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Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure

Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Serbia

Ambassador of India to Serbia



FEBRUARY ’17 / ISSUE No. 148


interviews opinions news comments events PRICE 300 RSD COMMENT: H. E. MICHAEL DAVENPORT

Making Serbia Better For Business Brexit Could Make The Eu Stronger ADAM FAGAN PH.D.


We Have Sycophantic Single-Mindedness Once Again


Our NATO Accession






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H. E. MICHAEL DAVENPORT, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia

MAKING SERBIA Better for Business




2017 promises to be a busy year for Serbia on its path towards the European Union. The EU has opened six chapters in the negotiations on accession, including some of the most important, notably those dealing with the rule of law


Zorana Mihajlović PhD, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure



H.E.Tanju Bilgiç, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Serbia

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Nebojša Veselinović Ðura, Artist








Adam Fagan Ph.D., Professor of European Politics and Head of the School of Politics and International Relations of Queen Mary University, London

Vojislav Voja Brajović, actor, President of the Association of Dramatic Artists of Serbia

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EDITOR: Ana Novčić ART DIRECTOR: Jasmina Laković

Duško Marković, Montenegrin Prime Minister


December 2017


Snežana Petrović, Corporate & Marketing Communications Manager at Lafarge Serbia



CONTRIBUTORS: Rob Dugdale, Maja Vukadinović, Mirjana Jovanović, Miša Brkić, Radmila Stanković, Steve MacKenzie, Zorica Todorović Mirković, Sonja Ćirić EDITORIAL MANAGER: Neda Lukić PHOTOS: Zoran Petrović COPY EDITOR: Mark Pullen TRANSLATION AND EDITING Halifax Translation Services PROJECT MANAGERS: Biljana Dević, Aleksandra Ebilji, Ljiljana Knežević, Nataša Trifunović, Lidija Carević, OFFICE MANAGER: Svetlana Petrović FINANCIAL MANAGER: Dragana Skrobonja EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Maja Vidaković GENERAL MANAGER: Ivan Novčić PRINTING: Rotografika d.o.o. Segedinski put 72, Subotica CorD is published by: alliance international media Makenzijeva 67, 11111 Belgrade 17, PAK 126909, Serbia Phone: +(381 11) 2450 508 Fax: +(381 11) 2450 122 E-mail: ISSN no: 1451-7833 All rights reserved alliance international media 2017



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Making Serbia Better For Business 2017 promises to be a busy year for Serbia on its path towards the European Union. The EU has opened six chapters in the negotiations on accession, including some of the most important, notably those dealing with the rule of law AMBASSADOR MICHAEL DAVENPORT, Head of the Delegation

of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia


Over the last two years, Serbia has become a better erbia is now poised to set out its negotiation position for a raft of other chapters, mostly dealing with place in which to do business. The government has taken economic aspects of accession: freedom of move- courageous steps to tackle longstanding economic chalment of labour and capital, company law and intel- lenges, reducing the deficit, boosting investment, bringlectual property, financial services, enterprise and indus- ing down unemployment and streamlining planning protrial policy. Work is also underway to prepare the ground cedures. The European Union has supported Serbia in this for opening the chapter devoted to Serbia becoming part of through the Economic Reform Programme endorsed by Member States. But much still remains to be done. Getting the EU’s Customs Union. on with the privatisation or restructuring Last year Serbia elected a new governof state-owned enterprises is becoming ment, which has again placed EU accesThe Commission’s an ever higher priority. So too is pressing sion as its top strategic priority. Citizens 2016 report on ahead with plans to make Serbia’s public therefore have a legitimate expectation Serbia set out key administration more service-oriented, that the path towards accession will be recommendations extending e-government to more public accelerated. This means building on the services, pushing forward with judicial momentum that has now been created for action in the reform and taking steps to create a genubehind Serbia’s economic and political year ahead. We are inely independent judiciary. reforms and focusing more and more on backing this up with I have been most impressed by the the standards that need to be met in orconcrete support in determination with which the Supreme der to close chapters in the negotiations and complete the accession process. It areas agreed with the Court and the Justice Ministry have together efficiently to tackle the also means moving forward towards a Serbian government, worked backlog of cases clogging the courts, genuine normalisation of relations bebut also working with especially in Belgrade, where hundreds tween Belgrade and Pristina. the civil sector of thousands of cases have been dealt The EU Delegation in Serbia has a with over the last six months alone. The mandate from the European Union and its Member States to support Serbia in every possible way Delegation has been proud to support this work. This is to get itself ready for membership. Our key partners in this just one example of effective delivery of commitments are Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimović under the Action Plan that Serbia adopted for Chapter 23 and the Serbian European Integration Office. But we are in the negotiations. Making similar progress in other arworking with all parts of the Serbian government to help eas, including fighting corruption and fostering indepenensure that progress is sustained. The Commission’s 2016 dent media, not to mention improving the environment report on Serbia set out key recommendations for action in and supporting Serbian farmers, will further contribute to the year ahead. We are backing this up with concrete sup- making Serbia not only a more attractive place for doing port in areas agreed with the Serbian government, but also business, but also to improving the quality of life of Serbian citizens.■ working with the civil sector.

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Membership of the EU and NATO is not directed against Russia or anyone else, but corresponds to the needs of society for enduring peace and stability, a wish to essentially and not only geographically belong to the world's most developed countries and cherish the values of Western civilisation. At the same time cooperation with Moscow and Beijing, especially economic cooperation, is the result of our efforts to develop our state and its infrastructure to make it accessible and attractive for new investment that will create new jobs – Duško Marković, Prime Minister of Montenegro


he new Montenegrin government headed by Duško Marković continues to implement the policies defined by previous governments over the past decade. The priorities remain the EU and NATO together with economic growth and improving the living standards of citizens. In an interview with the magazine CorD, the Prime Minister of Montenegro says that he will strive to strengthen the “internal cohesion of Montenegrin society as an important factor of overall progress”. Marković adds that he is willing to offer positions in the government to political representatives of the Serbian people, who are not at present represented in his cabinet, provided they stop their boycott and return to parliament. 8 |



■ Mr. Marković, you are starting the New Year as the Montenegrin Prime Minister with a new government. You have said that it is a government of continuity with the previous government of Milo Đukanović, whose internal and foreign policy objectives will be continued. What will your priorities be? - By deciding to take to the future and progress of society into our own hands, we have mapped out Montenegro’s key priorities in the internal and external political agenda: membership in the European Union and NATO. Internally, we aim at strong economic growth based on the principles of the market economy and improvement of the living standards of each individual and each family. Those were the goals




When Montenegro restored its independence in 2006, we already then clearly proclaimed our key foreign policy priorities – membership of the EU and NATO

With the proposed measures of fiscal consolidation, the projected average annual rate of real economic growth for the period 2017-2019 is 3.4%

The priorities for economic cooperation with Serbia are related to infrastructure connections and the possibility of exploiting joint hydro-energy potential

and priorities of all of our governments over the last decade, including this one, which took office in late November last year. I believe that in our foreign policy priorities we have achieved historical progress in a relatively short period of time: we have advanced a long way in negotiations with the EU and we have set the goal of concluding the negotiation process by the end of this government’s mandate. Our membership of the NATO Alliance is a done deal and we expect it to be formalised in the next few months. The key challenges facing this government are economic growth and strengthening the internal cohesion of Montenegrin society as an important factor of overall progress.

■ What will be the role of the former, long-time president and prime minister of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, in whose political retirement few believe? - I would say that you are misinformed if you say that the leader of the restoration of Montenegro’s independence has politically retired. Đukanović

■ Bosnians, Albanians and Croats have found their place in the current government of Montenegro, but there are no representatives of the Serbian people. You observed this yourself when you laid out your cabinet’s programme. Is it a shortcoming of the new government, and can it be overcome? - The fact that the present government has no representatives of the Serbian people is not a result of my attitude as Prime Minister towards the Serbian people. That is the consequence of the attitude of the political representatives of the Serbian people In a few months’ time, is the president of the Democratic Party of themselves towards the current government. What Socialists (DPS) and he is very much engaged does that mean? Based on the election results of we will complete our October last year, a parliamentary majority was membership of NATO and and dedicated to the daily life of the party. I can assure you that his political and public constituted and consequently formed a new govwe hope that after that ernment. Back then, as the government was being engagement is not the least bit reminiscent Moscow will accept set up in the parliament in late November last of retirement. As a leader of the strongest year, I offered places in my cabinet to parties that, political force in Montenegro, he is strongly reality and show according to the election result were supposed to committed to the organisational, personnel willingness to improve be opposition, including those that bring together and overall strengthening of the DPS, so that relations with Montenegro. our party can win the trust of a majority of representatives of the predominantly Serbian This is our desire and also Montenegrin citizens in future elections, and people. It was an open and honest offer on my part, but to date it has not been accepted. It is not up to the next local election is already scheduled our interest me to assess whether this is a shortcoming of the for 12 March in Nikšić. I do not have a shred government. I believe that the government, in its current makeup, is of doubt that in this engagement he will achieve the best of results. acting completely responsibly and is committed to fulfilling the goals it has set, and I am very pleased with the performance of its ministers ■ What are the relations between Montenegro and Russia? in the first two months. Can we overcome the current situation when Some very harsh statements were made by Russian officials we talk about representation of the political representatives of the on account of the government of Montenegro, condemning Serbian people? Yes, we can, very easily. They should give up their your predecessor Đukanović. Some saw the tensions in the boycott and return to parliament, and then I will be ready for them electoral process as a direct interference by Russia in the to take certain positions in the government. internal affairs of Montenegro. FEBRUARY



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- Montenegrin-Russian relations have a tradition of more than three centuries and during this long period they have always been friendly, at times patronising by Moscow, especially in the 19th century when Montenegro led the liberation wars against Turkey and aspired to international recognition of its independence. Of course, historical circumstances globally throughout this period led to, I would say, some episodes in our relations when we did not have a good understanding of each other. I think that over the last year we’ve been going through such a period,

with the United States but also with China. Can such a policy of cooperation with everybody be pursued in the real world? - It is completely wrong to interpret cooperation with someone as automatically meaning action against others. Montenegro and its citizens have their own interests and the state leadership is working to implement those interests. Membership of the EU and NATO is not directed against Russia or anyone else, but corresponds to the needs of society for enduring peace and stability, a wish to essentially and not only geographically belong to the world’s most developed countries and cherish the values of Western civilisation. At the same time cooperation with Moscow and Beijing, especially economic cooperation, is the result of our efforts to develop our state and its infrastructure to make it accessible and attractive for new investment that will create new jobs. In the end, the goal is to secure stability, security and a European standard of living for citizens. As a small country we are not in a position to waive cooperation with any important factor on the global stage. On the contrary, we are trying to build bridges everywhere, to be a reliable and responsible partner...

■ Montenegro was invited to join NATO. The process of ratification of the protocol by the members of the Alliance is underway. Most members have given a green light. The green light arrived from the United States where finalisation of the procedure in the Senate is primarily caused by changes that have expected. How do you comment on that and There is no dilemma taken place in relations between Russia what are your expectations? about how the new and NATO. These relations have led to a - Every ratification of the Protocol on the Accession administration in crisis in recent years due to the different of Montenegro to NATO, and so far there were 21 of Washington will relate interests of Moscow and the NATO counthem, means a special recognition for our country tries in crisis areas on the international and its efforts to implement fundamental reforms. to its strategic arena: from the period of constructive So by ratifying the Protocol in their national parliapartnerships. As ments and through other procedures, member states cooperation between Russia and NATO, President Trump said acknowledge that our state has made measurable five or ten years ago, there is now to a very in his inaugural speech, progress, primarily in the area of security sector strained relationship. When Montenegro reform and the rule of law. If this was not the case, restored its independence in 2006, we the United States will the Protocol would not have been given the green already then clearly proclaimed our key strengthen all its light. In addition to satisfaction, this attitude of NATO foreign policy priorities – membership alliances member states obligates us and encourages us to of the EU and NATO. Russia understood continue even more strongly than before to impleour commitment at the time. In the meantime, there have been major changes between NATO and Russia, which ment reforms and the European agenda. As for the United States, they coincided precisely with the final stage of our accession to the North are our key partner in the whole process. NATO is neither a momentary Atlantic Alliance. Russia’s mood about the Montenegrin membership nor a hasty alliance, just as the commitment of Montenegro to join this in NATO changed, but our resolve to implement what we set as key club is not an ephemeral political option, but a strategic path to the national interests did not. In a few months’ time, we will complete our future of our country. I therefore have no dilemmas about how the new membership of NATO and we hope that after that Moscow will accept administration in Washington will treat its strategic partnerships. As reality and show willingness to improve relations with Montenegro. President Trump said in his inaugural speech, the United States will This is our desire and also our interest. reinforce all of its alliances. ■ You said that your priorities will be improving relations with Russia and your neighbours, as well as strengthening relations 10 |



■ You assessed that this year will be historic for Montenegro, the most important after the declaration of the restoration of

independence. What will NATO accession bring to Montenegro in concrete terms? - Montenegro already has benefits from Euro-Atlantic integration. The process we have gone through has helped our institutions mature and strengthen so that they are able protect the state and citizens. This was demonstrated during the events of October last year when, on the eve of the parliamentary election, an attempted terrorist act was prevented. NATO is a guarantor of our security, the inviolability of our borders and the integrity of our state. We also expect economic benefits from membership, because states that are part of the Alliance are perceived by investors as stable and secure for their money and business. Common security will improve intergovernmental cooperation in other areas, including economic integration, energy connections and infrastructure projects. ■ Do you believe in the thesis that the arrival of the new US administration and President Donald Trump could change the interest of the United States in Montenegro, which would supposedly be some kind of concession to the interests of Russia? - The United States today is one of the greatest world powers because of its clear vision and consistency of its policies, particularly those related to foreign affairs. I am confident that we will continue to strengthen friendly relations between Montenegro and the United States. The announcement of dialogue between Moscow and Washington are encouraging and I believe they are a signal to reduce tensions on the global political scene. Today we all share the same challenges, primarily in security issues, because terrorism affects ordinary people and does not choose place or time.

and austerity measures, we were forced to develop a rehabilitation plan, but I am more than pleased with the initial results. In the coming period, we will dedicate additional attention to implementing sector reform measures important for improving competitiveness, some of which were contained in the Programme of Economic Reforms for Montenegro 2017-2019. At the same time we will continue with the implementation of key development projects, all of which form the basis of a dynamic and sustainable economic growth.

We have to valorise our excellent political ties with Serbia and with the government of Prime Minister Vučić through the implementation of joint economic projects that do not relate only to infrastructure. We will be strongly committed to this in future

■ Is your government a government of continuity, or will the new ministers bring a step forward in the economic policies that your cabinet will pursue? - The government will continue to follow and implement all strategic and development goals set in years behind us. We want a sustainable and inclusive economic growth that will contribute to reducing the developmental gap of the country in relation to the EU average and increasing the quality of life of all its citizens. Although GDP per capita in Montenegro nominally amounts to about €6,000 and is the largest in the region of the six Western Balkan countries, the purchasing power parity (PPP) in Montenegro is 42% of the EU average. That does not make us satisfied. The focus of economic measures of the government of Montenegro therefore implies the strengthening of the macroeconomic and particularly fiscal stability of the country and removing the key obstacles to improving its competitiveness. At the beginning of the mandate we proposed a package of fiscal consolidation measures for strengthening macroeconomic stability. This included also a series of unpopular cuts

■ You have announced major spending cuts on account of the slowdown in GDP growth compared to last year. What are the main reasons for such a strong adjustment of public finances? - During the decade of the restoration of independence Montenegro’s economy recorded an average real annual growth of 3.2%. This growth is based on strong growth in investment, particularly FDI that accounted for 18-19% of GDP on average in the previous decade. However, with the outbreak of the global economic crisis, Montenegro saw an increased current account deficit, and borrowing to finance it from 2009 until 2015, when most of the new debt was development loans. At the same time, due to legal changes mainly in the area of pension and disability insurance and social and child welfare, there was an increase of budget expenditure by about 2% of GDP. I must stress that the new legislation was imposed by the opposition without proper analyses and assessment of its fiscal impact, by forming an unprincipled ad hoc coalition in parliament. All this was done under the guise of an alleged concern for the socially vulnerable, and essentially the aim was to score small-time daily political points. Those decisions have led to a reduction of activity on the labour FEBRUARY



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market and an increase in the number of unemployed. With the increase context, the Trans-Balkan Corridor is important as it will improve of other categories of current spending (such as public sector wages) and energy connections between Montenegro and Serbia as part of a with planned expenses for development, the budget deficit and public broader regional energy connection strategy. This project has been debt increased above the limits prescribed by the Law on Budget and recognised as a project of importance to the Energy Community and Fiscal Responsibility. These are the key reasons for proposing measures as such it was supported at the 2015 Vienna Summit. Such status is of rehabilitation and fiscal consolidation, which is an obligation of the another confirmation of the right decision to build an undersea cable government in accordance with that law. In other words it is a package between Italy and Montenegro and the policy of strong ties with the of measures of fiscal consolidation, i.e. reform measures with a macroEU energy market, but also with the immediate neighbourhood. The fiscal impact, which will contribute total investment on the territory of to reducing the budget deficit in the Montenegro of €127 million includes medium term, from 6.1% of GDP in strengthening the Montenegrin power 2017 to 3.8% of GDP in 2019, and transmission infrastructure related to achieving a surplus in 2020. At the the submarine cable and the construction of electric power transmission same time, that will slow the growth lines between Montenegro and Serbia. of public debt, whose share in GDP With the support of the government should be reduced after the construction of priority sections of the motorof Montenegro the Montenegrin elecway in 2019. This plan represents an tricity transmission system secured optimal combination of measures that credit from the EBRD and KfW, and will allow the stabilisation of public a contract was also signed that represents co-financing of these credit finances, continued sustainable economic growth and the preservation funds from the EU grant to the amount of the level of social protection of the of €25 million. most vulnerable social strata. With the Also as part of the Berlin Process, in proposed measures of fiscal consolidaorder to modernise the rail infrastruction, the projected average annual rate ture to the border with the Republic of real economic growth for the period of Serbia Montenegro was in 2015 2017-2019 is 3.4%. By choosing these approved a grant of €20 million from measures, we have strictly made sure WBIF, while Montenegro will co-finance to preserve the competitiveness of the project with another €20 million. the tax and investment environment, So we are talking about specific infrastructure projects in progress. without compromising the standard of living of citizens and socially vulIn the coming period, we will ■ What is the real chance of connerable categories of the population, necting Belgrade and the Monwhich would at the same time have dedicate additional attention to tenegrin coast by a motorway? been reflected in a slowdown in the implementing sector reform - One of the most important projects economy through the reduction of measures important for improving for Montenegro – the motorway Barprivate consumption. The proposed competitiveness, some of which Boljare – is currently underway. We measures should therefore contribute to ensuring sustainable economic were contained in the Programme started with the construction of the first and most demanding section from growth and higher living standards of Economic Reforms for Smokovac to Mateševo of 41 km and in the long term, as our strategic goal. Montenegro 2017-2019 we will finish the work by May 2019. ■ What will be your priorities After that, we will immediately start concerning economic relations with Serbia? with the remaining sections, especially those leading to the border - The priorities for economic cooperation with Serbia are related with Serbia and onwards to Europe. We will use the time until then to infrastructure connections and the possibility of exploiting joint to define the possible models and sources of funding, especially those hydro-energy potential. The priorities are related to the strengththat will be available from EU funds, i.e. the Western Balkan Investment ening of cooperation in the CEFTA free trade zone and the further Framework through the Berlin Process. development of tourism and transport. There is definitely room to We have to valorise our excellent political ties with Serbia and with promote economic cooperation. That cooperation has already been the government of Prime Minister Vučić through the implementation further encouraged through the Berlin Process and infrastructure of joint economic projects that do not relate only to infrastructure. We connections within the region. The Berlin Process opened up the will be strongly committed to this in future, because there we really possibility for Western Balkan countries of funding transport and see room for concrete cooperation between the two countries that energy connections with the region, and beyond with the EU. In this will bring benefits to both the citizens of Montenegro and of Serbia. ■ 12 |






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Firmly On Course



We need to be aware of all the potential threats in our close environment. That is precisely why we need to have a stable political situation and to implement reforms firmly. This Ministry is completely devoted to it


e spoke with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlović about current political and economic issues.

■ You have announced tough times for the region, Europe and the world. What kind of threats and risks in the near future were you referring to and what are the challenges for Serbia? - I am simply looking at what’s happening and thinking about what we should do to preserve what is most important and what is a condition for further progress in Serbia, and that is political stability. There will be many challenges. The election of the new US President Donald Trump is also an opportunity to try to change the deeply rooted image the world holds of Serbia. On the other hand we have to preserve and further improve the good relations that we have with Russia, and continue developing relations with China, Germany and other strong powers. But we must also be careful not to be the mouse that gets squashed when the elephants dance. A great challenge will be the threat of terrorism, which is why there

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will certainly be less sleep for all, the security services in particular, and we will probably have to live with it. No less will be the growth of political populism and how to resist it. This populism in Europe has already brought Brexit, taken Italian Prime Minister Renzi and will have a major impact on the coming elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands. All this can determine our destiny too in terms of European integration and the standards to which Serbia aspires. For this we do not need filigree management of foreign and domestic policies, but we do need people who know them and are capable of carrying them out. Serbia must continue to develop in such a situation. The country must develop its economy and bring new investors, create new jobs and increase its standard of living.

■ In such a situation, what can be done by relying on our own strengths, and which countries do you see as allies in preserving the country’s stability and prosperity? - I think the key lies in a good relationship with the most influential countries of Europe and the world, and ever better cooperation with countries in the region. Countries in the region have to cooperate with one another, so they need to work on ideas such as eliminating trade barriers. Then instead of having two border crossings with each neighbour we could make one crossing, like Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić advocates, so that the flow of goods can go as quickly as possible, lowering companies’ costs. ■ In conditions like these, how wise it is to hold parliamentary elections in addition to the presidential ones, despite the short time




I think that Aleksandar Vučić should run for president as the SNS candidate, because he is the guarantor of a landslide victory. Everything else brings a great risk and danger

Connecting the ports of Piraeus, Bar and Durres with the EU would allow the import from Eastern countries to the EU and Western Balkan countries to go through Serbia

I want Serbia to join the EU but we must look to the future and what tomorrow brings. The EU has its own problems that we must take seriously and treat them as responsible people

since the government obtained political legitimacy in the elections? - It is certain that we will have presidential elections in the spring and the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) is preparing seriously, because we mustn’t allow any surprises. We haven’t discussed new parliamentary elections yet.

Serbia passed all the IMF’s audits. This says how reliable a partner Serbia is. It was because of the reforms that the IMF was forced to raise its estimate of GDP growth in Serbia during the election year of 2016. And it was in that election year that we achieved a huge success on the World Bank’s Doing Business List, because we progressed 12 places: according to the criteria for issuing building permits we skipped 130 countries, and we entered the club of the top 10 reforming countries. ■ You recently somehow relativised the completion of Corridor 10. What could lead to a new prolongation of deadlines?

■ If you feel that Prime Minister Vučić would be the best president of the country in these difficult times, does that mean that you believe that most of the reforms tasks that the Serbian government took on are already complete and can be entrusted to another person in future? - I think that Aleksandar Vučić should run for president as the SNS candidate, because he is the guarantor of a landslide victory, perhaps even in the first round, and he’d have the support of all parties in the ruling coalition. A convincing victory is also the best answer to what I was saying – maintaining the political stability of Serbia. Everything else brings a great risk and danger. As for the government, of course the reform process is not complete, but the fact is that Prime Minister Vučić has carried out the hardest and least popular ones. Order and discipline have been established in public finances, our economy is recording growth, we are completing the largest infrastructure projects and launching some new ones, investment in infrastructure is increasing from year to year. We still need to carry out professionalisation of public enterprises and modernisation of the state administration. I am partly engaged in that work as President of the Ministerial Working Group on Together with China we the World Bank’s Doing Business List, which measures will work on the bypass business conditions: last year we were among the top around Belgrade and the 10 countries in the world for implementing reforms.

