Page 1

Investment is the Future

H.E. Mr. Roman Waschuk

Today Culture is Politics

Fruitful Cooperation

Muharem Bazdulj

H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroki

writer and journalist

Japanese Ambassador to Serbia

jul/aug ‘13 / ISSUE No. 106

Canadian Ambassador to Serbia

interviews opinions news comments events PRICE 300 RSD

Google Inc. is facing heightened pressure from European regulators, who are getting closer to bringing legal action or fines against the company

Google Privacy Comes Under Fire Bilderberg Group 2013

The “Priests” of Globalization Entering mainland Laos via the Friendship Bridge on the River Mekong is not simple or fast. You can cross the border only on foot

Shangri-La Beneath Hammer and Sickle

Neelie Kroes European Commissioner, Digital Agenda

Subsidizing is Not Always the Best Solution EXCLUSIVE

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106 July / August 2013 | 3

COVER Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner responsible for Digital Agenda

Subsidizing is Not Always the Best Solution


Our goal is clearly to ensure economic growth in Europe. We want to allow European businesses to benefit from the opportunities offered by the changing technological environment, not see their competitiveness compromised as a result of it. We will therefore carefully analyze the feedback Page 8 to our consultations and follow developments in this area.


Educational System and CONSEQUENCES




Subsidizing is Not Always THE BEST SOLUTION

NEELIE KROES, European Commissioner Responsible for Digital Agenda

Investment is THE FUTURE


H.E. Mr. ROMAN WASCHUK, Canadian Ambassador to Serbia


Global diary


Today Culture is POLITICS



The  “Priests” of GLOBALIZATION

Bilderberg Group 2013


f  aces & places


a  fter work


W  oodstock of the BALKANS

DUŠAN KOVAČEVIĆ, President of exit festival


Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman


Alpine Bau Files for Insolvency

S  hangri-La Beneath HAMMER AND SICKLE





Business Dialogue



The Best from the Country’s ‘Bloodstream’ Constant Concern About the Ecosystem

NATAŠA SAVIĆ, Director of Rio Kostolac


Radeberger is Coming Back

Radeberger Gruppe

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FINANCIAL DIRECTOR: Ana Besedić editorial MANAGER: Tanja Banković

Comment page 6


Profile page 94

w  orld markets and opportunities


SLOBODAN PIREC, Director of WIG Serbia


ASSISTANT EDITOR: Jovana Gligorijević


Investors are Welcome in Serbia

EDITOR: Saša Marić

MIRKO BUTULIJA, Deputy Director General of Ams Osiguranje

MUHAREM BAZDULJ, Writer and Journalist


Tr  adition and Quality

July / August 2013


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Educational System and


The Serbian educational system has many systematic problems, and it is very difficult to ascertain who is to blame for these problems which can have far reaching consequences for the entire society and economy of Serbia

Jovana Gligorijević Editor


n late June, Education Minister Žarko Obradović con-

is that this document was simply forgotten when a set of

fessed to the state’s guilt when the high school mathe-

education laws was drafted since nobody knew who was

matics entrance exams were stolen with the exam hav-

in charge of adopting the document despite the National

ing to be postponed. As it turned out, the Serbian language

Council of Education’s drafting the document three years

entrance exams were also stolen, and the suspect was a

previously. According to certain announcements, the draft

person working at the Official Gazette’s print shop where

framework was supposed to be adopted by the Ministry of

the exams had been printed. Both the minister and the di-

Education this year.

rector of the Official Gazette refused responsibility for the

This is, by no means, the end to the suffering of our edu-

scandal and have been quoted as saying that they would

cational system since the consequences of this delay have

feel accountable only “if it is determined so.”

yet to be seen. Greater social mobility is a sign of a devel-

The case of stolen exams is a relatively straightforward

oped and open country experts say. Education has always

one and there is no doubt that the police and the prosecu-

been cited as one of the important pillars of that mobility,

tion will find out who is to blame. Nonetheless, the Serbian

that is, the changes that occur in the relations between two

educational system has many systematic problems, and it

generations, namely parents and children. The results of

is very difficult to ascertain who is to blame for these prob-

a recent sociological survey have undoubtedly shown that

lems which can have far reaching consequences for the en-

the aforementioned form of social mobility was too stat-

tire society and economy of Serbia.

ic in Serbia. To add insult to injury, 60.5% of young peo-

For instance, Serbia has been waiting for the National Qualifications Framework for six years now. This tediously named document could appear to some as irrelevant, particularly in the light of the fact that we have gone on without it for five years. The result of the missing National Qualifications Framework was 60,000 students

ple in Serbia have the same level of education as their par-

60.5% of young people in Serbia have the same level of education as their parents, while 40% of university educated people come from the upper class of the society

being issued with the so-called Bologna process diplomas

ents. The working class in Serbia is sending their children to

whose qualifications are nowhere to be found in official

university less and less, while 40% of university educated

registries. We have 60,000 ‘invisible’ yet formally educat-

people come from the upper class of the society. The un-

ed people, a number that is equal to the population of the

likelihood of the poorer segments of the population provid-

town of Jagodina. One of the biggest objections that em-

ing continuous education for their children inevitably leads

ployers and foreign investors in Serbia have is insufficient

to a negative selection among the educated people. Good

number of professionally-trained employees. It is very diffi-

and talented students from the impoverished lower mid-

cult to choose whether it is more worrisome that we really

dle class will never go to university as they increasingly be-

don’t have the workforce of such caliber, or that we do have

come socially marginalized. It goes without saying that the

them but the system doesn’t have adequate tools to recog-

quality of the workforce is diminishing, and it is exactly this

nize them. To make things even more bizarre, the reason

quality that the local business community has been looking

why we still don’t have a National Qualifications Framework

for in vain. ■

6 |

106 July / August 2013 |

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interview Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner responsible for Digital Agenda

Subsidizing is Not Always

the Best Solution Our goal is clearly to ensure economic growth in Europe. We want to allow European businesses to benefit from the opportunities offered by the changing technological environment, not see their competitiveness compromised as a result of it. We will therefore carefully analyze the feedback to our consultations and follow developments in this area


R 8 |

106 July / August 2013 |

egarding the adoption of many media rules and regulations in Serbia, CorD has spoken exclusively with Ms. Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda. Neelie Kroes is uncompromising on the issue of development and the establishment of the Digital Agenda in Europe in order to meet market challenges posed by the US and Asian countries. But she also works fervently for improving communication among


In many sectors self-regulation is key, either on a stand-alone basis or as a complement to regulation. This is the case for audiovisual policy, an area with minimum harmonisation at the European level.


The state should intervene whenever there is a market failure leading to the under-provision of pluralism, which may be considered as a key public good.

the countries of the European Union, especially for the young people who live in the EU. That is why Ms. Kroes led the campaign for the abolition of roaming costs across the European Union, but also in countries that are in the process of joining the EU. ■ Do you think that, from an overall perspective, the

media industry is sufficiently regulated in the EU, compared to its importance for development of democracy, and to what extent is EU legislation able to anticipate and keep up with the development of media technologies in Europe?


Under the EU accession negotiations, Serbia is progressively aligning its relevant legislation and policies in the field of information society and media with the DAE.

■ Among other things, the development of new media is jeopardizing the survival of print media, especially in Europe and the US. Many EU countries are now subsidizing publishers through lower customs rates, reduced fees and in many other ways. What do you think is the solution to this problem?

- We see many examples of traditional media embracing the opportunities offered by technological develop-

- Media freedom and pluralism are fundamental values and pillars of the democratic society that we seek to ensure within our competence. To this end, the regulatory framework in the field should enable the media to fulfill their mission in our societies. This does not necessarily mean that there has to be regulation in place in the sense of top-down legislation. Media regulation is approached in various ways across the EU. In many sectors self-regulation is key, either on a stand-alone basis or as a complement to regulation. This is the case for audiovisual policy, an area with minimum harmonisation at the European level. In fact, the EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services (which sets out European rules for the audiovisual sector) foresees that Member The EU Directive on Audiovisual Media States shall encourage co-regulation and/ or self-regulatory regimes at a national Services (which sets out European rules for level in the fields covered by this directive. the audiovisual sector) foresees that Member This can be a way to take into account States shall encourage co-regulation and/or selftechnological developments allowing for some margin of flexibility when legislation regulatory regimes at a national level in the fields cannot advance at the pace of technologi- covered by this directive cal changes. We have to be in a position to keep up with such changes, not be surpassed by events. ment. There is a need to adapt, rather than “survive” This is precisely the background of a public consultawith established models. Creativity is needed, and I betion we launched in April on how to prepare for a fully lieve it is reassuring that some media seek out the new converged Audiovisual world. We asked for people’s opportunities. ideas and suggestions on the impact of convergence on I am not sure that subsidizing is always the best way growth and values in the audiovisual media landscape to help an industry to adapt. But there is certainly scope at the moment when the market is still at its early days, for updating certain tax policies. Look at the VAT sysallowing sufficient time for debate. We also ask them tem: I am still not able to explain to our citizens why it what the scope for self- and co-regulation is. I am lookis allowed to apply reduced VAT rates to the print sector and not to digital. ing forward to reading these contributions in autumn We would like to find the silver bullet for this issue. this year. The follow up to this consultation will depend We would welcome people’s thoughts on this; therefore on the input we receive. |

106 July / August 2013 | 9

we address this question in the Green Paper. Our goal is clearly to ensure economic growth in Europe. We want to allow European businesses to benefit from the opportunities offered by the changing technological environment, not see their competitiveness compromised as a result of it. We will therefore carefully analyze the feedback to our consultations and follow developments in this area. ■ European media legislation endorses self-regulation

in the media industry. How relevant is this principle to having democratic and independent journalism and to the news industry as a whole?

High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism recommended that there be a provision of state funding for media which are essential for pluralism (including geographical, linguistic, cultural and political pluralism) but are not commercially viable. This means that the state should intervene whenever there is a market failure leading to the under‐provision of pluralism, which may be considered as a key public good. Moreover, the high level group also recommended that any public ownership of the media should be subject to strict rules prohibiting governmental interference, guaranteeing internal pluralism and placed under the supervision of an independent body representing all stakeholders. As far as the Commission is concerned, the Amsterdam Protocol makes it clear that the governance and strategic choices on public service broadcasting lie with Member States. Therefore, the Commission cannot tell Member States how to organise their public service broadcaster. However, I would like to highlight the importance of having a dual system of both public service broadcasters and commercial broadcasters regarding media pluralism. No matter how member states decide to organise their public broadcasters, we cannot forget about the important contribution a dual system can make. ■ With the exception of the most developed countries

in Europe, the implementation of the digital agenda project has been rather slow, therefore EU is urging the member countries to achieve earlier defined goals

10 |

- As already mentioned, self-regulation We want to allow European businesses to is an important tool for media in Eubenefit from the opportunities offered by rope. The situation in Europe is however not homogeneous. In several Mem- the changing technological environment, ber States there are no media councils not see their competitiveness or their media companies don’t have incompromised as a result of it ternal ethical rules. It is also important to stress that the effectiveness of self-regulation can only in order to provide the conditions for their joining with be assessed on a case by case basis. As recent examples the developed countries (“Digital Agenda for Europe have shown, transparency and accountability are also 2020”). Do you expect the project to be completed by important elements of self-regulated environments. the 2020 and what are the biggest obstacles? Public broadcasting services in Europe use differ- The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) was adopted in 2010 with a view to maximising the potential benefits ent funding criteria. In some countries, public broadfrom ICT and digital technologies for economy and socasting services don’t have commercial revenue since they are funded by the state (e.g., the BBC) and through ciety. We set ourselves the ambitious goal of completTV subscriptions, while in other countries, advertising ing the DAE in full by 2015. Overall, progress has been is reduced to a minimum so that commercial content impressive so far – we have met 60% of our targets and doesn’t jeopardize the main mission of public broadwe are on schedule to meet a further 33%. We know that we can boost Europe’s collective performance still casters. In Serbia, for instance, a debate has been going further. That is why, in December 2012, we published on as to whether a public broadcaster should be funded a review of the progress made by the DAE so far; the by the state or through TV subscriptions alone. review redefined and refocused the DAE as a result of emerging technological and economic trends. ■ What recommendations can the EU give in that reIn the current economic climate, the DAE remains as spect? valid as ever. Investing in ICT and digital technologies - The debate is high in Member States. The report of the

106 July / August 2013 |

can help us, among other benefits, offer good quality public services at a reduced cost, create growth for EU businesses (especially SMEs), create jobs (despite rising unemployment we have a shortfall in ICT specialists – which is why we launched the Grand Coalition on ICT and Jobs). One of our key priorities is to complete the digital single market, to provide a much needed boost for European businesses and consumers alike. So we will continue our stakeholder dialogue to ensure Europe’s copyright regime is fit for the digital age; and we will look to enhance e-commerce cross-border transactions, but also to explore how a single market for tel-

If we act swiftly and with full support from our stakeholders – particularly in relation to broadband provision - then I see no reason why we cannot meet our targets for 2015 and 2020.

ecommunications can be further developed. We also need very fast broadband: without infrastructure, our plans will not take off. Creating a secure environment in which businesses, public services and customers can interact safely will also help bring our plans to fruition.

■ What expectations have EU Digital Agenda from the

One of our key priorities is to complete the digital single market, to provide a much needed boost for European businesses and consumers alike

new member states (Croatia) or countries which are in the process of joining EU (Montenegro, Serbia...)?

- Croatia will soon be a member of the European Union. Implementation of the Digital Agenda is part of EU |

106 July / August 2013 | 11

membership, so we expect Croatia’s contribution to abolishing roaming charges? making every European country digital. - Our vision is to remove roaming premiums for citiSerbia and the other pre-accession countries are zens all over Europe. This can be achieved through not under an obligation to more competition and an implement the DAE. However, open market. In a competiunder the EU accession negotive market, companies find themselves obliged to protiations, Serbia is progressively aligning its relevant vide services at a price that legislation and policies in the is reasonable and is closer field of information society to the actual costs of providand media with the DAE. Sering the service. That is why we want a single market. bia’s strategy for the inforWe don’t want roaming to mation society development be identified with high pricup to 2020, covering, among other areas, e-Government, es; we want roaming to be e-Business and network seabout with consumers using their mobile devices within curity issues, together with the single market without the strategy for electronic having to fear they are being communications, form the ripped off. Digital Agenda for Serbia. We It is not that easy to apply expect that in 2013, Serbia single market rules outside will revise its national stratthe EU. However, we hope egy for broadband covering that companies operating the period up until 2016, in the EU and pre-accession with the assistance of the countries will engage in working group set up for this commercial agreements to purpose. I strongly believe We hope that companies voluntarily apply EU roamthat investing in ICTs can operating in the EU and pre- ing prices between pre-acbring growth and jobs for our economies. This is the accession countries will engage cession countries and the road we want to follow in EU. Moreover, while the EU in commercial agreements to cannot regulate roaming Europe and I hope Serbia voluntarily apply EU roaming prices outside the EU, some will follow us on this track. prices between pre-accession elements of the EU roaming rules might be replicated ■ You have been advocatcountries and the EU by the pre-accession couning abolishing roaming fees tries directly. Such elements could be anti-bill shock in the EU with the view of advancing communication and price transparency measures that do not require primarily among young people. What is the status of cross-border intervention. ■ the pre-accession countries concerning the efforts on

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes graduated from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands, and subsequently worked there for six years as an Assistant Professor. Her political career started on the Rotterdam Municipal Council, and in 1971 she was elected as a Member of the Dutch Parliament for the liberal VVD party. From 1982-1989, Ms. Kroes served as Minister for Transport, Public Works and Telecommunication in the Netherlands. After politics, she was appointed President of Nyenrode University from 1991-2000 and served on various company boards, including Lucent Technologies, Volvo, and P&O Nedlloyd. Since 2004, Neelie Kroes has worked for the European Commission, as one of the 27 Commissioners. From 2004 to 2009, she was Competition Commissioner, responsible for ensuring a level playing field for business in Europe, fair prices and a wide choice for consumers. In 2010, Ms Kroes became Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe. This portfolio includes the information and communications technology (ICT) and telecommunications sectors.

12 |

106 July / August 2013 | |

106 July / August 2013 | 13

interview H.E. Mr. Roman Waschuk, Canadian Ambassador to Serbia

Investment is

the Future C

anada has had a long and steady relationship with Serbia, through economic cooperation, institution building, and the support of cultural ties. In this interview with Roman Waschuk, Canadian Ambassador to Serbia, the even-tempered and balanced approach which Canada has toward Serbia is very clear and distinctive. Investment, he notes, is very important however for future relations, and the future in this respect looks very bright. ■ Canada and Serbia have been fostering excellent diplo-

matic relations. What are Canada’s priorities in terms of cooperating with Serbia?

As Serbia and other countries of the region are home to significant minority communities and various ethnic and religious groups, with a turbulent history and alternating periods of conflict and cooperation, opportunities exist to share Canada’s experience in building a tolerant and multicultural society 14 |

106 July / August 2013 |

- Fostering excellent relations means both sides taking each other’s priorities into account. That is why Canada has been very supportive of Serbia’s European integration efforts over the past decade, and especially the intensive push of recent months. Our Foreign Minister, John Baird, singled out the political courage required to achieve the SerbiaKosovo agreement, which is a key to opening up new opportunities. And when it comes to those new opportunities, our priorities coincide: economic prosperity is number 1 on our Canadian government agenda; I have been hearing the same message from my Serbian counterparts, with a particular focus on investment, wherever I have gone in the country. Reaching that goal here requires a safe and stable environment, which is why Serbia’s participation with regional neighbours in the Partnership for Peace, and continuing human rights, legal and judicial reform efforts are also important to us. ■ What areas are the best examples of the cooperation between the two countries?

- In my visits to places such as Kraljevo, hospital nurses and justice officials have reminded me of the important contribution that Canadian technical assistance projects made


Fostering excellent relations means both sides taking each other's priorities into account.


I feel that the project to build the Bor copper smelter is our best example of cooperation.

in improving hospital administration and alternative conflict resolution in the period leading up to 2010. And we continue help community projects on a smaller scale now, including contributing incubator and maternity ward equipment. Right now, I feel that the project to build the Bor copper smelter is our best example of cooperation. It means much more than just an industrial plant upgrade: the Bor project has given new hope to a whole region in Eastern Serbia. Apartment prices have rebounded; air pollution is set to decline even further; confidence is returning. The project will eventually pay for itself, but I’m proud that Canada believed in it and provided financing at a time when everyone else was sceptical. But enough about cooperation; let’s talk competition, too: I’m looking forward to the Canada-Serbia tennis semi-finals in September. It’s our best Davis Cup performance since 1913, and I hope that our team gives Serbia a run for its money at Kombank Arena. ■ In the 1990s, many young and edu-

cated Serbian citizens left Serbia and settled in Canada. How did these immigrants adapt to life in Canada, and how much are they contributing to the two nations’ coming together?


Permitting and other formalities seem to have traditionally taken a rather long time here.

nificant minority communities and various ethnic and religious groups, with a turbulent history and alternating periods of conflict and cooperation, opportunities exist to share Canada’s experience in building a tolerant and multicultural society. Half of the population of Toronto, Canada’s largest city (and my hometown), was born outside the country; having adopted a concept of integration which accepts visible expression of ethnic identity, while stressing common civic values, we have been able to accommodate new Canadians from around the world. This has gone hand in hand with respect for our indigenous peoples, and a renewed interest in the British and French heritage represented by our two official languages. As a result, Canada is a diverse and multidimensional, multicultural society where global roots nourish not only cultural dynamism, but also international business ties. ■ Do you think that the economic cooperation between Canada and Serbia is satisfactory and have the two countries made any plans with a view to intensifying it?

- Our trade, as counted by traditional measures, is very, very modest. Serbia has gone about fixing this by starting to export Fiat 500L’s to Canada; within the - Here’s a story that I think will answer same value chain, Canadian factories are your question: I was sitting in a kafana sending some Lancia Themas and Voyin a small town in Vojvodina, listening to the Serbian-Canadian general manager agers in the other direction; we’ve also of a new greenfield manufacturing seen increased shipments of minOur Foreign Minister, John plant tell the municipal counciling equipment. But the real growth lors: “When I came to Canada in Baird, singled out the political area that I see is investment. the mid-nineties, I never felt like courage required to achieve ■ What are the most important Caa foreigner. From day one, people treated me as just another type of the Serbia-Kosovo agreement, nadian investments in Serbia and Canadian. It took some retraining which is a key to opening up the region? and hard work, but I managed to - Assigning a nationality to investnew opportunities make it as an accounting execuments these days can be tricky, especially as we ourselves live in (and profit from) an intetive. And then I got headhunted to start up this new Canadian manufacturing investment in Serbia.” We have a number of our grated North American market. And our Embassy also covcitizens who have gone this circle route. But I also know a Caers two other regional markets: Montenegro and Macedonia. But here’s my try at a representative sample: Molson Coors nadian with no previous ethnic ties who married into a Serbian (a binational company with headquarters in both Montreal, rakija-making family (that might include most families here, Quebec and Denver Colorado) now owns Apatinska Pivara. but I mean on an industrial scale), and is now successfully placThe Molsons are Canada’s oldest business family, and have ing new blends in North American and other Western markets. been brewing beer responsibly since 1786. Valeant PharmaSo mobility these days truly does work both ways. ceuticals, also of Montreal, is enabling Pharmaswiss to con■ Canada is known for its linguistic and cultural diversity. solidate its position as a Serbian market leader. Reservoir What can the West Balkan countries learn from Canada in this Capital is, I hope, only a signature or two away from turning respect? their years of planning and upfront $20 million investment into the construction of two run-of-the-river hydro plants on - As Serbia and other countries of the region are home to |

106 July / August 2013 | 15

the Lim River near Prijepolje. There are 12 Canadian companies exploring for minerals in Serbia. To give you an idea of the sums involved, just two of them – Avala and Dunav – have together invested $150 million so far in drilling and other preparations. Porto Montenegro has turned the former naval town of Tivat into the yachting, shopping and real estate hub of the Bay of Kotor area, with over $300 million invested in the first two phases by a consortium led by Peter Munk of Barrick Gold. In Macedonia, I’ve just returned from visiting the development site of a $475 million copper/gold mine to be built by mid-2017 at Ilovica in the southeast. Cosmic Development is a fast-growing Skopje-based software and web design company, now also farming out work across the region. I’ll stop there.

■ What economic branches and segments could be of interest to Canadian investors? Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

16 |

■ The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) closed its Serbian office in 2009. Does this mean that Serbia has reached such level of democracy that CIDA’s assistance is no longer needed? - In fact, CIDA completed the final phase of its long-term bilateral programming in Balkans as a whole at the end of March 2010. Through CIDA programming, Canada gave significant financial assistance to Serbia. In the very beginning, the programming focus was largely on multilateral peace support operations and reconstruction, but as the region moved on from conflict, CIDA shifted to three sectors that were key to the transition process: health, rule of law and education , with gender equality, youth, refugees and environment as crosscutting themes. Of course, Serbia is still working on issues such as good governance, respect for human and minority rights, the rule of law, fighting organized crime and corruption. So, in a sense, are we all. But you are now doing all this in the wake of several democratic transfers of power over the past decade, and from the advantageous new starting position of an EU candidate country.

- Mining, again. There, the pace of progress will also depend on what international commodity markets are valuing. And when talking opportunities in Serbia, you can’t ignore their flipside: opWhen talking opportunities in portunity costs. Permitting and other formalities Serbia, you can’t ignore their flipside: ■ Canada Fund is still fiseem to have traditionprojects in Seropportunity costs. Permitting and other nancing ally taken a rather long bia. Could you tell us more formalities seem to have traditionally about the kind of projects time here; some inveswhich are being impletors have just managed taken a rather long time here. The to strike deals quicker in people I talk to in government assure mented? other countries, leaving - The Canada Fund for me that this is changing; we literally stalled Serbian acquisiLocal Initiatives finances small projects which entions in the lurch. The can’t wait for that to happen people I talk to in governhance the democratic, economic, cultural, and social life of the people of Serbia. The ment assure me that this is changing; we literally can’t wait Embassy also has a Canada Fund envelope for Montenegro. for that to happen. In each case, we are only able to pick a couple of projects out of dozens of worthwhile submissions. The preference is ■ What kind of opportunities does the Agreement on Strategic given to projects promoting human rights, with a focus on Economic Cooperation, concluded between Canada and Serbia vulnerable groups, sustained democratic development, good last autumn, facilitate? governance in local institutions, citizen engagement, wom- On our side, the Strategic Economic Cooperation Arrangement is administered by Canadian Commercial Corporation, en’s self-employment and health. We are very proud that this our government’s official contracting agency. They are able to year through the Canada Fund and working together with work collaboratively with Serbian ministries and agencies to B92 Fund, the Embassy provided neonatology equipment find the best value in goods and services, and guarantee quality for a maternity ward at a hospital in Kraljevo, and last year and delivery. The Bistrica reversible pump hydro plant project we also partnered with B92 fund to purchase a state-of-theis a current case in point. art incubator for a hospital in Vranje. Another example of an 106 July / August 2013 |

successful Canada Fund project was the “Women’s Creativity Caravan” in a partnership with a local NGO (European Development Center) and a Canadian start-up, Dufferin Research, which gave over 30 associations of women from rural Vojvodina an opportunity pool sales of handicrafts which they displayed at a big exhibition in Novi Sad, in a bid to establish cooperation with big local companies and give them more opportunities for self-employment and economic independence.

■ Canada and Serbia have had a very good cultural and academic exchange. What are the most important aspects of this collaboration?

