Developing a Special Relationship
H.E. Mrs. Narinder Chauhan
First Steps in Tech
Swedish Ambassador to Serbia
Chairman of Embassy Group
H.E. Mr. Christer Asp
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Coming Into Focus
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H igh Hopes and Great Expectations
P riorities and EXPECTATIONS FOR 2014
CULTURE CALENDAR & news
G rand Slams In The PALM OF YOUR HAND
JOVANA GLIGORIJEVIĆ, Editor
The year ahead
D eveloping a SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
Grand Slam guide
H.E. MRS. NARINDER CHAUHAN, Indian Ambassador To Serbia
87 Global diary
F or the Love of the Game… AND THE MONEY
Money and tennis
Th e Year as it Was 2013 in review
W orld Markets and Opportunities sweden
S trange New Year
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111 January 2014 | 5
High Hopes and
Great Expectations The year 2013 was a historical one for the region: the agony of Serbian-Albanian relations produced a meaningful outcome and it became clear that Serbia would finally commence EU accession negotiations. Everything starts anew, with every struggle up to now made worthwhile by the promise of the future Jovana gligorijević, Editor
s 2013 departs, we can begin to analyse its effects.
Perhaps the best thing in all of this is that nobody has been
Contrary to any subjective feeling, the facts show that
deceiving themselves that things are going to be easy. On the
2013 was a historical year for Serbian politics and the
contrary, in a society such as Serbia, where consensus is a very
country’s future in Europe.
rare occurrence, there is actually agreement that 2014 is going
The Brussels Agreement was signed in April, placing the
to be a difficult year, one in which everybody involved will need
several-decades-long agony of Serbian-Albanian relations into a
to give their maximum to ensure the progress achieved in 2013
meaningful setting and giving some kind of guarantee that the
becomes concrete and doesn’t go to waste.
horrors of the past would not be repeated. In June it became clear
Serbia faces a tough internal struggle, primarily the one
that Serbia would be invited to begin EU accession negotiations.
against organised crime and corruption. Removing these two
There have been many ups and downs surrounding these issues
cancers is absolutely necessary, not merely for the sake of ap-
over the year; the situation changed day by day, and it often
pearances before the EU, but for the sake of curing three sectors
seemed like the opportunities presented were slipping through
fundamental to any developed society: healthcare, education and
our fingers like sand. Luckily, we were able to reach a conclusion
the correctional system, i.e. judiciary.
in some areas.
In light of the announced economic reforms, Serbia has
In that respect, the EU negotiations are much more important
another tough challenge ahead of it: resolving its issues with
than the Brussels Agreement (which was a precondition for ne-
public enterprises and the social status of its citizens. We
gotiations to even begin). For a decade and a half, tired, worn-out
will probably have to wait for the implementation of strategic
and perpetually guilty Serbia has built up its optimism and enthu-
projects in these areas. However, by passing crucial laws, and
siasm, drawing strength and relying on the belief that things might get better when, one day, the country becomes a true part of Europe. It would be wrong to assume that the job is already done. Serbia has finally reached – or returned to – the beginning, while everything up until now has been done to create the prerequi-
Both the Serbian and Kosovar governments can no longer use excuses for not dealing with the living standards of their citizens and the recovery of their devastated economies
sites for this beginning to even happen. In April, when the Brussels Agreement was signed, we said
especially bylaws that will enable the practical implementation
that both the Serbian and Kosovar governments could no longer
of such laws, the government can facilitate small but important
use excuses for not dealing with the living standards of their citi-
changes so society can be prepared when the big projects come.
zens and the recovery of their devastated economies.
We should also not rule out the possibility of elections in
The facts suggest the Serbian government is aware of that.
2014. Given the constellation of power in 2013, new elections are
The government made its plans to conduct economic reforms.
not only important but also beneficial to the political elite and
We spent 2013 listening to announcements, plans and intentions
their mutual stand-off. As far as citizens go, important processes
to bolster the national economy. With implementation of the
from 2013 should be continued in 2014; new elections might slow
announced measures due to commence, 2014 is going to be this
down but should not stop these processes.
government’s real test. The success of the Serbian government,
Lastly, it would be nice for Serbia’s institutions to regain their
the economy, the business environment and society overall hinge
authority and dignity in 2014, for the country to turn its back on
on the success of these measures. Meanwhile, the implementa-
engaging in politics via the tabloids and to take communication
tion of the EU accession framework depends on the skill of the
of political decisions back to where it belongs: the Parliament,
Serbian negotiating team.
the Government and the Presidency. ■
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
111 January 2014 | 7
The year Ahead
Expectations FOR 2014 Serbia had two big priorities in 2013, with both facing imminent realisation: the normalisation of relations with Kosovo and the commencement of EU accession negotiations. The country’s success in realising these two priorities means that Serbia will soon face real challenges and tests as it looks to finalise the processes it has started. For our New Year’s issue, CorD has asked a number of foreign ambassadors in Serbia the following:
Serbia ends 2013 with progress made in two areas: the Brussels Agreement and the imminent commencement of EU accession negotiations. What priorities do you think the country should focus on in 2014 and beyond? H.E. Mr. Johannes Eigner Austrian Ambassador to Serbia
Shared Visions of a Common Future With the 100th anniversary of WWI looming, Austria now stands as an ally to Serbia as it tackles the hand work needed to earn its European goal Indeed, the past year was characterised by a decisive breakthrough in Serbia’s quest for a European future – it got the final go-ahead for accession negotiations with the EU, preparations for which have actually already started with the screening procedure. Despite a lack of enthusiasm or clear popular support, the country’s leadership was determined in setting the European mode. This determination translated into a readiness to start structural reforms and to engage in a process for normalisation between Belgrade in Priština, which went further than many would have expected. This determination needs to be sustained and – to gain more support – yet better explained. In particular, this concerns the readiness to further tackle structural deficiencies, both in the economy and in the public administration and judiciary. While a diagnosis has been established without complacency, the therapy basically waits to be administered. What I would see as a priority for the country is to seriously engage in a socially acceptable systemic modernisation of Serbia. This ought necessarily to include
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
the strengthening of institutions and the establishment of an efficient system of checks and balances. What lacks is an institutional framework that encourages and guarantees an inclusiveas-possible participation in public and economic activities. Only then the rather deep divide between the political establishment and the population can be reduced; only then the notion of ‘res publica’ can regain its meaning and significance. With the best of all their intentions, a few determined As the representative of and devoted public Austria, I have a special wish figures alone cannot for 2014: we would like the bring about lasting year of the 100th anniversary changes. of the outbreak of World War As the repreI to become one of common sentative of Austria, commemoration I have a special wish for 2014: we would like the year of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I to become one of common commemoration. Far from toying with revisions, we would like this year to produce shared visions for a common future in a united Europe, rather than a mere fixation with a petrified history of culprits and victims in a thendeeply divided continent.
H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Manzo Italian Ambassador to Serbia
Six-Letter Words Italy will take the EU Presidency later in 2014, and Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Manzo believes that by focusing on two important six-letter words – ‘Europe’ and ‘growth’ – Serbia can unlock another with even greater importance: ‘future’ A six-letter word, ‘Europe’, has been the priority in 2013. It will continue to be in 2014, together with another six-letter word, ‘growth’. The opening of accession negotiations between Serbia and the European Union is a historical achievement reached through commitment and delivery by the Serbian government. Leading the accession negotiations with Brussels in a constructive and fruitful way will be therefore a natural priority for Serbia in 2014. In fact, the negotiations will be a cornerstone of your government’s action over the next months, providing guidance
and political input to promote an agenda of reform. At the same time, the economy and tackling the crisis is very high on Belgrade’s agenda, especially through EU negotiations will be the adoption of those a cornerstone of your measures that will engovernment’s action sure growth, employover the next months, ment and a safe business providing guidance and climate for new investpolitical input to promote ments in your country an agenda of reform once fiscal consolidation has been achieved. These are priorities that Italy, which will take over the Presidency of the European Union in the second semester of 2014, shares with Serbia.
H.E. Mr. Alexander Chepurin Russian Ambassador to Serbia
Laying the Groundwork for the Future With so much energy focused on Serbia’s EU ambitions, one mustn’t forget the country’s close relationship with the powerhouse to the east. The South Stream gas pipeline finally broke Serbian ground in 2013, meaning those ties are set to become even more binding in future In 2013, Serbia had a dynamic foreign policy, focusing on the development of cooperation with both Western and Eastern Europe, and other regions. Our premise is that the The implementation of the South Stream project development of the Eastwill have a positive effect ern direction – alongside the negotiations with the on Serbia’s economic European Union – will recovery, employment continue to be an imporand energy supply tant trajectory for this policy in the best interests of Serbia, Russia and the entire European continent. In our view, two things – higher investments in a modernising economy and finding new markets for marketing Serbian
products – will be of key importance in improving the quality of life in Serbia. The launch of the biggest investment project of the last decade in Europe – the South Stream – was an exceptionally important event. The implementation of this project will have a positive effect on Serbia’s economic recovery, employment and energy supply. Russia wants to see a developing and prosperous Serbia that protects its territorial integrity. I would like to wish a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all of our Serbian friends and my colleagues in Belgrade. firstname.lastname@example.org |
111 January 2014 | 9
H.E. Mr. Oszkár Nikowitz Hungarian Ambassador to Serbia
Neighbourly Relations Serbia’s neighbour to the north applauds Belgrade’s progress in improving relations throughout the region. Now the goal should be to keep pushing forward with reforms at home and not waver in the face of difficulties I would certainly like to avoid using ‘kibitzer’s wisdom’, which is to give advice and bear no responsibility at all for the consequences. The opinion of an ambassador of an EU member state is always a mix of European and bilateral aspects, where, in the case of a neighbouring country, the latter dominates. It is very reassuring to see Serbia’s steadfast commitment to continuing along its EU course. In this respect, the set of the priorities put together by the Serbian government deserves all praise. Implementing justice and administration reform and fighting against corruption are crucial tasks on their own, but they are equally indispensable in view of another priority: the economy, which needs a reliable and trustworthy investment and business atmosphere. We wish Bel-
grade a lot of energy in these three fields, but they will need an extra load of stamina to abolish the backlogs in restructuring the economy. Focusing on the Brussels Agreement, Belgrade has at the same time shown a willingness Belgrade has shown to seriously improve the politia willingness to cal environment in the region seriously improve the and establish good neighbourly political environment relations, which its neighbours really appreciate. We think this in the region, which priority should not be a seasonits neighbours really al one, but a permanent goal appreciate for the long run, as good relations provide the only solid basis for tackling some still-sensitive minority issues. Serbia has immense tasks, really big challenges ahead. We acknowledge the courage in tackling them and offer our help to pay attention to ‘smaller’ regional projects as well.
H.E. Mr. Franc But Slovenian Ambassador to Serbia
Accession Negotiations a Motivation, not a Goal As the first ex-Yugoslav republic to join the EU, Slovenia has a particular interest in Serbia’s accession ambitions. But any progress made during 2013 will count for nothing if Serbia cannot right its economy The economic outlook for Serbia in 2014 is closely linked to outstanding political issues such as the implementation of the Brussels Agreement. In order to focus on improving the country’s economic performance, the Serbian government should continue with the normalisation of relations with Priština as smoothly as possible without losing too much of the energy and dedication needed in other arThe start of negotiations for eas crucial for the EU accession should not be everyday life of considered a goal by itself, but the people. It’s not about the fulfilonly a means for motivating ment of conditions people ahead of changes and put forward to for accelerating reforms Serbia by the EU, as regards Kosovo and internal reform; it’s about creating a perspective, particularly for young Serbs to find employment and professional challenges at home. It will demand many longstanding efforts by the government, particularly in attracting new for-
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
eign investments and creating a good political atmosphere, to achieve this goal. As far Slovenia is concerned, our companies continue to show interest in further investments in Serbia and in joining more than 1,400 Slovenian companies already here. Therefore, within our capacities we will give support to the overall growth and progress of Serbia, not just in political but in practical terms as well, by creating new working places. All the political developments in Serbia over the forthcoming year will depend mainly on the economic performance of the country and the results of reforms that are already under implementation or have been announced. The start of negotiations for EU accession should not be considered a goal by itself, but only a means for motivating people ahead of changes and for accelerating reforms. I firmly believe that the Serbian political leadership will continue to follow its current realistic and pragmatic approach in dealing with all the heavy issues and that 2014 might be a good year for Serbia.
111 January 2014 | 11
H.E. Mr. Michael Kirby US Ambassador to Serbia
Reform Needed Today Greater regional stability following the Brussels Agreement is a strong indicator of progress, but regardless of impending EU talks, Serbia’s focus must be on building an economy that keeps its talented young people from moving abroad As December wanes and 2014 draws nearer, I would like to reflect on the impressive strides Serbia has taken in 2013 – particularly in regional relations and economic development. Much still needs to be accomplished, but there is also much to praise. Most impressively, the Brussels Agreement signed by Prime Ministers Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaçi, under the auspices of the EU, has laid the foundation for normalised relations between the people of Serbia and Kosovo. The 19 April signing was, however, but a first step, and much work remains to establish firmly the implementation of the agreement. Even so, 2013 shone a spotlight on the courage of Serbia’s and Kosovo’s leaders to make the difficult decisions that will permit a peaceful and prosperous Balkan future. Regional reconciliation will remain a priority for Serbia, as for your neighbours throughout the former Yugoslavia, but political success can only be sustained by a thriving and prosperous economy. In my opinion, it is critically important that the Serbian government acts decisively to improve conditions for economic growth. With an unemployment rate nearing 25%, youth unemployment that doubles that, and estimates that 12,000 young adults leave Serbia every year in search of brighter prospects, Serbia must nurture an economy as fit and vigorous as the youth who slip away. New Year’s resolutions are sometimes forgotten, but the government’s renewed emphasis on economic matters, led by financial experts with fresh energy, gives me optimism that Serbia’s commitment to reform is real and lasting. Most fundamentally,
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
Serbia must continue restructuring its legal and judicial systems to institutionalise the rule of law. Predictable, rule-based procedures allow investors – both domestic and foreign – to more accurately weigh risk and determine economic viability. In 2014, I encourage the Government of Serbia to: address rigidities in the labour markets; streamline the construction permitting process; implement needed reforms to ensure clear Much attention has property rights; and focused on just when make justice quicker and Serbia will begin more-predictable. accession talks with the Internationally, SerEU, overlooking the fact bia would benefit from that talks will last for improved relations with years but reforms are the IMF and the World needed today. Investors Bank; greater transparency in fiscal matters will will focus on the reforms develop investor confidence and create the climate for economic growth. Much attention has focused on just when Serbia will begin accession talks with the EU, overlooking the fact that talks will last for years but reforms are needed today. Investors will focus on the reforms. Accession talks signal to investors that the EU is confident that Serbia will continue to foster the economic environment and fiscal regulations expected of any developed EU economy, but investors would look for the same reforms even without accession talks. As we look to the future, I am convinced that 2014 will see Serbia move ever-closer to its rightful destiny as an economically vibrant, pluralistic, European democracy. Once again, I congratulate Serbia on its courage and progress. My team and I look forward to working closely with you in 2014 and beyond. Happy holidays and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!
■ Photo Zoran petrović
H.E. Mrs. Narinder Chauhan
Indian Ambassador to Serbia
Special Relationship Despite geography, India and Serbia have a historical closeness that dates back to the times of Tito and Nehru. Time might have changed both countries, but in the multipolar world of 21st-century development, these two old friends can use their strong friendship as the starting block for greater economic cooperation - President Tito and Prime Minister Nehru, both stalwart figures on the world stage, together contributed much to shaping the destiny of the newly independent and developing nations in a polarised world. India-Serbia relations continue to be warm and close, and still draw strength from the strong foundations laid during that period. In the last five decades, the global political landscape has undergone tremendous changes. The challenge before us is to reinforce the relationship in today’s context in a manner that will best satisfy the new priorities, aspirations and potential of both countries.
ppointed to Serbia in mid-2013, Indian Ambassador H.E. Mrs. Narinder Chauhan describes India-Serbia relations as “special”. The two nations’ ties date back to the time of Tito, Yugoslavia and the Non-Aligned Movement, and to this day Serbian interest in Indian culture manifests itself through an appreciation of Bollywood films and yoga. But most importantly, India is one of the world’s powerhouse emerging economies and has started to tap into the Serbian market via the new IT Park in Indjija. And, according to Chauhan, there is much more of mutual benefit the two countries can do for each other.
■ Are the traditionally good relations between our two countries, established during the time of the Non-Aligned Movement, still reflected today? 14 |
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■ How would you assess our current bilateral relations? - Politically, we are very close and support each other on issues of core interest. However, a lot has to be done on the economic front. India-Serbia bilateral trade in 2012 was US$158.43 million, which is below potential. There are a number of possibilities for the enhancement of bilateral trade and the establishment of joint ventures and Indian investment in Serbia. The leadership in both countries is very keen to transform the wealth of political goodwill into strong economic relations and I am working towards that direction. ■ India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and has been registering growth even in the midst of the global economic crisis. What are the strategic directions of India’s growth in the coming period?
- India’s economic landscape has undergone a sea change from the time it launched its liberalisation programme in 1992. The last two decades have seen India record consistently high growth
The last two decades have seen India record consistently high growth to become a trillion-dollar economy, already the fourth largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).
Because of the situation worldwide, there has been a slowdown in India’s economic growth from 9% to 5%. With new legislation growth is expected to revert to 8% in the second half of the decade.
India-Serbia bilateral trade in 2012 was US$158.43 million, which is below potential. There are possibilities to enhance bilateral trade and establish joint ventures.
to become a trillion-dollar economy, already the fourth largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) and with forex reserves of US$286.26 billion for the week ending 22 November 2013. At the global level, India joined with other major economies in constituting the G20 as the premier forum for decision-making on international economic issues. This is in recognition of the fact that, whereas the world economy was in the past led by the West for a long time, the ground today has shifted and most of the rising economies are outside Europe and the US. They are in India, China, Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria etc. The world economy is far from stabilised yet; recovery is still fragile, demand in industrialised countries remains weak and protectionist sentiments have increased due to high unemployment. There has been a resultant slowdown in India’s economic growth. India’s growth rate reduced from 9% to 5%. However, because of new legislation and the very attractive FDI policies of our government, the growth rate is expected to revert to 8% in the second half of the decade. The Asian Development Bank has predicted India’s GDP to grow by 6%
in 2013-14 and the World Bank sees 6.7% GDP growth for India by 2015. On the export front, the cumulative value of Indian exports for the period April-October 2013-14 was US$179.38 billion, registering a growth of 6.32% over the same period last year. Since the US and most economies in Europe have showed signs of growth, the government is confident that our export target of US$325 billion in 2013-14 will be met. ■ Which branches of industry will have an advantage in India’s further economic development?
- India’s industrial economy is gathering momentum on the strength of the improved output of eight core sector industries: coal, crude oil, refining, steel, cement, natural gas, fertilisers and electricity. At 8% in September 2013, it rose at its fastest pace in a year. The US$1.2 trillion investment planned in the infrastructure sector will go a long way in boosting the export performance of Indian companies and the Indian growth story. Garment exports from India have increased by 31% to touch
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111 January 2014 | 15
US$1.19 billion year-on-year in October 2013 on the back of increased demand from all major markets, including the US and the EU. Interest in costume jewellery is on the rise and costume jewellers estimate that they have clocked 20-30% growth in the current fiscal period. India’s IT-business process outsourcing (BPO) industry revenue is expected to cross US$225 billion by 2020.
■ One of the problems all large economies face is the social aspect in coordination with development policies. What are the Indian government’s projections in this particular domain?
sibilities for the enhancement of India-Serbia economic relations. Increasingly, Serbian companies are participating in trade shows in India. Serbia will also facilitate visas for Indian businessmen.
■ When it comes to economic cooperation, in which areas can the two countries strengthen activities?
- There are huge opportunities for India-Serbia cooperation in agri-processing and agri-food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, ICT, defence, the textiles and leather industry, agricultural machinery, engineering goods and the electrical industry etc. We have already started activities in various fields as follows: The joint commission under the Agriculture Agreement will meet soon for the exchange of research and joint ventures. The Serbian defence delegation has been invited to participate in Defexpo in India in February; areas relating to joint defence production will be discussed. The Joint Economic Committee is expected to meet early next year to identify specific commercial opportunities and remove trade barriers. The Indian Embassy has participated in local fairs to showcase Indian brands. Air Serbia is expected to boost travel between Serbia and India through the Abu Dhabi route. A few Indian companies have shown interest in establishing strategic partnerships. [Indian multinational] Tata has been invited to establish business ventures in Serbia. I am working on various other sectors and expecting results.
- In 1991, India embarked on a path of economic reform, the essential elements of which were liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. The government still has some more difficult reforms in its agenda, such as the reduction of subsidies, insurance and pension sector reform, eliminating bureaucratic red tape and implementing a goods and services tax. For a developing country of more than 1.2 billion people, the debate between growth and redistribution is vital. While growth builds the scope for redistribution, redistribution sustains growth over time. Both are equally important. The Indian government has sought to promote inclusive development in multiple ways. It has given entitlements to citizens backed by legal guarantees in terms of right to employment, education, food and information. Legislation has broadened access to education and secured rural livelihoods. The government has built the world’s largest programme for food security. Digital technology is being harnessed to improve Aleksandar Vučić is the delivery of public services and benefits supervising relations to the people. ■ Does Serbia sufficiently recognise the
potential for India to become an economic partner?
closely. He has been invited to the Partnership Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry
- Both the political leadership and business community in Serbia are very keen to improve economic ties with India. Jointly with the Bangalore-based Embassy Group, the Serbian government has created an IT Park. During the recent visit of Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Serbian leaders invited Indian businesses to take advantage of Serbia’s unique position as the gateway to Europe and participate in the Serbian privatisation process. First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić is supervising relations closely. He has been invited by the Government of India to participate in the Partnership Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Bangalore on 27-29 January 2014. He has appointed his special advisor to head the Serbia-India Joint Economic Committee to oversee relations. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (SCC) will be participating at the event and will also do road-shows in several Indian cities to explore the pos16 |
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■ Major Indian investments in Serbia were announced in the previous period, mainly in the IT sector, but in others too. What do you think is realistic to expect on that front?
- Construction of the IT Park in Indjija by Bangalore-based real estate company Embassy Group is the first Indian investment in Serbia. It is an ambitious project with an estimated value of around US$650 million when all phases of the project are completed. The first phase commitment was for US$20 million and is now complete and ready for commissioning. The IT Park is strategically positioned at the crossroads of Western and Eastern Europe along the pan-European Corridors 7 and 10. The campus will include IT corporate offices, a data centre and an IT academy. It has the potential to become an IT hub in Serbia. TAFE Tractors, which have a market in Serbia, and Mahindra Tractors, which have an assembly plant, enjoy a sound reputation. We are now working to attract more Indian investment in various other sectors. ■ India is becoming a leader in the IT, medicine and pharmaceutical sectors. These areas primarily demand a highly educated workforce. Is the quality of education key to economic growth?
- Serbia’s English-proficient, educated and cost-effective workforce is an asset to India-Serbia economic cooperation. I have in-
111 January 2014 | 17
vited Indian IT experts to provide a road map for setting up an IT training centre in the IT Park and also for developing it as an IT hub for the region and a non-critical data centre. A team of Indian scientists will visit Serbia under [the two countries’] Science & Technology Agreement to scope out areas of cooperation, set up joint centres of excellence and create joint ventures for the industrial application of research. Our agricultural experts are scheduled to meet in the coming weeks. We are also looking at avenues for collaboration in higher education and medicine. ■ India is a member of many global organisations. How does India
- There is a huge yoga movement in Serbia. I inaugurated Serbia’s 2013 International Yoga Festival organised by the Yoga Federation of Serbia and International Yoga Academy. Harnessing the strengths of India-centric organisations in Serbia, we launched the Indian Cultural Centre on 27 September with the aim to introduce and converge the cultural wealth of both nations in the spirit of understanding and respect for diversity and cultural heritage. I attended the inaugural session of the international conference Serbia between East and West; Science, Education, Culture and Art organised by the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Philology. During the conference, three India-related papers were preview Serbia’s progress in the European integration process? sented. We are working towards creating a Centre of Indology in - We have recently signed the India-Serbia Agreement on Serbia’s response to popular demand. accession to the WTO, and India will continue to support Serbia’s membership of other global organisations. India has its own relaIn collaboration with the Museum of the Yugoslav Film Archive (Kinoteka), we organised a festival of Indian films, 100 Years of Inditionship with the EU, which is one of our largest trade and technology partners. Serbia’s progress towards an Cinema, in September. An open-air screening of Hindi movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ was integration with the EU thus constitutes also organised in Tašmajdan Park, Belgrade. another element in the dynamism of the India-Serbia partnership. To mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a public lecture devoted to Gandhi’s memory was arranged at the ■ The first association when noting India’s University of Belgrade by Professor Dušan economic progress is the IT sector. The InPajin on 25 September. The university ardian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme has also been open to ranged the screening of the film ‘Making of Serbian students since 2008. How great is the Mahatma’. Gandhi Jayanti was celebratthe interest among Serbian IT professionals ed with a ceremony at the bust of Mahatma and how was this programme envisaged? Gandhi in New Belgrade on 2 October. On the occasion of the birth anniversary of - The ITEC programme offers 6,500 trainPandit Jawaharlal Nehru, a function was ing slots a year, covering 161 countries and held on 14 November at the bust of Pandit 270 courses spread over 47 institutions in Jawaharlal Nehru located in Nehru Street, a wide range of disciplines, including ICT. As Serbia follows a New Belgrade. The philosophy of ITEC is partnership and European path today In collaboration with Frankfurt’s Indian cooperation, rooted in our independence and tackles economic Tourist Office, the embassy participated in the struggle. India is a developing country; 58th International Belgrade Book Fair for the the philosophy is not of a donor but one of reform, our experience first time. The Indian stall displayed books, sharing and friendship. India does not try of development and tourist brochures, banners, maps and an audio to promote its model or system – respect economic restructuring visual presentation called ‘Incredible India’. The for each country’s own model, pace and exis available to Serbia embassy will also participate in the 36th Interperience is intrinsic in our approach. The ITEC programme is fast becomnational Fair of Tourism in Belgrade from 27 February to 2 March 2014. Cultural events will also be organised in the ing one of the most active areas of bilateral cooperation between India and Serbia. Since 2008, 76 Serbian officials have taken the provinces. We are negotiating a state-to-state agreement between India and training programme, with another 14 expected to undertake trainSerbia on cooperation in the fields of culture, arts, education, sports ing by the end of this financial year. and mass media, which will form the basis of cultural cooperation. As Serbia follows a European path today and tackles its economic reforms in the midst of a global and regional economic crisis, India’s experience of development and economic restructuring is ■ Considering that you only arrived in Serbia fairly recently, what available to Serbia. This is where ITEC can play an important role. are your first impressions of the country, its people and its culture? The Serbian side has shown great interest and enthusiasm towards - It is a widely acknowledged fact that India-Serbia relations are ITEC training courses and the feedback received from trainees is special. The level of comfort, therefore, is very high. There is a high encouraging. degree of receptivity for Indian culture, cuisine, expertise and our development model. Both sides are looking to enhance the Indian commercial presence in Serbia. We have much to share and have ■ The Indian Embassy in Belgrade is engaged greatly in the proonly scratched the surface. Serbian road-shows in India and exmotion of Indian culture. What are the most significant projects and programmes in that domain? changes of high-level visits will bring about a visible difference. ■ 18 |
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Obama Shakes Hands with Raul Castro
President Obama and President Castro debate
Is Organic Milk Better for You? Into the already muddy debate over the benefits of organic food comes new research that suggests organic milk has more heart-healthy fatty acids than conventional milk. The study, published on 10 December in the online journal Plos One, was based on tests of nearly 400 samples of organic and conventional milk over an 18-month period. It is a bold counterclaim to last year’s widely discussed Stanford study that found little evidence supporting the idea that organic food was more nutritious. The researchers, led by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University, looked at the ratio between the fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 in organic and conventional milk. Some scientists have argued that higher ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 lead to greater health risks, and Benbrook found the ratios were more than twice as high in conventional milk as they are in organic milk. The authors say it is the first large
President Obama shook hands with Fidel Castro’s brother Raul (left), before taking a selfie with Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt. This unprecedented gesture of friendship occurred, quite fittingly, at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. The handshake between the leaders of the two Cold War enemies took place as world leaders gathered to honour the former South African President’s legacy of reconciliation. and wide national comparison of organic and conventional milk. But like most studies about organic food, it does little to settle the issue. investment
Silicon Valley Turns to Latin America Latin America has become the newest target for California’s most innovative companies, which see the region as a prime place to bring their knowledge (and dollars).
First Lady Michelle Obama doesn’t look too pleased, while Serbian President NikoliĆ (below-right) chooses not to interfere in the Danish-US relationship
Kickstarter, have established centres in Santiago to train Chilean entrepreneurs to target investment via the web. On a smaller scale, Colombia has an advantage over other Latin American countries due to its good relationship with the US and its strategic position in South America. auction
Spanish ‘Ghost Airport’ Put up for Sale A huge airport in central Spain, which cost €1 billion to build but has not received a commercial flight since 2011, went up for auction on 2 December for just €100 million. With a runway long enough to land an Airbus A380, the world’s largest airliner, and a capacity to handle 10 million passengers per year, the airport at Ciudad Real,
Brazil’s Ministry of Science and Innovation has developed TI Maior, a strategic programme that will invest US$250 million to attract international companies to establish technology research centres. In Chile, a regional pioneer in government programmes, 670 companies from 64 countries have taken part in StartUp Chile, which was launched in 2010. Through the programme, international companies and their employees are given economic incentives, including yearlong work visas. Google and UPS, along with crowd funding sites Indiegogo and
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some 200km south of Madrid, has become a symbol of Spain’s real estate bubble. Spain’s first private international airport operated its first flight in December 2008 but passenger traffic never took off and CR Aeropuertos, the operator of the
terminal, went into bankruptcy in June 2012 with debts of around €300 million. It went up for auction with a starting price of €100 million to meet creditor demands, said a spokesman for a commercial court in Ciudad Real, which is overseeing its sale.