- What is most important is that there is no question that Serbia will complete both branches of Corridor 10 towards Bulgaria and Macedonia. There is no possibility that motorway from Surčin to the works will remain unfinished. There ■ Where do you see your position in such a are certain problems because of natural Obrenovac to connect constellation? obstacles and landslides that occur in the Belgrade and Čačak with field, and with individual contractors and - My job is practical; I want results and completed Corridor 11 projects. My goal is primarily to finish Corridor 10 employers, but there is a working group in that we’ve been waiting for for over 35 years. I’d like charge of reports on these problems to get to be there when this job is completed, I want to drive a car on this section them solved. However, for projects of this size it is all going as it should, and to say to myself: it was worth the huge effort! Of course, there is also because don’t forget that we are working on the hardest section through Corridor 11 to the Montenegrin border. Grdelica gorge, which is described by experts as currently the most demanding works in Europe. We are still sticking to the deadlines for completion that were given in the Prime Minister’s keynote address. ■ What impact would possible parliamentary elections have on the pace of reforms, since the government announced in a new ■ In addition to the modernisation of the Belgrade-Budapest letter of intent to the IMF large-scale interventions in large enterprises, including those in your jurisdiction, and an acceleration railway, you announced modernisation of the Belgrade-Bar and of structural reforms? Belgrade-Niš railways. What are realistic deadlines for the start - Let’s see first if there will be parliamentary elections. But I must say that of works on these lines since the financial structure even for the last year’s elections didn’t stop any reform and that despite the campaigning first one is not yet certain? FEBRUARY



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- All the projects that this government has contracted have been completed, the port of Piraeus, which is a logical continuation of works on and we will continue in the same way with those projects. The works on the Belgrade-Budapest railway? the lines Belgrade-Budapest, Belgrade-Bar and Belgrade-Niš will be car- The condition of the Pan-European railway Corridor 10 and Route 4, the ried out concurrently. For the section Stara Pazova – Novi Sad we signed Montenegrin border-Vrbnica-Belgrade-Pančevo-Vršac-Romanian border passing through Serbia, is of great importance for our country and for the whole an annex to the Russian loan, so I expect that the works will commence in of the Western Balkans. These rail links are a connection between the EU and the middle of this year. As for the railway Belgrade-Vrbnica border with the Western Balkans. In addition to this, the importance of these corridors is Montenegro (Bar), the works on the section Resnik-Valjevo are financed reflected in connecting the ports of Piraeus, Bar and Durres with the EU, which from the Russian loan. They began in July 2016 and are planned to be completed in September this year. We are trying to provide funds for continued would allow imports from Eastern countries to the EU and Western Balkan reconstruction of the Bar railway. countries to go through Serbia. The ports of Piraeus, Bar and Durres are important ports for the region, where goods from For the Belgrade-Niš section covered by the countries that gravitate towards those ports get Russian loan, we completed the reconstruction unloaded. For these reasons and since Serbia is a of the two northern sections, Mala Krsna-Velika transit country, reconstruction and improvement Plana and Sopot Kosmajski –Kovačevac and two of these corridors are very important. There is southern sections, Vranjska Banja – Ristovac and no higher or lower priority, that’s why we are Bujanovac-Bukarevac. The completion of the working in parallel to make the best connections southern section Vinarce-Đorđevo, also financed with these ports. from the Russian loan, is expected in 2017. In The motorway from Niš to Priština is also 2016, we completed the double-track section important for us. It would build on the existing Gilje-Ćuprija-Paraćin from the EIB loan. In July motorway to Tirana and Durres and this is a 2016, we were granted funds for the reconstruction of section Staničenje-Dimitrovgrad of the project we’re working on together with the EU. main railroad Niš-Dimitrovgrad from the WBIF This road is important for Kosovo Serbs to have fund, from which we obtained a €43.6 million a good connection with Serbia, and it is very donation with the obligation to take a €36.7 milimportant for peaceful coexistence between lion loan from the EIB. In December we applied Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. Transport is for for funds from WBIF for the electrification of the EU one of the main engines of development the main railway line Niš-Dimitrovgrad, which in the Western Balkans and the fastest way to is the only non-electrified section of Corridor join the single European market. That’s why 10. At the same time preparations are underway the EU accepted the projects in the Western for the construction of a bypass line around Balkans as a priority, opening opportunities Niš, for which we can apply for funds after for new sources of funding. The introduction of electronic the next WBIF call. In January 2017 a contract was signed for the reconstruction and modbuilding permits was really a ■ In addition to Corridor 10, what do ernisation of Rasputnica G-Rakovica-Resnik spectacular reform, and I have you consider the most important task (EBRD). I expect the works to begin in the first for your department in 2017? to admit that we will not have - For this year we made an ambitious yet quarter of this year. Finally, reconstruction of the opportunity to record such realistic plan given the current results of the the section Mala Krsna-Jajinci and Mala Krsna station renovation, financed by the EBRD loan, department that I head. In addition to the drastic jumps again will also start this year. construction of Corridors 10 and 11 this year, Drafting project documentation is underway for modernising the existone of the biggest infrastructure projects will certainly be the construction ing track and construction of a second one on the Stalać-Đunis section of of the high-speed rail line Belgrade-Budapest. In this project we cooperate the Belgrade-Niš railway, for which we must find financing. Also, significant with Chinese partners, and at the Summit between China and 16 countries funds were provided from IPA 2015 to finance modernisation of the section of Central and Eastern Europe in Riga we signed a commercial agreement Niš-Brestovac, with works scheduled to begin next year. for the construction of the Belgrade-Budapest railway. Together with China So this Ministry has recently made important progress a planned with we will work on the bypass around Belgrade and the motorway from Surčin regard to these projects and the effects are already visible, since we are working to Obrenovac to connect Belgrade and Čačak with Corridor 11. Speaking of in parallel. Where there are no funds provided, we make every effort to get motorways, we will build the Morava corridor from Preljina to Pojate that them and I am confident that we will solve this. The aim is to electrify Corridor would connect the two major routes, Corridor 10 and Corridor 11. 10 with double tracks and speeds up to 200 km per hour where this can pay. In Vojvodina, our priority is the modernisation and reconstruction of the railroad Stara Pazova – Novi Sad that we are financing from the Russian ■ Serbia is one of the ardent advocates of linking the Western loan, but we are completing documentation for the Fruška Gora corridor or Balkans, but sometimes our strategic priorities remain unclear a fast road Novi Sad – Ruma. We will finish the Žeželj Bridge in Novi Sad, but to a wider audience. What, for example, makes the government also at the other end of Serbia, the bridge on the Drina between Ljubovija think about the port of Durres compared to Bar, for example, or and Bratunac with access roads and a joint border crossing. 16 |



Belgrade’s finest

■ Do you think that the announced regulation of the cadastre could again move Serbia forward on the Doing Business List as spectacularly as was the case with the issue of building permits? - The introduction of electronic building permits was really, as you well noted, a spectacular reform, and I have to admit that we will not have the opportunity to record such drastic jumps again. For comparison, only in this area Serbia jumped 150 places in 2014 because we were almost the last ones, ranked 186th out of 190 countries, and today we are in 36th place. Sometimes building permits were waiting for for an average of 259 days, and now you can get an electronic building permit in a week’s time. Cadastral reform is also very important for us, it is important both for investors and citiztens. We want a modern, fast, efficient cadastre, an e-cadastre updated in real time, a cadastre without all the administrative procedures where registering property takes just a few days. Of course, we expect this reform to further improve the position of Serbia on the Doing Business List.

■ You are also in charge of gender equality, about which much has been spoken but little achieved. For example, the percentage of women in the government in the past few versions is stagnant. Why is there no major shift? - I would not agree that there is no shift. The Coordination Body for Gender Equality which I head has made serious steps towards improving the position of women in Serbia. In the last two years, gender equality has been a priority for public policies and structural reforms. We prepared a draft umbrella law on gender equality, we adopted the National Strategy for Gender Equality and an Action Plan for its implementation, we developed the index of gender equality, which makes us the only country outside the EU to do so. In the field of economic empowerment of women, we have launched the process of gender responsive budgeting. The Coordination Body is the holder of the project “Integrated Response to Violence Against Women”, implemented with UN agencies and national partners. So progress has been made, but we’ll not stop there. Women make up a quarter of the government and 34.8% of MPs in parliament, and I am sure there will be even more.

■ You recently said that “Serbia needs to continue towards the EU, but it needs to think about itself too”. Why is it in your opinion that between EU integration and Serbia’s welfare there is no equals sign? - The EU is our largest foreign trading partner, the EU has helped us most, most of the grants we have received are from the EU. The goal of Serbia is to introduce European standards and join the EU, because no matter what else is said there is no better organisation than the EU today, and we share their values. I want Serbia to become an EU member so that tomorrow my child can live in this country just as children live in other EU capitals, and be able to live and work in Belgrade, but also in Vienna and Prague. But we must look to the future and what tomorrow brings. We cannot fail to see the divisions in the EU on the issue of the migrant crisis, we cannot ignore this lack of solidarity and the closure of individual countries within their borders, we can’t help seeing the announcements of introducing “mini visas” for Serbian citizens. The EU has its own problems that we must understand seriously and treat them as responsible people. ■


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Migrant Crisis NOT OVER YET



Over the last nine months, Turkish efforts have generated a deterrent effect on attempts by around 850,000 illegal migrants to reach the EU. While we are committed to stemming irregular crossings in the Aegean, the EU has made promises on a wide range of issues, such as visa liberalisation, financial assistance for Syrians in Turkey, the launch of a resettlement programme and Customs Union, and accession negotiations. However, an important part of the EU’s commitments still awaits action


e expect the EU to deliver on its promises. Turkey cannot continue on its own to stabilise irregular migration towards the EU if the EU is reluctant to comply with the agreement - H.E. Tanju Bilgiç, Ambassador of Turkey.

■ Your Excellency, you are here in Serbia with the reputation of a good observer of conditions in the region. How do you assess present relations, and are you concerned about occasional friction between Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb? - The political stability and economic welfare of the Balkans is Turkey’s main priority. We would like all countries in the region to have good neighbourly relations. When it comes to occasional friction between Belgrade, Sarajevo and Zagreb, it is normal for neighbouring countries to have open issues or differences of opinion from time to time. As long as there is political goodwill and determination to solve these issues through cooperation 18 |



and dialogue, it is not difficult to overcome these problems. Within this context, we appreciate Serbia’s efforts towards improving relations with all of its neighbours.

■ Turkey took over the presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) from Serbia in December. How important is cooperation in this region, and what will be the priorities of your presidency? - First of all, I wish to congratulate Serbia for its successful Chairmanshipin-Office of the BSEC, during the second half of 2016. In line with the importance Turkey attaches to sustainable development goals, we have set our priorities on intensifying cooperation in a number of sectors, such as trade, investment, agriculture and agro-industry, strengthening the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in the economy, green and sustainable energy, education and tourism.




The political stability and economic welfare of the Balkans is Turkey’s main priority. We would like all countries in the region to have good neighborly relations

There is a similarity between the foreign policies of Turkey and Serbia. Both countries are capable of having good relations with different leading actors such as the EU, USA, Russia and China

The Trilateral Consultation Mechanism between Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia- Herzegovina is the result of our collective understanding and effort to increase peace, stability and welfare in the Balkans

On the other hand, looking at the experience and progress already achieved during the Serbian chairmanship and previous chairmanshipsin-office, Turkey will work closely together with all member states to finalise ongoing reform efforts in BSEC. Since our Chairmanship-in-Office coincides with the 25th Anniversary of BSEC, we are going to host a 25th Anniversary Summit of BSEC, on 22nd May 2017, in Istanbul. We are expecting the highest level of participation from Serbia at this important event. ■ As you were until recently spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, how would you describe the present position of Turkey and its relations with its partners, to the east and the west? - We are living in an era of rapid change. Taking the necessary steps to keep up with this change is the most important task for decision-makers. This extraordinary process also shapes Turkey’s foreign policy, since it is geographically located in one of the important intersections of different dynamics. Therefore, Turkey has to pursue a multidimensional foreign policy. This explains why we are a strong and reliable NATO partner, committed to integration with the EU and doing our best to develop good relations and cooperation with our neighbours, including Russia. We have no prejudice in this respect and we can be partners with different countries. So, there is a similarity between the foreign policies of Turkey and Serbia. Both countries are capable of having good relations with different leading actors, such as the EU, U.S., Russia and China.

your country’s leadership has also sent out signals that this process could be stopped, what exactly is its status? - Austria’s initiative to freeze accession negotiations with Turkey was not accepted by other member states. This shows a certain vision on their part. However, we are disappointed with the Presidency Conclusions of the EU General Affairs Council on 13th December, which states that “under the currently prevailing circumstances, the “opening” of

We are disappointed with the Presidency Conclusions of the EU General Affairs Council on 13 December, which state that “under the currently prevailing circumstances, the “opening”of no new chapters is being considered”

■ The situation in Syria is dramatic. Do you think it is possible to stop the conflict and who would play the most important part in this? - The conflict in Syria is in its sixth year and it must be ended through a political solution. For that, there must be a genuine political transition process leading to a new constitution and free and fair elections in which the people of Syria can fully express their will. From the outset, Turkey has been actively involved in efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria. It has stepped up its attempts to re-establish a ceasefire in Syria to create the necessary conditions on the ground. The next step is to get the political track re-started where it left off last April. We believe that the Astana meeting on 23rd January 2017, which ended with an agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, will provide a basis for the UN to move on to Geneva talks in February.

■ At the last summit of EU heads of state, there was no particular conclusion about Turkey. However, the majority did not support Austria’s proposal to block accession talks with Turkey. Since

no new chapters is being considered”. The “prevailing circumstances” to which the Conclusions refer were created by artificial and political blockages by the EU, not by Turkey. Accession to the EU remains Turkey’s strategic choice. However, Turkey has experienced the longest accession process in EU history. To date, only 16 of 35 chapters have been opened, with 14 chapters blocked due to artificially created political reasons. We expect the EU to deliver on its commitments and to conduct and conclude accession negotiations as a technical process without political obstacles.

■ Can tension with Brussels or some EU member states threaten the border agreement and the movement of migrants? How real is the message that Turkey could ‘open its gates’ and send migrants towards the EU? - The migrant and refugee crises are having a negative effect not only on Turkey, but also on Europe as a whole, including Serbia. Therefore, at Turkey’s initiative, an historic agreement was reached with the EU on 18th March 2016 to curb irregular migration in the Aegean Sea. We should bear in mind that the 18th March agreement was based FEBRUARY



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on mutual pledges. While we committed ourselves to stemming irregular crossings in the Aegean, the EU made promises on a wide range of issues, such as visa liberalisation, financial assistance for Syrians in Turkey, the launch of a resettlement programme, the Customs Union and accession negotiations. Over the last nine months, our efforts have generated a deterrent effect on attempts by around 850,000 irregular migrants to reach the EU. However, an important part of the EU’s commitments still awaits action. The nature of the 18th March agreement is opposed to this approach. We expect the EU to deliver on its promises. Turkey cannot continue on its own to stabilise irregular migration towards the EU if the EU is reluctant to comply with the agreement.

■ In a sense, your arrival in Serbia is a baptism of fire, given that this is your first mission as Ambassador. What have you set as your main objectives? - We consider Serbia a strategic partner, and a key player for achieving peace, stability and development in the region. In the light of this, we are committed to taking our existing good bilateral relations with Serbia much further. I believe economic and trade relations should be one of the main driving forces in our bilateral relations. Therefore, as Turkish Ambassador here, I am planning to make this a priority, like my predecessors. We are closely monitoring the reform process in Serbia and appreciate the positive results so far achieved. I think this is the right time for our companies to be here and I will continue to encourage them to step up investments in Serbia. It is important to develop people-topeople contacts as a way of eliminating prejudice and removing barriers between different nations. We believe that tourism can play a crucial role here. I am glad to point out that the second largest number of tourists visiting Serbia, after citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, are Turkish. So tourism will be another focal point of my efforts.



■ Is Turkey still interested in infrastructure projects in Western Serbia – in the municipalities of Novi Pazar, Tutin and Sjenica? - Turkey is interested in expanding cooperation with Serbia as a whole. As such, supporting road infrastructure in southwest Serbia is also on the agenda, and we will spare no efforts to make it happen. To this end, a technical delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Transport recently visited Serbia, had a field trip to the region and studied some sections in need of reconstruction. It only remains for the relevant authorities in the two countries to discuss the financial details.

We expect the EU to deliver on its promises. Turkey cannot continue on its own to stabilize irregular migration towards the EU if the EU is reluctant to comply with the agreement

■ Your predecessors have left you a lot of work, especially Ambassador Bozay. There was again talk in Sarajevo not long ago of building a BelgradeSarajevo motorway that Turkey could co-finance in a trilateral cooperation. How close are we to seeing such a project? - The Trilateral Consultation Mechanism between Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina is the result of our collective understanding and represents an effort to increase peace, stability and welfare in the Balkans. Along with Turkish endeavours, the Serbian and Bosnia-Herzegovinian governments have actively supported and made tangible contributions towards this process. The Trilateral Trade Committee, which is the economic leg of the Mechanism, has made steady and consistent progress since its inception. One of the most tangible results of the Committee meetings has been the establishment of a joint Serbian-Bosnia-Herzegovinian Trade Office in İstanbul, which was allocated to the two governments as Turkey’s contribution. During the last Committee meeting in İstanbul on 26th September 20 |

2016, the parties agreed for Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina to jointly define an infrastructure project, which Turkey would support. The idea of co-financing a Belgrade-Sarajevo highway is the result of that agreement. We are now working on the details.

■ Trade between Serbia and Turkey is somewhere in the region of a billion euros (currently around 800 million). The Serbian government believes this symbolic figure may be exceeded next year if the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is expanded to include a new bilateral agreement. Can such an agreement be made? - My government and I personally believe in a bright future for Serbia. That is why we are seeking ways of raising economic relations, which are currently below their potential, to the desired level. Despite the increasing volume of trade throughout the last decade, particularly the impressive rates after the FTA of 2010, there is still much room for expansion. Turkish and Serbian business circles are confident that they can easily reach a billion euros of trade volume within a short period. The relevant authorities of both governments are in touch constantly, trying to revise the legal infrastructure in light of current opportunities and challenges. Negotiations that started last October continue in a constructive manner, with a view to updating the FTA. I can state happily that the negotiating teams are displaying a high level of mutual understanding and trust.

■ A number of investors in the textile industry have arrived in Serbia. Apart from this, what could be new areas of economic cooperation? - Some global Turkish players made investments last year in Serbia not only in textiles, but also in the automobile spare parts industry. I would also like to underscore the importance of the presence of Halkbank on the Serbian market since mid-2015. This is proving to be a robust game changer. I am confident that Halkbank, which is among the top players in the Turkish banking sector, will contribute significantly not only to the Serbian banking sector, but also to bilateral economic ties between Turkey and Serbia. With its particular expertise in dealing with small and medium-sized enterprises, Halkbank will also give a much-needed boost to this sector of the Serbian economy.

There are also some notable Turkish firms in Serbia operating in the tourism and wood-processing sectors. We see the IT sector, infrastructure and construction, as well as the agriculture and food industries, as fields that have the potential to attract Turkish investments.

Staircase in Kalemegdan Park facing Pariska Street, which was built in 1903 according to a design by Jelisaveta Načić, the first female architect in Serbia. Our projects regarding Ram Fortress are not new. TIKA installed an external lighting system in the fortress in 2013 and this year will launch a tender for reconstruction work.

■ Your term of office in Serbia is starting with the renovation ■ Turkey has taken it upon itself to renovate some cultural of your embassy in the very centre of monuments in the region. In BosniaBelgrade. How do you like your view of Herzegovina, the famous Bridge on the Turkey is interested in Belgrade? Drina in Višegrad has been renovated, expanding cooperation - I started my Belgrade posting with a very alongside cultural monuments in Mostar hectic agenda. We had several delegations, not and Konjic. In Serbia you are preparing with Serbia as a whole. only for BSEC meetings in December, but also renovation work at Kalemegdan and Ram As such, supporting the for academic, cultural and sporting events. We Fortress near Veliko Gradište. When will organised the opening of our renovated building this work begin? road infrastructure in an academic conference in a very short space - The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination southwest Serbia is also and of time. We hosted important Turkish writers, Agency (TIKA) is very active in Serbia in the on the agenda and we will including Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. I field of development cooperation, including also spent almost ten days in Turkey at the annual the restoration and renovation of historical spare no efforts in Ambassadors’ Conference. That is why there are monuments. Since the opening of its office making it happen still places in Belgrade that I have unfortunately in Belgrade in 2010, TIKA has invested alnot yet been able to visit. But what I have seen most 20 million euros in education, health, so far has left a very positive impression on me. Belgrade is a vibrant and agriculture, infrastructure and cultural projects. beautiful city, a city with a soul. Serbs are very friendly and hospitable We have three projects in Kalemegdan this year. Renovation work on the people, and I have received a very warm welcome from everyone I’ve Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Fountain (Mehmet Paşa Sokoloviç) and the Tomb of met. Therefore, I do not feel like a foreigner here. On the contrary, I feel Damat Ali Pasha within the Kalemegdan fortress will be launched in March at home. This is certainly helping me to adapt to Belgrade better, not only by TIKA, in cooperation with the Belgrade City authorities. TIKA and the Belgrade City authorities are also preparing a project to renovate the Small as a diplomat, but also as an ordinary Belgrader. ■




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“The US economy is likely to accelerate growth this year and next year, and price inflation may somewhat rise. All of (these factors) may make interest rates rise and the dollar might also appreciate,” - Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan Governor

DAVOS 2017: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM ▶ As the 47th World Economic Forum annual meeting concluded in

Davos, world leaders and the private sector showed cautious optimism about the global economic outlook for 2017. The week started with speech of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who promoted open and free trade and warned against protectionism. While pledging to remain a “friend, neighbour and partner” to the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May presented Britain as a fresh advocate for free markets, free trade and globalization German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said that he and his colleagues would work relentlessly to reach an agreement that would limit damage to both Britain and the EU. With significantly more members of Donald Trump’s cabinet having strong business experience than ever before, the prudent optimism at this year’s Davos forum may have reason to grow. Perhaps the best indication of optimism at Davos, however, came from bank chiefs and analysts. The general consensus was that growth was positive everywhere in the world, and that even sluggish regions, like Europe, were in recovery.



The Food and Drug Administration and the Homeland Security Department have been investigating the devices’ security vulnerabilities after cybersecurity researchers publicly identified them in August.


▶ The US Homeland Security Depart-

▶ Ann Linde, the Swedish minister

ment is warning the public about an unusual cybersecurity flaw for one manufacturer’s implantable heart devices that could allow hackers to remotely take control of a person’s defibrillator or pacemaker. The U.S. says security patches will be rolled out automatically over several months to patients with affected St. Jude Medical device transmitters at home, as long as they are plugged into the network. The transmitters send device data back to medical professionals. Abbott Laboratories’ St. Jude says it’s not aware of any deaths or injuries related to the vulnerability, nor is it aware of any specific device or system that’s been targeted.

for EU affairs and trade, said she was shocked by the uncertainty and xenophobia experienced by Swedes in the UK since the referendum. She said the future of an estimated 100,000 Swedish people in Britain and 30,000 British people in Sweden, had to be urgently dealt with. She said: “This is one of the very most important issues and we have to solve it in a very constructive way in the first part of the negotiations.”

22 |



She was speaking in central London following a meeting with Swedish citizens and ahead of a meeting with David Davis, the Brexit secretary. The British government has said it would like to guarantee EU citizens the right to live in the UK but it cannot unless the guarantee is reciprocated by the other 27 member states.

pockets are being offered a once in a decade chance to buy a box at the Royal Albert Hall London, UK next to the Queen for £2.5million (€2.83mln) Harrods Estates Kensington is marketing the box at the Grade-I listed venue .The seats are on the same level as the Queen’s box and

FIRST ROYAL ALBERT HALL BOX TO GO ON SALE ▶ Members of the public with deep

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2017 - YEAR OF THE ROOSTER ▶ The official Chinese New Year was Saturday 28 January 2017, which

symbolised the year of the Rooster. Those born in 1957 or 2017 are fire roosters, who are said to be trustworthy, responsible at work and have a strong sense of timekeeping. Other years of the Rooster are 1921, 1933, 1945, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 and 2029. Roosters are said to be the most motivated animal in the Chinese zodiac, and make their careers a priority. They are hard-working and able to deal with a variety of jobs due to their multiple talents. If you’re a rooster, you’re well suited to become a journalist, salesperson, hairdresser, soldier, surgeon or security guard. Roosters who take the initiative will make good career achievements in the upcoming year, which will make up for the fickle finances from the previous year of the Monkey.


“Protectionist policies from the new US administration could have a negative impact on the economy, overshadowing any positive gains from stimulus measures.” - Christine Lagarde, Director of the International Monetary Fund


Getty Image

▶ Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the

45th president of the United States in front of hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Washington, DC, for the big event. The 70-year-old real-estate magnate will start off his administration with Republicans controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Immediately after his inauguration, Trump delivered his inaugural address. “Today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people,” Trump said. Using his campaign slogan, Trump ended his address by saying that “together, we will make America great again.”

the sale is described as “an extremely rare opportunity”. They thought the box would be sold to “true lovers of the arts. This Grand Tier box at the Royal Albert Hall is a real generational purchase, and is the first of its kind that is available to buy for almost a decade,” said estate agent. “The box is ideal for entertaining, with its twelve seats, and provides enviable views over the main stage and auditorium. A Royal Albert Hall spokesman said: “The seats are private property as set out in the royal charter which established the hall in 1861.


Verhofstadt pulled out of the race to throw his weight behind Tajani, an ex-spokesman for former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. It means his EPP

▶ Italy’s Antonio Tajani is the new

president of the European Parliament after four rounds of voting. He beat his compatriot Gianna Pittella into second place by 351 votes to 282. Tajani is a member of the centreright EPP group, while Pittella sits with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats. Liberal MEP Guy

The idea emerged a few hours after a senior Imperial Household Agency official said it would be “difficult” for the Crown Prince to begin his reign as the new emperor on Jan. 1, 2019, as has been recently reported by Japanese media, due to key events held every year on New Year’s Day. As for when the name of the new era will go into use, indicating the

grouping will control all three top jobs at the EU level: the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council. This could see Socialists ask for a reshuffle to secure at least one position.

ABDICATION OF JAPANESE EMPEROR ▶ The Japanese government has

started to discuss a plan to arrange for Emperor Akihito to abdicate on Dec. 23, 2018, which is his 85th birthday, and for Crown Prince Naruhito (56) to ascend the throne on that day or the following day, a government announced.


reign of a new emperor, the government hopes to implement it from the beginning of 2019, even though application of the name traditionally coincides with the day a new emperor ascends the throne. An era name is adopted in Japan for the reign of each emperor, with the current era called Heisei.




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Brexit Could Make



I am not convinced that the prospects for enlargement for countries that already have European perspectives or membership agreements are necessarily less likely. I don't think it is any worse for those countries today than it was before the referendum in the UK. The only way to make things worse is to let Euro-sceptics or nationalists, here in Serbia, use Brexit to discredit the EU


urope is under the threat of a toxic mix of nationalism, populism and Euroscepticism, suggests Adam Fagan, Professor of European Politics at Queen Mary University of London. But there is no reason for panic, he adds, because nationalists and populists have always been a part of the European political landscape. In an interview for CorD magazine Fagan explains that Brexit brings him close to tears but does not discourage him from advocating for “Europeanization” - much needed in both candidate states and EU members. 24 |



■ Referring to the title of the Belgrade conference – Europe between nationalism, populism and enlargement – where is Europe at this particular moment? - The enlargement process is fundamentally a rational process. There are countries like Serbia that have been granted candidacy and their progress is being measured against clear and published criteria. That is still happening. Then there is nationalism and populism, but that is nothing new. Yes, there is Brexit, there are politicians in the new member states and in the old ones that are populist and nationalist but I am not sure that we should conflate these three things. There is a lot of hysteria here, nationalism is worrying but it is also being used to say that this is the end of enlargement. I think we need to stand back from that, to look at it quite calmly. I am somewhat cautious of the notion that disagree with the idea that nationalism and populism are pitched against enlargement. Successful enlargements have occurred in the past against precisely such a background.

