broken-up and the skiing was great,” she said.
Nina Vukovic has focused her work on iconic buildings and parks of the capital as a way to symbolically thank the city.
were shortlisted to write investigative reportages on the theme of energy. Their articles explore issues as diverse as the South Stream pipeline, the relationship of alternative music festivals, such as the EXIT Festival in Serbia, to political change, the different fates of the mining industry in Romania and Bulgaria, the future of nuclear power in the region, wind power, energy conservation and environmental damage. One writer discussed the impact, or political energy, created by Kosovo’s independence movement.
New Library in The Italian Cultural Institute The Italian Cultural Institute’s library had its ceremonial opening recently at the ‘Italian Palace’ in Belgrade. It will include over 14,000 books. “The opening of the library is a chance for Italy to show its thanks to the Serbian government for giving us this prestigious building,” said the statement released announcing the opening of the library.
Anti-firework Campaign Begins as New Year Approaches A campaign “Nicer without fireworks – Celebrate Safely” will include lectures by Belgrade students regarding the dangers of fireworks. Some 15,000 students from grades five to eight will participate in the programme, which will encourage youngsters to refrain from buying and playing with fireworks during the New Years celebration.
FBI Inquiry, Death Threats Made Against Prosecutor
Saint Sava Cathedral pictured in one of Vukovic’s works Foto courtesey of Nina Vukovic She believes that a painting should high school, but she says she’s been relax the viewer and be pleasing to actively and seriously perusing her art since 2000. She is 48-years-old, the eye. “A painting has to awaken some- and this is her first solo show. The show closes on December 12, thing beautiful in a person, it should relax and calm them. It should be so you’ll need to be quick to catch something which fills you with ener- her work. gy and helps you carry on,” Vukovic Aero Klub Beograd told Belgrade Insight. Vukovic has been a painter since Uzun Mirkova 4
Balkan Journalistic Fellows’ Book Launches on December 22
he Balkan Investigative Reporting Network has announced the launch - on December 22 - of a book containing the work of 10 upand-coming Balkan journalists with the title Power Struggle: Meeting Global Energy Challenges in the Balkans. The book is published by the ERSTE Stiftung and Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with BIRN, the publisher of Belgrade Insight. Ten journalists from Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania, selected in open competition,
The City in Brief Jurija Gagarina Open for Traffic
Painting Belgrade’s “Pearls”
any artists find inspiration in the nature, parks, places and people of capital cities. However, for Nina Vukovic, this inspiration is more an expression of her gratitude towards the city. She expressed that gratitude in a recent show of 20 of her oil on canvas paintings. “This series of paintings focuse on the pearl of Belgrade – the Kalemegdan Fortress,” she told Belgrade Insight. “It’s one of the structures that Belgrade is recognised by around the world and I wanted to in some way thank the city, through these paintings. I came to Belgrade and found my place and found love,” she added. Vukovic says that during in Belgrade, she found out the real meaning of love – that which you experience with close friends, colleagues, and with your city. She says that Belgrade welcomed her and became her home. Vukovic’s work is rooted in nature and scenes from around the city. She is an ecologist by profession, which she thinks has an influence on her work.
At the awards ceremony in Vienna, an international panel judged each of the articles before deciding to present this year’s Balkan Fellowship Award to Lavdim Hamidi, 26, from Kosovo, who explored the topic of corruption and inefficiency in the field of Kosovo electricity. Hamidi won a scholarship of €8,000 to spend on professional development. Judges praised the investigative quality of Hamidi’s work and the way in which he had uncovered fresh facts and information about the mis-
management of energy in Kosovo. The book, containing the prizewinner’s report along with all the others, will be launched at the O3ON Gallery in Belgrade and across the region during December. The articles are also available to read on BIRN’s online publication, www.BalkanInsight.com. Following the success of this year’s programme, the ERSTE and the Robert Bosch Stiftung have announced their intention to continue participation in the scheme for 2009.
Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekaric’s office stated that the FBI has launched an inquiry into US citizens of Serbian nationality that have allegedly sent him death threats. The prosecutor, one of the main officials in charge of locating and arresting Hague fugitives former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, has received dozens of death threats, many of which came from American cities which have large Serb populations, such as Chicago.
Albanian Hackers Attack Belgrade Airport Web Site A group of ethnic Albanian computer hackers from Kosovo attacked several Serbian Web sites, include the site of Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport. The hackers also attacked the Serbian Café web portal, posting the Albanian coat-of-arms with the group’s initials, KHG, in the middle of the emblem on the site’s section for horoscopes. The Kosova Hacker Group also left the message “Long Live Kosovo” and signed it by the “United State of Albania”. Both Web sites were repaired immediately and have continued functioning without problems.
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Central Bank Acts to Curb Speculation and Maintain Rates The Central Bank has switched from a liberal monetary policy to firm regulation of the market in an effort to reduce speculative pressure on the dinar.
Bozidar Djelic has taken firm action to control the markets
By Miroslav Bojcic
lthough the recent move by Serbia’s Central Bank to strengthen the dinar whilst keeping interest rates high at 17.75 per cent seems to favour speculative capital, or so-called “hot money”, analysts doubt that there will be a renewed influx on the scale seen earlier in the year. Since early summer, speculators used the Central Bank’s high interest rates in tandem with the rising dinar to earn considerable profits. With the onset of the global financial crisis those speculators then withdrew their cash, shaking confidence in the dinar and weakening it,
leaving those who did not withdraw in time, to suffer losses. The Central Bank reacted only on December 8th by raising the obligatory reserve commercial banks must place with the Central Bank from 20 to 40 per cent, which reduced the amount of dinars in circulation by an equivalent of €700 million. At the same time, the Bank introduced a programme of meetings to fix the inter-bank foreign currency rates, agreeing the foreign currency exchange rate directly with banks, and reducing their limit for open positions in foreign currency from 20 to 10 per cent. “These are very aggressive measures. The Central Bank has switched from a liberal monetary policy to firm regulation of the market,” said one banker who wanted to remain anonymous.
Source: www.emportal.co.yu Analysts believe that the Central Bank’s new policy makes speculation in the financial markets less attractive in the short term, because it makes the movement of speculative capital more difficult. The tightening of liquidity, brought about by the global crisis, does not favour the return of “hot money” to Serbia either, because competition for available capital is now considerable, particularly in emerging markets. In addition, the local banks, which suffered losses over the last three months, support the Central Bank’s policy of maintaining a strong dinar. Finally, the Deputy Prime Minister’s, Bozidar Djelic’s, announcement that the government will provide up to €500 million as a guarantee fund to aid the economy is seen as a discouraging factor.
This signals a possible return to high inflation, and the dinar’s mild weakening, which would not guarantee sufficient profit for speculative capital, despite the high interest rates. The currency became robust when speculative capital suddenly entered the market in May, following the electoral victory of the Democratic Party, and reached its peak in early August. However, the Central Bank did not react by massively buying foreign currency even after the dinar rose by 10 per cent within only two months, reaching a peak of 75.75 to the euro on August 7, against 83.61in mid-May. Simultaneously with the rise of the local currency, repo rates rose as well, from little over 12 to 15.75 per cent, resulting in the second highest interest rate in Europe, which is one reason why “hot money” in the Serbian banking system reaped such extraordinary profits. Once the money was turned over, it left the Serbian financial market at pace, spurred on by the combination of, among other factors, the world financial crisis and the rising perceptions of risk in emerging markets. “In recent months, the market was shaken by the outflow of around €1 billion of hot money, which was withdrawn to its countries of origin and the global crisis is now keeping it there,” Miroslav Zdravkovic, a researcher at the Central Bank, told Balkan Insight. “Repo stock dropped from some 80 billion dinars to around 176 billion,” noted Vladimir Vuckovic, professor at the Megatrend private university. Analysts explain that banks which held Serbian repo notes for too long have lost money because the dinar rate dropped faster than the interest rate of the notes, despite the Central Bank raising rates to 17.75 per cent in an attempt to save the local currency. “The high demand for foreign currency in October came mainly from the banks, because they were buying foreign currency to pay off depositors who were massively withdrawing their deposits in fear of a financial crisis,” Vuckovic said. “In November, the process stopped, but the pressure on the foreign currency market was now applied by companies in debt, against a background of declining export income and rising import expenses, caused by a rapidly weaker dinar,” Vuckovic added. The National Bank, which had failed to do much to prevent the speculative rise of the dinar in the first place, also reacted slowly when the rate started to drop as well, panicking only after several failed interventions, selling €700 million in the last three months alone, while the dinar’s decline continued apace. It was only when the dinar came close to 92 dinars to the euro that the Central Bank started using all it’s available arsenal. Facing losses, the local banks welcomed the Central Bank’s action,
primarily because, according to their research, the rate of loan repayment suddenly drops when the dinar rate reaches the threshold of 90 dinars to the euro. “In the third quarter, the banks were net losers and became natural allies of the Central Bank in its rate policy,” Stojan Stamenkovic, a researcher for the Economic Institute in Belgrade, said. “The risk of a new arrival of ‘hot money’ was thus considerably reduced.”