- Canadian films are traditionally present at International Film Festivals in Serbia, to name just a few: FEST, Francophone, Authors’, Documentary and Ethnographic Film Festivals. Likewise, Serbian cinema is traditionally present at the Montreal and Toronto International Film Festivals and received a lot of accolades and awards (Goran Markovic, Dusan Kovacevic) as well as at the Serbian Film Festivals ■ Canada and Serbia have signed that take place in Toronto in October, a Memorandum of Understanding and Vancouver in March. Serbian and on the prosecution of war crimes, Canadian theatre have strong concrimes against humanity, and genocide, and Canada has been of great nections, and our dance companies assistance to Serbia in these matare frequent flyers and presenters at both sides of the Atlantic. The recent ters. How has this cooperation been Belgrade Dance Festival was opened developing? by Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, while - In February 2010, Canada and Canadian director Robert Lepage was Serbia signed a Memorandum of awarded as best director at one of the Understanding and Improvement previous editions of BITEF. of Voluntary Mutual Assistance in Our ties are also very strong in Investigative Cases and Proceedings the field of literature and publishing. on War Crimes, Crimes against HuMore than 230 Canadian titles have manity and Genocide. We were told been translated into Serbian from by Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor English and French. Many Canadian Vukcevic at the time that it was the writers who came for their bookfirst MoU of its kind that has ever launches here returned to Canada been signed in criminal proceedings as advocates of their Serbian matters between Serbia and Through CIDA programming, reading public: an exuberanother country – a source of pride for us. Canada gave significant financial ant, talented and welcoming multicultural society. We are assistance to Serbia. In the very lucky in Canada to be able to ■ Canada supports the idea beginning, the programming share with Serbia some of the of regional countries cooperating with and becoming focus was largely on multilateral best contemporary authors and artists, to name just a few: members of NATO. What do peace support operations and David Albahari, Dusan Petricic, you think of the stance that reconstruction Ana Sokolovic, Vessna Peruthe top Serbian officials have adopted in this matter? novich, Milan Milosevic, Dra- Every country knows its own security situation best. While gana Varagic, Aleksandar Lukac and many others. Canada is a leading promoter of NATO’s open door policy, The University of Arts in Belgrade and L’Université du this means that we see membership as an opportunity and Québec à Trois-Rivières collaborate to ensure a continuing preschoice in the broader framework of Euro-Atlantic integraence of Canadian graphic artists in Serbia, and of Serbian artists at the Trois Rivieres International Triennial of Graphic Arts. Just tion, not as an obligation. Serbia has, in recent years, been last month Canadian graphic artist Florin Hategan was awarded a very reliable partner – both with a capital “P” in NATO’s the Grand Prix of the “Suva Igla” Graphic Biennale in Uzice. Partnership for Peace initiative, and with a lower-case “p” Our two academic communities are also strongly connected as a regional partner for Canada and like-minded countries through Canadian studies at several local universities. With Bosuch as the Netherlands in running bilateral civil-military training and military justice courses. In the latter case, Serlogna harmonization, there is growing interest in matching and licensing academic and specialized study programs that would bia has become a co-exporter of security expertise, using allow student mobility, ie Serbian students to apply for scholarthese courses to support its own peacekeeping work in Lebanon, and to involve militaries from as far afield as Poland ships or work-study programs if they choose to continue their and Georgia. education in Canada. ■ |

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Criticisms “I can remember a very sad day when I went to five countries in one day but I was still criticised for not being in the United States.” — Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs

global diary 02.06.2013

Queen Elizabeth - 60th coronation anniversary Queen Elizabeth II has been celebrated 60 years since her coronation. The British monarch is spending the anniversary in private. The queen visited the London barracks of Lee Rigby, the soldier killed in a brutal attack in the UK capital last in May that shocked the nation. A commemorative service was held on June 4 in Westminster Abbey, where the young Elizabeth was crowned. The queen

was crowned on 2nd June 1953, at the age of 27. The coronation took place more than a year after Elizabeth acceded to the throne, to allow a period of mourning for her father King George VI. Six decades on a festival will be held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in July to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s reign. June 2013

Edward Snowden: The Most Important Leak in US History

Swedish Royal Wedding 08.06.2013

The newly wed Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O´Neill pose with families and guests in front of the Drottningholm castle.

Swedish Princess Madeleine(30) said “yes” to New York banker Christopher O’Neill (38) in a lavish and emotional wedding ceremony in Stockholm. Madeleine was wearing a stunning dress by Valentino Garavani, while O’Neill fought back tears as the princess walked down the aisle with her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, to a traditional Swedish wedding march performed by a children’s choir . Madeleine is the youngest of Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s three children and fourth in line to the throne. She became known as Sweden’s party princess in her early 20s, when she was frequently spotted at Stockholm’s high-end nightclubs, and has attracted widespread attention for her stylish clothes. Around 470 European royals, top New York socialites and celebrities were in attendance.

some members of Congress calling for the immediate extradition of a man they consider a “defector” but other senior politicians from both parties questioning whether US surveillance practices had gone too far. Leading Europeans, from Angela Merkel down to information chiefs across the continent, are lining up to grill American counterparts on the Prism surveillance programmes, amid mounting fury that the private information of EU nationals will have been

Washington was struggling to contain one of the most explosive national security leaks in US history, as public criticism grew of the sweeping surveillance state revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Political opinion was split, with 18 |

ti-government unrest across the country. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the protesters are undemocratic. He has accused opposition parties of provoking the demonstrations, which represents the most sustained anti-government

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caught up in the data dragnet. Former CIA worker Edward Snowden fled the US to a secret bolthole in Hong Kong after triggering shockwaves across the globe by handing over top-secret files from the US National Security Agency (NSA)..

unrest for a number of years. Interior Minister Muammer Guler told state media more than 1,700 people had been arrested during protests in 67 cities, though many had since been released. Hundreds of people are reported to have been injured in the clashes. 12.06.2013

Presidential Summit in Bratislava The two-day 18th CentralEuropean Presidential Summit was set to feature 19 presidents

June 2013

Turkey Protests Tens of thousands of people have staged protests in Turkish towns and cities. Protesters erected barricades near the prime minister’s office in Istanbul’s Besiktas district, and police responded with water cannon and tear gas. The protests were sparked by plans to build on an Istanbul park but have broadened into an-

from central, eastern and Southeastern Europe (plus European Council President Herman Van Rompuy). The opening ceremonial was held in the Reduta concert hall in Bratislava. The summit was attended by both Serbian President Tomislav

Crisis “You must understand that the crisis in the eurozone is over. Europe has become more stable, but it must now be oriented toward growth. I believe that the crisis, far from weakening the eurozone, will strengthen it.” — Francois Hollande, president of France

Nikolic and Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo Van Rompuy, president of EU Council praised the efforts of Slovakia, noting the presence of representatives from both Serbia and Kosovo. “Achieving a permanent peace in Balkans is also the effort of the EU. Our mutual aim is to create political associations and deepen the economic integration in order to increase the mobility and contacts between the inhabitants of these countries,” said Van Rompuy. He highlighted the presence of Croatia, which will join the EU in July. Rompuy also praised the progress in negotiations with other countries, like Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine.

was tasked with vetting hopefuls for their qualifications and confirming the election results. After the council’s screening process, eight candidates were approved to run for office from the more than 680 candidates who had registered for the election. After the withdrawal of Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel and Mohammad Reza Aref, the number of candidates was reduced to six: Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mohammad Gharazi, Saeed Jalili, Mohsen Rezaee, Hassan Rouhani, and Ali Akbar Velayati. Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not run for reelection as he was limited to two terms or 8 years in office under the Iranian constitution.


Hasan Rowhani Wins Iranian Election Reformist-backed cleric Hassan Rouhani has won Iran’s presiden-


G8 summit: Battle Over Syria

The 39th G8 summit was held at the Lough Erne Resort, a fivestar hotel and golf resort on the shore of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It was the sixth G8 summit to be held in the United Kingdom. The official theme of the summit was tax evasion and transparency. However, the Syrian

civil war dominated the discussions. A seven-point plan on Syria was agreed to after much debate. Other agreements included a way to automate the sharing of tax information, new rules for mining companies, and a pledge to end payments for kidnap victim releases. The United States


Montenegro Bus Crash At least 15 people were killed and 32 were injured when a bus carrying Romanian tourists swayed off a bridge and plunged into a deep ravine in central Montenegro on Sunday, police said. Montenegro Interior Minister Rasko Konjevic said the bus with 46 people on board crashed some 30 kilometers north of the capital, Podgorica. He said the bus was traveling from Romania to Montenegro’s Adriatic coast. Police said the bus plunged from a bridge over the Moraca river during a rain storm and crashed some 40 meters into the

Central Europe Record Floods June 2013

Hassan Rouhani

tial election, securing just over 50% of the vote and so avoiding the need for a run-off. Some 72.2% of the 50 million eligible Iranian voters cast ballots to choose the successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Guardian Council, a 12-member body consisting of six jurists and six theologians,

and the European Union agreed to begin talks towards a broad trade agreement.

Heavy rain across much of Europe has led to flooding in several areas. Rising waters from the Danube and other rivers have inundated southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia and even Bulgaria, as rivers reach dangerously high levels. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated as the worst floods in a decade continue to cause chaos throughout central Europe. At least 15 people have died. |

ravine. A helicopter was used in the rescue operation mounted by Montenegro police. Konjevic said “sadly, this death toll could climb further” because seven of the passengers were seriously injured. The winding road that leads from Serbia in the north through the Moraca canyon and then to the seacoast is notorious for traffic accidents because it is narrow and slippery in wet weather conditions. 106 July / August 2013 | 19

interview Muharem Bazdulj, writer and journalist

Today Culture is


In politics, you can either be a subject or an object of a certain occurrence. Either you actively create your own context or you adapt to circumstances. Either you create the politics or you are a victim of it. For the South Slavic nations, and the Balkans as a whole, this is a choice between freedom and the status of a semi-colonial province

His books have been translated into German, English and Polish, while his short stories and essays have been published in a dozen more languages. He translated the novels of Paul Auster and Salman Rushdie, and the poetry of Joseph Brodsky, Philip Larkin, William Butler Yeats and Richard Wilbur.


e can say that Muharem Bazdulj (born 1977) is a Yugoslav writer of a younger generation despite that the fact that Yugoslavia ceased to exist many years ago. He was born in Travnik, the birthplace of Ivo Andrić, and today, he lives between Sarajevo and Belgrade, while often frequenting the biggest towns in the ex-Yugoslav republics of our common country which are now neighbouring states. He has been working as journalist all over our former country. He writes for Sarajevo-based Oslobođenje newspaper, Belgrade’s weekly Vreme and dozens of regional magazines, including the iconic Split-based Feral Tribune. 20 |

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■ It seems that one of your guidelines in work is something that you said at the ‘Born in YU’ forum. Let me paraphrase: “In today’s public speaking, Yugoslavia is reduced to private gossip, free from any political content.” How should we talk about Yugoslavia today?

- We should talk about it in political terms since, more than anything else, Yugoslavia was a political fact. In the early 1990s, while the war was still raging in Croatia, and, to a lesser extent in Slovenia, it was practically banned to speak publicly about Yugoslavia in a way that wasn’t demonizing the country. Back then, this might have made some sense, to ban sentimentally reminiscing about some of the characteristically Yugoslav artefacts and whatnot. What transpired in the meantime was what Dubravka Ugrešić called the ‘confiscation of memory’. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the term ‘Yugo-nostalgia’ was coined in Croatia, which,

had a pejorative connotation at first. I am not saying that the whole YU mythology had no sense, but I think that it was about time to move on and that we should start to think about Yugoslavia in a political way, not only in its historical context, but also in the context of the time we live in. I sometimes think that reducing Yugoslavia to “private gossip” in a certain system is a way to prevent the Yugoslav issue from turning political.

■ You wrote once that Yugoslavia couldn’t simply disappear since its disintegration was a perennial process. In what context is the country’s disintegration perennial and how is that noticeable today?

- Yes, I often think that the dissolution of Yugoslavia is actually a never-ending process. You are asking me where it is noticeable today, and I can tell you – everywhere. Let’s start with Kosovo. Despite the whole buzz about the Brussels agreement, the fact remains that half of the countries in the world recognize Kosovo’s independence and half don’t, that is they think that Kosovo is, legally speaking, a part of Serbia. Regardless of the US, Great Britain, France and Germany belonging to the first group of countries, I wouldn’t underestimate the second group that is Russia, China, India, the South African Republic, Brazil and Spain. Macedonia is not even allowed to use its own name. The Macedonians and the Albanians in Macedonia live in almost parallel worlds. Because of the narcissism of small differences, compared to Serbia and the Serbs, Montenegro has been engulfed in real identity hysteria. Bosnia is a whole different story.

in charge of the government, meant an end to regional political dynamics. It will take time for different dynamics to emerge.

■ Bosnia is a whole different story for many reasons. How would you explain Bosnia to a foreigner who knows nothing about this part of world?

- There have been many debates in Bosnia and Herzegovina as to whether today’s Bosnia is really an independent state in a practical sense of the word, or some kind of a post-modern colony, a protectorate or a semi-protectorate. The best thing to do would be to paraphrase Boris Buden who, fifteen years ago, said that Bosnia was actually a crime scene. As far as I remember, that was a time when nobody heard of the TV show CSI. From today’s perspective, Bosnia and Herzegovina resembles a crime scene even more. It is a bloody piece of land sectioned off by the yellow crime scene tape. It seems that nobody wants to remove this tape and start living, in this way or another.

■ In that context, what is similar about the political

processes in our respective countries? Are they connected in any way, and, if they are, why is it that we can’t see that connection in terms of the Serbian public not being interested in what is happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia or Croatia?

From today’s perspective, Bosnia and Herzegovina resembles a crime scene even more. It is a bloody piece of land sectioned off by the yellow crime scene tape

- There is a strong connection which can be compared to the system of communicating vessels in physics. I don’t think that the public in Serbia is particularly not interested in the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia or Croatia. These are four countries that border with Serbia. Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary also border with Serbia (and half of the world thinks that even Albania borders with Serbia). The Serbian public is more interested in what is going on in the former Yugoslav republics than in, let’s say, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. I won’t even mention Albania. Still, I think that your question has merit since, it seems to me, that the Serbian public is now less interested in what transpires in the former Yugoslav republics than two or three years ago. In a way, Serbia has been focusing on itself, and there are several reasons for that. One is probably feeling overwhelmed. There was a period when the media were full of the former Yugoslavia, mainly in the showbusiness segment. On the other hand, Tomislav Nikolić’s victory at president elections, and the Serbian Progressive Party’s being

■ Nearly a year ago, you decided to move from Sarajevo to Belgrade. How much did the situation in the economy and culture in Sarajevo and Belgrade prompt you to make such a decision?

- I am existentially bound to this language. I am a writer and a journalist and that’s what I live off. I would really have hard time living abroad and not be able to use my language. Belgrade is the biggest city in this linguistic area. I am not undermining the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia are independent countries, but they do belong to the same linguistic area. On one hand, my decision could be compared to a journalist from Vienna or Basel deciding to move to Berlin. On the other hand, I did not embark on something completely unknown. In the last five or six years, I spent at least a month or two each year on average in Belgrade. During that period, the first editions of my books were |

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published in Belgrade and in the rest of Serbia without exception. I have been writing for Vreme weekly for ten or so years, but, in the last two or three years, I have been doing a lot more work for the magazine. Also, in terms of everyday life, Belgrade appealed to me with its largeness and the urban rhythm. When I was 19, I decided to move from Travnik to Sarajevo and, at one point in my life, I simply wanted to move from Sarajevo to Belgrade. ■ In which other aspect is this region considered one entity apart from the way in which foreign corporations, which have been operating here, see us as a single entity?

- Lately there has been a lot of talk in the EU about the possibility of the Union transforming itself into the form of an entity comparable to concentric circles with a solid core in the middle, with peripheral satellites and neighbouring non-member countries in the same orbit. By the same token, our region has a core made of

my high-school diploma, the name of this subject was changed into ’mother tongue’ (believe it or not, that was the official name of my language between 1992 and 1995). When I was a university student, I took an exam in the Bosnian language. And, all the time, we are talking about the same language. We don’t even need to read the books by Snježana Kordić or Ranko Bugarski to understand that, linguistically speaking, the most accurate name for the language we speak (and you and I are conversing in) is Serbo-Croat. When I say that we speak ’our’ language, it is not a mere euphemism. I am writing in a language that my readers understand without having to translate it, and I am aware that some of them call this language Serbian, some Croatian and some Bosnian (there are even those who call it Bosniak, which is a whole different story). Also, there are people who call this language Montenegrin and even Serbo-Croat.

Today’s zeitgeist, as you call it, is all about risk-free life, sugarfree chocolate, alcohol-free beer, and fat-free milk

■ There have been many public debates about nationalism being extinct or alive here. What is your take on that?

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia which are connected by language and history, while Slovenia and Macedonia are regional ‘satellites’ with different yet similar languages and histories that have often drawn them to ‘the core’. Also, the countries that border with the former Yugoslavia also belong to the region to a certain extent.

■ What language do you write in? - I would like to say ’our language’. The fact that you are even asking me this is very indicative to me. I am writing in the language that the two of us are speaking, and this language is called differently by different people. People here have often complained that we have changed so many states and passports. That is not as bizarre as one might think. For instance, if you were born in Salzburg in 1917, you were born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was superseded by Austria, than by Hitler’s Third Reich, and, in the end, by what is today modern Austria. Four countries in thirty years! Still, all the time, you were speaking (or writing in) the German language. Look at my case. One of the subjects I had in elementary school was the Serbo-Croatian language. In 22 |

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- I think that that is an important issue and that these debates could be important. However, I think that ’over-personalizing’ such debates could be detrimental. What I’ve meant to say is that, for the most part, these debates now resemble another popular category in this country – ’divorce’. People who used to be friends and acquaintances, and even considered themselves, somewhat pathetically, comrades, are now airing each other’s dirty laundry and publicly ridiculing their formerly close relations. I don’t think that nationalism is dead. It just became ‘normal’ and, to a certain extent, ‘tamed’ as Ugo Vlaisavljević would put it. It has become impossible to establish the nationalist/anti-nationalist separation line as a basic social divider. This black and white situation, which is reminiscent of the 1990s and the time when Milošević and Tuđman were on one side, and the ‘urban guerilla’ on the other, obviously hasn’t lost any appeal for some. You know the type of people who read Feral, Vreme, Monitor and Dani and spit on nationalists. Many of them are obviously quite nostalgic about that era and have been trying to artificially reconstruct it. However, things are different now, and the differences are much more subtle. As the old parable goes, there is less black and white, but more shades of gray, over 50 of them (to paraphrase the title of the recent quasi-erotic bestseller). Nationalism is still present, but it is no longer the key issue in society today. By the way, the debate you’ve mentioned is not only late, but is also starting to fade out, just like the famous ‘NATO bombing’ debate from 2002 which, as the time goes by, has been gaining on relevancy. What we see is a very clear and solid position between thinking about the future, on one hand, and endless mulling over the past, on the other.

■ You have been targeted by extremists from ’Druga Srbija’ be-

that time, who was praised by Danilo Kiš for his political views. Also, unlike many former citizens of Sarajevo, who were publicly pardoned for their dishonourable conduct in the early 1990s despite not having any mitigating circumstances, Kusturica is seen by Sarajevo (and other non-Serbian communities) as a paradigmatic - Two things. On one hand, tentatively speaking from rather senti“traitor” regardless of his very direct and public condemnation mental, personal and purely artistic reasons, Danojlić’s translation of Sarajevo’s siege in the spring of Joseph Brodsky’s ’A Stop in the From my point of view, the only of 1992 and the Chetnik’s brutal Desert’, especially its first sonnet, treatment of Rasim from Eastern or the poem about T.S. Elliot, and possibility, which is much more Bosnia in 1994. Generally speaksome films directed by Emir Kusdesirable and much less probable, ing, I find such agreement irritatturica, are an essential part of my is to create a new political emotional and formative baggage, ing especially when it comes from so for me to discuss their literary people who are jealous and have paradigm in the Balkans which and cinematic achievements is failed expectations. would result in a form of a local completely pointless. They are not integration, maybe even creation ■ As a journalist, you often use bad writers or directors respecquotes and references. You readtively. They are so far above ‘the of a Balkan federation of sorts correct average’ which is a success ers like you because of that, while that very few people have managed to attain. On the other hand, your critics pick on you for that reason. What function do quotes their political engagement, speaking in the long term, is not as unserve in your work and why are they important? ambiguous as some would want. Personally, I feel no connection - For a literate person, especially one who reads a lot, books are to a conservative paradigm whose symbol could be, let’s say, the a part of life, as is having a coffee with friends. Despite having Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) which, in certain aspects, is close reference to something (a book, a film or a piece of music), I to both of them. We should not forget what Danojlić did in the late am still writing about my personal experience. Ultimately, in 1970s or early 1980s. We should also not forget Kusturica from the vastness of Gutenberg’s galaxy, what you quote constitutes cause you never wanted to publicly say that Milovan Danojlić was a bad writer or Emir Kusturica a bad director. What is it about you that irritates them so much? |

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some kind of authorship. Walter Benjamin dreamed of writing a book made of only quotes, which is why Susan Sontag dedicated an entire chapter of her famous photography book to him, which again was made only of quotes (yet another example of using references). If you are asking me about the function that the quotes serve in my work, they are sometimes ornamental, sometimes argumentative. Sometimes they are only used as a decoration, to amplify the style of writing, sometimes as a validation of the contribution that the person I am quoting has made, and sometimes a quote is used to develop a personal idea. ■ Your newspaper articles, especially the ones about culture, are saturated in politics. Is culture really politics?

- There is an anecdote that goes – “even if you are not involved in politics, it doesn’t mean that politics are not involved with you.” The same goes for culture. Not all pieces of art are about politics, but they are created in a certain political reality. If we use the word ‘politics’ in its original meaning, that is if we take it that the politics has a wider context than the foolish behaviour of political parties and daily banalities, then culture is politics.

right in one thing: the only present that we have is the one that is given. Hence, we should criticize some aspects of it, not its entirety. Let me revert to what I was saying about volunteering to go to the Second World War. It is very easy to idolize the Partisan movement today while knowing the outcome of the war in advance. In 1941, Nazism was the new world order in a sense, and it was very risky to go against it. Today’s zeitgeist, as you call it, is all about risk-free life, sugar-free chocolate, alcohol-free beer, fat-free milk, banning smoking, waging war from a distance with long-range missiles, where none of ‘our people’ are going to die, and where we couldn’t care less if ‘others’ die. The reason for having this seed of contempt is probably caused by a vision of having a risk-free life, which is even desired. ■ Could you anticipate what the situation in this part of the world will be in the next decade, culturally and politically? What will become of us?

- I think that, generally speaking, there are two options. To put it in the simplest of terms, in politics, you can either be a subject or an object of a certain occurrence. Either you create the politics or you are a victim of it. For the South Slavic nations, and the Either you create the Balkans as a whole, this is a choice between freedom (in the widest sense of the word) ■ The way you write about the past does politics or you are a and the status of a semi-colonial province. seem to reflect a little bit of contempt victim of it There is a wonderful scene in the book towards modern times in a sense that no‘Na Drini Ćuprija’ (‘The Bridge on the Drina’) where poor Nikola body is willing to sacrifice for anything these days. How would you Glasičanin initially plans to emigrate to America, so he persuades describe today’s zeitgeist? the teacher Zorka, with whom he is in love, to come with him. - Interesting that you’ve mentioned that. I met with my friend in Then, when the Sarajevo assassination sparks the First World one of those ultra-modern alternative Belgrade cafes recently, War, he tells her not to emigrate but to stay put and create her packed full of people wearing wonderful clothes and wealthy leftown America here. From my point of view, the only possibility, ists always willing to show off their righteousness, and I asked my which is much more desirable and much less probable, is to crefriend: “Do you think that any of these people would volunteer to go to the Second World War in 1941?” You are right. ‘Practice ate a new political paradigm in the Balkans which would result in what you preach’ used to be a life motto. It seems that we are a form of a local integration, maybe even the creation of a Balkan living in times where political views and options are generally federation of sorts. This, of course, does not imply not integratperceived much less seriously than in the 1980s when even the ing with the rest of the Europe, but integration along somewhat teenagers had their own sub-groups – the Goths, heavy metal lovdifferent principles. The second, much more probable option, is a bad and never ending status quo. On one hand, Greece, Bulgaria, ers, hippies and punks. Romania and now Croatia, are all EU members, and, on the other hand, as an EU pariah, there are the so-called West Balkans – Al■ Feeling contempt towards the times you live in is legitimate, but what about the fact that our past has always been mediated bania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and semi-recogand interpreted in different way, while our present is something nized Kosovo, as ‘the wild south-east’, hoping to reach at least the that is given? status of an outcast. Rationally speaking, the other option is more likely to happen, despite the constant quarrels between the South - Even if legitimate, feeling contempt towards the times you live Slavs through the media or folklore, and with a potential escalain is not particularly smart. Camus once said: “This is my world and I cannot live in it while hating it.” This saying is true even tion of the so-called Albanian issue in Macedonia and maybe even if we replace the word ‘world’ with ‘time’. You are, of course, in Montenegro. It won’t be idyllic, but could be ‘amusing.’ ■ 24 |

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Google Privacy

Comes Under Fire Google Inc. is facing heightened pressure from European regulators, who are getting closer to bringing legal action or fines against the company for alleged violations of data-privacy rules, after more than a year of working together on probes

A Google spokesman reiterated the company’s prior statement that its privacy policy “respects European law” and that the company has “engaged fully” with all of the authorities involved in the probes. Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman There could be millions of Euros at stake for Google if it doesn’t comply. In Spain, Google faces up to a €1.5 million fine, rance’s privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationor €300,000 per infraction. In France, privacy fines can rise to ale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, said end June €150,000, or €300,000 for repeat offenders. In Italy, they can that it has ordered Google to comply with a series of rise above €1.2 million. In the U.K., they can reach £500,000. specific privacy requirements within three months But for European regulators, arriving at unified decisions or face fines. Regulators in five other countries— that can make a giant like Google take notice has been a laboriGermany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the U.K.—said their parallel investigations are continuing on paths that could evenous, time-consuming process—which began at a European level and has now been narrowed to a handful of countries handling tually lead to similar orders or fines. independent parallel probes. The six watchdogs each have appointed a point-person to The seeds of the current investigations date to early 2012, stay in touch with counterparts and coordinate announcements, when Google said it would according to a person familiar There could be millions of Euros change its privacy policy for with the matter. its various services—such as The 15-page order from at stake for Google if it doesn’t France’s CNIL finds that Googcomply. In Spain, Google faces up to Gmail and YouTube—to alle’s handling of users’ personal low them to share data. The a €1.5 million fine, or €300,000 per data violates French law, and full group of Europe’s 27 nainfraction. In France, privacy fines can tional privacy regulators asked orders a series of six remedies, such as explicitly defining how France in February 2012 to rise to €150,000, or €300,000 for long it keeps each type of user repeat offenders. In Italy, they can rise open an inquiry into the policy data, and stopping the combion their behalf. Eight months nation of users’ personal data above €1.2 million. In the U.K., they can later, the full group ruled that reach £500,000 Google should make some spefrom different Google services “without legal basis.” cific changes to comply with In Spain, the Madrid-based Agency for Data Protection said European privacy rules. it has opened sanction proceedings against Google looking into Four months later, believing that Google had done little to what it called “disproportionate treatment of users’ data” by the follow their recommendations, a subset of the larger group deU.S. company, saying it doesn’t provide users with clear enough cided it should move forward to enforcement action at the nainformation on the matter. tional level. Six countries set up a task force in February to lead In Germany, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection this effort, promising “significant progress” to be made “before said it would open a formal administrative procedure against summer.” Google next week. Italy’s privacy watchdog has addressed addiNow each country is handling its own inquiry according to national procedure, and since April each has been dealing with tional questions to Google and said it expects a response in June. Google directly, according to the French order. The U.K.’s agency said it was completing its preliminary findings Source: The Wall Street Journal that it plans to send to Google for a response.