■ But isn’t it just that message that nationalists and populists throughout Europe are sending – no enlargement? Or no enlargement for the moment? - Don’t get me wrong, nationalist are, and will, get a lot of mileage out of Brexit. Brexit is seen and will be portrayed as a big swing away from the EU. It will be used by those who wish to destroy any notion of further enlargement. But even amongst more moderate voices the idea that Brexit will lead to, similar movements elsewhere may act as a brake on enlargement. My fear is that the effect of Brexit will stoke the flames of nationalism, Euroscepticism and populism. But my argument is that this is not inevitable and the impact can be tempered by pro-EU and liberal voices within existing member states, but also in the candidate countries. I also think we need to be careful not to pre-judge the impact of Brexit. The June referendum was a dark day, which is becoming clear now that we are at the beginning of the negotiation process. I think Britain will not get a good deal and that this might have a positive effect. Brexit may actually stop a lot of Euroscepticism, when it turns out that Brexit is disastrous for Britain. Many of the people pushing for Brexit were doing so on the false assumption that Britain could leave the EU and stay in the single market. It is now clear that that’s not an option. Even if we get some limited access to the single market it is going to be at a heavy price and it is going to be a very difficult set of bilateral negotiations that could take 10 to 15 years to achieve. So, I think it highlights what European union membership really means, namely, tariff-free access to the world’s largest single market. That has been lost in many discussions – why do so many countries want to accede in the first place? Because they want to be part of a bigger market!

health, retaining access to the single market, stopping migration... none has proven to be correct. But it was an effective campaign because it convinced people and mobilized them around a lot of false ideas. More evidence that l, we live in a post-truth age.

■ In your keynote lecture you said “Europe is under the threat of a toxic mix of nationalism, populism and Euroscepticism”? - Yes, but these three discourses have always been present within European politics. At the moment we see a particular surge in these narratives. But this is not the time to panic or over-react Is there really evidence that nationalists are doing better in the polls or in elections? Or is the discourse and narrative particularly toxic in the media? Is it

much more Eurosceptic? I am not sure, not The Brexit campaign sure at all. As for the alleged resurgence ■ How does it feel nowadays to be a Brit who was deceitful – it was of Russia. Where is the evidence? Are we talks about the importance of keeping faith based on lies, each one of talking about when Vladimir Putin travels in the EU? which has been exposed: to Belgrade and the type of reception he - I can answer quite personally - I am absolutely receives? The parade and all that… But we devastated by Brexit. It almost brings me to tears. like there will be more need to look beyond those moments. As I was travelling to Paris by train with a colleague a spending on health, for the fears that we are slipping into Fasweek after the referendum, and as we went through retaining access to the cism, I think this is really contentious and the passport control, where it says “EU members” we single market, stopping I certainly don’t see a return to the 1930s! both felt really choked. We realised there and then how we were being stripped of our citizenship... and migration... none has ■ How do you see Europe in 2017 – I was thinking that, when the time comes for us to proven to be correct there will be elections in France and leave, it will be a dreadful day. On the other hand, as Germany, two crucial member states? much as it has been negative, at least arguing for the - Europe will be where it has been several times in last 20-30 years EU makes you feel like a dissident. For the first time ever in my lifetime, – run by right-wing conservative leaders. That is what we are talking supporting Europe is now a political statement. I think we Europhiles about. Angela Merkel will probably be OK, even with a reduced support have been far too passive in our defense of the EU; no mainstream base. France will more than likely elect the conservative right-winger politician has openly made the case for Europe without adding some François Fillon, rather than the far-right Marine Le Pen. But it is not qualification or arguing for reform. The “Remain” campaign lacked as if Europe has always been run by liberal, centre-left, social demoany real leadership and was very defensive in its focus. On the other crats! In some respect it reminds me of the early 1970s when, after a hand, the Brexit campaign was deceitful – it was based on lies, each period of progressive liberal politics there was a conservative backlash. one of which has been exposed: like there will be more spending on FEBRUARY



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Remember that in the 1970 elections in America, France and Britain, conservative governments were voted in. There’s always a backlash.

■ Will there be room for enlargement? - Nothing can convince me that the prospect for enlargement for countries that already have European perspectives or membership agreements is less likely than it was a year ago, and certainly not particularly worse than it was before the referendum in the UK. The only reason it can be considered worse is if politicians here in Serbia are gaining political mileage from Brexit, and are being allowed to do so. In other words, if Eurosceptics or nationalists here in Serbia use a particular narrative to discredit the EU using the British vote, then yes, that is a problem. ■ But weren’t there messages from the EU saying: no enlargement promise to be given to the Western Balkan countries because it wouldn’t be realistic? - It’s the same as the statement: no county will enter the EU in the next five years. That’s not new. There is consistency in this message. No county is promised much. It is always a political decision, even if you meet all the criteria, it still comes down to the EU, to member states to admit another country. That has always been the case. There has always been a gap between the narrative and enthusiasm for enlargement and the reality of the enlargement process. Let’s look at 2013, was there a massive enthusiasm to take in Croatia? It seems to me that Croatia almost slipped in without people really noticing. ■ But those were, as they say, good, old times... Such a scenario is not likely to be repeated? - It is very unlikely that there will be another large-scale ‘bloc’enlargement. But has anybody ever thought there would be? If Serbia, as a front runner, is to get in, it will most likely be in a similar way to Croatia. It won’t have to wait for other countries in the region. So, I am not sure it is conceivable that in five years time Serbia won’t be in just because of Brexit, nationalists or populists.

For the first time ever in my lifetime, supporting Europe is now a political statement. I think we Europhiles have been far too passive in our defense of the EU; no mainstream politician has openly made the case for Europe without adding some qualification or arguing for reform

■ In the meantime, would you please explain your idea of Europeanization. What is it really about? - It is a transparent way of politics and decision making. How the state is administered, how it functions. It is about the rule of law, regulations... The whole monitoring process is based on a measurement of how institutions work. The value of Europeanization lies in the involvement of civil society in decision making, having good laws in place to protect

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against corruption, or training new judges properly, or monitoring the level of air pollution... I don’t think the merits of such reforms have ever been disputed , and that is what we are talking about. For the countries of the Western Balkans, Europeanization has always been a much bigger step than it was for the Czechs, Poles or Hungarians. Partly because of the war and the ways these countries exited from Yugoslavia. But Europeanization is not something that only takes place before you are a member. It is a dynamic relationship that has its ups and downs, tensions... In some respect we have to look at this as a long-term relationship between Brussels and Belgrade. Even if Serbia had joined last year, there would still today be a complex relationship to be negotiated, one that changes and evolves over time. There are high and low points, challenges… I think we have to move from this idea that there is almost a crescendo – you sign an accession agreement, you get better and better, make more and more progress, then you are in and it’s paradise. It is not like that at all, it is a continuing negotiating relationship.

■ You are stressing the importance of judicial reform and negotiating chapter 23? - The reason is simple: you have to lay a foundation of the rule of law that has to underpin any other reform. If the law is not properly enforced, if the institutions are not strong and independent, how can you then talk, for example, about the implementation of environmental protection laws or any other directive? It makes sense to open Chapter 23 at the beginning of the accession process, so the country can build a good track record. This is the lesson learned from the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. Another one is that you have to add CVM – the co-operation and verification mechanism, in the post accession process. This was introduced after 2007 when the Commission realized there was a real problem with the rule of law in some new member states and had to introduce a set of measures to improve the situation.

■ How do you see Serbia in that framework? - The risk for Serbia is that the pro-Europeans, like in the UK, will not do enough to take control of the narrative. Because there will be those in the government, some politicians or people running businesses who would like to use these developments in Europe to kill the idea of making progress towards the EU. Will they be allowed to win? This is an opportunity for pro-Europeans to say – Serbia is making progress. In some respects things have never been more positive for Serbia, Serbia is opening negotiating chapters which wasn’t the case five or even three years ago. ■




MLADEN PETKOVIĆ CEO of “Krušik” AD Valjevo

ĐORĐE RAKOVIĆ, Director of the Guarantee Fund of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina

We Expect A Record Business Year

Favourable Lending Conditions For Farmers



A New World Order



The Greatest Barrier To Success Is The Fear Of Failure FEBRUARY



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We Expect A Record Business Year Krušik expects 2017 to be a record year in the company’s 78-year history, both in terms of revenue generated and in terms of the physical volume of production. Alongside commissioning the new blasting cap facility, new investments are also planned in the expansion and modernisation of capacities, as well as creating new jobs

the company needs. With this, the company strives to also demonstration its commitment in the area of staffing to quality production, for which there is ever increasing interest among customers from around the world.


achieved in 2016. Average annual growth in income over the last three years totalled 68 per cent. Krušik regularly settles its obligations towards the state, public enterprises and utilities companies, suppliers and others. We have restored the trust of our business partners and the company’s former reputation, achieving liquidity and ensuring the company is able to generate the funds needed for regular operations and the servicing of assumed obligations without the need for external sources of funding.

long-term presence on the world market, coupled with the quality of delivered products, classifies “Krušik” AD among the world’s most renowned ■ How satisfied are you with the weapons manufacturers, while the comresults achieved by the company in pany is also recording a trend of growing 2016? interest in its products. With a new ap- In 2016 Krušik generated a turnover of proach to organising its operations since 5.7 billion dinars, which was 77 per cent 2013, the company records remarkable higher than in 2015, while it exceeded results, with constant growth in the vol■ How much have exports contribume of business, investment in new uted to these kinds of business production units and an increasing Krušik’s products are present results? number of partners, says “Krušik” in over 70 countries worldwide - Our company is export-orientated. a.d. CEO Mladen Petković. Krušik currently has signed export Also testifying to Krušik’s strong and are synonymous with worth US$240 million. Of recovery is the constant increase in quality and reliability. In 2016, contracts total turnover in 2016, over 90 per the number of its employees and 90 per cent of production was cent related to exports, while that the regular payments of obligations exported and we currently turnover was 28 per cent higher than towards the state, which make this planned. Krušik’s products are prescompany the most desirable employer have signed contracts worth ent in over 70 countries worldwide in the Kolubara District. Plans regard240 million dollars and are synonymous with quality ing the modernisation of technology and reliability. The company’s presare accompanied by Krušik’s efforts to ence on the world market, and its strivthe planned turnover for 2016 by 28 per secure an appropriate young and skilled ing to increase that presence, create the cent. Profit of over half a billion dinars workforce, meaning that the company is need to permanently improve producwas generated. The fact that on 3rd always open to hire electrical and mechantion processes, increase the productivity January 2014 I took over a company that ical engineers, while the Technical School of labour and improve all performances had generated a loss of a billion dinars in Valjevo is educating new generations that lead to growth in the competitiveand a turnover of 1.2 billion dinars in of students for the occupations of milling ness of our products. 2013 speaks volumes about the results machine operator and lathe turner, which

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not the case from 2010. Earnings are ■ Who are your most important export paid regularly, without a single day of partners? delay. Likewise, I can state with great - Krušik’s most important export partners satisfaction that Krušik is today the are the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE most desirable employer in the entire and others. HK “Krušik” A.D. works intenKolubara District. sively on activities aimed at promoting products and conquering new markets. ■ What are your most important plans A long-term presence on the world for 2017? market, coupled with the quality of - We expect 2017 to be a record year in delivered products, classifies “Krušik” Krušik’s 78-year history, both in terms of AD among the world’s most renowned revenue generated and in terms of the weapons manufacturers. The company has also been recording a trend of growing interest in its products over the last few years. A large number of foreign delegations, with representatives of interested parties – ministries of defence, armies, police forces and other institutions, accompanied by companies registered in the trade of arms and military equipment, have visited our factory and been able to verify for themselves that Krušik is a high-quality partner to cooperate with, especially when it comes to the quality of products and the contemporaneous nature of In 2017 we will work on solutions for certain resources. improving the personnel Moreover, regularly attending world exhibitions of armaments structure at Krušik through the and web presentations provide adrecruitment of young ditional possibilities to more easily engineers and tradesmen. Our establish essential contacts with cooperation with the Technical potential customers.

Moreover, in 2017 we will also work on improving Krušik’s personnel structure. Here I am primarily referring to the age structure of engineering and trade staff. During the last 20 years, the Technical School in Valjevo has not taught the educational profiles of milling machine operator, lathe turner etc., due to which there is now a deficit of people qualified for these occupations. In order to overcome this problem, Krušik has signed an Agreement on businesstechnical cooperation with the Technical School in Valjevo, with which we have defined the method of teaching practical courses for students with the educational profile of machine processing operator, coverage of their scholarships and the establishing of employment relations at HK “Krušik” A.D. Valjevo following graduation. Practical work is carried out on the premises and in the facilities of HK “Krušik” A.D. Valjevo for the duration of the envisaged teaching plan and programme for that educational profile, with the participation of teachers from the Technical School and experts from Krušik as demonstrators and assistant practitioners. We are constantly open to hiring young electrical and mechanical engineers.

■ Has the company’s positive performance resulted in the creation of new jobs? - The modernisation of products, expansion of the product range with the inclusion of new products, growth in the volume of production and endeavours to settle contractual obligations on time have all led to the creation of new jobs. During 2014, 2015 and 2016, some 1,198 new jobs were created at Krušik, while in 2016 alone there were 725 new jobs. Krušik currently has 2,358 employees. As of 1st January 2014, earnings have been paid with the associated tax and social security contributions, which was

■ In your opinion, how should the business environment be improved to ensure the continued growth of revenue in domestic production? - The business environment in Serbia is good. Securing continuous revenue growth is a task for the management of companies. I am of the opinion that a condition for the survival of enterprises today is the daily monitoring of the market and the continuous adaptation of products and ways of functioning in accordance with the needs of the market. That implies monitoring new technologies, modernising existing products and developing new ones. ■

School in Valjevo, whose students we provide with scholarships, should also contribute to that

physical volume of production. We plan to create new jobs. In the first half of the year we plan to commission the new blasting cap facility, the cornerstone of which was laid in 2016. Likewise, we will launch the implementation of several new investments, as well as continuing to expand and modernise capacities. We will place special emphasis on the development of new technology and the modernisation of existing technology.




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“Price increases in 2017 will be within the new, lower target band of 3 pct ±1.5 pct points. As regards the exchange rate, the NBS will, as in the past, strive to maintain relative stability in the domestic foreign exchange market at the least possible expense.” — JORGOVANKA TABAKOVIĆ, Governor of the National Bank of Serbia BANK OF CHINA

Full Focus On The Client Over the course of the last several years, there have been myriad stories about the poor real estate market in our region. Fortunately, the forecast for the coming season is more than positive. With large projects coming to completion in 2017, the supply of quality properties will soon be on the rise. Therefore, if you place great importance on consistently high standards when choosing a property to rent or buy, you will need a good agency to guide you. Whether you are seeking the perfect family home or a modern business building to reflect your corporate image, Best Real Estate is your ideal partner. Best Real Estate works with property owners and investors on every aspect of their property strategies, assisting them in developing, buying, selling, leasing, evaluating and managing their properties. The agency’s real estate listing comprises a wide range of properties located in attractive parts of Belgrade, all built according to the highest standards. Come and visit us at SOCIETE GENERALE

New System Of International Payments Societe Generale has established the latest system of international payments, which enables clients to perform transactions with foreign countries under very short deadlines, using one of the most reliable online services. With Societe Generale’s advanced e-banking tools, client payment orders are processed within 45 minutes, while another novelty is the possibility of unifying the whole payment process, with the sending of supporting documentation. “With significant investments in digital technology, we have positioned ourselves among the leaders in this IVAN BULAJIĆ segment, not only in terms of the speed of processing, but also in terms of the security of sending orders for international payments,” said Ivan Bulajić, Executive Director of Operations at Societe Generale.

Bank of China Opens Branch In Serbia Bank of China officially opened its first branch office in Serbia, which will coordinate the bank’s activities in Southeast Europe (SEE).

Serbia expects Bank of China to finance the construction of industrial facilities that will sell their products to markets where Belgrade has free trade agreements. “Bank of China provides an opportunity for Serbia to have open access to the growing market of financial instruments in yuan,” said Serbian Finance Minister Dušan Vujović. “First of all, I think the panda bonds would enable Serbia to finance its debt and continue reducing not only the share of debt to GDP, but also the cost of borrowing.” Panda bonds are Chinese yuan-denominated bonds from a non-Chinese issuer that are sold in China. VOJVOĐANSKA BANKA

Winning “AmChamps – Young Leaders In Change”


Europe’s Best Trade Finance Provider UniCredit has been named “Best Trade Finance Provider” in both Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) and in Western Europe by the Euromoney Trade Finance Survey 2017. UniCredit has made significant investments in the trade finance sector by developing innovative platforms for trade finance, supply chain finance and Bank Payment Obligation (BPO) execution. The bank also swept the board in the European awards, named “Best Domestic Trade Finance Provider” in BosniaHerzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Turkey Paolo Spada, Central and Eastern Europe GTB Head at UniCredit, stated “It is an honour to have received the PAOLO SPADA award for Best Trade Finance Provider in Central & Eastern Europe for the fourth consecutive year. Our leading regional presence, combined with our best-in-class technology and product expertise, puts us in an excellent position to provide our clients with the very highest level of service.”

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Vojvođanska Banka’s team has won this year’s educationalprogramme“AmChamps–YoungLeaders in Change”, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia (AmCham). During the final competition, Aleksandra Simić, a manager at Vojvođanska Banka, and Goran Tomić, a student of the Faculty of Architecture, presented their project “Digitalicious - Bricks plus Clicks, Digitisation of the Banking Experience”, through which Vojvođanska Banka seeks to give its clients a completely new experience of digital banking. “We are proud of the success achieved by the Bank’s team in this important competition of young leaders. Programmes like this help managers strengthentheirleadershipskillsandallowstudents to learn from the best, and thus enhance their knowledge and skills,” stated Marinos Vathis, President of the Executive Board of Vojvođanska Banka.

INNOVATION “Serbia must catch up with Europe in the innovation and IT sectors. The government is ready to work on this, with support from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and start-ups.”— ANA BRNABIĆ, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government


2017 Airline Market Leader Air Serbia has been named the 2017 Airline Market Leader by Air Transport World, which established its awards in 1974, in order to recognise excellence in the aviation industry. DANE KONDIĆ, Chief Air Serbia was choExecutive Officer of Air Serbia sen by ATW’s editorial team for its phenomenal progress during the last three years, which culminated in the June 2016 launch of nonstop flights to New York. Air Serbia, which was recognised for its innovative products and services and sound business strategies, is the first airline from the region to receive such an honour on the global stage. “The vision of our shareholders was to establish an airline that embodied the modern spirit of Serbia and offered a guest experience that is second-to-none. We have excelled on both fronts and, by so doing, redefined the aviation landscape of Southeast Europe,” said Air Serbia CEO Dane Kondić.

Placements & postings


New Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Morocco to Serbia and Montenegro Mohammed Amine Belhaj (50) was born in Raba, where he graduated in Economics and Law at Mohammed V University, before gaining his Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Analysis of Building Europe from the University of Louvain La-Neuve, Saint-Louis Faculty, Institute of European Studies, Brussels. From 1992 to 1998 he served as an administrator and project manager in charge of Double Taxation Agreements at the Moroccan Ministry of Economy and Finance, and from 1998 he was a member of the Cabinet in charge of Economic issues and relationships with UNDP of the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MFAC). In 2001 Mr Belhaj became a Counsellor at the Department of Europeans Affairs at the MFAC, in charge of the France Desk, after which he served as Counsellor at the Mission of Morocco to the European Communities, in charge of the follow up and implementation of the Agreement between Morocco and European Union, and relations with NATO, then Counsellor at the Mission of Morocco to the European Communities (2001-2002). In 2003 he became Head of the Section for Cooperation with the European Union at the MFAC. From 2005 to 2009 he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco to Italy, then in 2009 he was appointed Director of Financial Affairs and Information Systems and Logistic at the MFAC. Prior to arriving in Serbia, he served as Director of Global Issues at the MFAC. Ambassador Belhaj is a married father of two children.


New CEO at Volvo Group Trucks for Adriatic South Region As of 1st January 2017, graduate technical engineer Dragana Krstić has become the new CEO of Volvo Group Trucks for the Adriatic South region, which includes the markets of Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro. Krstić assumes this new position after having been promoted from the position of financial director in the same organisational unit Volvo Group Trucks. Krstić has been working for Volvo in Serbia since 1998, when the company first launched operations in the country. From 2003 to year’s end 2016, she held the post of regional finance director at Volvo Trucks in Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and from 2011 to 2014 she also held the same function in Volvo Trucks companies in Croatia and Slovenia. Mrs Krstić is a married mother of two children.


Humanitarian Campaign “Every Day Tastes Better”


Around 8000 students accommodated in 10 student dormitories, in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Kragujevac, Subotica, Čačak and Kosovska Mitrovica, as well as in Sarajevo and Banja Luka, will receive the opportunity to use the creative Chipsy corner, which company Marbo Product will donate within the framework of the new Chipsy campaign “Every day tastes better with a smile”. Chipsy and Marbo Product will equip common room areas in student dormitories, thus contributing to providing better conditions for life and learning. The project is supported by the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth of the Canton of Sarajevo and the Republika Srpska Ministry of Education and Culture. FEBRUARY



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Favourable Lending Conditions For Farmers The Guarantee Fund is intended to finance farmers under the most favourable conditions to support them in the purchase of machinery, equipment and land, as well as in the procurement of energy efficient equipment and to provide loans for companies, entrepreneurs and agricultural cooperatives to procure equipment


he Guarantee Fund of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is ready to fully support farmers and help them to develop production, says Đorđe Raković, Director of the Fund. ■ In recent times we have seen a decline in agriculture’s share of GDP. How much can the Guarantee Fund of AP Vojvodina influence a reversal of these trends? - During 2017, the Guarantee Fund of AP Vojvodina plans, with the strong support of the AP Vojvodina Government, via the programmes of various Secretariats, to subsidise interest rates on loans intended for owners of registered agricultural holdings in Vojvodina. This will secure extremely favourable lending conditions for farmers, amongst the lowest on the market. Likewise, the Guarantee Fund of AP Vojvodina, as an institution founded by the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, also fulfils its mission and justifies its existence by issuing guarantees for those users who do not have sufficient credit potential to apply to banks directly for funds. Here I’m primarily referring to small farms, newly registered farms 32 |



and farms owned by young people who want to engage in agricultural production. Actually, our offers are designed in such a way that farmers can secure funds for the realisation of their entire investment, and in all areas envisaged by the IPARD II programme of the Republic of Serbia 2014-2020. ■ How important to the success of the investments approved by the Fund is an active approach to local government? - We have initiated meetings with representatives of all 45 local authorities on the territory of Vojvodina, at which the main topic is precisely the advancement

on the subsidising of interest rates for credit lines that are supported by our guarantees, primarily for purchasing agricultural equipment and machinery, livestock and perennial plants. According to this model, the interest is subsidised in its entirety or up to a maximum level of three per cent, for loans that mature in five to seven years, with local governments allocating funds for these purposes.

■ In addition to farms/agricultural holdings, you also finance other businesses, as well as start-up programmes. How much interest in type of funding exists? Alongside the existing funding - Throughout the entire year there is an interest in all of the financing lines, we plan to introduce lines of the Fund, and at present new ones, primarily for the there are open funding competitions for support in the procureconstruction of silos, ment of agricultural machinery warehouses and cold storage and equipment, the purchase of facilities, as they are in high agricultural land, the construction demand on the market of prefabricated silos, the purchase of energy efficient equipment and equipment for utilising of cooperation and the planning of joint renewable energy sources, as well as activities. With this we are creating conditions to better and more effectively credit for the purchase of equipment inform potential users about existing for companies, entrepreneurs and funding application lines of the Guaranagricultural cooperatives. Alongside tee Fund of AP Vojvodina, as well as the the existing funding lines, we plan to development of new lines of funding in introduce new ones, primarily for the accordance with the needs of users. construction of silos, warehouses and The Fund has previously signed a secold storage facilities, as they are in ries of contracts with local governments high demand on the market. ■




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“One of our objectives is also to ensure the stability and European integration of the entire southeast Europe and the countries concerned should be committed to meeting EU standards and criteria.” — DAVOR IVO STIER, Croatian


Foreign Minister


Sziget Festiva Sold

British-American investment company Providence Equity Partners had become the majority owner of Sziget Festival. The company will help improving the festivals of Sziget with strategic investments. Although the Hungarian owners sold the majority of 70% percent of their ownership, the management remains under Zoltán Fülöp, Norbert Lobenwein and Gábor Takács and

Károly Gerendai, who repurchased his ownership before the transaction. Formally, the new majority owner will be a Luxembourgian company LuxCo Ltd. Their portfolio includes Balaton Sound, Telekom VOLT Festival, the Gourmet Festival, and Gyerek Sziget (Children’s Festival). Since the foundation of Providence Equity Partners in 1989, the company invested in more than 150 companies, and it is the primary capital fund to media, communication, education, and IT sectors. Its headquarters are in Rhode Island, in Providence, but it has offices in New York, London, Hongkong, and New Delhi, as well. The new investors are looking to create a festival portfolio in which Sziget will be a key element for spreading in new, foreign markets.


StoreGecko Signed Partnership With BigCommerce Sofia-based online shopping platform provider StoreGecko, established in 2014 , said it has signed a bilateral partnership deal with US-based e-commerce platform provider BigCommerce. Under the contract, StoreGecko’s services will be offered by BigCommerce platform as one of the exclusive applications that will help online stores around the world manage their products more quickly and easily. “Entering the US market is both a success and a challenge for us because to work with BigCommerce requires quicker development and expansion of our team,” said Jan Andersen, founder and CEO of StoreGecko. In September 2015, StoreGecko received €100,000 financing and entered a three-month mentorship programme offered by the European accelerator Startupbotcamp in exchange for 8% of its business. CROATIA

Croatia Airlines Sells 5 Heathrow Airport Slots Croatia Airlines have sold five (morning slots) of their total of nine slots at London’s Heathrow airport to America’s Delta Air Lines for $19.5 million Croatia Airlines are now left with four afternoon slots and will continue to operate Zagreb – London flights in those times on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. “We are extremely satisfied with this business and achieved our goal. We will invest the money in maintenance and the restoration of engines of our fleet”, said CEO Krešimir Kučko. Money from the sale will also go into cutting the debt the Zagreb – London route has built up. Jutarnji list reports that the airline has lost €37.5 million on the route since 2002.