“In recent months, the market was shaken by the outflow of around €1 billion of hot money, which was withdrawn to its countries of origin and the global crisis is now keeping it there,” Miroslav Zdravkovic, a researcher at the Central Bank, told Balkan Insight. Bankers and analysts note that fixing rates in this way will stabilise things for a while, but that creating the rate by fixing meetings inevitably results in a superficial situation, which, according to Miroslav Zdravkovic, in the medium term encourages speculative attacks on the dinar. Ljubisa Jovanovic, director of Serbia’s most successful bank, AIK, says the consequence of the new measures will be a rise in interest rates on commercial bank loans, based on the dinar’s reduced liquidity and the high interest rate of Central Bank notes. “The least the Central Bank can do, as soon as the situation in the financial market settles down a little, is reduce the repo rate,” says Vladimir Vuckovic. Thus, loans will become more available and the socalled credit crunch, and a decline in output, can be avoided. This would stimulate exports. However, it is not clear how long the monetary authorities will stick to the policy of a strong dinar, since they are facing a hole in the budget. The government’s leadership is showing conflicting signals on this. Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic, at a panel including Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia University expert, said the government would use €500 million as a guarantee fund for the economy. It seems the exchange rate he had in mind is around 100 dinars to the euro. On the other hand, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic also announced that the new budget, set in cooperation with the IMF, was put together assuming a rate of 85 dinars to the euro. Perhaps the government had one rate in mind before the IMF allotted its resources, and another after. As one observer concluded: “The wild fluctuation of currency and interest rates is no climate for any investment, not even a speculative one.” Miroslav Bojcic is Serbian daily Borba’s economics editor.
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
€2 Billion to Stimulate the Economy
The Prime Minister announces a package of measures designed to reign in spending and increase investment.
By David Galic and Slobodan Georgijev
n presenting the 2009 budget draft recently passed by the government, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic announced that €2 billion would be set aside to improve Serbia’s economy and help domestic companies during the impending financial crisis. The key measures of the fiscal policy outlined in the budget draft focus mainly on limiting public spending and saving money in all possible sectors. The goals are to decrease spending in order to get the budget deficit down to 1.5 per cent of the gross domestic product, keep the inflation rate near the eight per cent mark, while achieving a lowly 3 percent rate of economic growth in 2009. However, the government has also allotted incentives and aid for businesses to help them survive the economic crisis. The budget draft calls for funds to be set aside to help small and medium-sized companies, most vulnerable to the crisis, loan guarantees for banks providing funds for
bigger businesses and funds for increasing efforts to prevent the unemployment rate from sky-rocketing. Commenting on the government’s plans, economic expert and adviser to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Goran Nikolic, told Belgrade Insight that they were good ideas, and he supported every effort to combat the economic crisis. “The decision of the Serbian government is in line with similar ones being implemented around the world,” Nikolic said, adding that it would help industry in Serbia to continue developing in 2009. “The state’s guarantee should encourage banks to give credits,” he said. Alternatively, another economic expert, Miroslav Zdravkovic, said that while it is good that the government is recognising these problems, its plans would not be as effective as intended. “You cannot help industry if banks do not want to and cannot give out credit. Guarantees will not help,” Zdravkovic said. He said that the atmosphere in which Serbian companies are doing business does not leave much room for optimism, because they will not
Serbian Govt Adopts 2009 Budget Draft
he Serbian government called an emergency session on Saturday to adopt the draft 2009 budget, and will forward it to the parliament for adoption immediately. The draft projects income of € 8.2 billion for 2009, with expenditures of €8.8 billion, leaving a deficit of about €600 million – 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product, a figure in accordance with the agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund earlier this year. The outlook for 2009 is rather dreary, and Finance Minister Diana Dragutinovic’s projections show that economic activity will slow significantly and the number of unemployed in Serbia could reach the one million mark next year. Dragutinovic said that the main reason for the gloomy outlook is the international financial crisis sweeping the globe and the decrease of industrial production in 2009 that is expected to result from it. The adoption of the budget was much delayed because of the time it took for all relevant ministries to harmonise and approve the draft, due to the significant savings and the subsequent cuts made to the funds allotted to all ministries for spending in 2009.
Dragutinovic said that 70 per cent of the budget would go towards wages for state employees, pensions and other social payments. Even though the draft will be in the hands of Serbian lawmakers on Monday, a session to debate the draft will not be possible before Friday, Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic said. The parliament has yet to wrap up its session for debating and adopting necessary judicial laws, and must do so before debating the draft. In addition, the motion for a no confidence vote in the government which opposition parties have initiated must also be squeezed into the parliamentary agenda, and DjukicDejanovic said this could be combined with the budget debate. The government has stressed that the draft must be adopted by the end of the year, and that consultation would be held early this week with all interested parties in order to agree on how to speed up parliamentary procedures - which have run at a sluggish pace since the formation of the new government, due to the constant obstruction by the opposition and the speed of government ministries in drafting and approving the necessary legislation.
By Tijana Cvetkovic The BELEX saw a trading meltdown over the period December 5-11 with turnover in the reviewed period just 299 million dinars, 50 per cent down on the previous week. The indices continue to fall and the Belex15, index of the most liquid shares recorded another historic low of 521.1 losing more than 19 points or 3.5 per cent over the period Decem-
Companies & Markets Fiat Seeks Partner but Serbia Plans Unchanged
Mirko Cvetkovic know where to get money from in order to repay debts they already owe. “Serbian industry is more than $19 billion (€14.6 billion) in debt and the government should have created a fund to service these debts,” Zdravkovic told Belgrade Insight. President of the Serbian Association of Businesspeople Toplica Spa-
Photo by FoNet sojevic had a similar stance, telling local media B92 that “funds of €1 million will not help if the bank is asking you to return €3 million taken out earlier,” adding that more focus should be put on keeping the banking system in check. Source: www.BalkanInsight.com
Russia-Serbia Gas Deal ‘By Year End’
azprom Chief, Alexei Miller, said at a press conference in Belgrade on Friday that an agreement for the sale of the Serbian oil monopoly NIS to Gazprom would definitely be signed by the end of the year. After meeting with Serbian President Boris Tadic, Miller said that the agreement would include guarantees for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia, one of Belgrade’s key conditions for approval of the sale of NIS to the Russian oil giant. A Russian delegation arrived in Belgrade recently to hold bilateral talks with Serbian officials on finalising the conditions needed to make good an energy agreement signed between the two countries in January. Miller also said that a memorandum would be signed to meet another demand put forward by Serbia - namely the construction of an underground storage facility that would be able to hold 300 to 800 million cubic metres of gas. The Gazprom chief said that all conditions for building the pipeline and storage facility have been agreed, and that there are only minor technical aspects regarding the sale of NIS
Market Watch: BELEX Continues its Downward Trend ber 5-11 whilst the Belexline dropped nearly 29 points, or 2.4 per cent. Foreign investors` participation in the market declined, as well, accounting for 28 per cent of the week’s trading, with an intensive presence on the sell side. The most actively traded share in this period was AIK Bank with turnover of 38.2 million dinars and 20,123 traded shares. Following a restructuring of its ownership, Napred a construction company was also saw heay trading with total turnover amounting to 27.3 million dinars. Belgrade-based Politika was the week’s biggest gainer, rising 20 per cent. Among other gainers were Velefarm with a rise of 16.4 per cent, and Vital with 15.7 per cent. Dijamant was
the top loser, plummeting 19.6 per cent. Also on the downside, Messer Tehnogas declined 19.4 per cent, and Voda Vrnjci sagged 15.1 per cent. After six days of continued growth Metals Bank, under administration since October 24, this year, finished this trading week in the red again. The Victoria Group group, major owner of Sojaprotein and Veterinarski zavod Subotica, has bought into Metals Bank acquiring almost 4 per cent of Bank’s shares accounting for much of the early price increase. However, many investors took advantage of the opportunity to unload their holding, and consequently the price fell away again. Tijana Cvetkovic is an analyst with FIMA Fas Ltd. in Belgrade
The President of “Fiat”, Sergio Marchionne, sees further consolidation in the automotive sector in the coming years and claims that Fiat must find a strategic partner if it is to survive. In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Marchionne said, “as far as mass-producers are concerned, we’re going to end up with one American house; one German of size; one French-Japanese, maybe with an extension in the U.S.; one in Japan; one in China; and one potential European player.” “The only way for companies to survive is if they make more than 5.5 million cars per year.” Officials at Fiat’s newly acquired Zastava operation claim that any partnership will not affect its Serbian operation, which is currently tooling up for the production of the Dobla model. Third Time Lucky for Investbanka Hotel Sale? Following a further 40 per cent reduction in the minimum bid, to €4.31 million, the Deposit Insurance Agency of Serbia has once again opened bids for the sale of the Hotel Investbanka complex in Kopaonik The hotel is ideally situated, close to the centre Kopaonik and the ski lifts, and has 140 beds in 33 suites but has twice failed to find a buyer. €10.5 Million Can Plant Opens in Indjia
Tera Production has opened a new €10.5 million facility for the production of cans for soft drinks and beer. Alexei Miller The plant was developed in cooperathat need to be confirmed before the tion with Ball Packaging, one of the worlds largest producers of metal and sale can be finalised. Gazprom intends to purchase a plastic containers. majority stake in the state-owned Mihajlo Pupin Sale NIS for € 400 million. Serbia has maintained, during The Privatisation Agency anthe negotiations, that the sale could proceed under three conditions: nounced the sale by auction of 70 Gazprom must invest € 500 million per cent of the agri-business, Mihajlo to modernize NIS; there must be a Pupin, with a minimum bid price of guarantee given that the pipeline 13.3 million dinars. The buyer will would be completed by 2015 and the also have to commit to a minimum storage facility would also have to be investment of 1.2 million dinars for the modernisation of production faincluded in the deal. The planned €10 billion South cilities and equipment. Mihajlo Pupin manages more Stream gas pipeline project will distribute gas from Russia through Ser- than 300 hectares of agricultural land bia and Bulgaria, branching out final- and incorporates both dairy and pig farming. ly to Western European countries.