Black Friday Spending Declined Black Friday weekend has experienced its first spending decline since 2009. Purchases at stores and websites fell 2.9% to US$57.4 billion during the four days beginning with the 28 November Thanksgiving holiday, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation. While 141 million people shopped, about 2 million more than last year, the average consumer’s spending dropped 3.9% to US$407.02, the survey showed. Elsewhere, though, total e-commerce sales reached US$20.6 billion in the first 29 days of this holiday season. That’s about 3.1% more than the period from 1 November to Black Friday last year. The 2013 numbers include a few more shopping days because Thanksgiving fell on a later date this year. Amazon.com was the most-visited online retailer on Black Friday from home and work desktop computers, followed by eBay and Wal-Mart’s site.
ABC and Evidon to Deliver Independent Service ABC, the industry-owned auditor for the media industry in the UK and Ireland, has been approved by the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) as an of-
ficial certification provider for the EU Self-Regulatory Programme for Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA). As an EDAA-approved certification provider, ABC is responsible for independently assessing compliance with the European Principles on OBA and issuing the EDAA Trust Seal to companies that can demonstrate they meet the standards required. The European Principles on OBA will be actively enforced by national self-regulatory organisations across Europe based on the consumer complaints they receive. The announcement confirms the first example of two leaders in their respective fields, ABC and Evidon, coming together to provide a service to the market that is approved by
the EDAA for the issue of the EDAA Trust Seal (by ABC) and the OBA icon (by Evidon’s InForm Service).
Santa Claus is Canadian!
Improving English in Japanese Schools The Tokyo Board of Education has taken a bold move – perhaps its first ever – to raise the level of English at public schools. If its plan goes without a hitch, eventually all English teachers at Tokyo’s junior high and high schools will have to study and live in an English-speaking country for three months. The requirement is an attempt to improve English in Japan and should be welcomed with open arms by anyone who cares about Japan’s low level of English competence.
The project is set to start in April when the first group of 200 English teachers in the third year of their careers will be sent for home stays and direct contact with real, living English all over the globe. Tokyo currently has 3,300 English teachers at public junior high and high schools, so the first 200 is only a small beginning.
Canada has vowed to defend the North Pole and Santa Claus, insisting the mythical figure is a citizen after Russia ordered its military to step up its Arctic presence. Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Paul Calandra cited the country’s claim on the North Pole to bash an opposition party in Parliament. “We know that the (opposition) Liberals do not think that the North Pole or Santa Claus are in Canada. We do. We are going to make sure that we protect them as best we can,” Calandra said. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau agreed, saying: “Everyone knows that Santa Claus is Canadian. “His postal code is H0H 0H0,” he said, alluding to a mailing address assigned to Santa by Canada Post. The postal service responds each year to tens of thousands of children’s letters from around the world addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada. The main opposition New Democratic Party, however, insisted that “Santa Claus is a citizen of the world”. year as the most prominent virtual cash system, storing its users’ cash in computer files. The price of Bitcoin shares soared to more than US$1,240 the day after Thanksgiving and its new virtual currency may one day challenge the traditional payment systems of big credit card companies and banks. JPMorgan’s patent application
JPMorgan May Create a Virtual Currency JPMorgan Chase has filed a US patent application for a computerised payment system that resembles virtual currency Bitcoin. As more people make their purchases online, banks, credit card companies and tech companies are all hoping to capitalise on the quickly expanding business of mobile and online payments. Bitcoin rose this
(which was updated from a 1999 version) says that its new payment system will compete with credit and debit cards for online transactions. JPMorgan’s system involves creating ‘virtual cash’ that will sit in an online wallet. Each transaction will be saved in a public record of transactions, similar to Bitcoin’s ‘blockchain’.
Uruguay Legalises Marijuana Uruguay became the first country to legalise the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana, a pioneering social experiment that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalisation. A government-sponsored bill approved by 16-13 votes in the Senate provides for regulation aimed at wresting the business from criminals in Uruguay. Cannabis consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40g per month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that monitors their monthly purchases. Backers of the law, some smoking joints, gathered near Congress holding green balloons, Jamaican flags in homage to Bob Marley and a sign reading “Cultivating freedom, Uruguay grows”.
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2013 in Review
The Year as it Was
t the end of every year, CorD traditionally provides an overview of the major events that have marked the past year in the areas of politics, the economy, society, culture and world news. For Serbia and its political life, this was a year of great oscillations and excitement – after many years of stagnation, the most important issues facing Serbia and the region have finally started to see progress. As befits our long-held hope for further progress and greater stability, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2014. JANUARY
9th A Platform and Resolution on the future of Kosovo and Metohija was adopted at a joint session of the Serbian government and Serbian President after a series of quarrels between 22 |
President Tomislav Nikolić and Prime Minister Ivica Dačić.
16th Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović started on his official visit to Serbia, meeting with PM Dačić. The two prime ministers stated that relations between old adversaries Serbia and Croatia were key to stability in the region and that Zagreb plans to be a sincere partner to Belgrade along Serbia’s road to EU membership. 31st Following a decision taken by the executive committee of the Democratic Party, former Serbian Minister of Justice Dušan Petrović was expelled from the party, while a decision on former Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremić was postponed until later.
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9th United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with President Nikolić and the Serbian government to discuss future investments.
15th Serbian citizens who own property at home and abroad worth more than 35 million RSD were told they must complete and submit an informative tax return about their financial status, which will serve as the basis for cross-checking their assets and income. 24th The Serbian government authorised Minister of Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planning Milan Bačević to sign a
Protocol of Understanding with a Chinese state-run company.
15th Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said Serbia and Switzerland had resolved the problem of false immigrants and that the two countries were working to eliminate the threat of suspension to the visa-free regime, both of which are considered big steps towards the EU membership. 18th Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selaković made an all-day visit to detainees at Scheveningen prison already sentenced or charged by the Hague Tribunal. 20th Gendarmerie members removed a monument erected in honour of the OVPBM (Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medvedja) in the centre of Preševo. The monument was built by OVPBM veterans and had the names of 27 OVPBM soldiers who had
Recovery A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun.” — Barack Obama, US President
died in conflicts in south Serbia engraved on it.
14th Aleksandar Gatalica’s novel ‘The Great War’, published by Mono & Manana, won the NIN Prize for best novel of 2012. 21st A plaque was unveiled at the River Danube’s Strand beach in Novi Sad to commemorate the Novi Sad raid. The raid took place on 21 January 1942 and saw Hungarian fascist troops killing and throwing more than 1,000 Novi Sad citizens, mainly Jews and Roma, into the frozen river.
10th Islamists governing northern areas of Mali clashed with government forces for the first time in almost a year, seizing the strategically important
town of Kona in the centre of the country. 21st US President Barack Obama was sworn into office for his second term at a ceremony in front of Capitol Hill, Washington DC. 23rd The Catalonian Assembly adopted a symbolic declaration stating that Catalonia is a sovereign entity, thus preparing the ground for a referendum on independence from Spain.
6th President Nikolić met with his Kosovar counterpart, President Atifete Jahjaga. “If Jahjaga continues with insisting on Kosovo’s independence, there will be no deal,” said Nikolić ahead of the meeting.
2nd A delegation of the Venice Commission and members of the Serbian parliament’s Justice Committee stated that clear criteria for the appointment of judges should be Serbia’s priority in the coming period.
9th During his official visit to Baku, President Nikolić invited Azerbaijani entrepreneurs to invest in projects in Serbia. 25th Serbian Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlović said that although Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) has to be market-ready, the state’s goal is not
to sell the company, but make it more efficient. 28th Serbia achieved good results in the EU’s ICT Policy Support Programme, which the country joined in 2010. Over the previous two years, the country generated a return of €2.5 million on an investment of €780,000.
7th The Serbian Orthodox Church confirmed that the treasurer of the Archdiocese of Belgrade-Karlovac had been arrested on suspicion of stealing nearly €1 million from the church’s treasury.
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Agreement “I applaud the breakthrough by Serbia and Kosovo in their EU-facilitated dialogue. This is a historic agreement, which must now be implemented quickly.” — Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President
19th Milk analysis results released by Vojvodina Agricultural Secretary Goran Ješić showed that milk from several producers contained a high concentration of a dangerous substance called aflatoxin. The affair was ended swiftly by the Serbian government, which raised the permitted level of aflatoxin from 0.05mg/kg to 0.5mg/kg. 21st Following a request by the National Bosniak Council of Serbia, 12 educational facilities in Novi Pazar, Tutin, Sjenica and Prijepolje started to teach preparatory classes in the Bosnian language.
3rd The 9th European Feature Documentary Film Festival, The Magnificent Seven, ended with a screening of Czech film ‘Private Universe’ attended by the film’s director Helena Třeštíková. 16th Srdan Golubović’s critically acclaimed film ‘Circles’, inspired by the heroic actions of Srdjan Aleksić in Trebinje during the 1990s civil war, won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.
21st Austrian director Michael Haneke’s film ‘Amour’ opened the 41st FEST International Film Festival in Belgrade. Some 15,000 tickets for the festival were sold in the first two days of sale.
4th Raul Castro, brother of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who withdrew from politics in 2006, was elected Cuban 24 |
President for a five-year term. 11th Pope Benedict XVI resigned, becoming the first pope in the last 600 years to do so. The 85-year-old said that his age had limited his ability to perform his duties. 20th Syrian rebels and Kurdistani paramilitaries brought an end to months of fighting by signing a truce. MARCH
10th By announcing that some ministers would be departing, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić spoke about a government reshuffle for the first time in his current capacity. The government reshuffle was one of the most talked about topics in Serbian politics throughout 2013.
was held under the auspices of the Serbian government.
9th A total of 3,042 young men and women, six times the anticipated number, signed up for voluntary military service and the reserve officers course. 20th “The draft Law on Public Information and Media favours state-run media and is overregulated and restrictive,” said the Media Community, which is comprised of the Media Association and Media Coalition (ANEM, NUNS, UNS, NDNV and the local press). “The draft law also offers partial and contradictory solutions.” 23rd In support of the Earth Hour global campaign, thousands in Serbia turned off their lights for an hour. The campaign’s aim was to mitigate the consequences of climate change and was held in more than 40 Serbian towns.
Culture 12th All political parties comprising the DOS (Democratic Opposition of Serbia) joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on the ‘Walk for Zoran’, marking a decade since the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjić.
12th Rembrandt’s 1630 painting ‘Portrait of Rembrandt’s Father’, which had been stolen from Novi Sad’s government headquarters in 2006, was returned to its rightful owners at an official ceremony. Novi Sad Mayor Miloš Vučević accepted the painting from Deputy Chief of Police Stevan Krstić.
9th Montenegrin retailers returned 110 tons of milk containing more aflatoxin than officially permitted to Serbia. 13th The Kopaonik Business Forum was officially opened, with more than 500 businesspeople from Serbia and the region, state officials and representatives of international institutions attending. The event
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5th Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died after a two-yearlong battle with cancer. Socialist leader Chavez had been running
the country for 14 years. 7th The American Senate confirmed John Brennan’s appointment as new head of the CIA. 12th Nearly every eligible citizen of the Falkland Islands voted in favour of the Atlantic islands keeping their status as a British overseas territory, sending a strong message to Argentina, which had been advocating for sovereignty over the islands.
13th Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was appointed the 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church. The new Pope chose Frances I as his clerical name. APRIL
12th Opposition parties in the Vojvodina parliament staged a protest in front of the Vojvodina government headquarters against the draft text of the Declaration on Protection of Vojvodina’s Rights. 18th The central committees and assemblies of political parties under the name United Regions of Serbia (URS) decided to form a single party.
19th The 10th round of talks between Belgrade and Priština ended with an agreement between Serbian PM Dačić and his Kosovo coun-
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Apology “I apologise for the crimes committed by any individual in the name of our state and our people.” — Tomislav Nikolić, Serbian President (addressed to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
terpart Hashim Thaçi, with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton mediating. 20th In an interview with Bosnian TV station BHTV, President Nikolić apologised to Bosniaks for war crimes committed by Serbs during the 1990s civil war.
went on strike due to unpaid salaries from December last year, as well as unpaid retirement and health insurance.
8th Fiat Automobili Srbija, which manufactures the Fiat 500L car in Kragujevac, started to work in three shifts due to increased demand. 18th The company Al Dahra invested €20-40 million to buy new ships for Yugoslav River Shipping, in addition to buying 43 hectares of land for €10,000 per hectare. The land was designated as the future location of Pančevo Port. These deals were stipulated in a Memoranda of Understanding. 20th National Bank of Serbia Governor Jorgovanka Tabaković went on an official visit to Washington DC, confirming that Serbia would be starting talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about a precautionary financial arrangement in May.
9th In Velika Ivanča, 60-yearold Ljubiša Bogdanović massacred 13 of his relatives and neighbours with a firearm.
10th One of the most popular online payment services PayPal finally became available in Serbia, giving Serbians the ability to buy products online from anywhere in the world. 18th A total of 43 miners from the Zavorje and Štira mines 26 |
5th The jubilee 10th Belgrade Dance Festival was opened by two performances about beauty and body eroticism by Canadian dance troupe Ballet Jazz Montreal.
15th Three people died and another 264 were injured after two bombs were detonated at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon. The attack was carried out by two brothers of Chechen origin, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan was killed in an exchange of fire with the police, while Dzhokhar was captured a few days later. 23rd More than 400 people died when a clothes factory in Bangladesh collapsed. Days later, the machinery being used to clear the rubble caused a spark that turned into a fire. 27th Bosnia and Herzegovina’s State Prosecution petitioned the court to order the 30day detention of Bosnian and Herzegovinian Federation President Živko Budimir along with eight others on suspicion of receiving bribes in exchange for the pardons of 59 hardened criminals. MAY
2nd To voice their unhappiness with the Serbian au-
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thorities signing the Brussels Agreement, Serbs living south of the River Ibar and representatives of municipalities in northern Kosovo held separate protests in front of the Serbian government building. 12th With the approval of Kosovo authorities, Serbian Deputy PM Vučić visited Kosovo to discuss the Brussels Agreement with representatives of the four Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo. 20th The Vojvodina Assembly adopted a draft declaration on the protection of the constitutional and legal rights of the province. Seventy-five MPs from the ruling coalition voted in favour of the proposal, with 21 MPs against.
5th The Statistical Office of Serbia announced that the value of Serbian foreign trade from January to March was US$7.67 billion. The country mostly exported road vehicles, with an overall export value of US$387.4 million. 8th An IMF mission with Zuzana Murgasova at its helm arrived in Serbia to inspect the country’s economic situation, staying until 21 May.
2nd Twenty-two people were injured when two trains collided in the Tošin Bunar tunnel between New Belgrade and Zemun. The accident happened when the train travelling from Belgrade to Šid broke down and was hit by the train travelling from Belgrade to Subotica. 21st Divisions and conflicts marked the beginning of the session of the Holy Synod following a series of scandals involving the Serbian Orthodox
Church, including a bishop participating in anti-government protests in Belgrade.
25th The remnants of King Petar II, Queen Alexandra, Queen Marija and Prince Andrej were transferred to Oplenac, where they were buried in the family tomb a day later.
3rd A stone Celtic head dating back as far as the 2nd or 3rd century BC was discovered just 200m from the National Museum in Požarevac. The stone head was the only artefact of this type ever found in modern Serbia. 16th The Ring Ring music festival was officially opened in Belgrade. This was the 18th consecutive time the festival had taken place in Belgrade.
18th The jubilee 10th Night of Museums took place in 68 Serbian towns. One of the event’s locations was the Clock Tower in Petrovaradin, near Novi Sad, with the clock being restarted for the first time in 250 years.
3rd A round of talks between global political leaders about nuclear weapons came to a close in Geneva. The meeting’s key message was that, despite repeated promises to abandon
Negotiation “We are expecting to be given the date for the beginning of negotiations with the EU. I suppose that the date would be scheduled for October and that would be good news.” — Aleksandar Vučić, Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister
the development of launchready nuclear weapons worldwide, such weapons are continually being modernised. 6th The police freed three women kidnapped by Ariel Castro more than 10 years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. The women were held hostage at Castro’s house throughout their ordeal. 19th A wave of immigrant protests swept across Stockholm after an incident in which police, according to an official statement, killed a 69-year-old man in self-defence. The riots caused a fire that destroyed an entire residential neighbourhood.
non-Serb civilians in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 18th The high school entrance exam for grammar school pupils was annulled because the mathematics test had been stolen.
2nd The 58th Sterija Theatre Festival closed in Novi Sad. The musical ‘Zona Zamfirova’ performed by the Terazije Theatre was chosen as best play.
3rd After a four-hour meeting, PM Dačić, First Deputy PM Vučić and Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkić announced austerity measures, asking the public to support their implementation. 5th A new round of dialogue about the implementation of the Brussels Agreement began between Belgrade and Priština. The first topic of discussion was the police and judiciary.
14th British rock band Whitesnake played a show in Kalemegdan, Belgrade, during the Serbian leg of their ‘Year of the Snake’ tour.
1st A protest against Turkish government’s decision to reconstruct Gezi Park in Istanbul became an insurgency against Turkish PM Recep Erdoğan. 9th Edward Snowden, who leaked top-secret NSA documents, gave an interview to British newspaper the Guardian, revealing his identity. 15th The world was surprised by the result of the Iranian presidential election, won by moderate reformer Hassan Rouhani.
Serbian Academy of Science and Art in Belgrade.
29th PM Dačić informed Mladjan Dinkić that the Finance Minister would no longer be a part of the government.
10th The Russian government transferred US$300 million to Serbia as part of a loan agreed between the two countries. 17th The National Bank of Serbia began its analysis of the balance sheets of 13 banks after becoming suspicious of the validity of information contained in their business reports.
11th People gathered near the village of Savinac in Gornji Milanovac to protest against the cutting down of an oak tree along the route of the proposed Corridor 11 motorway. 19th Belgrade’s Special Court ruled that Delta Holding proprietor Miroslav Mišković would be released from prison after paying a €12 million bail.
17th UAE national airliner Etihad Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Serbian government.
1st Former head of the Serbian State Security Jovica Stanišić and his associate Franko ‘Frenki’ Simatović arrived in Belgrade their acquittal of crimes against
1st Following a series of shuffles between governing coalitions, the Democratic Party was stripped of power in 37 Vojvodina municipalities. 16th Head of the Delegation of the EU to Serbia Vincent Degert met with PM Dačić prior to Degert leaving the position.
11th EXIT 2013, the biggest annual music festival in the region, began at Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad. 13th The 20th European Film Festival – Palić 2013 opened. 20th An exhibition titled ‘18th Century Art in the Collection of the Gallery of Matica Srpska’ opened in the Gallery of the
1st The Republic of Croatia officially became an EU member. 3rd The Egyptian Army performed a coup d’état. President Morsi was imprisoned while pro-government forces and the police clashed in the streets. 22nd Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, gave birth to a boy named George Alexander Louis. AUGUST
10th Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn and former Austrian PM Alfred Gusenbauer and associates of First Deputy PM Vučić began talks about Strauss-Kahn and Gusenbauer’s mooted roles as government advisors.
14th Young economist Lazar Krstić was appointed as Serbia’s new Finance Minister, bankruptcy expert Saša Radulović was made Economy Minister and Belgrade Philharmonic director Ivan Tasovac was appointed Culture Minister. 25th Following an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Nikolić went on an official visit to China, where the two officials discussed economic cooperation between the two countries.
1st The Electric Power Industry of Serbia changed its electricity billing system. New bills caused
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Judgement “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” — Pope Francis (speaking about gay people)
problems and confusion among Serbian citizens. 20th Bonds with a five-yearmaturity date worth €50 million were auctioned, attracting huge attention in Serbia’s national financial market.
mation to Wikileaks, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. SEPTEMBER
15th Serbian athletes Emir Bekrić, 22, and 23-year-old Ivana Španović won bronze in the 400m hurdles and long jump respectively at the World Championships in Moscow. 19th Tito’s widow Jovanka Broz was admitted to hospital. Several media outlets broke the ethics code by revealing her medical chart publicly.
8th After 10 years of anticipation from Belgrade audiences, US band Calexico finally played for a rapturous audience at a jam-packed Kalemegdan.
13th The Nisville Jazz Festival officially started with the opening of a museum in honour of famous Serbian jazz bassist Miša Blam.
9th Conflict in the streets of Egypt evolved into a full-blown civil war. 21st US soldier Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley), accused of revealing top-secret government infor28 |
3rd Tanja Miščević was appointed head of the Serbian team for negotiations with the EU. 14th The Central Election Commission accepted the altered name of a group of Serbian political parties – the Serbian Civil Initiative – participating in the Kosovo election. 24th Dragan Djilas was relieved of his duties as Mayor of Belgrade. Sixty members of the Belgrade Assembly out of 110 voted in favour of Djilas going. MPs from Djilas’ own Democratic Party abstained.
2nd After just two months, Macedonia decided to abolish its controversial regulation to limit wheat imports, which had caused a number of problems for Serbian exporters. 10th Thanks to the Serbian Film Association, it became possible to monitor the money the country receives for providing locations for Hollywood films. Serbia has been receiving €10 million annually so far. 14th New Economy Minister Radulović made a demand for most of the directors of public companies and state-run agencies, which operate under his Ministry of Economy, to be removed and replaced.
21st The Serbian government
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made the decision to form an international commission to investigate the murders of journalists in Serbia. B92 director Veran Matić was appointed commission chairman. 28th For a third year in succession, Belgrade’s Gay Pride Parade was cancelled due to security risks.
1st The personal belongings and manuscripts of novelist Milorad Pavić were exhibited at the National Library.
14th Music piece ‘The Music of Constantine’s City’ was performed on the summer stage of Niš Fortress to honour 17 centuries of the Edict of Milan.
16th Former Marine Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at a US Navy shipyard before being killed in a gunfight with police. 23rd Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling party CDU achieved a landslide victory in German Bundestag elections. OCTOBER
1st Former Foreign Minister Jeremić ceased to be President of the UN General Assembly after his term expired.
16th Croatian President Ivo Josipović arrived in Belgrade for an official visit. 28th Representatives of the opposition Democratic and Liberal Democratic parties met to discuss closer cooperation and networking.
8th Finance Minister Krstić announced anti-crisis measures. 9th The IMF stated that the announced cutbacks to subsidies and civil servant salaries, as well as improved tax collection measures, spoke favourably of the Serbian authorities’ determination to face its economic challenges head on. 16th The Serbian government revised its stance and accepted the current import quota for Croatian cigarettes, as stipulated by CEFTA, despite the fact that the agreement was supposed to become null and void following Croatia’s accession to the EU.
3rd Deputy Chief of Police Bogdan Pušić resigned following a series of public accusations by Belgrade tabloids relating to him heading the AntiCorruption Task Force. 9th Twenty persons appeared before Belgrade’s Special Court for their involvement in the Agrobanka affair, in which €84 million was embezzled. 20th Josip Broz Tito’s widow Jovanka passed away in Belgrade. She was buried alongside Tito in the House of Flowers to the song ‘Bella Ciao’.
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Family “Serbia wants to be a part of the happy family and it has become it by beginning of construction of the South Stream.” — Zorana Mihajlović, Serbian Minister of Energy
28th Director of Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) Aleksandar Tijanić passed away suddenly at the entrance to his apartment building.
1st The 47th BITEF festival came to an end. 6th Former singer of British rock band Genesis and human rights activist Peter Gabriel played his first show in Belgrade at 63 years old.
1st The US Senate and House of Representatives failed to adopt the state budget. As a result, the US government stopped receiving funding and more than 825,000 civil servants were sent on forced leave. 27th Legendary US rock musician, songwriter and singer Lou Reed, formerly of 1960s avant-garde rockers The Velvet Underground, died at 71.
(SNS) President Aleksandar Vučić and President of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) Vuk Drašković, the two sides decided to form a strategic partnership without the SPO actually being awarded a place in government.
8th Serbian Economy Minister Radulović announced the abolishment of the Serbian Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA). 24th Construction started on the Serbian leg of the South Stream gas pipeline.
13th More than 75% of people in Serbia were now able to enjoy digital TV following the official opening of the country’s most powerful digital transmitter in the newly built system on Mt. Avala near Belgrade. 14th The trial of Delta Holdings proprietor Miroslav Mišković started in Belgrade.
17th Repeated local elections in the Serbian municipalities of northern Kosovo were held without incident.
18th The Serbian government elected members of the Interim Council of the City of Belgrade. Siniša Mali is appointed Council Chairman, while Nebojša Čović, Andreja Mladenović, Tatjana Pašić and Nikola Nikodijević are named as council members. 19th Following a meeting between Serbian Progressive Party 30 |
6th The bicentenary of the birth of philosopher Petar Petrović Njegoš was officially marked at the Serbian Academy of Science and Art (SANU). 24th The film ‘Mamaroš’, written and directed by Momčilo Mrdaković, had its premiere at the Great Hall of the Sava Centre in Belgrade.
14th After three months, the state of emergency and police curfew were lifted in Egypt.
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20th Ukraine shelved its planned Accession Treaty with the European Union. DECEMBER
1st The Srpska civil initiative won elections in most of the Serbian municipalities voting in northern Kosovo.
11th Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanović made an official visit to Serbia, the first in 10 years, and met with Serbian counterpart PM Dačić. 15th SNS wins 53% of votes at local elections in the Belgrade municipality of Voždovac. 17th The European Union will begin long-awaited membership talks with Serbia on January 21, the bloc’s Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle announced following a meeting in Brussels.
2nd The National Consumer Council of Serbia, chaired by Deputy PM Rasim Ljajić, adopted the final text of the new Consumer Protection Law. 4th The Ministry of Economy filed charges against persons responsible for the badly executed privatisation of Vršac Vineyards in eastern Serbia.
4th The Law on Children, Pregnant Women and New Mothers’ Healthcare came into force, causing public uproar. The law stipulated that doctors are required to report every abortion they perform. 7th A one-ton bomb dating back to World War II was found
buried 6m deep at a construction site in downtown Belgrade. 9th More than 21kg of drugs were seized and 124 people questioned by police (with 70 kept in custody) during police campaign ‘The Thunder’, which was carried out against drug dealers throughout Serbia.
5th The Amateur Film Festival officially closed in Belgrade with its award ceremony. The film ‘Position Of A Child’, directed by Romanian director Calin Peter Netzer, won the Aleksandar Saša Petrović Grand Prix and a €5,000 cash prize. 12th One of the world’s most popular Fado singers, Portuguese star Mariza, played a hotly anticipated show at Belgrade’s Sava Centre.
1st Croatians voted in a referendum to amend the country’s constitution, stipulating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Some 64% of those registered voted, with the majority approving the change, outlawing gay marriage.
5th Former President of South Africa and the biggest fighter against apartheid Nelson Mandela passed away at his home in Johannesburg after a long illness. He was 95. 7th Somewhere in the region of 20,000 anti-government protestors braved freezing temperatures in Kiev to demonstrate against the Ukrainian government’s decision to shelve its treaty with the EU.
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Laughter is a
Viktor Marković, Marko Dražić, MIROSLAV VUJOVIĆ and Nenad Milosavljević
Anybody living in Serbia knows that this is a country ripe for satire. Throughout the troubled 1990s, anti-regime comedy was one of the few ways citizens could fight back. Now, even in times of relative stability, real-life stories in the Serbian press lend themselves to parody, as best exemplified by Belgrade’s Onion-influenced Njuz.net 32 |
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
xactly three years ago, national and international media reported an incredible event: a Serbian man leapt onto a shark at the popular Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh, slaying the beast that had killed four tourists and injured another just a few days prior. Apart from national and regional media, the news was picked up by the New York Post, which quoted an unspecified Macedonian news wire as the source. Russian TV station NTV even presented serious coverage of the event, while Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda gave such in-depth analysis that it wondered how a 80kg person could kill a shark by falling
master website emerged. The latter could have become popular onto it. The paper finally concluded that the events as reported before us if their posts had been a little more regular. Before were impossible, but only after consultation with experts from the Russian Laboratory for Bio-Resources and the All-Russian them there were Poslastičari (The Bakers) with their hoaxes, Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography. It was suggested that Srdjan Ćešić with his projects, edited clips by Jovan Palavestra the shark had, in fact, probably died of a heart attack. Many, on YouTube and others. however, failed to question the credibility of the original story, We had no expectations, but we were ready to seize the moand fewer still were aware that satirical news website Njuz.net ment when we were right in the middle of it. It is great to see had been the brains behind the whole setup. that good satirical websites with similar approaches have been There are few in Serbia who haven’t heard of Njuz.net, yet popping up in Serbia and abroad. mainstream media still sometimes picks up its stories. In recent years, outlets swallowed stories about turbo-folk singer Jelena ■ This part of the world has a long tradition of satire, from Karleuša’s nomination for the literary NIN Prize, a Novi Sad Radoje Domanović and Ošišani Jež (The Shorn Hedgehog), to clinic that cures people who use the ‘Like’ button on Facebook Petar Luković, Boris Dežulović and Viktor Ivančić. Where do too much and similar. you see yourself in this tradition? Njuz.net’s inspiration is US satirical newspaper and web- Well, it would be difficult to place us in the same group as these people, given all of them bore the site The Onion, starting as a small Facebrunt for their satirical work book group created by founder during very harsh times. They Dejan Nikolić. Soon, it became were forcefully closed, media so popular that it quickly turned was shut down and they had to into a website. Today, unlike live through personal tragedies during the early days, when the and drama that we can’t even Njuz.net team exchanged ideas fathom. That’s why satire back while drinking in a bar, they have in their day mostly relied on protheir own office and 10 employees. They have also launched an nouns, analogies and metaphors. English-language version called In their satire, they didn’t menGlobal Edition. Njuz.net has retion Serbia by its name but referred to it as ‘Yututun Yuhahaha’ ceived a number of awards and (a term from a nursery rhyme). in late 2011 the team published a book called ‘We Maybe Could They were not allowed to menHave Done Without All Of This’. tion real names, otherwise they This year, they moved to telwould have been sent to prison. evision, producing the show ’24 Things are different today; Minutes With Zoran Kesić’, which it is a bit safer. Even the obvious dictatorships, like those of Franjo airs on Sundays on B92. Njuz.net has received a Tudjman and Slobodan Milošević, had to We interviewed Nikolić and his editofind indirect ways to stop them and they rial staff, Marko Dražić, Viktor Marković number of awards and, managed to do that by cutting them off and Nenad Milosavljević. Although all in late 2011 the team from financial resources. This is the reafour of them were interviewed, the published a book called son why Naša Krmača and Feral are no group underlined that everything they ‘We Maybe Could Have said was “the official stance of the editolonger running. rial office”, and so their answers should Done Without All Of This’. be published as such. ■ Njuz.net is essentially a Serbian ver■ You have managed to bring back satire in a big way, not only in Serbia, but in the region too. Did you ever expect to become so successful?