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Romania Within The Top World’s 50 Most Innovative Economies

Romania is placed on the 38th place from 50 in the top of the most innovative economies of the world, while the Northern countries are on the first positions of the Bloomberg Innovation Index, a ranking of economies based on research and development (R&D) expenses and technology companies concentration owned by the state, says Bloomberg. With a score of 57.06 points, Romania perfoms more poorly compared Greece, on the 30th place, Czech Republic on the 28th place, Hungary on 27th and Poland on 22nd. Romania has the best position, the 14th place on the production indicator with high added value, but it’s on the 49th place for the indicator that measures the GDP percentage allocated for R&D. The first position of the ranking is occupied, as the last year, by South Korea. MONTENEGRO

Hrvatski Telekom Buys 76.53% of Crnogorski Telekom Croatia’s biggest telecoms operator, Hrvatski Telekom, said it has signed a share purchase agreement with Hungary’s Magyar Telekom to acquire a 76.53% stake in Crnogorski Telekom for €123.5 million. DAVOR TOMAŠKOVIĆ, “This transaction CEO, Hrvatski Telekom is part of Hrvatski Telekom’s strategy of growth through expansion into regional markets. Creating considerable synergies, Hrvatski Telekom will, with this acquisition, provide additional value to its shareholders and customers,” the company noted. The financial and management consolidation of Crnogorski Telekom is planned to commence after the transaction has closed. Following the closure of the deal, individuals and legal entities will continue to own 23.47% of Crnogorski Telekom.



“Our policy is that of peace, stability, reconciliation, and strengthening of trust in the region, and that is the basis of stability for the whole of Europe.”— IVICA DAČIĆ, Serbian Foreign Minister


Highest And Lowest Salaries In The Region

How to Reconcile a Busy Lifestyle with a Healthy one

According to analysis, the highest average salary paid in the region amounted to €1,020.40 in Slovenia, and the lowest in Macedonia only €363.80. According to the latest statistics, the average wage in Croatia amounted to €749.70, in Montenegro €503, in BiH €428 and in Serbia €369.70. The average wage in Slovenia was €1020.40 according to data for October 2016, and is for €15,2 less than the wage at the same time paid a year earlier. According to the data from October last year, the average salary in Croatia was decreased for €12,3. In addition to being the lowest in the region, the average salary in Macedonia, was for €9.20 less than the one paid in the end of 2015, or the beginning of last year. The last paid was €363.80, while in 2016 it amounted to €373. The average salary in BiH is reduced as well, and to €2.5 less than previous years. Namely, according to the latest data for September 2016, the average salary amounted to €428, while at the end of 2015 amounted to €430.50. There is a constant growth of average salary in Montenegro, which has grown over the last year to €13. At the beginning of 2016, it amounted to €490, while according to November last year it amounted to €503. Despite the highest grown in the region, even €42,70, the average salary in Serbia is still among the lowest in the region. According to the statistics, at the beginning of last year it amounted to €327, while according to the latest data for November last year it amounted to €369.70


The Green Light To Clear Customs Goods in Albania

Kosovo businesses will be able to clear goods imported through Albania in Durres. Ministries of Finance of both countries agreed in Tirana to open a new joint customs point. “We have decided to ARBEN AHMETAJ, Albanian Finance open a new joint customs Minister (left) and, AVDULLAH HOTI, Finance of Kosovo point in Durres for goods that are destined to Kosovo”, said the minister of Finance of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti. According to the Albanian Finance Minister, Arben Ahmetaj, the aim is for “the port of Durres to turn into a unique entry point for Kosovo’s businesses in terms of customs control”. This means that any Kosovar business may be inspected and cleared in the port of Durres and then it may enter the market of Kosovo directly from Kukes. The two governments have also set up a special work group, which is identifying commercial barriers between the two countries.

One membership card for more than 500 sports facilities across Serbia With our modern and busy lifestyle, it is hard to find time for ourselves and our hobbies nowadays, let alone for a workout. Aware of this issue, the Serbian company Fit Pass has found an innovative way for people to reconcile their professional duties with finding time for a healthy lifestyle – in other words, for sport and other physical activities. Fit Pass issues a membership card that gives everyone free entrance to more than 500 sports facilities throughout Serbia for the price of just one monthly subscription, and at a very affordable price. In 15 cities countrywide it involves the best gyms, pools, fitness and spa centers, dance schools and many other facilities that meet the diverse needs of any Fit Pass user. Unlike your regular membership card for one gym only, with your Fit Pass some sports facility is always “just around the corner”, which makes it possible for users to work out any time of the day, between errands and wherever they are. Given the positive impact of a workout on concentration, happiness and productivity, Fit Pass has also created a special offer for companies that value their employees’ health and motivation. In caring for their staffers’ well-being, companies acknowledge their employees’ value and make that extra investment to show their appreciation, motivating them to invest more effort and enthusiasm in their work. All facilities within the Fit Pass system, user packages and all other info can be found at FEBRUARY



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A New World Order The main sense throughout the meeting was that we’re living through a geopolitical shift not seen since the end of the Cold War – from a unipolar world, with one superpower, to a multipolar one


Change is scary, Alexander De Croo, Belgian’s deputy prime minister, told participants in a session on understanding the rise of populism – a theme that cut across the whole meeting. “What you have is anxiety about a world that is changing,” he said. The question that kept coming up is what that world will look like. Will it be a return to the 1930s, with a rise in selfish national interests at the extent of the broader good? Not according to Davos leaders. While almost everyone called for a reform to globalization, most people agreed with President Xi: globalization is worth saving. “There are 3.6 billion people around the world aspiring to better income, to food on the table twice a day, once a day. To turn our back on globalization, to turn our back on helping development, is exactly the wrong approach. To say that globalization is bad because it destroys jobs is a very short cut for something that needs far more analytical work and understanding,” IMF 36 |



Of course, the shape this new world takes will depend on the decisions being made today. Are we happy to live in a world where just eight men control the same wealth as half of humanity? If not, then what policies can we put in place, what systems can we rethink, to actually bring about change? Ideas abounded, from familiar – retraining people to While almost everyone called solutions make sure they have the skills they for a reform to globalization, need, reforming tax systems – to more radical ones like a universal most people agreed with basic income. President Xi: globalization is Of course, some of these worth saving. It’s not just themes aren’t new, even if they globalization that needs have been pushed to the forefront by the tumultuous events of 2016. reforming to face the In fact, as Christine Lagarde noted challenges of these changing a session on inequality, she was times: our governance models in raising alarms four years ago in must also be shaken up Davos, and nobody at the time listened to her. But even if we’ve heard some the 72-year old institution. of these things before, there was a “We have a lot of shortcomings palpable feeling throughout the four that need to be addressed,” Guterres days that now is the time for change. explained. But his plans to make it As Lagarde warned leaders gathered less bureaucratic and more nimble in Davos, “if policy-makers don’t get it would help it do more with less, he now, I don’t know when they will”. ■ promised. chief Christine Lagarde said. And it’s not just globalization that needs reforming to face the challenges of these changing times: our governance models must also be shaken up. That’s exactly what new United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told Davos he would do to




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“The problem with Europe, is Europe. Europe used to be the solution to many of the problems of the laggards of European integration. Now this is being turned around completely.”— PIER CARLO PADOAN, Italian finance minister GREECE


BAT To Take Over Reynolds In $49bln Deal

British American Tobacco (BAT) said on Tuesday that its offer to buy the stake in Reynolds American that it did not already own had been accepted, a $49 billion. The purchase would create the world’s largest publicly

traded tobacco business, based on net sales, and it would combine companies with brands that include Camel, Lucky Strike, Newport and Pall Mall. The agreement came nearly three months after BAT first offered to buy the 57.8 percent of Reynolds American that it did not own, at the time offering about $47 billion. The new company would have a strong share of the market in the United States, as well as a major presence in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America, BAT said. The company added that it expected $400 million in annual savings by the third year after the deal is completed.


Digital Economy To Create 400mln Jobs China’s digital economy is predicted to create over 400 million jobs by 2035, a new report has said. Internet-based economy could be worth $16 trillion by then, according to a Boston Consulting Group report. Alibaba, China’s biggest online trader, is expected to generate over 100 million of those jobs, according to the report, with 30 million created last year. As jobs are created, digital technology like cloud computing and artificial intelligence will replace more and more manpower, the report said. Meanwhile, 20 percent of the world’s population will become self-employed or freelance via the internet in the next decade, Alibaba Vice President Gao Hongbing said at the summit. The digital economy will surpass the manufacturing sector in scale and account for a quarter of the world’s economy, Gao said.

Increase In Turks Buying Greek Properties

According to market data presented by the Bank of Greece (BoG), more and more Turks are joining in the buyer’s market for Greek properties. Previously, the majority of buyers were German, French, British and Italian, but since 2011 educated professionals from Turkey have increased purchases of properties in the Greek market considerably, with as much as 11.7 percent in 2012 and 10.9 percent in 2013, BoG data says. However, sources have also noted that the current political turmoil in Turkey following the failed military coup last July has seen even more Turks turn to purchase properties in the Greek market


HSBC Likely To Switch Jobs To France


Sberbank Planning Joint Venture With Alibaba Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank is planning a potential joint venture with Chinese e-retail giant Alibaba, the Kommersant newspaper reported. Representatives from state-owned Sberbank and the Alibaba Group have already met last month to discuss the potential project. Any joint venture would see Sberbank control at least a 50 percent stake and provide much of the financial investment. In return, the Alibaba group would use its existing cross-border infrastructure and delivery systems across Russia neighboring countries. The venture, which may become one of the largest players in Russian e-commerce, could be worth several billion dollars, Kommersant reported. The online retail market continues to grow in Russia, with 43 percent of Russians buying from foreign online retailers in the past 12 months. Retailers exporting online have also seen their sales almost double over the past year, outstripping domestic e-commerce with sales worth approximately $2 billion.

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Stuart Gulliver the chief executive of HSBC bank says the company is likely to switch 1,000 jobs to Paris from London, with Britain planning to leave the European Union single market under Brexit. Although Gulliver had in the past already hinted at such a switch of investment banking jobs, his comments suggested France would take precedence over other European Union nations. “We bought Credit Commercial de France in 2002,” said Gulliver, “so we have a full service universal bank in France. And so for us, it’s France.” The UK financial sector has long feared the loss of “passporting” rights -- which allows EU member states to trade across national borders. That provides a crucial gateway for companies to access the rest of the bloc.




“Any attempt to turn off the flows of capital and people around the world will be like trying to divert a river into lakes and creeks.”— XI JINPING, President of China

Switzerland has the world’s most expensive Big Macs. In Switzerland a Big Mac costs $6.35, in Norway $5.67 and in Sweden $5.26

Oracle Launches Startup Cloud Accelerator With the hope of identifying innovators who can advance next-generation cloud capabilities, multinational computing giant Oracle launched its Startup Cloud Accelerator program in Israel. The kickoff of the six-month acceleration program, which will be facilitated by technical and business experts from Oracle and the industry, took place at the company’s research and development offices in Petah Tikva. The launch in Israel is the second of its kind, with the first inaugurated in Bangalore, India last year. The California-based corporation hopes to find budding entrepreneurs in Israel that will help Oracle


Company Registrations Rise 20% In 2016

REGGIE BRADFORD, Oracle’s senior vice president

become the leading cloud company in the world. Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote Internet servers, rather than physical infrastructure, to store and process data.

The number of new company registrations rose 20 per cent last year to 13,616, the highest post-crisis figure, the Cyprus Department of Company Registrar and Official Receiver said. In December, the number of new company registrations rose an annual 4.1 per cent to 1,335.The total number of companies registered dropped last year 8.1 per cent to 210,677, which is the lowest after 2008, as the number of companies struck off exceeded new registrations.


BMW Committed To New Factory In Mexico

BMW is sticking with plans to open a new factory in Mexico in 2019 despite warnings from Presidentelect Donald Trump that he will slap a border tax on cars imported from the country. The German automaker’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson said that BMW is committed to the factory in Mexico.

Robertson explained that the company needs to expand manufacturing beyond its U.S. factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, already the biggest BMW plant in the world. “We need additional capacity, so we have chosen to build a plant in Mexico,” he said. The Spartanburg plant produces up to 450,000 cars per year”, he said. BMW has already started work on the new factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The facility will open in 2019 and produce the BMW 3 Series Sedan, creating at least 1,500 new jobs. “The cars which will be produced in Mexico are for the global market, not only North America,” the company said.

Last year, applications for company names rose 11 per cent to 27,031 after dropping in December an annual 6.6 per cent to 2,149, the company registrar said. The number of certified copies rose in 2016 and December 10 per cent and 6.2 per cent to 311,110 and 28,367 respectively, the department said. The number of other documents submitted dropped 12 per cent to 131,296 in 2016 after rising 12 percent to 13,623.


Telkom To Launch $199.7mln Satellite After a delay last year, the country’s largest telecommunication firm, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), plans to launch a new satellite worth $199.7 million this month. Called Telkom-3S, the new satellite will be launched from French Guiana in the northern mainland of South America, Telkom chief technology officer Abdus Somad Arief said. “This satellite will be our third and it will support our voice and data services,” he said during the 2017 Internet Retailing Expo Jakarta. Beginning in July 2014, the construction of the satellite was handled by French company Thales Alenia Space.

The launch will be carried out by Arianespace, a French contracting firm. Abdus further said to

support Telkom’s future services, it also planned to launch a fourth satellite in June 2018.




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The Greatest Barrier To Success Is The Fear Of Failure A barrier is something that prevents you from moving from one place to another, or makes something difficult or even seemingly “impossible”. Barriers can be physical or a law or a rule.. but mostly – they are all in our heads


et’s jump elegantly over the barriers in our heads, because they are only preventing us from reaching our dreams, and THAT we cannot have.. “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” The barriers in our heads are usually one way or another linked to fear. The fear of success is based on the fear that we are not good enough. In-fact, did you know that this is one of the most wide spread fears there is?; The fear that we will fail because we are not good enough? It seems so real in our heads, but when you think about it; how stupid is this, really? Fear of something bad happening in the future, is one of the things that make us human. Animals might fear immediate danger, something happening right now. But only we fear something that might happen, that is not happening right now. Take a moment. • Think about it; are you fears really baseless? • Are they holding you back from achieving something? • What fears are holding you back? 40 |



good enough is natural. Letting it stop you from going after your dream is a tragedy. Instead beat the fears that are holding you back. Instead of focusing on what might happen in the future, focus on right now. “Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear”. Don’t reinforce you fear. Conquer it bit by bit. When you deep down know that the fear is only in your head, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. Don’t let the barriers stop you! Overcoming the barriers of fear Do it anyway. After all, sounds quite easy on paper. But if it were, then everyone would be doing they are called barriers, not it. The truth is that it’s not easy. But impossible obstacles. Most if you manage to not let the barriers barriers are there to be stop you and to do it anyway, you overcome. They are the suddenly have a huge advantage difference between the people over everyone else who don’t. Not to mention the adrenaline and buzz who succeed and those that you get when you conquer your who don’t fears.. It is a great feeling – one to be addicted to. The people who have “made it” in Don’t let the barriers stop you! Do this world are the one’s who never gave it anyway. After all, they are called barriers, not impossible obstacles. Most up, who believed in themselves and barriers are there to be overcome. They kept on going. Even the most successful are the difference between the people people in the world have the fear of not who succeed and those who don’t. being good enough, but they don’t let it You CAN do it. ■ beat them. Having the fear of not being • Do you let the fear of not being good enough stop you from even trying? If yes, then it is your responsibility to do something about it. Instead of going through all the different stages: I can never do this – Perhaps I can do this – I will try to do this – Let’s do this – I did it! Why don’t you just start at the Trypart, and just go for it?




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Creating Added Value For The Betterment Of The Company Shaping the reputation of the company and creating added value by being the voice of my company, for both internal and external stakeholders, is a fulfilling vocation that I have had the opportunity to perform for more than 15 years

SNEŽANA PETROVIĆ Corporate & Marketing Communications Manager at Lafarge Serbia


orking in an industrial environment and a production site has always been a specific passion and an environment that differs completely from companies operating in other types of business. The fact that we have employees in production, maintenance, quality and other functions, such as sales, marketing, human resources and finance, provides a challenging and diverse environment. Although a lawyer by education, after Lafarge entered the Serbian market and acquired the cement plant in Beocin, I was offered the position of Integration Manager, which I held for a year. The integration of a local, traditional production site into a large, global company was a learning process for everyone, including myself, as I had the responsibility of not only understanding and incorporating new processes, rules and procedures, but also translating them into tangible, transparent and acceptable business behaviour and values. My legal background helped me to cover all of these elements and ensure that they were aligned with local regulations and legislation, but it also helped me in communicating with different stakeholders. That was an exciting 42 |



and challenging year, with strong collaboration with all internal departments, but also with the Group Integration and Communication teams. After the integration period, I was promoted to the position of Communications Manager, which I have held for 15 years. At the time that I started my journey in this field, the communications function was not a well-developed and recognised function in Serbia. I was lucky to get the chance to learn about the communications function from professionals from around the world. Lafarge is a group that nurtures a strong culture of high performance and development, with an established spirit of networking, col-

The nature of the job is such that whatever you have planned can always be turned upside down by a need to react to an enquiry or crisis laboration, sharing and learning. At our company, communications covers many aspects, from internal communication and employee engagement, to corporate, brand positioning and commercial communications, public relations and sustainable development, including community engagement and CSR. This provides the opportunity to communicate with a variety of different people with whom I need to talk, from employees and media representatives, to investors, local communities and authorities, but also

enjoying the fact that there is no typical day. The nature of the job is also such that whatever you have planned can always be turned upside down by a need to react to an enquiry or crisis. While growing as a professional and business partner internally, I also witnessed the development and growth of Lafarge as company in Serbia. A lot has been done in the last 15 years to integrate the company into the Lafarge Group culture, but also to establish Lafarge Serbia among the best Lafarge operations worldwide, and as a leading industrial company in Serbia. We succeeded in gaining recognition as a role model, while adopting Lafarge’s policies, values and culture, and integrating them into the local context. Since 2010, Lafarge Serbia has operated not only in the cement business, but also in the aggregates and concrete business – through the acquisition of four concrete production sites in Serbia. Namely, we transformed our company from a one-site based production company to a multi-site production and sales company, partnering our customers and the communities in which we operate. I have been included in the changes and this transformative journey by learning, sharing knowledge and supporting the company with both strategic and operational responsibilities, contributing to business development and addressing transformation challenges. Transformation for the better is what I’ve done and love to do: with heart, with respect, with people. 

In Association With THe Embassy Of India In Serbia


India - The Engine Of

Global Growth

Having successfully organized seven constructive summits, Government of Gujarat, the land of Gandhi and Patel, organized the 8th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit from the 10th to 13th of January 2017 at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar. The central focus of the Summit was “Sustainable Economic and Social Development”. It brought together heads of states and governments, ministers, leaders from the corporate world, senior policy makers, heads of international institutions and academia from around the world


he three-day summit was opened by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi who promised to bring a paradigm shift in polity and economy by providing corruption-free regime and easing processes to make India the easiest place to do business. Addressing the biannual Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, dubbed ‘Davos of the East’, that had global leaders in attendance, including President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, PM of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, Deputy PM of Russia, Dmitry Rogozin, first Deputy PM and Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Poland, Poitr Glinski. Modi said creating an enabling environment for business and at-

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tracting investments is his top priority. “We have placed the highest emphasis on Ease of Doing Business,” he said. “My government is strongly committed to continue the reform of the Indian economy.” Over the last two-and-a-half years, the government has worked relentlessly to realise India’s potential and to set right the economy, he said, adding the results have been encouraging in substantial improvement in key macroeconomic indicators like GDP growth, inflation, fiscal deficit, current account deficit as well as foreign investments. “India has become the fastest growing major economy in the world. Despite the global slowdown, we have registered excellent growth. Today, India is a bright spot in the global economy. We are seen

as the engine of global growth,” he said. Stating that highest emphasis has been placed on Ease of Doing Business, he said decisive steps to ease licensing processes and rationalise provisions and procedures relating to clearances, returns, and inspections have been taken. “We are monitoring implementation of hundreds of action points across various sectors, aimed at improving the regulatory framework. This is part of our promise of Good Governance,” he said. As India moves closer to global best practices, the government’s confidence has been boosted by the positive impact of our policies and practices. “This also gives us the motivation to further simplify our processes to become the easiest place to do business,” he said.

“Every day, we are further rationalising our policies and procedures, to make it simple for businesses to establish and grow,” he said. “We have liberalised our FDI regime in many sectors and in various ways. India is today among the most open economies.” The Prime Minister said the total FDI inflows since May 2014 have touched USD 130 billion, reflecting confidence of foreign investors in Indian economy. Listing out initiatives taken by his government in last two-and-a-half years to improve business climate in the country, he said Goods and Services Tax (GST) is in offing while Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, a National Company Law Tribunal, a new arbitration centre for dispute resolution and a new IPR regime are all in place. New commercial courts have also been set up. Stating that these are just a few examples of the direction of his government, he said, “My government is strongly

committed to continue the reform of the Indian economy.” “Our Government was elected first and foremost on the promise to provide clean governance and end the prevailing regime of corruption and nepotism. “It is our vision and mission to bring a paradigm shift in the ways of our polity

“informal economy to formal economy.” Prime Minister said he has emphasised the need for policy driven Governance and use of technology to bring speed and openness in decision making. “Towards this end, we are working to adopt and absorb newer technologies, to bring about transparency, and to end

India has become the fastest growing major economy in the world. Despite the global slowdown, we have registered excellent growth. Today, India is a bright spot in the global economy. We are seen as the engine of global growth and economy,” he said. Stating that his government has taken a series of decisions and steps to provide clean governance, he said the focus is to shift from “relation based Governance to system based Governance”, from “discretionary administration to policy based administration”, from “random interference to technological intervention”, from “favouritism to level playing field” and from

discretion. Believe me, we are on the threshold of becoming the world’s most digitised economy. Most of you wanted this change in India. I am proud to say that it is happening before you,” he said. While India is the fastest growing major economy in the world and is called the bright spot, World Bank, IMF and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days.




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“In 2014-15, India contributed 12.5 per cent of global growth. Its contribution to global growth is 68 per cent higher, than its share of the world economy,” he said. Modi said creating an enabling environment for business and attracting investments is his top priority to create opportunities for youth. “With that spirit, we are moving towards implementation of some historic initiatives. This includes the Goods and Services Tax,” he said.

leased by UNCTAD and improvement in rank by 32 positions in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16 and 2016-17. Also, India has moved up 16 ranks in the Global Innovation Index 2016 brought out by WIPO and jumped 19 position in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index of 2016. “This change in environment has been recognised by both domestic and foreign investors. An encouraging Start-up

Our biggest strength is the depth of our Democracy. Some people say that democracy cannot deliver effective and fast track governance. But we have seen in the last two-and-a-half years that it is possible to deliver quick results in a democratic set up as well The efforts of the government have resulted in improvement in India’s global rankings. These include improvements in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, being ranked third in the list of top prospective host economies for 2016-18 in the World Investment Report 2016 re-

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eco- system is now taking shape in the country,” Modi said. Stating that $130 billion FDI had come during last two and half years, he said the FDI equity inflow in the last two financial years was 60 per cent higher as compared to previous two financial years. “In fact, the total FDI inflows received dur-

ing the last year have been the highest ever.” Also, the number of countries from where FDI is coming in and the sectors in which they are being routed have also diversified in the last two years. “India is now the leading recipient of capital investment in the Asia-Pacific. It also continues to be among the top ten countries globally in terms of FDI inflows,” he said. “But the story does not end here. India has left every other country behind in terms of providing return on investment. In 2015, India has risen to first position in the Baseline Profitability Index.” India, he said, has become the 6th largest manufacturing country in the world, up from 9th largest previously. “All this is helping us expand the job market and raise the purchasing power of our people. But the real potential is even higher,” he said. “We are committed to an India with better job opportunities, better income, better purchasing power, better quality of life and better living standards,” he said. The government’s development agenda is to provide a roof over every head, jobs to every hand, energy that is cleaner, build

roads and railways faster, mineral exploration to become greener, build urban amenities that are sturdier and see quality of life getting better and better. Modi said India’s strength lies in the three Ds - Democracy, Demography and Demand. “Our biggest strength is the depth of our Democracy. Some people say that democracy cannot deliver effective and fast track governance. But we have seen in the last two-and-a-half years that it is possible to deliver quick results in a democratic set up as well,” he said. Also, culture of healthy competition among states has been evolved and they are being rated on parameters of Good Governance. With the second largest English population, the youth of India are not merely looking for jobs but are beginning to take risks and become entrepreneurs. On the demand front, rising middle class offers a huge domestic market, he said. With sea that connects it to the world’s biggest markets of Africa, the Middle East and Europe, three crop seasons giving abundance of food, vegeta-

bles and fruits, and an unparalleled flora and fauna. “We are taking a leap towards next generation infrastructure: in both core and social sectors; in both rural and urban areas. “This includes freight corridors, industrial corridors, high speed and metro rail projects, logistics parks, smart cities, coastal zones, regional airports, water, sanitation and energy initiatives. Our per capita electricity consumption must rise.

markets as it adds millions of homes. All this offers unprecedented opportunities for the investor community,” he said. India, he said, alone offers the opportunities that could rival those of an entire continent. “It offers today, the possibilities of a full century. And we want to do all this in a cleaner, greener and sustainable way.” Asking global investors to invest in India, he said: “I assure you that I will be available to hold your hands whenever required.”