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Interview: ‘We Can’t Perform Miracles Overnight’ Yves de Kermabon, incoming head of EULEX, tells Krenar Gashi that both Serbs and Albanians will come to see that working with the EU mission is in their own interest.
seem to know how you’re going to deal with them. A: My main purpose is to work with the Kosovo institutions and we are here to do this. I am in very close contact with the government, which has settled what I call a joint coordination board concerning the rule of law. Q: But our Prime Minister has said your mission will be significant only if you deploy in the north and fight the parallel structures. A: For sure, but you know perfectly well what the situation is. We know perfectly well that we cannot solve everything in one second, in one day, or a week. We need time. The end state is very clear for everybody. But we cannot perform miracles; we need to work with the population, for the interest of the population, whatever its necessities are. So… it is not tomorrow that we will solve all the difficulties and issues, but the end state is very clear. Q: Your staff will have immunity from Kosovo’s laws. How can they implement and establish ruleof-law and be above that law? A: They are not above the law. They have immunity in all these missions because it is an international mission. Kermabon talks frankly to Balkan Insight’s Krenar Gashi
By Krenar Gashi in Pristina Q: Welcome to Kosovo. Are you in an independent Kosovo, or in a UN administered Kosovo? A: I am in Kosovo as head of an EU mission, and you know that this mission, named EULEX, is the mission decided by the 27 member states of EU and we will work under UN resolution 1244. Q: Just before your mission started, 10,000 Albanians protested publicly against the way it is being deployed. Protests are not a good start, are they? A: Protests are a very good thing. In all countries around the world there are some protests. I can assure you that in France we very often have protests. It is good democratic scenery. Everyone is free to show his agreement or disagreement. Q. However, it’s not only Albanians who object but Kosovo Serbs. Some 70,000 signed a petition against EULEX. A: We used to say that when everyone is unhappy, it’s a good balance. It’s a sort of joke but we need to explain that I am commanding this mission in some difficult conditions, but that it is in the interest of the Kosovo, and of the population. For me it’s most important that 27 EU member states decided to send this mission for the benefit of the population and the improvement of the rule-of-law.
Q. Still, if Serbs are not going to work with you, won’t it be difficult? Their leaders say they will ignore EULEX and work with UNMIK only. A: Yes, but first you have to understand that UNMIK will switch off and EULEX will switch on. You know that EULEX has been demonized, particularly in northern Kosovo for some reason. I will not go into this, but the fact is that a major part of the Kosovo Serb population is not aware of EULEX. When you explain, and forward [our good intentions], they will understand that it’s in their interest to work with EULEX. You know what the situation in northern Kosovo is, and what EULEX is about, which is the fight against organised crime and corruption. So it’s obvious that some people are not happy, both in northern and southern Kosovo, to see EULEX coming because it could be difficult for them. Q. There’s confusion because people do not know how EULEX and UNMIK will work together and who is in charge? A: You are probably right! It’s a question of communication, so that is the reason we have to explain, and thank you for being here, because it’s a good way to explain to the population. Since December 9, UNMIK in the rule-of-law area is switched off, and EULEX is switched on. UNMIK will withdraw its police, judges, prosecutors, customs officers and we will bring in a lot of very good experts and skilled people from the 27 EU member states.
We fly for your smile.
Source: www.BalkanInsight.com Q: The six-point plan on the basis of which EULEX is being deployed, says the police “will function in accordance with the existing chain of command”. Whose chain of command is this? A: The chain of command will be clear. The chain of command for EULEX is the EU chain of command. This means I will report to the EU and to the ambassadors in the corps and to Javier Solana. A lot of people are not aware that EULEX is a technical mission, to provide better rule-of-law in Kosovo and improve the daily life of all of Kosovo’s inhabitants; to give them guaranteed access to justice and police, mainly. Q: As head of EULEX, who do you report to? The UN? A: Not exactly. I will report to EU and the EU will provide reports to the UN. Q: So the European mission reports to the UN and works under the UN resolution. Isn’t this a little schizophrenic, because of the dual character of your mission? A: It is a little complex but I think but we can explain this very clearly. It’s an ESDP mission, which means it’s decided on by the 27 members of the EU. Even if some of them did not recognize Kosovo’s independence. So it means that it is a technical mission, a mission decided by all the member states of EU, and that I have to report to EU and Mr Solana. Between the EU and UN, we have this agreement about the whole reconfiguration, and it is agreed that the EU will provide reports on rule-of-law to the UN. Q: How will you deal with the Serbs’ parallel structures? Our reporters revealed last week that Serbian police officers ticket vehicles for speeding, lets say, not only in northern Kosovo but also in the
south. How are you going to deal with these people? A: It is a very important question… we have to put in place our deployment and we will do this Kosovo wide, and I insist on this because it is very important to have some questions about northern Kosovo, but we will do the same in the north as in southern, eastern or western Kosovo. Q: Concretely, how will you deal with these Police or other “officials” who are illegal, working in parallel and controlled by the Serbian government? A: Well, it is a reason why we have to go step by step, as I said, and we have to find some solutions. Q: So you don’t have a strategy? A: We have a strategy. Q: Which is? A: To deploy first, have contact with the population, with the people, speak with them, and understand what the situation is, and fight against organised crime and corruption because this is the main point of this mission. Q: UNMIK has ignored the parallel structures for nine years. Are you going to do the same or stop these people from functioning? A: We are going to implement my mandate, which is a technical mandate. We have a political side and a technical side. But I am not in charge of the political side. And I do not want to enter this business which is not mine and which I can’t speak for. I would like to focus on this technical side, because for me it’s most important. Q: Technically or not, these people work for the Republic of Serbia, a different country, and these institutions have been declared illegal by UNMIK and you don’t
Q: But it didn’t work out with UNMIK. We had a case of Romanian police officers allegedly responsible for two deaths; we have individual cases of rapes and murders allegedly done by staff with immunity, and these people were never charged. A: Probably there are a small amount of difficult cases… I agree, but UNMIK brought you a lot of good things too. So not only look on the bad side, but also the good side. Where was Kosovo nine years ago and where is it today? So I think there is a huge difference. Q: Still, many ask how people who are above the law can establish rule-of-law? A: We are not above the law. We are part of the law. And believe me, I am the first to say the people in the EULEX mission must abide by the law. We have a code of conduct, which is very strict. Q: Can you guarantee that if someone from your staff breaks the law that these people will be prosecuted? A: I give you my word that if there are people in the EULEX mission [who behave badly], or who are breaking the law, he or she will be prosecuted. Q: Last but not least, EULEX started but when is it going to end? A: It’s up to you. And a little bit up to us. As soon as possible. Why? Because this mission is a mission to assist you, to help and support you. As soon as we you do not need us, it means that we have reached sufficient capacity in rule-of-law, justice and police, and as soon as you want to join the EU and have these good references, we will leave. The sooner this is possible, the better. Source: www.BalkanInsight.com © BalkanInsight. All rights reserved
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Opposition Grows to Albania Wind Project Opposition is mounting against a deal between Albania and Italy to build one of Europe’s biggest wind farms, after a Balkan Insight investigation lifted the lid on shady aspects of the agreement.
s Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha, signed the agreement to enable the Karaburun wind farm project, prostesters from the Mjaft movement gathered outside to voice their opposition and accused the government of allowing the colonisation of Albania. Under the slogan: “Albania is not for sale”, protesters compared Berlusconi’s visit to the Italian invasion in 1939. Opposition MPs have also questioned the government decision in parliament arguing that the energy deal is not transparent and does not benefit Albania. “The government should answer some serious questions about how Albania benefits from this deal,” said a deputy from the Socialist Party Andis Harasini. The project has also been contested by various environmental groups and intellectuals. Balkan Insight has previouslyreported that the continent’s potentially biggest onshore wind-farm could wreak havoc to the unspoiled coastline - and could also be breaking the law. Albania’s government risks wrecking one of Europe’s last unspoiled coastlines by allowing an Italian company, acting through an Albanian subsidiary, to build a wind farm on a coastal nature reserve and on part of a national park. The government has transferred more than 97 hectares of land to Italy’s Moncada Energy Group, which through its Albanian subsidiary, Enpower Albania, aims to build a 500 megawatt wind farm in the south of the country. Both the decision to grant the land
In Brief Croat Police Calm Public amid ‘UFO Sighting’ Zagreb_Croatian police have said there is no need for alarm after residents in Zagreb reported UFO sightings and seeing strange lights accompanied by a blast on Wednesday morning. Zagreb Police Department said it has no information on possible flights or explosions, but said it is investigatingthe claims. They urged people there was no need for panic. Mosque Burned in Bosnia on Muslim Holiday Sarajevo_A mosque has been set alight in the eastern Bosnian village of Fazlagica Kula, only hours before the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al Adha, or Kurban Bajram. The inside of the mosque and its roof were completely burned out. Although the investigation into this incident is still ongoing and the cause of the fire is still unconfirmed, Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) officials reacted strongly, demanding that Bosnian Serb leadership and police swiftly identify and arrest the culprits.
Berlusconi and Berisha pictured at the signing of the deal the subsequent environmental permit are illegal under Albania’s own law for protecting natural reserves, Balkan Insight can reveal. Balkan Insight has learned that the Albanian government changed a law on the transfer of public lands just weeks before the company presented its project, although officials deny the change was connected to any desire on the part of the government to
EU To Send Mission to Probe Bulgaria Funds Sofia _ the European Commission is to send a new technical mission to Bulgaria in January to assess the progress made in addressing irregularities in the management of EU funding. The decision was announced by Michael Leigh, the Commission’s director general for enlargement, during a visit to Sofia on Monday. Leigh acknowledged that there has been some progress since the appointment of Meglena Plugchieva, deputy prime minister for European Union funding. However, he underlined that time is needed to see whether tightened controls have led to any practical results.
Sofia has already irretrievably lost some €220 million of EU funds after Brussels refused to lift a suspension of payment imposed in July because of concerns about Bulgaria’s ability to manage the money correctly, with the deadline to use it expiring on November 30. Brussels has also threatened to cut more of the frozen aid, as well as some of the €11 billion in funds earmarked to be handed to Bulgaria by 2013. Bulgaria’s government, dumbfounded by the decision and Brussels’ sharp-edged tone, lashed back that it was not receiving equal treatment from the Commission.
accommodate the Italian company. Environmental groups, meanwhile, are outraged that the Ministry of Environment issued a permit for the wind farm on the Karaburun peninsula – the site of the nature reserve park – as this is one of the most pristine sites in the Mediterranean. Although the Albanian Energy Regulatory Agency approved a license for the construction of the wind
Source: www.epp-ed.eu farm in September 2008, after the Environment Ministry issued a permit, Enpower Albania has not completed a feasibility study proving there is enough wind to justify the project. Meanwhile, experts have pointed out that even if it is constructed, Albania will not benefit because the electricity will be transported to Italy. source: www.balkanInsight.com
Macedonia Ex-PM S entenced Over Arms Deal Skopje _ ex-Premier Vlado Buckovski and the former Chief of Staff of Macedonia’s Army, Metodij Stamboliski, have been jailed for three and a half years each for the misuse of power in an illegal arms deal. Two other defendants got threeyear prison sentences. The court found Buckovski and the other three men guilty for their role in the illegal procurement of spare parts for T-55 tanks from the MZT company in late 2001. Buckovski was defence minister at the time. Macedonia’s financial police service estimate that the scheme cost the country’s budget about €3 million. Buckovski, who served as a prime minister from 2004 to 2006, has denied the charges. He claimed the process had been politically motivated by the current centre-right government led by the VMRO DPMNE party. “The ruling is scandalous at the very least. We have won the legal battle in the courtroom… In the past 13 months we proved that we are not guilty but obviously the integrity of the judge was broken in the last few days,” Buckovski told media after the court reached its verdict. This sentence was imposed from outside the court, Stamboliski said. “This proves the political influence over the courts. We knew in advance what the decision would be,” Stam-
Facebookers Want Slovenia’s Rupel Out Ljubljana_ More than 13,600 people have joined an internet group urging Slovenia’s “perennial foreign minister,” Dimitrij Rupel, to retire from political life. The group, “Together Against Dimitrij Rupel”, wants to “organise a larger action that will remove Dimitrij Rupel from his current position... It is our opinion that the time for his retirement has come,” the appeal on the website said. Bulgarians Receive Anti-Graft SMS Messages Sofia_All Bulgarian citizens received a short text message reading “Say No to Corruption”, which was sent at the request of the Interior Ministry. “It is necessary to instill intolerance to these practices and that can only be achieved through the joint efforts of all state institutions,” said Interior Minister, Mihail Mikov. Man Drives Car into Croatian Parliament
Buckovski boliski told media announcing that he will appeal against the verdict. In August 2007 parliament stripped Buckovski of his immunity as a legislator from the main opposition party, the Social Democrats so the trial could start. The spare parts for the tanks were acquired during the 2001 armed conflict between Macedonia’s security forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents. At the time these old Soviet-type tanks were the only ones in service in the Army.
Zagreb_Croatian police say a driver deliberately crashed his car into the entrance of the parliament building. No one was injured in the incident. Zagreb police spokeswoman, Aleksandra Ljuba, said a 34-year-old was arrested at the scene. Police did not identify him. Ljuba says the motive is not known, and the man is being held for questioning. Two Hurt in Northern Bosnia Shootout Sarajevo_Two people were hurt when unknown attackers opened fire with automatic weapons on a car driving through the northern Bosnian town of Tuzla on the night of December 6th. One man suffered serious wounds to his head and both are being treated in the city’s main hospital. The motives for the attack and the identity of the two injured people are still unknown.