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106 July / August 2013 | 25


Alpine Bau Files for Insolvency Alpine Bau GmbH, Austria’s second-biggest construction firm, filed for insolvency on June 19 with liabilities of up to €2.6 billion in what could become the country’s biggest corporate collapse since World War Two

make the group viable in the long term, reduce debt and sell assets. There’s a price the company has to pay to achieve this end,” said Jose Lizan, fund manager at Auriga Global Investors, who does not own FCC shares.

bankrupt in a worst-case scenario. That means a crazy number of jobs, I think 4,000 or 5,000,” he said. Austria’s finance ministry said it was not yet clear how much of the €150 million of state guarantees it had made to Alpine would be needed, saying this depended on the payout quota that creditors will receive. Alpine Bau proposed paying out 20 cents on the dollar within two years, which would mean taxpayers would face he move deals Spanish parent RETRENCHING a €120 million hit, but this still needed to FCC a hit of €289 million after The loss-making Alpine group, pulling be confirmed. tax, affects lenders banks, sadback from a costly expansion drive in eastThe court-appointed insolvency admindles Austrian taxpayers with as ern Europe, had also tried in vain to sell istrator will now assess over coming weeks yet undetermined losses from debt guarenergy and engineering units to raise cash. whether the company’s restructuring plan antees, and could lead to thousands of job It had started a second round of debt was acceptable, creditor agency KSV said. losses. talks after FCC in March injected more There were some bright spots in the The filing to a Vienna court means an money into the unit in return for creditors’ otherwise gloomy news for Alpine, which administrator will now review the state of taking a €150 million haircut. built Munich’s Allianz Arena stadium, three affairs at Alpine Bau, the core unit of the Alpine Chief Executive Arnold Schiefer stadiums for the 2012 European Football Alpine Holding GmbH group that FCC took had put a positive spin on talks as recentChampionships in Poland, and the Tsankov over in full last year. ly as June 18, saying he expected to wrap Kamak hydropower plant in Bulgaria. Alpine Bau employs 6,500 and Alpine Bau proposed paying out 20 Austrian builder Porr said it was in has liabilities of up to €2.6 billion talks about acquiring some of the asand assets of 661 million, creditor cents on the dollar within two years, sets of Alpine Bau. Strabag, Austria’s agencies said. which would mean taxpayers would largest builder, said it would not try Trading in €290 million worth of face a €120 million hit to buy any of the assets for anti-trust Alpine bonds in Vienna was suspendreasons. FCC, Spain’s fifth-biggest builder, ed indefinitely. up a deal within three weeks at the latest. lost €140 million in the first quarter, partHeavily indebted FCC is trying to clean But the curtain fell for Alpine when ly due to losses in Alpine. up its balance sheet by selling assets and FCC pulled the plug on fresh financing onThe Spanish group has had declining writing down losses on investments in rely hours later, its works council chief said. revenue for eight consecutive quarters as newable energy and construction. “It was a real surprise,” Hermann Spanish public-sector contracts disappear It is highly exposed to Spain’s sick Haneder told Austria’s ORF radio, saying in a protracted recession. Around half the economy, with real estate, cement and FCC and banks had been sending positive company’s revenues come from Spain. energy businesses that have been badsignals about helping Alpine get back on FCC has a three-year plan aimed to rely hurt since a property bubble burst five its feet. duce net debt by €2.7 billion by 2015 and years ago. He said he was worried that Alpine’s focus its business on infrastructure, enOne investor in Madrid said the Alpine woes would drag down many small supplivironmental services and water managewritedown was a painful but necessary ers as well. ment. At end-December FCC’s net debt step to return FCC to health. “I fear, and the labour ministry has was €7.3 billion. ■ “The new management team has to projections, that 500 companies could go


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106 July / August 2013 |

july 2013 business leader’s meeting point

Page 32

Page 36

Miljana Vidović

Slobodan Pirec

Investors are Welcome in Serbia

The Best from the Country’s ‘Bloodstream’

Director of REV d.o.o.

Director of WIG Serbia

Page 40

Page 42

Nataša Savić

Mirko Butulija

Constant Concern About the Ecosystem

Tradition and Quality

Director of RIO KOSTOLAC

Deputy Director General of AMS Osiguranje |

106 July / August 2013 | 27

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local news

Business Dialogue 01

Responsibility “I do not accept command responsibility. That expression has been heard at the Hague tribunal for the first time. We have done everything we should have done.” — Zoran Kostic, President of the Enrollment Commission from the Ministry of Education



Passionate Driving Enjoyment

Three interestfree Instalments for New Financin

With an intelligently modified, distinctive design, a new, high-grade interior, new, efficient engines and new assistance systems, MercedesBenz has comprehensively updated the E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet

Special promotion of S-Leasing in Serbia on the occasion of their 10th anniversary in Serbia

In addition, these particularly sportily designed members of the E-Class family have taken a large step forward in terms of lively performance, efficiency and ecology. This is the result, amongst other things, of powerful new BlueDIRECT four-cylinder petrol engines employing direct injection technology. E-Class are amongst the desirable vehicles in their respective segments. Now Mercedes-Benz has completely revised both models. The design of the exterior and interior alike is fresh and sharp. The main feature of the new look E-Class Coupé and Cabriolet is the revised front with new headlamps featuring a single headlamp lens comprising all functional elements. The headlamps are fitted with anti-dazzle LED lights and LED daytime running lamps as standard, with full LED technology now available for the first time in this class as an option. New front bumpers with large air intakes and “wing design” chrome trim considerably accentuate the dynamism of these agile vehicles. Visibly underscoring the rear-wheel drive of these sporty cars is the muscular-looking rear wings which have been retained. Also new are the tail lamps featuring LED fibre optics. Inside the vehicles, stylish materials dominate alongside cleancut surfaces and the two-part trim, in wood or aluminium, which stretches across the entire dashboard. The instrument cluster has dials backed in white, while the trapezoid-shaped, high-gloss framed, full-colour display features TFT technology.


Aunde Serbia

Aunde plant in Jagodina

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic laid the cornerstone for the construction of a plant of Italian company Aunde in the industrial zone in Jagodina, which is to be opened by the end of the year Dacic stressed that in the first four months of the year Italy was Serbia’s top foreign trade partner. The two countries’ trade amounted to €1.4 billion, which is twice as much than in 2012, the Serbian prime minister said. The Jagodina-based Aunde will manufacture car seats for Fiat 500L. Aunde Serbia Director Enrico Vergnano said that 100 workers will be employed in the first

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phase, and around 300 once the factory is finished. Vergnano announced earlier that Aunde is planning to transfer the complete production of the 500L seats to Serbia, adding that this Italian company is already thinking about enlargement and construction of another plant in Serbia. Aunde has 82 factories in 25 countries and employs a total of 12,000 workers.

106 July / August 2013 |

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of their successful business operations in Serbia, the leasing company S-Leasing has decided to offer a possibility of paying the first 3 installments without any interest to all clients who opt for new financing and file their applications by the end of September. As part of the promotion that covers all objects of leasing, clients will enjoy the benefit of paying only the principal in the first three months, while S-Leasing will forego interest income. In this manner, S-Leasing wanted to offer yet another benefit to its clients, on top of the already exist-


ing benefits of leasing, such as favorable financing terms, flexible payment methods, as well as an expeditious and efficient procedure. „As part of the events that mark a decade of our company’s presence on the Serbian market, and as a token of gratitude, we wanted to share a portion of our revenue with the clients and thus celebrate with them this anniversary and our successful business operations“, said Bojan Vračević, a member of the S-Leasing Executive Board. The company S-Leasing has been active on the Serbian market ever since 2003, and is one of the leading leasing companies in Serbia. In the ten years of its business operations, it financed around nine thousand lease agreements for five thousand partners in the amount of EUR 262 million.

South Stream

Russia Ready to Finance Gas Pipeline Milan Bacevic, Minister of Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planning

Russia is ready to fully finance the section of the South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia, and the Russian partners have accepted the proposal on the extension of the section through Serbia i.e. construction of a southern leg of the pipeline, Serbian Minister of Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planning Milan Bacevic told Tanjug. Bacevic said that he was assured by the Gazprom Board of Directors that Serbia should not worry about the expenses of the South Stream construction since it has been mostly agreed how Russia can help Serbia not to incur further debts. The Russian side has once again confirmed that it is ready to fully finance the South Stream section through Serbia, and the Serbian side will pay all the costs amounting to 49 percent of the value of the project from the transit fees once the pipeline starts to work, said Bacevic who is on a few-day visit to Russia. According to Bacevic, Russia is interested in oil shales in Aleksinac, and it would like to gain certain rights to research oil and gas in Serbia and to invest in coal mines and construction of thermo-electric power plants.




“I would like your assistance, as without you, businessmen, there is no chance for success for anyone in the society.” — Mladjan Dinkic, Serbian Finance Minister

Placements & Postings

Cooperation of Serbia, Great Britain in IT sector Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajic and British Ambassador to Serbia Michael Davenport signed the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) in education and the development of economic and trade relations between the two countries The document is related to the promotion of IT sector in the field of education, and to support to teachers in primary and secondary schools, and raising awareness of the importance of IT in education. According to Ljajic Serbia annually exports about €200 million in software, whereby the value of the entire Serbian IT market is about €470 million. Serbia invests approximately €60 per capita in this industry, which is at the same level with Bulgaria and Romania, and is significantly more than in Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Davenport said he expects that intensification of cooperation between the two countries in this field will contribute to an increased investment in the IT sector in education, which will improve the quality of education and help young people develop the knowledge and skills necessary for the 21st century.


Jat Airways

Jat Remains State-owned Company

H.E. Majid Fahim Pour,

Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Republic of Serbia

H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Manzo New Italian Ambassador to Serbia

Transport Minister Milutin Mrkonjic said that "Jat Airways" will soon get a strategic partner, but that it will remain state-owned Mrkonjić said it was important that the conditions for Jat Airways should work undisturbed through the end of this year and will until the conclusion of the negotiations with the national airline of the UAE, Etihad be open to negotiating a strategic partnerships with other interested countries. Etihad will likely this year alone, according to some media, invest in Jat between US $40 and 50 million, if an agreement on strategic partnership and managing Serbian airline could take over from October.



French CFNR interested in privatization of Novi Sad port Serbian Minister of Economy and Finance Mladjan Dinkic said on June 24 at a meeting with representatives of 22 French companies, members of the Movement of Enterprises of France (MEDEF), that French investors are welcome in Serbia, and urged them to follow the successful examples of French companies such as Michelin, which has a plant in Pirot, southeast Serbia. Dinkic said that this summer Michelin will start construction of a new plant in Pirot, adding that it has become one of the three greatest exporters from Serbia. At meeting, French Rhine Navigation Company (CFNR) expressed interest in the privatization of the Novi Sad port.

Augusto José Pestana Saraiva Peixoto New Portugal Ambassador to Serbia

New Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Republic of Serbia is Mr Majid Fahim Pour. He was born 1957 in Tehran, were he attended university and holds MS in Political Science and BS in Islamic Studies. He has been in politics since 1987, when he took the position of political expert in the Direcotroate of Culture in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran. Later, he held the same position in the Iran Embassy in New Delhi, Sophia and London. He was also a Political Expert in the Directorate for West Asia, Director of Directorate for Performance Supervision, and Deputy Director General in General Directorate for Performance Supervision in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Giuseppe Manzo (45) is returning to the Balkan area after previously working in Tirana from 1995 to 1998. He was born in Naples. Over the course of his career, he worked in the communications sector, namely on relations with the US and international organizations. In 2010 and 2011, he was the head of the press service at the Italian Embassy in Washington where he had been previously engaged between 1998 and 2002. In the period between 2005 and 2009, Mr. Manzo worked at the Italian consulate in New York, and, in 2007 and 2008, he was a member of the Italian delegation at the UN Security Council. Mr. Manzo also worked at the Directorate General for Development Cooperation, Directorate General for Economic Fairs and the Secretariat General at the Italian Foreign Ministry. Giuseppe Manzo has written many articles about the role of media in the war against terrorism and communications in the UN. He was also a docent for Master’s studies in international communications at the University of Languages and Communications (IULM) in Milan. Augusto José Pestana Saraiva Peixoto (61) graduated Law from the University of Lisbon. The career: 1979 - attaché, at the State Secretariat; Acting Chief at Cryptography Department from October 1983 until February 1984; 1984 – Portugal Embassy in Mexico; 1989 - Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy in Lima; 1990 - First Secretary at the Embassy in Maputo; 1991 - General Consul in Maputo; 1993 - Director of Services of Human Resources of General Department of Administration at State Secretariat; 1998 - Consul General in San Francisco, US; 2001 - Minister Plenipotentiary of the 2nd Class; 2003 - Vice-Chief of State Protocol; 2004 - Minister Plenipotentiary of the 1st Class; 2006 – Ambassador in Bogota; Decorations: The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit; Commandor of the Order of Rio Branco of Brazil; Commandor of the Order of Merit of Austria; Commandor of the Order of San Carlos of Colombia. |

106 July / August 2013 | 31

Business Dialogue Interview

Difference “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” — Albert Einstein, Theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity

Miljana Vidović, Director of REV d.o.o.

Investors are Welcome in Serbia The construction of the Brodarevo 1 and Brodarevo 2 hydro-power plants is exceptionally important since implementing these projects would prove that Serbia is a safe place for investments and that the state is capable of accepting foreign investors


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enewable Energy Ventures (REV) has been operating in Serbia for eleven years. This is a daughter company of the Canadian enterprise Reservoir Capital Corporation which has floated its shares on stock exchanges in Toronto, Berlin and Frankfurt. The company’s main shareholders are known all over the world for their huge investments in renewable energy resources and mineral raw materials. The company is the biggest private investor in the hydro-energy segment in Serbia by investing a total of €146 million. After a recent breakthrough in the implementation of the project on construction of two hydro-power plants on the Lim River near Brodarevo, we interviewed REV’s director Miljana Vidović.

106 July / August 2013 |

■ The latest news from REV is that Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection gave a positive opinion about the Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the Brodarevo 1 & 2 Hydroelectric Projects on the Lim River. How important is this for you? - The Canadian company Reservoir Capital, based in Vancouver, and REV, as its daughter company, have been given a positive opinion by the Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection about our Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the Brodarevo 1 & 2 Hydroelectric Projects on the Lim River. This approval gives us the opportunity to obtain a building permit and other required documents in matter of a few months. We started preparing the technical documents six years ago, and, a year later, we were issued a state energy license to invest in the construction of two power plants, with a total 95 MW output, which will produce 232 GWh of electricity annually. However, preparing such a complex project requires a lot of work, considering that nobody has built something similar in Serbia for years. ■ What did you mention in the Environmental Impact Assessment Study? - The Environmental Impact Assessment Study has shown that two small reservoirs and the Junakovina and Lučice dams are not going to alter the environment here. Constructing two hydro-power plants will not have a significant impact on the climate, and the geomorphology of the area will not undergo drastic changes while the impact on the River Lim’s ecosystem is negligible.

All projects have been drafted in accordance with Serbian regulations and international standards All projects have been drafted in accordance with Serbian regulations and international standards. On the other hand, the investment will bolster the economic development of Prijepolje and the surrounding area, particularly the construction sector during the time of construction. Once the power plants become operational, they will benefit tourism and other related sectors. ■ How much time and money have you invested so far, and what has cooperation with the Serbian government been like?

Statement “A meaningless statement remains meaningless no matter how often it’s heard.” — Roy H. Williams, Founder of the Wizard Academy and bestselling author and marketing consultant - Over €15 million has been invested in research, drafting documents (technical, zoning and other), buying land and other preliminary works. We have had an exceptionally good cooperation with the Serbian government, with the line ministries, and with public enterprises which are, in a way, involved in the implementation of this project. Without their help and significant input we would have never been in a situation to commence construction works this autumn.

always been open to all interested parties. However, there is a small group of people who had no valid arguments in defending their views. These are not real environmentalists, and we have realized that when, several years ago, our company and the municipal authorities organized a cleaning campaign on the Lim River banks. Nearly all of our local employees, associates, responsible citizens and our entire

■ What do you plan next? - First and foremost, we need to turn the River Lim near Lučice, than build a tunnel, dams, a new road, and a power line for Sjenica while engaging close to 1,000 builders and local machinery. Two segments of the first grade Prijepolje-Bijelo Polje road, in the Lim River Canyon, will be submerged by two lakes. A new 7.5 km long segment will be built and this road will have two tunnels – 2,450-metre Junakovine tunnel and 1,390-metre Brusovnik tunnel. We are going to build anti-erosion barriers on the Lim tributaries in order to re-

Apart from generating enough power to supply 60,000 households, the project is extremely important because a 20-km, 110 kV power line to Sjenica is going to be built

duce the surge of water into the reservoir. Also, both dams will have grids with automatic sweepers for plastic and other floating debris.

■ How important is the project for Serbia? - It is exceptionally important since implementing these projects would prove that Serbia is a safe place for investments, that investments such as these are welcome, and that the state is capable of accepting foreign investors and helping them through the administrative procedures all to the end. This project is also important in the context of a long tradition in constructing such facilities in Serbia. In terms of energy, apart from generating enough power to supply 60,000 households, the project is extremely important because a 20-km, 110 kV power line to Sjenica is going to be built. All of this will make a new energy ‘ring’ which will ensure safety of electricity supply in southwest Serbia.

■ Certain environmental associations were protesting against constructing power plants in Brodarevo. Would you like to comment? - Yes, anywhere in the world, Serbia included, there are certain groups of people who are against such initiatives at any cost. Our door has

management team from Belgrade participated in the campaign, while the self-proclaimed environmentalists were idly watching hundreds and hundreds of people cleaning up their ‘back yard’ from the bridge. Experts have given their opinion about the Environmental Impact Assessment Study. The citizens were given an opportunity to give their contribution to the study, and now we have completed the whole process. To us, as an investor, it is really important to continue having a constructive cooperation with local organizations like bee keeping and fishing associations, sports and culture organizations. ■ You are working on a regional project too. You have had a breakthrough in the Republic of Srpska recently. - In May, REV supplied bank guarantees and signed a 30-year concession agreement with the government of the Republic of Srpska stipulating the development of three run-of-the-river hydro-power plants on the Ćehotina River. The three plants will have a combined output of 17.7 MW, and they will produce almost 70 GWh of electricity annually. We are confident that we will be able to apply the experience we have generated from working on Brodarevo 1 and 2 not only to the project in the Republic of Srpska, but also to any other future project in the region. ■ |

106 July / August 2013 | 33

regional news

Business Dialogue 01


Estimates “The estimate from the National Bank of Slovenia - the government does not have its own - is that 900 million euros will be needed. The European Commission estimates it differently.” — Alenka Bratusek, Slovenian Prime minister


Nabucco Gets a Boost in Romania

Macedonia has 35 Multi Millionaires

A special law on the Nabucco gas pipeline project, passed by the Romanian parliament in May, was enforced following a Bucharest meeting of the Nabucco Committee

Macedonia has 35 multi millionaires whose wealth amounts to $4 billion

The project is a major EU energy effort to diversify gas supply routes for Eastern and Central Europe, and decrease the dependence on Russian resources. The new law aims to fast-track necessary work in Romania, which is part of implementing the Nabucco project. For Romania, the project bears a crucial significance. “The gas pipe will bring strategic and commercial advantages for Romania and will lead to an increase of the energy security of both Central and Southeast Europe and the whole EU,” the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement to SETimes.





This has been concluded by the annual report of World Ultra Wealth Report 2012-2013, which publishes the number of multi millionaires. Part of this group are people whose wealth amounts to more than $30 million. Croatia is a leader in the region with the highest num-


New Member of CoE Development Bank

The revenues from the South Stream pipeline will replenish the state budget of Bulgaria with over €600 million in taxes till the end of 2015, when the first supplies will be transited. This is the amount of the VAT that will have to be paid during the pipe, terminal and three compressors construction near Varna. It is expected that the Bulgarian sector of the pipeline will cost about €3 billion and 20 percent of the sun (VAT) will flow to the budget, experts explain. Apart from these revenues the state will receive insurance premiums of the employees. They will create jobs for other Bulgarian companies that will deliver equipment, food and other things for the workers. The South Stream pipe will pass through the poorest communities of Bulgaria that will also benefit from it.

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Kosovo has become a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) Development Bank. Kosovo’s Foreign Minister has stated that the board of directors of this bank has voted to accept the application of the Republic of Kosovo for full membership in this financial institution, which is an autonomous branch of the Council of Europe. The board of directors of the bank in question is made up of ambassadors of European countries near the Council of Europe. The bank was founded in 1956 and its agenda is the reforms and aid for the most endangered strata in different European countries. “Kosovo’s participation in this bank as full shareholder bring the most important alignment of the Republic of Kosovo with the Council of Europe,” says the statement of the Foreign Affairs.

106 July / August 2013 |


Tirana-Elbasan road tunnel inaugurated


South Stream Pipe Brings €600 mln

ber of multi millionaires, amounting to 260 people. Serbia has 90 multi millionaires, Montenegro has 21 and Bosnia and Herzegovina has 85 multi millionaires. The largest number of multimillionaires in Europe is in Germany with 15.770 multimillionnaires.

A week from the elections in Albania, Prime Minister Sali Berisha cut the inaugural ribbon Tirana-Elbasan highway in a ceremony attended by thousands of people

With a length of 27 km and with 4 lanes, the highway, which is described as the second largest engineering work after the Road of the Nation, reduces at least to 40 minutes the journey from Elbasan to the capital, but it also reduces the journey of the Albania southern areas residents towards Tirana. Tirana-Elbasan highway consists of three segments, while the construction work for the tunnel started 13 months ago. After nearly nine months, the construction work for the road segments before and after the tunnel began. Work on this segment will still continue, until the lanes on both sides of the road will be opened. The paving and placement of traffic signals on several part of the road are still to be completed.



Foreign Companies Promise Cheaper Electricity

Croatia’s energy market has become the centre of debates last month, as foreign companies will soon be allowed to offer electric energy supply to Croat citizens. The Slovenian company GEN-I and the German firm RWE have announced their prices could be between 25 and 35 percent cheaper than what Croatian individuals are currently paying to the state owned company HEP. The case is creating a lot of media buzz as crisis-hit citizens count how much money they could potentially save. Some experts are still warning the public to wait and consider whether the foreign companies can guarantee low prices on a long term.

Placements & Postings

Promising vision “We had a difficult past, but we are now coming together to the promising vision of a united Europe.” — Atifete Jahjaga - President of Kosovo



Growth of NonPerforming Loans

The number of non-performing loans (NPL) in Montenegro is still the second largest in the region and growing due to the lack of progress in restructuring or solutions, evaluated by the World Bank (WB). In its latest economic report for South Eastern Europe, which was introduced at the end of last month, non-performing loans are high and rising in the first months of this year according to the overall picture of the region representing the burden of economic activity and the willingness of banks to lend resources. “In Montenegro, despite a substantial reduction from the record levels as a result of large sales of troubled assets, factoring companies, NPL’s are still the second adjustable size in the region,” the report said.


Zoran Petrović

Chairman of the Executive Board of Raiffeisen Bank in Serbia


New Bank and Telecoms Taxes In mid June Hungary’s government raised taxes on the mostly foreign-owned financial and telecoms sectors to plug budget holes but also rattling investors who have already experienced three years of unpredictable policies. The new set of fiscal measures were a surprise. They included lifting the current financial transaction tax and raising existing charges on telephone calls and mining royalties for what some analysts said was around 100 billion forints (€334.3 million). The government said the moves were needed to make up a shortfall in the budget brought about because low inflation is hitting revenue. They will help Prime Minister Viktor Orban keep the deficit below the European Union’s 3 percent of GDP ceiling. Since he won in 2010 elections, Orban’s policies have included the nationalisation of private pension funds and taxes on banks and selected business sectors. These have helped his government avoid outright austerity and still cut the deficit, while also retaining a lead over the opposition.


republic of srpska

Public Companies Owed 150 Million Marks in Taxes Public companies in the Republic of Srpska owed about 150 million marks for taxes and contributions, said the director of the Tax Administration of the RS Zora Vidovic

The tax debt is related to the active debt of public enterprises, healthcare, utilities and other enterprises in the RS, specified Vidovic. The Tax Administration is currently conducting 92,000 foreclosure proceedings, of which 17,000 procedures were raised in only the first four months of this year. “In the first three months of the year, the contribution was lower by 2 percent, but this situation changed in April, and we hope that we will keep charging at the level of the previous year,” said Vidovic.