India is going to emerge as one of the world’s largest construction markets as it adds millions of homes. All this offers unprecedented opportunities for the investor community Even as we do so, we are committed to promoting renewable energy,” he said. The government, he said, is also keen to promote tourism in a big way, for which tourism infrastructure is needed. “The targets for construction of roads and laying of railways have been increased manifold. India is going to emerge as one of the world’s largest construction

Ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with several heads of state and ministers who have converged in Gandhinagar for the mega event. Modi held bilateral talks with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Economy Minister of Japan Seko Hiroshige and then with Energy Minister of Denmark Lars Clilleholt. ■




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We Share Historically Strong Bonds Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, who was in India to attend the ‘Vibrant Gujarat 2017’ Global Summit, was hosted by Gateway House as he passed through Mumbai


ateway House spoke to Prime Minister Vucic about the need to improve the economic relationship between two countries that have always shared a historically strong bond • Thank you, Prime Minister Vučić, for making time for our questions. What is Serbia’s position in the world right now? - Serbia is, geographically speaking, at a crossroads–somewhere between West and East. Politically speaking, our strategic goal is to be a full member

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state of the European Union. We are firmly on our EU path, and at the same time, we are the only European country that didn’t impose any sanctions against Russia. We are the country which has the best possible relationship with many African and Asian

countries, with India traditionally having been one of Serbia’s biggest political friends. India has always supported the territorial integrity of Serbia. We did the same with India. And we have always condemned all terrorist activities in India, because

We are the country which has the best possible relationship with many African and Asian countries, with India traditionally having been one of Serbia’s biggest political friends. India has always supported the territorial integrity of Serbia. We did the same with India

there are no good terrorists, they are always evil. And this is something that we actually share with the Indian people. I think that’s the position of an independent, sovereign country in the real sense of this word, one that is on its EU path, yet not only keeping intact traditional bonds and ties with friends, but also strengthening them. • You mentioned India and Serbia’s strong relationship historically and even in the present. How can the bilateral be strengthened? - We need to improve our economic relationship. We need to attract more Indian investors to our country, boost our trade exchange, and also bring some of our people to do business in India, and then increase the people-topeople relationship as well. Serbia is the only country in the whole of Europe where Indians will feel at home–because we’ve always supported freedom-loving people. Mahatma Gandhi is still one out of five most important historical figures in our country. His salt marches and everything else about him is in our textbooks. Also, today I am able to immediately speak about 20 cities in India. Others may or may not be able to, but we in Serbia can. It shows our attitude, our stance on our friendship. We should rationalise it, improve our economic cooperation, and then everything will be much better. We are going to create easy access to Serbia for Indians and vice versa, and we are going to discuss how to make it a visa-free regime

I learnt a lot today about India and about the sincerity and seriousness with which the Indian people are actually taking care of foreign affairs: it shows that you are on a good path. I wish all the best to your Prime Minister Narendra Modi between our two countries. We have a good political relationship–although this is the first Prime Minister-level visit after 30 years. This means that we had forgotten our friends in the East. Of course, we are small, and I am, therefore, profoundly grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for paying attention to Serbia, and inviting me to visit. But I think that we’ll be seeing a more significant role for Serbia in Europe as well. • We look forward to hearing more news on that and to hosting you again in Mumbai. - I learnt a lot today about India and

about the sincerity and seriousness with which the Indian people are actually taking care of foreign affairs: it shows that you are on a good path. I wish all the best to your Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and all the best to Gateway House: I would like to be able to boast about such a great think tank that you have here in Mumbai. ▪

Copyright: The Gateway of India Geoeconomic Dialogue supported by the Ministry of External Affairs. (Hadline: CorD)




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High Hopes

For Serbia We see Serbia not only as a market of seven million people, but also as a base to access 15 per cent of the world market, due to Serbia’s special trade arrangements with the EU, Russia, Turkey, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, CEFTA etc

around the globe – says H.E. Narinder Chauhan, Indian Ambassador in Belgrade.


erbia is a regional hub thanks to its favourable geographical location. It is the transport corridor linking Western and Eastern Europe. All shipments reach European capitals within 24 hours. Serbia, as a transition economy, has passed through a period of dramatic economic change over the recent past, and the major fiscal and structural reforms

• Your Excellency, you recently participated actively in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017. What was the most important message you took away from this major gathering? - Vibrant Gujarat has emerged as one of the foremost economic summits in India. The participation of PM Aleksandar Vučić in the summit proved to be a major forward movement in India-Serbia relations and I am sure the visit will further enhance relations between our

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent bilateral relationship and agreed to promote economic cooperation, including in food production, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, defence, health, tourism and IT undertaken by the Serbian government have resulted in a significant improvement of the economic situation and the business environment in Serbia. This message was eminently conveyed by PM Vučić in India during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017. This summit has proved very useful in terms of investments, with a total of 25,578 MoUs signed during the event, which included the participation of over 33,000 people from all

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two friendly countries. The summit saw one of the largest gatherings of Heads of State/Government, Ministers, top global & Indian CEOs, Nobel Laureates, Economists, Academics etc. The summit further helped in connecting India to the world. The summit has also proved very useful in terms of investments, with a total of 25,578 MoUs signed during the event, which included the participation of over 33,000 people from all around the globe.

• Which topics were addressed at the meeting between the Indian and Serbian Prime Ministers? - The talks between the two PMs were held in a very warm and friendly atmosphere. Both sides reviewed international and regional issues. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent bilateral relationship and agreed to promote economic cooperation, including in food production, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, defence, health, tourism and IT. PM Vučić also shared the stage with PM Modi and, addressed the Plenary Session of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Economic Summit. In his meeting with Mr Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat, PM Vučić discussed the possibility of investment in the fields of chemicals, agro products, IT and pharmaceuticals. PM Vučić also visited Mumbai, India’s financial capital, where he addressed the CEOs Forum and met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. I am confident that these high level meetings will help realise the full potential in expanding two-way trade & investment, in order to boost economic growth, sustainable development, research, innovation and entrepreneurship. • How did you view Serbia’s appearance at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, which brought together participants from 100 countries, including the worlds economically and




Agriculture and food processing, as well as agricultural machinery, are crucial industry segments in bilateral trade, with good growth potential

Vibrant Gujarat has emerged as one of the foremost economic summits in India. The participation of PM Aleksandar Vučić proved to be a major step forward in India-Serbia relations

In both India and Serbia, the bulk of the GDP comes from the services sector. Thus, the two economies are complementary and are natural partners

politically strongest nations? How can a small country take advantage of participation in such a gathering? - The Vibrant Gujarat Summit has catapulted itself into one of the most significant and sought-after global platforms, where PM Vučić showcased Serbia as a business destination. Mr Anand Mahindra, President of the Mahindra Group, acknowledged the political stability and secure market of Serbia for investors. PM Vučić informed participants about economic reforms and progress made in terms of Ease of Doing Business. During his meeting with Mr Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, PM Vučić discussed enhanced cooperation in agri, food processing, tourism & IT. He invited Mr Fadnavis to lead a business delegation to Serbia. In his meeting with Mr Pankaj Patel, President of FICCI, PM Vučić focused on the improvement of institutional and business cooperation & the mutual promotion of Serbia and India as tourist destinations. Cooperation in defence and the film industry was also discussed. The talks were meaningful, important and useful, and I am sure the visit will result in increased exchanges. • Both Indian and Serbian officials mention the good relations between our two countries, which date back to the Yugoslav era and the time of Indira Gandhi and Josip Broz Tito, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement. However, how does today’s India view Serbia, beyond that historical context? - India-Serbia bilateral relations are marked by mutual understanding and support on issues of core interest. There is space for the enhancement of trade & investment, including through existing Agreements on Investments, Taxation, biotechnology for food, energy efficiency, new materials, tourism, air services, ag-

riculture, IT & electronics etc. Working Group meetings have come up with concrete ideas. We hope that the results of the just-concluded visit of PM Vučić will provide a strong impetus for the development of our relations in all spheres. The discussions in India reflect a joint desire to broaden areas of cooperation for further progress and prosperity. Serbia is an emerging economy and has the potential

to become a gateway not only to the Balkans, but also to Europe and the CIS. I am hopeful that the official talks between the two sides will yield fruitful results and enhance bilateral collaboration in all sectors. • Economic cooperation between India and Serbia is at a very low level. How can cooperation be improved between India, as one of the world’s biggest economic powers, with

the highest rate of economic growth, and Serbia, which is a small economy that is only just emerging from recession? - Serbia is fast emerging as one of the leading investment locations in Central & Eastern Europe. As a step forward, the India-Serbia Business Forum was launched in June 2016 in Belgrade, where an emphasis was placed on identifying bottlenecks. The exchange of visits, both at the political and the commercial levels, is very important. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister in the Prime Minister’s office visited Belgrade in October for broad based discussions. These recent high level visits from both countries are positive developments. We also expect the third session of the Joint Economic Committee to take place soon, with a view to identifying ways to further enhance cooperation. • In one interview you said that India sees Serbia as a gateway to the billion consumers in the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Do you believe that such a view of the situation can also be adopted by investors from India, who were invited to invest in doing business in Serbia at the Vibrant summit? - We see Serbia not only as a market of seven million people, but also as a base to access 15 per cent of the world market, due to Serbia’s special trade arrangements with the EU, Russia, Turkey, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, CEFTA etc. Serbia is a regional hub thanks to its favourable geographical location. It is the transport corridor linking Western and Eastern Europe. All shipments reach European capitals within 24 hours. Serbia’s key strengths are political stability, low cost economy and highly capable human capital, in addition to the customs free access to 15 per cent of the world market. Serbia, as




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a transition economy, has passed through a period of dramatic economic change over the recent past, and the major fiscal and structural reforms undertaken by the Serbian government have resulted in a significant improvement in the economic situation and business environment in Serbia. This message was eminently conveyed by PM Vučić in India.

seed material is an important part of our future cooperation. India has a policy of 100 per cent FDI that could be taken advantage of by Serbia. Marine products from India represent another sector that could be explored.

• Is it possible to implement the idea of a partnership between India and Serbia in the field of agriculture? - Agriculture and food processing, as well as agricultural machinery, are crucial industry segments in bilateral trade with good growth potential. Serbian agricultural exports to India comprise mainly tobacco, whereas Indian exports to Serbia include coffee, sesame seeds, ground nuts, cattle feed, dried onions and grapes. India also exports tractors of the Mahindra, TAFE and Sonalika brands, as well as Jain Irrigation equipment to Serbia. Very

Serbia is an emerging economy and has the potential to become a gateway not only to the Balkans, but also to Europe and the CIS. I am hopeful that the official talks between the two sides will yield fruitful results and enhance bilateral collaboration in all sectors constructive ideas have emerged from the Working Group on Agriculture, which met recently. Serbia has the potential to grow soy beans, oil seeds and other crops for India. In addition to excellent raw materials and conditions for producing high-quality, healthy food in Serbia, India can also enjoy strong support from Serbia’s widely recognised seed and cropresearch institutes. Serbia is also interested in importing tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya and banana, as well as increasing exports of fresh, frozen and processed fruits and vegetables. The exchange of experiences in the field of seed production and joint production of

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• Apart from the defence industry, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, the Serbian delegation also expressed a desire to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the IT sector, based on the bilateral agreement signed by India and Serbia last year. How is that agreement being implemented? - In both India and Serbia, the bulk of the GDP comes from the services sector. Thus, we are natural partners. Under the recently signed bilateral MoU on IT & Electronics, cooperation will be enhanced by using IT as a tool to improve public service delivery, i.e. e-learning, e-government services, tele-medicine, e-education,

e-authentication, cyber security, internet-governance, e-commerce etc. Concrete projects will be identified during the forthcoming meeting of the working group on IT & Electronics. • During December the Embassy of India, in collaboration with the Serbian Ministry of Tourism, held a meeting dedicated to tourism (India-Serbia touristic workshop). What are the chances of two close but geographically distant countries linking up in the domain of tourism? - Today tourism is a major driver of economic growth globally. In view of the fierce competition in tourist generating markets, it is necessary for both countries to cooperate in order to strengthen promotional and marketing efforts. Our e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facility is gaining popularity among Serbian visitors. We have regularly participated in Serbian Tourism Fairs since 2013. The bilateral Air Services Agreement has been revised to promote better connectivity. In 2016 there was 26 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of Serbian tourists visiting India. The Tourism Workshop of December 2016 brought together tourism organisations, tour operators etc., in order to create awareness. In the reverse direction, a familiarisation visit of Serbian tour operators to India will be organised. PM Vučić’s interaction in Gujarat and Mumbai including with India’s largest tour operator, SOTC Group, were also very fruitful in this direction. • You once mentioned that Serbia is also promoted as a location for shooting Indian film productions. Minister Ana Brnabić says that Serbia has earned €4 million from that kind of cooperation. Could that figure be higher? - Bollywood is a rage and Indian films shot abroad serve to promote tourism, as these locales are seen by a billion people. Serbia is emerging as an attractive filming location, offering pristine nature and elegant city scenes, apart from world class studios and a highlyskilled workforce. The Indian film “Oopiri” – a remake of the French film “Untouchables” – was shot in Serbia and received a good response at the box office. This film has opened the doors to other Indian productions and I feel that Serbia could be a strong regional competitor for film shooting. ■


Mutual Interest In Cooperation The Serbian Prime Minister’s visit to the “Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit” created the opportunity to establish cooperation with numerous new partners, but also to update links established earlier


The joint State-Business delegation of the Republic of Serbia participated in the “Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit” in the state of Gujarat’s city of Gandhinagar from 10th to 13th January. This is one of the most important political and economic gatherings in India, which is attended by the presidents and prime ministers of numerous countries, corporate representatives, delegations of commercial and industrial associations, small and mediumsized entrepreneurs, scientists and experts. The topic this year was sustainable economic and social development. Gujarat itself is the heart of the industrial development of India, where as much as 19.8% of total production and 19% of total Indian exports are realised. In such a context, it is understandable that the visit of the Serbian Prime Minister and our participation creates an opportunity to establish cooperation with numerous new partners, but also to renew previously established links. The intention is to return, in the first phase, to the former level of business cooperation, which saw us record hundreds of millions of dollars in mutual trade exchange and implement large investment projects. The arrival of our delegation contributed to ensuring the much better informing of the two countries’ business circles with regard to the current potential for cooperation, as

well as encouraging Indian business circles to make Serbia the focus of their business activities. The Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia (CCIS) is working with relevant institutions and associations in India, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which also organised this summit. The institutional framework for economic

cations, where they are achieving significant results. Serbia, on its side, has experience, knowledge and technology that Indian partners may see as useful. During the meeting with the Serbian Prime Minister, the Indian side stressed that our country can transfer to them the system of work and technology in agricultural production and the food industry. Part of India’s business sector is very interested in creating

The arrival of our delegation contributed to ensuring the much better informing of the two countries’ business circles with regard to the current potential for cooperation, as well as encouraging Indian business circles to focus on Serbia cooperation is well developed: Serbia and India have signed all important economic agreements at the state level – on the promotion and protection of investments, on the avoidance of double taxation, on cooperation in the field of agriculture, the food industry and agricultural mechanization, as well as a trade agreement. However, in order for Serbia to become more recognisable to business circles in India we must carry out intense promotion in as many destinations as possible, which is why participation in this event is of particular importance. Indian companies are very active in areas of science, technology, IT and telecommuni-

joint field crop and vegetable varieties and hybrids, cultivating and jointly producing grain crops and vegetables, the thermal processing of fruit and other food processing methods. One area with great potential for cooperation is the area of information technology, where India is among the global leaders. The Indian IT sector works on numerous projects for companies in the EU: here Serbian companies could offer support for clients in Europe. On the other hand, there is the fact that individual Serbian companies have software solutions that could prove extremely interesting to partners in India. ▪




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Exhibition “Emergency Exit” Throughout February - Instituto Cervantes The world is suffering from the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. In last decade the number of people displaced from their homes has reached the highest level throughout the whole of history - 65 million people. According to some estimates, every year about 5,000 migrants from Africa try to

run until 15th March in Belgrade, after which it will be on display in Novi Sad’s Museum of Vojvodina from 21st March to 20th April.

need, desire and obligation of this theatre to appropriately commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of the greatest writer in the history of theatre, William Shakespeare. According to Goran Stefanovski, a prominent playwright and the author of this adaptation - Hamlet importantly examines war fever, paranoia and foreign policy situations. The King is constantly at military briefings. Armies march, everyone is in a state of readiness, with soldiers standing guard. Campfires, overcoats... Foreign aggressors. Policemen in bulletproof uniforms,

Premiere ‘Mister Dollar’

cross the Strait of Gibraltar – the 14.4-km-long stretch that separates them from some better life. More specifically, the Spanish-Moroccan border represents the biggest difference in living standards of any external EU border. Under the title “Emergency Exit”, Spanish photographer Marcos Moreno developed a project to capture on camera all of the tragedy endured by migrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar. These photographs have toured the world, thanks to his camera and his engagements as a photojournalist.

Exhibition ‘Touch of Glass’ 9 – Museum of Applied Arts In the Nordic countries, where light dictates living conditions, glass has special importance as a material. The exhibition “Touch of Glass” presents the glass designs of various Nordic artists and is the result of cooperation between the embassies of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, as well as the Belgrade Museum of Applied Arts and Novi Sad’s Museum of Vojvodina. The exhibition will

10 –Terazije Theatre – 20.00 After a break of 53 years, “Mister Dollar” is to be performed at Terazije Theatre once again. When it comes to local classics on the repertoire of Terazije Theatre, Branislav Nušić’s comedies absolutely dominate. Nušić’s Mister Dollar premiered on the stage of Terazije Theatre in 1954, under the direction of Marko Fotez, only to return to the scene in 1964. This play used a dramatic basis to present a

sharp satirical idea – that in bourgeois society money is everything and man is nothing. In February 2017 we can expect to see Nušić’s Mister Dollar adapted as musical for the first time on the stage of Terazije Theatre, this time under the direction of Vladimir Lazić.

civilian security forces. The madness of Prince Hamlet is not merely a private matter, but rather relates to the insanity of the whole country. This is not the first time that this has happened to Hamlet. This has happened to him several times before. And by all accounts it will happen to him again. Live, die, repeat... Director Aleksandar Popovski, who is known to the Belgrade audience for the JDP plays Candide or Optimism and Metamorphoses, selected Nebojša Glogovac to play the role of this most famous tragic hero.

Opening of the 45th FEST 24 – Sava Center – 20.00 This year’s Belgrade International Film Festival

Hamlet 17 – Yugoslav Drama Theatre, JDP – 20.00 The Yugoslav Drama Theatre’s latest adaptation of the tragedy Hamlet is an expression of the

The Magnificent Seven 1-7 – Sava Centre - 20-23.00 This year’s edition of The Magnificent Seven Festival represents probably one of the most exclusive selections of feature documentary films in the European context. As many as four of the most important European documentary filmmakers are coming to Belgrade with their latest amazing creations, and with them all of the more significant fimmamkers who are on the rise. Nikolaus Geyrhalter is one of those whose works have announced the great rise of the modern documentary format; he is one of the top masters of images and transposing scenes of raw reality into a distinctive visual impression. His latest creation, „Homo Sapiens“, which premiered at the festival in Berlin, is intended to present a view of the planet now, but in some unspecified distant

future, as a testimony to the traces and meaning of the entire human species. The brilliant documentary essay “Austerlitz” will present yet another equally brilliant director and cinematographer, Sergie Loznitsa, whose films have premiered in recent years at the famous festivals in Cannes and Venice. This provocative anthropological study is sharply and brilliantly intersected with the misconceptions and controversial behaviour and values of modern man. Programme:

– FEST, which will take place from 24th February to 5th March, will open with a screening of local director Emir Kusturica’s latest film “On the Milky Road”. This latest Kusturica creation had its world premiere in the competitive programme of the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Young Golden Lion Award, while at FEST it will be shown out of competition. “On the Milky Road” was inspired by Kusturica’s segment of the anthology film “Words with Gods”. The story is divided into three parts and follows certain critical periods in the life of one man and his country – the difficult period of war, the period of boom when he falls in love with a woman who is ready to sacrifice everything for him, and his last days, when he looks back on his turbulent past. Starring in the lead roles are Monica Bellucci and Kusturica himself, while the cast also includes Sloboda Mićalović, Predrag Miki Manojlović and Sergej Trifunović. Programme:


VERY GOOD LIVES J.K. Rowling 1868rsd

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone who finds themselves at a turning point in life, asking profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others? Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, this world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.


At nine years old, Frankie Presto is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. But Frankie’s talent is unique and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the twentieth century, from classical to jazz to rock ‘n’ roll, with his stunning talent affecting numerous stars along the way, including Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Carole King and even KISS. Frankie becomes a pop star himself. He makes records. He is adored. But his gift is also his burden, as he realizes that through his music he can actually affect people’s futures -- with one string turning blue whenever a life is altered. At the height of his popularity, Frankie Presto vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later does he reappear, to change one last life...

TWO BY TWO Nicholas Sparks 1499 rsd

Sometimes the end is just the beginning... Russell Green has it all: a loving family, a successful career and a beautiful house. But, underneath his seemingly perfect world, cracks are beginning to appear ... and no one is more surprised than Russ when the life he took for granted is turned upside down. Finding himself single-handedly caring for his young daughter, while trying to launch his own business, the only thing Russ knows is that he must shelter his little girl from the consequences of these changes. As Russ embarks on this daunting and unexpected new chapter of his life, a chance encounter will challenge him to find happiness beyond anything he could ever have imagined.




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Art Created




The works of artist Nebojša Veselinović, aka Đura, are personalised to the extent that they represent specific personalities. Veselinović is famous for creating atypical items using world-class materials


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hen one enters the world of Nebojša Veselinović Đura’s art, magic happens. His small studio on Belgrade’s Obilićev venac is full of scrapers, augers, choppers…We enjoy looking at his artworks. Some of them have strange titles, such as “The knife that opens slowely in a box” (the so-called calming knife). There is also a jewellery box made of padauk and ash. As he explains, he recently made a locomotive of about a metre in length that was bought by the Russian Railways company, whose representative told him that they had all sorts of scrap and never looked at it, but that this artwork made of waste will be keept on the desk of the company’s managing director. Veselinović graduated from the Belgrade Faculty of Applied Arts, Department of Ceramics, in the class of professor Mirjana Isaković. After completing his studies, he began making unique ceramics pieces, then, at the end of the 1980s, he started producing practical and decorative objects from brass and granite. In the 1990s he devoted himself to making various artistic objects – lamps, single items of furniture, “toys for adults” and fashion accessories, all of which were recognisable by their style, ico-

nography, and the use of characteristic materials (brass, noble kinds of wood, ivory, bone etc). He had four solo exhibitions, as well as a retrospective exhibition in the Salon of the Museum of Applied Arts in 2004. Đura’s works are now in private collections in Serbia and abroad. “After graduation, I went to the Statistical Office to inquire about the number of highly educated people in the country. They are my audience. A true intellectual shoud have things nobody else has,” says Veselinović, who has a wide circle of admirerers of his work, which is why he has worked exclusively on demand

for many years. “I create art pieces that have many levels. The more layered the work, the greater the chance that people will understand it”. And this art is a combination of visual elements, narration, gag, absurd, anti-design… His art is so recognisable that it doesn’t have to be signed. On the other hand, as art historian Dragana Palavestra wrote in a cataloque for one of his retrospective exhibitions, Nebojša Veselinović Đura is a mysterious phenomenon. “The kind of man he is, that is the kind of work he makes: indefinable, mystical, beyond grasp”. Particularly, as Palavestra noted, you are never sure how these odd things, objects, lamps, items of furniture, whatevers, really function. Are they pieces of applied art, or some hybrid appartitions? Do the drawers of the small cupboards really open, or do they have some other, surreal part to play? Đura is undoubtedly a master of his craft, a visionary and an esthete.




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Each one of his objects is balanced, secretive and extravagant. “The whole life I have made absurd, needless things. My art is absurd in the sense of Dali and Dadaism. I have never allowed myself to stoop below the line of good taste. For example, I have never made a pinkish lamp or something with a floral print,” Veselinović told us, adding that this is a time of bad taste. Veselinović is an urban artist who also likes to spend time in nature. His colors are blue, brown, green and black – the colours of the planet. He spends three months each year in his house at Montenegro’s Ada Bojana and is a keen fisherman. However, he is also a man who knows everybody in Belgrade and spends his free time sitting in cafés…The fact that he has contacts has

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helped him in selling his art. “Actor Dragan Zarić, who passed away and had an antique shop in the centre of Belgrade, was my manager for twenty years. He introduced me to buyers both in the country and abroad. Zarić always exhibited some of my pieces in his antique shop.” Our interlocutor could easily make any object. He works fast and believes that everything can be art if one has talent. Not only is his style unique, but so is his attitude towards those who like his works. “I can instantly guess what kind of art someone needs. My works are personalised to the extent that they could visualy represent a specific personality.” It is well known that Veselinović creates atypical items using world-class materials. That is what has made him famous. His art is expensive for Serbian galleries, but galleries aren’t the only places where exceptional art can be sold. He has made fifty objects for world-renowned companies: paintings, jewellery, furniture, drawings, oils on canvas…One of

his original boxes belongs to company Gazprom. “What kind of present could you give to the Emperor of Japan? I could make a present for him! For instance, it could be a snow leopard that stands on the edge of the table, but is stable.” Veselinović shared his opinion about art with us, explaning “it is the skill of hands and head”. “The artist has to be educated”, he believes. Talking about role models, various people have influenced his work. He admired the young Koča Popović, a former Yugoslav politician, artist, poet, philosopher and general. On the other side, he respects famous Spanish painter Velázquez and Lucas Cranach, a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving. One Vladimir Veličković painting from the 1960s inspired him to study, but it is Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel who is closest to his art. For CorD’s interlocutor, Bruegel’s painting The Tower of Babel is the most representative work of art. “This painting is a monument for fairy tales, madness and planet Earth,” explains Đura.■




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Assembly Of The Nordic Business Alliance

SANJA IVANIĆ, Director General of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (left), MIRJANA DONČIĆ-BEATON, CANSEE Executive Director, and MARIJA SAVIĆ, representative of the Italian-Serbian Chamber of Commerce 20.12.2016

Inter-Chamber Business Meetings Held With the aim of promoting networking, developing operations and identifying potential partners, members of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (CCFS), the Italian-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (ISCC) and the CANSEE Serbian-Canadian Business Association, held another Speed Business Meeting. These kinds of events are becoming ever more popular, because they are modelled on the best practices of Western European countries and represent a kind of innovation in the way networks of contacts are expanded and future cooperation is initiated between the co-organisers’ member companies. In ten-minute one-on-one conversations, representatives of companies had the opportunity to present themselves to potential business partners, exchange information and establish communication for future cooperation. Following the official part, a cocktail reception was organised, at which participants continued their business dialogue in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

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Belgrade’s Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel hosted the Assembly of the Nordic Business Alliance in Serbia, at which this association’s members voted for a new Statute and new members of the Board of Governors, while all attending members had an opportunity to inspect the annual activities and financial report. The shared conclusion was that the Alliance had a very successful year and managed to position itself as a contributing factor for the improvement of the Serbian business environment. During the 2017 calendar year the Nordic Business Alliance will try to improve further, and in addition to offering standard Nordic type of services and activities, the leitmotif for the year will focus on sustainable development, green technology and ecology. Following the Assembly, members celebrated the end of a successful year with a pre-Christmas cocktail reception attended by the Nordic Business Alliance’s partners and friends, without whom the Alliance wouldn’t have been able to achieve as much.