out & about
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008 Near Smederevo The “Zlatni breg“ (Golden Hill) villa, just a few kilometres outside the town, was the summer home of the Obrenovic family. Built in 1831 by Milos Obrenovic who first planted vineyards nearby, the German army used it as their command centre during the Second World War. Preparations are now under way to turn into a museum about the Obrenovic dynasty. Also close is Salinac forest, a 20-hectare oak forest with 300 oaks, each measuring up to 2 metres in diameter. Nearby is Salinacko lake, a place that is growing in popularity with both people from Smederevo and visitors. The Danube and the Dunavac, and canals, teeming with catfish, pike, perch, carp, and even sturgeon, also provide opportunities for rest and recreation. Events
The Smederevo Fortress and moat
Photo: Sophie Cottrell
Smederevo, Fortress City
Home to a striking medieval castle, surrounded totally by water, there’s a variety of festivals to tempt winter visitors. By Pat Andjelkovic
mederevo, a town of approximately 80,000 inhabitants, is located about 45 kilometres southeast of Belgrade on the Danube and Jezava rivers. It’s primarily an industrial city, home to US Steel Serbia, which employs over 8,000 workers, and the Milan Blagojevic home appliance factory. But don’t let this discourage you. Smederevo is also an agricultural area with significant fruit and wine production, and the Smederevka grape is named after the town. Every autumn, Smederevo and its new neighbours host a variety of harvest festivals, and even now in the winter, it’s worth the drive down. A little history The city was founded in the 15th century as the capital of the kingdom of Serbia by Serbian prince Djuradj Brankovic, who built the impressive fortress. As a result of the tumultuous history of the region, at one point Brankovic became Lord of Tokaj in Hungary, and planted vines from Smederevo on his estates there. From these Serbian vines came the famous Tokaj white wine. Smederevo remained the capital of Serbia until 1439, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire after a twomonth siege. Smederevo Fortress Despite being in a state of disrepair, the fortress still remains Smederevo’s main attraction, and has been described as one of the most striking and monumental pieces of traditional defensive architecture surviving from medieval Serbia, built in the Byzantine tradition and modeled after the Constantinople fortress. More interestingly, it is classified as a “water fortress” because it is completely surrounded by water. Throughout its
history, the fortress withstood several sieges by the Ottoman Turks, remaining relatively unscathed until the Second World War, when it was heavily bombed. Though now in the midst of extensive restoration and conservation, the fortress remains one of the rare preserved courts of medieval Serbian rulers, notable for its four sets of double-arched windows carved in a combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles, and a Turkish bath from the 17th century. Smederevo Fortress was once an important connection between the Balkans and central Europe, and the town reached its peak as a religious, commercial and trade centre. There was once a ship gate in the Danube wall of one suburb through which sailors could enter the fortress. The relics of Saint Luke the Evangelist, patron saint of Smederevo, were brought and stored in the fortress church. Unfortunately, despite conservators’ efforts, the fortress is still at risk. The higher level of groundwater resulting from the dam at the Iron Gate threatens its stability and has increased the frequency of floods. Air pollution and vegetation are eroding the stone. Urban encroachment, especially by the railway, continues to threaten the character of the area surrounding the fortress, and unrestricted visits by tourists, combined with inadequate administrative and financial protection, maintenance and support, also contribute to its slow deterioration. The fortress is currently used as a city park, and occasionally hosts festivals, concerts, fairs, and other cultural events. A stage has been built in the small town, and the Jezava river now boasts a harbour and a marina. Other Points Of Interest You can be sure that there’s always a monastery or church worth looking at in just about every Serbian town and Smederevo is no exception. The 15th-century church of the Dormition
of the Mother of God is located in the old cemetery. Sadly, the wall paintings have been damaged. The grave of Dimitrije Davidovic, the “father of Serbian journalism,” since he created the first Serbian newspaper, Novine Srpske, in 1822, is located in the church cemetery. The Church of St George in the town centre was erected during in the mid-1800s. Go by to admire its bronze cupola and its frescoes, work of the Russian painter Andrej Bicenko. The church is the third largest in Serbia. Also in the centre stands Karadjordje’s mulberry tree, a living memorial to the First Serbian Uprising of 18041813. Beneath this tree, the Turkish commander Dizdar Muharem Gusa gave up the keys of Smederevo to Karadjordje. The tree is over 300 years old and is under state protection. The main square itself is central to the fabric of Smederevo. Triangular in shape, it is located where the Great Market used to be. It became the main square after the Second Serbian Uprising of 1815-1817. There’s a pedestrian area with opportunities for shopping and a number of cafés. The Smederevo Grammar School, erected in 1904, is located in the centre of town and is one of the most beautiful buildings from the early 20th century in Smederevo. The Town Hall is a valuable architectural piece, built in 1928 according to the design of the architect Nikola Krasnov. A balustrade above the crown of the roof with four richly draped sculptures personifies justice, labour, science and culture. The old Ninic Hotel, now the Gallery of Contemporary Art, was built in 1928 by Milija Ninic. If it’s too cold to walk extensively outside, warm up in The City Museum. It covers an active area of 910 square metres with three exhibition halls and boasts five collections: historical, ethnological, archaeological, art, and numismatic. The exhibition halls house displays organized both chronologically and by theme.
A particularly touching memorial is dedicated to the victims of the explosion on June 5, 1941. During the Second World War, the town was occupied by German forces, who placed an arsenal of ammunition in the fortress. On that date, a catastrophic explosion severely damaged the fortress and killed many local people. The monument was placed near the train station and the Smederevo fortress as a reminder of those 1,500 to 2,000 victims.
The Smederevska Jesen, a cultural, artistic and sporting event held in honour of grape and wine, takes place in Smederevo every year during the grape harvest. Old Serbian crafts, tales, beliefs, and customs are presented there, as well as the Svibor programme for the Serbian Knights Tournament. In the winter it’s best to drive back to Belgrade by the highway, but if you leave when it’s still light, the provincial road next to the Danube is more attractive. Around every bend you’ll see the Danube from a different perspective. Along the river you’ll find floating restaurants where you can enjoy lunch or dinner of fresh river fish. Also worth trying is a local specialty, Monastery Sarma, prepared like classic “sarma” (leaves stuffed with meat and rice) but with fish used instead of meat. Pat Andjelkovic is a teacher, writer and a long term expat.
There are some great views on the route back to town
Photo: Sophie Cottrell
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Three courses with Arias on the side.
’d read about Little Bay in a London listings magazine: a theme restaurant with a difference. Theme restaurants usually scare me. Young, barely trained staff, dressed “wackily” to tie in with the theme, walls covered with moose heads/gold discs/rowing boats/1950s enamel advertising panels (delete as appropriate), cringingly over-familiar service, and a menu that requires the “chef” to have advanced packet-opening skills as a core competency. Little Bay has opera as its theme. Yes, opera - Three Tenors, screeching sopranos, champagne in the interval, murders and love triangles, Verdi opera. This has proved to be such a success in London that we now have our very own branch here in Belgrade. We arrived on a special night. Posters told us that Toby Sims, apparently a famous British tenor, was performing at the restaurant (later internet search showed he was most
famous for performing at various branches of Little Bay). The restaurant was full, apart from one small table in the window to which we were directed, as most of our fellow diners had booked for this musical evening. The interior is designed to look somewhat like an opera house with deep red walls and panels with gilt fixtures. Booths, stacked two high, running down either side of the room, are fashioned to look like boxes at the theatre. Wax-encrusted wine bottles serve as candlesticks on the tables. The menu is short, modern European in style and a small selection of specials were displayed on blackboards around the room. We selected spicy seafood profiteroles with a stuffed aubergine to follow from the menu, and salmon spring rolls and a fillet steak from the specials board. We were guided by the waiter towards a Plantaze “barrique” Vranac to drink. At around the time our starters arrived, so did Toby. It’s difficult to describe his performance, but let me try. Imagine Placido Domingo. Imagine Olga Korbett. Take some, just some, of Domingo’s singing skills and add in some, again just some, of Korbett’s gymnastic dynamism, throw in just a touch of Terry Thomas and let it all run riot through a busy restaurant. Toby was everywhere, hanging from pillars and balconies, balancing on chair backs, kissing the hands and cheeks of
Little Bay: A full-on operatic experience every woman who’d let him and all the while belting out operatic arias. They loved him. Everywhere one looked faces were beaming and cracking with laughter, occasional whoops, “oohs” and “ahs” broke out as Toby undertook some particularly dangerous gymnastics; all in all it was a riot. Perhaps the years have turned me into a bit of a curmudgeon because it left me completely cold and a little embarrassed for me, him, and my fellow diners. But then, I didn’t book for the experience and perhaps I just wasn’t prepared, because without question we were the only diners not enjoying the show and I can see that with a large group of friends, we too might have joined in the fun. But, to the food. The choux pastry in the profiteroles was competently prepared with a slightly crisp exterior
Source: www.flickr.com and a softer, moister interior but the filling was a little sparse. The spring rolls were not so good, the pastry a little chewy and greasy and, again, light on filling. A large aubergine had been halved and filled with fresh vegetables and a little cheese and then grilled. The vegetables were still a little crisp and the melted cheese was none too tasty. The whole dish could have done with a minute or two more under the grill. The dish was surrounded by a sweet tomato coulis, which complemented it well. The steak was good, well cooked and tender, the accompaniments fresh and well prepared. The Vranac was powerful, a deep plummy red, not a complex wine, fruity rather than intense, but with good length. A good wine for the price.
We must expand our repertoire. I promise not to review either a chocolate mousse or a crème brulee for at least the next issue or two! But we are, by now, experts, having seen many iterations of these two Belgrade favourites. These were both competent and well presented without being hugely exciting. Service was professional and friendly throughout, and displayed none of the over-familiarity or incompetence that I had feared. This is not haute cuisine by any stretch of the imagination. But if one views Little Bay as a dining experience, given the very reasonable prices, this is certainly a place to visit with friends for a party or celebration. Price guide: 2,000-2,500 for three courses with a modest wine.