- Such things somehow always happen when they need to happen. There have been people before us who have tried the same thing. Maybe not in the same way, but they certainly did try – and failed because the idea wasn’t ripe enough. We rode a wave that was just about to roll, and by wave we mean social networks and the extremely satirical people on these networks. We launched the Njuz.net group on Facebook at just about the same time as ‘Slobodan Milošević’ joined Twitter and the Flo-
sion of The Onion. How much did you rely on The Onion as a role model in early days and how much did the reality in Serbia become an inexhaustible source of inspiration?
- We relied a lot on The Onion. The form that both we and The Onion used was first used by National Lampoon in the late-1970s, but The Onion has perfected, popularised and transformed this package of absurd news into a real journalistic form. In our early days, some of our content was a direct adaptation of The Onion’s. Not all of it, but small parts of it. In the meantime, we have developed our own expression without changing the format much. We do think that we have progressed in relation to The Onion in terms of how engaged firstname.lastname@example.org |
111 January 2014 | 33
our content is and our approach to topics. The Onion has a very open political agenda and we don’t. We often say that common sense is the only ideology behind our work. We are criticising society by criticising the media, which is the core content of Njuz.net.
■ What goes through your mind when you see a headline such as ‘Minister Mrkonjić cheated on his wife with singer Ana Bekuta’ appear in the so-called ‘normal’ media?
- Our first reaction is usually: “We should have thought of that first.” Many people think that Njuz has no competition, but the mainstream media in Serbia has obviously been trying to push us off the market. There is news that we simply don’t touch upon because, regardless of how much we distort it, it still remains less absurd and less entertaining than the original. ■ Satire is considered
a style of humour, but sometimes even the best satire is not funny at all. This can be seen from your news in reaction to gruesome news in this country. What is your definition of satire? Do you think satire is only about humour or do you see it as more of a vehicle for social criticism?
■ It often happens that certain groups are offended by your style of writing, which they call ‘politically incorrect’. Could you tell us about the most memorable instances of this?
- There was just one case of a conflict with a certain group, which stemmed from our writing and went too far. And this was the only case where we got scared because the threats we had been receiving were very real and horrendous. We realised that these were not just empty threats posted on social networks and that they would cross the line of anonymity… These people were avid dog lovers, and we can tell you that we no longer joke about pets on Njuz. These are crazy people! ■ What do you think about the debate between humour
and political correctness? Should humour even be politically correct or does comedy sometimes simply fall prey to political correctness at times?
- No, it doesn’t. To paraphrase Woody Allen, the formula for comedy is tragedy plus time. Laughter is a defence mechanism and that’s why horrible things are often funny to us. There is no place for political correctness in humour, and especially in satire, which sometimes uses horrendous things from the reality of life to illustrate a point. Some people understand this, some don’t.
- The easiest way to apMany people think proach difficult subjects is through comthat Njuz has no edy, i.e. it is much easier to impose certain subjects on people in this way, which they competition, but would otherwise shun. Even if the whole ■ You have tried and tested practically all the mainstream conversation starts by criticising Njuz for forms of media expression: you started with media in Serbia daring to report in this way, this is still aca website, published a book, have a supplehas obviously been ment in the weekend edition of Danas newsceptable to us because it is important to talk about that. paper and, as of recently, even have the ’24 trying to push us Minutes With Zoran Kesić’ TV show. Do you Of course, we have news that is not inoff the market have individual preferences in terms of fortended to make people laugh. People who mats, and which formats work best? think that Njuz is a travesty and a comedic site often feel that we are mocking somebody’s affliction or a difficult subject. - Apart from what you’ve mentioned, we have also recently We simply cannot please everyone. If a certain visitor to our launched a radio show on Radio Laguna. Each of these formats site is full of prejudice towards us and is hell-bent on misunsuit all of us and we don’t have a favourite or give advantage to one over the other. Although the internet is our first love, derstanding a piece of news we put up, he will misinterpret we are very much looking forward to new challenges and are that news and there is nothing we can do about it. The expehappy with the fact that we are engaged in almost all media rience so far has shown us that there isn’t a text that hasn’t formats. Although we think that our expression can work with been misinterpreted by someone somewhere. Satire is the all formats, we are under the impression that we get the best cleanest form of social criticism because there are no hidden effects and reactions from TV. After the first few [episodes of] interests. That’s why we have worked so hard on convincing ‘24 Minutes’, we had politicians reacting, some positively, some people that we don’t have a puppet master and that our critinegatively, to our show. We would need at least a few months to cism only serves the purpose of drawing attention to things get such a reaction to the news on our website. ■ that are happening around us.
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
jAN 2014 business leadersâ€™ meeting point
Dr. Dragan LukaÄ?
Chief Executive Officer of Novi Sad Fair
Building the Future Page 40
Country Manager Serbia and Business Development Director Bulgaria, Ukraine, Adecco Outsourcing d.o.o. Beograd
Employment that Works
Chris Johns Irish Times
What Lessons Can be Learned from the Economic Recovery? Page 44
Jitendra Virwani Chairman of Embassy Group
First Steps in Tech email@example.com |
111 January 2014 | 35
Business Dialogue interview
Dr. Dragan Lukač, Chief Executive Officer of Novi Sad Fair
Building the Future In 2013, Novi Sad Fair, the oldest fair in Serbia, played host to the Agricultural Fair’s 80th anniversary. But rather than living off the past, the fair is looking to the future, with a planned expansion and renewal programme that will see this celebrated complex become a true 21st-century economic and cultural hotspot
inety years ago, the founders of the Novi Sad Fair had the important and how does membership expand the fair’s idea to create an institution that would at first centralise the international reputation? needs of farmers, and subsequently the needs of industrial - Novi Sad Fair is a member of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), the Central European Fair Alliance (CEFA), the manufacturers. “This year, the Agricultural Fair celebrated its 80th European Federation of Agricultural Exhibition and Show Organisanniversary,” says Chief Executive Officer of Novi Sad Fair Dragan ers (EURASCO) and the International Convention and Congress AsLukač. “The only time the fair didn’t take place was during the war, sociation (ICCA). Membership in these associations leads to the exand we are so proud of this long and very beneficial tradition. change of experiences, networking and following the latest trends. “Concurrently with the Agricultural Fair, there are always Novi Sad Fair is not just a formal member of these organisaseveral other events taking place. Serbian President Mr. Tomislav tions and associations. This is seen in the fact that our fair has Nikolić spoke at the official ceremony marking nine decades of hosted the regular annual Assembly of the Central European Fair the fair, while Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić officially opened Alliance, which assembles 18 fairs from 12 countries, as well as the the 80th International Agricultural Fair. Of course, the Novi Sad annual Assembly of the European Federation of Agricultural ExhiFair is known for other exhibitions too. This year, our celebrated bition Organisers, which took place at the jubilee 80th Agricultural long jumper Ivana Španović opened the International Hunting, Fair, with representatives of 26 agriculturFishing and Sports Fair, and this is by no In 2014, the oldest fair in al fairs from 21 countries in attendance. means a coincidence. our country will play host to “Apart from exhibitions, the fair’s halls are also used for sporting, musical national exhibitors and visitors ■ How important are fairs to establishing economic cooperation and business and theatre events. The most famous jazz of 20 different fairs partnerships? musician of all time, Louis Armstrong, - In their nature, fairs are multi-functional events that provide played in Hall 1 of the Novi Sad Fair, and this is also the place companies with opportunities to meet with their consumers, supwhere Novak Đoković played his first match for our Davis Cup pliers and competitors from all over the world. Novi Sad Fair’s team before he became the number-one tennis player in the world. strategic orientation is to maximise everything the fair has to offer “Throughout its history, the Novi Sad Fair has been visited by to existing business partners, as well as devising and implementing top statesmen; it has been a venue where great scientific, economic activities that will attract new clients. I believe that by continuously and artistic accomplishments have been presented, and where the improving our services, having a more aggressive approach in the most important economic events have taken place. While respecting its tradition, we are also responsible for running the fair in line conference sector, revitalising the fair’s facilities and organising new with global and local economic trends in the years to come, and for shows and events, Novi Sad Fair’s share in the exhibition industry of providing exhibitors with the best conditions possible, facilitating Southeast Europe will be much bigger, which is our end goal. their growth and achieving good business results for the fair.” ■ You recently announced plans to change the fair’s appearance, building new halls and modernising existing ones. Could ■ Novi Sad Fair is an active member of many international associations. Which of these associations are considered most you elaborate on these plans and their implementation?
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- The fair has been growing and developing in parallel with the - In order to expand and improve its business activities, Novi Sad country’s economic development, as well as the development of the Fair is constructing an Aqua Park, a wellness and spa centre, an city in which it is located. The generations of proactive people who ethno-village, a summer stage and a smaller version of the Master participated in creating a community of trust and help have carried Centre on grounds that have been vacant for the past three decades, which are directly linked to the Europe Boulevard in Novi Sad. the responsibility for intertwined interests, while investing in soWe believe that this complex, spanning close to 35,000m² and com- cially important values, which will always be an important strategic plying with the city of Novi Sad’s master plan, would be the place to orientation of the fair. The determination of Novi Sad Fair to make social responsibility an integral part of its business through various go for citizens of Novi Sad, Vojvodina and Serbia if they wanted to relax and recreate. The fair will be the place to be for new activities is a result of traditional values, but also of a belief that all business opportunities. that contributes to overall social The investment is worth development is considered good more than €15 million and will business practice. Apart from collaborating closely with the city be implemented in five stages government, Novi Sad Fair has over the course of three years. been establishing partnership During stage one we are going to relations with various economic, construct an office building and educational and cultural the mini Master Centre spanning institutions, such as Novi Sad 5,500m², which will change the University, Matica Srpska, Zmaj appearance of the southern access to Novi Sad Fair and will creChildren Games, the Cultural ate an entirely new urban vision Centre of Novi Sad etc. of the city’s busiest boulevard, Europe Boulevard. The tower of ■ What will be Novi Sad Fair’s the mini Master Centre will bring most important activities during 2014? a new visual identity to the fair’s Novi Sad Fair is constructing a water - In 2014, the oldest fair in our complex and will be an architectural response to the existing country will play host to national centre and park, a wellness and spa centre, Master Building located near the exhibitors and visitors of 20 difan ethno-village, a summer stage and ferent fairs. Our most important north entrance to the fair. The last a smaller version of the Master Centre exhibition – the International storey of the new Master Centre Agricultural Fair – will take place will contain a panoramic restaurant, which, apart from a pleasant experience, will provide visitors for the 81st time, from 20 to 26 May. In order to expand our activities, we are organising a variety of new events. Due to exhibitors’ with a great view of the entire Novi Sad Fair and Fruška Gora. demands, the time of the Tourism Fair will be moved from autumn The second stage will see the construction of an outdoor swimto spring. The Tourism Fair will coincide with the Gastronomy Fair ming pool with an Aqua park. There will be many entertaining waand the Wine, Beer and Rakija Fair. The Hunting, Fishing and Sports ter attractions here, both for adults and children. In the third stage, Fair will take place at the same time as the Car Show. We have we’re going to build the ethno-village around the existing lake. Five ethno-pavilions will serve as restaurants, exhibition, education and coined a new joint name for both of these fairs – instead of ‘Lorist’, conference venues, corporate events venues, scientific convention we are now going to have ‘Lorisa’. places etc. Architecturally, the pavilions will be a modern interpreThe new fairs in 2014 are the Cosmetics Fair, Plastic Surgery tation of traditional Vojvodina architecture. Each of the pavilions Fair and Baby Accessories Fair, as well as the Music Fair. The Investment Fair and the Energy Days will be staged at the same will have an energy-efficient conservatory. time as the Ecology and Environmental Protection Fair, Information The wellness and spa centre with saunas and related facilities Technology Fair, Building, Equipment and Construction Machinery will be built in the fourth stage. During the fifth stage we are going Fair and Furniture Fair. We are going to conclude the season of fairs to build the arena, the summer stage, which will seat between 500 with a new exhibition called the Wedding Fair, which will be held and 600 people, and ground floor business premises, which will at the same time as the International Exhibition of Jewellery and serve the fair. Considering that nothing similar has ever been built Watches, called ‘The Shine’. in Novi Sad before, I expect the Aqua Centre to be jam-packed and Apart from various fairs, the Master Conference Centre at for this new dimension of our business to provide an array of Novi Sad Fair will play host to many professional gatherings, benefits to the oldest fair in Serbia, in addition to facilitating the presentations and conferences. Still, the thing that will mark 2014 development of business activities, both in the city and the region. will be the beginning of a new investment cycle, which will result in the expansion and improvement of business activities for the ■ The fair is quite dedicated to social responsibility and charity campaigns. Which would you like to single out? oldest fair in the region. ■ firstname.lastname@example.org |
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Business Dialogue 01
“The formal part of the work with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan concerning two loans has been completed. We have secured the money, but we have no projects.” — Aleksandar Vučić, First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia
Best in Class
South Stream Will Not Be Brought Into Question
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: more efficiency, more intelligence and more emotional appeal
Mercedes-Benz has revised the Saloon and Estate models of its E-Class car, taking a significant step forward when it comes to efficiency and ecology. Such advances come courtesy of the new BlueDirect four-cylinder petrol engine, which features sophisticated direct-injection technology, and a new, efficient six-cylinder engine, as well as even more economical diesel engines. New or optimised assistance systems celebrate their world premiere in both models. With a new front, new bumpers and a revised side view, the design of the E-Class encapsulates efficiency, intelligence and emotional appeal. In this way the E-Class further secures its leading position in the luxury class vehicle sector, continuing an ongoing success story; the updated models are dynamically elegant, combining intelligent technology with superior style. For the first time, the E-Class is available with two different front ends: the basic variant and Elegance equipment line come with the classic, threedimensional Saloon grille with three-louvre look and Mercedes-Benz star on the bonnet. The Avantgarde equipment line, on the other hand, incorporates a sporty front end with central star for an independent front-end look with an emphasis on speed.
Stress- and Worry-free Holiday Shopping Keep Christmas and New Year shopping relaxing and enjoyable with Eurobank’s interest-free credit card instalment scheme
Christmas and New Year holidays are an ideal opportunity to warm the hearts of your nearest and dearest with gifts. The biggest problem with this, however, is how to cover our desires within the budgets we have available to us, budgets that have to stretch through to the end of January, a.k.a. ‘the longest month of the year’. Eurobank has enabled its clients to shop in a relaxed manner and pay their credit card bills interest-free in equal monthly instalments. All credit card transactions can be paid in interestfree instalments regardless of where the card was used – in 38 |
Serbia, abroad or for online payments. This benefit includes every one of Eurobank’s credit cards: Visa Classic, MasterCard Standard, EuroLine Dina, MasterCard Gold and the charity ‘Big Heart’ MasterCard. In accordance with their financial standing, clients can choose to pay in three, six, nine or 12 monthly instalments, all of which stay interest-free if paid on time. Thanks to this scheme, Eurobank clients can enjoy relaxed holiday shopping without the need for cash loans – no paperwork, no interest rates and no costs associated with early repayment of the loan.
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
The South Stream gas pipeline will not be brought into question because of problems between the EU and Russia, and Serbia’s interest in such a major project will not be threatened, Srbijagas CEO Dušan Bajatović said on 12 December. “There will be no new bilateral negotiations between the states along the South Stream route and Russia,” Bajatović told reporters after putting into operation the main gas metering and regulating station in Odzaci, northern Serbia. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, director of the Internal Energy Market at DG Energy in the European Commission, said earlier that the bilateral agreements signed by Russian company Gazprom with countries taking part in the South Stream project, including Serbia,
were not in compliance with relevant EU regulations and therefore the countries involved would have to renegotiate them. Bajatović explained that the current debate between Moscow and Brussels, or Russia and Western Europe, as he put it, boils down to key questions concerning the way in which gas resources will be used and made available. It is in the great interest of both Russia and Europe that issues relating to the utilisation of gas as an energy resource be resolved, he stressed, adding that he is sure that both parties will resolve the issue. Source: Tanjug
For Better Future Leaders
Twenty-five students and an equal number of mentors from Serbia and abroad have been networking with people they can continue to cooperate with in future thanks to a project launched by the Swedish Embassy in Serbia and the Swedish Institute This first mentoring programme in Serbia, named Creative Mentoring, focuses on the personal and professional development of future leaders. Over the course of one year, experienced and successful mentors lead their mentees (students) through their professional and personal development. The project, which is unique in Serbia, was launched by the Swedish Embassy in Serbia and the Swedish Institute. During the first year of the project’s implementation, 25 students and an equal number of mentors from the areas of culture, the creative industries and education have been networking and cooperating with each other, forming professional relationships they can carry on in future. Mentors are from Serbia and abroad, and are successful individuals from a variety of professions. One of the project’s aims is to promote mentoring as life-long learning, an exchange of knowledge and an extra-curricular activity, and to demonstrate that mentoring is more than just a process at higher learning institutions.
“The EU Council made it clear that it expects Belgrade and Priština to continue with the implementation of the Brussels Agreement and complete the process by the end of the year.” — Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia
Placements & Postings
Supporting the SME Sector
Over the first three quarters of this year, Erste Bank has injected €120 million into SMEs. Of that amount, €80 million were loans and the rest were guarantees and letters of credit. During this period, a total 375 SME clients received funding. Relative to the end of last year, the total number of small and medium enterprises Erste Bank is working with has gone up by 150, a 7% increase. Erste Bank provides international credit lines with long repayment periods and favourable interest rates. Erste Bank a.d. Novi Sad is the oldest financial institution in Serbia, founded in 1864 as the first savings bank. It is a part of Erste Group, which operates in seven regional countries and has 16.6 million clients.
Societe Generale Bank
Societe Generale Enters 2014 with Optimism Societe Generale Bank (SGB) has achieved good commercial results despite global economic conditions and a difficult business environment locally, becoming the third biggest bank in Serbia in terms of its market share in loans and total deposits Such results are due to Societe Generale’s good business activity and a strong growth trend in the retail sector, as well as the bank’s SME sector. In 2013, SGB also became the market leader in terms of agreed mortgages. Results show that the acquisition of KBC Bank’s client portfolio has also contributed to Societe Generale’s growth. The bank acquired almost €150 million in loans, €72 million in deposits and more than 30,000 clients. “From a commercial point of view, we have had a very successful year and I have to say that I am very proud of the work done by our team,” said Frederic Coin, Chairman of SGB’s Executive Board. “We have provided our clients with services of the highest quality, which in the end is re-
Pierluigi Ghione New President of the Niš Regional Chamber of Commerce Investor Club
Vida Uzelac Acting Director of Serbia’s Privatization Agency
Mr. Pierluigi Ghione has been elected President of the Investor Club, an organisation within the Niš Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is headed by Mr. Dragan Kostić. He started in his new role on 1 November. The Investor Club represents 13 of the major industrial investors in the Niš region, including Philip Morris, Tigar, Benetton, Michelin, Grammer Automotive and Leoni. Its mission is to support and increase the presence of these investors throughout the region. Ghione is also the Plant Manager-Director of two Grammer System AG plants in the city of Aleksinac and has 22 years of experience in the automotive industry across nine different countries. Grammer AG employs a workforce of 772 with plans to employ a further 520 workers in 2014. The Serbian government has appointed Vida Uzelac as acting director of the Privatization Agency (PA). Uzelac had been a long-standing director of the Central Securities Depository and Clearing House (CSD and CH), a role she was appointed to in February 2002, and, as of 2006, she had been chairperson of CSD and CH’s managing board. Uzelac graduated from the Belgrade Faculty of Economics, majoring in economic statistics and cybernetics. She has also been a member of several national and international task forces in the securities sector.
flected in the growth of our portfolio. At the same time, we have been operating in a very difficult economic environment that is also extremely complicated. “The crisis is still affecting Serbia and all of Europe, including our bank in Serbia. It also has to do with the amount of risk contingency we need to have due to those clients who are not paying their loans regularly. These are the main reasons our results are not what we expected them to be. “In 2014, our aim is to develop further, continuing from this year’s successes, especially commercial ones. I am confident that SGB will continue to bolster its position in the Serbian market, while at the same time trying to meet projected financial goals.”
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Business Dialogue interview Marko Kolenc, Country Manager Serbia and Business Development Director Bulgaria, Ukraine, Adecco Outsourcing d.o.o. Beograd
Employment that Works Global HR leader Adecco is at the forefront of making the Serbian labour market more flexible and competitive for employers while protecting the rights of employees
decco is a global leader in the human resources sector and one of the world’s biggest employers. Its leadership in HR is the result of 50 years of experience. With approximately 33,000 employees and more than 5,500 branch offices in 60 countries, Adecco connects close to 700,000 potential employees with nearly 100,000 clients every day. “In terms of Serbia, we are very proud of having mediated the employment of more than 3,500 people, whether short- or long-term,” says Marko Kolenc, the company’s country manager for Serbia. “In 2013 alone we found employment for more than 1,000 people.”
employers in this area are very important. To that purpose, in October of this year we held a seminar at which representatives of the Ministry, Adecco Group and Eurociett spoke. They relayed the best experiences and examples from European countries, while HR managers from our biggest companies attending the seminar gave their suggestions and proposals based on their experience in practice. In this way, they helped to improve the quality of the law, which is supposed to balance flexibility for employers and security for employees.
■ What are the advantages of this employment format for employers and employees? - This employment format has had a good effect on the way the labour market functions, and on increasing the competitiveness of entire economies in individual countries. Also, this employment format bolsters the flexibility of the company ■ For most people, you have found employment through that is hiring. In combination with lower overheads and the staff leasing. Is this employment format covered in detail experience we possess and offer to clients, staff leasing also by the Labour Law? improves the employer’s market competitiveness. - On 20 February 20 2013, the Serbian national parliament On the other hand, employee rights are clearly and preadopted the Law on Confirmation of the Convention of the International Labour Organisation No. 181, which regulates the cisely defined, and, most importantly, the people who find jobs work done by private employment agencies. By doing so, through staff leasing have absolutely the same rights and obligathe Republic of Serbia undertook to include the stipulations tions as those who have been employed directly by the company. of the said convention in its legislaThese rights are included in the emWe are willing to share our ployment contract and pertain to saltion and regulate all the details perexperience and, by doing ary, working hours, social protection, taining to this kind of employment. health and safety at work, maternity so, contribute to the further ■ Considering the company’s development of this area in Serbia leave and freedom to associate and huge global and local experience, engage in collective negotiation. could we say that Adecco has been helping with regulating staff leasing in Serbia in a way? ■ Apart from staff leasing, what are the other services - We are very proud of the fact that the Ministry of Labour, Adecco provides? Employment and Social Policy has chosen our company as - Staff leasing is just one aspect of the wide range of services a project partner. We are willing to share our experience and, Adecco provides. We also provide outsourcing, searching and by doing so, contribute to the further development of this area selecting potential employees for our clients, evaluation of employee skills in accordance with the client’s goals and requirein Serbia. It is very important to have the same rules for everyments, and so-called managed services. The latter is a very one in our industry, from licensing the companies that provide complex service, which encompasses a comprehensive process this type of service, to defining all aspects of their operations, and, in particular, ascertaining their responsibility towards where we as a company don’t only find potential employees clients and jobseekers. for our clients, but are also responsible for them meeting set Also, the opinions and expectations of companies and goals and accomplishing results. ■ 111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
What Lessons Can be Learned From the Economic Recovery? Europe obsesses about who will pay for future bank bailouts while failing to deal with consequences of the last BY Chris Johns, Irish Times
progress but much has been achieved – more than many commentators thought likely. Both countries indulged in aggressive and ultimately unconventional monetary stimulus. It is surprising that little has been made of the probability that the government debt purchased by the two central banks is unlikely to be repaid, at least on any reasonable time horizon. The debt interest that the UK government pays to the Bank of England simply flows back, ultimately, to the Treasury. Viewed in this way, one consequence of quantitative easing is a significant reduction in the effective stock of debt of the two respective governments, something that we can only look at with envy. Critics of all
hat lessons can be learned from the economic recoveries now being observed in the UK and US First, some perspective. Along with just about every other major (and minor) economy, the US experienced a deep recession in the immediate aftermath of the financial crash. Thanks partly to fiscal and monetary stimulus, the recession, although deep, didn’t last that long. But, for a number of reasons, the recovery was weak, at least compared with previous cycles. A reasonable forecasting rule of thumb used to be that the harder the economic fall, the bigger the subsequent rebound. What should have been a vigorous In the most recent cycle, this has bounce back has been prevented by not been the case. What should ongoing deleveraging, everybody have been a vigorous bounce back trying to pay back debt all at once has been prevented by ongoing deleveraging, everybody trying to pay of this fret about inflation but this has yet to back debt all at once. Feeble though it might rear its head in any material way. have been, the US economy, once it began to In this simple narrative, similarities in polgrow again, has continued to do so. Most reicies resulted in similar macroeconomic outcently, there are some signs that growth may comes. Where there were different outcomes, actually be accelerating. policy differences can be similarly identified. The path of the UK economy paints a Europe, as is painfully familiar, pursued similar story but, until recently at least, one an alternative policy mix. Aggressive fiscal that shows a deeper recession and someausterity in many countries was accompawhat slower recovery. Unlike the US, the govnied by reluctant and relatively feeble monernment tightened rather than relaxed fisetary stimulus. One consequence of which, cal policy, at least in the early stages of the which has not attracted enough comment or crisis. This, I think, accounts for a large part analysis, is that the euro has been too strong. of the difference in overall economic perforJapan lost two decades (not just one) purmance. Both countries moved to fix their resuing a policy mix that led, until very recentspective banking systems. The US can claim ly, to an overvalued currency. Another differto have achieved this; the UK is still a work in
ence between the US and the UK on the one hand and the euro area and Japan on the other is the speed in which banking systems have been cleaned up. In the UK, there is a vigorous debate over the nature of the recovery. Is it well balanced or is it a good old-fashioned British housing boom? The evidence is mixed but tends to support the idea that an increased flow of cheap credit has combined with the global attractions of London property to produce something we have seen too many times before. It is too early to draw any firm conclusions but for the current mini-boom to be sustainable it has to broaden out into exports and (non-residential) investment spending. But things are going so well that British Prime MinisterDavid Cameron is mentioning possible large income-tax cuts. The budget deal in the US, while far from perfect, is another policy step in the right direction. One fascinating and new feature of the US policy debate has been the calls from surprising quarters for quantitative easing to be supplemented – or perhaps replaced – with massive infrastructure stimulus. The thinking here is based in part on need: the US needs a lot of money to be spent on crumbling roads and bridges. This money will have to be found sooner or later; it may as well be now while the government can borrow at rock bottom rates. Rather than the Federal Reserve giving money to banks that then do nothing with it, an infrastructure boom could have some real and positive economic consequences. Meanwhile, Europe obsesses about who will pay for any future bank bailout while failing to deal with the consequences of the last banking bust. ■
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Business Dialogue 01
Incentive “We want Albania to continue delivering and we see the granting of candidate status as a further incentive for the country to continue its reform efforts.” — Štefan Füle, EU Enlargement Commissioner
Online Banking is Booming
Mercator Group Plans to Break Even in 2014
Dragos Mindreci, director of digital banking at OTP Bank Romania, said in December that internet banking has grown in popularity for the lender, with 70% of the total operations of clients being completed through this channel, with the rest of client operations being done physically. The penetration rate of online banking stood at 80% for corporate clients between September and November 2013, staying at over 60% for retail clients in the same period. Mindreci said the bank would be looking to develop a personal financial tool by the end of next year to be included in online banking and mobile platforms. “Mobile banking is growing, including in our portfolio,” he said. He also explained that more people use mobile banking for routine transactions and to check their accounts. The lender has launched a new version of its mobile banking application, OTPdirekt – Smart Bank, accessible from smartphones and tablets.