Ambassador Awarded By Centre For Serbs In Diaspora H.E. Julia Feeney, Australian Ambassador to Serbia, has received an award from the Centre for Serbs in Diaspora and the Region that recognises the importance of the Australian Embassy’s work and represents great appreciation for that work. The Embassy of Australia has said that it will continue to focus on community-based projects and partnerships with small and medium-sized enterprises throughout Serbia. President of the Centre for Serbs in Diaspora, Jelena Kiš, noted the actions and projects of the Australian Embassy in Belgrade that have been recognised as important. “It gives me great satisfaction that the work of the Australian Embassy is recognised as very important. Also, without partners like the “Dah” Association, the Centre for Serbs in Diaspora, or the Ethno Network, the work of the entire team at the Embassy would not be as successful,” said Ambassador Feeney.

ALEKSANDAR JANKOVIĆ, Head of the Department for Asia, Australia and the Pacific Region (left), H.E. JULIA FEENEY and JELENA KIŠ, President of the Centre for Serbs in Diaspora 23.12.2016

National Conference 'A Way Out Of The Grey Economy' According to the conclusions of the National Conference ‘A Way out of the Grey Economy’ – organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) at the Palace of Serbia – the Serbian Government has made progress in creating conditions to effectively combat the shadow economy. However, improved inspections, efficient processing of criminal offences in this field and better conditions for legal business operations will be required in order to achieve more substantial results. In the presence of over 200 business leaders and representatives of state institutions, local governments and international organisations, the conference was opened by AmCham Serbia Chairman Zoran Petrović and NALED Managing Board member Aleksandar Ružević. Both stressed that AmCham and NALED members would provide expert assistance to the Serbian Government in its efforts to combat the shadow economy. The conference also included presentations given by Serbian government ministers Zorana Mihajlović, Ana Brnabić and Nela Kuburović. The conference was brought to a close by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, who announced that 2017 and 2018 will be years of combatting the shadow economy.



Serbian Government Hosts New Year Reception Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić hosted a traditional reception on the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for representatives of the diplomatic corps, media representatives and personalities from Serbia’s cultural and public life. Speaking on this occasion, Dačić said that Serbia’s goals in 2017 are to acquire new friends and not lose any of its old ones, to strengthen links and friendships, and to foster peace and stability in the region. “We expect the accession process to intensify and for more chapters to be opened this year than was the case in 2016,” said Dačić, who noted that Serbia has also continued and intensified its cooperation with other partners, such as Russia, the United States, China, all EU Member States, neighbouring countries, the states of the African Union and countries of the Non-Aligned Movement.

ALEKSANDAR RUŽEVIĆ, member of the NALED Managing Board, (left) and ZORAN PETROVIĆ, Chairman of AmCham




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Working Meeting Of The Slovenian Business Club The Slovenian Business Club organised a Working Meeting with Željko Sertić, Director of the Development Agency of Serbia, covering the subject of conditions for doing business in Serbia, Slovenian investments, as well as the Government’s plans for improving the business environment. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Slovenian Embassy in Serbia, led by Slovenian Ambassador H.E. Vladimir Gasparič, and a large number of SBC members. “The club will this year once again strive to be your support, especially when it comes to your operations here in Serbia. And if you will be successful, we will also be successful,” concluded Slovenian Business Club President Danijela Fišakov.


54th Anniversary Of The Élysée Treaty Commemorated As part of events marking the 54th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty, the embassies of France and Germany, together with the Goethe Institute, the French Institute in Serbia and the Franco-German Youth Office, organised a panel discussion that took place on the premises of the Goethe-Institut and was dedicated to discussing the expectations of young people from civil society regarding the newly established Regional Youth Cooperation Office. Speaking in the panel discussion, H.E. German Ambassador Axel Dittmann, H.E. French Ambassador Christine Moro and Serbian Youth and Sports Minister Vanja Udovičić spoke about the importance of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) for strengthening cooperation between the countries of the Western Balkans. After a full-day workshop at the French Institute, representatives of civil society youth organisations, with the support of the French-German Youth Office’s special advisor Frank Morawietz, worked on the future activities of the Western Balkan RYCO.


Suomi 100 Kick Off Cocktail Reception A formal reception provided the occasion for H.E. Pertti Ikonen, Ambassador of Finland, to introduce the Embassy’s activities for 2017 branded as “Suomi Finland 100”, which sees Finland celebrating 100 years of independence and uninterrupted democracy. This centenary provides opportunities to better understand the past, experience the jubilee together, and set the course for Finland’s future success. The goal of the Embassy’s activities is to raise awareness about Finland and strengthen the country’s image in an effort to promote Finnish values, knowhow and businesses. Alongside Ambassador Ikonen, Mrs Svetlana Bojković, a well-known Serbian actress and spouse of the former Serbian Ambassador to Finland, spoke about her experience of Finland during the last four years.

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COMMUNICATIONS Sector In Serbia 2017

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Vibrant Start-Up Connecting Over 800 Million People With the growing trend of messaging, can start-ups help us be ourselves when we communicate, and build bridges? This is the story of Viber's journey and the challenges of connecting hundreds of millions in a rapidly changing environment. It is also the story of the man who tells it NADAV AVIDAN Global PR Lead at Viber


eleased in December of 2010, Viber has connected more than 800 million registered users around the world in just six years. This crossplatform app for messaging, calling, videocalling and a lot of other ways to interact with friends, family or brands, gives its users a secure space to be themselves, to communicate and share. In just 60 seconds of Viber’s peak hours, three million messages are sent, 300,000 stickers are shared and 1.5 million images are downloaded. Nadav Avidan, Viber’s Global PR Lead, is on a mission to tell this brand’s unique story and communicate with this vast, world-wide community of users. • How does a day in a PR Lead’s life at a business with more than 800 million users look? - Very busy, but always interesting and fun. I’m in charge of global PR, so on any given day I’m guiding our story with agencies and

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team members in many countries and time zones, from Nepal to NYC. I love telling the Viber story because I truly believe in it – we all do – so even though our days are usually hectic, it’s always with a smile on our faces. • Viber is localised in 30 different languages worldwide. How do you manage to communicate effectively on a global level, and in different local communities? - There are many differences between dif-

tell a story that will resonate everywhere and with everyone. • What are your greatest challenges? - The way I see it, my biggest challenge is to find new ways to remind people all over the world that we are more like each other than we are different. This is the story of Viber, the fact the people are more similar than different, and finding ways – especially with everything that’s going on in the world – to

In just 60 seconds of Viber’s peak hours, 3 million messages are sent, 300,000 stickers are shared and 1.5 million images are downloaded ferent places in the world, and it’s mainly a question of how much you want to pay attention to the differences rather than embrace the similarities. And because we are all about people it is really important to us, so when we tell our story we do our best to really pay attention to making it both a global fit to what we want to tell and giving it a local relevance to the specific market in which we tell it. With that in mind, we always make the effort to

keep reminding people about that. It’s a challenge and an opportunity, but I think this is one of the main reasons why I love what I do. • What’s the company culture at the office like? - Crazy start-up culture, mainly. It’s like a big, crazy family. • Viber started free and ad-free, and it plans to stay free and ad-free. So how is

it monetisable today, and how challenging is it for such an app, such a start-up, to strike a balance between value for its users and monetisation? - First of all, without going into specifics, Viber is free for users to use, but we are looking into several ways of monetising it through working with partners, businesses and brands. Like, for example, the recent launch of public accounts that we did, and branded sticker packs and all sorts of things. So in that sense we are looking into ways of getting our revenue from businesses, so the service can be as free as possible for users. But the idea of Viber is not to be free at any cost, because we don’t want to compromise on quality, for example. The idea is to be as cheap as possible, and when we can give it free, we will give it free. But the tag line of the company is connect freely, which is different from free, because if you call someone with Viber Out for example, you need to buy credits. The difference is you pay a few cents for an international call instead of paying a few dollars for exactly the same call. So it’s not 100% free, but it’s very, very close to free. …with an app that deals with communication, if you fail to provide 200% security you just don’t have a chance to survive. • You mentioned public accounts, that is something Viber is famous for. What are the benefits of such an account for businesses and for users, in comparison to more standard services for example? - For users, they can contact businesses the way they’re used to contacting their usual points of contact in their daily lives. Meaning when they talk to businesses, they can send videos, they can send stickers, basically they don’t have to leave the app. So everything feels familiar, and everything is built so they really don’t have to change themselves and learn a different language and different UI every time they need to communicate with a business. From the business perspective, I think first the fact that users feel at home with Viber really helps the conversation. Secondly, I think that we offer a very large set of tools to help businesses create the right way for them to communicate with their clients,

because there is a difference if you’re a service that helps people to book flights or a local restaurant or a shoe company, there is a difference in how you want to interact with your audience. In that sense, I think Viber is the most advanced solution out there today for businesses to really tailor their solution to their needs. • What role do you think messaging will play in marketing in future? - I think that we will see messaging apps growing more and more towards these kinds of solutions, I think that many will

bot is basically the best way to provide added value on a large scale, because once you create a tailor-made bot that solves the pain that your business offers to solve, from that point on it can serve ten people, ten thousand people or one hundred million people. It’s just a question of how many will find you, and for that we have Discovery solution that helps businesses. • How do you stay relevant in an industry that is so rapidly, constantly evolving? - I think that we don’t really care about anything but our users, we just listen to what they are asking and listen to what they need, and we make sure we provide them with what they are looking for to enrich their experience in the best possible quality on offer today. I think our users feel it, and I think this is why they stay with us, and this is why they tell their friends and families that they should download Viber as well. • With such a great user-base comes great responsibility and challenges, especially when it comes to privacy and security. Viber offers end-to-end encryption without a middle man, not even Viber itself. Was it hard to maintain this and on the other hand to communicate these kinds of standards?

The idea of Viber is not to be free at any cost, because we don’t want to compromise on quality, for example. The idea is to be as cheap as possible, and when we can give it free, we will give it free follow what Viber is doing now. In the end, people are moving from voice calls to messaging, you don’t need me to tell you that, and with the move to messaging as the preferred way of communication, it’s only natural for businesses and brands to find ways to interact with users in the same way that they interact with their friends. The challenge for businesses is how to interact with users on a large scale. Because if you want to offer even the simplest customer service, if you want to do it only using people, you’ll need to hire a giant team of people to answer everyone with a normal waiting time. So this is why we also added the option to have bots. A

- If you’re asking internally, it was always obvious to us that there is a difference between security and privacy. When it comes to privacy, you’re basically in charge of yourself. I’m explaining so that we are clear on this: privacy means that if you send me something through Viber or anything else, I can immediately take a screen shot and forward it to other people, right? When it comes to security, it means that if we are having a conversation, then the platform that provides you with the means to have that conversation should make sure that no-one, including the platform itself, can read the messages that we write to each other. Because COMMUNICATIONS

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this is the whole idea of communication, the fact that you can choose who participates in a conversation. You can have a conversation with your wife for example, or a girlfriend, or you can have a conversation with a group called My Family, and you will share different things in those two forums, but it’s you who chooses what to share and with whom. So in that sense, when it comes to security and making sure that no-one else has access to your conversations, I think it was always one of the very basic understandings of Viber from the moment

before them and after them, it’s not that we are necessarily smarter than other generations, I don’t want to call other generations not smart, but I think we are much more aware of what’s happening around us. So in that sense, you only need to use words like “transparent” if you’re doing things that shouldn’t be transparent, that’s the way I see it. We are who we are, we do our best to answer everyone, and we do our best to make sure that everyone understands where we’re coming from and what we are trying to achieve, and I think part of the reason why Viber is so special is that we don’t use fancy words to describe what we do. It’s just who we are. There is no point in doing what we do if we can’t share it with our users, if we can’t be ourselves with our users. You can’t create a platform that calls on everyone to be themselves when they communicate, and then not be yourself when you’re communicating it. • Do you have a golden PR rule to live by? - A golden PR rule… I have many. I think that one of the biggest rules that drives me is to focus on quality and not quantity. And by that I mean that whenever you tell a story, you should always make sure that you’re

it was founded that we need to provide the highest level of security possible, because with an app that deals with communication, if you fail to provide 200% security you just don’t have a chance to survive. …part of the reason why Viber is so special is that we don’t use fancy words to describe what we do. It’s just who we are. There is no point in doing what we do if we can’t share it with our users… • PR specialists have many new challenges with the growing trend of social media and the pressure on businesses to always be in touch as well as transparent. How do you manage these challenges at Viber? - First of all, as someone who works in PR, I’m used to being available all the time so social media doesn’t change anything (laugh). No, seriously, I think social media just gave a name to something that was already happening. I think that generations like millennials today, and the generation

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the time to develop your storytelling skills and your ability to identify a good story when you see one. When I’m talking about storytelling skills it’s really like reading the newspaper or watching the news or watching a movie or having a conversation with your friends and trying to find angles that make a story out of it. Try to be the one that people want to listen to when you tell stories about the time we went to Greece or the time we went to this party or something like that, try to understand what creates a good story, that’s point number one. And point two is, once when you have a specific topic to talk about, with your first client for example, as a PR person you need to find a way to look at the world from their perspective, which means every day find at least two or three angles that, if told correctly, are relevant to their business. You can’t just sit and wait for the client or the company or the brand to feed you with the stories whenever they have them, you need to be proactive and you need to come up with stories by yourself, and to do that you need to be able to look at the world through the eyes of a storyteller. If you are looking at the world through the eyes of a storyteller, and you’re think-

You can’t just sit and wait for the client or the company or the brand to feed you with the stories whenever they have them, you need to be proactive and you need to come up with stories by yourself, and to do that you need to be able to look at the world through the eyes of a storyteller not just telling it because you like the sound of your own voice, but you tell the story because it holds real added value to those who listen to it. I think that if you do that you can become a good PR person, and if you forget that you’re just a carrier of information, which is something completely different. • After 15 years and diverse experience in PR, what’s the most important advice you can share with a colleague just starting a career? - Choose a different profession! (laugh). No, I’m kidding! I think it really is: invest

ing: what I’m seeing right now, how can it become a story that is relevant to my brand? It feels weird in the beginning, but after a while it becomes second nature. And it’s amazing. I can tell you that when I’m talking with my friends, or watching a movie, or going to a party, or having lunch, and I see things and every time I’m like: this could be a story, this could be a story, this with a small change can be something amazing, and it’s fun because the world keeps changing in front of your eyes if you do that, as opposed to when things just happen and you don’t pay attention to them. ■


Combining International And Local Networks Over more than two decades, as the first international PR firm in Serbia, Action Global Communications has built a unique, farreaching communications network, with its own offices in over 40 countries across three continents


he strong, local teams of Action Global Communications experts offer specific communications solutions with localised strategies that consider research and authentic insights from each market.

• In the past 45 years, Action Global Communications has expanded its operations to over 40 countries in Eastern Europe, the CIS, the Middle East and Africa. Given the cultural diversity across these markets, how do you achieve consistency? - Our approach was to go into emerging markets before anyone else and, in fact, this was the case in Serbia, where we began operations in 1996 – as one of the first international PR firms in the country. We help make our clients’ stories resonate by creating meaningful, lasting connections with diverse stakeholder groups in places where change is constantly impacting reputations and trust. Our award-winning structure combines agencies in each country that are led by local PR experts with a deep understanding of the local language, culture, politics and key communications channels, as well as our international client hub teams. Strong, local teams mean we can offer clients market specific communications solutions with localised strategies that consider research and authentic insights from each market. For clients who need communications support on multiple markets, we set up our expert hub teams in Cyprus, Russia and Dubai over 17 years ago, in order to coordinate and

manage the work and act as a single point of contact for our clients. Our knowledge of each market is a crucial part of our philosophy. At the network level, our local focus is supported by the latest tools and best practice in traditional, digital and direct communications. In addition, we facilitate frequent interaction and the free exchange of ideas between our offices, as similar ideas often resonate well in seemingly different places. We therefore achieve strong and measurable results across our network by considering both aspects.

specialised arm, Action Digital, is led by our experienced central teams offering strategic consultation and oversight of our local digital teams on each market. Therefore, our clients benefit from localised campaigns crafted with an international strategic approach. • What services are most in demand in the Balkans? - There is high demand in the region for an integrated offer of a wide range of services, incorporating digital and face-to-face communi-

The revolution in communication technologies is undoubtedly transforming how we live and work, and the effects of this are significant in the markets where Action is present • Communication technologies are growing fast globally. How does AGC incorporate new technologies into its offer? - The revolution in communication technologies is undoubtedly transforming how we live and work, and the effects of this are significant in the markets where Action is present. That is why we have been one of the front runners in adapting our client communications by providing integrated solutions with a strong digital element. Online, mobile and social networks are not just ‘other channels’ to target, but extensions of existing media strategies which require an integrated approach. Recognising this as a game changer for brands looking to build stronger connections with their consumers and stakeholders, our

cations (through events), on top of traditional PR solutions like media relations. Media relations traditionally form the basis of our activity when we are building the corporate reputation of many businesses, such as Etihad Airways, Saxo Bank, OMV and Boehringer Ingelheim, to name just a few of our clients in Serbia. We are proud of the strong relationships we have forged with journalists across our markets. Apart from our renowned strengths in corporate communications, our clients favour us for our event management support, as well as our crisis and issues management. We have seen increased interest in integrating digital services, internal communications and CSR programmes, as core elements of the overall communications strategy. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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From Emoticons To The Future Of

Communication SCOTT E. FAHLMAN Inventor of the emoticon, Research Professor at the Language Technologies Institute and Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University

The sideways “smiley face”, or emoticon, has become an internationally recognised symbol


ne could argue that there’s noone on the planet that hasn’t used it or at least seen it at a certain point. Today, the inventor of this global phenomenon works as Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the exciting field of AI. • Back in 1982, you proposed using :-) as a joke marker, and soon Smiley literally took over the world. Where did the idea for emoticons come from? - A number of us were discussing how to mark posts meant to be humorous – not to be taken seriously. Someone proposed putting an asterisk in the subject line of such posts, but nobody would have known

what that meant. It occurred to me that a little smiling face in the subject line would be a good way to indicate this, but how could we do that in a single line of characters? At that time, we had only upper and lower-case English-language characters, numbers, and some punctuation marks. The first thing we needed was eyes, but how could we do that? I looked all over the keyboard. The colon character would make good eyes, but unfortunately it was sideways on, so that's no good… and then it occurred to me that if the reader turned his head sideways, you could make a nice smiling face like this: :-) So I suggested using this for "I'm joking" and :-( for "This is serious". • Did you expect that emoticons would have such a huge, viral success? - Not at all. I thought that it would amuse a dozen or so of my friends who were taking part in that email discussion, and it would all be forgotten in a day or two. I didn’t even save a copy, and we had to make an archeological search 20 years later to find a copy of the message on our old backup tapes stored in a warehouse.

The Smiley-emoticon story is a good one, along with all the other stories that brag about CMU's achievements in AI and Robotics, and the fact that 48% of our incoming undergraduate students in Computer Science are women, compared to less than 20% nationwide 6 |


• Nowadays, we use a lot of emojis, as well as more and more stickers (e.g. in messaging apps). In a way, they all came from the original emoticon. But do you like what emoticons have "mutated" into? - If people are having fun with emojis and stickers and so on, that's fine with me. Personally, I find most of the graphic versions ugly, and lacking the whimsy and creativity of the text-based ones. But perhaps I'm biased. :-) • Have you heard of bitmojis? A bitmoji is an app that lets you make your very own avatar that becomes your personalized emoji. Do you think it's a cool idea? - No, I've never heard of them. Again, if people have fun with this, that's fine, but it doesn't sound like a cool idea to me. • First there were emoticons, then emojis, bitmojis... What do you think comes next? - It seems strange to me that people are still using any of these things. If I want to send someone a smile, it's now easy to send them a little smiling selfie, perhaps even animated, or a picture of some object. In the future, maybe even a hologram. Why settle for a limited set of yellow circles and piles of … whatever it is? • Do all these new emojis, bitmojis and shiny new things make you feel a bit nostalgic about the good old sideways “smiley face”?

- Well, those are the only ones I use, plus sometimes ;-) or :-P or :-O. • Back in the days, it all began with the "smiley face" :-) and "frowny face" :-( Soon, people started making their own variations, for example, using the figure eight for a smiley face with glasses 8-). Do you like how you initiated all this creativity as well? - I like many of those that are text-based. But they serve a different purpose from the simple smiley and frowny faces. Most of the more complicated ones have to be explained to people, and then they think they are funny. But these are not useful for communication since people often can't guess what they mean. • There was a certain challenge in making emoticons out of the standard characters we get on our computer or mobile phone. Maybe this challenge was good for our creativity. Do you think we are being less creative now when everything is readymade for us in form of emojis or stickers? - I think that making meaningful symbols out of a limited character set does take a little bit of creativity, while yellow circles take almost none. But in any case, we're not talking about Michelangelolevel creativity here. • Besides being famous for the sideways "smiley face", you've worked on many different projects related to artificial intelligence. How do you feel about the state of AI nowadays? Do you think there’s a big new revolution going on? - Right now, progress in AI is faster than it has ever been before, so it is a very exciting time in this field. This is the result of a slow accumulation of good ideas, mixed with much greater processing power than we had in the past, and the huge amount of data that is easily available on the Web. Suddenly those things have reached a critical mass, and have exploded with lots of exciting applications. But most of the current AI gold rush lies in what we might call the sensory-motor areas of intelligence: recognizing patterns and performing simple physical actions.

We still have a long way to go to match the common sense or language abilities or flexible planning of a human child. • AI is also a trend in messaging. For instance, some e-mail clients now suggest pre-written e-mail replies, and there are different chatbots being used more and more. It sure is good for time efficiency, but is it as good for communication?

one, along with all the other stories that brag about CMU's achievements in AI and Robotics, and the fact that 48% of our incoming undergraduate students in Computer Science are women, compared to less than 20% nationwide. So the emoticon story is just one among many. It has been fun for me, but hasn't helped my academic career, and it shouldn't. It feels a bit strange to be better known for a silly message I wrote in ten minutes than for my 40-plusyear career doing cuttingedge AI research. But I've made my peace with that – it’s been a fun ride. • Emoticons are used everywhere, but has some student ever handed you a research paper with Smileys in it? Would this be a good idea? Maybe we need more emoticons in scientific papers too - or not? - My students often use

Some of what we write, especially in business, is very stereotyped. Even a very shallow AI can produce this stuff. But Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling are safe for the time being - Well, some of what we write, especially in business, is very stereotyped. Even a very shallow AI can produce this stuff. But Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling are safe for the time being.

emoticons in email messages to me. We're not very formal around CMU. But I do remind them that proper emoticons should have noses – the :) and :( versions look like frogs to me.

• Universities are traditionally seen as high-pressure, serious places, while Carnegie Mellon, the birthplace of the emoticon, where you still work, embraces emoticons and the joyful side of its story. There is even a Smiley award. How do you feel about this? - The PR people at CMU, like PR people everywhere, love "feel good" stories. The Smiley-emoticon story is a good

People often ask me if emoticons are appropriate in journal articles or in business letters. I say that they are appropriate whenever other forms of humor would be appropriate – maybe in some intra-company communication if the company is not too formal, but probably not in international treaties, lay-off notices or obituaries – except maybe for mine. :-) ■ COMMUNICATIONS

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Regional Motor For The Development Of Communication The past fifteen years have been marked by the maturing of the marketing industry in the region in every sense, first and foremost through the entry into the market of large foreign corporations and the business principles that they have implemented, which have consequentially resulted in the modernisation of the work of the media and agencies


irect Media has been a motor of this development in the advertising domain, and not only on the Serbian market. Direct Media’s most valuable assets are people, their expertise, continuous development and relations of trust with partners.

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• Last year saw the formal celebrating of 15 years of Direct Media’s successful operations, during a time that has been covered by major economic and social turbulence in the region. What values have helped to ensure you are still at the top? - For our continued success we can thank our high standards, unified criteria for providing services in all countries and constant work on ourselves through the development of tools and expertise, but also the courage to make advancements in the implementation of technologies and new advertising formats. No business can function well without high quality markets. I believe that our advancements have made the difference for the betterment of the entire industry.

• Major technological innovations have also characterised this period. What technologies do you think are particularly important for advertisers, the media and agencies? - The time of technological disruption in advertising is yet to come, although technologies also marked the previous period to a large extent. Interpreting the habits of consumers, good targeting and delivery of a high-quality user experience remain a continuing priority, albeit now in the world of Big Data, Machine learning and Programmatic buying. Agencies will have an increasing role in the process of improving CRM for clients with large bases of users and consumers, and that kind of digital knowhow will play a decisive role. When it comes to ‘Brand’ and the perception

of it, all kinds of technologies, such as virtual reality tech that simulates reality, strengthens the user experience and leads a Brand into the context of story living, will continue to be current. • Ever reducing budgets, coupled with increasing client demands for improved budget efficiency, emerged as a result of the global economic crisis and created great challenges for agencies. What trends do you expect in this sector until the end of 2017? - Reduced budgets are the situation in which we have operated for the last few years and, if we exclude a slight increase in investments in digital media, no major changes in this area are to be expected during the course of this year. A challenge that has lasted for an equally long time, and which has shifted the focus away from budgets, is finding how to secure ROI at a time when consumer attention is divided. As an agency that gained its reputation thanks to the efficiency of its campaigns, with visible and measurable results of that which clients invest through advertising, we are developing new models for evaluating the effectiveness of advertising. These models can clearly, and to date most accurately, predict the effects of a campaign. • Direct Media is active in almost all Western Balkan countries. To what extent does this fact contribute to the efficiency of advertising budgets for companies in the region? - Large clients that operate on multiple markets seek a uniform level of service on every market, and we have managed to achieve that in 15 years of doing business, by taking into account the level of development of certain markets and the specific local demands of clients. Centralising advertising cam-

paign management brings clients great optimisation in terms of the time and resources invested in communicating with agencies, while the agencies gain a better understanding of customers and their needs, which creates a long-term win-win situation. The digital age brings new job opportunities that move beyond the borders of countries in which you have physical operations, thus opening the door for agencies to provide services on many more markets than has been the case to date.