We Recommend Every week we feature a selection of restaurants picked by our team. They give a flavour of what’s out there on the Belgrade restaurant scene and should provide you with a few alternatives to get you out of your dining rut. Our choices may not always have had the full Trencherman treatment but you can be sure that one of us has eaten there and enjoyed it.
Kineski Grand Restoran
Pane e Vino
Not your average pizzeria although it does serve a wide range of Italian dishes, but with a little more class than average. Set on two floors just round the corner from the National Theatre, this place gets busy so it may be a good idea to book at the weekends.
Reservations are needed for lunch or dinner here. This club with its splendid turn of the century interior is a popular place for diplomatic receptions. The staff are professional, and the mixture of Serbian and international cuisine is accomplished.
Trencherman thought that the food was perhaps “too much sizzle and not enough sausage”, complaining about unnecessarily fussy presentation, but nevertheless raved about the quality of his steak. A favourite with expats and locals alike.
As authentic as it gets in Belgrade, this good value Chinese restaurant has a fairly extensive menu, competent staff and a slightly garish dining room. It’s location just of Kneza Milosa, means you’re sure to run into a host of diplomats and government officials at lunchtimes.
If you don’t want to make the trip to Zemun for the fairly accomplished Chinese food, call them up and have your sweet & sour delivered. The food is prepared faithfully, by Chinese chefs, we’re told.
Dobracina 6 011-3036011
Unzun Mirkova 4/II 011-2626077
Topolska 4 011-2431458
Beogradska 16 011-2194287
Joy of the Heart
This place has a great location on the quay in Zemun. Perfect for a warming lunch after a windy stroll along the riverbank. As you’d expect the menu is Italian and covers the usual range of pizza, pasta and other favourites.
A favourite of the Trencherman family, this Dorcol restaurant serves uncomplicated Italian food in fairly upmarket surroundings. Trencherman recommends the gnocci.
Our recent intern raved about the homemade tiramisu at Ottimo. In fact it was difficult to get her to talk about anything else. Other dishes, some just as good, are available!
Vegetarian options are thin on the ground and if you find a vegetarian section on the menu, it is sure to be small. But this nonsmoking (another very difficult thing to find) restaurant caters to the vegetarian, and even vegan, crowd, and they deliver too.
Set back from the riverbank in Zemun, close to the football club, this place has “olde worlde” charm in spades. Ornate and victorian in style this place is sure to impress your latest hot date.
Zmaj Jovina 35, 011-2198162
Gospodar Jovanova 42a 011-3036867
Studentski Trg 10 011-2189514
Svetogorska 18 011-3345181
Svetotroicne 22 011-3076726
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
We Recommend Friday
Djordje Balasevic The famed Serbian singer-songwriter begins his series of winter shows at the Sava Centar on Friday. The legendary artist’s catalogue of songs, running the gamut from love ballads to humoristic tunes and politicallycharged commentary, have provided a soundtrack for life in Serbia over the last 30 years. Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9
A man of many names, Finnish electronic music artist Sasu Ripatti will be playing under the pseudonym of Luomo on this occasion. As Luomo, Ripatti focuses more on house music and is sure to please the Belgrade crowd, eagerly awaiting dancing through his pulsating set. Student Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48
The biggest band to come out of Florida’s revolutionary death metal scene in the 1990s, Morbid Angel, will headline a metal festival consisting of five bands. Purists will be happy to know that Morbid Angel will appear with its original line-up, with singer David Vincent, and will play only songs from their highly influential first four albums, recorded with him. Support will be offered by another legendary extreme metal band, Sweden’s Marduk, Kataklysm and newcomers Arsis and Keep of Kalessin. Student Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana 48
Here’s something you don’t see every day – American Country and Western music in Serbia. 1,000 Miles, whose list of influences includes Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill and Travis Tritt, offer up an authentic country jamboree to fans of the sound this week, and possibly, to nostalgic ex-pats looking for a place to line dance and shot “yee haw!” repeatedly. Living Room, Kralja Milana 48
Adventurous music fans can head over to Club Zica this week for a night of buzzing, droning and humming noises, courtesy of local experimental electronic music artists such as Mr Peru Perdurabo & His Syphilitic Orchestra, Erekta, SYPHIL, and [C.T.D.]. A chance to test your auditory endurance and pretend to understand why anyone would want to listen to music that sounds like a washing machine and bulldozer discussing the weather. Club Zica, Kraljevica Marka 5
Experimental Power Electronics
Darko Rundek & Cargo Orkestar
Croatian rock singer Darko Rundek, from the influential band Haustor, will be performing with his Cargo Orkestar in Sava Centar. Those attending the concert will be given a free CD of a recent live performance that will not be available on regular release in stores. Rundek’s work with Cargo Orkestar delves even deeper than his previous albums into world music from the Balkans, Latin America, Africa and other parts of the globe. Sava Centar, Milentija Popovica 9
The Mexican pop group RBD will be playing Belgrade for the second time in their career, this week. The popularity of the teen sensations is obvious from the booking of the Belgrade Arena for the event. RBD are a musical spin-off from the Rebelde teen soap opera and have sold almost 20 million albums worldwide in only four years. Belgrade Arena, Arsenija Carnojevica 58
What’s On CINEMAS Roda Cineplex Pozeska 83A , tel: 011 2545260 The Day The Earth Stood Still 20:15 & 22:20 Body of Lies 20:00 & 22:15 High School Musical 3 16:00 & 18:15 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 18:00, 20:30 & 22:30 Madagascar 2 16:30 & 18:30 Christmas Story (Joulutarina) 16:15 Dom sindikata Trg Nikole Pasica 5, tel. 011 3234849 High School Musical 3 16:00 & 18:00 Turneja (The Tour) 16:30 Quantum of Solace 18:30 & 20:30 Bangkok Dangerous 20:00 & 22:00 Body of Lies 22:00 Quarantine 22:30 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 16:15, 18:15, 20:15 & 22:15 The Day The Earth Stood Still 20:00 & 22:00 Madagascar 2 16:30, 18:30 & 20:15 Christmas Story (Joulutarina) 16:45
17:00, 19:40 & 22:10 The Day The Earth Stood Still 12:40, 15:00, 17:50, 20:40 & 23:00 Deception 23:40 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 11:50, 13:50, 16:00, 18:20, 20:20 & 22:30 Christmas Story (Joulutarina) 12:20, 14:00, 15:40, 17:20 & 19:00 Tuckwood Cineplex Kneza Milosa 7, tel: 011 3236517 Quantum of Solace 22:00 High School Musical 3 18:15 Madagascar 2 16:00, 18:00 & 20 Body of Lies 22:00 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 15:30, 17:30 & 19:30 Nights in Rodanthe 20:30 The Rolling Stones: Shine A Light 23:35 Quarantine 22:45 Turneja (The Tour) 16:00 The Day The Earth Stood Still 15:30, 17:45, 20:15, 21:00, 22:30 & 23:15
Ster City Cinema Delta City, Jurija Gagarina 16 (Blok 67) tel: 011 2203400
Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Ilija M. Kolarac Foundation Hall Studentski trg 5, December 12, 20:00 Tickets available at Ilija M. Kolarac Foundation Hall ticket office.
Body of Lies 21:00 & 23:30 Quantum of Solace 21:20 & 21:50 Madagascar 2 11:40, 13:30, 15:20, 17:30 & 19:20 High School Musical 3 12:00, 14:40,
Irish Stew of Sindidun Student Cultural Centre (SKC) Kralja Milana 48, December 12, 22:00 Tickets available at SKC ticket office
Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra Sava Centar, Club “Sava” Milentija Popovica 9, December 13, 20:00 Christmas Concert Concert of arias from Giacomo Puccini’s famous operas. Italian Cultural Centre Kneza Milosa 56, December 13, 20:00 Limited number of seats Umbria Jazz BW Winter Concert Dan Kinzelman Quartet Ilija M. Kolarac Foundation Hall Studentski trg 5, December 15, 20:00 Tickets available at Ilija M. Kolarac Foundation Hall ticket office
FAIRS & FESTIVALS 48th International New Year Fair Belgrade Fair, Halls 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & open area Bulevar Vojvode Misica 14 December 18 - 30, 10:00 - 20:00 Tickets available at the Belgrade Fair ticket office December Plays Jazz Dvorana Kulturnog Centra Kolarceva 6, December 18 - 21, 20:00 Tickets available at DKC ticket office
OPERA National Theatre Republic Square 1a ‘The Troubadour’ December 12, 19:30 Tickets available at National Theatre
ticket office and Bilet Service, Republic Square 5 Carmen December 17, 19:00 Tickets available at National Theatre ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5
BALLET National Theatre Republic Square 1a Swan Lake December 15 & 18, 19:30 Tickets available at National Theatre ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5
THEATRE Terazije Theatre Terazije 29 I too speak of a rose December 12, 19:30 Tickets available at Terazije ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5 Chicago December 16, 19:30 Tickets available at Terazije ticket office and Bilet Service, Trg Republike 5
Epson and ReFoto photo competition December 10 - 13 The ARTGET Gallery Trg Republike 5 Tue - Sun 12:00 - 20:00 ‘Your body deserves the best’, sculptures New art works by Zdravko Joksimovic December 15 - January 31 Museum of Applied Arts Vuka Karadzica 18 Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat 10:00 - 17:00 Thursday 12:00 - 20:00 Sunday 10:00 - 14:00 ‘Inscription’ - exhibition accompanying ‘Treasuries of the Chilandar Monastery’.