Ljiljana Smajlović New Editor-in-Chief of Politika daily


As of August 1, Zoran Petrović will be the new chairman of the Executive Board of Raiffeisen Bank in Serbia. For the past eight years, Petrović has been the deputy chairman of the bank’s Executive Board. He has been working in Raiffeisen Bank since the bank first came to Serbia and, until 2005, he was the head of the Treasury and Investment Banking Division. Petrović was also Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Serbia, while he currently heads AmCham’s Finance Committee. The former Chairman of the Executive Board Oliver Roegl, who was the bank’s CEO from 2001, will be appointed to the same position at Raiffeisen Bank in Bulgaria on August 1, 2013.

At a meeting of Politika Newspapers and Magazines’ shareholders it was unanimously decided that Ljiljana Smajlović, currently president of the Association of Journalists of Serbia, will be promoted to the Editor-in-Chief of Politika daily as of July 1. Ljiljana Smajlović was born in Sarajevo in 1956. where she graduated in journalism in 1977 from Sarajevo University. From 1978 to 1992 she was employed at the Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodjenje, following Belgrade weekly Vreme, Evropljanin and NIN. She has already served as Editor-in-Chief of Politika from 2005 until October 2008.


The Richest Countries in the Region Montenegro is among the richest countries in the region as reported in the latest survey of the European statistical office, Eurostat. The research took into account the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and included the standard purchasing power of the population of a country. Montenegro ranks behind Croatia, with a GDP amounting to 42 percent of the EU average. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s GDP was shown to be 28 percent of the EU average or 72 percent below the European average, which makes this country the poorest in Europe, followed by Albania with a GDP amounting to 30 percent of the EU average or 70 per cent below the European average. Albania was followed by Serbia and Macedonia, whose GDP is 35 percent of the EU average. Eurostat’s survey covered 37 European countries, of which 27 EU Member States, Croatia and four EU candidate countries - Turkey, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia, as well as two potential candidate countries - Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. |

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Business Dialogue Interview

Kids “Until we’re educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.” — Bill Gates, American investor, programmer, inventor and philanthropist

Slobodan Pirec, Director of WIG Serbia

The Best from the Country’s ‘Bloodstream’ The WIG Company is a fusion of several decades of experience in instrumentation and system automation combined with the enthusiasm of young people, mostly graduates of Belgrade University


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IG was founded in 1993. The portfolio of the onstrate our know-how and expertise, in order to make company can be divided into projects having a more systems like the one installed in Banatski Dvor.” lot of publicity, affirming WIG as a widely recognizable company, and those in which a lot of work has ■ What other company’s projects should be mentioned? been invested resulting in fresh know-how, and launching the company to where it is presently positioned. The - One important project is certainly the one we have implemented in Macedonia. WIG was contracted and still is Banatski Dvor Underground Gas Storage is one of the projects that have been reported the most. engaged in developing terminals, storage and refill stations for Lukoil Macedonia in Štip. The Lukoil storage in “We were involved in the project’s first stage, gas insertion, forming the gas storage, as well as in the second Štip has been exceptionally successful for the past eight stage, the gas production and distribution stage,” says years. This is an extremely compact storage and of rather Slobodan Pirec, Director of WIG Company. “Our company smaller capacity, by European standards, but very flexible was responsible for Control System design, applied techin terms of measuring both loaded and unloaded fuel, sunical solutions of the overall pervising the tank content and gas storage. The gas depot has Our line of business in Serbia offers a comprehensive, highly standardized management system been successfully functioning everything similar companies in with just a few people involved for years now, without any Europe, America, China, Russia or operationally in supervising malfunctions, remarks, failures anywhere else offer the entire facility. According to or complaints. The applied our information, Lukoil Mactechnical solutions are still edonia is relying on our company for future projects. advanced and based on the up-to-date control process The next project I would like to mention is the prosolutions used worldwide. The whole system operates duction of the so-called Measuring Skids or Measuring within the Foundation FieldBus Control technology. WIG Systems, installed in the port, or as we call it, the Jetty in successfully introduced this application in this part of the the Pančevo Oil Refinery. These systems were developed world. We strongly believe that other such storage units from a basic project drafted by Enereco Italia Company. are going to be opened in Serbia and other neighbouring Complete detail engineering documentation was also countries, and that we will have the opportunity to dem-

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Simple things “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” — Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist and novelis drafted. The system was completed, checked, installed, and associates who have been solidifying their presence in commissioned and verified by the Serbian Directorate of the long run by applying their solutions or products. Measures and Precious Metals. The system has been running steadily for four consecutive years now. Many of our ■ Companies like yours are few and far between in this projects were implemented in NIS GazpromNeft’s refinery part of the world. What is your explanation for your in Pančevo. I would also like to mention an off-sight project success and what are your plans for the future? implemented by Gazprom in Pančevo - a new Mild Hydro- You are absolutely right. Allow me to draw a parallel becracking (MHC/DHT) facility. WIG had the opportunity to tween what we do and what successful IT companies in take part in this project from its concept, along with comSerbia do, usually presented as some kind of driving force missioning, testing and proving the guaranteed parameters, behind the Serbian economy, if I may say. The WIG Company to the completion of the Additives Dosing facility required is a fusion of several decades of experience in instrumentation and automation system management and young people for proper functioning. who are mostly graduates of Belgrade University. This can I will also mention the LPG Loading/Unloading facility be an exciting and interesting combination if you know how in the Pančevo Refinery. This is a state-of-the-art LPG facility intended to replace metering to manage it and bridge the gap systems based on turbine meters This approach is by no means simple between experience and youth. and include a gaseous component You know, youth is usually associand entails selling not only products ated with impatience and quick into the calculation. or services to our clients; it means fix results. With a dose of mutual that we have a duty to serve our respect you can accomplish really ■ What does technical support applied to the automation comclients as respectable consultants exciting results. I would like our ponent exactly entail? company to be just like that. - Automation is an inevitable process taking place globally. Of course, supporting the process means developing automation components used in completely new dimensions and various applications. We have 49 employees and 37 of them are graduate engineers. We keep ourselves informed about the latest global industry developments and quite often we can see that we don’t lag behind the rest of the world and their latest solutions. This approach is by no means simple and entails selling not only products or services to our clients. It also means that we have a duty to serve our clients as respectable consultants and to advise them to take something that we think will suit their needs best. Of course, the client’s decision is final, but we do think that it is our duty to show them what they can buy for their money, how they can develop the process and receive even more. ■ What countries and partners have you been cooperating with? - WIG operates in Serbia and in neighbouring countries, mainly the ex-Yugoslav republics. We have many partners, primarily from EU countries, the US, and Brazil. One of the most important companies we’ve been cooperating with is SMAR from Brazil. When we say that we cooperate with EU countries, we are referring to Krohne Company. Our 17year cooperation with Krohne has been very strong, and not only contractual, but also very collaborative and friendly. The level of our cooperation entails daily consultations on issues that could be of interest to the clients that we have been servicing. All these companies see us as equal partners

My answer to your question is rather rudimentary. Our task is very simple. Serbia is an open country where people communicate. Our line of business in Serbia offers everything similar companies in Europe, America, China, Russia or anywhere else offer. That’s important. The solution is to have companies as equal competitors. No more, no less. To achieve flexibility in implementation accumulated knowhow and readiness to compete on the market. This means that you have to be technically and commercially superior as well, and that is important. This is not a new recipe, and I am not saying anything that hasn’t been said before. This is where the secret to existing and surviving for companies like WIG lies. ■ |

106 July / August 2013 | 37

world news


Business Dialogue 01

“The same plot is being laid in Brazil. The symbols, the banners, Twitter and the international media are the same. They are doing everything they can to accomplish what they couldn’t achieve in Turkey.” — Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,Turkish Prime Minister



Russia Pays Off $2bln Soviet Debt


Immigrants in Norway Pay Back

Russia has paid off a $2 billion Soviet-era debt to Serbia and Slovakia, the Russian Finance Ministry said

Immigrants have contributed positively to the Norwegian economy in recent years, according to the recent OECD study

Russia’s $1.7 billion debt to Slovakia and $288.8 million debt to Serbia originated when it assumed responsibility for Soviet obligations under trade and economic cooperation with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, the ministry said in a press release. In accordance with the current intergovernmental agreements, Russia’s debt was paid off mainly with supplies of Russian industrial goods and partially with financial resources. The Finance Ministry also said it would pay off Soviet debt to Finland, the Czech Republic and Montenegro before the end of the current year. Source: RIA Novosti

On the contrary to Statistics Norway’s report, the recent OECD report (International Migration Outlook 2013) shows that immigrants in Norway positively contribute to the economy, writes Norwegian daily Aftenposten. Senior administrator of OECD, Thomas Liebig said they have calculated the result in several ways, and all proved that immigrants in Norway contribute positively to



ANIP Signs Contracts Worth Over €3.6 bln

Maria Luisa Abrantes The National Private Investments Agency (ANIP) signed end June thirteen investment contracts worth over €3,6 billion (459 billion Kwanzaas), with various foreign firms. The firms that signed the agreement are Timicor, Extrial, Plastic Packaging, Nortenha Angola, Orey Transports, Stahlhaus Construction, MCS Capital, Animarket, Mingqian Xiao, Dingjia International B, Malembo Development Center and Kumar. On the side of ANIP the documents were signed by its CEO,



Oil Production - 4.5 mln Barrels Per Day Iraq expects to ramp up oil production to 4.5 million barrels per day by the end of next year from around 3.5 million barrels now

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Maria Luisa Abrantes, in representation of Angola, and members of the managing board of the mentioned firms from Namibia, Portugal, England, Germany, Holland, China Virgin Island and Bermudas. Maria Luisa Abrantes said she is happy about signing the 13 contracts as it is the first time that the new projects are not just designed the capital city (Luanda), but also Huambo (Central Angola) and Huila (South). The official also said the investments will help to spur the process of diversification of the national economy and reduce unemployment rate.

The chairman of the prime minister’s advisory commission, Thamir Ghadhban, said that Iraq, which sits atop the world’s fourth-largest proven reserves of conventional crude, is also aiming to produce 9 million barrels a day by 2020. Oil revenues make up 95 per cent of the country’s budget. The Integrated National Energy Strategy says Iraq needs to see $620-billion invested in its oil and gas and related industries through 2030. It suggests that Iraq could generate about $6-trillion based on an estimated price

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treasury. The average direct net contribution of immigrant households in Norway to the Treasury is estimated to be 4505 euros . Liebig also notes that immigrants in some OECD countries actually pay more on average into the treasury than non-immigrants. This is the case in Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, the UK and Luxembourg.  Source: Aftenposten

Czech Republic

Contract for Crude Oil Deliveries

On the 21st June Rosneft has signed a contract for crude oil deliveries via pipeline Druzhba to the Czech Republic. The value of the agreement amounts to approximately $7 billions at the current market prices, the agreed volume of deliveries is up to 8 million tons. The buyer of the crude oil for the Czech Republic is PKN ORLEN S.A. The value of the agreement amounts to approximately $7 billions at the current market prices, the agreed volume of deliveries is up to 8 million tons. The contract with PKN ORLEN S.A. is agreed with deliveries until the 30th June 2016. ommenting on the agreement, Rosneft President Igor Sechin said: “Concluding direct long-term agreements complies with the Rosnefts’s strategy in respect of creating shareholder value through the increase of the crude oil sales efficiency as well as considers consumers’ interests and strengthens energy security of Europe.” “Rosneft is one of the main partners for PKN ORLEN S.A. for crude oil supplies. The cooperation of the companies is being built on the basis of sustainable and long-term cooperation and fair market mechanisms.” said Mr.Jacek Krawiec, the President and CEO of PKN ORLEN S.A. of about $100 for per barrel of oil. Iraq has been struggling to develop its oil and gas reserves after years of war, international sanctions and neglect. Foreign companies with the resources and expertise were hesitant to come in after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion due to the deteriorated security situation. But since 2008 when security started to improve, Iraq has awarded more than a dozen oil and gas deals to international energy companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP PLC, Total SA and others.




“I mainly want to repeat that my government is listening to democratic voices. We must learn to hear the voices of the street. We all must, without exception, understand these signals with humility and accuracy.” — Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil


LOT Seeks Another $120 mln in State Aid


Cadbury Used Ireland to Avoid UK tax Russia has paid off a $2 billion Soviet-era debt to Serbia and Slovakia, the Russian Finance Ministry said

Poland's troubled flag carrier LOT has asked for up to 381 million zlotys ($120 million) in further state aid as part of a new rescue plan LOT, one of the world’s oldest airlines, has burned through state funds over the years in failed turnaround plans as it tries to compete with larger rivals and low-cost carriers. The Treasury Ministry, which controls most state companies and their privatisations, said it would back LOT’s latest restructuring plan under some conditions but had not yet approved further aid, after a 400 million zloty loan in December. Poland’s government, which has its own budget problems, is reluctant to do more for the airline and is also constrained by EU restrictions on state aid to businesses. “This is the last attempt to rescue LOT by the Treasury Ministry,” said Treasury Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski in a statement. “Under EU regulations, the company will not be able to receive support from state funds for another 10 years.” The carrier reported a loss of 400 million zlotys in 2012 - its highest since 2008, when it took a hit on fuel options - after writing down the value of the smaller Embraer jets it has used for European flights.


The world’s second largest Chocolate company, Cadbury, has been blamed for “aggressively avoiding tax” in Britain, especially for its use of Irish subsidiaries, before it was taken over by US food group Kraft. Cadbury had devised plans to cut its British tax bill by more than a third before 2010. The chocolate company is accused of setting up schemes, using code names like “Martini”, to bring

about interest charges that could be removed from its gross profits, effectively reducing its British tax bill. Based on the report, Cadbury’s schemes helped it reduce its tax on UK operations to an average of £6.4 million a year, despite profits of £100 million and a turnover of more than £1billion in Britain. The standard rate of tax that Cadbury’s should have paid would have been around £30 million each year.


Mubadala to tap Russian investment opportunities

The two state-led investment companies of the UAE and Russia have set up an investment fund to invest in Russia

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Mubadala Development Company have launched a $2 billion co-investment fund to pursue opportunities in Russia “The fund will predominantly focus on long-term investment opportunities across a range of industry sectors, acting as a catalyst for direct investment in Russia,” the announcement said. Mubadala and RDIF are each committing $1 billion. The majority of Mubadala’s commitment will be deployed in opportunities that will be evaluated on a deal-by-deal basis while some of the capital will be invested as an automatic coinvestment into RDIF deals. Dr Qaiser Anis, managing director of Abu Dhabi based consultancy Alliott Hadi Shahid, said this is the first such investment fund to explore opportunities in Russia. Anis said Russia offers higher returns on investment and Abu Dhabi investments there would be extremely fruitful for both. |

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Business Dialogue Interview

Role “Serbia will always stand by Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The country has a historic role to help all states in which Serbs live.” — Tomislav Nikolic, Serbian President

Nataša Savić, Director of RIO KOSTOLAC

ners, RIO has generated experience which is unique in this country and we have positioned ourselves as a company which has the realistic potential to become the eco-business leader in Serbia. Our partners’ satisfaction is also the main indicator of our success. When we are validated as good business partners, our work is also validated.” ■ In what ways have you managed to perpetuate such a high quality of your services?

Our business policy is focusing on finding new profit potential in environmental business, like growing profitable crops (vine, alfalfa, flax and oilseed turnips) on reclaimed land

Constant Concern About the Ecosystem Through long-term cooperation with our partners, RIO has generated experience which is unique in this country, and we have positioned ourselves as a company which has the realistic potential to become the eco-business leader in Serbia


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ekultivacija i Ozelenjavanje d.o.o. (RIO) specializes in caring for land and green areas and has decades of experience in protecting the local eco-system and the re-cultivation of land which has been exposed to stress and disturbance. The company was the recipient of the 2013 Business Partner Award given by Mass Media International. “This award validates the high standards that RIO Company complies with,” says Director of RIO Kostolac Nataša Savić. “Our business activities are predominantly based on cooperating with companies that need our environmental protection or re-cultivation services or they need to embellish and humanize their space through greening. Through long-term cooperation with our part-

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- Primarily, by working hard and investing in research of new profit potential, while strictly adhering to environmental principles. The re-cultivation of industrial areas demands constant activity, monitoring the situation in the field, cooperating with experts, and finding specific solutions for given situations. Also, our business policy is focusing on finding new profit potential in environmental business, like growing profitable crops (vine, alfalfa, flax and oilseed turnips) on reclaimed land.

■ As the leader in environmental protection and recultivation of land, what are your ongoing projects? - For RIO Kostolac, land is no longer only an area to be reclaimed and greened, but also a new profit resource. The profit is generated through the planned growing of crops which are environmentally and economically profitable. These are, mainly, biologically (or organically) grown crops (including vineyards), as well as environmental energy products (bio-fuels) and decorative plants (flowers).

■ You are one of the very few domestic companies involved in re-cultivation of land previously exposed to industrial use. How engaged are you in this business segment and do you expect more work to come? - The Kostolac mine basin, which is our main work zone, is going to be exploited by the year 2054 which means that the local countryside will be exposed to industrial activities for decades to come. During that period, our job will never end since re-cultivation demands constant work. The experience we have in re-cultivation of the environment in combination with the implementation of new technology and solutions will give us a great advantage in our future projects which we are currently contracting with domestic and foreign companies. ■


Radeberger is Coming Back A nostalgic familiar taste from a bygone era, Radeberger beer, is coming back, and with it the memories, the good times, and the enjoyment


was born in the old Yugoslavia, and I remember that time will our life be better if we going to let kid ourselves, to save on quality, personal health or the pleasure of life? well. Parents are still young. Senior classes. The institute, a Is our beer the best? Is this really so? I am a patriot, and I would trip to the sea, sports, jeans, rock ‘n’ roll. First love, kissing in like to say “yes.” But I lived in the Big Yugoslavia. I tried Radeberger the rain. A first job. and I do not want to lie. Maybe it’s just nostalgia for lost youth, but I really miss that Of course, it’s hard to demand of a domestic producer to surpass beautiful country with all my heart. It was a country without borders, fear or mistrust. the famous German quality. But we’ve been through tough times and I wish I could once again breathe the air that is already part of have earned a good living. a distant era. To bring together childhood friends who are now in And I believe that the good times are coming now. Right now, Slovenia, Croatia and no one knows where, so we could play football when I see again the legendary Tito-era Radeberger beer in Belgrade. together. To relive again those joyous moments of the first victories. When, like many years ago, I open an ice cold bottle and pour a full Oh, I wish I could!” glass of the fine golden beverage with a thick cap of white foam. Probably each of us, who started When I feel again on my lips the light their adult life in the era of Tito, often bitterness of the hops and the aroma of And I believe that the good times thought of that golden time with warm freshly cut grass. are coming now. Right now, when feelings. And it doesn’t matter that RadebergI see again the legendary Tito-era er is the favorite drink of German kings A lot of people would add to this: and aristocrats, without which no one “Oh, how I wanted to feel again the Radeberger beer in Belgrade was held a feast. same taste!” It’ doesn’t matter that Radeberger is Vladimir Putin’s favorite beer. After all, that era had a taste of something unmistakable. Do you It’s also doesn’t too important to you that Radeberger is in remember “Radeberger”? the top 10 of the most famous and best-selling varieties of GerEven if you haven’t found that time, you’ve probably heard there man beer. was a good tradition to drink German beer in Yugoslavia under Tito. The one and only important thing And not just the German, but the very best German beer – “Radeberger”. is that the memories of our common To the younger generation it seems to be something inconceivmotherland are alive in our hearts. And, able. And today’s young people are all quite convinced that beer is although we are separated by borders, we nothing, but a questionable liquid, which is sold at cheap stores.. still have a lot in common. Including this People have lost the opportunity to compare and to see what’s unforgettable taste of a golden era - the better. Natural is replaced by substitutes. A fake is given for real. But taste of Radeberger beer. ■

About Radeberger Gruppe

According to tradition of brewing, beer of any kind may be made only in its place of origin. Radeberger Pilsner beer is brewed in only one place, in Dresden, and from there transported to Serbia. Aromatic hops and selective barley malt give beer refined bitterness and a unique refreshing taste. Radeberger Pilsner is brewed by unique soft water from its own wells in Radeberg. In addition, the hallmark of the company is world-famous beers, like Schöfferhofer Hefe, Schöfferhofer Kristall, Schöfferhofer Grapefruit, DAB and Selters mineral water. By this time, the beer production of Radeberger Gruppe can be purchased at NIS-Gazprom gas stations, in the best hotels and restaurants in Belgrade and other cities or can be ordered directly from it’s exclusive distributer – Gems Group d.o.o. (” The company’s goal today is the return of the legendary drink in all countries of the former Yugoslavia. |

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“European integration is important but will not change Serbia’s basic economy. The country’s economic fate is in its own hands.” — Aswath Damodaran, Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University

Mirko Butulija, Deputy Director General of AMS Osiguranje

Tradition and Quality We’ve been operating for 15 years now and our great advantage lies in the fact that the Automobile Association of Serbia (AMSS) is our single biggest shareholder and that we have an extensive network of 220 branches in Serbia


his year, AMS Osiguranje (AMS Insurance) celebrates its 15th anniversary, and in honour of this jubilee the company has prepared gifts for its clients. “Since we are celebrating our 15th birthday this year, we have decided to give free AMSS membership to each person who travels abroad this summer and buys our family travel insurance policy,” says Mirko Butulija, Deputy Director General.

■ What sets AMS Osiguranje apart from other insurance companies in Serbia? - I would also like to mention that if you are planning to travel to Greece from June 1 onward, you can buy our insurance policy from the AMS Osiguranje office at the Preševo border crossing which is going to be opened 24/7 throughout summer. Also, travellers will be able to buy the AMS Osiguranje green card at the border crossing, which they need if they are going abroad.

AMSS where you can also buy mandatory motor vehicle insurance from AMS Osiguranje.

■ How do you deal with your competitors? - AMS Osiguranje has quality and tradition. We’ve been operating for 15 years now and our great advantage lies in the fact that the Automobile Association of Serbia (AMSS) is our single biggest shareholder and that we have an extensive network of 220 branches in Serbia. You can get the whole package - vehicle registration, technical inspection, towing service, and other vehicle related services - at any of our branches. Since we have both the quantity and the quality, we are not afraid of the competition.

■ To sum up, what is your recipe for success? - Our success comes from our ability to preserve the 90-year tradition of AMSS and adapt to global trends. Our employees are constantly trained, we closely follow the latest insurance trends in Europe and the rest of the world, and we insist on providing preventive and educational advice. We invest in our staff, we follow trends, and we participate in ed■ You have recently promoted a brand new product which drew ucational traffic safety and road condition campaigns, and that’s why a lot of attention. What is CASCO light insurance and who is it I am not surprised about our success. Our success is just a natural intended for? extension of the things I’ve just mentioned. - CASCO light is a motor vehicle insurance policy for all drivers, but specifically for those We are going to continue to adapt Our competitors give us additional motivawho drive used cars. This new AMS Osiguto the latest trends and develop tion to persevere in what we have started. ranje product is light on the driver’s budget, our product range to suit our and it represents a comprehensive insurance ■ What is the best piece of advice you can clients’ needs policy that covers the driver’s liability in give to drivers? instance of a car crash and the damage that - If you are involved in a crash, by all means occurs. CASCO light insurance covers the damage that occurs when the call the police and have everything on official record. Do not attempt policyholder collides with another vehicle or with several vehicles on to assess the damage yourself. That’s why we, at AMS Osiguranje, have any public road in Serbia and Europe. This insurance policy is affordbeen appealing to drivers to always contact police, and have them come able because you choose how high the insurance policy will be based to the crash scene and make official records about what happened. on your own assessment of the vehicle. The insured sum should range between 100,000 and 500,000 dinars. You can use the policy to cover ■ What are your future plans? several car accidents as long as you don’t exceed the insured amount. - AMS Osiguranje continues full steam ahead. We are going to continue to adapt to the latest trends and develop our product range to suit our clients’ needs. Last year was a record-breaking year for us, ■ What other novelties can you offer to your clients? the best ever. Now, we are on our way to even break our 2012 record - If you are an owner of a car that uses LPG and the certificate for with the results from the Q1 of 2013. All our plans are focused on your LPG kit expires this year, you can obtain the new certificate customer satisfaction. ■ or carry out the re-certification process at relevant branches of 42 |

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feature Bilderberg Group 2013

The “Priests” of

globalization The annual forum for prominent politicians, thinkers and business leaders has been held since 1954 in either Europe or North America. No minutes are taken, there is no media access and the public is kept away by a large security operation

The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, North London – hosts to Bilderberg summits


he Bilderberg Group, Bilderberg conference, or Bilderberg Club is an annual private conference of approximately 120 to 140 invited guests from North America and Europe, most of whom are people of influence. About one-third are from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labour, education and communications. British political economist Will Hutton calls the group the “high priests of globalization.” The original conference was held at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, from 29 to 31 May 1954. It was initiated by several people, including Polish politician-in-exile Józef Retinger, concerned about the growth of anti-Americanism in Western Europe, who proposed an international conference at which leaders from European countries and the United States would be brought together with the aim of promoting Atlanticism – better understanding between the cultures of the United States and Western Europe to foster cooperation on political, economic, and defense issues On June 6, over 120 of the world’s most powerful people were at the luxury five-star Grove Hotel, former manor house near London for a annual gathering that has attained legendary status in the eyes of anti-capitalist protesters and conspiracy theorists. The guest list for the Bilderberg meeting includes Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, British Prime Minister David Cameron and many others. What happens at Bilderberg, stays at Bilderberg. There is no media access and the public is kept away by a large security operation. The group says that “there is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.” But in a move toward slightly more openness, the group now has a website, which lists attendees and key topics for discus-

sion, including the economy, U.S. foreign policy, “cyber warfare and the proliferation of asymmetric threats” and “major trends in medical research.” Publication of these details has done little to ease the concerns of protesters, who sense a shadowy global elite at work in the secretive meeting. “When 120 of the leaders from all across the West get together, and many of these are billionaires, they are people who are immensely wealthy and immensely powerful,” said Michael Meacher, a lawmaker from Britain’s Labour Party. “And when they all get together, it’s not just to have a chat about the latest problem, it is to concert plans for the future of capitalism in the West. That is on a very different scale.” Others go even further, putting Bilderberg at the heart of a global web of conspiracy. The protesters in Watford include U.S. talk-radio host and Sept. 11 “truther” Alex Jones, and former professional soccer player David Icke, who believes the world is run by a race of reptiles in human form. A Bilderberg spokesman — reached by email since no phone number is listed — said there is nothing sinister about the gathering. “We disclose the date, the location, the participants and the key topics of the conference,” Xander Heijnen said. “Many groups of people meet without announcing it publicly at all, without disclosing who is taking part and without giving any key topics. “The meetings broaden the participants’ range of viewpoints, help them to gain insights and exchange views,” he said. “It seems illogical to argue that a meeting of individuals designed to give and obtain fresh insights, somehow ‘undermines democracy.’” ■


The topics for discussion were: • Can the US and Europe grow faster and create jobs? • Jobs, entitlement and debt • How big data is changing almost everything • Nationalism and populism • US foreign policy • Africa’s challenges |

•C  yber warfare and the proliferation of asymmetric threats • Major trends in medical research • Online education: promise and impacts • Politics of the European Union • Developments in the Middle East • Current affairs

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faces & places 28.05.2013

65th Anniversary of the Founding of the State of Israel The Israeli Embassy celebrated the 65th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel with a performance by the Baruh Brothers Choir who sang Israeli national anthem ’Hatikvah’ and Serbian national anthem ’God of Justice’. The celebration was hosted by Israeli Ambassador H.E. Mr. Yosef Levy. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić was one of the many honored guests at the reception. Israeli dance group ’Sheketak’ performed in the musical segment of the event.