Albania Invites SOCAR to Improve Gas Market
The group around retailer Mercator plans to generate €2.7 billion in sales revenues and profit of €39,000 in 2014. Investments in the next year will meanwhile amount to €58.9 million, which is €20 million more than planned in 2013. The Mercator group expects its sales revenues to drop by 3.5% compared with its plan for 2013. The drop will be a result of the closing of non-profitable units and the discontinuation of nonstrategic activities. Also affecting sales revenues is the continued economic crisis in
all key markets where the group is present. An improvement is expected in 2015, Mercator said in a press release on 11 December. Investments in fixed assets will increase in 2014, with the majority of investments being focused on the refurbishment of existing retail units. The Mercator group generated more than €2 billion in sales revenues in the first nine months of 2013, reporting a net loss of €17.6 million for the period.
MEPSO to Receive €25 million Loan from EBRD
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Who is to Blame for Loss of EU Funds? The prosecutor’s office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) announces that it is to investigate who is to blame for the loss of EU funds
“Albania and the entire region of Southeast Europe have a promising, untapped gas market,” said Albanian Minister of Economy and Energy Damian Gjiknuri at discussions held during the third Caspian Forum in Istanbul. “Albania is actively discussing with Montenegro and Croatia the opportunity to lay the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline in its territory too.” The third Caspian Forum, organised by the Caspian Strategic Institute, brought together senior officials, representatives of companies and leading experts from all over the world. 42 |
Macedonia’s state-owned electricity transmission system operator MEPSO will receive a €25 million loan from the EBRD to rehabilitate and modernise the transmission grid, state news agency MIA reported. The parliament’s financing and budget committee backed the draft law on the loan, which will be without a state guarantee. The loan has a repayment term of 15 years, with a threeyear grace period. Deputy Finance Minister Ardian Xheladini commented that the project will boost the quality of power supply. Meanwhile, the EBRD published a procurement notice on 22 November informing that the tendering for MEPSO’s project is expected to start in the first quarter of 2014. The EBRD also said that the total cost of the project is estimated at €40.5 million.
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Following the European Commission’s decision to halve its funding to BiH in 2013 because the country “failed to reform its constitution”, the prosecutor’s office noted in a statement that the loss of money had caused huge damage to the interests of citizens as well as BiH’s bid to join the EU. The EU will reduce its funding by US$62 million, while funding for 20142020 may also be placed in jeopardy. Meanwhile, noting the fund block was a bad move by the EU, BiH Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdžija called the decision by the prosecutor’s office an interference in politics.
EU Raps New Member over Deficit The European Commission said last month that Croatia is in breach of rules on public deficit and debt and will have to take measures to remedy the problem. The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said Croatia should be put under an ‘Excessive Deficit Procedure’, which lays down steps for returning to EU norms. The EU sets a ceiling for the annual budget deficit of member states at 3% of GDP, with accumulated debt not to exceed 60%. Last month, Croatia, which joined the EU in July, said a revised 2013 budget would show a deficit of 5.5%, up from an initial estimate of 3.5%.
“In time and with less and less politicisation of the issue of dual citizenships, the space will open for some compromise solution.” — Milo Djukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro
Toshiba: Strategic Investor in NPP Kozloduy
‘Horizon 2020’ Calls for Projects
Toshiba Corporation will be a strategic investor in the seventh power unit of Bulgarian electricity plant NPP Kozloduy. Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev stated that Bulgaria’s goal is to sign an agreement for an investment of up to 30% of the project’s cost with Toshiba. For the remaining 70%, Bulgaria will seek cooperation from Toshiba and Westinghouse Electric for obtaining financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. On 11 December, Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved the minister’s report on the need to build a new unit at the country’s only nuclear power plant. With it, the minister received a mandate to instruct Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) to negotiate with a strategic investor and with US energy giant Westinghouse, which is to build a reactor with its technology, the Duma daily reported. There will be a tender for the construction of the power unit, but not the technology, as otherwise the state would have to buy the entire quantity of electricity produced, Stoynev explained. He said he did not want to condemn future generations to long-term contracts, while the seventh power unit would operate based on a market principle.
Investment in Water System Improvement Besim Beqaj, Minister of Finance
Kosovar Minister of Finance states Priština’s gratitude to Germany for funding boost to aid water supply and reduce energy consumption
After signing the Agreement on Funding and Projects to support water improvement in Prizren, Kosovo Minister of Finance Besim Beqaj stated that the Kosovo government is grateful to the German government for its €2.5 million grant through KfW, which Kosovo expects to invest from the regional fund framework in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The agreement was signed by Beqaj, KfW Director for Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro Joerg Meilicke and Managing Director of KUR Southern Hidroregion Besim Baraliu. Also present at the signing ceremony was Milena Stein, representative of the German Embassy in Kosovo. Minister Beqaj stressed that the project aims to save energy by increasing the gravity of the water supply and reducing energy consumption for pumping water. These measures should also contribute to environmental and climate protection.
On 12 December the European Commission presented calls for the first time for projects under ‘Horizon 2020’, the EU’s €80 billion research and innovation programme Worth more than €15 billion over the first two years, the funding is intended to help boost Europe’s knowledge-driven economy and tackle issues that will make a difference in people’s lives. This includes 12 areas that will be a focus for action in 2014-2015, including topics such as personalised healthcare, digital security and smart cities. European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “It’s time to get down to business. Horizon 2020 funding is vital for the future of research and innovation in Europe, and will contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life. We have designed Horizon 2020 to produce results, and we have slashed red tape to make it easier to participate. So I am calling on researchers, universities, businesses including SMEs, and others to sign up.” For the first time, the Commission has indicated funding priorities over two years, providing researchers and businesses with more certainty than ever before on the direction of EU research policy. Most calls from the 2014 budget are already open for submissions as of 11 December, with more to follow over the course of the year. Calls in the 2014 budget alone are worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020: Excellent Science: around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers. Industrial Leadership: €1.8 billion to support Europe’s industrial leadership in areas such as ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space. Societal challenges: €2.8 billion for innovative projects addressing Horizon 2020’s seven societal challenges, broadly: health; agriculture, maritime and bio-economy; energy; transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security.
Economy Expected to Grow 2.5% in 2014 According to the latest World Bank South East Europe Regular Economic Report, Montenegro’s economy is expected to grow 2.5% in 2014. It was noted at the presentation in Tirana earlier last month that the “average growth of real income of the six countries re-
bounded from negative 0.7% in 2012 to 1.8% (year-on-year) in the first half of 2013”, which was supported by the eurozone’s “nascent recovery”. With Montenegro’s expected economic growth in 2014, the government will need to focus its budgetary expenditures, the report added.
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Business Dialogue interview
Jitendra Virwani, Chairman of Embassy Group ■ The Embassy Techzones IT Park is the first project implemented by Embassy Group in Europe. What made you pick Serbia and the town of Indjija as the location for your first ever project in Europe? - In 2008, Financial Times magazine presented the Municipality of Indjija on the list of the top 25 European destinations for foreign investments. We believe that Serbia is a geo-strategic location for us given the proximity to mainland Europe and the East. Serbia is one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the region in the IT sector. We believe that Serbia will be the future hub for ICT in the region and we wanted to be a part of this growth story.
First Steps in Tech The Embassy Techzones IT Park in Indjija promises to be a new dawn for ICT investment in Serbia. The initial €20 million spent on the complex is just the start as far as parent company Embassy Group is concerned. It is Embassy’s first project in Europe and could kick-start Serbia’s renaissance as the region’s tech hub
■ What is the capacity of the Embassy Techzones IT Park in Indjija now? - In Indjija we have built a two-floor, 10,000m² campusstyle building with a net leasable area of 8,170m². This building consists of six independent office blocks with state-of-the-art infrastructure: a high-performance internet link, on-site data hosting, processing and storage, business continuity and disaster-recovery management processes. This building is the park’s ‘flagship’, with communal elements such as a restaurant, master control cenndjija, located almost directly between Belgrade and tre for security and facility management, and virtual and Novi Sad, could prove to be the location of Serbia’s pay-per-use business and conference facilities. The buildrebirth as a European ICT ing has the capacity to employ An outstanding pool of intellectual 1,500 people. centre. Bangalore company Embassy Group’s investment capital, attractive labour costs, in the state-of-the-art Embassy ■ The project complies with an educated, technically Techzones IT Park will call upon the requirements of the LEED skilled workforce, developed Serbia’s already-established (Leadership in Energy and Entelecommunication infrastructure vironmental Design) gold cerknow-how in the ICT sector and and fluency in English are some of tificate. Could you elaborate on encourage further investment in the field. As well as facilities the competitive advantages that that and what criteria does the for use by tech companies, the attract ICT companies to Serbia project fulfil as regards to the certificate’s requirements? complex will also feature an IT - All Embassy projects, including Embassy Techzones academy for training the workforce of the future. Embassy Group Chairman Jitendra Virwani speaks to IT Park Indjija, are designed for LEED ratings as part of CorD about his company’s plans for the future and our focus on creating sustainable developments. LEED is Serbia’s tech-sector potential. the world’s most recognised standard in green and eco-
■ Exactly how many IT parks does Embassy Group operate today? - Embassy Group has completed more than 60 commercial projects, including 10 IT parks delivering more than 2.4 million square metres of space across India, Malaysia and now Serbia. Embassy’s award-winning business parks play host to large multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, Atos Origin, ANZ, Cognizant, Computer Science Corporation, Fidelity, Geometric, IBM, LG Soft India, McAfee, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, NetApp, Nokia Siemens Networks, Target, Vodafone and Yahoo!.
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
friendly developments, monitored by the US green building council (USGBC). Factory Mutual (FM) is the highest safety standard recognised by leading insurance companies. All commercial properties currently developed by us are either LEED platinum- or gold-certified and FM compliant. LEED-certified buildings provide both environmental and financial benefits, as they are designed to lower operating costs, reduce waste sent to landfill and harmful greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and water, and be healthier and safer for their occupants. The process was complex and expensive but we believe that we need to be responsible, especially with today’s environmental issues and our drive to stay ahead of the curve.
■ How interesting is Serbia and its business environment as an investment destination to a country that prides itself in being a global leader in IT? - As the world market for ICT continues to evolve, Serbia is well placed both geographically and structurally to provide a cost effective and reliable alternative to other, already established markets. An outstanding pool of intellectual capital, attractive labour costs, a highly educated and technically skilled workforce, already-developed telecommunication infrastructure and a high fluency in English are just some of the key competitive advantages that have already attracted international ICT companies to expand to Serbia.
■ Apart from being a leader in IT and other sciencebased sectors, India is considered globally to be a great hub for scientists and technological expertise. How can India share this ‘treasure’ with Serbia? - Both countries have a historical friendship and mutual respect. I think the respective governments can do a lot to develop this relationship by creating partnerships that transfer and share knowledge and experience in various sectors. Our Minister of State for External Affairs, H.E. Ms. Preneet Serbia has valuable treasure in the form of rich Kaur, along with H.E. Mr. Ivan technical and scientific skill and knowledge, Mrkić, were present at our press which needs to be discovered. We are offering an meet held recently at Embassy infrastructure solution and platform to nurture Techzones IT Park Indjija and ■ Could you tell us about the and showcase that skill and knowledge globally discussed mutual cooperation next project stages and the between the two countries. This deadlines for their completion? sets a good precedent for setting up a continuous knowledge-transfer model in various fields of scientific and technological innovation - We are planning to create a leisure component, Data Centre Park, and economic cooperation. Serbia has valuable treasure in the form an advanced manufacturing hub for semiconductor manufacture of rich technical and scientific skill and knowledge, which needs to (FAB), solar panels and electric mobility, a biotech park, and an be discovered. We are now offering to the market an infrastructure aerospace park for the design and production of the best aircraft and solution and platform to nurture and showcase that skill and aero structures to meet the varied needs of the global market. knowledge globally. You should understand that our role is to provide a state-of-theart environment under a recognised brand. However, the growth ■ In terms of the IT sector, do you think this project can help capacity depends mainly on the economic and social environment. Serbia to earn a reputation and play a role similar to that India This requires a significant effort from all stakeholders. Embassy will has worldwide? commit to do its part of the work. - I would like to mention that this building has been designed, built and certified by Serbian companies. I believe that the Embassy Tech■ Is it fair to say that the IT park is an incentive for other Indian zones IT Park Indjija is the perfect example of the highest-quality ininvestors to come here too? frastructure, effectively showcasing what Serbia can produce to com- We are proud to be the largest Indian investor in this country to panies worldwide. Serbia needs to start focusing on value-creating date and are looking to expand rapidly. We are willing to share our industries and the Embassy Techzones IT Park Indjija is the ideal loexperiences, local knowledge and know-how with Indian companies cation and platform for setting up those industries and businesses. ■ potentially looking to invest here in future. ■ The entire project will be implemented over the course of several stages. On 20 November, the company announced the first stage had already been completed. What was involved in the first stage and what is the value of the initial investment? - We have invested around €20 million in our existing building and are planning to invest another €300 million for future developments. Of course, this will be invested over a period of time and take into consideration the requirements of the market and the economic scenario at the time of investment.
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Business Dialogue 01
Peace “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” — Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa
Swiss Want to Become World Data Vault
Gazprom Takes Over Kyrgyzgaz
A massive underground bunker in a secret location in the Swiss Alps is used for keeping data safe from prying eyes. Housed in one of Switzerland’s numerous deserted Cold War-era army barracks, the high-tech Deltalis data centre is hidden behind fourtonne steel doors built to withstand a nuclear attack plus biometric scanners and an armed guard. The centre is situated near the central Swiss village of Attinghausen, but its exact GPS location remains a closely guarded secret. Business for Switzerland’s 55 data centres is booming. They benefit from the Swiss reputation for security and stability, and industry insiders predict the wealthy Alpine nation, already famous for its super-safe banks, will soon also be known as the world’s data vault. Revelations from Edward Snowden of widespread spying by the National Security Agency has served as “a wake-up call” to the dangers lurking in this era of electronic espionage, said Deltalis co-director Andy Reinhardt. To enter the 15,000m² bunker that once served as the Swiss army’s secret headquarters, one must first hand over an ID card, leave a biometric scan, go through a hyper-sensitive security portal and finally push past an anti-nuclear steel door. Located 200m inside the mountain and 1,000m below the peak, the pristine, white, almost futuristic room has been in use since 2011 and houses row upon row of humming data storage systems. The machines continuously gather and store data from individuals or companies willing to pay an undisclosed price to ensure their precious information will not be lost to power cuts, earthquakes or terrorist attacks, and will remain safe from would-be intruders.
More Than US$156 billion Invested in the Economy Shahin Mustafayev, Azerbaijani Economy and Industry Minister
The total volume of investments in Azerbaijan’s economy exceeds US$156 billion, Azerbaijani Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev said at the Azerbaijan-Saudi Arabian business forum that took place in Baku on 10 December. “Around a half of the investments fell to foreign countries,” he said. “The private sector share is 85% in Azerbaijan’s GDP. In general, Azerbaijan’s GDP has increased 3.4 times, while GDP per capita has grown threefold in the last 10 years. The state 46 |
budget revenues for the period have increased 19 times. The foreign trade turnover has increased nine-fold in ten years.” The country’s poverty level declined eight times, reaching 5.5% in the last 10 years. “Currently, Azerbaijan’s economy accounts for more than 70% of the entire economy of the South Caucasus,” Minister Mustafayev added. “The country continues diversifying the economy and the bulk of GDP is generated in the non-oil sector. The country’s external debt is only 8.3% of GDP, while strategic currency reserves exceed an external debt up to ten times.”
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Gazprom has taken control of pipelines, gas distribution stations and underground storage facilities owned by Kyrgyzgaz The former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan has approved a deal to sell the country’s debt-ridden natural gas monopoly to Russia’s state energy company Gazprom for US$1. The decision, backed by 78 deputies in the 120-seat parliament, hands Moscow control over a strategic asset in the Central Asian state in exchange for a guaranteed supply of fuel. Gazprom has committed to invest 20 billion rubles (US$610 million) in modernising the Kyrgyz company’s infrastructure over the next five years. It will also take over more than US$40 million in debt.
Kyrgzystan has suffered increasing difficulties in maintaining gas supplies because of rising debts to neighbouring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The deal gives Gazprom full control over Kyrgyzstan’s gas sector. But a proviso in the agreement means that the Russian company can only transport its fuel using pipelines belonging to Kyrgyzgaz. The Kyrgyz government will be permitted to engage independently in gas transportation or support investors in that field at a later date. It will also have a right to buy back the Kyrgyzgaz assets in 25 years.
Volkswagen Eyes Poland for Crafter Van Plant Volkswagen is considering building a new factory in Poland to assemble the Crafter large delivery van Volkswagen is considering building a new factory in Poland to assemble the Crafter large delivery van Assembling the vehicle in Poland would allow the German group, which already makes the Caddy and T5 vehicles near Poznan, to reduce production costs. Labour costs in Poland’s manufacturing industry amounted to an hourly €6.65 per worker last year, about a sixth of the €36.98 in Germany. A decision to build a new Polish vehicle plant hasn’t been taken yet, although all signs are pointing in this direction, said one of the sources. VW said it has been examining possible production sites for the Crafter in a number of countries as it nears the end of its cooperation agreement with rival Daimler, which has built the Crafter in Germany since 2005. The Crafter and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Sprinter share the same production platform, but Daimler said it will stop building the VW model at the end of 2016 to concentrate on the next generation of the Sprinter. Polish newspaper Puls Biznesu reported on the possible plant, saying the project would entail €1 billion of investment and create 3,000 jobs.
“Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories – and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories.” — Alice Munro, Canadian writer and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature
Rio Tinto to Meet US$2 billion Target
Dufry Buys Stake in Hellenic Duty Free
Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh said last month that the Sam Walsh, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Group diversified mining group was on track to meet its US$2 billion cost-cutting target this year, telling an investor seminar in Australia that the company had delivered a US$1.8 billion improvement in operating cash costs in the 10 months to October. Exploration spend had also decreased by US$800 million during the 10 months, exceeding the 2013 target of US$750 million, while total capital expenditure (capex) for the year was forecast to be below US$14 billion, which is 20% less than the 2012 spend. For 2014, total capex was expected to be about US$11 billion, while Rio would only spend US$8 billion in 2015. Rio Tinto also cut back on staff during the year, with a headcount reduction of 3,800 across the group since June 2012 after taking into account 1,800 new roles to support the iron-ore expansions. Another 3,000 positions have left the business following the sale of non-core assets.
Swiss travel retailer Dufry said it was buying the 49% stake in Hellenic Duty Free (HDF) it does not own from Folli Follie for €328 million, a vote of confidence in the austerity-hit Greek economy. Dufry bought a controlling 51% stake in the Greek travel retailer in October 2012 for €200.5 million, with an option to acquire the remaining 49% in 2016. It will pay for the remaining stake by using a combination of €175 million in cash and 1,231,233 ordi-
Stimulus for 250,000 New Jobs
Japan’s cabinet has approved 5.5 trillion yen (US$53 billion) in fresh stimulus with the aim of creating at least 250,000 jobs. The stimulus is heavily weighted towards construction projects and also includes US$5.8 billion in payments to home buyers and one-time payments of US$100 per child to the country’s low and middleincome families. Japan’s economy, the world’s third-largest, emerged from recession in late 2012, growing at a brisk 4.3% pace in the first quarter of the year. However, the pace of expansion slowed to 1.1% in the third quarter as corporate investment remained sluggish and exports were sapped by lacklustre growth in emerging economies.
Mongolia’s economy is set to rebound in 2014, the country’s central bank governor said in December, even though foreign investment flows have slowed because of the continuing weakness in coal and copper prices. The head of Mongolia’s Central Bank Naidansuren Zoljargal said GDP could expand as much as 17% next year from around 11% this year. Although the forecast is upbeat, it is well below levels predicted by
Digicel to Tap Markets for €360 Million
Central Bank Predicts Economic Rebound
nary shares, which are valued at €153 million, that Dufry will issue to Folli Follie Group from its authorised capital. Dufry is planning to refurbish and expand retail space at key airports in Greece, where HDF generates more than 80% of the turnover of its 111 shops with international visitors, mainly from Britain and Germany.
Digicel, the telecoms group owned by Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, plans to borrow more than €360 million from the capital markets to cover general company spending. The group, which operates mobile networks in the Caribbean, Central America and the south Pacific, said it intends to launch a private placement of €362.5 million in bonds. They will carry an interest rate of 8.25% and will be repayable in 2020, according to a statement. “Digicel intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which could include capital expenditures, investments, acquisitions or debt repayment,” the company said. The group borrowed €1.09 billion at the same interest rate from the bond markets last year and used it to repay some of its existing debt at what it said were more attractive terms. A spokesperson said that the company would not be making any further comment on the proposed bond issue for the moment. Denis O’Brien
Sports Direct in Row with Adidas
the World Bank, which in an early November report revised its 2013 Mongolia growth figure to 12.5% from its April prediction of 13%. Mongolia’s economy expanded 12.2% in 2012 and 17% in 2011, when it topped world growth rankings, according to World Bank data.
Sports Direct is caught up in a new row with Adidas after the German sports brand refused to supply the retailer with Chelsea’s new kit. Sports Direct said Adidas plans to restrict supply of Chelsea’s shirt for the 2014-15 season. Dave Forsey, CEO of Sports Direct, said the move is “impossible to understand”. Adidas is thought to be looking to sell the kit through the club and its own shops and website. It is thought this is the first time that a brand has limited supply of a team’s kit in the UK. For background, Sports Direct is majority-owned by Mike Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United. Adidas used to produce Newcastle’s kit, but that contract is now held by Puma. email@example.com |
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after work Prima International School
Prima School Opens Prima International School celebrated the grand opening of its new premises on 29 November. The school is now able to accommodate its talented staff in three departments – pre-school, primary and secondary – in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. Prima has converted an old Belgrade building, which had been dormant for years, into a new facility filled with brighteyed students looking to improve their future prospects. Prima considers itself a school of tomorrow, rooted in nature and looking to the horizon and embracing a future in which it hopes to serve as a beacon for Belgrade schools in years to come. BMW
New X Model The official premiere of the new BMW X5 model took place at the Delta Motors showroom in Radnička in Belgrade. Guests and media representatives were given the opportunity to see the latest model from the global automobile giant first hand. In his welcoming speech, Delta Autogroup General Manager Nemanja Lazić said: “Next year will be the year of the X model. It gives me great pleasure to announce the next season with the new BMW X5, which opens a new chapter in the auto industry by raising the quality bar.”
Celebrating 11 Years
Press clippings company Ninamedia and its public opinion research and production service Buzz Monitor celebrated their 11th anniversary, having amassed more than 120 employees and 400 clients while producing and delivering 8,000 reports daily. Company Director General Dragan Radić and guests celebrated 11 years of Ninamedia with a mixture of symbolism and satisfaction. The celebration took place at Belgrade’s Promenada restaurant, where clients, political figures, popular musicians and film actors mixed and were entertained by folk singer Miroslav Ilić.
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Anniversary Marks Successful Period More than 50 journalists from numerous print media gathered at the Mala Fabrika Ukusa (Little Factory of Taste) restaurant to celebrate a successful business year with representatives of Siemens d.o.o. Belgrade. Siemens is satisfied with its annual results, and especially with its growing number of employees, which increased from 650 to 950 compared with last year. Also being celebrated were the 10th anniversary of the company’s wind generator factory in Subotica and the successful ‘Become a Supplier for Siemens’ fair. Piraeus Bank Beograd
Good Business Results Piraeus Bank Beograd finishes 2013 with strong results due to good capitalisation, adequate liquidity and efficient cost controls. The financial results of Piraeus Bank Group and Piraeus Bank Beograd, as well as the company’s plans for the upcoming period, were presented during the traditional holiday season working brunch in front of media representatives. The brunch’s host, Mr. Neoclis Neocleous, said that 2013 had been very good for Piraeus Group due to the successful integration of ATEbank, Geniki Bank and the domestic activities of three Cypriot banks, as well as the purchase of Millennium Bank, further strengthening its market position. Today Piraeus Bank is the leading bank in Greece, with 29% market share in terms of deposits. “In eight years of operations in Serbia, Piraeus Bank Beograd has grown in size and business volume,” said Mr. Neocleous. “The bank now has about €600 million in loans and €300 million in deposits. We are interested in investing, especially in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, energy and small- and medium-sized enterprises.”
Piraeus Bank’s traditional holiday season brunch with media representatives
Universal Media’s Coca-Cola Campaign Wins The Sempler award ceremony at the 15th SEMPL media festival in Slovenia saw first prize – the Grand Sempler for best media strategy – awarded to Serbia’s Universal Media agency for its ‘Share a Coke!’ campaign. The agency and its campaign also won the Golden Sempler in category A for strategic use of mixed media. As well as Serbian winners, Slovenian agencies Pristop and Pristop Media, Renderspace and Sonce.net were all awarded Golden Semplers for their work, and, for the first time, a Sempler was awarded to a Macedonian agency: McCann of Skopje, which won best social media campaign. firstname.lastname@example.org |
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after work Hello! Magazine
Person of the Year Awards Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine, their daughter Alison Andrews and grandson Michael Garfinkel hosted a reception for Hello! magazine’s Person of the Year 2013 at the White Palace in Belgrade. Sports, film, TV, music and fashion personalities were chosen by readers’ votes. The reception was organised by Color Press Group. This year’s Person of the Year winners were: Ognjen Amidžić, Slavko Beleslin, Sanja Marinković, Marija Kilibarda, Vesna Dedić, Vladimir Arsenijević, Žarko Jokanović, Milan Popović, Esma Redžepova, Emir Hadžihafizbegović, Boris Milivojević, Irfan Mensur, Nina Janković, Ivana Maksimović, Aleksa Jelić, Nataša Kovačević, Veselin Jevrosimović, Ivana Španović, Emir Bekrić, Bata Spasojević, Jelena Rozga, Aco Pejović, Nataša Bekvalac, Svetlana ‘Ceca’ Ražnatović and Vlado Georgiev. Mercedes-Benz
Media Dinner Mercedes-Benz SCG hosted its traditional media dinner on 9 December at the eclectic Top of the Hub restaurant situated on the 25th floor of the Ušće Business Centre, Belgrade. General Manager of Mercedes-Benz SCG RolfJuergen Seyerle expressed his gratitude to the media for their support and professionalism, while summing up the company’s 2013 results: “Last year was very difficult, but I can tell you now that we are satisfied with the results accomplished. We plan to end this year as leaders in the sale of premium passenger vehicles sector, and I can already confirm that we are going to have our best results in the sale of commercial freight vehicles.”
Pharma Success Story
Hemofarm held a formal cocktail reception for its management, business partners and friends to celebrate the end of another successful year and the beginning of new challenges. Hemofarm CEO Ronald Seeliger underlined that he was satisfied with the company’s results: “Hemofarm has managed to up its overall turnover by 10% and sales of prescription medicine by 30%. Realistic forecasts show that the company will be producing more than 200 million packages, or more than a billion tablets, thus setting a record in the company’s history. We have exported over half of our products and the medication produced in Serbia is being sold all over the world. This year, we also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Hemofarm Foundation, have managed to improve the company’s efficiency in all areas and, as the number-one pharmaceutical company in Serbia, have published a report on sustainable development for which we have been graded with a respectable B+, the highest grade that a regional or ex-Yugoslav company has received.”
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
Holidays are the time to express our gratitude and appreciation for our partners. In 2014 we wish You new opportunities, new perspectives, new successes... ... but above all, we wish You
Sweet new year!
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Ten Years of CorD Magazine CorD magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary on 12 December at the Crystal Hall of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade alongside business partners, representatives of the diplomatic corps and friends. “We celebrate the first decade of our existence proud of our independence,” said CorD publisher Branislav Novčić, “and by being a widely recognisable and popular magazine unique in the region in terms of its structure and concept. We are embarking on the next decade with the ambition of expanding our business regionally and progressing in line with standards that are easily recognisable by our readership. Our editorial concept will remain based on the views, opinions and recommendations of leaders and experts, and on facts that will help our readers make the right business decisions.”
H.E. Mr. Mehmet Kemal BOZAY (left), Turkish Ambassador to Serbia, and H.E. Mr. Ján Varšo, Slovakian Ambassador to Serbia
H.E. Mrs. Narinder Chauhan, Indian Ambassador to Serbia, Azad Pashayev, First Secretary of the Embassy of Azerbaijan, and H.E. Mr. Majid Fahim Pour, Iranian Ambassador to Serbia
Zoran Sekulić, President of the Serbian Media Association and Editor-in-Chief of FoNet, Ljubica Gojgić, Editor of B92, and Gordana Predić, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and Information
Dušan Stojaković and Natalija Popović, Hemofarm Serbia, and Vuk Brajović, Providence Porter Novelli +
H.E. Mr. Johannes Eigner (left), Austrian Ambassador to Serbia, Branislav Bugarski, Secretary for Interregional Cooperation and Local Self-government of Vojvodina, Andreas Graf, Acting Director and CEO/CFO of Vip Mobile and Claudio Cesario, President of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank Serbia
Mina Dragić (left), Head of the Primary Department, Jovana Božinić, Head of Marketing, and Brigitte MacIntosh, Head; all of the PRIMA International School
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H.R.H. Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjević and H.R.H. Princess Katarina
Milena Drača (left), Adver City, and Iva Djurić, Marketing Director of AIK Banka
Mirela Micić and Ozren Djurašević, Mercedes-Benz
Vera Didanović, Editor of NIN and Dragoljub Žarković, Editor-In-Chief of Vreme
Grigory Gromyko (left), Consellor at the Commercial and Economic Affairs Embassy of Belarus, and Søren Engelbrecht Hansen, Regional Coordinator Western Balkans of the Trade Council of Denmark
Ansgar Borneman, Country Manager of Nestlé Adriatic
Vanja Djordjević (left), aim, and Jovana Žuržin, Head of Corporate Communications of Siemens
Aleksandra Radošević (left), Head of Commercial Activities at the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and Sanja Ivanić, Director of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce
Milka Forcan, Globe Communication, and Mark Harrison, Harrisons Solicitors
Svetlana Petrović, Pharma Swiss, Dalila Ljubičić, Serbian Media Association, Duško Petričić, illustrator and caricaturist, and Miroslava Nešič Bikić, Piraeus Bank
Dalila Petronijević, Executive Director of the Serbian Media Association, Zoran Papović, Marija Matić, Media Planning Director of Direct Media, and Ruža Ristanović, Executive Director of aim
Srdjan Vučurević, Director of Info Lokal Media Group
Saša Mirković (left), Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture and Information, Zoran Sekulić, President of the Serbian Media Association and Editor-in-Chief of FoNet, and Ivan jakšić, Advisor to the Ministry of Economy
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faces & places 01.12.2013
IWC Charity Bazaar The International Women’s Club (IWC) held its 13th consecutive Charity Bazaar this year. A total of 57 stands were deployed at the Bazaar with representatives from 48 countries. Apart from shopping for souvenirs, books, toys, clothes and various other items from around the world, visitors were also able to try traditional meals from various national cuisines as well as popular specialties, drinks and beverages. The money collected will be donated to Serbian charity projects. The Charity Bazaar is the IWC’s biggest humanitarian event and one of the biggest fundraising events in Serbia. This year’s Bazaar was officially opened by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Katherine of the Serbian royal family.