CLUBBING Disko bar Energija Nusiceva 8 Nick Chacona (NYC, USA) + Dj Brka & Toske (Soulution) December 12, 22:00 The Tube Dobracina 17 Llorca+ Pookie & Sale Radosavljevic Groove Control December 12, 22:00
Disko bar Energija Nusiceva 8 Goran Kovacevic, Marko Hollywood December 13, 22:00
O3ONE Gallery Andricev vecnac 12 Mon- Sat 12:00 - 20:00 ‘Practice Makes Perfect’
The Tube Dobracina 17 Coba, Petko & Daca Minibar December 13, 22:00
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Body of Lies FILM REVIEW By Andrej Klemencic
ould you like to see intestines spilt over the endless deserts of Iraq? Or perhaps see a bomb blow away Japanese tourists as they take photographs at a market place in Amsterdam? Did you ever wonder how Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio would look together in a film about spies in times of war? If yes, then Body of Lies is for you. After countless attempts to bring the tragedy of the Middle-Eastern powder keg closer, director Ridley Scott offers you his own perspective. Two agents work side by side to bring stability to the Middle East. Crowe is Ed Hoffman, a high-ranking CIA bureaucrat, whose operational half is Roger Ferris, played by DiCaprio. Their relationship develops through a series of bomb-attacks on civilian targets in Europe and the US, master-minded by a certain Al-Saleem. To make the story more complex, we are introduced to the charismatic, well-spoken boss of the
Jordanian secret service, Hani Pasha, convincingly portrayed by British actor Mark Strong. He too is interested in catching the bad guys and in his spare time serves as a catalyst to the love-hate relationship between Ferris and Hoffman. It would be unfair to say Body of Lies lacks good qualities. Stellar casting, however, delivers little of its potential. Crowe, apparently Scott’s favourite actor after Gladiator, which they made together, is unconvincing as a Southern-accented overweight, heartless, CIA operator. Scott was evidently leaning on the documentarist setting of his successful war film Black Hawk Down that he made in 2001. But previous experience was not enough. Developing the film solely around the contrast between grey Langley and the colourful Middle East proves a costly experiment. The dullness of Crowe’s character does little to create a contrast to the background of blood, sand and sun. Equally unattractive is the field agent played by DiCaprio. His lines are predictable, though that may well reflect the documentarist quality that Scott was hoping to achieve, to make the film more balanced. In that he succeeded. Body of Lies favours no one. It shows American soldiers tor-
It’s not everyone’s idea of fun, but for the Plastic crowd, being crammed onto a dance floor with the beautiful people of Belgrade is probably their idea of heaven. By David Galic
nyone who has been to Plastic knows that the same people are usually there most weekends. It all leads to the general assumption that the club patrons are not all that interested who is spinning, and frequent the club mainly out of habit and because it’s the place to be for people who enjoy dancing and working hard at looking good while doing so. One other characteristic of Plastic is that there’s usually a line in front of the club, even if you arrive early. Perhaps they are trying to paint a picture of exclusivity and so heighten the whole experience through some kind of Pavlovian experiment, which makes the number of minutes you wait outside the club directly proportional to the amount of fun you will have once you have been allowed in to check your coat. It is also recommended that the less well-off ballers make a habit of pre-gaming at home or a seedy neighbourhood bar, that is, if they
Shaw, spinning at Plastic want to avoid having to throw away their grandmother’s entire pension on working up a buzz once inside the club. Once one gets passed all this, the night is typically Plastic. The first and last time I joined the “beautiful” people of Belgrade there, the popular British production duo, Simian Mobile Disco, was joined by body-rockers Banana Rave, who warmed up the crowd with their clumsy but fun and endearing DJing, though they played it safer than they usually do when playing sets by themselves. Perhaps this was down to feeling a little nervous, having Jas Shaw from the Simians watching over their shoulders. Only Jas from the Simians showed, his comrade James Ford being unable to make the show due to
Every week Rian Harris tells us one of her favourite places to shop.
By Rian Harris
ave something that needs to be framed? After months of searching all over Belgrade for a frame to match the vintage posters hanging on my wall, I can say that Pale Gallery is the place for all your framing needs. Pale offers a wide selection of frames, including antique frames, and mat boards and has the
Marcelo: ‘Treca Strana Medalje’ His latest album is a bit like the city of Belgrade. It has its dark side but a ray of optimism shines through, if you look hard. MUSIC REVIEW David Galic
ne of Serbia’s most prominent hip-hop artists, Marko Simic, known more commonly by the stage name Marcelo, is turing Iraqis to death and vice-versa. have slowly disappeared since mak- looking to step out of the confines of But this we know by pressing the ing Blood Diamond and who is now the genre with his new album. “On” button on our TVs. We see Abu just one in a line of Hollywood stars Marcelo has so far had an easy time who happen to be good actors. Ghraib and Guantanamo. differentiating himself from the pack Another way that audiences were So what is there to recommend and finding his niche with his multimade intimate with the topic of the Body of Lies? Good cinematography syllabic, speedy style and with lyrMiddle-Eastern conflict was the se- and an authentic setting are strengths. ics that focus more on social-political ries of anti-war films made recently, If that, in combination with the mad- commentary and dark storytelling than with Syriana, a truly involved, yet ness of war and the looks of DiCaprio on the toilet humour and “faux” street cold to the bone feature, being the are enough, then you will be enter- thuggery that Serbia’s most popular first among many. Long past is the tained for the more than two hours of hip-hop acts generally rely on. time when audiences could be drawn the film. If not, renting a DVD of SyrWith his third album, Treca Strana to the cinema by the mere mention iana and watching that instead may Medalje (Third Side Of The Medal), of DiCaprio whose boyish features prove a more worthwhile experience. Marcelo is trying to break out of the hip-hop mould, going more for of a rock band approach than the standard rapper-producer-DJ format most artists in the genre stick to. Though it is not as a strict concept album, the record will have a general theme, Marcelo told Belgrade Insight. “The symbolism of the number three is present from start to finish. It’s no coincidence, since this is my third album and is being released exactly three years after the last one. “Lyrically and musically, neither of the two key elements fall into the genre of rap any longer. Although I still rap my parts, we have become more of a band and intend to keep it that way,” Marcelo added, of the group of musicians that play on the album and who will accompany him live wherever possible – dubbed the Shock Orchestra. Though there were a lot of experiments with live instrumentation on the last album Puzzle Shock!, judging by some of thee songs Marcelo has posted on his official website, the “live band” idea is fully realized on Plastic: the home of Belgrade’s beautiful people Photo by: Dunja Dopsaj the latest album, providing him with prior obligations in the studio. people who had come to hear those a variety of moods and feels to rhyme Once the partner-less Simian took tunes satisfied without overdoing the over - from the heavy swing of Tri the stage, the club had already been tooting of his own horn. After Shaw’s Zeje, to the spacey bounce of Mrak. Outside music, Simic is also a thoroughly warmed up; hands were two-hour set, Banana Rave took the in the air, and drinks were working stage again and kept the crowd mov- student of the Serbian language and literature in Belgrade and recently their way through the crowd’s col- ing late into the night. lective nervous system, leading most It may not be everyone’s idea of a published his first novel Zajedno observers to believe that Banana great time. But to those who frequent Sami (Together Alone). “Every artists should follow Rave had done their job impeccably. Plastic, being crammed on a dance the current of their fan base, which Shaw’s DJ set was traditional and floor with exceptionally well groomed techno-based, with obvious starts young people – and having to wade doesn’t act blindly but constructively and stops to keep the crowd’s atten- through an endless sea of muscle and doesn’t want their favourite arttion, seamlessly strung together disco shirts and asymmetrical fringes in or- ists to make the same album twice,” beats and a satisfactory dispersion of der to pay €3 for a domestic beer – is Marcelo said. A native of the town of Paracin, Simian Mobile Disco hits. It left the as close to heaven as it gets. about 150 kilometres southwest of Belgrade, Marcelo has grown attached to the Serbian capital ever latest equipment on site, so that your since coming here to study and expiece will turn out just the way you pand his musical career. “Whenever want it. The experienced staff make I play in ex-Yugoslav countries, I tell useful recommendations and offer people to come see Belgrade. I live restoration services. In addition, Pale and work here, I love this city, and Gallery is a good place to shop for lo- I am happy that, despite everything cal art, as they have a fine collection that has happened, it still enjoys the status in the Balkans of being a city for sale, as well as antique furniture. that you must visit,” he said. Marcelo’s music is a lot like BelPale Gallery grade, perhaps. It often dwells on Blagoja Paraovica 25, 011 547405 darker aspects but an underlying ray Mon. to Fri. 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. of optimism and hope shine through Sat. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. upon deeper investigation. www.galerijapale.co.yu
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
Partizan Stay Top Ahead of Winter Break The Serbian champions lead the first division halfway through the title race but have plenty to worry about.