H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroku, Japanese Ambassador to Serbia 28.05.2013

Japanese Spirit in Belgrade

President Tomislav Nikolić (left), Ambassador Yosef Levy and Nebojša Stefanović, Speaker of the Serbian Parliament

In collaboration with Dom Omladine Belgrade, the Japanese Embassy held a demonstration of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), calligraphy (the art of beautiful handwriting), and classical Japanese koto music (Japanese ground harp), in addition to staging an exhibition of calligraphic works and the works by the Association of Japanese Hanga Printing. The exhibition and the demonstration took place at the Main Hall of Dom Omladine. 29.05.2013


The Days of Algerian Culture

70 years of Serbian-Cuban relations

The Algerian National Ballet performed native folk dances, traditional Algerian music and dances from several different regions of Algeria at the Central Stage of the National Theatre in Belgrade. On the occasion, the Algerian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Mr. Abdelkader Mesdoua said that this was the first time in the 50-year history of bilateral relations between the two countries that Algeria staged such an important event in Serbia. President Tomislav Nikolić and his wife were among many guests.

The Serbian Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications released a special stamp in celebration of 70 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Cuba. The Cuban Embassy in Serbia hosted a presentation of the stamp at the PTT Museum in Belgrade.

Mr. and Mrs. Tomislav Nikolić and Ambassador Abdelkader Mesdou


The National Day of Italy The Italian Embassy in Belgrade hosted a reception in celebration of the National Day of Italy. Guests had an opportunity to say goodbye to outgoing Italian Ambassador to Serbia Mr. Armando Varricchio and greet the new ambassador Mr. Giuseppe Manzo who handed President Nikolić his Letter of Credence.

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106 July / August 2013 |

H.E. Ms. Mercedes Martinez Valdes, Cuban Ambassador to Serbia, and Rajko Baralić

30. 05.2013

AmCham Business Luncheon The American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia hosted a business luncheon for local companies in Serbia, members of the AmCham and the media in the Crystal Hall of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade. Governor of the National Bank of Serbia Jorgovanka Tabaković was the keynote speaker. She talked about the projected inflation rate, expectations from monetary policy in the following period and the stability of the financial sector.

Patrick Collin, President of the CCFS, Milan Petrović and Jelena Bulatovic of SAM and Ambassador François-Xavier Deniau


Meeting of French and Serbian Business Executives Serbian Association of Managers (SAM) and the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (CCFS) hosted a meeting of French and Serbian companies and business executives at the French Embassy in Belgrade. The guests were greeted by the French Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. François-Xavier Deniau, President of the CCFS Patrick Collin and President of SAM Milan Petrović. 01.06.2013

Our Belgrade Close to six hundred volunteers gathered at Kalemegdan to mark the beginning of the volunteer campaign called ’Our Belgrade’ which took place for the fifth consecutive year. The Choir of the Bežanijska Kosa Retirement Home performed at the opening ceremony. Mr. Frédéric Coin, Chairman of the Business Leaders Forum and Chairman of the Executive Board of Société Générale Bank, and Neven Marinović, Executive Director of the Business Leaders Forum and Director of Smart Kolektiv, welcomed the volunteers. US Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Michael Kirby was the guest of honour.

Mr. Frédéric Coin


The National Day of Sweden The Swedish Embassy in Belgrade celebrated the National Day of Sweden at the Yugoslav History Museum in Belgrade. Several Swedish companies presented their corporate philosophies at the event in the light of the Swedish traditional

Mr. Michael Kirby

celebration of Midsummer. The presented companies have been using their expertise and experience to contribute to the development and sustainability of Serbian society and their products, innovations and principles are the representation of Swedish values and the future foundation of Sweden. Most of these companies have been operating in Serbia for many years.

Swedish Ambassador H.E. Mr. Christer Asp greets the guests |

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faces & places 06.06.2013

Musical Threshold A photo-exhibition, ’Musical Threshold’ by Jirí Všetečka, was opened at Đura Jakšić House in Skadarlija. The exhibition is also the first event in the Days of Prague celebration in Belgrade. The exhibition was officially opened by Belgrade’s Culture Secretary Katarina Živanović and Jan Kalousek, a member of the Prague Assembly.


Golf Tournament

Katarina Živanović (left) and Jan Kalousek

In cooperation with Golf Centre, the Dutch Embassy hosted the third golf tournament for members of the diplomatic community, diplomats, representatives of foreign companies and international organizations. A total of 32 players took part in the tournament. The tournament winner was Mr. Zaini Hasim from the Malaysian Embassy. Mr. Jari Lasilla from Finland, who works for Tikkurila Zorka Company, won the second place while Mr. Sahharon Omar from the Malaysian Embassy in Budapest was the third.


Russia Day The Russian Embassy hosted a reception in celebration of Russia Day. Russian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Alexander Chepurin and Serbian PM Ivica Dačić said, on the occasion, that relations between Serbia and Russia were very advanced and that they were continuing to improve. The reception was also attended by many Serbian officials, the members of the diplomatic corps, the Embassy’s friends and public figures.

Ambassador Alexander Chepurin and Dušan Bajatović, CEO of Srbijagas


Slovenian Statehood Day and Slovenian Armed Forces’ Day Slovenian Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Franc But held a reception at Kalemegdanska Terasa restaurant in celebration of the Slovenian Statehood Day and the Slovenian Armed Forces’ Day. Apart from many members of the diplomatic corps, business people, media representatives and public figures, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić and Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec also attended the reception.

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Tomislav Nikolić, Serbian President, Karl Erjavec, Slovenian Foreign Minister and Ambassador Franc But


SAM - Traditional Gathering Serbian Association of Managers (SAM) hosted the Sixth SAM June traditional gathering organized for all SAM members and business people in Serbia. The event took place at the Kalemegdanska Terasa restaurant. On the occasion, SAM’s president Milan Petrović said that doing business under the current economic conditions was not easy and that he expected economic indicators to be better once Serbia was given the date of the beginning of the accession negotiations. “SAM and its partners from the former Yugoslav republics are championing the idea of regional cooperation and that is something that has signified the work carried out by the Association this year”, Petrović added.

Milan Petrović, president of SAM

Milka Forcan and Goran Pitić


Day of the State of Croatia On the occasion of the National Day of Croatia and the Croatian accession to the European Union, Croatian ambassador to Serbia HE Mr. Zeljko Kuprešak organised a reception in Belgrade Hyatt Regency. Besides Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, the reception was attended by former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Serbia, cultural and public workers, and Serbian officials.

Pierce Brosnan and Mr. and Mrs. Davenport 20.06.2013

Official Birthday of the British Sovereign The British Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Michael Davenport held a reception at his residence in celebration of the official birthday of the British Queen Elizabeth II. The celebration was inspired by the famous British brands - Mini Cooper car, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and The Beatles, who released their first single exactly 60 years ago. Several hundred guests attended the reception including the members of the diplomatic corps, state officials, and public figures.

Stjepan Mesic (left), Tomislav Nikolic and Zeljklo Kupresak |

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after work Piraeus Bank

International Mathematical Grammar School Cup 2013


Parsons-Brinckerhoff in Serbia

The British Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Michael Davenport hosted a reception in honor of Parsons-Brinckerhoff (PB) Company opening its office in Serbia. This global engineering consultancy is going to hire highly educated engineers from Serbia and use their expertise, talent and experience in worldwide projects.

Srdjan Ognjenović, Director of the Mathematical Grammar School (left) and Neoclis Neocleous, Chairman of the Executive Board of Piraeus Bank AD

In mid June in the school Ceremonial Hall, representatives of Piraeus bank and the Mathematical Grammar School have signed an exclusive sponsorship contract on cooperation and long-term partnership. On this occasion holding of the first International “Mathematical Grammar School Cup 2013” under the auspices of Piraeus Bank Beograd was also announced. “Our decision to support the students of the Mathematical Grammar School is a result of our desire to contribute to the development of the area which we believe is the key for a better future – the education of young people. Within this project we will help these young people to be proud hosts of First International Mathematical Grammar School Cup 2013 and to travel without financial worries to the most important competition, the so-called Olympiads.”–said Mr. Neocleous, Chairman of Piraeus Bank Executive Board.

Goran Vukojević, Director of Serbian Office, Darren Reed, H.E. Mr. Michael Devenport and Sean McGoldrick

Belgrade Academy of Arts

Art Finale To celebrate its 18th anniversary, the Belgrade Academy of Arts hosted its traditional Art Finale on June 5. The event was held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević. At the event, the Academy’s founder, Council Chairman and Director Dušan Đoković and Academy dean and professor Mirjana Karanović gave out the Vidovdan Award to best students. The award’s recipients are Slaven Došlo, Sara Popović, Relja Bikić, Dositej Tomašević, Dea Džanković, Dragana Lakčević, Nemanja Milojević, Aleksandar Angelovski, Jan Predan Zvonar and Aleksandra Glovacki. Ivica Vidanović was the recipient of the special Sveti Vid Award.

Vuk Kostić and Jelisaveta Orašanin choose 'My Card'


"My Card" Vojvođanska Banka has presented a new Visa credit cash back card called “MY CARD” which has rather unique features. For the first time on our banking market, people will be able to use the cash back credit card issued by Vojvođanska Bank. To mark the launch of this one-of-a-kind banking product, a press conference was held with the Chairman of the bank’s Executive Board Marinos Vathis, Executive Board members Vojislav Lazarević and Athanasios Makris, Director of the Retail Loans and Card Product Sector Đorđe Đorđević, and the friends of the bank - the famous acting couple Vuk Kostić and Jelisaveta Orašanin - in attendance.

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Professor Aleksandra Jovanić presents the award to Relji Bikić



Agreement between Dragica Nikolić and UniCredit Foundations


Ronald Seeliger (left), H.E. Mr. Heinz Wilhelm and Stefan Kapferer

Maurizio Carrara, President of UniCredit Foundation and Dragica Nikolić, President of Dragica Nikolić Foundation

Representatives of the Dragica Nikolić Foundation and the UniCredit Foundation have signed an agreement which defines the common goals in resolving important problems in Serbia. Based on this agreement, the UniCredit Foundation will provide fundraising expertise and advice, as well as participate in managing the projects implemented by the two foundations.

This year’s DSW-Sommerfest took place in Belgrade. The event was also a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the German-Serbian Business Association (DSW). Apart from the executives from the DSW member companies and DSW’s friends, the event was attended by the German Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Heinz Wilhelm, Serbian Deputy PM Rasim Ljajić and members of the Serbia-Germany Business Council. The guests were welcomed by Managing Director of DSW and Director of the German Business Delegation in Serbia Michael Schmidt, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology (BMWi) Stefan Kapferer and President of DSW Ronald Seeliger.


Nelt Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Miloš Jelić, General Manager of Nelt

Nelt Company has celebrated 20 years of successful operations in this area in the Nelt complex in Dobanovci. Nelt has been providing distribution, logistics and marketing services for two decades. The company has over 1,300 employees, and apart from branches in Montenegro, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, it has been developing its business in Angola, Zambia and Mozambique. Friends of the company, members of the diplomatic corps, the media and many public figures attended the jubilee celebration.

Rasim Ljajić and Michael Schmidt,


Reporting Corruption in Healthcare

With the help from the Anti-Corruption Agency, Serbian Health Ministry and the UNDP, the Citizens on the Move Association has launched the first text message service for reporting corruption in the Serbian healthcare system. Executive Director of the Citizens on the Move Association, Ana Babović said that the association had been dealing with corruption in healthcare through a project called ‘I don’t take bribes, I work for living.” Health Minister Slavica Đukić-Dejanović gave her support to the campaign, underlining that Ministry pays close attention to public criticism about corruption. UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia William Infante underlined that citizens had to be included in the project in order to step up the fight against corruption, since 41% of them think that corruption would subside in 2013. |

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culture calendar CONCERTS Sergej Cetkovic Smederevo Fortress 5 July @ 21.00 As part of his tour “2 minutes” Sergej Cetkovic will perform for the first time in Smederevo. The concert will be held on July 5 beginning at 21:00 in the unique atmosphere of the

Smederevo Fortress. Sergej will perform his best love songs accompanied by his band, which along with a great stage, sound and video production guarantees a night to remember. Eyesburn S.C. Olimp 6 July @ 21.00 Cult Belgrade band Eyesburn will perform on July 6th at the summer stage SC Olympus – Zvezdara, officially promoting her new album “Reality Check”. Fans can expect an unforgettable show. At this concert, the band, apart from promoting songs from their new album, will also make a retrospective of their illustrious career, playing old and recognizable hits.

George Benson Sava Center, 7 July @ 21.00 Famous American singer, guitarist and one of the greatest jazz, funk and soul musicians of all time George Benson will perform July 7 at the Sava Center as the leading star of this year’s “Summertime Jazz” festival. Benson’s new encounter with the Belgrade audience will include a selection of the biggest successes in his long career of more than half a century, marked with ten Grammy awards and 35 solo albums. George Benson is currently working on a new album, this time in collaboration with an orchestra of 42 musicians, fully dedicated to the legendary singer and pianist Nat King Cole. Interestingly, the album is already available thanks to free donations from fans, who will receive signed albums and their name on the album. The largest single donor will receive a personalized guitar that will be signed by Benson in direct video chat. The famous musician also announced that a portion of donations are intended for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Benson has his own star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. George Benson audiences around the world know the big hits such as “Give Me The Night,” “On Broadway,” “Lady Love Me,” “Turn Your Love Around”, “In Your Eyes “and numerous other soul, funk and r’n’b tunes. Jazz certainly stand out, and his celebrated performances, now standard, such as the song “Breezin ‘,” Affirmation,” “This Masquerade,” and “Being With You” and Benson’s albums with the great Miles Davis, Al Jarrah, Troop Atkins , Quincy Jones and many other renowned musicians. In addition to 35 solo, and best-selling albums, Benson appears on over 130 albums, 50 singles, and has several concert releases, three of them on DVD and Blu-ray video.

Nišville Jazz Festival Niš Fortress 15-18 August

The Nišvillle Jazz Festival will be held this year from August 15 to 18 in the beautiful setting of the Nis Fortress on several stages with a very interesting programming. At this year's Nišville performers among others: Kyle Eastwood Band (band led by bassist Kyle Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood) Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion (first drum superhero rock and jazz rock scene Ginger Baker led the band in which both Pee Wee Ellis - longtime saxophonist James Brown band, bassist Alec Dankworth and percussionist Abass Dodoo) Ron Carter & Strike Golden Trio (one of the best and most soughtEric Burdon & the Animals Kombank Arena 15 July @ 20.00 One of the most vocal of all time who immortalized the famous song “House of the Rising Sun”, Eric Burdon will perform in Kombank Arena on July 15th.

Exit Fest Petrovaradin Fortress Novi Sad 10-14 July Ivan Milivojev, one of the founders of the festival and member of the European Festival Association, said that the Exit 2013 will keep all the good attributes of the previous Exit festivals, but a large part of the festival experiences significant conceptual advances. One innovation is the introduction of zero (fifth) day, which will, in addition to the Fortress, be played out in the centre of Novi Sad.” “But that's only the beginning of the (r)evolution of the concept of the festival," he added Milivojev. “The audience, musicians, cultural organizations, media, and other 50 |

stakeholders will be invited to participate in promoting the concept and organization of the festival in the future.” This year will feature Cee Lo Green, David Guetta, Fatboy Slim, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion), Jeff Mills, Prodigy, Ana Milenkovic and many more.

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This musical icon who created and performed for more than 50 years, inscribed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and Rolling Stone magazine named him among the 100 “best voices of all time.” Burdon is rightfully called the best white blues singer of all time. In half a century, he released nearly 50 albums as lead singer of “The Animals” and “War” as well as solo albums. By changing genres, the only constant feature is his courage to explore new sounds that shaped his unique voice. Eric Burdon has shared the stage with legends such as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Witherspoon, Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen and recently collaborated with Patti Smith and Iggy Pop as the Animals were part of the “British invasion” of the sixties and directly competing bands to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The

after bassist of all time, a composer, arranger, bandleader, and perhaps a jazz musician with the most shots) Ray Gellato and Giants of Jive (Best British jump swing band) Marius Neset Band (the Norwegian saxophonist new hopes of European jazz, which is rightly compared with Jan Garbarek) Z & Z Quartet ft. Adam Nussbaum (Simon Zanchini Ratko Zjaca, Martin Djakonovski and legendary drummer Adam Nussbaum) Bobby Carcasses (Cuban jazz legend)

Who and others. His music career began in England. Listening idols Ray Charles and Bo Diddley, Eric embarked on an American blues and jazz. As frontman of the British band “The Animals,” Bourdon helped shape rock and roll. A great string of hits, in addition to “House of the Rising Sun”, including “Do not Let Me Be Misunderstood”, “The anthem of the war in Vietnam”, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”, a pioneering psychedelic songs sound of San Francisco “San Franciscan Nights” and “Monterey”. Last year, he released the album “Till Your River Runs Dry”. Calexico Kalemegdan 7 August @ 21.00 A concert of the American alternative band Calexico will be held for the first time in Serbia on August 7th in Belgrade, in the area of the Partizan tennis and volleyball club in Mali Kalemegdan. The band from Arizona that mixes influences of traditional Latin music, country music, jazz and indie rock, Calexico symbolically called after the town on the border of U.S. and Mexico, is coming to Belgrade in the European tour on the current album, “Algiers”. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Joey Burns, who with drummer John Konvertina (John Convertino) is a founder of Calexico, both former members of the cult band Giant Sand, is not hiding his pleasure for many upcoming gigs for their European fans.

culture news “For me personally, it feels good being linked with Europe, because we have drawn so much influence from European aesthetics. I think Europe influenced our sensibility and tone,” says Burns.

Calexico music from the beginning talks about the dusty deserts and loners that live in them, connecting with Hispanic heritage of country pursuits, while Burns likes to point out the influence of Portuguese fado, fifties jazz, gypsy music, surfing sixties music, or Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns. “Algiers” has the obvious quality of Calexico classics, but the style of the band on this album revitalized the experience of shooting in New Orleans, whose influence might sound not so immediately obvious. The album, “Algiers,” perhaps the most exciting Calexico achievement so far, was named after the section of New Orleans where they recorded. MUSIC FESTIVALS Summer3p Festival Palic, 18-21 July This year, Summer3p electronic music festival will be held from July 18 to 21 at a fabulous party location – the thermal pools and the Male Strand in Palic near Subotica. The combination of excellent quality electronic music and a night swim in the thermal swimming pool, festival Summer3p will make an unforgettable summer experience under the open sky. At this year’s festival, some of the hottest performers and European regional electronic music and talented DJs from Subotica will perform.

Soundlovers Zrenjanin 26-27 July The spectacle under the open sky, the largest music festival in the Banat region, “Soundlovers” celebrates a small anniversary this year – its fifth birthday. In mid-summer, July 26 and 27, lovers of good rhythms will be able to enjoy a spectacular weekend in Zrenjanin. Traditionally, this year clubbers from Zrenjanin and all over

the country will enjoy performances of world stars in the area of summer movies gardens in the centre of Zrenjanin - Old Summer Cinema. The festival will last two nights during which several national and European artists will perform. DANCE Constantinus Magnus Sava Center 1 July @ 20.30 A musical act about the Emperor Constantine the Great, “Constantinus Magnus,” by Aleksandar Sanja Ilic was premiered on June 3 on the stage of the Nis Fortress, on the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan whereby Christianity gained equality with other religions in the Roman Empire. On July 1, Constantinus Magnus will be performed for the first time in Belgrade, at the Sava Center. Epic spectacle of music, divided into 15 units, a life of Constantine the Great and the era in which he lived. The show, which involved more than 200 performers and as many stage workers, the audience is meant to evoke the most important moments in the life of the Emperor and his times through musical elements that were present in the whole area of the former Roman Empire, instruments from the area, dance acts and visual effects.

Cocktail Festival Kalemegdan, 21-23 June Cocktail festival was held at Mali Kalemegdan, on June 21, 22, and 23. The event had a programme of competitive, entertaining and educational character. Some of the world's leading cocktail masters and bartenders competed in the discipline of flairtending and the classic preparation of cocktails with the support of both local and international DJs and music and dance groups. An integral part of the festival was an interactive workshop on the topic of socially responsible behaviour and problems related to alcoholism as a modern

Book Night Delphi Booksteres, 14-17 June

The traditional Book Night event was held for the eighth consecutive year from June 14 to June 17. The organizers of this unique book festival are Laguna Publishing and bookselling chain Delphi. The discount on Laguna's books was 25 percent for one book, 30 percent for two books, 35 percent for three books and for four or more books – 40 percent. Book Night took place in Delphi bookstores at 11 locations in Belgrade and 20 other cities in Serbia in which there are Delphi bookstores and Laguna book clubs: Novi Sad, Niš, Kragujevac, Valjevo, Čačak, Pančevo, Kraljevo, Sremska Mitrovica, Subotica, Kruševac and other cities. Ethnofest

Director of the Delphi bookstore chain Vesna Mihailović said that other publishers also joined Book Night and grant discounts of up to twenty percent. In addition, on the day of the event, those bookstores presented for the first time (in the Serbian language) “Song of Solomon”, a novel by Toni Morrison, winner of Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. The goal of the event, launched in 2009, is to popularize books and reading, and the number of 45,000 visitors in just six hours suggests that the expectations were more than justified.


Palić, 21-22 June The festival Ethnopalic was held on Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22, at the Grand Terrace in Palić. Ethnofest is a multicultural project that brings together artists from all over the world

and allows them, in the form of sound, image, movement, crafts, food and beverage, to showcase their cultural heritage. The Festival of World Cultures, Etnofest, was staged for the 10 ensembles and bands such as Orthodox Celts, Hotel Palindrone, SZÖKOS Ensemble and many others. The Palić Grand Terrace was built in 1912, and right from the beginning it served as a meeting place and entertainment location during the summer months. In the second half of the twentieth century it was destroyed altogether, but in recent times it underwent a reconstruction process, entering into a new active phase in the service of cultural and tourist events that take place near Lake Palić.

disease, which draws attention to solving them. Opening of the first Cocktail festival took place on June 21 at 17.00h at Mali Kalemegdan (“Red Star” basketball courts). |

Belgrade, throughout Summer Filmstreet, a free traveling summer outdoor theatre, began its journey at unusual locations in Belgrade with the support of Amstel on Tuesday, June 18, with the cult movie “Reality Bites”. The first screening of the summer was held in front of the UK Parobrod, on the corner of Kapetan Mišina and Gospodar Jevremova streets. For the third year in a row, Filmstreet will transform streets, parks and corners of Belgrade into open movie theatres, and for this summer they are planning 50 screenings of iconic works at 17 extraordinary locations in the following three months. Filmstreet connects Bergman and Mitrović, Hollywood and Bollywood, cult films of the 50s and a modern audience, calls and gathers friends to socialize in person, connects continents, genres, neighbourhoods and different

generations of viewers. This year, the festival is organized with the support of Amstel and represents a social movement and an art project of the revived culture of watching movies on the big screen in the open. Filmstreet and Amstel have prepared many surprises for all visitors during the festival, and guarantee an atmosphere that will keep Belgrade awake. 106 July / August 2013 | 51


■ By Zorica Todorović-Mirković

Dušan Kovačević, President of EXIT Festival

Woodstock of the


This musical happening will last five days this year - from July 10 to 14. As one of the most important Serbian brands, EXIT has undertaken to improve Serbia’s image. According to the world’s media, this year’s lineup will be one of the best in recent years. The appearance of Warrior’s Dance at EXIT Festival will be the only one scheduled in Europe this year


or thirteen consecutive years, Novi Sad has been the host to a musical happening that takes place in the first half of July – EXIT, the biggest and most popular music festival in Southeast Europe. During EXIT, Novi Sad transforms itself into the world epicentre with masses

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of young people and aficionados of quality sounds swarming the city where they all speak the language of music. The Petrovaradin Fortress becomes a shrine of outdoor entertainment for all ‘pilgrims’ of this multimedia happening. The rejuvenated three-hundred-year-old fortress buzzes with the huge energy of positive vibrations emanating from the speakers. People dance on stone pathways to modern beats of every musical genre imaginable. The Festival organizers went out of their way to bring famous musicians to this year’s EXIT who will ‘amplify’ the sky above Novi Sad, together with the chorus of devoted fans. The slogan of EXIT 2013 is “R:evolution” and organizers are promising a truly fantastic festival. CorD speaks to the founder and the president of EXIT Dušan Kovačević about the new features of this year’s festival, which has been rightly dubbed ‘the New Woodstock’ or ‘Woodstock of the Balkans’, as well as about future plans and changes made to the Festival’s concept.