Oksana Smerechuk, President of the IWC (left), and H.R.H. Katarina karadjordjević
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
Six Decades of Imlek
Slobodan Petrović, CEO of Imlek and Svetlana Glumac, CORA Director, Danube Foods Group
Regional dairy-industry leader Imlek celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Belexpocentar in Belgrade, announcing additions to its organic product range for 2014. “We are going to remember 2013 not only for our 60th anniversary, but also for our company being the first to produce organic milk, called Bello Organic, in our country,” said Imlek CEO Slobodan Petrović in his welcoming speech. Deputy President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Vidosava Džagić gave Petrović an official award of recognition for the company’s successful operations and said that Imlek had set itself apart by undergoing ownership transformation, leading the transformation of Serbia’s dairy industry and being a pioneer in implementing EU regulations.
Mrs. and H.E. Mr. Veijalainen and H.E. Mr. Laurent Stokvis, Dutch Ambassador to Serbia 05.12.2013
Finland’s Independence Day Together with associates and guests, Finnish Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Kari Veijalainen celebrated the 93rd anniversary of the country’s independence. Finnish Independence Day marks the country’s 1917 liberation from Russian occupation. Ambassador Veijalainen welcomed a number of guests, including Serbian public, political and cultural figures, as well as members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Belgrade.
DSW Christmas Reception German development agency DSW’s held its traditional Christmas reception at the Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade to support a fundraising event for charity organisation BELhospice. A total of 81,000 RSD was raised, while donations by the GermanSerbian Business Association will raise the overall total to €1,000. Campaign organisers expressed their gratitude to TV host Ivan Zeljković for his dedication to the campaign, as well as to DSW members such as Adria Media, BSH Kućni Aparati, Dr. Oetker, Metropol Palace Hotel, Lufthansa, Metro Cash & Carry, Nestlé Adriatic Foods, Squashland and Stihl, all of which donated prizes to the raffle.
Mrs. and H.E. Mr. Veijalainen and Mrs. and H.E. Mr. Kirby, US Ambassador to Serbia
Hussar Award for Crkvenjakov Ronald Seeliger, President of DSW Serbia (left), and Martin Knapp, Head of DSW Serbia
Bulgarian Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Angel Dimitrov handed the Hussar Award to former Serbian Ambassador to Sofia H.E. Mr. Aleksandar Crkvenjakov at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria. The award has been assigned by the President of Bulgaria in recognition of Crkvenjakov’s efforts to strengthen and develop Bulgarian-Serbian relations and cooperation following the end of Crkvenjakov’s appointment as Serbian Ambassador to Bulgaria.
Aleksandar Crkvenjakov and H.E. Mr. Angel Dimitrov
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faces & places 05.12.2013
FIC Annual Assembly Frederic Coin, President of the Executive Board of Societe Generale Banka Srbija, has been re-elected President of the Board of Directors of the Foreign Investors Council at the FIC’s regular annual session of the Assembly. Coin was re-elected following his initial appointment to the role in early September, when he replaced outgoing President Costin Borc. Telenor CEO Ove Fredheim will hold the post of FIC Vice President elected as substitute to the FIC President. Srdjan Lazović, Head of Corporate
and Regulatory Affairs for the CEFTA Region at British American Tobacco SEE, will hold the post of FIC Vice President elected as spokesperson of the Association. Other members of the Board of Directors include: CEO of Carlsberg Srbija and SEE Gabor Bekefi; COO of Delhaize Serbia John Kyritsis; CEO of Fiat Automobili Srbija Antonio Cesare Ferrara; CEO of Lafarge Srbija Dimitrije Knjeginjić; Regional Director of Nestlé Adriatic Ansgar Bornemann; and West Balkans Commercial Director of PepsiCo Michalis Orfanoudakis.
The Joy of Movement The Belgrade Dance Festival and Vip Mobile Serbia held a cocktail reception at the Hyatt Regency Hotel to celebrate seven years of successful cooperation. Vip Mobile and Belgrade Dance Festival have worked together to improve the festival programme and accompanying events yearon-year, contributing to the popularity of dance in Serbia and the region. The Belgrade Dance Festival and Vip Mobile have also launched the ‘Vip Talents’ programme, which provides education for young ballet dancers and includes sending them to practice workshops taught by renowned mentors. The programme has been devised to give direction to young people on their road to becoming professional dancers.
H.E. MR. Franc but and Stanislav Hočevar, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Belgrade
H.E. MR. Franc but and MICHAEL DAVENPORT, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia
Slovenian Christmas Reception Andreas Graf, Acting Director of Vip Mobile Serbia, and Aje Jung, Director of Belgrade Dance Festival
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
The Slovenian Embassy held a Christmas reception at the premises of the Army Hall. Guests were able to see the products of several Slovenian companies, while Slovenian Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Franc But gave a welcoming speech. Guests also enjoyed an XYZ fashion show by Slovenian company Sportina Group.
Japanese Embassy Celebrates the Birthday of Emperor Akihito A formal reception was held to celebrate the birthday of Japanese Emperor Akihito at the Embassy of Japan in Serbia, with guests greeted by Japanese Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Mr. Masafumi Kuroki. The current Emperor of Japan was born on 23 December 1933, but as his birthday falls during the New Year holidays, the reception to celebrate his birthday is usually organised in early December. Emperor Akihito came to the throne in 1989 and is the 125th emperor of his line according to the country’s traditional system of inheritance.
SAM Annual Awards The Serbian Association of Managers held a gala evening for the second SAM Annual Awards, which are selected by its members. Awards were presented in seven categories: Best Employer, Best Manager, Best Young Manager, Best Institutions for the Education and Training of Managers, and, for the first time, Best Regional Project of the Year, Best Employer and Best Economic Journalist . Also given out was a special prize for the greatest contribution to the development and promotion of leadership among youth.
Economist Book Launch Since 2009, Color Press Group published the yearbook, ‘The Economist: World in…’, which brings together the opinions of leading economists and financial experts in the region. The release of this year’s edition at the Belgrade Hyatt Regency Hotel brought together the following: Corey Widowed, Ceves; Alexander Krtinić, CFO of Atlas Group in Podgorica; Zdravko Mršić, Podravka; Miodrag Kostić, MK Group: Dusan Bajatović, CEO of Srbijagas; Dejan Ljuština of PricewaterhouseCoopers; Miodrag Šajatović of Lider Press in Zagreb; and Laza Kekić of The Economist Intelligence Unit in London. 17.12.2013
AmCham: The Second Lap Time – Engage for Change More than 50% of members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia (AmCham), which brings together 180 American and other foreign and domestic companies, all of which have together invested more than €14 billion in the Serbian economy, expect that the next two years may lead to additional investments and the creation of new jobs. The forecast is the result of a survey conducted last month among AmCham members. The survey’s results were presented to members of the Serbian government at an event organised by AmCham. The meeting was attended by: Finance Minister Lazar Krstić; Economy Minister Saša Radulović; Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia; President of AmCham Miloš Djurković; Zoran Petrović, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank and Chairman of AmCham’s Finance Committee; and Chris Woods, Managing Director of JT International. The event was moderated by Maja Piščević, Executive Director of AmCham.
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111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
World Markets and Opportunities
Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe, with great diversity in its nature and climate. Its distinctive yellow and blue flag is among the national emblems that reflect centuries of history between Sweden and its Nordic neighbours.
The Nobel Prize, considered among the world’s most prestigious awards, is the legacy of Sweden’s Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). Prizes are awarded to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”.
Less than 1% of household waste in Sweden ends up in a rubbish dump. The rest is recycled in different ways, making the country a world leader in this field.
Swedish maternity and paternity leave is among the most generous in the world, allowing fathers and mothers to take a shared total of 480 days off while still earning 77.6% of their salaries.
Carl XVI Gustaf is the reigning King of Sweden. Prince Carl Philip (left), Princess Madeleine, Queen Silvia, King Carl Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Swedish industry is overwhelmingly in private control, like many other industrialised Western countries. Publicly owned enterprises have always been of minor importance to the economy.
The Swedish Education Act states that all children and young people are entitled to equal access to education, regardless of gender, where they live or social and economic factors. Attendance at school is compulsory from the age of seven, although many start a year earlier.
Sweden has the worldâ€™s eighth-highest per capita income. In 2013, it ranked second in the Democracy Index, second in the OECD Better Life Index, seventh in the UN Human Development Index and fourth in the Legatum Prosperity Index.
Swedish companies have a long history of active corporate social responsibility work and the country is viewed as a pioneer in the field. In 2013, Sweden topped the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking, which rates 59 countries based on 17 environmental, social and governance indicators.
Mr. Bengt E. Johansson, CSR Ambassador, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Thinking Globally As a leader in global CSR, Sweden often finds itself acting as a de facto guide to other countries when it comes to CSR. The environment is often considered crucial to good CSR, but labour relations, human rights and anti-corruption also play a vital role
in the UN Global Compact. While this has been more or less fulfilled, the position today has more of a responsibility to develop cooperation with other countries and with Swedish companies engaged in foreign trade.
s befits a country that is a global leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR), it is natural that Sweden would have a dedicated CSR Ambassador. Bengt E. Johansson denies that Sweden claims to be “the best in the world” when it comes to CSR, but it cannot be denied that the country leads the way in terms of sustainability and anti-corruption. Mr. Johansson explains Sweden’s pioneering CSRcentric policies and the influence the country has globally.
• You were appointed to this position following your role as Consul General in China. How important was
It should be underlined that anti-corruption is a key to all sustainability programmes. If you buy yourself permits and licences through bribes, no sustainability programmes are meaningful
• What exactly does the role of CSR Ambassador entail? - The position of CSR Ambassador was created in 2002 to popularise CSR as a tool for companies to achieve sustainability and to promote the participation by companies World Markets and Opportunities | sweden
the experience you gained in China considering CSR’s importance in linking corporations, political structures and societies? - CSR is a priority set by China’s government and Sweden is the only country to have an intergovernmental agreement with China on CSR. Our contacts with Chinese authorities include many training seminars;
we have now arranged more than 10 large regional seminars in various parts of China. Our Swedish companies – more than 400 – are very much into CSR, as most of them, both exporters and importers, are sourcing in China. We are happy to note that Swedish-Chinese trade has attained a high level of quality. We have had no scandals of importing sub-standard goods from China, and Sweden has therefore seen no reason to ‘protect’ our market from Chinese imports. When we talk with the Chinese government, we have many similar views on CSR. We both want CSR to be integrated into the business model. At the same time, on a local level I have often noticed the influence of the American view of CSR as corporate philanthropy. Our view is that the issue is not what you do with your profit, but how you have earned your profit. • Why is Sweden the leader in CSR? - We don’t claim to be the best in the world, but we try at least. We have always been top-ranking in
anti-corruption. The forestry sector is based on policies more than 200 years old, [which state] that the forest owner must replant after cutting down. We were first to have laws on transparency and public access to documents. We are known in the EU as the initiator of legislation to increase public access to documents. Our trade unions also achieved codecision in company management several decades ago. However, much more must be done. • In terms of company size, how difficult is it for SMEs to achieve a high CSR profile in comparison with large companies? - It can be difficult for SMEs for the simple reason that they are small in staff and CSR work requires a specialist – and an interested CEO, of course. We need to point out that there are companies that can do considerable harm to the environment and people even if they have few employees. We now face a situation where the number of Swedish companies that will have to do sustainability reporting might rise, from the present level of 200 to 1,000, if the EU Commission proposal for compulsory sustainability reporting by companies with more than 500 employees is approved by the member states and the European Parliament. This would be a major development for midsize companies if we need to adjust the reporting format as well as our promotional services to also suit small companies. • Just how important is CSR to the development of countries and regions in which high-profile CSR companies operate? - We have some cities with one dominant employer and that whole city is dependent on the company’s attitude to society. Take, for example, cities in the north of Sweden having a mining company as the dominant employer. Mining companies are some of the biggest polluters in all industries. The iron ore mine at Kiruna, the world’s largest underground mine,
has now asked the city to move part of its centre when underground mining is extended. You cannot get full support from a city or its inhabitants if the company does not consult the population in an open, fair manner. • And how important is CSR to the sustainable development of a company’s business operations?
The state must guide companies in the right direction. Through its foreign service, the state can also assist companies in difficult markets. But the state should not intervene if self-regulation by the market functions well - You cannot have a sustainable business without focusing actively on the environment, labour relations, human rights and anti-corruption – and that is the definition of CSR. It should also be underlined that anti-corruption is a key to all sustainability programmes. If you buy yourself permits and licences through bribes, no sustainability programmes are meaningful. • What are the best CSR examples and CSR role models to be found among Swedish companies? - As I mentioned, the forestry admin-
istration is something rather unique. We have not had any cases of mismanagement and the forests cover a greater area than ever before. Among most modern companies I would like to highlight H&M and IKEA, which manage to provide very affordable clothes and furniture to the people thanks to good CSR work with suppliers in developing countries. H&M has this week (9 December) announced a new salary system that aims to solve the perennial problem of underpaid textile workers in Asia and has got widespread publicity in the international press. H&M was also the first company to sign up to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in May this year. In Vietnam, 250,000 people work for companies supplying to IKEA. These companies are not only providing households with affordable high-quality products, they also give a chance to developing countries to take part in international trade. • How damaging can an undeveloped and low-profile CSR agenda be to a company’s reputation and business? - The Swedish-Finnish telecom company TeliaSonera suffered a loss of confidence from shareholders, lenders and the public when acts of corruption in Uzbekistan were disclosed in 2012. In my country, the media plays an important role as a watchdog of company behaviour. • In what ways can the state promote CSR and why is it in the state’s best interest to do so (considering, for instance, that local companies can contribute to the development of local communities – and indirectly to the state – with their CSR activities)? - The state must explain its international commitments to the likes of the UN and OECD. The state must also guide companies in the right direction. Through its foreign service, the state can also assist companies in difficult markets. The state should, however, not intervene if self-regulation by the market functions well. ■
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
H.E. Mr. Christer Asp, Swedish Ambassador to Serbia
Coming Into Focus Given its standing as one of Serbia’s most supportive partners, Sweden is guiding the country every step of the way when it comes to reform and the upcoming EU accession negotiations. Swedish Ambassador to Serbia Christer Asp tells CorD that Serbia’s good work thus far is deserving of reward
• What are the most important existing areas of cooperation between Sweden and Serbia? - I see growing interest from Swedish companies in the Serbian market. We already have a lot of Swedish companies here, more than 70. Also, we have new companies coming here, such as H&M, and IKEA is expected to come here in the course of the next year. In general, there is a growing interest in this market and that follows a pattern we have seen with other countries that were about to start accession negotiations with the EU. Culturally, we have very strong cooperation. We have had a cultural
erbia and Sweden have had long-standing cooperation in all areas. According to H.E. Mr. Christer Asp, Ambassador of Sweden to Serbia, whether talking about bilateral relations, political or economic cooperation, relations between the two countries are excellent. “Of course,” he says, “there is nothing that cannot be improved, so our main task is to maintain and increase cooperation. One main topic right now is the start of EU accession negotiations, where we have a very active dialogue with Serbia on how to prepare for these negotiations. In the fields of economy and trade, I think our relations could improve in both directions. I talk quite regularly with the Serbian Ambassador in Stockholm on how we could do this jointly – how Sweden could export more to here and how Serbia could export more to Sweden.”
Over the years we have had a number of projects with the Ministry of the Interior covering both the administrative reform process within the ministry and technical parts of police work
World Markets and Opportunities | sweden
attaché here for almost four years and that made it possible for us to concentrate on how much we can improve the cultural exchange between our countries. • For years, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has been working actively on socially responsible behaviour on a global scale. What corporate social responsibility (CSR) components and
strategies are most important, how significant are they both globally and locally, and to what extent has Serbia been involved in this project? - CSR is a part of Swedish international development assistance and Swedish foreign policy, because that’s a part of our concept of promoting human rights around the world. It is a cornerstone of our foreign policy. We have ongoing projects in many different countries. Here in Serbia, it’s been implemented for about two years. The Swedish government expects Swedish companies to act in a responsible way, both socially and economically, when they are operating in other markets. All Swedish companies have embraced the idea of CSR, which means responsible social behaviour, responsible behaviour towards the communities where they work and responsible behaviour regarding the environment. Over the past several years we have had a number of seminars to raise awareness about CSR. In the second half of December we had many activities in Serbia. One of them was in cooperation with the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade. We discussed this issue with students, who are the next generation of professionals. We also had another seminar with representatives of the government, because CSR should not be something
for companies, but something also supported and embraced by the government. Serbia is very much in focus now when it comes to EU issues, so I think it’s a good place to promote the idea of CSR. • The most important Swedish assistance to Serbia is in development assistance. Where do you feel this is most advanced? - We see Serbia as a very important future partner, particularly from a strategic point of view. So we find it important to support Serbia financially through our development assistance programme. We have done this for more than 10 years. Very recently our government made a decision to extend this assistance for another seven years. We do this because we think it is important to assist not only verbally and through EU institutions, but also to support various projects in a more concrete way – financially. • The development assistance programme (strategy) was implemented back in 2009. What are its most important results? - Sweden is the third largest bilateral donor in Serbia. All of our projects cover four main areas: the environmental area, the rule-of-law area, administrative reform and strengthening civil society. All of the projects are long-term. It should be a project that leaves something substantial behind. Our experience is that our partners work very well with us; the projects are sustainable. • Cooperation on democratic governance and human rights (including gender equality, minority rights and security sector reform) is being implemented through six projects, all of which are supposed to be realised by 2015. Could you tell us more about these projects and their goals? - I would like to mention our very recent project: the setting of the play ‘Seven’. We launched this project on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November. We set up this
play in Novi Sad, Niš and Novi Pazar. It is about seven women who tell their stories and their struggle for fundamental rights. We got a tremendous response in all three cities. The idea is to raise this issue and make people discuss the issue in order to raise standards in this field. We have long-term projects when it comes to supporting civil society
EU negotiations have practically started already because we have started the screening process, which is the first stage of the EU accession negotiation process and NGOs that work in the field of human rights. We have a number of ongoing projects in Preševo Valley, where we focus on capacity building within municipalities and also on minority rights, especially for Roma and the Albanian population. • The assistance Sweden has provided to Serbia on security sector reform is also very important. Which areas has Sweden focused on in particular? - That is what I would call a particular success story. Over the years we have had a number of projects with the Ministry of the Interior. Also, we have very strong support from Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dačić. It covers both the ad-
ministrative reform process within the ministry and also technical parts of police work such as intelligence, forensics… We also had a Swedish policeman stationed in the Ministry of the Interior who is a specialist on intelligence gathering and forensics. Those projects will continue. Within the area of the rule of law, we had projects with the Ministry of Justice that were focused mainly on free legal aid programmes. • In terms of the topic that marked 2013 when it came to Serbian internal affairs – the European integration process – what are your expectations for Serbia in 2014? - I expect negotiations to start within several weeks. My government is one of those who believe that it is very important to start as soon as possible, as it is a way to acknowledge that your government made tremendous progress in 2013 when it came to dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, and that should be rewarded. Actually, negotiations have practically started already because we have started the screening process, which is the first stage of the EU accession negotiation process. And it started extremely well – we are surprised by the extent to which Serbia is prepared for these negotiations. There are some issues that still remain, such as the normalisation of relations with Kosovo, and I think that we, on the EU side, should be respectful to Serbia and the fact that it will take time for full a normalisation process and for people to accept the agreement. Nothing can be done overnight when it comes to these issues – it takes time. Also, 2014 will very much be a year of focus on economic reform. There is also the need to take a very serious look at the bureaucracy that exists, and that must be changed in order to attract investors. In that area, we have had very good signals from the Serbian government about its readiness to reform bureaucracy and when it comes to the fight against corruption. ■
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Dušan Stokić, Secretary of the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Committee at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce
Giving Back to Society Serbia has begun the process of improving its companies’ track record in CSR. Leading the way is the Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Committee. And with more than 250 companies recognised for their efforts so far, the country’s CSR movement is growing
ocially responsible behaviour is not a new topic in Serbia. Social responsibility was first mentioned in Serbia in the 12th century by the Studenica Monastery, the oldest endowment of the Nemanjić family. “Social responsibility back then had a different format,” says Dušan Stokić, Secretary of the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Committee at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. “This was mostly patronage, charity and philanthropy. Social responsibility has evolved over time, with new issues such as consumer protection, environmental protection, women’s rights, ethical business and others springing up. The expansion of social responsibility in Serbia through numerous projects and programmes promoting this concept started in 2003 at corporate, national and international level. For the last six years, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) has been giving out the National Corporate Social Responsibility Award, with more than 250 companies and organisations already recognised for their CSR activities over four award cycles. At the same time, PKS has been contributing significantly to the development of the international social responsibility standard ISO 26000,
as well as getting engaged in promoting the ten principles of Global Response Serbia.” • How aware are national companies and the political elite of the importance of CSR to both the companies’ and the country’s reputation? - Domestic companies are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that,
It is a common misconception that only wealthy people can be socially responsible because social responsibility is likened to philanthropy and corporate donations
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in order to be successful at what you do and maintain a long-term market position, operating solely within the economic scope and thinking only about profit and the market are simply not enough. Nowadays, companies need to pay more attention to the local community, environmental protection, employee satisfaction and safety, as well as social issues in companies and the environment in general.
The political elite also needs to be aware of just how important this issue is because there has to be a two-way approach to social responsibility in Serbia. The first approach is bottom-up, and this is implemented by the companies and organisations themselves. The second approach is top-down, which entails incentives and support from decision makers for bolstering the social responsibility concept through strategic documents and a general environment that will serve as an incentive for all actors in society. There is plenty of room for the development of socially responsible business, primarily in SMEs, which often have the motive and desire to become better and more competitive but also sometimes disregard social responsibility aspects. • How much did these recent difficult years for the economy affect the scope of socially responsible operations among Serbian companies? - It is not easy to quantify the negative effects of the economic and financial crisis on the volume of social-
ly responsible business operations in Serbia, but they are very visible. If you have a look at how much interest has been shown in PKS’ National Corporate Social Responsibility Award, you will see that the biggest interest shown by companies and organisations was during the second and third cycles (in 2008 and 2010 respectively), when many companies competed for the award. The number of applications started to decline after that. What is quite certain is that during the crisis, investment amounts have decreased and investment priorities have been changed. • During a time of economic crisis, is CSR the first thing to be sacrificed when companies are forced to cut back their overheads? - Unfortunately, that is true, but it shouldn’t be that way. From a corporate perspective, it is quite natural during a financial crisis to push back everything that does not directly contribute to profit and successful operations. However, modern-day companies, which have long-term plans in place, are aware that without caring about their people and local community, without consistently complying with environmental protection requirements and without constant communication with all stakeholders, they will not be able to become or remain successful and competitive in today’s market. This wins trust, which again is an important psychological factor in sales. It is a common misconception that only wealthy people can be socially responsible because social responsibility is likened to philanthropy and corporate donations, which is quite a narrow point of view. It actually doesn’t take much money for companies to become socially responsible. For instance, employees volunteering to do something useful and necessary for the local community is all it takes. • At what point in their development do companies usually start thinking about the needs of society?
- Just like many other social phenomena, some companies are more receptive to influences from their environment. Social responsibility activities show what level of awareness of society’s needs a company’s senior management has. When a company is certified and starts complying with integrated quality management, environmental and work health and safety systems, it is only natural for that company to integrate social responsibility principles into its operations as a next step. Global trends are such that in a few years time companies will probably be required to report on their non-
Awareness about the needs of the local community has to be an integral part of any company’s activities. They need to communicate constantly with the most important stakeholders financial activities as well as submitting financial reports. Today, these reports are about sustainability and CSR. In April this year, the European Commission adopted the draft of a new directive stipulating reporting about social and environmental issues, which means that companies will be required to submit a mandatory integrated report. It is very important to think about social responsibility issues on time. • Do you have information about which CSR sectors Serbian companies mostly focus on? Do they focus more on environmental protection than gender equality, for instance? - According to PKS data, most CSR
activities are performed in two areas – the social community (30-40%) and the environment (15-20%). Still, it is interesting to note that innovative solutions and ideas about new social responsibility projects keep popping up in response to the needs of specific target groups. • Could you compare the treatment CSR gets among domestic companies with responses in Western Europe? - Experience has shown that, in Serbia, multinational enterprises and companies are usually the instigators of social responsibility, as their business policies already contain social responsibility principles. Awareness about the needs of the local community has to be an integral part of any company’s activities. They need to communicate constantly with the most important stakeholders, and the local community is often one of the most important stakeholders. So it is very important, particularly for companies whose production adversely affects the environment and people’s health, to get involved with the local community, local civil society and other organisations, and to communicate with them constantly. In this respect, I am confident those domestic companies that have been behaving in this way stand shoulderto-shoulder to the best practices and examples of Western Europe. • Do you have information about which companies in Serbia are more successful – those which have consistently implemented CSR or those which are only just starting to? - Exact data of this kind probably doesn’t exist, but what is certain is that companies in Serbia are increasingly starting to realise their real role in society – namely, that you have to operate as an economic entity while still being mindful of not putting other people, employees, competition, the general population and the environment in jeopardy. On top of this, you have to make sure that you are giving back to the community more than what you take from nature. ■
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Sasja Beslik, CSR Expert and Head of Responsible Investment and Governance at Nordea Bank
Investing in our Planet’s Future Sweden has a long tradition of investing with the longterm in mind. With the world changing rapidly and the dangers posed by issues such as climate change and water shortages, investors will need to start backing companies whose focus is not solely on the bottom line
• Aside from socially responsible operations, there is a new term: socially responsible investing. What does the latter entail? - It entails traditional financial investment aspects in combination with the material environmental, social and governance aspects. In short, it means that you as an investor invest not only in numbers, but also in a company’s ability to manage material risk, which can impact the numbers. Nowadays, the definition that is used more and more is ‘responsible investing’, without the ‘social’ connotation.
lame for the looming danger of climate change and unsustainable practices is often thrown, if not first at governments, then at the feet of businesses and investors. Growing populations, growing demand and, as such, growing economies demand that we consume more – more materials, more energy, more fossil fuels, more resources. Given the country’s position as CSR-advocates-in-chief, it’s no surprise to learn that Sweden is also pioneering the practice of ‘responsible investing’, wherein investors are expected to consider the long-term environmental and social impacts of the businesses they back, choosing those with strategies that will yield returns, not only financially, but for the planet’s long-term future as well. Nordea Bank’s Head of Responsible Investment and Governance Sasja Beslik explains the thinking that lies behind this forward-thinking approach to investing.
• Could you tell us why and how Sweden became the pioneer and global leader in CSR? - Sweden has a long tradition of investing over the long-term horizons, and since things are changing rapidly
Sustainability is the concept of creating growth without growth, per se. It means that, for example, production needs to take place without fossil fuels or any damage to the environment
World Markets and Opportunities | sweden
in relation to climate change, demographics, water shortages etc., there is also interest in having more information at the investment level – how do companies manage their risks etc. • How important is environmental protection in the context of CSR and what does environmental protection encompass specifically? - For us as investors, companies manag-
ing environmental issues in a responsible way means a lot of money, less disruption, more efficiency etc. Energy efficiency, for example, minimises costs for a company, becoming a better investment for us – less cost, more profit. CO2 emissions will in future have a direct impact on the bottom line for companies, as we anticipate some sort of regulation will be in place. • Gender equality is another important aspect of CSR. In what ways can companies promote gender equality? - More diversity means a better ability to analyse and solve challenges. Gender diversity is key for the long-term success of a company as well as their ability to attract talent and clients. In Sweden today, it is one of the key investment parameters when investing in companies. • Respect for human rights is another important area of CSR. How are corporations from developed countries that have relocated production to emerging economies dealing with the problem of trampled human rights, issues associated with workers’ rights and similar issues? - Companies are becoming better at managing some of these issues. However, there is still a lot of lip service to HR issues in many cases. More focus from the investment community has led to greater transparency, and we can see improvements related to the management of health and safety, as well as basic community relations in developing countries.