By Zoran Milosavljevic
tepid 0-0 draw at closest rivals Vojvodina Novi Sad on Wednesday left Partizan Belgrade in the driving seat to retain the Serbian league title, but their coach Slavisa Jokanovic had preciously little to cheer about ahead of the annual two-month long winter break. It was yet another lacklustre performance as Partizan, who got off to a flying start with seven opening wins and qualified for the UEFA Cup group stage, ran out of steam once the fixture list got too congested for their thin squad. Four defeats in Europe cruelly exposed Partizan’s weaknesses and also instilled a new air of confidence in their domestic rivals. The champions saw their eight-point advantage at the top of the Serbian first division melt as rapidly as April snow after picking up only two points in their last three league matches. Their slip-ups allowed Vojvodina to close the gap to just three points, while a shock 2-1 home defeat to Hajduk Kula left bitter city foes Red Star in third place, seven points off the pace. “We are no strangers to playing under pressure but I think we deserved more than a draw against Vojvodina,” Partizan’s under-fire coach Slavisa Jokanovic said after his team failed to muster a single shot on target. “The championship is set to go right down to the wire but I am confident we will cross the finish line in pole position,” added Jokanovic, who was given his marching orders by the referee in the second half for invading the pitch to
Mayhem in Novi Sad ahead of Vojvodina’s match with visiting Partizan protest over a couple of dubious offside calls by the linesman. Jokanovic may not be there when and if Partizan clinch their 21st league title as his future hangs in the balance following the UEFA Cup fiasco and a patchy run against modest local opposition, when points chalked up beforehand went down the drain. Speculation is rife that the 40-year old coach, who scored 10 goals in 64 appearances for the former Yugoslavia as a defensive midfielder, will be sacked later this month to make way for a more experienced successor. Either way, Partizan’s title credentials will be fully tested as soon as the 12-team league resumes on February 21 next year, when they entertain Red Star in the “eternal derby.” So will the ability of Serbia’s authorities to clamp down on crowd trouble, which erupted on Novi Sad’s
streets, an hour before the kick off on Wednesday. Rival fans clashed in the city centre and a dozen were arrested after riot police moved into quell the violence. It was the worst possible curtain-raiser to a match that failed to produce any fireworks on the pitch. Jokanovic’s assessment that this truly awful derby “restored faith in Serbia’s league football” may turn out to be the final straw and lead to his dismissal as Partizan’s coach. Perhaps the one thing Partizan can cheer about is that Red Star keep shooting themselves in the foot when given the chance to gain ground on the leaders. It should come as no surprise if Vojvodina get the better of both to claim their first league title since 1989. Zoran Milosavljevic is Belgrade Insight’s sports writer and also a regional sports correspondent for Reuters.
Cavic Out to Win More Medals Serbia’s top swimmer hopes to add more honours to his trophy cabinet at the European shortcourse championship in Croatia. By Zoran Milosavljevic
ilorad Cavic will need to dig deep into his resources and put all his financial woes behind him if he is to bring more joy to Serbia at the European shortcourse swimming championship, being held in the Croatian coastal resort of Rijeka from December 11 to 14. Cavic, a quadruple European short-course champion, also won the gold medal in the long-course European butterfly sprint and then capped a memorable season with the 100 metres silver at the Beijing Olypmics, when he came a split second behind Michael Phelps. Ironically, the feat turned out to be a mixed blessing for Cavic as
it fuelled his expectations of state funding, imperative for long-term success, which Serbia’s authorities simply can’t deliver. While he acknowledged the government had been able to set aside substantial funds for his preparations in Spain and Italy, Cavic made it clear in no uncertain terms he bitterly resented the fact it failed to provide either a roof over his head or decent training facilities in Serbia. American-born Cavic stays either with friends or his aunt in Belgrade, a city of 2.5 million with only one operational indoor swimming pool as the other two are being overhauled. The unfortunate situation has forced the 24-year old to train anywhere but here as the repair of the ramshackle aquatic sports infrastructure in Serbia has been hampered by the credit crunch as well as a lack of interest in the so-called minor sports. Still, Cavic is confident he will add more honours to his trophy cabinet. “I will do my absolute best and the
Photo by FoNet
feeling that champions never want to lose is certain to drive me forward in Rijeka,” he said. “But it will be a very strong field as several of my rivals are capable of a podium finish.” Cavic has entered his favourite 50 and 100 metres butterfly events, having decided to pull out of the freestyle races in order to focus on the task of retaining his butterfly credentials. “I want to concentrate on what I do best because most of my rivals in Rijeka won nothing in Beijing and they will work flat out here to make up for their failures,” Cavic said. “On the other hand, this competition is merely a stepping stone in my build-up for the longcourse World Championship in Rome next year.” Serbia’s hopes of doing well in Croatia also rest on young prospects Ivan Lendjer and Caba Siladji, after they shattered their national records at last weekend’s meet in Zrenjanin in the 50 metres butterfly and breaststroke respectively.
Live sports on TV Friday, Dec 12: Alpine Skiing: Men’s Super G (Eurosport 10.00 a.m.); Soccer: Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Moenchengladbach (Sport Klub 8.30 p.m.); NHL Ice Hockey: Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leaves (Sport Klub 1.30 a.m. Saturday). Saturday, Dec 13: Alpine Skiing: Men’s and Women’s Giant Slalom (Eurosport 10.30 a.m.); Water polo: Champions League – Nataico Atletic v Mladost Zagreb (HRT 2 at noon), Vasas Budapest v Partizan Belgrade (RTS 2 at 6.00 p.m.); Soccer: Middlesbrough v Arsenal (RTS 2 at 1.40 p.m.), Bochum v Cologne (Sport Klub 3.30 p.m.), Liverpool v Hull (RTS 2 at 4.00 p.m.), Bologna v Torino (Sport Klub 6.00 p.m.), Tottenham v Manchester United (RTS 2 at 7.00 p.m. kick off 6.30 p.m.), Valencia v Espanyol (FOX Serbia 8.00 p.m.), Feyenoord v AZ Alkmaar (Sport Klub 8.45 p.m.), Barcelona v Real Madrid (FOX Serbia 10.00 p.m.); NHL Ice Hockey: Buffalo v
Toronto (re-live Sport Klub 12.30 p.m.), Nashville v Dallas (Sport Klub 2.00 a.m. Sunday). Sunday, Dec 14: Alpine Skiing: Men’s and Women’s Slalom (HRT 2 from 9.20 a.m. to 2.15 p.m.); Handball: European Championship for Women – bronze medal match (HRT 2 at 2.00 p.m.), the final (HRT 2 and RTS 2 at 4.30 p.m.) Basketball: NLB Regional League – Partizan Belgrade v Cibona Zagreb (FOX Serbia 7.00 p.m.), NBA Regular Season – New Orleans Hornets v Toronto Raptors (OBN at 11.50 p.m.); NFL: Doubleheader (Sport Klub 7.00 p.m. and 10.15 p.m.); Soccer: Vitesse Arnhem v PSV Eindhoven (Sport Klub 12.30 p.m.), Portsmouth v Newcastle (RTS 2 at 2.30 p.m.), Inter Milan v Chievo Verona (OBN at 3.00 p.m.), Various Italian league matches (Sport Klub and Avala 3.00 p.m.), Chelsea v West Ham (RTS 2 at 6.00 p.m. kick off 5.00 p.m.), Juventus v AC Milan (Avala 8.30 p.m.). Note: All channels reserve the right to change their schedules
Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008
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FridayDec. • June • 2008 Friday, Dec. 12 - Thursday, 18,13 2008