■ What will this year’s EXIT bring,

■ Are you still keen on the idea

and what sets it apart from previous festivals?

of transforming the festival into something different by adding new and creative content with music being just the foundation? Undoubtedly, that would also entail changing its concept.

- This year’s EXIT brings a revolution which positions EXIT as a sort of open source platform with a goal of rounding up the most creative individuals and organizations from our country and abroad and integrating them into the festival’s organization team. EXIT is a leader in the creative industries and youth tourism in Southeast Europe. With this idea in mind, we have launched the ‘I AM EXIT’ competition, and we have received several hundred ideas. Another new feature is that the festival will last longer this time around.

- Our goal is to make all sorts of creative industries a part of the festival. Concept changes are necessary and they entail presenting other art forms and other creative aspects at the festival. This is a long-term transformation of EXIT into a festival of creativity that will round up the entire creative potential in our country, the region, Europe and the world.

■ EXIT is truly an international

■ Your goal was to expand the fes-

tival outside the Petrovaradin Fortress and bring it closer to the people of Novi Sad. Will that happen this July or is this a project for the future?

Thom Yorke will be on stage with Atoms For Peace

event. With that in mind, are you going to receive financial assistance from the City of Novi Sad, the Province or Vojvodina or the Republic of Serbia?

- According to the world’s meAccording to the world’s media dia (CNN, BCC, the Guardian - This year, on the so-called zero day of the festival, EXIT will (CNN, BCC, The Guardian and others), and others), EXIT is one of the most recognized music festitake place both in the Fortress EXIT is one of the most recognized vals in the world. Every year, and the city of Novi Sad which music festivals in the world foreign tourists from all over will bring this musical feast the world are coming to this event, and spending over €15 closer to the citizens of Novi Sad. The festival’s audience and the million in our country. There are many benefits for both Novi people of Novi Sad are in for many more wonderful surprises. |

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Sad and Serbia in a marketing sense. For instance, the famous London magazine ‘The Economist’ calls EXIT’s contribution to enhancing Serbia’s image “priceless”. Bearing all of this in mind, EXIT has been recognized as a project of national importance and the state, provincial and local authorities support the festival.

■ What problems with organizing and holding the festival

do you usually have to deal with and how do you resolve them?

- The biggest problem is that EXIT is a sort of anomaly in the Serbian economic system. What I mean is that a ticket to similar festivals in Europe costs between €200 and €350, but in Serbia, EXIT cannot charge more than €50 for the entrance because the living standard of young people in Serbia and the region is so low. Also, the budgets of commercial sponsors in Serbia are far smaller than in Western Europe. All of this makes organizing the festival more difficult, and that’s why we need state’s assistance.

■ What is this year’s line-up like,

and are we going to see surprises and exclusive appearances of music stars?

■ The number of foreign visitors keeps growing each year, and EXIT fans are now coming from virtually every single country in the world. Which country do most of them come from?

- People from all continents and, as you said, all countries of the world come to EXIT. Most of our foreign visitors are British, Dutch and young people from the former Yugoslavia. We get more and more Greeks, Hungarians, Russians, and, believe it or not, Australians.

■ What characterizes EXIT, and what makes this festival famous around the world?

- EXIT is good energy. This music festival is globally recognized on two grounds – first, the way it came about, that is as a social youth movement fighting for freedom and democracy, and that is what sets the festival apart from most of the European music festivals which are mainly commercial. The second is the Petrovaradin Fortress which is one of the most attractive festival locations in the world.

■ In the past, some people objected

that, during the festival, drug dealing was on the increase. What do you think of that, and have you undertaken precautionary measures in order to prevent drug dealing?

- The international media have said that this year’s line-up would - The percent of people that use narbe one of the best in recent years. cotics at our festival is no higher than There will be an exclusive appearthe one at any of the festivals that have ance by a superband called Atoms over 100,000 visitors. In any case, EXIT for Peace, which was founded by has been closely cooperating with the Radiohead’s Thom York, the fapolice on controlling this problem to mous Red Hot Chili Peppers bassthe best of our abilities. ists Flea, R.E.M.’s drummer A million and a half people visited EXIT ■ Who is going to open and one of Radiohead’s producers. American superstar so far, with over a thousand journalists EXIT this year, and do you CeeLo Green, known for hits expect certain state offifrom all over the world reporting about it cials ‘Crazy’ and ‘Forget You’, will to attend? appear in a Balkan country - The opening day is all for the very first time. There is also Snoop Dogg, who ditched about branding Serbia. As one of the most important Serbian his fierce image and now sings about peace and love under brands, EXIT has undertaken to improve Serbia’s image. It the stage name Snoop Lion. We have to mention a British inis very important to mention that this conference will take die star, Bloc Party, too. Another great exclusive is Warrior’s place on Nikola Tesla’s birthday which is our way of raisDance, which was founded by the Prodigy, and their appearing awareness about one of the biggest Serbian and global ance will be the only one scheduled in Europe this year. The brands, as well as to show the path that branding of Serbia Prodigy will also perform, as will Fatboy Slim who is going to should take – that is the path of spiritualized science and art. perform in the Dance Arena for the very first time. Stay tuned On that note, we can say that Nikola Tesla’s energy will open for more surprises. the festival, and we do expect the top state officials to attend the conference.

■ How many stages are you going to have this year?

- There will be over 20 stages, scattered all over the Fortress. You will be able to hear anything from exotic Latino and reggae beats to hard rock and techno.

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■ How many tickets for this year’s EXIT have you sold so far?

- So far, we have had over 15,000 tickets booked and sold. We expect the Fortress to be packed once the festival starts. ■

travels Laos

Shangri-La Beneath

■ By Robert čoban President of Color Press Group

Hammer and Sickle

“Europeans who come to live here take on distinctive mannerisms very soon - their voices mollify and they become softer and more discreet in expressing themselves!” – Norman Lewis said in his book “A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam” which he wrote during his travels in Indochina in 1952 just before the Indochina wars. Indeed, the first thing that you notice (and hear) is the calmness and ‘low volume’ of voices of the Lao people, unlike the much louder and more expressive Thai and Vietnamese people. This softness of expression becomes even more pronounced when the people of Laos ‘clash’ with noisy nations like ours


ntering mainland Laos via the Friendship Bridge on the River Mekong is not simple or fast. You can cross the border only on foot. Aside from our five-member group, other people who are waiting in line for the visas are several former citizens of Laos with US passports (over 150,000 residents of Laos left the country, mostly for the US, following the collapse of the monarchy in 1975), two visibly drunk Russians, a nun, and a couple of Australian backpackers. The passport procedure at Hanoi Airport, a few days later, made us think that the complications we had had at the border with Laos were a piece of cake compared what we would have to endure when entering Vietnam.

The Communists erect a monument in honour of the king

After we got our visa, we boarded a different bus which took us across the Friendship Bridge to Vientiane, the capital city of Lao’s People Democratic Republic. The first thing you notice upon entering the town are the flags of the main |

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litical party, bearing a yellow sickle and hammer on a red background, flying right next to the national flag of Laos. Just like in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia back in the day. The second thing you notice is a huge monument of a man who is opening his hands towards the river, located on the River Mekong. It must be one of the country’s Communist leaders, you would think. But, surprise, surprise, it is a giant monument erected in honour of King Chao Anouvong (built in 2010 to mark the 450th anniversary of his rule) who is holding out a hand of friendship to the neighbouring country of Thailand. It is very rare to see in the world, particularly in the Balkan area, the biggest monument in a country not holding up a sword or a clenched fist to frighten ‘the enemy’ but rather offering a hand of friendship to the neighbouring country which, by the way, had brutally enslaved Laos before the country was conquered by the French in the late 19th century. Also, it is quite rare to see that the Communist Party erects a monument in honour of a monarch, regardless of the fact that he lived in a very distant past.

ities from both religions. The tropical humidity here causes every single building – from cathedrals and temples made of brick to concrete monuments – to have a patina which makes these buildings, including the monuments in Buddha Park, look much older than they actually are. Following the 1975 political uprising, Luang Pu escaped to Thailand where he built an almost identical park called Wat Khaek in the town of Nong Khani.

What can a tractor tire, opium and lime juice do?

Walking around the new part of Vientiane, we expected to see the rigid Communist dictatorship with traces of Buddhist mysticism, but what we saw was a dynamic capital city with new buildings springing up left and right, and passing cars worth much more than those in European cities. Chinese capital has flooded Laos too, just like many Asian, African and Latin American countries. Like China, Laos is a single party state with a market economy. In the last few years, the country’s GDP

Souvenir stands are perched growth was in the double digWalking around the new part of right beneath the monument its. On the other hand, the imand here you can buy the photo- Vientiane, we expected to see the rigid pression that our group, and graphs of the Communist leadjournalists who wrote Communist dictatorship with traces some ers and ideologists from Karl about this subject, were unof Buddhist mysticism, but what we der was that Laos resembled Marx and V.I. Lenin to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh. saw was a dynamic capital city with a secluded island in a sea of The Funky Monkey Hostel consumerism, concrete buildnew buildings springing up left and is a favourite with backpackings and reality shows which right, and passing cars worth much ers and it costs €4 per night per swept over Indochina. Unlike bed. It’s no different than any Vietnam, there are no police in more than those in European cities other hostel in the world, brimthe streets, the people seem reming with young Europeans, Australians and Americans drinking laxed and in good moods. Cafes close at 11 pm, and almost evelocal beer at €0.90 (or 8,000 kips) a pop, playing the guitar and rybody wakes up before 6 am. singing. After a wonderful lunch at a small local restaurant on the By contrast, the national TV station programme is completebanks of the Mekong, we board a tuk-tuk which takes us to Xieng ly out of synch with the reality that we saw. The TV programme Khuan, 25 km away, also known as Buddha Park. This is a rathconsists of a series of video clips of revolutionary songs perer bizarre looking park with Buddhist and Hindu sculptures built formed by a man and woman duet while footage of military paby priest/yogi/shaman Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat in 1958. The rades, mass stadium celebrations and counter-terrorist actions park does resemble the parks in Western Europe a little bit with by the Lao police are shown in the background. the statues of communist leaders. Xieng Khuan has several dozen Another thing that could be seen only in Laos, and not in any concrete statues of Buddha, Vishnu, Shiva, Aryuna and other deother former French colony in Indochina, is the many French res-

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taurants and wineries on almost every corner. A wonderful lunch that would cost upwards of €150 in Paris, costs no more than €15 in Laos. We leave Vientiane and head up north to Vang Vieng, a popular and controversial Mecca for backpackers, especially Australian. Laos is to the young Australians what Ibiza and Ayia Napa are to the British. In the last 15 years, Vang Vieng became popular because of the many ways to recreate and have fun – from riding a bike in idyllic surroundings to hiking, exploring dozens of caves, swimming in their cold emerald green waters and tubing.

ple killed on tubing has gone down significantly. We chose to ride bicycles for several hours in the 40°C heat, and, to reward ourselves later, swim in ice cold waters of the Blue Lagoon. In the evening, we sat down to have a meal in one of the quaint restaurants in the Vang Vieng high street which cost us (the five of us) only €15. A dog was lying on the table next to ours. After the dinner, we treated ourselves to a foot massage to relieve the pain of pushing pedals all day. A half an hour long foot massage will set you back €3. If you consider the prices (of food, drink, accommodation, massages), which are incredibly low compared to Serbia, it is easy to understand why Vang Vieng and all of Laos became a Mecca for tourists from Australia and other countries.

Croissants and French wines on the bank of the Mekong River

The next morning, we boarded a mini-bus and headed to the old capital of Lao monarchy – Luang Prabang. We had an older American gentleman called Chuck with us who was well into his

We chose to ride bicycles for several hours in the 40°C heat, and, to reward ourselves later, swim in ice cold waters of the Blue Lagoon. In the evening, we sat down to have a meal in one of the quaint restaurants in the Vang Vieng high street which cost us (the five of us) only €15.

The latter is the most popular recreational activity, but also the most dangerous. Until recently, 20 to 30 lost their lives each year on tubes, mostly young Australians. When the Australian government confronted the Lao government about this, the situation did somewhat improve. So, what is tubing? Tubing is a recreational activity where an individual rides on top of an inner tube down the rapids of the Nam Song River. The problem was that, in most cases, the people riding on these tubes were high on drugs. After spending a day on a beach, island or bar party, these young people would take drugs (like a lethal combination of opium and lime juice), crank up trance music, go down the river on a tube and get themselves killed. In the past few years, since tougher control over tubing has been introduced, the number of peo-

sixties. A retired biologist, Chuck travelled the whole world. “I have enough money to stay in expensive hotels, but I always choose hostels or guesthouses since they are full of life. You will not learn anything about life by staying in a five-star hotel,” Chuck said. He thought, just like most people here, that we were Russians. Later, a few hours into the conversation, he made an interesting comparison: “You Serbs are to the Russians, what the Canadians are to the Americans – similar, but better and less arrogant.” After a six-hour drive along the narrow and sometimes completely rundown mountain roads, we arrive at Luang Prabang, the former capital city of the Kingdom of Laos. As it turns out, they don’t take online bookings seriously here, so we had to find accommodation in another hostel, just a few metres from the bank of the river Mekong. Luang Prabang has almost 60,000 inhabitants and is located on the peninsula at the estuary of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers. The town is a fantastic mixture of incredibly well-preserved houses and villas in the early 20th century colonial style and dozens of spectacular Buddhist temples. Occasionally, the town resembles Venice. It seems that there are no permanent residents here, only tourists, souvenir vendors, masseuses, waiters, chefs and Buddhist monks. Many French restaurants, wineries and bakeries look even more impressive than |

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those in Vientiane, since there is no heavy traffic or concrete business buildings to spoil the landscape.

The mysterious destiny of the last king of Laos

The former Royal Palace, which today houses the National Museum, dominates the town’s horizon. The last king of Laos Savanga Vatana and his family were overthrown by the revolutionaries in 1975 and, two years later, the king and his family were thrown in a prison camp in the north of the country where

he and the queen allegedly died of malaria. The exact date of their death is unknown. In the 1920s, Christopher Kremmer wrote a book about the Lao royal family called “Bamboo Palace: Discovering the Lost Dynasty of Laos.” The Royal Palace houses the royal family portraits, the gifts they received from statesmen and guests from all over the world, and a collection of vintage cars which were almost all gifts

As we leave Laos and wait for our plane at a small airport in Luang Prabang, I am wondering why is it that the people here, who suffered a great deal under the surrounding countries and the US bombers, don’t hate the Thai or the Vietnamese or the Americans

from the US government in the 1950s and 1960s. The US government had been wholeheartedly helping the royal family during their reign in an effort to stop communism spreading in this rather isolated kingdom. Later, during the Second Indochina War (1960-1975), the Americans threw tons and tons of bombs on Laos with the purpose of ruining the communist guerrilla movement of the Pathen Lao and North Vietnamese troops which came to guerril-

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la’s aid. Because of that, Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world, the consequences of which can still be felt today, as well as a country with the biggest number of unexploded missiles in the world, which are scattered all over the country, especially the north. One of the most important rituals that take place in the streets of Luang Prabang at 6 o’clock each morning is sharing food with the monks. The residents, and as of recently the tourists too, wait in line and share sticky rice (hard-boiled compact rice) with dozens of monks who come here with bowls in their hands. The difference in the mentality of the Lao population was very evident after 1975 too when every single country in French Indochina came under communist rule. In Cambodia, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge massacred over two million people in their attempt to deurbanize (expel people from cities to villages), with hundreds of monks escaping to Laos where the communist regime had been much ’softer’ compared to the Cambodian or Vietnamese. Something like the Yugoslav Communist regime compared to the regimes in Eastern Europe. As we leave Laos and wait for our plane at a small airport in Luang Prabang, which you can reach on foot since it is almost in the town itself, I am wondering why is it that the people here, who suffered a great deal under the surrounding countries

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and the US bombers, don’t hate the Thai or the Vietnamese or the Americans. I remembered something that a taxi driver from Andorra, who was married to a Cambodian woman, told me a month ago: “The Thai are friendly, but all they are actually thinking about is how to get the most out of a tourist. The Lao and Cambodians are different – when they smile, they really mean it.” Shangri-La, a fictional valley described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton, was subsequently ‘discovered’ in Asia too. Thinking of Luang Prabang, as the last stop on our voyage through this wonderful country, it seems that Laos, out of all countries affected by the ‘plagues’ of the 20th century, is the closest to becoming the modern day Shangri-La. ■ We know that there are many of our readers live to travel and who embark on exotic journeys to the remotest parts of our planet at least once a year. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to share your experiences with us.


"World Markets and Opportunities"

JAPAN 2013 |

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Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. Japan has the world's tenth-largest population, with over 127 million people.

Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people". Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan

A major economic power, Japan has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world's fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer.

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Japan is a leading nation in scientific research, particularly technology, machinery and biomedical research. Nearly 700,000 researchers share a $130 bln. research and development budget, the third largest in the world. Japan is a world leader in fundamental scientific research, having produced sixteen Nobel laureates.

Japanese Temples are Buddhist temples found throughout Japan, which date back over one thousand years. There are several Japanese Temples which are World Heritage Sites.

Japanese cuisine is known for its emphasis on seasonality of food, quality of ingredients and presentation. Japanese cuisine offers a vast array of regional specialties that use traditional recipes and local ingredients.

The Kimono is the most famous form of traditional Japanese clothing for women. The Kimono is actually a style with many different forms; from the casual to the wedding style, all which have a particular meaning and are wore to different events or occasions.

Garden design is an important Japanese art form that has been refined for more than 1000 years. Gardens have evolved into a variety of styles with different purposes, including strolling gardens for the recreation of Edo Period lords and dry stone gardens for the religious use by Zen monks. Great gardens can be found throughout Japan, with particularly many in the former capital of Kyoto. |

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H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Japanese Ambassador to Serbia

Fruitful Cooperation The Balkan region is attractive for developing economic cooperation because of its geographical location as a gateway to the European market. I believe that the accession or the efforts of the accession of the countries in the region to the EU will make this region more attractive. I hope that Japanese companies will take this opportunity to develop economic relations with Balkan countries credence between Japan and Serbia, between Japanese Emperor Meiji and Serbian King Milan Obrenovic. How would you rate the political and economic relations between the two countries today? - I am glad that the bilateral relations between Japan and Serbia are very good and friendly at all levels, from the government’s level to the people’s level, based on the fruitful cooperation in political, economic and cultural fields.


ince the transition, Japan has brought a great deal of assistance to Serbia as part of the building of democratic institutions, infrastructure, and social causes. In this interview, Japanese Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroki speaks warmly about his short experiences in the country and his hopes to increase the ties between Serbia and Japan. Japanese investments, the ambassador notes, have been significant if not numerous. In the first months of his appointment, Ambassador Kuroki has travelled around the country and seen at first hand the opportunities to develop and the work which is ongoing. As he tells us, “Seeing is believing.”

• Over the course of history, Japan, just like the Balkan countries, has been destroyed and rebuilt several times and each time the country came through economically stronger. How would you describe Japan’s status today relative to the global and Asian economies? - Japan has been hit by many natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis

Japan has been hit by many natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons but every time we have managed to overcome these difficulties through the perseverance and efforts of the people and with the support of the international community

• Last year, we marked the 130th anniversary of the exchange of letters of 62 |

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and typhoons but every time we have managed to overcome these difficulties through the perseverance and efforts of the people and with the support of the international community. In this regard, I would like to express my deep gratitude

to the warm sympathy and precious support extended by the government and the people of Serbia at the time of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Concerning the Japanese economy, it is now the third largest economy in the world with its advanced technology. During the last decade, the Japanese economy has experienced a long-term recession. The government is currently implementing aggressive economic policies in order to revitalize the economy and promote economic growth. The revitalization of the Japanese economy will surely contribute to the Asian and world economies. • What is Japan's assessment of the potential of the Balkan region, and where do you see an opportunity for developing economic cooperation with Serbia and the regional countries? - The Balkan region is attractive for developing economic cooperation because of its geographical location as a gateway to the European market. I believe that the accession or the efforts of the accession of the countries in the region to the EU will make this region more attractive. I hope that Japanese companies will take this opportunity to develop economic relations with Balkan countries. • Do you think that, with growing stability in the Balkan region, the interest shown by Japanese investors will grow too? - Peace and stability are the most important factors for economic activities

including foreign investment. Growing political stability in the Balkan region changes the image of its past and surely encourages foreign investors including Japanese investors to consider this region positively as an investment destination. • In your opinion, how important is the EU integration process for Serbia, and do you think that the beginning of accession negotiations with the EU could improve economic cooperation between Japan and Serbia? - Japan fully supports the efforts of the government of Serbia for accession to the EU. The EU integration process promotes the solution of political issues and the implementation of various reforms in Serbia. It will also contribute to peace and stability in the Balkan region. These factors are important for promoting economic relations between Japan and Serbia. • Which economic branches have the biggest potential in regard to the economic cooperation between the two countries,

Considering that a stable and democratic Serbia is important for the peace and stability in the Balkan region and in Europe, Japan has been providing its grants and technical cooperation to Serbia following the democratization process of the country and what could prompt Japanese investors to come and invest in Serbia? - I think that there are many potential sectors where Japanese investment can

be useful in Serbia. One of the strong points of Japanese industries is the manufacturing sector and technology, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These industries create jobs, transfer technology and increase exports. There are comparative advantages of Serbia for foreign investment such as its geographical location with transport communication, free trade agreements with Central European countries (CEFTA), EU, Russia, and Turkey, etc. and skilled human resources. Seeing is believing. I strongly hope that more Japanese companies will come and see the current situation and the investment environment of Serbia to explore the potentials. • What are the most important projects in the economic cooperation between Serbia and Japan at present? - Japanese products such as cars, motorbikes, electric and electronic appliances and machines are well represented in Serbia but Japanese investment in Serbia is still limited. We have only ⇢ |

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three investments in the manufacturing sector, namely JTI (Japan Tobacco International), Asahi Beer-Mitsui Corporation (food supplement) and Panasonic. JTI in Senta, which is producing cigarettes and contracting the production of tobacco leaves, is the biggest one with US $160 million. Concerning the infrastructure projects, the Japanese government has provided a concessional loan of €246 million for the construction of flue gas desulphurization equipment at the thermal power plant Nikola Tesla A. This equipment will contribute to environmental protection by reducing the emissions of NOx quite significantly from the thermal power plant. • Could you tell us something more about the POPOS programme of grants aimed at fulfilling the population’s basic needs which the Japanese Embassy has been implementing in Serbia? - The Embassy of Japan has been providing POPOS grants (grass-roots and human security grant aids) to support projects in social sectors such as education (rehabilitation of schools), health (basic medical equipment and ambulances), sanitation (water supply, garbage collection), and the like. These grants are extended through local communities or NGOs to contribute directly to the welfare of the population, in particular, in vulnerable areas. From 1999 until 2012, we assisted 156 projects with a total of €9 million in grants. We continue to provide these grants for 10 projects every year.

the development assistance provided by the Japanese government. Based on the Japanese government’s policy to support the peace, stability and prosperity of the Balkan region, the activities of JICA’s Balkan office cover most of the countries in

We may have different mentalities but I find that both Japanese and Serbian peoples care much for their traditions and culture while pursuing modern technology. We can learn from each other how to maintain a balance between our own cultures and globalization the region with its financial and technical assistance for economic growth and social development of these countries. • In 2000, Japan gave Serbia a lot of assistance in many areas, even at the time when your country was dealing with natural disasters. This act was very well received by the Serbian public. In which other areas can Japan support Serbia? - Considering that a stable and democratic Serbia is important for the peace and stability in the Balkan region and in Europe, Japan has been providing its

• How important is the Balkan office of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in bringing the business people from the two countries and the regional countries closer to Japan? - The JICA is the implementing agency of

Small gesture of support to Japanese people

grants and technical cooperation to Serbia following the democratization process of the country. Japan will continue its financial and technical assistance, particularly, for economic development, environmental protection and basic needs of the population. • It seems that the mentalities of the Japanese and Serbian people are very different. What can we learn from each other? - Interaction and exchange between different cultures enrich each other and deepen mutual understanding between two peoples. We may have different mentalities but I find that both Japanese and Serbian peoples care much for their traditions and culture while pursuing modern technology. We can learn from each other how to maintain a balance between our own cultures and globalization. • The Japanese people have a great reputation in Serbia, and Japanese Ambassadors have left a lasting impression on the Serbian society. You came to Serbia only recently, in March, What are your impressions? - Since my arrival in March, I feel the warm friendship and sympathy from the government and the people of Serbia towards Japan and Japanese people. I met many Serbian people demonstrating their interest in Japan and Japanese culture including the martial arts. I am glad to work in this friendly atmosphere. Over the last three months, I have visited several municipalities such as Ljubovija, Backa Palanka, Novi Sad, Novi Pazar, Senta and Sabac. It is interesting to see the diversity of cultures based on historical background, which is one of the attractiveness of Serbia. I hope to visit more regions and municipalities to discover Serbia in depth. ■

In downtown Belgrade, almost 1,000 Belgrade citizens rallied within a BelgradeJapan gathering, wearing red and white shirts and forming a Japanese flag together, in order to send a message of encouragement to the Japanese people who were struck by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami March 2011. The Capaign "1,000 Cranes for Japan" has been launched by Serbian blogger community in order to send a message of support to citizens of Japan.