• Combating corruption is also important within CSR. Different aspects such as the business environment, the development of economic institutions and society, and political will are intertwined with fighting corruption. Sweden has the lowest corruption rate in the world. What advice can other countries take on board in order to reduce levels of corruption? - Corruption is the worst enemy of any kind of long-term development. The rule of law in Sweden is one of the key elements to its success. Companies having issues with corruption know that it may be very costly to deal with the consequences, with a huge impact on
has a holistic approach to the planet and business, and as such business should not damage any of the planet’s limits. CSR is related to current business activities, i.e. taking responsibility for what it is today and tomorrow out of the current business model. It is a responsibility tag.
• Do you think it’s in the best interests of the state to promote CSR considering that local companies can contrib-
Energy efficiency minimises costs for a company, becoming a better investment for us – less cost, more profit. CO2 emissions will in future have a direct impact on the bottom line for companies
• Could you elaborate on the connection between CSR and sustainability? - Sustainability is the concept of creating growth without growth, per se. It means that, for example, production needs to take place without fossil fuels or any damage to the environment. It
Equality in the Military
• In your opinion, what are the best examples of CSR globally? - Swedish H&M, Danish Novo Nordisk, Brazilian Natura, Swedish SKF and Scania.
Scania’s vehicles can be tailored to run on any commercially available biofuel
their earnings and profit. Without the functioning rule of law, there cannot be functional business or a normal operating environment. Companies have a big responsibility to combat corruption even in very corrupt countries. These days, companies are cornerstones of societies and as such have an embedded responsibility to do so.
Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations
ute to the development of local communities – and indirectly to the development of the state – with their CSR activities? Do you find this premise to be true? - Very much so and promoting CSR leads to a more stable business environment and more robust companies, both from the community perspective and also from an employee perspective. • What role will young people play in the development of CSR in future? - Young people do not have a choice as things look today. CSR is part of the future they will enter and young people are the key driver for change. ■
The Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations is a groundbreaking organisation established to improve military approaches to gender perspectives
weden has established the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations (NCGM). Gender perspectives in conflict areas have too often not been handled in a good manner, so Sweden has strived to remedy the situation. The centre is a way to increase efforts to implement UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions. The centre will be a hub of knowledge and expertise when it comes to gender perspectives in military operations. Its work is done in close cooperation with all relevant organisations, including the UN, NATO, the EU, AU and nations that seek to work in the same progressive direction. A great deal of cooperation is ongoing within the Nordic framework, NATO and the UN among others, and this cooperation has only increased since the opening of the centre. Through the establishment of the NCGM, Sweden has taken an important step towards developing its military operations, ensuring the integration of gender perspectives into the planning, execution and evaluation of any operation. In February 2013, the NCGM at SWEDINT was appointed as NATO Department Head concerning gender. ■ Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Our Most Important Scandinavian Partner In the last eight years, trade between Serbia and Sweden has been developing nicely, albeit more on the import side. According to Serbian Chamber of Commerce data, during the first seven months of 2013, trade between Serbia and Sweden was valued at US$138.8 million, which is a 10% increase relative to the same period last year
ut of all Scandinavian countries, Sweden is the most important long-standing trading partner to Serbia, but economic cooperation between the two countries is still far below real needs and opportunities. Trade is low in volume, with a selective structure of traded goods and a pronounced deficit on the Serbian side due to Serbia’s imports of Swedish equipment and few exports in the opposite direction. Serbia has several treaties with Sweden. The Air Traffic Agreement between the Federal National Republic of Yugoslavia (FNRJ) and Sweden was signed in 1958. There is also the Agreement on the Mutual Protection of Investments, concluded between the governments of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) and Sweden (Official Gazette SRJ – International Agreements, No.12/79). The General Cooperation Agreement, covering the period until 31 December 31 2006, was signed in September 2001. The validity of the Double Taxation Agreement and Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investments was extended following an exchange of diplomatic notes on 28 February 2002. In September 2002, Sweden and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ) signed the Re-admission Agreement in Belgrade. The Agreement on the Succession of
Bilateral Agreements came into force on 20 January 2003 and comprises seven agreements covering areas such as transportation, debt consolidation and the Social Security Convention. In November 2005, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the energy sector. There are more than 70 companies founded with Swedish capital operating in Serbia. Most of them are engaged in road transportation. Some
Looking at the data for the first seven months of 2013, Serbia mostly exported the following products to Sweden: rubber products, miscellaneous finished products, paper, cardboard and cellulose-based products, clothing and metal products
World Markets and Opportunities | sweden
of the most prominent Swedish companies in Serbia are: Ericsson, Volex Truck Volvo, TetraPak, Jacobi Carbons, ABB, Scania Serbia, ABS Pumps, Frigoscandia Equipment, Oriflame Cosmetics, Lindab, Nordic Corporation and LK Armatur. SWEDFUND is a Swedish stateowned company (technically, it is represented by the Swedish Foreign Ministry) specialising in risk capital, knowhow and financial support for investments in new markets. It operates on commercial premises in support of private capital. Once the profitability
of projects is assessed, SWEDFUND will provide a portion of initial capital and the instruments needed to obtain loans, usually for projects worth up to €1 million. SWEDFUND participation counts for 30% of the project value. The company has expressed interest in supporting projects implemented by Swedish companies in Serbia. Sweden is the first country to exceed the financial aid offered at the Donors Conference (€12.83 million). The donations will be spent on development of the energy sector, private sector and state administration. From 1995 to 2005, Sweden donated close to €140 million to environmental protection, health, culture, local self-government, education, the judiciary, the development of the private sector, labour and employment, and the development of civil society projects. Between 2006 and 2012, Sida (the Swedish International Development Agency) allocated around €20 million worth of financial assistance to Serbia to be spent in the following sectors: institutional reform, human rights, SMEs, combating organised crime and corruption, environmental protection and increasing the transparency of privatisation. Sida is also implementing a project titled StartEast, which provides loans for Swedish SMEs to invest in projects in transitional countries.
Leading SITC sectors in exports to Sweden
Leading SITC sectors in imports from Sweden Plastic materials in their primary forms
Miscellaneous finished products not specified elsewhere Paper, cardboard and cellulose-based products
General purpose industrial machinery Medical and pharmaceutical products
Specialised machinery for individual industrial branches
Metal-based products not specified elsewhere
Since 2003, a total of 18 projects worth an approximate combined €2.8 million have been implemented in Serbia in this way, with the money going solely to the private sector. Following the accession of Baltic countries to the EU, more money became available for this purpose. The heightened interest of Swedish businesspeople in other markets should be utilised by Serbia even more. SEPA (the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency) was the key vehicle for cooperation with Serbia between 2005 and 2010 in the area of environmental protection. The Swedish government has set aside some €100 million for environmental protection projects. In the last eight years, until the onset of the economic crisis, trade between Serbia and Sweden was developing nicely, albeit more on the import side. According to Serbian Chamber of Commerce data, during the first seven months of 2013, trade between Serbia and Sweden was valued at US$138.8 million, which is a 10%
increase relative to the same period last year, when it stood at US$127.2 million. The value of Serbian exports amounted to US$32.7 million, which is a 20% hike in comparison with the same period last year. Serbian imports grew as well, by 6%, amounting to US$106.1 million. A trade deficit of US$73.4 million remains on the Serbian side, but has decreased from last year by 1%
Sweden is the first country to exceed the financial aid offered at the Donors Conference (€12.83 million). The donations will be spent on development of the energy sector, private sector and state administration to US$72.6 million. In terms of the export-to-import ratio in trade with Sweden, in 2008 and 2009 it grew slightly, while from 2010 to 2012 it went up considerably. But since then until July 2013, the export-to-import ratio has become stagnant. Looking at the trading data for the first seven months of 2013, we
Trade exchange between Serbia and Sweden, in million USD 400
see that Serbia mostly exported the following products to Sweden: rubber products, miscellaneous finished products, paper, cardboard and cellulose-based products, clothing and metal products. The biggest Serbian exporters to Sweden are: Tigar Gume Pirot, Sirogojno, Unimet Kać, V&B Subotica, KM Mont Petrovaradin, Montavar Belgrade, DTM Consult Čačak, Mars Petrovaradin, Davax Kać and MegaFrukt Belgrade. Serbia mostly imports the following products from Sweden: plastic materials in primary forms, road vehicles, industrial machines for general use, medical and pharmaceutical products, and specialised machinery for particular industries. The biggest Serbian importers of products from Sweden are Tetra Pak Belgrade, Tarkett Bačka Palanka, Intercel Šabac, Telekom Srbija Belgrade, Intertron Vršac, Volvo Novi Banovci, Atlas Kopko Belgrade, Phoenix Pharma Belgrade, ABB Belgrade, DTM Consult Čačak. ■
Export-to-import ratio, in %
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013-VII
Export in USD
Import in USD
Balance in USD
0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013-VII
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Social Responsibility Above All Else The core value of Swedish assistance is social responsibility, as embodied by development cooperation agency Sida. Only via democratic governance, human rights and environmental sustainability are modern, developed nations built
ENVIRONMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT PROJECT This project is one of Sida’s projects that support Serbia with capacity and financing for environmental investment projects. Estimating garbage volumes is an important part of the feasibility studies to build new regional landfills for the disposal of solid waste.
ida is the Swedish government’s agency for development cooperation. Its primary mission is to reduce poverty and contribute to sustainable development. Sida’s efforts are concentrated on issues prioritised by partner countries and organisations where Sweden has special knowledge and experience, areas where Swedish cooperation can make difference. Social responsibility is at the core of Swedish assistance, and two perspectives are applied to all of Sida’s work: the perspective of the poor, putting poor men and women at the centre of attention; and the human-rights perspective, building on universally accepted values and the principles of non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability. Throughout all Swedish development cooperation in Serbia, special attention is paid to the rights of poor and marginalised groups and equality between men and women. Sweden’s development cooperation with Serbia aims to enhance the country’s prospects of EU membership through strengthened democratic governance and human rights, as well as by promoting environmentally sustainable development. For 2013, Swedish assistance to Serbia amounts to 120 million SEK
Two perspectives are applied to all of Sida’s work: the perspective of the poor and the human-rights perspective, building on the principles of nondiscrimination, participation, transparency and accountability
(approximately €13 million). The current cooperation strategy for 2009 to 2012 has been extended to include 2013. Interventions are focused on two sectors: • Democratic governance and human rights (including issues such as gender equality, minority rights and security sector reform); and • Natural resources and the protecting the environment. Democratic Governance and Human Rights Within democratic governance, support is given to enhance democratic dialogue between the state and its citizens, increasing citizen participation in governmental administration. The aim is to support the development of a democratic, transparent and efficient public administration. The Swedish view is that enhanced dialogue between citizens and the state leads to the strengthening of institutions and contributes to their sustainable development in the future. Human rights and gender equality
National Strategy for Improving the Status of Roma in Serbia Sweden is the lead donor in international development cooperation in the areas of gender equality and Roma integration. This includes support to the Office of Human and Minority Rights of the Government of Serbia to strengthen the implementation of Roma-inclusion policies at both central and local levels.
World Markets and Opportunities | sweden
are an integral part of Swedish assistance and as such constitute a basis for all activities Sweden supports in the country. Sweden’s standpoint is that the full integration of marginalised, vulnerable groups into society today leads towards stable, sustainable development in future. Inclusiveness and tolerance are the cornerstones of sustainable societies. Security sector reform is an integrated part of all Swedish development assistance to Serbia, as it is vital for the sustainable development of the country and for its EU ambitions. Support is given to increase the oversight of the armed forces and law enforcement, and to increase the public’s access to justice. By using this support as well as others, anti-corruption and gender equality become integrated in all activities wherever possible. Sweden is a major contributor to reforms in the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior. atural Resources N and Environment Swedish support is given to strengthen administrative capacity and for environmental infrastructure, such as solid-waste management and waste water treatment. Support is given to ministries, governmental institutions and to civil society to enhance the dialogue among these actors. Sweden is a lead donor in the environmental sector, working closely with the Serbian Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection. ■
sweden in brief
Land of Wilderness and Beauty Sweden is among Europe’s happiest, most stable countries, with a progressive history and natural scenery and wildlife that can take the breath away
an country to establish national parks, mainly in the mountainous districts of Norrland. This helped to save part of Europe’s last wilderness from exploitation. Numerous nature reserves and cultural heritage areas have also been established across the country. Under the Right of Public Access (‘Allemanweden is a sparsely populated country, srätten’), anyone is entitled to hike through characterised by its long coastline, ex- forests and fields to pick berries and mushtensive forests and numerous lakes. It is rooms without asking the landowner’s permisone of the world’s northernmost coun- sion, but this right also carries with it an oblitries. Sweden’s borders have been unchanged gation to respect the natural environment and since 1905 and the country has not been at private property. Among the Swedish national emblems are war since 1814. Sweden experiences extreme contrasts be- the blue and yellow flag, two coats of arms, tween its long summer days and equally long the Three Crowns and the national anthem. winter nights. In the summer, the sun stays in The oldest recorded images of a blue flag with the sky round the clock in the parts of Sweden a yellow cross date from the 16th century. north of the Arctic Circle. Even as far south as The yellow cross was always borne on Swedish battle standards and Stockholm (59°N) the June nights have Under the Right of Public Access, banners because the coat of arms only a few hours of anyone can hike through forests and Swedish was blue divided by semi-darkness. Along with the fields to pick berries and mushrooms, a cross of gold. The beautiful scenery, but this right also carries with it an triple-crown symbol has been used as the Sweden has rich obligation to respect the natural emblem of Sweden and varied wildlife. environment and private property at least since 1336, Sweden has everywhen it had long thing from bears and wolves in the north, to roe deer and wild boar in been a familiar symbol of the ‘Three Wise Kings’. Since 1916, 6 June has been celebrated as the south. The country also has a wealth of flora and aquatic life, which contribute to its biologi- Swedish Flag Day. This finally became Sweden’s cal diversity. The wolves are expanding their National Day in 1983 and a public holiday from habitat across northern and central Sweden. 2005. The date was chosen for two reasons: Bear, lynx and wild boar populations are also the election of Gustav Vasa as Sweden’s king increasing. Throughout the country, there are on 6 June 1523 laid the foundation of Sweden large numbers of elk (moose), foxes and hares. as an independent state; and on the same date The elk is a great prize for hunters but is also a in 1809, Sweden adopted a new constitution traffic hazard. Hunting is closely regulated and that included the establishment of civil rights many species of animal are completely protect- and liberties. Despite its small population and large area, ed. Winter bird life in Sweden is dominated by a few species, but summer brings large numbers Sweden is a technologically advanced country with good infrastructure, including an efficient of migratory birds from the south. In 1910 Sweden became the first Europe- transportation and communications system. ■
Facts and Figures Capital Stockholm Population 9.6 million, about 0.13% of the world’s population Life expectancy Men 79.8 years, women 83.5 years Foreign-born 15% inhabitants Religion The Church of Sweden is Evangelical Lutheran. There are also many other religions and denominations Language Swedish Form of Constitutional monarchy with government parliamentary democracy Parliament The Riksdag, with 349 members in a single chamber Education Nine years of compulsory schooling, but most pupils continue to three-year uppersecondary school. Around one-third go on to higher education at universities and colleges throughout Sweden Working hours Standard work week is 40 hours, minimum paid vacation is five weeks Labour force Men 68.6%, women 63.7% participation Longest north1,574km south distance Longest east499km west distance Total area 528,447km², the third-largest country in Western Europe after France and Spain Urban and 3% industrial land Agricultural land 8% Forests 53% Marshland 9% Grasslands 7% Bare rocks and 12% mountains Lakes and rivers 9% Highest Kebnekaise (2,103m) mountain Biggest lake Vänern (5,650km²) Calling code +46 Internet code .se Time zone GMT +1 Currency 1 krona (SEK) = 100 öre GDP per capita SEK 372,800 (PPP) Population in major cities (including suburbs) Stockholm 2,123,300 Gothenburg 928,600 Malmö 656,400
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Swedish investments in Serbia
Building Business Interests Apart from direct investments, Sweden has provided support to the Serbian economy through various SME programmes, startups and in many other ways…
CAPITAL In September 2004, investment company East Capital set up the Balkan Fund. Its principal interest was investing in banking and the food and agriculture sector, purchasing shares in 28 different Serbian companies (such as Efes Brewery in Zaječar, Fabrika Kože in Ruma, Sunce in Sombor) on the Belgrade Stock Exchange, spending nearly €40 million.
stipulates the implementation of various solutions, applications and the distribution of Ericsson products to businesses and users of private telecommunication networks. Later in 2006, Ericsson and Telekom Serbia signed Serbia’s first contract for the delivery and implementation of high-speed 3G with HSPA mobile internet.
650 baby cribs to furniture giant IKEA – 10% of the contracted quantity – with IKEA representatives announcing the possibility of new contracts for the delivery of cribs. Simpo and IKEA signed another contract in 2007, with IKEA planning to build a modern factory in Vranje for the production of 100,000 cribs and hiring 150 young workers. IKEA will also soon open a one of its furniture mega-markets in Belgrade.
LA FANTANA In 2006, La Fantana opened a €2 million VOLVO IKEA in Serbia Approximately €30 million has been in- water factory in Aleksandrovac, one of the As far as IKEA’s business plans for Southvested by Volvo into opening service shops in largest greenfield investments in this sector. Novi Sad and Čačak for the 700 Volvo trucks The 2,000m² factory is built to the best Eu- east Europe go, the company is focusing on opening stores in Slovenia, Croatia, Roused by the Serbian companies. Since 2006, Volvo has been in sole charge of In the last three years, IKEA has invested mania and Serbia. It is also supporting the development of domestic furniture selling Volvo trucks in Serbia, replacing more than €15 million in the running of producers through investments to exthe Volex Truck company. In 2008, the its three companies in Serbia pand production capacities and establish biggest truck centre in the Balkans, the business partnerships for the production Volvo Truck Centre, was opened in Novi ropean specifications. La Fantana distributes of IKEA goods for sale all over Europe. Banovci at a cost of €4 million. IKEA operates in Serbia through three water for water coolers and has been in Sercompanies: IKEA Serbia d.o.o., which develbia since mid-2004, amassing 7,000 clients. ERICSSON ops furniture and household items for stores In 2005, telecommunications company and has 33 employees; IKEA Trading Services IMG Ericsson signed a €30 million contract with Serbian enterprise EPS and Swedish com- d.o.o., which has 12 employees and is estabTelekom Serbia for the upgrade and expansion of the GSM grid in Serbia and provid- pany IMG have signed a €3.1 million contract lishing cooperation with local furniture maning training to Telekom Serbia staff. Then in for the implementation of a project titled ufacturers that have the potential to become IKEA suppliers; and IKEA Centre Serbia d.o.o., 2006, Belgrade-based Tele Group signed a ‘Electricity Grid Upgrade in Southern Serbia’. which has two employees and develops and contract with Ericsson, based on which Tele runs retail centres in support of IKEA stores. SIMPO AND IKEA Group became Ericsson’s authorised partner In the last three years, IKEA has invested In 2006, a children’s bed factory in Rafor providing telecommunication services in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia’s Repub- dovnica operating under Vranje furniture more than €15 million in the running of its lika Srpska region. This partnership contract manufacturer Simpo delivered the first lot of three companies in Serbia. ■ World Markets and Opportunities | sweden
Investing in Leadership Through Creative Mentoring, 25 Serbian students are mentored by experts from the fields of education, culture and business, providing the experience and know-how needed to become future leaders of society
ith the help of the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade, ETC Group has launched a project called Creative Mentoring, which brings together and provides encouragement to individuals from the education, culture and business sectors. The project has served as the platform for the testing and launch of a long-term mentoring programme in Serbia. The Creative Mentoring project is closely linked with another Swedish-Serbian project, Creative Society, which was launched in the autumn of 2011 by the Swedish Embassy in collaboration with the Belgrade Museum of Science and Technology. As well as staging an exhibition called ‘Swedish Women Inventors’ and having an education programme for children, the museum has also formed a club, which meets on Mondays, as a venue for the exchange of ideas between Serbia and Sweden. The goal of Creative Mentoring is to contribute to the development of Serbian society via a mentorship programme, investing in the leadership skills of individuals. The project is based on the premise that these young leaders-to-be, despite being future pillars of Serbian society’s development and health, have been marginalised by state policy for a long time. By aiding the development and providing professional guidance to these promising individuals, a generation of young people will emerge
with the confidence to fulfil their potential and invest it back into society. “I think it is very important to clarify the meaning of the terms mentor and mentee (programme trainee),” says Helene Larsson, a former cultural advisor at the Swedish Embassy. “At the beginning of the project, I also think that it is necessary to set goals, and, if you are a mentee, to ask yourself why you need a mentor. If this is not done, what could happen is that your mentor-mentee relationship will be reduced only to casual socialising. When you set good goals, both mentee and mentor can form a long-term mentoring relationship that might last for three or five years – or maybe
By aiding the development and providing professional guidance to these promising individuals, a generation of young people will emerge with the confidence to fulfil their potential and invest it back into society just two months, if required.” The latest one-year-long programme starts in spring next year. Twenty-five future leaders in culture, education and the creative industries will be given an opportunity to work for a year on their professional development with a chosen mentor who is also a renowned expert and leader in his or her respective field. An open invitation to participate in the programme will be posted on the programme’s website in spring, but
interested persons can already enquire about the programme with the project management team. Workshops have been set up and a mentoring guide and website is available (kreativnomentorstvo. com), which serves as a database of knowledge and advice on mentoring, with the aim of bolstering mentoring know-how and the skills of programme trainees. The Swedish Embassy has plenty of reasons to promote the mentoring concept outside of the academic curriculum, but one of the main goals of Creative Mentoring is to raise awareness about individual social responsibility. Also important is the mentors’ responsibility for relaying their professional knowledge and experience to Serbia’s younger generations as a format for life-long learning and knowledge exchange. The following mentors guided and supported trainees last year: Danish Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Ms. Mette Kjuel Nielsen; Olga Svoboda, director of a HR management company; Western Balkans Director at the British Council Tony O’Brien; former politician Vesna Pešić; Director of Ericsson Serbia Antonio Passarella; Predrag Cvetičanin, Director of the Centre for Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe; Director of the Guitar Art Festival Boško Radojković; Divna Vuksanović, media theory professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Dramatic Arts; and many more. ■
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Supporting Disadvantaged Children
With IKEA expanding its operations into Serbia, the company is bringing its own CSR approach to the country’s youth from ethnic minorities, poor backgrounds and rural areas
ustainability at IKEA means meeting the needs of people and society without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It is about living within the planet’s limits and protecting the environment. It is about promoting a strong, healthy, inclusive and just society where people can prosper and fulfil their potential. IKEA has identified three areas that will transform its business, making it more sustainable, driving growth, creating new business opportunities and helping to create a better everyday life for people: • Inspire and enable millions to live a more sustainable life at home. Take the lead in developing and promoting products and solutions that help customers to save or generate energy, reduce or sort waste, use less or recycle water – all at the lowest possible price. • Strive for resource and energy independence. Secure long-term access to sustainable raw materials, promote recycling and use resources within the planet’s means. Produce more renewable energy than is consumed and drive energy efficiency throughout the company’s value chain. • Create a better life for people and communities affected by the company’s business by extending IKEA’s code of conduct throughout its value chain, being a good neighbour, acting in the best interests of children and supporting human rights. Home is more than just furniture;
it’s the feeling of being at home, surrounded by the people and things you love. IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for people by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishings at affordable prices. IKEA wants to help create a better life for people, something that has always been part of its approach and is even more important today as the business grows around the world. Supporting children and their families has always been one of the company’s main focuses. No matter the circumstances, IKEA believes that every child deserves a place to call home, a healthy start in life, a quality education and a sustainable family income. Although Serbia has a long tradi-
IKEA Foundation donated US$500,000 to a UNICEF project in Serbia that aimed to improve the quality and accessibility of early education and care programmes in 10 deprived localities
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tion of pre-school education, it has one of the lowest rates of participation in pre-school education in Europe (approximately 44%, compared with 87% among EU member states). Participation of children from ethnic minorities, children living in poverty or children from rural areas is even lower (only 8% of Roma children attend kindergartens, 22% of children from the poorest families and 29% of children from rural areas). In the last six years, the number of
pre-school facilities has increased by 30%, but this still fails to satisfy the needs of children and families. Therefore, there is a big need to expand preschool education coverage, making an impact in three areas: increasing the physical capacity for pre-school education, developing four-hour programmes (especially for children from poor families or rural areas) and working to increase parental awareness of pre-school education’s benefits. To this end, the IKEA Foundation has donated US$500,000 to a UNICEF project in Serbia: Expanding Early Learning Opportunities for Vulnerable Children. The government-supported project’s aims are to improve the quality and accessibility of early education and care programmes in 10 deprived localities, increasing coverage of pre-school education for an initial 1,500 children aged 3-5.5 and focusing on those who are most vulnerable: Roma children, the poor, families from deprived rural communities and children with disabilities. The project contributed to an increase in coverage of children aged 3-5.5 in pre-school education in the selected municipalities, from 24.5% in 2011 to 33.1% in 2013. IKEA believes that by supporting initiatives that aim for the long-term development of children and their families, a small but hopefully significant impact is made, improving their everyday life. IKEA wishes to continue supporting this kind of initiative as its business develops in Serbia. ■
Shaping the Networked Society Communications technology giant Ericsson fulfils its CSR obligations through its commitment to carbon reduction and bringing the benefits of ICT to sub-Saharan Africa
ricsson is a world-leading provider of communications technology and services, offering software and infrastructure within information and communications technology (ICT) for telecom operators and other industries. The company has more than 110,000 employees working in more than 180 countries. Over 40% of the world’s mobile traffic passes through Ericsson network equipment, and the networks it supports serve more than 2.5 billion subscribers. CSR has been a natural part of Ericsson’s identity and strategy since the company’s foundation. Demanding targets and long-term objectives are vital to its CSR performance. Through its CSR strategy, Ericsson demonstrates the positive role of technology and how it can shape low-carbon economies, increase access to education and support other humanitarian issues. Ericsson applies its expertise, solutions and innovation to global challenges in order to help people and society, attempting to shape a more sustainable world. One of Ericsson’s key projects is called Technology For Good. Via broadband, the cloud and mobile computing, the company addresses climate change, poverty, education, health, human rights and humanitarian issues such
as refugees, peace and disaster response. This is done through a wide range of projects, research, advocacy and initiatives, public-private partnerships, social media outreach and other forms of engagement. Technology For Good initiatives include: • The Connect To Learn programme, launched in 2010, which aims to help girls in sub-Saharan Africa to get a secondary education. As of 2012, Connect To Learn’s ICT programme had been established in six countries in Africa. • The Refugees United initiative is an online family-reconnection service to help refugees locate loved ones separated by war or natural disasters. The number of refugees registered for the service more than tripled in 2012, reaching 185,000 by the start of 2013. Ericsson is also active in reducing its environmental impact. A five-year target aiming to reduce the compa-
A five-year target aiming to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 40% was set in 2009. In 2012, Ericsson exceeded the annual 10% reduction target, achieving the target in four years instead of five ny’s carbon footprint by 40% was set in 2009. In 2012, Ericsson exceeded the annual 10% reduction target, achieving the target in four years instead of five. During 2013, Ericsson will expand Connect To Learn’s ICT programme, and as of the end of 2012, more than 15,000 students were benefitting from its ICT programmes – over three times the number in 2011. In the terms of reducing the company’s environmental impact, a 22%
reduction in direct emission intensity was achieved in 2012, while business-travel emissions were reduced by 16% and the indirect emission intensity of Ericsson products was reduced by the same percentage. Ericsson has been enabling communications for more than 100 years. Today, more than 6 billion people worldwide have access to mobile communications. Ericsson is committed to shaping the ‘networked society’, where everyone and everything will be connected in real time, creating the freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society. Ericsson believes that affordable connectivity and internet access improves people’s lives and helps to create a more sustainable planet. The company has been presented with numerous challenges by different initiatives. For example, while Ericsson provided support to UNHCR’s Refugees United programme, less than 2% of the target population had access to computers and the internet, but 40% of people had access to a mobile phone. The Ericsson service included a SMS message and WAP version to suit low-bandwidth phones and specifically adapted mobile applications that took into account illiteracy, bandwidth, cost, language and trust. Technological developments are happening faster than ever and will always come with challenges. Ericsson constantly strives to improve energy efficiency in its portfolio. Through multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration, the company looks to secure ICT’s positive benefits and minimise any negative impacts for a shared global future. ■
Sweden | World Markets and Opportunities
Young People and CSR
Students Look to the Future At the Swedish Embassy’s ‘The State and CSR’ event for students, CorD spoke to young people about their views on the importance of CSR and its role in shaping Serbia’s future
Aleksandra Lazić, student at the Belgrade Faculty of Law “I think that this is an excellent opportunity for students in Serbia to get to know the very essence of CSR. The Swedish Embassy went out of their way to bring the biggest CSR experts here. Students were given an opportunity to apply for writing projects, and the embassy’s jury will pick the best among us to mentor. We Ms. Liselott Martynenko Agerlid Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission, H.E. Mr. Christer Asp, Swedish Ambassador to Serbia, Mr. Sasja Beslik, CSR are also going to be offered a one-year internship. This really is an Expert and Head of Responsible Investment and Governance at Nordea Bank and Mr. excellent opportunity because students don’t know much about CSR. I Bengt E. Johansson, CSR Ambassador, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs think that many of them could find employment in this field. We have n collaboration with the Society for Academic Development, the many successful companies here who could be exempt from paying Swedish Embassy organised an event called ‘The State and CSR’ some taxes if they were active in CSR. The whole point of CSR is to at the Belgrade Faculty of Economics on 18 December. The event help companies operate better by investing in social values. Sweden was a chance for young people to enquire about CSR with CSR is the world leader in this area and I think that Swedish lecturers are experts from Sweden, a country where the business community and the best to learn about CSR from.” government have been trying for years to transform the state into a Djordje Djordjević, graduate student at the Belgrade leader in the sustainable business practice sector. As future employFaculty of Political Sciences ers, employees, decision-makers, politicians and businesspeople, the “At our Faculty we don’t learn about modern-day attending students will face many CSR issues in their future careers. business. I think this is very bad given politics is This event provided them with the opportunity to have any of their closely tied to big business and it is absolutely necquestions answered. essary that we know about it. That’s my reason for The Swedish Embassy also organised a CSR competition, through coming here, to learn something about that. I think which students were given the chance to win an internship at leading that CSR is very important, particularly in making employees satisfied. Swedish companies in Serbia, Ericsson and A satisfied worker is a productive worker AstraZeneca, or become mentees of the Swed- This is an excellent opportunity for and he’ll do his job better. CSR is a concept ish Ambassador to Serbia or international CSR enables businesses to have a more hustudents in Serbia to get to know that experts. Some of the students in attendance mane note. This is especially important for the very essence of CSR shared their impressions of the conference us in Serbia, where, as many agree, we have with CorD: so-called wild capitalism where workers’ Aleksandra Tadić, master’s student of English lan- rights are not particularly honoured. People are unhappy with their jobs and that reflects on the entire economy. CSR can fix this.”. ■ guage at the Belgrade Faculty of Philology “I am a member of the Society for Academic Development. When we were given this opportunity to cooperate with the Swedish Embassy, I was very intrigued about the topic because many of us don’t know what CSR really is. We have been trying to educate people via our Facebook and Twitter profiles and have published many texts about the top 10 companies in the CSR sector. The conference and lectures we attended completely conveyed the essence of CSR, which is exceptionally important, particularly because people in Serbia don’t pay much attention to it. That’s why this event was beneficial in many ways.”