• What are the next steps towards the further development of Direct Media? - Our fifteen-year journey has been followed by constant evolution, first from a media agency, via a communications agency, to a provider of full services as a media system that manages the com-

• Direct media has an exceptionally rich portfolio of clients, but also the widest array of services and media

As an agency that gained its reputation thanks to the efficiency of its campaigns, with visible and measurable results of that which clients invest through advertising, we are developing new models for evaluating the effectiveness of advertising. These models can clearly, and to date most accurately, predict the effects of a campaign outlets with which it communicates. Which of your new “product” would you give priority to at this juncture? - I would place an emphasis on strategic brand positioning, through creative strategies and digital communications, as complementary disciplines that will, together, increasingly determine the quality of communication with consumers. Alongside that, we offer integrated communication services across all channels of communication, and that implies an extremely large range of services.

munications of brands. The next step is to build our digital expertise even more and develop new software and tools for creating and evaluating advertising campaigns. We will always be the first, or among the first, to try out new technologies, and these are the advances I have spoken about. On the other hand, experience tells us that something that is a trend elsewhere in the world often won’t work here. We remain consistent in the application of technology with meaning, but not at any price. ■ COMMUNICATIONS

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Crisis Is No Longer An Excuse… Consumer habits have been changing, and with them – ways to reach consumers. The difference is in new dedication to communication...


ur cooperation with most of our present clients has already lasted a long time, and is based exclusively on results and our contribution to them. “Strategy-Results-Support” is much more than something we say; it describes our main focus on a strategic approach and mutual work towards achieving results. The last year was a challenging one, but one filled with successes for us. We continued our cooperation with existing clients and also gained some new ones. We can even say that 2016 was the year we grew most. Although locally orientated, we worked for our clients on many foreign markets, which is a precious experience. We’re now active on 10 different markets. • The global economic crisis led to a reduction in advertising budgets with the simultaneous need for greater efficiency. How have you responded to these challenges? - The global crisis is far behind us. It is still visible when comparing budgets with the period “before the crisis” and in dominant “hard selling” activities, focused on products, special offers, discounts etc. But time has passed and new circumstances don’t allow crisis to be an excuse anymore. Consumer habits have changed, and with them – ways to reach

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consumers. Just remember that “before the crisis” we had no social networks and you can grasp the change. The difference is in new dedication to communication, in the fact that big companies using traditional media are no longer efficient enough to justify enormous investments. A large chunk of the population does not follow the traditional media and the only way to reach them is to be where they are… These changes have nothing to do with budgets. The answer is in partnerships between clients and agencies to transform the message and communicate. Our obligation is to direct and lead the clients, even before they recognise that need themselves. • What prompted you to start a project like Employer Branding in the period of reducing advertising budgets? - Employer Branding is one of the key topics for any company, but too little is known about it; it’s rarely discussed and almost nothing is being done. Employees are inex-

• How does it feel when an agency opens a pitch and switches roles? - A “pitch for clients”, we now realised for the second time with the Serbian Association of Managers (SAM), serves to direct clients to where we want them – it’s about the mentioned role and obligation of agencies to sometimes steer and lead. We’re very satisfied with the process and the response from companies. I think we managed to shed some light on Employer Branding as a major communication topic, to make them think about it and ask themselves why they didn’t do it earlier. • With what expectations did you enter 2017 and where you expect good and bad market news to come from? - Nothing suggests that 2017 will differ significantly. Trends will continue, both the positive and the negative ones. I’d like to see agencies as important business partners of their clients, meaning that they trust us and are more flexible and daring in decisions. The

Our obligation is to direct and lead the clients, even before they recognise that need themselves tricably linked to a company’s image, but also to the communication of products and services. Employer Branding is much more than HR support and the “desired employer” definition. More than ever, success depends on the team and climate, and on the dedication of staff to their corporate brand. Employer Branding works on exactly that connection, which is what prompted us.

key process in any company, regardless of the branch, will be to find new business models, which is mostly dictated by communication innovations and new target group habits. It is precisely in this process that partnership between clients and agencies is vital, but lots of learning is also demanded in order to have global practices properly applied to our specific market. ■

Employer Branding Or: Return Of The Brand! In a branding deficit, we wanted to do something… There have been almost no corporate campaigns in Serbia lately, just products, discounts, special offers... No company values, messages intended for staff, employees, clients, partners... At the same time, as an agency, we felt like we were becoming a service supermarket (however professional and creative), so we decided to do something for corporate communication in Serbia. And to have some fun! And we chose Employer Branding! …meaning: the promotion of a company or organisation as a desired employer, via its corporate values, culture and climate. Why Employer Branding? We wanted companies to think about how they present themselves, what atmosphere they create, to engage on their brand as employers... One more reason: to get better clients (for us, agencies)! So we opened a pitch! Yes, an agency opened a pitch… because it’s a familiar process, just with a role reversal. And to enjoy a bit in being the one who gets to choose. So we invited companies to describe the values of their corporate brand, with a deadline and an expert team in charge of the decision. We tried not to be late. Nothing succeeds like success! This winter, in the second such pitch, the winner secured the prize: a thoroughly prepared Employer Branding Strategy by us! It’s a prize for us, too: a chance to work with great clients on great corporate stories, to bring the need for such communication into the spotlight. And all that – with the best possible partners! Companies that understand and wish to take part in our pitch are surely clients that any agency would be delighted to have and to work with. DNA Communications COMMUNICATIONS

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In Step With World Trends Chapter 4 Communications Consulting Group is the exclusive representative for Central and Eastern Europe of Burson-Marsteller (BM), the world’s leading PR and communications network, with which Chapter 4 cooperates on a daily basis, through quick and timely exchanges of knowledge and experience, but also through participation in individual studies implemented by BM


he Chapter 4 PR team comprises experts from various fields with a wealth of experience in providing advisory and strategic planning services, crisis PR and campaign implementation of international and local companies, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations. • Chapter 4 is the representative for Serbia and the region of renowned agency Burson-Marsteller, which is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary. What forms the basis of your activities in Serbia and to what extent are your standards harmonised with the requirements of BM? - Members of our team often attend various regional and international seminars and webinars of the BM network and we are always happy when we see that our profession is one of the few in this country that keeps pace with global trends. Chapter 4 provides PR support to the business activities of our clients through consulting services, strategic planning, the creative implementation of agreed activities, but also follow-up activities without which modern business is unthinkable, such as analytics and the evaluation of results, digital communications and design. The target groups and tools used changes depending on the industry in which the client operates. We constantly monitor market conditions and the factors that impact on them. Through a comprehensive approach we ensure that the relevant content and messages of our clients reach the intended audience at the right time and through the most effective channels.

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Our analytical skills, proactive approach and focus on measurable results are part of the world-class standards of business and advantages that our customers value. • Based on your experience, is corporate PR accepted and how would you assess the trends of this sector in Serbia? - Increasing acceptance of corporate PR leads to a better understanding of the benefits that companies gain from effective positioning related to different target groups. If there was any doubt that PR is necessary, that is no longer the case. At a time when the mobile

what PR implies, although this is also starting to change and we have already established cooperation with several companies from the SME sector in various areas that PR covers. Likewise, companies in the current era of digitisation have an increasing need for crisis communication and at Chapter 4 we have a lot of experience and knowledge in this field. • What are your priority target groups, and in which systems do you perform education? - Our target groups are all the sectors of the public with which we build relationships, clients from the profit and nonprofit sectors,

Increasing acceptance of corporate PR leads to a better understanding of the benefits that companies gain from effective positioning related to different target groups phone is a tool for informing, both related to work and play, which people unlock on average 150 times a day, and when the attention span has been reduced to just eight seconds, this is precisely the time when a potential user makes a decision regarding whether they will have further interaction with a brand, which depends on the quality of the message sent. The only important thing in this mission is strategically planned communication. The significance of corporate PR is recognised primarily by large foreign and domestic companies. We have noted that the segment of small and medium-sized enterprises do not have sufficiently developed awareness of

the private and public sectors etc. Apart from them, we devote a lot of attention to working with students – within the framework of our practice placement programme. They stay with us in a period that suits them – optimally for about three months – in order to acquire certain knowledge in the field of public relations and to learn how to use certain tools and acquire adequate skills that will help them to do this work. We are proud of the fact that some of them even gained permanent jobs at our agency, as well as those who used the knowledge and skills acquired with us to obtain positions in international companies and thus spread the good reputation of Chapter 4. ▪


Creative Content Forms The Basis Of Good Communication Good and creative ideas that extend beyond the borders of the obvious always find their way, regardless of the limitations of the market. All those who work qualitatively will remain on this scene


n 2017 we can expect a continuation of the battle for every client, while digital channels of communication will continue to develop and improve, gaining dominance over other classical communication channels.

• Serbia and the rest of the region has long been on the threshold of using new media technologies, but limited markets and economic reasons limit the full implementation of things that have long been available in developed countries. How does a modern agency handle such an environment? - Fusion Communications comprises experienced and creative people with rich experience, who are characterised by a strategic approach, dedication and innovation, as well as good familiarity with trends and new technologies. It is precisely people that are the greatest treasure of an agency, while teamwork and team spirit are what get it moving. Likewise, as an integral part of the strong regional system of Direct Media, we are always a step ahead, monitoring trends and creating new ideas and solutions that ease clients’ communications with all of their target groups. • There is a lot of talk about the differences between a PR text and classical journalistic news. How can you shape a PR text to be like a news item that will be of interest to the media and readers/viewers? - This is a challenge that our agency faces every day. To our great fortune, the compa-

nies we work with are very aware that “content” is the most important element of all communications, including in the creation of news that is adapted to today’s reader/ viewer. Media consumers are slowly becoming their own editors of good and interesting content, and this is simultaneously a chance for all media outlets to attempt to impose themselves through digital as the leading platform. In every communication you need to find that nice, emotional note that will touch our audience and produce some kind of reaction, and later also action. In that sense, brands, and the companies

and where do you see Fusion Communications in that area this year? - In 2017 we expect more intense and more demanding pitch processes, as well as a continuation of the battle for every client among agencies. The digital channel of communication will continue to grow and slowly gain dominance over other classical communication channels, and the profession will continue to face the challenge of developing integrated campaigns. Years of strenuous joint work and great experience in various fields, which have

Years of strenuous joint work and great experience in various fields, which have united the team at Fusion Communications agency, have become the basis for our assuredness, which we today use to turn great ideas into reality. We are aware of our responsibility towards the community and our work that stand behind them, must use good content targeting the psychology of consumers and specific target groups in order to fight for a place in the media, and that is not only to increase their press clipping archives. Quantity becomes less important if we have not touched the right target group and caused some kind of reaction. • What trends do you expect in 2017 when it comes to advertising and the media sector,

united the team at Fusion Communications agency, have become the basis for our assuredness, which we today use to turn great ideas into reality. We are aware of our responsibility towards the community and our work. We aren’t just here for short-term campaigns, but rather we are also here for reliable and long-term cooperation, which most commonly, to the satisfaction of all, converts into partnerships. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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Focusing On Quality, The Best People And Pushing Boundaries I&F McCann Grupa Executive Director, Tijana Škorić Tomić, is at the head of a team which is celebrating an important jubilee this year. More than 600 employees in 12 markets will celebrate its 20th anniversary


ince its establishment, I&F McCann Grupa has been pushing the boundaries of business in an innovative way, from spreading to other markets, introducing new services, winning the first Cannes prizes in the region, and developing the profession and good business practices, to the continuous development of an inexhaustible group of talented individuals who are leaders in various fields. The previous year was marked by the expansion of operations to the Nordic countries. • For several years, since the beginning of the global economic crisis, we

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have recorded continuous reductions in advertising budgets. How are these trends reflected on business in your industry?

- As a company that operates on 12 markets, we listen to how advertisers breathe in both the south and the north of Europe. And we live the

In the North, budget increase is perceived by clients as an investment in the growth of their own business. In this regard, the South is still not open, with a decrease in a client's budget the result of conservative business, and in this respect it represents a continuous reduction in operating costs. Both approaches are completely legitimate, though I perceive the first one as being better quality in the long term and the only sustainable one. These are two completely different approaches, you will agree

business life together with our clients, partners, in an environment affected by the force of the economy - we are delighted when any of the markets where we operate start growing. Since the occurrence of the global crisis, our industry has undergone a major transformation. Our goal has always been dedicated to finding the most effective solutions for our clients. “Where the peril is, also grows the salvation” is a favourite quote of our founder, Srđan Šaper. This is also reflected in our constant commitment to improving our organisational structure, and our flexibility as an organisation that can provide its clients with the best service in any market and achieve good results for our clients. In the North, budget increase is perceived by clients as an investment in the growth of their own business. In this regard, the South is still not open, with a decrease in a client's budget the result of conservative business, and in this respect it represents a continuous reduction in operating costs. Both approaches are completely legitimate, though I perceive the first one as being better quality in the long term and the only sustainable one. These are two completely different approaches, you will agree. • To what extent is it possible to insist on quality and innovation in an industry in which everyone is fighting for survival? - I&F McCann Grupa is a multidisciplinary company, versatile in its qualities and services. In addition to creativity and deep knowledge of consumer behaviour in the media environment,

which ensures we are well-known in the region, we have also recently committed ourselves to digital development. For example, we will apply the business model of our Drive agency to the Nordic market. The reason why our business partners place their trust in us is that we always insist on quality and pushing boundaries. This is supported by our long-term cooperation with the leading advertisers, as well as numerous awards. Also, the development of the talent pool is an essential characteristic of our company, our goal is the best people in the right positions, as well as continuous investment in

Lion, innovative campaigns, through new services, Wave and McCann Truth Central research which has helped us discover the truth about consumers, to the fact that we are the first in our industry to expand business to the Nordic region. This is confirmation of the vision set by Srđan Šaper from the first day. We have a dedicated team, client confidence, as well as courage and wisdom to make the decisions that seem risky at first, but ultimately prove to be properly thought out in strategic terms. We are entering the celebration satisfied with the year in which we have become an agency that

We are entering the celebration satisfied with the year in which we have become an agency that covers a market of 58 million people, has won numerous awards, won new clients and introduced new services, and this is a great way to celebrate the anniversary in a good atmosphere and with further development plans their education. The modern age requires adaptation of our behaviour, and requires innovation in all professions, regardless of whether you are a creative person, an engineer, or you are engaged in investments, like me.

covers a market of 58 million people, has won numerous awards, won new clients and introduced new services, and this is a great way to celebrate the anniversary in a good atmosphere and with further development plans.

• This year you celebrate 20 years of operations. What would you highlight as the key milestones in your work? - I do not want to be falsely modest, but I think that I can rightfully say that we have often been the first to do many things. From the unification of business in the region, the clients we have worked with since our establishment until today, the first Cannes

• I&F McCann Grupa in 2016 expanded its operations to Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. How has this contributed to the work of the company? - The basic idea of the business expansion is to become even more competitive, and the vision of Srđan Šaper implies the search for new challenges, and their transformation into success stories of people who make I&F McCOMMUNICATIONS

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is something our company has been dedicated to since the first day.

Cann Grupa. Now we cover 12 markets, and it is already a serious force on the international scene, and also it is the knowledge that comes from different backgrounds, experiences and customs. We will work towards sharing teams, experience, and knowledge in all markets, and we are already working together in areas where we have identified as potential for growth. It is a great thing to see that the Nordics can learn from us, it makes us proud. I believe that the synergy of the two regions, two different energies, will give an excellent result which will bring benefits, above all to our clients who will get the best of the South and the North in one place, tailored to their specific needs. • Are you still planning to grow through acquisitions, and how challenging is it today to run a company with several hundred employees? - The year behind us was a year of great enrichment of our business family, so next year we shall have an opportunity

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to round up everything we have done so far. Although, knowing Srđan Šaper and his spirit, he will surely ask, “What's next? Let us see what the next step is in our growth.” If there is a good opportunity, of course we'll enter a new market. However, next year is primarily intended for the strengthening of our

• In Europe, which is in a continuous crisis, these negative trends have been reflected in the marketing budgets and the decline in innovation. Where you do you find your inspiration? - New technologies in the digital age are offering possibilities that could not be imagined just a few years ago. Even in a challenging environment, they have offered numerous ways for the company to continue the development. But they have also presented numerous new challenges. It is no longer enough to know your client's business well, to participate in the building of its brand or to be deeply familiar with the target group. Today, messages are made for individuals. And that is a huge field where

The new era requires from us to constantly educate ourselves, to use different skills, in a range of strategists, linguists, analysts, programmers. Inspired people, with their ideas, knowledge and experience - make the distinction that gives us the advantage in the market teams. Our strength is reflected in the power of our people. You cannot have a quality team if you do not know your people. Different individuals are motivated by different things, and the task of the first among equals is to recognise the difference. The bottom line is to find, in each team member, the thing that motivates them, the thing that drives them and their environment - so that we can all move forward. This

we seek our inspiration for success. After the era of information, we are moving back to the era of empathy, nurturing human relationships. The new era requires from us to constantly educate ourselves, to use different skills, in a range of strategists, linguists, analysts, programmers. Inspired people, with their ideas, knowledge and experience - make the distinction that gives us the advantage in the market. ■


Presenting Seven Communications Trends For 2017 Grayling, a global PR consulting agency, presented the seven communication trends for this year, dubbing them #7for17

#1 Me, myself and AI With the number of wearable devices on the market constantly growing, we can expect consumers to create their own ecosystems, adjusted to their personal needs, routines and lifestyles. We are mainly talking about the Generation Z, because their expectations regarding smart and connected platforms are growing simultaneously with ther personal growth. In the future, brands will have to embrace the technology more than they are doing now, and will have to leave the customers and clients with more control, and allow them to interact in ways they want to interact. #2 Uncertainty factor – can a CEO earn the trust of citizens? Citizens, as consumers, are losing faith in political figures and seeking verification and answers from CEOs and brands. They want them to take the lead. Research shows that 82 per cent of consumers are more likely to trust a company or brand whose CEO is active on social media.

#3 New generation of social media influencers Numerous companies have already recognised the importance of cooperating with social media influencers, meaning bloggers, vloggers, Youtubers, Twitter and Instagram influencers who cover different segments – fashion, beauty, gastronomy, gaming, IT etc. It's wrong to treat influencers as just another channel to communicate your goals and messages. These campaigns must be thoroughly planned and executed in order to dominate the creative community of YouTubers, Videobloggers, Instagrammers and SnapChatters. #4 Hybrid reality Companies that recognise an advance in user experience as a key element of innovation, using AR, VR and MR, will gain a competitve advantage on markets that require more sophisticated services. The way we communicate is evolving very quickly and, with the development of AR, VR and MR technologies, digital and physical worlds are becoming more integrated, enabling users to gain experiences they could only dream of in the past.

#5 Cooperation between the public and private sectors The previous year was, from a political point of view, very turbulent, but underneath all that chaos political decisions are still being made, and in 2017 we will witness stronger cooperation between the public and private sectors. #6 New competitve environments Favourite social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are focusing on paid content more than ever, but the amount of messages and campaigns on those platforms is unbelievably big, and, according to recent research, the more fans you have on Facebook, the smaller your organic reach. There are new and non-traditional platforms that brands and companies can use, which are not crowded with competition and content, and which can help them reach their goals and strategies, without the risk of their content being lost in the “sea” of other information. #7 Raw and uncut The biggest changes we witnessed in 2016 related to the fundamental use of live streaming platforms, such as Facebook Live and Periscope. This enables companies to broadcast their content on a global scale, with little or no filters. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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The Client Is Our Friend – We Are Their Support Headline was launched nine years ago as a PR agency offering a wide range of services in the field of communications. Thanks to a good team of people, Headline offers expertise in the fields of media, communications with the business and influential public, and corporate and crisis communication


ublic relations have a future both in our country and elsewhere in the world, but we all have to be aware that it is necessary to adapt, invest in people and essentially observe the world around us. Our profession is part of globalisation,” says Headline’s director, Marina Grihović, speaking at the start of this interview. • Headline offers a wide range of services and PR activities that are not at all easy to implement in the current economic environment, particularly in the media sector. Which of your services attract the greatest interest on the market? - Regardless of our successful years doing business, we have also always followed communication trends. That’s why by entering into a partnership with agency Dkit we also managed to position ourselves on the digital communications market. That is precisely the segment of communications that is most in demand and which offers a future to all those who deal with communications. Moreover, I must emphasise that in our conditions for doing business – not only from the perspective of the financial crisis, but also the common social problems that we all encounter every day – it is essential to present yourself to clients as a business friend and a pillar of support. And that means not only sticking to the paper on which our services are listed, but also that we are advisors in all areas required by the clients. Communications are all around us, and through different segments they impact

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on image and positioning, so we also relate in that way to our clients, regardless of whether they are a local start-up company or a major multinational company. • Corporate PR is among the most commonly used channels for presenting companies worldwide. How would you assess the situation in Serbia in this regard? - There are no rules, and based on my experience I can say that it varies from company to company. There are even no rules when it comes to dividing between local and foreign companies. Everything depends on the vision of a company, on the ability of management to look at modern operations and market position, but also on the products that a company is actually offering. I personally think it’s always good for rules of corporate

selects itself on the basis of the target group and the message itself. But why do I say that the answer is also complex? That’s because those of us who deal with communications must target very well in order for some company to achieve good results. One of the best ways is to research market positions and consumer needs. That is what is missing on our market, and which represents the basis for all communication on developed markets. That’s because when experts talk about the future of the PR profession, the first thing they note is precisely market research, which provides the basis for all further development. And the market research segment has never been sufficiently developed in Serbia, because many want to save costs precisely in that segment, without considering that this will

Like in some other areas of business, the situation here has forced us to educate ourselves more and to operate in broader frameworks than we might have planned initially communications to exist, for corporate PR to be developed through various activities. And we always recommend that to our clients. • Which arguments provide the basis for decisions when it comes to selecting media distribution channels for content that you make public? - The answer to this question is both easy and complex. Why easy? A media channel

bring them much better financial results. On the other side, thanks to numerous good experts in our field and awareness of the need to monitor and research markets and trends, most good communicators are also good analysts. Like in some other areas of business, the situation here has forced us to educate ourselves more and to operate in broader frameworks than we might have planned initially. ▪


Everyone Has Their Own Version Of The Truth What kind of users, consumers and voters will we encounter this year? With those who are exposed to a vast amount of information that they receive via numerous channels of communication, whose attention is dispersed, and who are often their own form of media, creating their own versions of the truth. The road to reach them will be ever more complicated; we have to constantly monitor them and predict what will be the next thing to have an impact on them


e live in the post-truth era, a time when emotions and personal views, as opposed to objective facts, shape public opinion; a time when citizens (users, consumers, voters) have less trust in the media and more trust in their own versions of the truth, and I believe that is the trend that will mark communication this year and in the coming years, says Suzana Miličić, Director of public relations agency Kontakta PR & Media Consulting, which has had a team of professionals in the field of public relations and media operating in Serbia for the last five years.

• In which way will the post-truth influence, or is already influencing, the communications market; what does it means for professionals in this domain? - The road to the end user, consumer, voter, will be ever more complicated. We will have to contrive, to be less certain and more suspicious; to “chop” and adapt our messages; to determine smaller target groups as precisely as possible in order for us to be able to measure actual results. We will have to be ready for the fact that those who we are addressing will perhaps surprise us with their decision, regardless of what our research shows: just as the whole world was surprised by the Brits (Brexit) and Americans (Trump). We have to have a Plan B, for example. • You do plenty of work on campaigns intended to promote European values, women’s rights, the youth situation etc. How interested are people

in these topics and how do they understand those messages? - In recent months I have travelled around Serbia, due to the project we’re implementing with the EU Delegation to Serbia, and I’ve seen how people react to topics concerning the EU, Europe and Euro integration. The strength of myths and misconceptions, and the power of misinformation about this area, are still enormous. However, I have noticed that we are more pragmatic: parents are most interested in how their children can study in the EU, farmers and entrepreneurs want to know which funds they can access. This is actually a step forward, as it gives us the opportunity to offer them the correct information and deconstruct their misconceptions. When it comes to campaigns for women’s rights, this is a topic that,

- We are a small local enterprise that receives work on the basis of the quality of project proposals or recommendations from satisfied clients. We depend solely on our work and commitment, which is why we are able to fully understand SMEs that are in the same position. Just like them, we need to take care about each move, to carefully tailor our budget, to cautiously introduce new channels of communication while considering cost-effectiveness. And here we will fight with the effects of the posttruth era – when customers are exposed to vast amounts of information, with their attention dispersed, when they have their own versions of the truth and do not forgive mistakes. They should be intelligently informed, with their loyalty nurtured, protecting the credibility of the brand and being entertaining and useful

Consumers are exposed to enormous amounts of information, their attention is dispersed; they have their own versions of the truth and do not forgive mistakes in principle, everyone will talk about and everyone will condemn violence, but they will not notice that there is misleading reporting about that; they will not perceive misogyny in public performances and they will react aggressively when you find fault with that. There’s a lot of work to be done in this field. • What challenges are being faced by the SMEs with which you also cooperate?

to them. We will move in the vacuum between consumers with low purchasing power and clients that are compelled by the logic of capital to achieve a real profit and earn actual money. Together with clients, we’ll have to constantly re-learn how to find and retain our customers. And we’ll have to be ready for customers to very quickly change their informing habits and thus escape from our view, so we will have to create a new tactic in search for them.▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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Experience As One Of The Key Elements Of Marketing Communications Being present, establishing direct contact and developing emotions have become key factors in a world in which almost everything is online, instant, and virtual. Technology helps in a lot of things, but we forget that individuals isolate themselves in the online world. It is necessary to establish a direct connection and offer something more – emotional, tangible, real


he future in the field of modern communications is more in the creation of relevant experiences than in the delivery of content. Creating an authentic experience – through environment, content, interaction and emotions – will have a key role to play in building relations between company/ brand and client/consumer, and it is direct experience that will have the greatest impact on the decisions of consumers and their loyalty. Brand experience is becoming one of marketing’s key elements. Studies show that direct experiences have a more enduring impact on the attitude of target groups towards a brand, company or individual. In accordance with that, one of the biggest trends in 2017, which will be dictated by companies with a strong vision, is certainly the allocating of marketing budgets to the event and experience field of communications. • One of the major channels in the creation of a brand experience is certainly the event. How can you keep pace with the trends and changes in the event industry? - The event industry is one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing sectors. Investments in events are growing year on year, and in the last five years so-called event entrepreneurship has blossomed. It is interesting, for example, that in the USA the meetings and event industry contributes more to the country’s total GDP than air transport or the film industry. Global production solutions are increasingly impressive, but in the creative and organisational sense it is not impossible

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to achieve global standards. At the global level, events are organised on a daily basis that continually push back the boundaries in conceptual and technological terms. It is very exciting to be part of this industry and to monitor how the whole story will develop in the future. Our goal is not to be mere observers in that process, rather active participants and among those who contribute to progress. Event production is a constant challenge, while confronting limitations in the implementation of certain ideas and the carrying out of concepts is an integral part of the job. Is is different in the region than at the global level, because there are numerous limitations, and that is not only in terms of budgets

tions rises from day to day. In what ways does your agency responds to the challenges of the modern market environment? - Our strategies and specific solutions are based on a mix of the so-called 4Es: experience, engagement, exclusivity and emotion, which, in combination with authentic and advanced creative solutions, yield excellent results. We always look beyond our given task and try to go the so-called extra mile. We are extremely dedicated to details, and within the framework of each individual project we try to integrate as many communications channels as possible. • How do you see your agency and the business in the future?