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Chris Woods, General Manager of JTI Adriatica

An Example of Success Our story is a true example of successful foreign investment in Serbia, and it represents a positive signal for other Japanese and international companies to come and invest here

represents a positive signal for other Japanese and international companies to come and invest here.”


uring his recent visit to JTI, the Japanese Ambassador to Serbia Mr. Masafumi Kuroki said that JTI could be a guidepost for foreign investors in Serbia. When asked why he thought that Japan Tobacco International deserved such a distinction, Chris Woods, General Manager of JTI Adriatica, was quick to return the compliment. “We very much appreciate such recognition and support from H.E. Mr. Kuroki and the Embassy of Japan to Serbia.” “The JTI story in Serbia is a story of continuous growth and development. Since coming to Serbia in 2006, JTI has invested over $140 million, made Belgrade its centre for running business in the Western Balkans, started cigarette production in Senta, and began exporting cigarettes to Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia and Albania, and tobacco to the EU,” Mr. Woods noted. “Today, we have around 320 employees in Belgrade and Senta and we engage around 600 seasonal workers and farmers. In addition, our market share is increasing. Our story is a true example of successful foreign investment in Serbia, and it

• One of the challenges the government and tobacco industry are facing is the illicit cut tobacco market. How are you dealing with that? - The Serbian state budget heavily depends on excise and VAT revenues from tobacco products. In 2012 almost 10% of budget revenues rely on excise taxes from tobacco products in addition to VAT. We estimate that illicit trade with cut tobacco will cause at least a €60 million loss to the Serbian state budget in 2013. In addition to state budget revenues, illicit trade impacts all businesses associated with the legitimate tobacco trade – distributors, retailers and manufacturers. This is a problem that has to be addressed with full attention and cooperation between all state institutions and authorities: Customs Administration, Police, Tax Administration, Agricultural, Market and Communal Inspection. In that regard, we appreciate the efforts of the state, the Ministry

The tobacco industry provides jobs for 4,000 people and it is one the largest foreign investors in Serbia with the overall investment of over €1.2 billion in the past 10 years of Finance and Economy and the Tax Administration to deal with this problem. Also, the recent announcement of President Nikolic that the government will suppress all kinds of black market trade including tobacco illicit trade is very encouraging.

• The tobacco industry is one of the biggest foreign investors in the country. What needs to be done to attract more business to Serbia? - The tobacco industry provides jobs for 4,000 people and it is one the largest foreign investors in Serbia with the overall investment of over €1.2 billion in the past 10 years. In order to sustain this level of investment and continue to grow, we need to operate in a stable business environment. Such an environment, with minimum turbulence and unexpected changes is also a crucial prerequisite for attracting new foreign investors. And not only that, it is important for operations of every company operating in Serbia. • What are your business plans for the near future? - We came to Serbia with a long term strategy of investing and growing. Our plan is to continue to grow in a sustainable manner and further develop our operations. In addition, we will continue to support development of the local community and promote the Japanese culture and tradition in Serbia. • What do you think of the business conditions in the Serbian tobacco industry? - I would once again like to point out the importance of stable and predictable business environment. Open dialog and business partnership with the Government of Serbia, to which we are committed, is a secure path to create that kind of environment, and enables us to jointly meet challenges such as illicit trade. Continuous improvement – the Japanese management principle of Kaizen – is important in providing future success. ■ |

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Mr. Kentaro Otani, Economic Attaché of the Japanese Embassy to Serbia

Growing and Getting to Know Each Other I think that a wide economic cooperation between a large country and a rather small one is possible, if each side evaluates the economic value of the other. Speaking of the relationship between Japan and Serbia, Serbia has a smaller market in itself than Japan has, but Serbia has its strength

current bilateral economic relations between Japan and Serbia, I consider that there is still room for them to be strengthened. There are only three major investments from Japan in Serbia so far. Firstly, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) invested in Senta, in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and their factory started its operation in 2007. Secondly, Asahi Beer Co. together with Mitsui Corporation commissioned the production of food supplements from yeast to Alltech in Senta. Thirdly, Panasonic opened its factory in Svilajnac in 2010.


ne of the major obstacles that an investor encounters in choosing a destination is a lack of knowledge about the country in which the investment might be made. This, according to Mr. Kentaro Otani, Economic Attaché of the Japanese Embassy to Serbia, is something which has been an issue between Japan and Serbia. Mr. Otani speaks of the investments which have already been made and the potential for further growth as the two countries make efforts to get to know each other – in terms of cultural values and real market needs.

• Is it realistic to expect a wide economic cooperation between a large country, such as Japan, and a rather small one, such as Serbia?

The relationship between Japan and Serbia is very good. But concerning current bilateral economic relations between Japan and Serbia, I consider that there is still room for them to be strengthened

• How developed do you think are the economic relations between Serbia and Japan? - The relationship between Japan and Serbia is very good. But concerning 66 |

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- I think that a wide economic cooperation between a large country and a rather small one is possible, if each side evaluates the economic value of the

other. Of course, the scale of the each country’s market is one of the important elements, but the gap between the scales can be filled in by the strength of a country with its smaller market. Speaking of the relationship between Japan and Serbia, Serbia has a smaller market in itself than Japan has, but Serbia has its strength. Serbia is situated in the centre of the Balkan region, has good economic relationships with neighbouring countries and preferential trade agreements with the EU, the US, Russia, and Turkey, etc. This strength reinforces the economic potential of Serbia, and makes Serbia more attractive for Japanese companies when they consider investments in Serbia. • Do you think that the differences in the culture, the value system and other differences between Serbia and Japan are aggravating or mitigating factors in the economic cooperation between our two countries? - I cannot deny that the differences can be a factor to aggravate economic cooperation between the two countries, because the difference tends to be a source of misunderstanding. So, it is very important for each country’s people to get interested in the other coun-

try and deepen their understanding of it. The more people of each country understand the other, the fewer misunderstandings arise. • What are the most important Japanese investments in Serbia? Are we going to see more of the Japanese investments here? - Every Japanese investment in Serbia plays an important role in developing the economic relationship between Japan and Serbia. In my view, whether other Japanese investors will come to Serbia or not in the future depends on the success of the abovementioned companies which have had major investments in Serbia. In that sense, any of those investments is very important. • How is your collaboration with the Serbian government, and what do you think of relations with our government in terms of economic cooperation? - I think that the Embassy communicates with the Serbian government very well. But it hasn’t reflected yet to economic relationship in a concrete form between the two countries. For example, the number of investments from Japan to Serbia is limited, as I mentioned above. We hope that such good relations with the Serbian government will bring more tangible results in investments between the two countries. • In which way is the Japanese Embassy helping to bring businesses from Serbia and Japan closer together? - In the field of business, potential investors must be well informed about the real situation of the country in which to invest. But I have to say that the lack of information about each other in both countries is the most imminent problem, as far as the Japanese-Serbian economic relationship is concerned. So, our Embassy with the help of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) organized a business seminar for Japanese companies in Dusseldorf in 2010 to be acquainted with the business environment in Serbia. The Embassy also organized a seminar on cutting-edge Japanese technology for coal thermal power

generation in Belgrade in 2012. I think through such activities, business circles of both countries can be expected to know better about the potential of future cooperation. • What branches of the Serbian economy have the biggest chances of attracting Japanese investors? - Serbia produces, as an example, huge amounts of high quality agricultural products, and exports many of them. On

Every Japanese investment in Serbia plays an important role in developing economic relationship between Japan and Serbia

The number of investments from Japan to Serbia is limited. We hope that such good relations with the Serbian government will bring more tangible results in investments between the two countries the other hand, Japan doesn't produce much agricultural products, and relies considerably on import. So, concerning agricultural products, I don’t think that Japan has much opportunity to join in the Serbian agricultural market. But Japan is also a technologically sophisticated nation in the field of food processing, as well as industrial products. In that sense, Japan can contribute to the development of Serbian industry for highly processed food, such as health food or supplements, according to the needs of the country. ■ |

GDP (purchasing power parity) $4.617 trillion (2012 est.) $4.516 trillion (2011 est.) $4.551 trillion (2010 est.) note: data are in 2012 US dollars GDP (official exchange rate) $5.984 trillion (2012 est.) GDP - real growth rate 2.2% (2012 est.) -0.8% (2011 est.) 4.5% (2010 est.) GDP - per capita (PPP) $36,200 (2012 est.) $35,300 (2011 est.) $35,500 (2010 est.) note: data are in 2012 US dollars GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 1.2% industry: 27.5% services: 71.4% (2012 est.) Population below poverty line 16% (2010) note: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) press release, 20 October 2009 (2010)

Labor force 65.27 million (2012 est.) Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 3.9% industry: 26.2% services: 69.8% (2010 est.) Unemployment rate 4.4% (2012 est.) 4.6% (2011 est.) Investment (gross fixed) 21.1% of GDP (2012 est.) Budget revenues: $2.025 trillion expenditures: $2.57 trillion (2012 est.) Taxes and other revenues 33.8% of GDP (2012 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -9.1% of GDP (2012 est.) Public debt 218.9% of GDP (2012 est.) 205.5% of GDP (2011 est.) Inflation rate (consumer prices) 0.1% (2012 est.) -0.3% (2011 est.)

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Raša Ristivojević, Deputy President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce

Satisfying Stringent Criteria Business associations in Japan, including the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have relegated some of their authority to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). The Serbian Chamber of Commerce has been strongly cooperating with JETRO office in Vienna which covers this part of Europe

sessment of how conducive the investment environment and business climate are to generating profit,” says Deputy President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Raša Ristivojević. “Japanese companies in Serbia are mostly dealerships of Japanese goods or trading companies. The following Japanese companies have made the biggest investments here in the last few years - JTI, Alltech Fermin, and Panasonic Electric Works (via a daughter company in Germany).” • Serbia and Japan are on very friendly terms and Japan has helped us greatly with many donations. Why don’t we utilize this friendship better particularly in commerce? - Despite geographically being so far apart, our two nations, as you have pointed out, are on very friendly terms and feel solidarity with each other. We


elations between Serbia and Japan are traditionally good and friendly. On the other hand, economic relations between the two countries could be a lot better. The Japanese Ambassador to Serbia Mr. Masafumi Kuroki has been quoted as saying recently that he had been working on bolstering economic relations and encouraging Japanese investors to invest in Serbia. A heightened interest shown by Japanese companies for doing business in Serbia is a good sign. To that end, it is very important that Serbia has political and economic stability, while the EU accession process will be an excellent cue for Japanese companies to consider investing in Serbia. “The decision whether a certain company will do business abroad rests solely on that company, and it depends on their as68 |

One of the hurdles in having a closer cooperation is Japanese businessmen not having enough information about Serbia

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are extremely grateful for the donations that have been coming from Japan over the past 15 years. Through these donations Japan has greatly contributed to raising the quality of life in Serbia, whether in public transportation, education, healthcare or environmental

protection. Japan reached out to Serbia when we needed help the most, and we cannot forget that. It came as no surprise that the Serbian people felt deep sorrow and sympathy for the Japanese people when a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011. On the other hand, commerce has its own routes and rules. In order to market a product in Japan, companies need to fulfil many criteria in terms of quality, pricing, packaging, delivery continuity and other. Still, the fact remains that Japan imports a lot and that the Japanese people are becoming more receptive to imported products. Our country failed to utilize fully the potential of the Japanese market. Serbia currently exports very little to Japan. In 2012, Japan took the 66th place on the list of the countries to which Serbia exports and the 30th place on the list of the countries from which Serbia imports. Serbia is currently exporting mostly agricultural produce and food to Japan. • Do we have products that could be interesting to Japanese consumers? - For quite some time, Japanese companies have been interested in importing our organic food, wines, frozen fruits, cereals, alcoholic drinks and mineral water. We do think that there is an opportunity for exporting agricultural produce and food. Also, Japanese food producers constantly need ingredients for

their own products, as well as ingredients for developing new products with new tastes. I am referring to fruit and fruit concentrates, berry fruits, vegetables, herbs and other products. We need to use the awareness that Japanese consumers have about using healthy products, including food. Our goal is very clear, but the road to accomplishing that goal is long and hard. Potential exporters to Japan need to be aware of obstacles they could encounter in trying to sell their products in Japan; obstacles like economic and cultural differences, customs duties which correspond to how processed a product is (highly processed products mean higher customs duties), preventing the import of certain products by having non-customs barriers, strict requirements in terms of packing and quality and other. Japanese importers are sticklers for reliable delivery which is something that foreign exporters often fail to honour. • Japan Tobacco International has made one of the biggest Japanese investments in Serbia. Did Japanese companies express their interest for investing in other economic branches in the last few years? - Japan Tobacco International was the first investment Japan made in Serbia. On top of that, Asahi Food and Healthcare Co. Ltd, Alltech and Mitsui Co. made a joint investment in Fermin Company in Senta. Fermin produces food additives and exports to Europe, the US and Japan. Via its daughter company in Germany, Panasonic opened a lighting device factory in Svilajnac. The company has also bought a facility owned by Reum GmbH in Svilajnac. Japanese companies became more interested in investing in Serbia after Panasonic came here. They did express interest for the auto-industry (particularly vehicle parts), but nothing has materialized so far. • Serbia has good IT experts, and there are many young university students who are about to graduate information technology. Do you think that they will be able to attract Japanese investments in this segment?

- The Serbian IT industry has an exceptional potential which the state has recognized and made it its priority. A lot of work is being done on bolstering and promoting this sector, from increasing the number of IT experts in the country to stimulating domestic companies which export IT services. The development and promotion of the IT sector will certainly attract Japanese investors.

We have to bear in mind that both in the product and service department, Japanese tourists have very high criteria One of the hurdles in our cooperation is Japanese businessmen not having enough information about Serbia, and this is not only the case with the IT sector but other sectors too. • The whole of Europe has been trying to have as many tourists from Japan as possible, while the Japanese government has been encouraging its people to spend more. How does Serbia fare among Japanese tourists?

- An expert from JICA (the Japanese International Cooperation Agency), who spent some time in Serbia as a tourism advisor, told us that over 200,000 Japanese tourists visit Croatia each year, while in the case of Serbia that number is 3,500. These figures clearly indicate just how we fare as a tourist destination among the Japanese people. The fact remains that many Japanese tourists are travelling to neighbouring countries and that they usually don’t stay long in one place. We need to use this situation and try drawing in Japanese tourists to our country too. Of course, we have to bear in mind that both in the product and service department, Japanese tourists have very high criteria. Apart from devising our tourist offer, which needs to include group trips to historical and cultural sites, we need to improve our tourist infrastructure in order to attract tourists from all over the world. • Have you been cooperating more closely with business associations from Japan? - Business associations in Japan, including the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have relegated some of their authority to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). The Serbian Chamber of Commerce has been strongly cooperating with JETRO office in Vienna which covers this part of Europe. Of course, we are open to cooperation with other Japanese associations too. In 2011, we got in touch with the Japanese Machinery Federation and subsequently the Serbian Chamber of Commerce met with the Federation’s delegation in Serbia. ■

Olympus d.o.o. Beograd Djordja Stanojevica 12, 11070 Belgrade, Serbia phone: +381 11 2222 900 fax: +381 11 2222 901 web: |

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Economic Cooperation between Serbia and Japan

Serbia’s Deficit

According to the data collated by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the value of Serbian exports to Japan has been constantly in the region of several hundred thousand US dollars annually with Serbia constantly recording a trade deficit with Japan


n 2012, Japan took the 66th place on the list of 164 countries to which Serbia exported. The country also took the 30th place on the list of 204 countries from which Serbia imported. Japan’s share in total Serbian imports, in 2012, was 0.84%. According to the data collated by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the

value of Serbian exports to Japan has been constantly in the region of several hundred thousand US dollars annually with Serbia constantly recording a trade deficit with Japan. In 2012, Serbia’s deficit in trading with Japan was US $149.2 million. The same year, Serbia exported US $3.9 million worth of goods to Japan, and imported US $153.1 million

Serbia mostly exports miscellaneous food products (yeast and additives for the food industry) to Japan worth of goods from Japan. Serbia mostly exports the following products to Japan: miscel-

Leading SITC segments in exporting to Japan

laneous food products (yeast and additives for the food industry), raspberries, frozen strawberries and other frozen fruits and vegetables, beech and CDs. In 2012, Serbia mostly imported motor vehicles and parts for motor vehicles, specialized industrial machinery, printing accessories, digital cameras, chemical preparations for photography, and medications from Japan. In 2012, the following companies exported the most to Japan: Altech from Senta, Sirogojno, Eurosax, WIPLD Belgrade, Agropartner, Mikrotri Belgrade, and Headcommerce Belgrade. The companies that imported the most from Japan the same year were Toyota Serbia, TRS SWISS Production, RTB Invest, Josipović d.o.o., and CT Computers. The Commerce and Navigation Treaty, signed and ratified in 1959, provides the institutional basis for economic cooperation between the two countries. The Treaty contains a clause for the most favoured nation in trading. However, Serbia has failed to utilize this benefit fully. Japan is one of the biggest donors to Serbia. From 1999, Japan has donated nearly half a billion euros to Serbian medical and educational institutions. The money was also spent on economic and technical assistance and advancing transport. ■

Leading SITC segments in importing from Japan

Miscellaneous food products

Road vehicles

Fruits and vegetables


5% 5% 3% 2% 4%

Miscellaneous finished products, not mentioned elsewhere Mineral ores and scrap metal Clothes Other

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8% 31%

10% 10% 33%

Electrical machinery, appliances and devices Scientific and control instruments Specialized industrial machinery Cameras, wrist watches Other


Milena Argirovic, Country Manager Takeda GmbH Belgrade

Traditional Values for New Times The founding of Takeda dates back to the Edo period in 1781. Over the 230 year history, Takeda has repeatedly and consistently achieved innovation

- Our corporate philosophy in its current form was established in 2002, but the principles it expresses are far from new – they echo ideas expressed by Chobei V in the “Nori - Fundamental Creed,” and are an extension of the values on which the company was founded.


n today’s business world, many companies are happy when they have 10, 15, and 20-year anniversaries. Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda, on the other hand, is very proud of its 230 year history. The company successfully integrates traditional values with its strong focus on research and innovation.

• Takeda was one of the first Japanese pharmaceutical companies to establish a presence not only in Serbia, but in Europe too. What innovation is your company bringing to the European pharmaceutical market? - Takeda is a science-led organization with a rich pipeline and molecule-to-market capabilities to meet the demands of the rapidly changing healthcare environment and the needs of patients. A passion for discovery is at the core of Takeda’s ability to deliver superior healthcare solutions to make a difference to patients’ lives and drive company success. Our focus is on six core therapeutic areas – metabolic and cardiovascular, oncology, central nervous system, respiratory and inflammatory, general medicine, immunology and vaccines. • Considering traditional Japanese values such as integrity and dedication, could you tell us something about your corporate philosophy?

Our focus is on six core therapeutic areas – metabolic and cardiovascular, oncology, central nervous system, respiratory and inflammatory, general medicine, immunology and vaccines

• Because of the global economic downturn, many companies have reduced their business activities, unlike Takeda, which keeps on growing. What are your commercial plans for Serbia, and what are your plans for expansion? - Takeda is one of the few pharmaceutical companies in Serbia that was growing in 2012 as opposed to many others who were decreasing number of employees. Hopefully we will continue to do so in the years to follow. Takeda is able to ensure growth in times of economic austerity by maintaining a smart primary care approach. As a company, Takeda has invested in a new commercial model that takes into account the swiftly changing reality of today’s healthcare environment. Rather than relying on mass marketing, the model focuses on the deployment of professionals who will effectively engage with different stakeholders. We as a company intend to stay in Serbia for the long-term and to deliver our innovative products to Serbian patients. In the near future we will be focused in the field of haematology, nephrology, diabetes, bringing some of the life saving products (for lymphoma patients), but also products that will significantly improve healthcare in some other therapeutic areas such as diabetes. Additionally,

we will continue the partnership with a broad medical community and stay dedicated to some of the areas where Takeda already has a heritage, such as gastroenterology. • Takeda has been nurturing a tradition that spans an incredible 230 years. Could you tell us something about the company's history? - The founding of Takeda dates back to the Edo period in 1781 and Chobei Takeda I. What started out as a small family business dealing with Japanese and Chinese medicine grew steadily through its commitment to business, integrity and frugality. Over the 230 year history, Takeda has repeatedly and consistently achieved innovation. During the 1960s, the company expanded its overseas operations. We have integrated TAP Pharmaceutical Products with Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Takeda Global Research & Development, acquired US-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and more recently, acquired Nycomed, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. The merger with Nycomed has strengthened us as a company and afforded us a complete European footprint which will be crucial to future success. Takeda had a strong product pipeline, and Nycomed had 100% geographic coverage in Europe, so together we are a formidable force. Our portfolios of medicines are complementary, and together we achieve a critical mass. Whilst our company is changing rapidly to meet the demands of the environment, not surprisingly, values of the past are supporting and continue to influence the Takeda of today. ■ |

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Traditionally Rich and Diverse Culture Japanese culture is rich and diverse, dating back to 10,000BC when the Jomon people first settled in Japan


t is widely known for its traditional arts as well as its contemporary pop culture. Today in Japan it is still possible to see kimono-clad women shuffling down the street with umbrellas overhead, or oversized sumo wrestlers battling it out in the ring. A sophisticated cuisine, unique social customs, and refined performing and visual arts also contribute to a culture which has become attractive, and sometimes fashionable, to many foreigners Painting

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Japanese painting has had a rich history. Many of today's Japanese painters work in styles that are heavily influenced by popular cul-


A haiku consists of just seventeen mora (words). These mora are organized into three lines of five, seven, and five words each

Takashi Murakami

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ture and anime. The most popular and well-known of these contemporary painters is probably Takashi Murakami. He is part of a studio collective, which is called Kaikai Kiki. His work focuses on Japanese society in the post-war period. One of the intentions of his art is to blur the lines that separate fine art from its commercial counterpart. Japanese painting has a unique and colorful history. The creative innovation of modern artists melding popular and fine art points to an interesting future for painting in Japan.

haiku poetry

The Manyoshu is said to be the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry. It was finished during the early Heian period and gathered together ancient works. The poems are arranged in approximate chronological order. Many of them use a fixed form that is named chola and tanka. However, the poems that were credited to Emporer Yuryaku in the first volume have no fixed form. The first poem is a song

of love for a girl with whom the poet had a chance meeting and also a song of ritual that praises the land's beauty. It is still used in court rituals. Most of the three first sections are written by seventh and eight century poets. Kakinomoto Hitomaro and Nukata no ĹŒkima are two of the most recognized of them. In fact, Hitomaro is regarded as one of Japanese literature's best poets of all time. One of the most unique forms of traditional Japanese poetry is the haiku. A haiku consists of just seventeen mora (syllables). These mora are organized into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables each. The haiku is a very strict form, but has been able to achieve amazing popularity with people around the world. In fact, the haiku is so popular that there are entire periodicals devoted just to the art form, such as Modern Haiku magazine.

Traditional Japanese music usually refers to Japan's historical folk music

Music Traditional Japanese music usually refers to Japan's historical folk music. One of the defining characteristics of traditional Japanese music is its sparse rhythm. Regular chords are also absent. It is impossible for a person to beat time to the music. All of the rhythms are ma-based, and silence is an important part of the songs. The focus is on creating music that flows in an attempt to mirror the behavior of nature. It is usual for songs to start off at an extremely slow pace and to pick up speed as they progress. Then, they get slow again before transitioning into long and drawn out finishes.

Traditional Japanese music has three main types, instrumental, court music, and theatrical. One type of theatrical music is Kabuki. Kabuki music can be sub-divided into three categories. The first is Gidayubushi, which is similar to joruri music. Joruri is a type of narrative music that uses shamisen and has four styles. The second type of kabuki music is Shimoza ongaku and is played for kuromisu (lower seats) below the theater stage. Another form of theatrical music is called noh. The hayashi-kata play Noh music. They use taiko, kotsuzumi, fue, and otsuzumi instruments to make the sounds. The oldest Japanese traditional music is gagaku. Gagaku is a form of court music. Gagaku includes dances, songs, and a blend of other genres of Asian music. Sculpture Japanese sculpture is a very interesting form of Japanese art. During the 1970s, a new artistic movement called mono-ha became popular. This movement placed importance on the material world and brought about the end of the anti-formalism. Mono-ha's

focus on people's relationships with objects was widely accepted in the art world. It led to a greater appreciation of the environment and brought Japanese sculpture back to the forms and principles that had been embraced before the anti-formalism movement. The biggest precept that came back into prominence was reverence for the Buddha and his teachings. The artists of this period rejected much of what was being done in the West. The movement created a new art style that was contemporary and Asian. Although it was very unique to Japan, it became a large part of the international art scene of the time. Outdoor sculpture became popular with the 1969 opening of the Hakone Open-Air Museum. This movement hit its stride in the 1980s. During this time, many cities had huge outdoor sculptures in plazas and parks. Major architects would plan to include sculptures as they were designing their buildings. Outdoor museums emphasized how sculpture could be placed naturally in the environment. Most of the pieces were made out of plastic, stainless steel, or aluminum. During the decade of the 1980s, natural materials like wood became prominent in most works by Japanese sculptors. Sculptures started to move to more enclosed spaces like inner courtyards. Systematic gestural motion was one of the most popular techniques of the sculptors of this period, most notably Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Kyubei Kiyomizu, and ⇢

Hidetoshi Nagasawa |

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Japanese theater is a traditional form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether fluent in Japanese or not Shigeo Toya. Shingeo Toya came to prominence, along with a group of fresh new Japanese sculptors in the 1980s. This movement was called post-Monoha. It used elements of nature, primal forces, and the Zen aesthetic, which were the focus of the Monoha movement, and added a fresh artistic process to them by carving and coloring the work. These sculptors added additional layers to the works and reasserted the artists' hands in the pieces.

films produced. Movies have been produced in Japan since 1897, when the first foreign cameramen arrived. In a ranking of the best films produced in Asia by Sight & Sound, Japan made up eight of the top twelve, with Tokyo Story ranked number one. Japan won an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film four times, again more than any other country in Asia. Some notable Japanese films are Rashomon, Tokyo Story, Seven Samurai, Godzilla, Ugetsu, Yojimbo, Harakiri, The Woman in the Dunes, In the Realm of the Senses, Tampopo, Grave of the Fireflies, Akira, Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell, Hana-bi,

One of the world's best directors, but also one of the greatest screenwriters to ever grace Japan was Akira Kurosawa (March 23, 1910-September 6, 1998) Akira Kurosawa

Theater Japanese theater has a long, rich history. There are four main types of traditional theater in Japan. These are noh, kyogen, kabuki, and bunraku. Each of these forms of theater performance is very distinct and unique

With its various schools and styles ikebana continues to be an exciting and unique facet of Japanese culture from the another. Noh theater, also called nogaku, is a form of musical drama. The Japanese started performing Noh in the fourteenth century. Most of the characters in these plays are concealed by masks, and men play both the male and female roles. The subject matter consists of a few historical stories. Lady Aoi, based upon events recounted in the eleventh century's famous Tale of Gengi novel, is Noh theater's 74 |

most often-performed play. It is common for the performances to last an entire day. Five plays are usually performed during each showing. The earliest scripts for Kyogen theater date back to the fourth century. Noh plays were only put on to entertain people in the upper classes. During that time, Kyogen was performed to give Noh theater an intermission between acts. It would link the Noh play's theme with what was going on in the world at the time by using slapstick and farce. One difference between Noh and Kyogen performances is that the Kyogen performers do not wear masks and the Noh performers do.