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Rade Šerbedžija & Zapadni Kolodvori Dom Sindikata, 28 December @ 20.00 To the delight of his fans in Belgrade, actor and singer Rade Šerbedžija will be performing on Saturday 28 December at Dom Sindikata. Additionally, he will be joined by a special guest, celebrated guitarist and composer
stage. At the Nisvillle Jazz Festival in 2011, the foursome’s performance was unofficially named one of the best concerts in the face of strong competition from abroad.
New Years Concert: The Great Johann Strauss Gala
Sava Centre 22 January @ 20.00
Kombank Arena 28 December @ 20.00 This long-awaited concert will mark of two decades of the band and is part of the ‘I Forgive – 20 Years with You’ tour. Characterised by top quality musicianship, Neverne Bebe carry the reputation of one of the best live bands in the region, winning cult status in the local rock scene. Over their career, the band have recorded six studio albums and played almost 2,000 shows, including two sold-out Sava Centre gigs in 2007. They
Vlatko Stefanovski. Šerbedžija and Stefanovski, accompanied by the excellent band of Zagreb musicians Zapadni Kolodvori (West Station), will enchant Belgraders with an evening of music and poetry. The show has been organised by Belgrade creative community ‘No Border’.
Miško Plavi Trio & Lena Kovacevic Mikser House, 28 December @ 21.00
According to Belgrade audiences, one of the best shows played at Mikser House in recent memory was that of the Miško Plavi Trio. Now, due to public demand, Miško Plavi, Vasil Hadžimanov and Srdjan ‘Johnny’ Dunkić are back, performing again in Savamala on 28 December, their first show following a major Japanese tour. An added bonus comes in the shape of special guest, jazz singer Lena Kovačević. This won’t be the first time the four have shared a
have supported the likes of Toto in 2006 at Tašmajdan and Lenny Kravitz at the Kombank Arena in 2008. They have also worked with world-renowned musicians such as Simon Phillips and famous regional artists such as Radomir Mihajlović Točak, Aki Rahimovski, Vanna and Vlatko Stefanovski. Now the band returns to the Kombank Arena as headliners. Current album ‘Praštam’ is the region’s best-selling pop-rock release in the last two years, being equally well-received by audiences and critics alike, and has laid the foundation for a return of the mainstream to the polarised Serbian music scene.
St. George Strings It is our great pleasure to invite you to the traditional New Year’s string chamber orchestra concert of St. George Strings, which for 22 years
Širom Zatvorenih Ociju 2014 KPGT, 31 December @ 21.30 The tradition of New Year celebrations from behind Venetian masks and clad in capes continues. Širom Zatvorenih Očiju (Eyes Wide Shut) takes on a new dimension in the form of carnival visitors, making the 2014 celebrations the largest, most spectacular New Year edition of the event so far. In collaboration with partner agencies in London, this year’s New Year’s Eve will take place at KPGT (the old sugar mill in Čukarica, Radnička 3) and will be divided into three stages corresponding to different musical tastes. The Eyes Wide Shut concept, 80 |
based on legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s last ever film, is being employed for the ninth time, and has acquired the status of one of the most enjoyable New Year’s events, selling out on each of the last three years. Since 2006, the event has been attended by more than 12,000 people over six different locations, with more than 60 artists performing.
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
After the great success of two sellout performances in 2011, the most famous European production of the Strauss New Year concert, which has toured concert halls around the world, returns to Belgrade’s Sava Centre with The Great Johann Strauss Gala. Presenting the most famous works of the Austrian composer known as the ‘King of the Waltz’, the Strauss Festival Orchestra and the Strauss Ballet Ensemble have been performing on major European stages for 15 years. The combination of famous marches, polkas, waltzes and dancing has been one of the most prestigious cultural and entertainment events in Serbia. This year, St. George Strings will perform two concerts: Kolarac, 28 December @ 20.00 The Tango, Tango! performance of Argentine music, accompanied by solo accordion and violin and joined by dancers from the Miša Plavšić tango school. Kolarac, 13 January @ 20.00 The second performance will feature the king of violin, Roby Lakatos, and jazz band. The programme consists of traditional Hungarian gypsy music.
Vasil Hadžimanov Band & Bisera Veletanlić Kolarac, 29 December @ 21.00 The Vasil Hadžimanov Band and Bisera Veletanlić hold their traditional show at Kolarac music hall.
Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Kolarac, 26 December @ 20.00 New Year: Gregorian Calendar Conductor: Alan Bjelinski Soloists: Novi Sad Chamber Choir Programme: Disco Philharmonic Production: Belgrade Philharmonic
couples dressed in tuxedos and romantic dresses harks back to the famous ballrooms of 19th-century Imperial Vienna. Experience the dazzling, opulent spirit of Old Town Vienna as you enjoy the magical sounds of the great Strauss’ most beautiful compositions: ‘By the Beautiful Blue Danube’, ‘Tales from the Vienna Woods’, ‘Emperor Waltz’ and ‘Radetzky March’.
Stefan Ivkovic Kolarac 27 December @ 20.00
Pianist Stefan Ivković began his education in Serbia and continued in prestigious Norwegian schools, offering him both an education and the chance to participate in many competitions. Such competitions have seen his talents become highly decorated: in 2004, he won second prize at the International Piano Competition in Gorizia, Italy; in 2005, he won first place at the Norwegian state competition; in 2006, Ivković reached the finals of the International Piano Competition in Bucharest; and in 2007, he claimed fourth place at the Scandinavian Piano Competition in Denmark. Now, Ivković will perform for a Belgrade audience at Kolarac, playing pieces by Schubert and Chopin.
New Year’s Concert Kolarac 5 January @ 12.00 The traditional New Year’s concert at the Kolarac music hall will be held on 5 January and will feature the most gifted young artists of 2013.
culture news DANCE
Street of the Open Heart
Dom Omladine 22 December @ 20.00 Dance troupe Erin’s Fiddle celebrate the end of the calendar year with a show at Belgrade’s Dom Omladine, where audience will witness a one-hour performance of Irish dancing. Erin’s Fiddle began in 2006 and currently consists of about 70 dancers of all ages and
Svetogorska Street 1 January @ 10.00 This is the traditional New Year’s carnival
ability levels. The troupe are active performers around the country and the region. The worldrenowned group participate in international competitions, achieving remarkable success in the last two years. The troupe organise several large fulllength concerts of Irish dance and music annually, attracting thousands of spectators. In May 2013, Erin’s Fiddle premiered its first show of Irish dance in the region, ‘Erindol’. By collaborating with many dancers, musicians and other artists from home and abroad, Erin’s Fiddle have performed with some of the biggest names in the world of Irish dance, including the famous ‘Lord of the Dance’ soloist, Bernadette Flynn.
John F. Kennedy Month
in Svetogorska Street in the very heart of Belgrade. The event was founded by actors from the famous Belgrade Atellier 212 theatre and the Srpska Kafana restaurant. The carnival is of equal appeal to both children and adults. Actors and musicians perform in close contact with visitors, with free food and drinks and an excellent atmosphere of revelry.
Dom Omladine 22 November to 23 December
To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, Dom Omladine has organised a variety of thematic events running from 22 November until 23 December. Talks are being held about Kennedy from the viewpoint of culture and cultural policy. There will be seminars organised by the Study of Modern Art, Faculty of Philosophy and American Corner in Belgrade’s Dom Omladine, as well as lectures, discussions and screenings of feature and documentary films. Speakers include professors from faculties of the University of Belgrade, such as Professor. Dr. Lidija Merenik, Professor Dr. Simona Čupić and Professor. Dr. Radin Vučetić.
Swim for Epiphany Cross Lake Sava/Zemun Quay, 19 January
various locations, 5-8 December This year the Seventh International Science Festival – the largest event for the promotion of science and education in Southeast Europe – was held on 5 December and lasted for four days, with 31,000 people attending. The festival was held at five locations in Belgrade city centre, including the former Kluz
Kicking off this series of events on 22 November was a promotion of the book ‘The JFK Culture’, which includes articles by Professor Dr. John Hellman, Professor Dr. Art Simon, Dr. David Lubin and Dr. Uros Tomić, as well as Merenik and Čupić themselves. The book positions Kennedy in terms of culture and cultural politics, and some of its writers appeared to discuss the book’s themes at length. JFK has been the subject of works of art by the likes of Warhol, Johns, Rauschenberg and Naskovski, and was a writer himself. There were also the Kennedy administration’s cultural projects such as the exhibition of the Mona Lisa, the restoration of the White House and the Night for Nobel Prize winners, while JFK himself was a media superstar, with numerous films made about him since his death. The book promotion covered all of these and more. from mainstream to avant-garde comics. This year’s show exposed the works of about 200 artists, writers, illustrators, colourists, designers and other USUS members from Serbia, countries in the region and elsewhere. It encompassed all three sections of the association – art, screenwriting and research-publicist – and was accompanied by a catalogue book comprising the exhibited artworks, professional texts, bibliographies and other materials. Special attention at the exhibition was given to sections of comics from both comics veterans and debutants.
St. Petersburg Ballet – ‘The Nutcracker’ The traditional swim for the Epiphany Cross in Lake Sava and in the River Danube at Zemun quay. The bravest young men test their stamina and speed in icy waters.
Army Choir of the Russian Armed Forces Sava Centre, 17 January @ 20.00 One of the world’s most famous military ensembles, the Choir, Ballet and Orchestra of the Russian Army, will perform on 17 January at the Sava Centre. Over many years, this ensemble has nurtured and preserved the essence of Russian folklore, presenting audiences with a dose of authentic Russian tradition. The audience will be able to enjoy famous Russian songs such as ‘Black Eyes’, ‘Kalinka’ and ‘Čamdžije the Volga’, as performed by the Russian Army’s male voice choir.
The mixed ballet ensemble is made up of exceptional artists, among them excellent acrobats. Dressed in colourful traditional costume, the dancers, their amazing talent and the original choreography manage to convey the emotion of the Russian soul, recreating moments the audience will never forget.
department store, the Student Cultural Centre, the Gallery of the National Bank of Serbia and a brand new space at the former Eurosalon store at 1 Ulica Kralja Milana. The festival featured a ‘scientific festival quarter’ and visitors were able to visit the Science Centre and the newly opened Museum of Science and Technology at 51 Dobračina. Year after year, the festival offers visitors the chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have made the world work and develop for hundreds of years – our scientists – turning Belgrade into a place of scientific fun and discovery for all ages.
Sava Centre, 22 December World ballet centre St. Petersburg’s grand spectacle ‘The Nutcracker’ was performed at Belgrade’s Sava Centre on 22 December by soloists Igor Kolb and Olga Esina, the principal dancer of the Mariinsky Ballet and prima ballerina of the Vienna State Ballet respectively, as well as performers from St. Petersburg’s famed Mikhailovsky Theatre. Belgrade has hosted different versions of ‘The
Exhibition of Serbian Comic Artists Dom Omladine, 17 December The annual exhibition of the Association of Comic Artists of Serbia (USUS) opened on 17 December and will be held until 31 December at the gallery space of Dom Omladine. This exhibition is a major national event among Serbian comic fans, showing the full range of the country’s artistic production,
Nutcracker’ previously, but not with these virtuoso soloists or performers from two of St. Petersburg’s most famous imperial theatres. ‘The Nutcracker’ premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on 18 December 1892, becoming one of the most popular ballets in history.
111 January 2014 | 81
Grand slam guide
Grand Slams In The
PALM OF YOUR HAND AUSTRALIAN OPEN: HEAT THAT BEATS YOU DOWN The players are lying in the locker rooms, almost comatose. Some wear ice-filled vests, others take cold showers, a few wrap chilled towels around their necks, causing steam to rise. This is a regular scene at the Australian Open, dubbed ‘the hot Grand Slam’, which takes place in the middle of the southern hemisphere’s summer. The air temperature can reach 46°C during the tournament, compared with an average 20°C at Roland Garros, 26°C at the US Open or 22°C at Wimbledon. And that’s in the shade. Out on court the temperature is even higher. The Plexicushion
111 January 2014 | www.cordmagazine.com
From the Australian Open to the US Open, CorD takes you backstage at the biggest tennis tournaments in the world. Learn everything there is to know about each Grand Slam event, from glamour, trivia and infrastructure to symbols, fame and everything in between
surface gets so hot its rigid synthetic layer becomes soft and players’ feet to sink right into it. This is no surprise given the temperature of the court’s surface can reach up to 60°C around noon, when matches take place. Players fight off dizziness, nausea and fatigue as their body temperature rises to 40°C during a match, which for most people would be a sign that it’s time for an emergency trip to the doctor. Tennis players, however, come to Melbourne before the tournament to acclimatise
Novak Djoković, four-time winner of the Australian Open (2008, 2011-2013), kisses the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup
to the heat and prepare for a gruelling fortnight. “It’s the legs that stop functioning,” Martina Hingis said after her capitulation to Jennifer Capriati in the 2002 final. “The brain still wants it, you want to run and you want to get to the ball and play, but you feel like your body can’t cope with what your brain tells it to do.” Hingis’ experience is backed up by her felThe Australian low professionals: Maria heat caused Maria Sharapova complained Sharapova to complain that she suffered from of hallucinations hallucinations on court; David Nalbandian sufon court; David fered from severe headNalbandian suffered aches; Robert Smeets severe headaches; said it felt like his brain Robert Smeets said was on fire; and Camille Pin said her feet were it felt like his brain burning and her legs was on fire. Even were shaking. Even the the soles of Jelena soles of Jelena Janković’s Janković’s shoes shoes were destroyed due to the heat. were destroyed due Fortunately, the to the heat two biggest arenas at the Open – the Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena – have retractable roofs, which helps with the conditions on the ground. However, the situation on other courts can be hellish. Spectators share the same fate as players. They sit in the stands exposed directly to the sun with cold drinks their only consolation. At last year’s Australian Open, spectators in TRIVIA
Melbourne drank a total of 155,000 bottles of water. British player Laura Robson is more illustrative, describing the hot wind in Australia as being “like a hair drier in my face”. Tournament organisers have been doing everything in their power to make things easier on players, introducing an extreme heat policy. If the temperature reaches 35°C and the heat stress level reaches 28, matches are stopped. However, this rule has been broken at times due to pressures to keep the tournament on schedule, and because of TV broadcast and sponsor demands. Still, this year we’re in for a hot Grand Slam with as much on-court excitement as ever. Just don’t forget to bring your chilled towel. ROLAND GARROS: CURSE OF THE RED CLAY Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djoković – these legendary champions, all of whom have shaken the tennis world in different ways, have one important thing in common: none has won the French Open at Roland Garros. They say that a curse holds power over this tournament near Boulogne Forest in Paris. A curse that, allegedly, has prevented these aces from reaching their potential on French soil. If the surface of the courts is really cursed, then it would be tough to pinpoint the exact layer that contains such magical powers, as the red clay courts are comprised of five layers in total. The lowest layer is compressed gravel, which drains
Rafael Nadal, who has dominated the French Open at Roland Garros since 2005, winning every year apart from 2009
PLAYERS’ NEED FOR SPEED
Legendary German player Boris Becker is crazy about cars. He drives a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with a V8 6.2L engine and 571bhp, which accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds – one of your own will set you back €170,000. Andy Murray drives a silver Jaguar XKR worth €95,600. Marat Safin has a red Ferrari 360 Spider worth €59,800, Roger Federer loves to drive his white Lexus LX SUV, while Maria Sharapova enjoys her purple Porsche 911 Carrera 4S convertible (€119,500), which she won at a tournament in Germany. Janko Tipsarević likes his Mercedes M-Class SUV so much he bought a white Mercedes SLK 350 convertible with 300bhp and a V6 engine for his wife Biljana. Serena Williams drives a Range Rover, while Novak Djoković cruises in his Mercedes B-Class. email@example.com |
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and removes water from the court. The next layer is 30cm of pulverised gravel, which serves the same purpose as the one beneath it and also binds the surface together. The third layer is clinker made of volcanic rock and crushed brick. The penultimate layer is 8cmthick porous limestone Boris Becker, Pete brought from a quarry Sampras, Stefan in Saint Maximin, near Edberg, John McEnroe, Paris. This quarry also Jimmy Connors, Lleyton supplied materials for Hewitt, Novak Djoković construction in Paris at the time of Baron – these champions, Haussmann in the midall of whom have 19th century. Today, the shaken the tennis world likes of Michael Jordan in different ways, have have used the quarry’s when building one thing in common: stone their mansions. Every none has won at spring, this layer is reRoland Garros placed with fresh limestone. The final, surface layer is 2mm thick and made from crushed brick. Around 50,000kg of brick is scattered across the courts of Roland Garros each year. Clay is the slowest surface in tennis and best suited to players from Spain and South America, who grow up playing on it. The first clay surface was built by Ernest and William Renshaw in Cannes, southern France in 1880. European clay is red, while the clay surfaces used in Charleston, USA are green and much faster. The first international tournament at Roland Garros was held in 1925, while the first ever tournament took place back in 1891. A lot has changed since then, such as rules stating that the 250 ball boys and girls must be aged from 12 to 16, cannot be taller than 175cm and are not allowed to wear glasses or contact lenses. At the first professional French Open in 1968, the prize for men was 15,000 French francs; last year’s winner received €1.5 million. Every May, 3,750 accredited reporters come to Paris for the tournament, more than 13,500 hours of TV programming are broadcasted during its 14 days, players use up to 62,000 Babolat balls and tournament winners compete for five trophies in the competition’s different formats. Those trophies are carved at the famous Paris jewellery store Mellerio. The winner of the men’s singles receives TRIVIA
Andy Murray and Novak Djoković – in 2013 the Scotsman became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years
the Coupe des Mousquetaires (Muskeeters’ Cup); the winner of the women’s singles gets the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen (Suzanne Lenglen Cup); winners of the men’s doubles receive the Coupe Jacques Brugnon (Jacques Brugnon Cup); winners of the women’s doubles are awarded with the Coupe Simone Mathieu (Simone Mathieu Cup); and winners of the mixed doubles receive the Coupe Marcel Bernard (Marcel Bernard Cup). All winners are given sterling silver replicas of their trophies to keep, which are half the size of the original.
WIMBLEDON: HOLY GRASS AND THE TASTE OF PIMM’S Matches at Wimbledon are played on the ‘holy grass’ of the All England Club and there isn’t a player alive who doesn’t get butterflies in their stomach as they run onto Centre Court in south-west London. The British spirit, tradition, well-admired sportsmanship, popularity and strict rules and guidelines, all of which you see watching on television, are magnified a thousand-fold when you pass through the huge iron gates of the club. It’s a magical, mesmerising feeling, one you need to experience firsthand in order to fully grasp. Many unusual and interesting things have happened here, but the first thing visitors invariably ask for are champagne and strawberries. Every day, champagne is delivered, stored and distributed to nine on-site bars. The moment it arrives at the bars, spectators form queues that never seem to shorten throughout the tournament’s 14 days. Some 17,000 bot-
Maria Sharapova is in a relationship with a Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov. She started dating Dimitrov a few months after breaking up with a basketball player Saša Vujačić. Victoria Azarenka is dating Stefan Kendal Gordy, a.k.a. Redfoo. This eccentric-looking pop star is in the group LMFAO. Serena Williams is in a relationship with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who plans to divorce his wife for her. Andy Roddick married model Brooklyn Decker, who can often be seen on the cover of men’s magazines. Andy Murray is in a relationship with Kim Sears, whom he’s known since they were teenagers, just like Rafael Nadal and Maria Francisca Perello. In 2009, Roger Federer married Mirka Vavrinec, with whom he has twin girls. Caroline Wozniacki is with the world’s best golfer, Rory McIlroy. 84 |
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Novak Djoković and Rafael Nadal have played each other in three of the last four US Open finals, with the Spaniard winning twice, including 2013
tles of champers are sold during Wimbledon. Multiply this by £57 (approximately €65), the price of a bottle, and you’ll reach a total that makes French champagne producers very happy indeed. Strawberries in England ripen around the time of Wimbledon, and have become a staple of the tournament. In 1877, King George V brought strawberries to Wimbledon for the first time and shared them with players. This tradition has been maintained to this day. Wimbledon only serves Elsanta strawberries, which are grown at a fruit farm in the county of Kent. The strawberries are picked the day before and arrive at Wimbledon early every morning for quality inspection. Every year an unbelievable 28,000kg of strawberries are consumed at Wimbledon. One of the most popular drinks at the All England Club is Pimm’s, which is served in 0.5L plastic glasses and costs £7 (about €8.30). Regardless of the exorbitant price, spectators queue relentlessly for a taste of this refreshing drink, often rejoining the end of the line for more as soon as their glass has gone bottom-up. Pimm’s is a gin-based liqueur (whiskey, vodka or rum can be used instead of gin) that is served with a lot of ice, a few mint leaves and several orange and cucumber slices. The recipe dates back to 1823 and was invented TRIVIA
EATING LIKE A PRO
Tennis players are picky about their food. Miloš Raonić likes cream cheese, red pepper chutney and red meat. Djoković wrote a book about his glutenfree diet. Andy Murray is such a fan of Japanese cuisine that he ate 50 pieces of sushi in an evening. Ana Ivanović loves sweets, chocolate and ice cream. She also eats fresh fruits and vegetables and avoids fried food. Jelena Janković loves to eat pickled vegetables, which she craves while on the road. Apart from that, her menu includes pasta, chicken and salads. For breakfast, Roger Federer has top granola muesli, with roasted meat, cheese, potatoes, onion and pickled cucumbers for lunch. For dinner, he usually eats Italian food. Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, never eats ham, tomato and cheese but loves Nutella and crisps.
by James Pimm, hence the name. Some 200,000 pints of this ‘juice’ are sold over a fortnight. Wimbledon’s ‘all white’ dress code for The spirit, tradition, players is another of sportsmanship, its idiosyncrasies. Each popularity and strict player is given a bookrules and guidelines let that states what kind of apparel should of Wimbledon are be worn during the magnified a thousandtournament. The guidefold when you pass lines are straightforthrough the huge iron ward: “No solid mass of colouring”; “Little or no gates of the club. It’s a dark or bold colours”; magical, mesmerising “No fluorescent colfeeling, one you need to ours”; “Preference toexperience first-hand in wards pastel colours”; “Preference for the order to fully grasp back of the shirt to be totally white”; “Preference for shorts and skirts to be totally white”; and “All other items of clothing, including hats, socks and shoe uppers to be predominantly white”.
Get a Magic Backhand Using Mili’s Split Method
Tennis coach Mili Veljković, author of the Split Method, is best known for his formula to improve backhand and forehand strokes and for his beautiful technique. His three-lessons-in-three-days-per-stroke programme (one lesson: 1.5 hours) drastically improves your strokes and corrects bad habits. Expect to tune-up your biomechanics, soften your stroke production and increase both your accuracy and stability. All of this enables you to enjoy much longer rallies while expending far less energy. Mili Split is probably the only coach who dares to offer multiple money-back guarantees if you’re not happy with the results! The Split Method’s secret formula always works, no exceptions – just ask those who have spoken highly of Mili’s method, such as Nenad Zimonjić.
For more information, visit tennispatent.com or see the YouTube channel ‘TennisMethod’.
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Some players respect this, others don’t. The near-exposed posterior of Maria Sharapova, which flashed every time the Russian went to take a ball from beneath her skirt, caused havoc. Close-up photographs and TV footage of Sharapova caused a media storm, as it did among tournament rule-makers. She also parodied the old-fashioned rules by donning a tuxedo-like outfit in 2008. Bethanie Mattek-Sands also made a point of questioning the guidelines when she chose to wear an eccentric jacket with white tennis balls attached to it. Russian-French player Tatiana Golovin also caused controversy with her choice to play in red underwear, made all the more visible by her white garb.
US OPEN: BIGGER, LOUDER, MORE DRAMATIC The US Open might lack the charm of Wimbledon, the heat of Melbourne or the charisma of Paris, but it has become a magnet to hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. This is the final Grand Slam of the season, marking the end of the outdoor hard court season, making everything seem larger than life and more dramatic, like the Broadway of tennis. Spectators sit in the stadiums’ grandiose steep Only here is the stands among the smells synergy between of burgers and spilled beer players and spectators while music blasts from so strong, with the every corner of Flushing crowd shouting at the Meadows. There are few action as they please. who’re lucky enough to get tickets for the Arthur Only here do matches Ashe Stadium, where the last well into the night final is played and celeband only here can you rities congregate to watch. With 22,547 seats, it’s the smell French fries biggest tennis stadium in wherever you go the world and is magnificent inside and out. Once you enter through its huge glass door, everything is distinctly blue (walls, carpets, tiles). A few metres down from the entrance on the right hand side is the purser’s office, where players come to collect their prize monTRIVIA
The Arthur Ashe Stadium, home to the US OPEN final
ey. If you lose in the first round of the US Open, you’ll still get US$23,000 (as per 2013). Playing in the second round will get you US$37,000, the third round US$65,000, while the winner is awarded US$1.9 million. Women and men are presented with equal prize money, a policy that dates back to 1978, when Margaret Court and John Newcombe won US$25,000 each. Today, the total prize pot is a staggering US$34,252,000. Down the hall is the players’ lounge, where pros relax between matches. It’s also where you’ll hear the juiciest tour gossip, so naturally it’s a no-access zone for the media. In the corner there’s a desk where players register and Women and men are sign themselves up to presented with equal be transported to their prize money, a policy hotels. They usually stay at the Ritz Carlton, that dates back to 1978, where the cheapest when Margaret Court overnight stay will set and John Newcombe you back US$700 – and won US$25,000 each. if you want a view of Today, the total prize Central Park, you’ll need to pay an extra US$200. pot is a staggering Elsewhere in the room US$34,252,000 you’ll find dedicated racket tuners who are so swift they look like they’re working on a conveyor belt. The central part of the room has comfortable leather sofas surrounded by flat-screen TVs, table football and other knick-knacks for players to enjoy. The next room is a huge dining area for the players. The organisers pride themselves on serving the best food, which be-
BARRON ANDY, YOUNG WARRIOR
Much has been said about the British number one during these last few years, but did you know that Murray’s middle name is Barron, which means ‘young warrior’ in Old English? The Scotsman’s parents paid £40,000 for his one-anda-half-year stay at Barcelona’s tennis academy when he was 15 years old, money they struggled to find. Murray was just 11 when he beat Djoković for the first time in a junior competition and the two have been friends since. Andy has a five-year sponsorship deal with Adidas worth €17.9 million. During matches he is known to lose up to 3kg of weight. He has 1.2 million followers on Twitter, while his dog Maggie May also has a Twitter profile with 6,800 followers. His parents divorced when he was 10 and he and brother Jamie lived with their father Will. He also has a scar on his finger caused by a fight with his brother. Murray loves his Sony PlayStation and listens to rap music. Besides his talent for tennis, he refused to pursue a football career with Scottish club Glasgow Rangers. His favourite film is ‘Braveheart’. 86 |
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comes apparent once you enter a kitchen that looks like a space station. Staff prepare meals using more than 50 pots and pans, with magnificent barbecue smells filling the air. Player protein and carbohydrate requirements are fulfilled with aplomb; there is a pasta bar, a sushi bar and you can even get a Serbian kebab if you wish – or at least something resembling one. Speaking of food and drink, the only beer served at the US Open is that of sponsors Heineken. Vendors serve half-litre glasses of Heineken for US$8.50, so don’t expect to get drunk on the cheap. Add this to the cheapest tournament ticket (US$80), US$36 for a towel as a souvenir, US$26 for a T-shirt and you can expect to part with at least US$200 per day at Flushing Meadows. Still, for this kind of money you’ll enjoy a crackling atmosphere and some of the best matches in world tennis. Only here can spectators sing along to Billy Idol or Motorhead. Only here is the synergy between players and spectators so strong, with the crowd shouting at the action as they please. Only here do matches last well into the night and only here can you smell French fries wherever you go. It’s almost as if, even if only for two weeks, the spirit of all of Manhattan and downtown New York decamps to Flushing Meadows to roar on the best players in the world. ■
Money and tennis
For the Love of the Game…
and the Money
Tennis is big business. Here, CorD reveals just a few of the fees and salaries that make the sport such a lucrative venture
Novak Djoković and Serena Williams go ‘Gangnam Style’
In 2013, Serena Williams earned US$12.3 million from playing at tournaments. Rafael Nadal earned around US$300,000 less, while Novak Djoković earned around US$11.2 million. Victoria Azarenka was next with US$6,497,165, while Andy Murray came fifth with US$5,416,221. This is all more or less public knowledge, but the earnings of ATP and WTA officials and staff are less so. The salary of ATP Tour executive chairman and president Chris Kermode is at least US$1.4 million. Stacey Allaster, executive director of the WTA Tour, earns US$866,192. This is not the sum of their earnings; their contracts have clauses stipulating 10% commission from sponsorship deals. When former WTA head Larry Scott sealed an US$80 million deal with Sony Ericsson, his commission was US$8 million – more than most top players’ earnings.
TROICKI STARTS FROM SCRATCH IN UMAG
Viktor Troicki comes back to tennis on 15 July 2014 with all of his ATP points annulled. Following the final ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, changing his punishment from an 18- to a 12-month suspension, Troicki will have to start his season on zero points. The first tournament he is due to play is in Umag, Croatia. The ITF suspended Troicki for refusing to provide a blood sample to doping control at the Monte Carlo Masters. He did provide a sample a day later, with the results of the blood analysis turning out negative. firstname.lastname@example.org |
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Estimates show the annual revenue of the ATP Tour to be close to US$87 million, with US$27 million in profit. Apart from Kermode, six other employees take home in excess of US$500,000; the director the US sector earns US$611,000, while the director of tournaments earns US$585,000. Office directors, third in the hierarchy, earn more than US$280,000. Other tennis officials also earn good money. Former business director of the United States Tennis Federation (USTA) Pierce O’Neill earned US$1.5 million annually, US Open diWhen former WTA rector Jim Curley earns US$1.2 head Larry Scott million, while the salary of USTA director Gordon Smith sealed an US$80 is US$1.3 million. Meanwhile, million deal with USTA technical director Patrick Sony Ericsson, his McEnroe gave up coaching the commission was US Davis Cup team for a difUS$8 million – more ferent position and a salary of than what most top US$2 million. • US$580 million is spent on players earn sponsorship deals with players annually. • Roger Federer earns US$10 million a year from Nike, US$6 million from Moët & Chandon and up to US$70 million in total. • Maria Sharapova earns US$29 million per year. Her sponsorship portfolio includes Nike, Head, Samsung, Porsche, Tag Heuer and Evian. She gets more than US$70 million from her eight-year deal with Nike alone. • Prize money: US$34,300,000 at the US Open; US$34 million at Wimbledon; US$30 million at the Australian Open; US$29 million at Roland Garros. • Last year, the 10 best players in the world earned more than US$60 million between them in prize money and three times that amount in sponsorship deals, exhibition matches and appearance fees. ■ TRIVIA
UNUSUAL RITUALS and player SUPERSTITIONS
Players have rituals that are followed with near-religious devotion. Legend Bjorn Borg always grew a beard and wore the same Fila shirt at Wimbledon (winning five times in the process). Serena Williams brings the slippers she used in the locker room to the court, ties her shoelaces a certain way, bounces the ball five times before her first serve, twice before the second and wears the same pair of socks at tournaments. Rafael Nadal’s obsessive-compulsive gestures include putting water bottles in front of his court-side seat with the label facing the court. He is obsessed with the number eight; he hits eight aces during his pre-match warm-up, wipes himself with a towel eight times after a set and carries eight bottles of water and eight rackets in his bag. Ana Ivanović never steps on the court’s lines, eats at the same restaurant before a match and tries to use the same shower and toilet in the locker room, unlike Novak Djoković, who never uses the same shower twice in a row. 88 |
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The 2014 ATP calendar Starting Date:
29 December 2013
Brisbane International (ATP 250)
30 December 2013
Qatar ExxonMobil Open; Chennai Open (both ATP 250)
6 January 2014
Apia International Sydney (ATP 250) Heineken Open New Zealand (ATP 250)
13 January 2014
Australian Open (Grand Slam)
31 January 2014
Davis Cup First Round
3 February 2014
Open Sud de France; PBZ Zagreb Indoors (both ATP 250) VTR Open Chile (ATP 250)
10 February 2014
US National Indoor Tennis Championships (ATP 500) ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament (ATP 500)
17 February 2014 24 February 2014
Delray Beach Open (ATP 250); Rio Open (ATP 500) Abierto Mexicano Telcel (ATP 500); Brasil Open (ATP 250) Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (ATP 500)
6 March 2014
BNP Paribas Open (ATP 1000)
19 March 2014
Sony Open Tennis (ATP 1000)
4 April 2014
Davis Cup Quarter-Finals
7 April 2014
US Men’s Clay Court Championship (ATP 250) Grand Prix Hassan II (ATP 250)
13 April 2014
Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (ATP 1000)
21 April 2014
BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy (ATP 250) Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (ATP 500)
28 April 2014
BMW Open (ATP 250) Portugal Open (ATP 250)
4 May 2014
Mutua Madrid Open (ATP 1000)
11 May 2014
Internazionali BNL d’Italia (ATP 1000)
18 May 2014
Düsseldorf Open (ATP 250) Open de Nice Côte d’Azur (ATP 250)
25 May 2014
French Open (Grand Slam)
9 June 2014
Gerry Weber Open (ATP 250) AEGON Championships (ATP 250)
23 June 2014
Wimbledon (Grand Slam)
7 July 2014
SkiStar Swedish Open; MercedesCup (both ATP 250) Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (ATP 250)
14 July 2014
Bet-At-Home Open (ATP 500)
21 July 2014
BB&T Atlanta Open, Croatia Open Umag (both ATP 250) Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad (ATP 250)
27 July 2014
Bet-At-Home Cup Kitzbühel (ATP 250)
28 July 2014
Citi Open (ATP 500)
4 August 2014
Rogers Cup, Toronto (ATP 1000)
10 August 2014
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati (ATP 1000)
17 August 2014
Winston-Salem Open (ATP 250)
25 August 2014
US Open (Grand Slam)
12 September 2014
Davis Cup Semi-Finals
15 September 2014
Moselle Open; St. Petersburg Open (both ATP 250)
22 September 2014
Malaysian Open; Shenzhen Open (both ATP 250)
29 September 2014
China Open; Japan Open Championships (both ATP 500)
5 October 2014
Shanghai Rolex Masters (ATP 1000)
13 October 2014
Kremlin Cup; If Stockholm Open (both ATP 250)
20 October 2014
Swiss Indoors Basel; Valencia Open 500 (both ATP 500)
27 October 2014
BNP Paribas Masters (ATP 1000)
9 November 2014
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
21 November 2014
Davis Cup Final
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111 January 2014 | 89
feature Approaching New Year 2014
Strange New Year
lying furniture, hanging out at graveyards and fighting your neighbour – these are just a few of the stranger New Year traditions from around the globe. In many countries, there’s a shared belief that specific actions taken on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day – or at the stroke of midnight when one becomes the other – can influence the fate of the months ahead. So, from swinging fireballs to gobbling grapes, here are some of the wackiest ways to cast out the old and bring in the new…
South America Residents in cities such as Sao Paulo, Brazil and La Paz, Bolivia ring in the New Year by donning brightly coloured underpants. Those who choose red are hoping for an amorous year ahead, while those with yellow wish for money. And in Colombia people carrying empty suitcases around their neighbourhood block do so in the hope of a travel-filled year. In the small Chilean city of Talca, meanwhile, it has become a tradition to go to the cemetery to visit the graves of dead relatives at midnight. Once the vicar finishes mass at around 11pm, the city mayor opens the doors to the cemetery and people are welcomed inside with dim lights and classical music, providing a peaceful atmosphere for paying respects to departed ancestry. This tradition began in 1995, when a local family jumped the cemetery fence to 90 |
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spend New Year’s at their father’s grave. Now more than 5,000 people take part. In places such as Cusco and Machu Picchu, people still practice the ancient rituals of the Incas. One such ritual, Temazcal, has become popular among tourists visiting Peru. A Temazcal is a small, wooden chamber covered by cloth, signifying the womb of Mother Earth. During Temazcal, a person steps into the wooden chamber, where their aura is cleansed and purified, as if reborn. Effigies of well-known people – called muñecos – are traditionally burned in New Year’s bonfires in Panama. The effigies can include everyone from television character ‘Ugly Betty’ to political figures such as Fidel Castro or even long jumper Irving Saladino, Panama’s first Olympic gold medallist. They represent the year just past; immolating them is meant to drive away evil spirits ahead of a fresh start in the new year.
Europe At the stroke of 12, Spaniards start consuming 12 grapes, attempting to eat the whole bunch by the time the clock stops chiming. And what do you imagine most Germans do on New Year’s Eve? As strange as it might seem, watching 1963 comedy sketch ‘Dinner For One’ has become Germany’s most popular New Year’s tradition. This is nothing like Americans watching Frank Capra’s celebrated ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ during the Christmas season. ‘Dinner For One’ is a television skit that has never been aired in any English-speaking country but is extremely popular in Germany, a country proud of its national culture. Russia’s Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake and largest freshwater reserve, and it hosts one of the strangest, most dangerous New Year’s traditions. Professional scuba divers from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk cut a hole in the ice covering the lake before diving down 40 metres as part of a ritual carried out every year since 1982: one of the divers carries the New Year tree to the bottom of the lake, wearing equipment weighing more than 100kg, while others dance around the tree. The Ice Maiden and Father Frost, two popular figures in Russian culture, are also present during the festivities and the divers have their pictures taken with them. Danes, slightly less dangerously but no more strangely, ring in the New Year by hurling old plates and glasses against the doors of friends’ and relatives’ houses. They also stand on chairs and jump off them together at midnight. Leaping into January is supposed to
banish bad spirits and bring good luck. It’s a long-time Finnish tradition to predict the coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water and then interpreting the shape the metal takes after hardening. A heart or ring shape means a wedding in the year ahead; a ship forecasts travel; and a pig signifies plenty of food. During the New Year’s Eve celebration of Hogmanay, ‘first-footing’ is practiced all over Scotland. Custom dictates that the first person to cross the threshold into a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck (whisky is most common). The Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies, most notably in the small fishing village of Stonehaven, where townspersons parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles overhead. Supposedly, these are symbols of the sun to purify the coming year.
Africa Residents of a South Africa suburb have cultivated a curious – and rather dangerous – Hogmanay tradition of throwing appliances and furniture out of their windows. Microwaves, irons and even beds are flung from tall buildings in the Hillbrow district of Johannesburg, which local police have been forced to patrol ever since the custom arose some years ago. Despite safety fears, which have prompted police to assemble helicopters, dogs and riot squads, residents insist the tradition ‘creates work’ for scrap collectors.
Asia New Year’s celebrations in places such as Manila tend to be circular; Filipinos focus on all things round, consuming ‘round’ fruits such as grapes and wearing clothing with round shapes such as polka dots. The spherical theme is meant to remind those celebrating of the shape of coins and therefore prosperity. In Japan, the faithful wear a costume representing the next year’s zodiac animal (a horse in 2014) to the local temple, where bells chime a sacred 108 times. Few could claim to celebrate the arrival of a New Year (albeit the Lunar New Year on 16 February) in more explosive fashion than the residents of Tainan County, China. Locals attending the Chinese Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Jie, expose themselves to beehive firecrackers in the hope that being hit by one or several of the firecrackers will rid them of bad luck. Aside from motorcycle helmets and basic outdoor clothing, locals – and, increasingly, tourists – wear little protection. email@example.com |
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chill out ed to the United Nations’ cultural heritage list. The decision to protect Japan’s traditional cuisine, known as ‘washoku’, was made against a backdrop of rising concerns that fast food and Western dishes are increasingly eclipsing the nation’s culinary heritage. Japan will become only the second nation after France to have its national cuisine given heritage status, a decision made by officials at a UNESCO meeting in Azerbaijan.
Japanese Cuisine Gets UNESCO Heritage Status While Japan has long been famed for its sushi, the nation has an expansive repertoire of traditional dishes beyond the raw fish snack. Japan’s traditional cuisine, celebrated for its centuries-old cooking techniques and seasonal ingredients, has been add-
Amazon Drone Deliveries – Fact or Fiction? Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is testing unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has announced. The drones, called Octocopters, could deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes of them placing an order. However, it could take up to five years for the service to start as the US Federal Aviation Administration is yet to approve the use of unmanned drones for civilian purposes. The service will be called Prime Air and comes as Amazon looks to improve its efficiency in order to boost growth. “We can do half-hour delivery… and we can carry objects, we think, up to 2.3kg, which covers 86% of the items that we deliver,” said Bezos. Civilian air space is expected to be opened up to all kinds of drones in the US by 2015 and in Europe by 2016.
Bush’s Handmade Christmas Tree Art The George W. Bush Presidential Center is selling a Christmas tree ornament featuring a painting by the former US president. The US$29.98 ornament is an unsigned painting of a cardinal on a tree branch with a ribbon attached so it can be hung. Bush has taken up painting in retirement, producing still lifes, self-portraits and images of animals. His wife Laura thought the painting of the cardinal could be used to celebrate the holiday season. “Laura liked the bright red of the cardinal and the greens of the foliage, and chose my painting, for which I am grateful,” said Bush.
Pope Francis Used to Work as a Bar Bouncer It’s common knowledge that St. Peter guards the pearly gates, but what many might not know is that Pope Francis used to guard the door at a bar in Argentina. The 77-year-old pontiff disclosed his previous vocation in December during a parish visit to the Church of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a working-class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Rome. 92 |
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The nugget from Francis’ past, when he was known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was disclosed during a four-hour conversation in which the Pope also mentioned that he used to sweep floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager. A recent survey in Italy noted an increase in the numbers attending mass and confession since Francis’ election. In Italy alone, more than 100,000 are ‘returning’ often after decades of non-attendance.
Russian Smartphone Russia’s first domestically designed smartphone, the YotaPhone, was unveiled in Moscow on 5 December. The phone features an always-on E Ink second screen in addition to a standard touchscreen, differentiating it from its plethora of competitors and making it more energy efficient. The phone, which uses Google’s
Android operating system, comes with a 4.3-inch main touchscreen and is being sold for a fixed price of €499, was launched in stores in Russia and Germany last month and online in France, Spain and Austria. The device “rethinks our relation to smartphones”, said YotaPhone’s general director Vlad Martynov, who unveiled the smartphone in a contemporary art gallery in Moscow.
Woman Survives 15 Days Trapped in Well After leaving her home in central China’s Henan province in search of medicinal herbs, 38-year-old woman Qixiu Su accidentally fell into a four-metre-deep, one-metre-wide abandoned well that had been hidden in a cornfield under thick corn leaves. The well had walls too smooth for her to climb out unaided. Thanks to the few cobs of corn she had collected previously and the water provided by two rain showers over a two week period, she survived her 15-day ordeal unscathed but reduced to what witnesses described as “scarily skinny”. Locals who harvested corn in the area eventually heard her calls for help and firefighters scrambled to pull her out. During the rescue, Su could barely utter a word.
Germany to Ban Flat-rate Sex in Brothels Germany’s biggest political parties have agreed to ban so-called flat-rate sex offered by some brothels in the country. The move comes as part of a clampdown on Germany’s booming prostitution industry, which critics say has got out of hand since a 2002 law legalised sex work. They view the special offers in some brothels, where men can have unlimited
South Korea to Build ‘Invisible’ Skyscraper While burgeoning cities across the globe ostentatiously display their glitzy skyscrapers – from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa to Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers – Incheon has something else in mind: putting a 450-metre-high building into stealth mode. According to US-based GDS Architects, this autumn the South Korean government approved the construction of City Tower (unofficially called ‘Tower Infinity’), a skyscraper that uses LEDs to project the image of the sky from behind it, as captured by cameras on its opposite side. The result is no less than amusing: a structure that seemingly disappears from Incheon’s skyline. But critics argue that its location, 18 miles west of Seoul and only a few miles east of Korea’s busiest airport, raises concerns about air safety. However, Korea Land & Housing Corporation downplayed any risks the spectacle might pose to aviation. sex for €100, as exploitative. Anja Strieder, spokeswoman for the centre-left Social Democrats, confirmed a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that a ban was agreed during coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Union bloc. She added that better protection for victims of enforced prostitution and stricter rules for brothels will also be included in a bill that could be introduced once the government is appointed formally. firstname.lastname@example.org |
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Christmas & New Year’s
Geo Block Scarf
Chloé Paraty Leather Satchel
€27.00 Lashings of lapis blue, citrine yellow, navy and ivory will cheer up any ensemble while keeping you warm during those trans-seasonal months.
€1,430.00 Handcrafted piped trim details the front and back of a leather satchel topped with dual handles and an optional shoulder strap.
Stripe Merino Wool Glovelettes €50.00 Striped fingerless gloves spun from soft merino yarns offer a stylish solution for cold hands.
hen it comes to the Christmas and New Year holidays, Serbia is a happy, celebratory country. Given it exists in the middle of West and East, Serbia is one of the few countries in the world that follows both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, as well as having both Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. As such, it celebrates all of the holidays that go with that, meaning Serbia is blessed with two Christmases and two New Years. Or in other words, some 20 days of holidays! When it comes to Christmas gifts for 25 December or 6 January, or New Year’s gifts, most Serbians, as befitting their country’s location, choose to stay in the middle – gifts are given on the New Year’s Eve of 31 December. Gifts are traditionally bought at the very last minute, but if you prefer to avoid any rushing around, CorD is on hand to help you decide what to get for your loved ones…
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Jimmy Choo Leopard Print Calf Hair Satchel
Anne Klein Round Leather Strap Watch
€2,940.00 Exotic leopard spots fade to black on a silky calf-hair satchel topped with two different lengths of straps.
€48.00 A mother-of-pearl dial and sparkling strap glam up an understated round watch.
Lodis Credit Card Case €28.00 Smooth Italian leather creates a timeless design, ideally sized for space-saving organisation. The long strap snaps securely over card slots, while a side zip pocket provides a place for coins.
St. John Collection Brooch €136.00
Hand-made & Hand-painted
A magnificent Deco-inspired brooch radiates in an artful display of sparkling crystals and luminous glass pearls.
Kate Spade Leather Tech Gloves €94.00 A wrist-top bow accented with a goldtone pyramid stud adds that little something extra.
Galerija Porcelana, Braće Ribnikar 63, Novi Sad 021/540-507; 063/535-982; www.galerijaporcelana.com
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Wi-Fi and Usb Cufflinks
Mulberry Phone Cover €105.00
€183.00 Keep an on-the-go connection to the ’net and your hard drive with this pair of sleek, tech-savvy cufflinks. After downloading the accompanying software, simply plug the Wi-Fi drive into your computer and follow the stepby-step instructions to take your tech-cessory online.
Sleek, luxurious yet practical, this simple leather phone cover features a secure tab-fastener and is crafted from soft, smooth calf leather.
Hugo Boss Baptiste Work Bag €386.00 Pebbled calfskin leather shapes a handsome briefcase-style bag designed with a large top-zip compartment and interior wall pockets for all your business essentials.
Timex Easy Reader Watch €48.00
Monster Portable Audio System
The sleek brushed dial is boldly marked and features Indiglo lighting. A genuine leather strap is the perfect complement.
€295.00 A sleekly styled, lightweight audio system that uses Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly stream any song in your library from almost any device, smartphone, laptop, tablet or iPod. The system features Monster audio technology to deliver powerful, high-quality sound on the go.
Tom Ford Oud Wood Eau de Parfum Decanter €386.00 The exotic scent of Oud Wood by Tom Ford features a blend of rosewood, cardamom, oud wood, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean and amber.
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Hugo Boss Glove €119.00
Luxurious and classic, the deer-skin glove from German style house Hugo Boss is a timeless addition to your winter wardrobe.
€124.00 The fitness monitor gets a facelift, adding some flash to your wrist.
Braun Series 7 790cc Pulsonic Shaver €147.00
Stefano Ricci Pleated Silk Tie
The most technologically advanced shaver from Braun, the series 7 is equipped with revolutionary sonic technology that automatically adjusts its power to the density of your beard and delivers an exceptional 10,000 micro vibrations with every stroke.
Stefano Ricci Crocodile Belt €2,030.00
Diagonal pleats add a shot of interest to this luxe silk tie from Stefano Ricci. Crafted in Italy, it’ll act as a handsome finishing touch to any formal look.
Handmade in Italy, this twotone crocodile-skin Stefano Ricci belt is a stylish, elegant addition to any discerning gentleman’s wardrobe.
Frye Logan Messenger Bag €365.00 This sturdy messenger bag made from richly textured leather is furnished with multiple pouches for effortless organisation.
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Christmas and New Year holidays
Rest up During the Downtime
Christmas and New Year holidays in Serbia happen over a long period, sometimes even longer than the summer holidays. So this is a great opportunity to rest and relax before returning to your daily office routine – these holidays are your last chance for a good, thorough break until summer. As such, we recommend you take advantage of the downtime and adjust your wardrobe to something more soft and comfortable. Even after a holiday season spent solely among friends, you don’t need to go overboard wardrobe-wise on New Year’s Eve. If you’re well-rested and in decent spirits, let your wardrobe reflect your casual demeanour – you’ll look good no matter what.
Jimmy Choo Leather Hobo
Mixed chains drape across a slouchy hobo crafted from smooth, supple leather for added moto-inspired edge.
Alexander Wang Moto Jacket Rounded, white-leather sleeves frame a black leather moto jacket designed in a boxy shape and detailed with overlapping side panels.
Alexander Wang Skinny Pants
Berry Hat This hat is designed to keep you warm, cosy and looking good all winter long.
Cashmere Infinity Scarf Smart spots brighten a lush infinity scarf in pure, deliciously soft cashmere.
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Front-and-centre pin tucks visually lengthen the legs in streamlined skinny pants that boast a sleek and lustrous polish. price:
Classic Genuine Shearling Gloves
Cosy shearling fashioned into chic gloves branded with metal logo buttons.
Jacqueline Suede Jacket This suede motorcycle jacket is polished by gold zippers and grommet hardware. A minimal fold-over front is framed by refined patches on the shoulders and at the elbows with side zip pockets.
This Moritz hat is made of fun, colourful hand-knit chunky yarn with a fleece lining.
Patagonia Women’s R2 Jacket
Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover
The Women's R2 jacket is made of a hybrid of shortsheared R2 fabric and R1 high-low grid fabric for ultimate warmth and temperature control during any activity.
This snuggly soft deep-pile fleece pullover works well alone or layered under your shell for extra warmth.
Spyder Power Jacket The Power jacket wraps your body in colour, achieving a bold and tasteful appearance that's unmistakably feminine yet sporty and technically sound. price:
Michael Kors Sweater
Mixed stitching provides beautiful texture for a crewneck cotton-blend sweater, while a foiled coating adds glamorous gleam.
Rocker Zip Twill Pants
Gleaming gold-tone zippers exposed at the pockets and hems give an edgy rocker vibe to these twill pants with body-hugging stretch.
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Keep It Casual for New Year If you’re worried about overdoing your wardrobe this New Year, fear not. Follow a few basic style rules while adding a little flair to your fashion choices and you’ll be the sharpest – yet most relaxed – gent at any party in town. Let CorD kick off your celebrations with a few suggestions…
Shetland Wool Sportcoat
Kent & Curwen Sportcoat & AG Jeans
A refined double-breasted sport coat crafted from sumptuous Shetland wool tailored with flattering front darts and a classic notch lapel. price:
Hunter Sport Shirt A narrowly spread collar tops an essential sport shirt woven from pure cotton.
Protégé Straight Leg Jeans Black stretch-denim price: jeans cut narrow through the seat € 120 and thighs with signature stitching details on the back pockets.
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Hobbs Cashmere Cricket Sweater Cricket stripes lend sporting style to this handsome sweater cable-knit from soft, pure cashmere.
These cosy gloves are made from buttery soft Italian leather with a smooth cashmere lining and a neat zip closure.
Check Wool Scarf Bold-coloured checks define this wovenwool scarf trimmed with classic fringe.
Barbour Cotton Cashmere Jumper
Diesel Shirt Casual yet refined, this plaid cotton shirt will make a smart style companion to your favourite denim and chinos whatever the season.
With its texture-rich chunky weave and luxurious cottoncashmere blend, this warming knit is guaranteed to keep the cold at bay on frosty winter days. Perfect for layering with casual shirts and denim, it will pair seamlessly with a waxed-cotton jacket and sturdy leather boots.
Hugo Boss Fave Stripe Scarf
Casio GW-3000m-4AER G-Shock Chronograph Watch
Featuring a muted multi-stripe design, this pure-wool accessory has been loomed from exceptionally warm yarn.
Features include multi-band 6 radiocontrolled, solar powered movement with world time, stopwatch, beeper alarm, shock resistance, chronograph and date function.
Ted Baker Mixed Leather Satchel
You’ll look the business wearing this smart colour leather satchel with top handle and adjustable, removable shoulder strap.
Reiss Chapel Cord Trousers
Hugo Boss Actor/ Step Trim Fit Tuxedo
The Rail Long-Sleeve Henley
Cut a dash in the boardroom this season by teaming this well-crafted pair of cord trousers with a matching coloured blazer. Finish off the look with a gingham shirt, textured tie and polished loafers.
Satin-trimmed peak lapels define a bold, modern tuxedo shaped from a fine wool blend for a touch of timeless texture.
A soft, lightweight heathered blend structures a classic Henley shaped for a layered look.
Clarks Narly Hill GTX Nubuck Boots
Designed for active outdoor pursuits, these boots are guaranteed waterproof and breathable thanks to their Gore-Tex lining.
O’Shea Sneaker Sporty style and a sleek profile define a cool sneaker touched up with bold contrast detail.
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Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela dies aged 95
Father of a Nation “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”
In October 1963 Mandela was brought underground activity. elson Rolihlahla Mandela was from jail to join eight other accused being In December 1956, Mandela was one of born on 18 July 1918 in Qunu, tried for sabotage, conspiracy to overthrow 156 political activists arrested and charged South Africa. He spent his early the government by revolution and assisting with high treason. Four-and-a-half years childhood in the Transkei, being an armed invasion of South Africa by foreign later, on 29 March 1961, Justice Rumpff groomed to become a chief. Mandela studtroops. Mandela’s statement from the dock found the accused not guilty. Mandela also ied at Healdtown Methodist Boarding School after conviction received worldwide publicplayed a legal role in the trial, as the original followed by Fort Hare University College, ity. On 12 June 1964, all of the accused, defence lawyers withdrew during the 1960 where he became involved in student politics. including Mandela, were sentenced to life imstate of emergency. In 1959, with the trial It was at Fort Hare that he met Oliver Tambo; prisonment on Robben Island. still ongoing, the ANC planned an anti-pass they were both expelled in 1940 as a result A massive ‘Release Mandela Campaign’ laws campaign. However, it was pre-empted of their participation in a student strike. was launched in 1982, both in South by the PAC, which called for mass anti-pass Together with Walter Sisulu and Tambo, Africa and abroad. This included worldwide protests on 21 March 1960. It was during Mandela participated in the foundation of celebrations of Mandela’s 70th birthday one of these protests that the Sharpeville the African National Congress Youth League in 1988, marked by a concert in London massacre took place. Both the ANC and (ANCYL) in 1944 and in 1948 served as its broadcast in over 50 countries. national secretary. In December 1989 Mandela met In the late-1950s, Mandela In his inaugural speech, Mandela with senior members of the United became national president of the pledged to build a society in which all Democratic Front, the Congress of ANCYL, and in 1952 was appointSouth Africans, black and white, could South African Trade Unions and other ed national ‘volunteer-in-chief’ of political groups. On 2 February 1990, the Defiance Campaign, travelwalk tall without fear, assured of their Mandela was released. He immediateling around South Africa enlisting rights to human dignity ly addressed a mass rally in the centre disciplined volunteers prepared of Cape Town. the PAC were subsequently banned and to break apartheid laws. The campaign On 9 May 1994 Mandela was elected unthe government declared a state of emerofficially opened on 26 June 1952 with opposed as President of South Africa in the gency. During the emergency, approximateMandela and 51 others breaking curfew first session of the National Assembly. In his ly 1,800 political activists were imprisoned regulations as their first act of defiance. inaugural speech, Mandela pledged to build a without charge or trial. In December 1952, Mandela and a society in which all South Africans, black and To evade arrest for incitement, Mandela number of others were arrested and charged white, could walk tall without fear, assured went underground. He and Sisulu travelled under the Suppression of Communism Act. of their rights to human dignity – “a rainbow secretly around the country organising the Mandela was sentenced to nine months’ nation at peace with itself and the world”. strike, and Mandela remained a fugitive for imprisonment and hard labour. Although Mandela received a number of awards, the next 17 months. Mandela, by now deputy national president including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. On 5 August 1962 Mandela was of the ANC, was banned from gatherings, he He retired from political life after his first captured near Howick, Natal. He was tried in continued to work with small groups of ANC term as President, devoting much of his Pretoria and in November 1962 sentenced members. He was instrumental in the fortime to fundraising for the Nelson Mandela to five years’ imprisonment for incitement mulation of the ‘M Plan’ (named after him), Children’s Fund. Mandela died at his home in and illegally leaving the country. He began whereby ANC branches were to be broken Johannesburg on 5 December, aged 95. ■ his sentence in Pretoria Central Prison. down into cells to cope with the possibility of
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