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Japanese theater is a traditional form of entertainment that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether fluent in Japanese or not. Cinema The cinema of Japan has a history that spans more than 100 years. Japan has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world – as of 2010 the fourth largest by number of feature

Battle Royale, and Spirited Away. One of the world's best directors, but also one of the greatest screenwriters to ever grace Japan was Akira Kurosawa (March 23, 1910-September 6, 1998) Ikebana Ikebana is the unique Japanese art of arranging flowers. It is a very disciplined art form that brings together humanity and nature. The art of ikebana is very unique to Japanese culture and remains very popular to this day. It is regularly featured on television shows, taught as part of school curriculums, and generally admired by everyday people. Seikei Bijin (Artificial Beauty) is one of the most popular programs that features ikebana on Japanese television. The basic theme of the show is that natural beauty is a very important part of life. With its various schools and styles ikebana continues to be an exciting and unique facet of Japanese culture. â–

Etiquette in Japan

How to Save Yourself from Embarrassment The code of etiquette in Japan governs the expectations of social behavior in the country and is considered very important. Like many social cultures, etiquette varies greatly depending on one's status relative to the person in question • The most senior Japanese person will be seated furthest from the door, with the rest of the people in descending rank until the most junior person is seated closest to the door. • It may take several meetings for your Japanese counterparts to become comfortable with you and be able to conduct business with you. • This initial getting to know you time is crucial to laying the foundation for a successful relationship. • You may be awarded a small amount of business as a trial to see if you meet your commitments. • If you respond quickly and with excellent service, you prove your ability and trustworthiness. • Never refuse a request, no matter how difficult or non- profitable it may appear. The Japanese are looking for a long-term relationship. • Always provide a package of literature about your company including articles and client testimonials. • Always give a small gift, as a token of your esteem, and present it to the most senior person at the end of the meeting.


ome conventions may be very regional practices, and thus may not exist in all regions of Japan. Some customs have changed over the course of Japanese history. The following are generally accepted modern customs in Japan when it comes to business. Japanese understand that it is very difficult for foreigners to work in Japan. They will not expect you to speak or read Japanese, or be conversant with their strict cultural nuances and protocol. Mistakes are allowed as long as genuine respect is shown at all times. Japanese will usually try to help you but often feel embarrassment at their own lack of understanding or English language ability. However, this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Japanese people you may meet. Business Meeting • Appointments are required and, whenever possible, should be made several weeks in advance. • It is best to telephone for an appointment rather than send a letter, fax or email. • Punctuality is important. Arrive on time for meetings and expect your Japanese colleagues will do the same. • Since this is a group society, even if you think you will be meeting one person, be prepared for a group meeting.

Never refuse a request, no matter how difficult or nonprofitable it may appear. The Japanese are looking for a long-term relationship

Meeting • Greetings in Japan are very formal and ritualized. • It is important to show the correct amount of respect and deference to someone based upon their status relative to your own. • If at all possible, wait to be introduced. • It can be seen as impolite to introduce yourself, even in a large gathering. • While foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow. How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person as well as the situation. The deeper you bow, the more respect you show.

• A foreign visitor ('gaijin') may bow the head slightly, since no one expects foreigners to generally understand the subtle nuances of bowing. Business Negotiation • The Japanese are non-confrontational. • They have a difficult time saying 'no', so you must be vigilant at observing their non-verbal communication. • It is best to phrase questions so that they can answer yes. For example, do you disagree with this? • Group decision-making and consensus are important. • Written contracts are required. • Japanese prefer broad agreements and mutual understanding so that when problems arise they can be handled flexibly. • Never lose your temper or raise your voice during negotiations. • Some Japanese close their eyes when they want to listen intently. • The Japanese seldom grant concession. They expect both parties to come to the table with their best offer. Dining On the rare occasion you are invited to a Japanese house: • Remove your shoes before entering and put on the slippers left at the doorway. • Leave your shoes pointing away from the doorway you are about to walk through. • Arrive on time or no more than 5 minutes late if invited for dinner. • If invited to a large social gathering, arriving a little bit later than the invitation is acceptable, although punctuality is always appreciated. • Unless you have been told the event is casual, dress as if you were going into the office. ■ |

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Japanese donations

The Joy of Giving and Helping The POPOS Programme (the Donation Programme for the Population’s Basic Needs) is an important channel used by Japan to make donations in Serbia. So far, 63 healthcare facilities in Serbia, 64 schools and 29 local public enterprises, NGOs and other organizations have received the POPOS assistance nels used by Japan to make donations in Serbia. The POPOS assistance usually goes to healthcare institutions, elementary schools and nurseries, public utility companies, welfare institutions, various associations, international and local NGOs, local authorities and other organizations. So far, 63 healthcare facilities in Serbia, 64 schools and 29 local public enterprises, NGOs and other organizations have received the POPOS assistance. Since 1999, when the programme started, Japan donated close to


ellow buses in the streets of Belgrade have been widely accepted as a symbol of Japanese donations in Serbia. Every morning, these clean, air-conditioned, comfortable buses transport close to 200,000 people. There are 93 yellow buses in Belgrade – 18 single and 75 double buses. To this day, these vehicles are in excellent condition and the commuters just love them. Maybe none of these buses would be here if the Japanese didn’t have just one requirement before making the €17 million donation – that the buses should be regularly maintained. It takes the workers of the public transport company Belgrade (GSP Beograd) only four minutes to wash a bus, much less time than their counterparts in Europe need. All buses are washed in detail every three months. Even after ten years since the buses were donated to the public transport company Belgrade, the representatives of Japanese Government make sure that they come and see them every single time they visit Belgrade. In the last 14 years, Japan has donated €450 million worth of assistance which was mostly spent on humanitarian aid – medical equipment, school supplies, buses for public transport and water supply. Japan usually assists emerging countries, in their economic recovery, through direct investments. The POPOS Programme (the Donation Programme for the Population’s Basic Needs) is one of the important chan76 |

In the last 14 years, Japan has donated €450 million worth of assistance which was mostly spent on humanitarian aid

The POPOS Programme (the Donation Programme for the Population’s Basic Needs) is one of the important channels used by Japan to make donations in Serbia

106 July / August 2013 |

€9 million in this way. Bearing in mind that this is just a fraction of the total Japanese donations amounting to half a billion euros, it is clear that Japan has been helping Serbia in many other ways. The POPOS assistance is a one-off grant. The organization that receives this

assistance is required by the Japanese Embassy only to accept the general terms of assistance. There are no additional requirements. This financial assistance is usually spent on repairing school and nursery buildings (mostly replacing windows and doors, renovating toilets, roofs and floors), medical supplies and ambulance vehicles, garbage trucks and containers, tank-cars and sweepers, specialized vehicles for the transport of persons with disabilities, equipment for welfare institutions and so on. Of course, the POPOS assistance is not only limited to these cases. The Japanese Embassy is more than willing to provide more information about other assistance opportunities. The maximum budget per project is ¥10 million (approximately €79,000). Due to the difference in exchange rates, this amount, expressed in euros, varies each year. The Embassy receives applications for the POPOS assistance throughout the year. The Japanese government has been giving financial assistance to environmental protection projects by making donations to public utility companies in Serbia and Montenegro. The donations are usually trucks for the collection and disposal of garbage, garbage containers, special recycling containers, recycling presses, specialized vehicles for water pipes and sewage maintenance, and the like. The Japanese government and Japan Foundation also give grants for culture, arts and intellectual exchange/ cooperation programmes. Institutions, organizations and individuals can apply. The Japan Foundation funds cultural exchange, students of Japanese language and culture, student exchange and other similar projects. ■ |

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Beaches In Serbia


erbia doesn’t have a sea, but nature has been kind enough to bestow the country with many lakes and some of the longest and the most beautiful rivers in Europe. Serbia only as of recently has decided to promote tourism seriously, especially winter tourism, but many river and lake beaches in Serbia have been


Ada Ciganlija Ada Ciganlija is an elongated river island situated at the fourth kilometre from the mouth of the Sava River, and stretching from Ušće to the Danube River. During the summer season, the island can have over 300,000 visitors daily which is why Ada has been commonly nicknamed ‘the Belgrade Sea’. The island has a complete infrastructure – public restrooms, showers and drinking fountains which are free to use. It also has its own lifeguards, several first aid stations, a police station and public utility personnel. 80 |

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known as tourist spots for decades and some even for centuries. Some are well-groomed, while some are still being renovated. In this issue of CorD Magazine, we present to you beaches and swimming areas where you can enjoy swimming in crystal clear waters, lying on hot sand or playing beach sports.

Sremska Mitrovica:


The Brioni beach on the river Sava was considered one of the most beautiful river beaches even in the former Yugoslavia. It was named after a famous cluster of islands in Croatia – the Brioni – which used to be one of the favourite resorts of Yugoslav President Tito. Brioni has always been a synonym for good times. This is a sandy beach where you can relax and have unforgettable time.

Bajina Bašta:

Lake Perućac The swimming season at Lake Perućac lasts two months (July and August). The lake has a beach with rafts tied to the shore which can be moved toward deeper water if needed. The beach also has pontoon bridges and children’s swimming pools, while the swimming area is marked off with buoys. Lifeguards patrol the beach on foot, and they also have their own boat. The beach also has showers, slides, diving platforms, and a beautiful restaurant. You can also rent canoes, pedal boats and regular boats here. Another activity is to take a boat ride on the lake. Lake Perućac is 170 km from Belgrade. There is no entrance fee.


Lake Bor Lake Bor is located 16 km from Bor and is a real natural gem of Eastern Serbia. This is a favourite resort of many citizens of Bor who often come here to relax and enjoy the countryside. The lake has a nice long beach with hiking trails, sporting grounds, and water sport equipment station nearby. Lake Bor is 250 km from Belgrade. No entrance fee is charged.



The Lido Beach is located in Zemun, on the Great War Island. This is a long sandy beach, surrounded by a green oasis and a bird sanctuary. Visitors can enjoy many cultural, sporting and recreational activities here. The Lido also has a unique eco-system which is a part of the Great War Island. The Zemun municipality regularly maintains the beach which is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. |

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Novi Sad:

Štrand Many people consider the Strand the most beautiful beach on the river Danube. This beach was opened over a century ago, and, today, it spans across seven acres of green and sandy terrain. The beach is 700 metres long and its 400 trees and bushes provide wonderful shade. The Strand also has its own lifeguards and security guards, as well as an on-call doctor. During the hot summer days, the beach can have over 15,000 visitors. There are 700 changing cabins, many catering facilities, and fun activities for all ages here. The Strand is 74 km from Belgrade.


Begeč Pit The Begeč Pit (Begečka Jama) is a special nature’s reserve with a wonderful beach where you can play volleyball, fish, take a boat ride or just enjoy the silence. The beach emerged when the waters of the Danube River retracted, leaving behind many big and small sandbanks that are home to birds (especially swans). This is a wild beach and is a rather unusual but highly recommended relaxation spot.

Bela Crkva:

The Lakes The town of Bela Crkva has six lakes fit for swimming including Glavno, Vračevgajsko, Šaransko and Šljunkara which form a unique complex perfect for summer relaxation. The lakes were formed by gravel excavation so their waters are crystal green in colour and their beaches sandy. They are 100 km from Belgrade and no entrance fee is charged.


Peskara beach A cluster of three lakes, commonly known as Peskara, are located five kilometres from the centre of Zrenjanin, in Banat County. Their name is derived from word ‘pesak” (sand) since this used to be a sand excavation site. The water here is clear and transparent. For years, people living in Zrenjanin have been coming here to swim and relax, while planned regulation of the area around the lakes started several years ago. You can reach Peskara by taking the town road in the direction of Mužlja residential quarter. 82 |

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Lake Šumarice Lake Šumarice is situated in Kragujevac, in a quarter of the same name, 5 km from the town centre. This is an artificial lake that was built in the Šumarice memorial park. It is 1,500 metres long and 175 metres wide. The lake is popular with the citizens of Kragujevac, especially during the summer. It has a lovely beach with a designated swimming area and lifeguards.

Veliko Gradište:

Srebrno Jezero Srebrno Jezero (the Silver Lake) is located in north-east Serbia, close to the estuary of the rivers Pek and Danube. In the afternoon, when the sun starts to set behind the Carpathian Mountains, millions of sparkles form a silver glow on the lake’s surface hence its name – the Silver Lake. Thanks to powerful pumps, the water level in the lake is constantly lower than the Danube which provides a consistent supply of fresh water. Underground, the water is filtered through many sandy dunes, which is why the lake is so perfectly clean and transparent. The Silver Lake is haven for swimmers and fishermen alike. There is no entrance fee. The lake is 110 km from Belgrade.


Đetinja During warm summer days, the citizens of Užice escape the town in search of peace and quiet on the banks of the River Đetinja. The swimming season starts when the Đetinje Dam closes. During the summer, there are many sport events held here, with jumps from the old railway bridge being the most popular. This event takes place around July 20. Entrance to the beach is free.

Leskovac and Vranje:

Lake Vlasina

Lake Vlasina is located between Leskovac and Vranje, in the direction of the Serbian-Bulgarian border, in South Serbia, at the bottom of a wide depression and surrounded by the Vardenik, Strešer and Čemernik mountains which gently descend onto the lake’s shores. This is an artificial lake which was formed following the construction of dams on the rivers Vlasina and Vrla. Lake Vlasina is 12 km long and its width varies from one to three kilometres. The water surface temperature on sunny days in July and August ranges from 21 to 23 degrees Celsius, which is suitable for swimming. Dense forests, meadows and mountain pastures, quaint villages, mills, numerous clear streams that flow down from the high mountains, and unique flora and fauna surround the lake. |

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chill out

Steve Jobs' earliest computers bought for € 516,000 French president Francois Hollande kissing his companion, Valerie Trierweiler

"French kiss" For centuries, there’s been no official French word for the sloppy Gallic export “to French kiss” - though that certainly hasn’t stopped any citizen from doing so. Now the oversight has been rectified. The one-word verb “galocher” - to kiss with tongues - is among new entries added to the “Petit Robert” 2014 French dictionary, which hit the shops last month. The term “French kiss” - once also called a “Florentine kiss” - is popularly considered to have been brought back to the Englishspeaking world by soldiers returning from Europe after World War I. At the time, the French had a reputation for more adventurous sexual practices Laurence Laporte of the Robert publishing house says that it’s just the way language evolves. “We always had many expressions to describe ‘French-kissing,’ like ‘kissing at length in the mouth,’ but it’s true, we’ve never had one single word,” she said.

An anonymous Asian buyer snapped up the digital antique, which Jobs built in a family garage with Steve Wozniak, Apple’s hardware-hacking engineer. There remain 46 examples of the 37-year-old Apple 1 model, which boasts a keyboard set in wood. Last November one of those was sold for $640,000 at Cologne’s Breker auction house, the site of the most recent sale. The sum surpassed a previous record of $374,000 set at Sotheby’s in New York five months earlier. Computer historians stress that the Apple 1 was a pioneering device which helped computing make the transition from being a nerd’s hobby into the huge commercial enterprise it is today. “It is Apple’s creation story,” said Dag Spicer, the curator of the Computer History Museum in California, “It is the physical artefact that traces this incredible success to its origins.”

A Taste of Prison Food In Japan, you don’t actually have to get thrown in jail to get a taste of prison food. The Prison cafeteria, in Abashiri, Hokkaido, specializes solely in food actually served inside Japanese prisons. The Prison Cafeteria, at the Abashirishi Prison Museum, serves the same food that the genuine inmates of Abashirishi prison eat for lunch each day. As you can imagine, it’s pretty cheap, but it’s also pretty tasty. All the menus on offer contain everything, from fish and dietary fibers, to the normal daily intake of salt and carbohydrates. The restaurant does replace the dumbed-down coarse tea served in prison with tasty miso soup, but otherwise the meals are practically the same.

Marijuana-infused Pork A butcher in Seattle is serving up the city’s newest delicacy, marijuana-infused pork. William Von Schneidau, the oldest butcher in the city’s famed Pike Place Market, has been experimenting with meat for a while but said he can’t remember how he came up with the idea to make “stoned-swine”. “Here in the butcher shop, we can make anything that you could imagine, somebody requests something and we make it then make extra of it and see if people like it,” Mr Schneidau said. The pigs were fed marijuana from a medical marijuana grower. “It just got so popular then we ran out, ran out of meat”. He plans to experiment more with other ingredients in the coming months. No word on how the pig fared under the influence.

84 |

Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway This is a real road in Norway called the Atlantic Ocean Road. It’s 8 kilometres of sheer insanity and wave-soaked driving between and runs through an archipelago in Eide and Averøy in Møre og Romsdal, Norway. The Atlantic Ocean Road is a section of County Road runs across an archipelago of partially inhabited islands and skerries. To the north lies Hustadvika, an unsheltered section of the Norwegian Sea, while to the south lies Lauvøyfjorden. It has a width of 6.5 meters and a maximum gradient of 8 percent. Driving along the Atlantic Road is like teetering on the edge on the sea. The road is preserved as a cultural heritage site and its section from Vevang to Bud is classified as one of the eighteen National Tourist Routes. It is a popular site to film automotive commercials, has been declared the world’s best road trip, and been awarded the title as “Norwegian Construction of the Century”.

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flat, 2D sheets. The sheets were then bonded together and inflated into a hemispherical shape. Simulations suggest that camera has about a 160-degree field of view. The current camera has 180 imaging units, or ommatidia, but the researchers say that number could be scaled up to millions. It’s hard to know how an insect really sees the world, but simulations of the new camera suggest it creates something similar, composed of many small parts combined into a larger image.

Bug's eye camera and bee A new digital camera developed by scientists takes its inspiration from the compound eyes of insects. Insect eyes have a wide field of view, high motion sensitivity and an infinite depth of field The camera contains hundreds of tiny photo sensors that resemble structures in an insect’s eye called ommatidia. Each imaging unit, or ommatidium, consists of a tiny lens on a supporting post that conveys light down to a silicon photo detector. To make the camera, flexible arrays of lenses and photo detectors were assembled in

Texas banker puts up $1M for tricky math solution

A Texas banker is upping the ante to $1 million for whoever solves a tricky problem that’s been dogging mathematicians since the 1980s. The Providence, R.I.-based American Mathematical Society on Tuesday said $1 million will be awarded for the publication of a solution to the Beal Conjecture number theory problem. Dallas banker D. Andrew Beal first offered the Beal Prize in 1997 for $5,000. Over the years, the amount has grown. American Mathematical Society spokesman Michael Breen says a solution is more difficult than the one for a related problem, Fermat’s Last Theorem, which didn’t have a published solution for hundreds of years. Beal is a self-taught mathematician and says he wants to inspire young people to pursue math and science.

World's first 14 loop rollercoaster opens

A rollercoaster that has a world record breaking 14 loops and includes optical illusions and lights to mess with your mind has opened to the public in Northern England. Construction began on the $29 million rollercoaster, named The Smiler, at Alton Towners Resort in Staffordshire in September 2012. The rollercoaster holds the official Guinness World Record for the most loops, beating the previous ride that had 10. According the Alton Towers website, The Smiler reaches a maximum speed of 85km/h and the highest drop is 30m. The rollercoaster’s designer John Wardley said he had been told to make “something that was gigantic - it’s the biggest ride of its kind in the world, with more inversions than any other in world”.

Passwords That You Wear and Swallow Regina Dugan, special projects leader for Google-owned Motorola, told the audience at this year’s D11 Conference in Rancho Palo Verdes, US, that she is very excited about the company’s future in the field of wearable computers. Right now, Motorola is developing an electronic tattoo for user authentication. The tattoos, which are made by tech startup MC10, were originally designed as medical devices, but Dugan’s team is repurposing them as wearable passwords. The tattoos feature stretchable electric circuits that communicate directly with an external server. The BioStamp, as MC10 calls its product,

can be worn for two weeks and holds up to all manner of stretching, bending and flexing. Motorola is also working on another alternative to traditional authentication systems: ingestible password pills. This “vitamin authentication” system involves ingesting a pill that, once in the belly, can be battery-powered with stomach acid to produce an 18-bit internal signal. So in just a few moments, the pill swallower physically becomes his or her own walking password. “If you want to ensure failure in your innovation, try removing the risks,” Dugan said. “Boredom is the enemy of innovation.” |

106 July / August 2013 | 85

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Summer Fashion Style

As the warm days have finally arrived, fashion is getting more cheerful and creative, especially when it comes to beach style. It’s summer, and you should be taking advantage of that. Go with a bright colour or a dress that will make you stand out in a crowd. Choose a dress that fits your style. Dresses are very light and it is extremely easy to slip on a summer dress. Throwing a dress over a swimsuit is both convenient and stylish. If you don’t know what the hottest trends are for summer 2013 then here are some suggestions for you.



Benny Striped Espadrille

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Adriano Goldschmied Roll-Up Shorts Classic five-pocket silhouette, faded vintage wash, logo detailed back pockets, rolled hem. Style with a billowy blouse, platform sandals, and an oversized satchel.

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Giuseppe Zanotti Lulu Suede Sandal Giuseppe Zanotti’s Lulu sandal is the perfect addition to your SS13 shoe collection. Soft suede upper and zip fastening to the back. Wear with a party dress and make a lasting impression.

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Welcome to the Hot Summer Summer men’s clothes should be comfortable and suitable for all times. This makes cutoffs or ordinary shorts and cotton t-shirts suitable for the whole day if you are going for walks and generally being outside. You can wear shorts all day on the beach or if you are going for a walk or spending the night out somewhere. Soft cotton t-shirts are also very comfortable and they absorb perspiration, protecting you against humidity and any possible irritation or rash. Sunglasses and caps are also useful for protecting you from harmful sun rays especially from 10 am to 4 pm. It is not a good idea to wear sneakers or leather shoes while you are at the beach. Instead, leave your feet to breathe and immerse them in the beach sand. It is also helpful for people with very sensitive skin.

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A combination of soft calfskin and weathered fabric shape a classic espadrille wrapped with hemp rope. Calfskin leather and textile upper/leather lining/rubber sole. 92 |

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Salvatore Ferragamo Shoe Textured canvas upper and suede trim create a contemporary looking shoe with a flexible rubber sole. Style with chinos and a polo shirt

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Knowledge through Work Working in leasing requires flexibility, speed and proactivity. In work, my motto is a quote by the famous chemist and biologist Dr Linus Pauling – “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas”


Dragica Mujković Marketing & PR Specialist, S Leasing, Belgrade

often remember the expression on my mother’s face

S Leasing made the decision to cooperate with the famous

when I told her that I would be studying the Arabic lan-

Serbian illustrator Bob Živković in honour of the company’s

guage. Her astonishment, disbelief, and serious con-

tenth anniversary. Through a series of illustrations entitled,

cern about my future were, from her perspective, quite jus-

“Leasing is good because…” we showed, in a rather hu-

tified. I have always wanted to do something unusual, hence

morous way, the advantages of leasing over spending your

the decision to study this wonderful Semitic language and

own financial means. Since the beginning of the campaign

to get to know the culture of the North African and Middle

we have been getting very good reactions from clients and

Eastern nations. During my internship, I spent a year in

consumers of financial services who might not need leasing

Damascus, the oldest populated town in the world. I was

services at the moment, but have recognized us as having

given an opportunity to make wonderful friendships, meet

humour and positive attitude which we all desperately need

students from all over the world and learn a lot about their

in this time of crisis. I also think that, apart from having a


good public image, being visible in social media and having

The second phase of my education began when I re-

two-way communication with clients is something that eve-

turned to Serbia. I enrolled in post-graduate studies at

ry company needs today. We are doing our best to listen in-

the Faculty of Organizational Sciences (FON), majoring

tently to our clients’ needs; we let them guide us and make

in Public Relations and Multimedia Communications. FON is a well organized institution, and I have managed to learn a lot about PR and marketing. The first opportunity to demonstrate

This year, S Leasing is celebrating ten years of operations in Serbia and I am proud to have been able to be a part of this story for many years

my knowledge through work was working in PR and marketing at IMR Company which exported to

us better. Successful and satisfied clients are a treasure for

Arabic countries.

any company. That’s the reason why I always try to supply

I continued my career at S Leasing where I’ve been for

the clients with correct and verified information.

just over seven years. This year, S Leasing is celebrating ten

In work, my motto is a quote by the famous chemist

years of operations in Serbia and I am proud to have been

and biologist Dr Linus Pauling – “The best way to have a

able to be a part of this story for many years.

good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” I am not short on ide-

Working in leasing requires flexibility, speed and proac-

as, I just sometimes lack resources to make them happen.

tivity. You constantly need to focus on market and client

Still, I am absolutely confident that the best ideas are al-

needs. In order to succeed in that, the marketing team at

ways realized. ■

94 |

106 July / August 2013 |

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106 July / August 2013 | 95

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106 July / August 2013 |

CorD Magazine 106  
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