Our strategies and specific solutions are based on a mix of the so-called 4Es: experience, engagement, exclusivity and emotion, which, in combination with authentic and advanced creative solutions, yield excellent results or the technological capacity of specialised companies, but rather also in terms of the willingness of clients to plan ahead and understand the entire process. It is necessary to continuously work on yourself, to be motivated, to monitor trends and to love this job in order for ideas to translate into innovative solutions with global standards of quality. • Agencies today face increasingly greater challenges, while the bar for clients’ expecta-

- We are orientated towards the global market, while further growth is one of the primary goals. In 2016 we achieved growth of almost 30 per cent. We are improving and introducing innovations with new contributors and through the implementation of projects in Serbia, the region and internationally. The start of this year was marked by us signing a contract with a client in Singapore, while we are also starting cooperation with several companies from Russia. ▪


Nothing Is Created Unless It Is First Dreamt! Agency New Moment conquered the regional market long ago and is now operating, without much fanfare, on the global market. After the United States and Canada, New Moment’s creatives have since last year been slowly emerging on India’s huge market


reativityisthespicethateverygood meal has. Creativity is possessed by top chefs, professors, scientists, athletes, musicians... It is the only constant every success, so that is also the case in our business,” says Branka Conić, PR Agency Director at New Moment New Ideas Company • Last year, alongside around twenty other awards you were declared by the Serbian Association for Marketing Communications (UEPS) the most successful agency in Serbia. From that position, how would you evaluate the trends in the advertising and media industries Serbia in 2017? - I have noticed that as we are digitally more connected and better informed, so emotions and creativity are valued more. Alongside all of that is the product: the production of ads, PR articles, events and announcements. Our profession is given credibility by its creation, social responsibility and expertise, and it is on these things that it needs to build its reputation. In the last few years, we are proud to have received awards for projects that help to solve some important social problems, that draw attention to insufficiently known and affirmed members of the community, that promote healthy lifestyles and mobilise people for a “good cause”. And here we come to one of the most important goals of our profession. The projects for which we received recognition do not leave anyone feeling indifferent; they are emotional and socially relevant. And that is a story that everybody wants to have!

• Considering that your plans include the further expansion of your network of agencies around the region, do you expect the market consolidation of agencies which would, with the use of new channels for the distribution of information, increase the efficiency of use of clients’ budgets in the region? - New Moment has its own agency branches in nine countries of the region and it is interesting that the company's philosophy, that which we believe in and even the atmosphere and team spirit within them, which we consider as being the most important, are the same. This is what our customers have recognised and for most of them we lead PR and advertising campaigns on more than one market. That offers clients assurances that their message will be properly adapted to the local population and that we will always

from India, Dubai, Paris and London, with which we demonstrated that boundaries of creative thinking do not exist, and that the expertise, knowledge and creativity of our people are at the global level. • If it’s not a business secret, what will be the basic strategy for the further development of the agency, on which you will build your cooperation with clients? - We are trying to continue our tradition and our belief in ideas and dreams, and to help the people around us to develop and be successful. Regardless of the fact that we significantly increased our number of employees in the last year, we want the company to remain human and for us to relate to all employees and clients with respect. We will continue to further strengthen

Our agency was selected in competition with the biggest international agencies from India, Dubai, Paris and London, with which we demonstrated that boundaries of creative thinking do not exist be sensitive regarding its specificity, whilst also taking care not to deviate from the central philosophy of the brand and campaigns. Alongside our regional presence, we have also been operating on the global market for several years, with our creative people from the Balkans having created campaigns for the Canadian and American markets, while last year we also conquered India. Our agency was selected in competition with the biggest international agencies

the agency at the global level and we will to give our creative people a chance to work for the whole world. A good idea speaks all of the world’s languages, so the fact that we live in Serbia, or elsewhere in the Balkans, does not prevent our billboards from seeing the light on streets of New York, which we are lucky enough to have happen to us. We are part of the world, and we not only part of it, but rather we actively shape that world! ▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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Trustworthy Partner

For more than a decade and a half, the content distributed by Ninamedia has been indispensible morning information, not only for marketing experts, but also for business leaders


inamedia is the most prominent clipping agency in Serbia that monitors, on a 24/7 basis, all happenings published in the Serbian media, including more than 5,000 websites, social networks, blogs etc., thanks to its network of correspondents, but primarily thanks to the introduction of technological innovations. • From its establishment until today, Ninamedia didn’t require a long time to become a leader in the field of media content monitoring and analysis in Serbia. What are the most significant market changes that you have confronted during this period? - From November 2001, when we first believed that we could create the market leader in monitoring, we have today arrived at the fact that this is what we are now. The pace of technological and social change is growing rapidly and it was inevitable that we would adapt and achieve that form. In our work, that specifically meant that, after our decade-long, 24-hour monitoring of all media outlets and portals, the needs of the market also imposed the necessity to monitor social networks, where news is most commonly born today. And I can state with pride that we have not only succeeded in that, but that we are still the only company in Serbia that offers this service to hundreds of its clients.

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• Which “products” do you offer clients and which information formats are most in demand? - What separates Ninamedia on the media monitoring market is the fact that we consider it our duty to proactively develop the media monitoring market and that, in addition to focusing on developing our core business, we also develop in terms of breadth, adding operations and other market segments that are complementary. Some 15 years after the original Ninamedia, we now offer: Global Analysis Clipping – online platforms through which we deliver to our users the results of media clippings from print, TV, radio and internet media;

and public opinion surveys carried out by adapting a wide range of research methods to the specific needs of clients; Ninamedia Production – a network of correspondents that covers Novi Sad, Belgrade, Niš, Kragujevac, Kosovska Mitrovica and Priština, and which enables mobile teams to meet at any place where events are happening in Serbia within an hour at the most. We also film and produce documentaryfiction broadcasts, promo films, videos, commercials, corporate and special events. The market, in addition to basic media clipping reports, today also demands reports from social networks (Buzz monitor), adequate images (Ninamedia production), as

The needs of the market, in addition to basic media clipping reports, today also demands reports from social networks (Buzz monitor), adequate images (Ninamedia production), as well as feedback from consumers and users (Ninamedia Research) Buzz Monitor – advanced application for digital monitoring that covers more than 5,000 sites in Serbia, social networks, blogs, forums and internet user comments, with our users provided with reports of relevant mentions in real time; Personalised analysis of media content – created by a team of expert analysts; Ninamedia’s media exposure report – reviews of media reports according to area, provided on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis; Translation services – enabling us to provide all of our services in foreign languages; Ninamedia Research – market research

well as feedback from consumers and users (Ninamedia Research), and we offer them all of that in one place. • How do you design your development path, considering the market’s constant technological innovation? - We haven’t slept from day one; we monitor the trends and needs of our clients 24-hoursa-day. We see our further development path through the expansion of existing services, in order for all market niches in the field of media, production, translation and research aspects to be covered, and for us to be the best in each of them. ■



OvationBBDO – Helping Brands Stay In Shape Further market integration of several major global brands might set new industry standards and challenge market players. The advertising industry will have to respond to these challenges


e asked Marko Pešić, Executive Director at Belgradebased advertising agency OvationBBDO, about the year behind him, why it is important for brands to be fit and what challenges the advertising industry in Serbia will face in 2017. • How would you rate the previous year in terms of business climate? - We are satisfied that we managed both to fortify the relations we had with existing clients and establish cooperation with new ones. The progress of OvationBBDO is based on three important facets: first is organic business growth, which is a result of the agency’s teamwork with our clients; second is our international projects; and third is the adding of new clients to our portfolio. Of course, each of these three facets is based on the development of human resources within the agency and the acquiring of new talent. • You mentioned international projects. Are local agencies creative enough to generate business opportunities for themselves on other markets? - For us, the fact that we are able to set up and execute projects designed for other markets simultaneously inspires us and obliges us to the clients who gave us the opportunity to work on them. The projects we did for Pepsico on the Russian and Greek markets show us that Serbian agencies can be competitive outside Serbia. These projects, which were developed in close co-

operation with the client, demand significant commitment and bring great honour for us. • What is the next professional challenge for you, as one of our most awarded agencies? - The awards we’ve been receiving are important signals that we are permanently doing a good job. They honour the final product – the project which we sign, but in the background of the award is healthy, even-handed communication with the client, focused work and creative leaps. We continue our work with clients, with the ambition of advancing our further cooperation. Nurturing current relationships is a professional challenge and we know that it

support clients in their low-cost investment approach, but in this way we’ll try to encourage them to step into more creative ventures, because the potential of these kinds of benefits could be outstanding. A perfect balance between the two brings the optimum results. Our job is to get brands fit and ensure they stay in shape in order to challenge the competition. This strategy

In 2017, we'll encourage our clients to use the "barbell" strategy as a tool to get benefit from more creative ventures benefits both sides. Of course, the expansion of our client base, diversification of our portfolio and upgrading of our agency work are other challenges for us in 2017. • What will you suggest to your clients when it comes to investing in advertising in 2017? - We’ll advise our clients to apply the “barbell strategy” in developing their brand. That means that clients should use one side of the imaginary barbell for brand-building, with recourses directed to low-risk investments that bring safe income, while on the other side of the same barbell should be investments that are riskier, but also potentially more profitable. Of course, we

will also be the topic we will present to clients and colleagues at Marketing Mreža’s conference “Izazov” (Challenge). • How will 2017 differ from 2016 in terms of doing business? - This year will resemble the previous one. New elections are coming up, which will create a certain market distortion in our industry, but we are prepared to adjust. Besides that, the further market integration of several major global brands might also set new industry standards and challenge market players. The advertising industry will have to respond to these challenges. We at OvationBBDO are ready. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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Harmony Of Diversity Good interpersonal relationships are the key to the success of Red Communication agency, which is comprised of different individuals who compose a perfect entity


his is confirmed by the recognition of the “Excellence Awards”, the most important awards in the fields of communications which ranks Red Communication among the top five firms in Europe, in competition among more than 1,500 candidates, including Microsoft, Samsung, Coca-Cola, the BBC and others. • How would you assess the trend that sees no reduction in the number of advertising agencies in Serbia, despite the current crisis in the country; do you expect the consolidation of this sector to happen soon? - Looking at the situation from my own perspective, I can say that we are generally a very adaptable nation. Advertising agencies have learned to function during crises and profit from them, which I suppose is logical. Large companies are those that have money and a product that they need to sell, and we are there to figure out how to make that seem affordable, high quality and “organic” to our people. That is why I think the economic crisis encouraged creativity in Serbia,

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and that people from this industry have, perhaps in a tough way, become much stronger in their work than they would be if we were living in a perfectly regulated country where people do not know what an economic crisis is. When it comes to the consolidation of this sector, at least when it comes to PR agencies, I expect that in future we will witness the general job consolidation and narrower specialisation of work, according to the Western example. Time was needed for people in Serbia to understand PR; for companies to grasp the importance of of public relations sector, and for the people to stop perceiving Samantha Jones as an example of PR.

naturally integrated into some part of our society, whether that be business, fashion, politics, sport or entertainment, so we can provide the perfect recipe for work in any field, a winning combination for working with clients, hence these good results that you mentioned in your question. There is no vanity. It is dynamic work and every day we learn something new, which is actually one of the things I love most about this job: no two days are the same. • In which direction will the further development of Red Communication progress in 2017? - I’m not superstitious, but I read everywhere about how this year will be special.

Red Communication is comprised of completely different people who compose a perfect entity, which is unique on the market • Red Communication bases its good results on qualified people, creativity and widely established channels for the distribution of messages. Where do you achieve the highest level of efficiency? - It may sound like the worst possible cliché, which readers will probably be able to read in every interview on this topic, but good interpersonal relations really are the key to the success of our agency. Red Communication is comprised of completely different individuals who compose a perfect entity, which is really special on the market. Each one of us is personally,

We are not waiting for miracles. Behind each of our successes there is a lot of work, and this year Red communication will, by trying something new, perhaps surprise our industry colleagues. We certainly plan to expand our portfolio of clients, but also to strengthen relations with existing clients and grow together with them. In this business it is impossible to make long-term plans, especially in this time of “crisis”, therefore the month of March seems too far away, but what is certain is that we will await it ready with a smile, and we will add touch of red. ▪


Dedicated To New Trends

V+O Communication is a leading consulting company in the field of communications in Southeast Europe, with offices in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Albania and Cyprus. They are also present in Brussels, which is a centre of strategic importance for all EU issues, as well as Nigeria, which has one of the world’s fastest growing economies


+O Communication has been operating in Serbia for almost a decade and bases its work on experts of various profiles from multiple industries, especially the field of environmental protection, the FMCG sector and the health and nutrition industries.

• You operate in almost all SEE countries and offer a complete service with your 150 experts from almost all areas of communications. However, what would you present as your core business? - As regional partners and consultants to numerous corporations, governments, institutions, organisations and their leaders, we cover an entire array of services in the field of consulting and communication, providing support to more than 120 companies. Although we use international knowhow, we understand the local market very well, and all challenges faced by companies on it. There is no longer such a clear division of services as there once was, rather now you need to combine several approaches in order to provide proper support to the client. You must start from a good understanding of the needs of clients and your strategic approach, in order to satisfy that need. Then you need to use different PR tools, such as media relations, public affairs, CSR, internal communications, digital, event management etc. All of this together comprises integrated communications, which is precisely our approach to communications. • What are global trends like in the field of

communications? Are they changing and, if so, in which direction? - Communications are very dynamic and you must monitor all of the changes brought by modern times. Most change happens in the digital segment. Ever more campaigns are precisely designed and conducted through these channels. On the other hand, you have consumers who have become increasingly more sophisticated and who know exactly what they want. They have also become supersaturated with the standard ways of placing information, which represents a major challenge for all of us in the profession when it comes to determining which method to use to catch their

munication has a wealth of local experience, given that it has been operating in Serbia since 2008. During that time we have implemented a large number of campaigns and organised more than 1,000 of the most varied events. Although we have communications experts that are able to cover the most diverse industries, during operations we have profiled ourselves as a consulting company for several industries and fields, such as environmental protection, where we have vast experience. We created the communication plan for EU Accession Negotiation Chapter 27, led strategic consultations about the introduction of primary waste separation, im-

V+O Communication is part of a group and has a wealth of local experience, which in Serbia dates back to 2008. During that time we have implemented a large number of campaigns and organised more than 1,000 of the most varied events attention. It is precisely all of these changes that force us to constantly improve, research, innovate and change. Impacting on all of this is our alertness and dedication to monitoring new trends and combining them adequately, with the aim of pushing back the boundaries of professionally dealing with communications, all of which makes a difference for the client and the whole society. • Where are your strengths in comparison with similar agencies? - Apart from being part of a group, V+O Com-

plemented numerous awareness raising campaigns and led communications for a variety of clients in this field. The second segment in which we have vast experience relates to the FMCG industry and health and nutrition topics supported by this industry. Experience in managing awareness raising campaigns with the NGO sector, various institutions and under the patronage of Ministries, is something that has set us apart in this specific area. Also, as of recently we are also part of the excellent “Future #for5” campaign”, which deals with youth empowerment. ▪ COMMUNICATIONS

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We Have Sycophantic


In the short time I was Minister of Culture, I realised just how much there exists a non-objective, incorrect, irregular, unjustified fear of culture. People in power are always suspicious of artists or people who use their heads to think, imagining that this can be a barrier to what they do, or that it makes them inferior or incompetent FEBRUARY



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TV roles, Dobrica’s ring that was mentioned above, and all of the most important artistic prizes. For three years he was also acting manager of JDP, a candidate for mayor of Belgrade, briefly Minister of Culture, Cultural Adviser to Serbian President Boris Tadić and today in his second term as President of the Association of Dramatic Artists of Serbia. (UDUS) When a great and popular actor accepts that kind of engagement when asked, it can be an advantage but also misuse. It is possible that those who proposed him for the position thought that his acting popularity would help some of their ideas and projects succeed: “I fought against abuse in all the ways I could, which I don’t think I have to prove. Why was I Minister of Culture? Well, because I wanted to deal with some state issues for the sake of society. I didn’t deal with politics in the narrow sense of the word, but politics deals with us. It’s not impossible that someone thought I was a suitable person to use to push some idea, though of course I would not like it to have been like that. However, I cancelled that potential attitude towards me through a number of major roles with the best directors of the former Yugoslavia. I was fortunate and privileged to play my best parts with the greatest directors such as Dejan Mijač, Slobodan Unkovski, Jagoš Marković, Egon Savin, Paolo Mađeli...” Still, as the President of UDUS, he is qualified to name the greatest problem when it comes to the position or status of a dramatic artist in Serbia today: “The problem is that we don’t have a value system. Ever since I was hired by JDP I realised With his wife, actress MILICA MIHAJLOVIĆ, and son RELJA that an artist’s position was very bad. We can For three years he was especially witness that today, under an influx ics to recognize him, with just one also acting manager of programmes of the lowest possible quality, line he made such an impression and here I mean reality shows. that everyone noticed him. After of JDP, a candidate for The actor’s place in such a system becomes that he was in role after role at the mayor of Belgrade, briefly more and more insignificant, and the state must Yugoslav Drama Theatre (JDP), to Minister of Culture, figure out its role in all this. It should nurture which he would remain faithful until Cultural Adviser to culture, take care of it, defend the arts and natoday. And when in 1974-75 the TV series Otpisani (Written Off ) was tional identity, because this is how you defend Serbian President Boris broadcast, an insane and unforgetthe state. Our profession defends our language, Tadić and today in his our cultural heritage, and the Association of table popularity began. Voja was a second term as President Dramatic Artists is the one that should stand handsome young communist in ocof the Association up for the profession, but it should also defend cupied Belgrade with the nickname cultural institutions, without which there are Tihi (Silent), while Dragan Nikolić of Dramatic Artists of no new and good cultural values.” played a rogue nicknamed Prle, who Serbia. (UDUS) He says that he was privileged to be Minhated the Germans. Throughout the seventies, boys played Otpisani and ister of Culture, but what he learned in that were divided into those that wanted to be only Tihi and those period is very interesting: that would only be Prle. Voja received hundreds of letters every “In the short time I was Minister of Culture, I realised just how week from adoring fans throughout Yugoslavia, and when he much there exists a non-objective, incorrect, irregular, unjustified walked down the street people stopped him for his autograph. fear of culture. People in power are always suspicious of artists After that all is history, with over 70 stage and 100 film and or people who use their heads to think, imagining that this can

he first role he played was Czar Dušan in Pomilovanje (Pardon) by Desanka Maksimović, as a pupil at Valjevo Gymnasium. His teacher of Serbian language and literature Ljubica Nožica, who led the school drama group, cast him in the role. Several decades later, at a ceremony to present Dobrica’s ring to her erstwhile student, she said that she had already seen that Vojislav Brajović (1949) would be a good actor when he played Czar Dušan. When the Bojan Stupica theatre was opened on 19 December 1969, in the play Kin ili košmar i genije (Kin, or nightmare and genius), Voja Brajović played a servant who spoke only one line: You called, sir! That one line was enough for the crit-

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does not understand the importance of investing in culture, be a barrier to what they do, or that it makes them inferior or science and education. The order of these three areas is not incompetent. Creativity is needed in every profession, and when relevant, but it is important to know that all three are vital for someone has proved himself as a creative person, instantly there social progress, for raising a level of civilisation: is envy and we show that bad habit of ours that we simply do “We began to lose awareness of this a long time ago, and I not forgive anyone their success. While I was minister, I tried to would say that in the last twenty years this has been done on surround myself with professional and dedicated people who purpose, to manipulate people more easily. In all these years as knew their job, who knew more than me, and we started the an actor, a member of various city cultural forums, my main goal huge task of drafting an umbrella law on culture.“ has been – how to put an artist in the right place to contribute CorD’s interviewee explains that one of our biggest flaws the most to his community and society as a whole.” is the lack of continuity in work and our constant need to Voja is lucky to complain about how much work he gets. He change things at any cost. That is very harmful to the develcan brag about being very busy performing, shooting. He stars opment of the society: “This leads to a number of sycophantic visions for the development of culture and society in general, and unrealistic views. This cost us from 1945 to the 1990s, and now the policy of sycophantic single-mindedness appears once again.” As a former minister of culture how understanding is (isn’t) he of what the Ministry of Culture and Information is doing today, and the minister himself? Voja Brajović replies: “To answer this question I have to go back to my childhood, when Tito already said a historical NO to Stalin. Yugoslavia was already close to a banana republic. Someone from the political establishment, and there were some thinking people there, figured out that the country could be promoted through culture. And that was how a great exhibition of Yugoslav mediaeval art happened at the Chaillot Palace in Paris, plays by American playwrights such as Tennessee Williams were performed in FROM THE PLAY “POWDER KEG” (BURE BARUTA) Belgrade, Bitef and Fest were founded… Not “The problem is that in a TV show Sinđelići, in six plays at to mention Mediala in the fine arts, the black we don’t have a value the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, in Atelje wave in Yugoslav film, and other accomplishments that spoke of a powerful breakthrough system. Ever since I was 212, and especially important is his play Voz (Train), which he directed in of culture in that country. hired by JDP I realised Zvezdara theatre, co-starring Sergej “Today, in this small country of ours, whose that an artist’s position Trifunović. It is a play based on the borders we still don’t know, it must be known was very bad. We can work of Cormac McCarthy, and it that we have so many talented individuals and has been touring the region with they present a true weapon of this country, this especially witness that society. And they must not be impeded. The today, under an influx of great success: “I feel fortunate because I can importance of art and creativity must not be programmes of the choose what I want to do. The reason marginalised. It would be disastrous to reaffirm lowest possible quality, why a play is set on stage is crucial. trash and kitsch like in the recent past, and we Many young directors reach for effects, can see that those stupid and awful games are and here I mean and I am interested in what message being played. It is not a coincidence that in the reality shows that play sends with its story, it is biggest systems, ministers of culture were the important that it makes me think, most important people. Here, and in the rest gives me goosebumps. I am happy that there are young people of the region, it is not taken seriously. The government acts as a who do theatre and think with their own heads and want to say football coach, when he doesn’t know where to place his player something to their fellow man. he says to him – go and be a defender! In other words, go and “The reason to stage Voz and star in it was above and beyond be a minister of culture!” political developments. I want the spectator to get a new perspective Voja can’t remain silent before the fact that the government FEBRUARY



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With RADMILA ĐURIČIĆ in the play “Flea in Her Ear” (Buba u uhu)

In the short time I was Minister of Culture, I realised just how much there exists a non-objective, incorrect, irregular, unjustified fear of culture. People in power are always suspicious of artists or people who use their heads to think on his surroundings and the meaning of life. All this time since we have been playing Voz I didn’t meet anyone who was indifferent towards it. Its greatest quality is that it affects the audience even after it ends. This play almost nullifies any political topic.” There was an extraordinary event involving this play. Dragan Nikolić, when he was already gravely ill and a few months before he died, together with his wife Milena Dravić and friend and fellow actor Žarko Laušević, watched from his bed in his apartment a major part of the play, performed for him by his kum Voja (Dragan Nikolić was the best man when Milica Mihajlović and Voja Brajović were married in the monastery of Dečani) and Sergej. It is hard to separate Brajović’s private and professional life from his political struggle which he began back in the 1990s. We recall his act from December 1999 when during the play Bure baruta (Cabaret Balkan) in the National Theatre (JDP burned down and was being rebuilt) he demonstrated a T-shirt saying Otpor (Resistance), with its well-known 94 |



clenched fist symbol, and raised his fist. This was welcomed with a 15-minute thunderous applause. “After that, Željko Simić , the theatre manager and Minister of Culture at the time, said that that kind of striptease would never again happen in the theatre and punished us by banning us from the National Theatre. It was well known that I was against the people on the political stage in the 1990s in Serbia, that I strongly opposed the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, and that I could be a nuisance to the authorities. They kept a close eye on me so that I would not inspire things that were not to the government’s liking. Of course, some people held it against me that I caused trouble for my colleagues but that was an engaged play with a symbolic finish, and I believe I acted in accordance with that symbol.” It is a less known fact that Voja Brajović was six months old when his father, a high JNA officer, was imprisoned. His mother took care of him and his older brother. It is easy to assume that Vukota Brajović was eliminated ‘according to IB’, as they said in those days, meaning that he violated the infamous Informbiro resolution that marked the split with the USSR: “My father was no enemy, and my mother couldn’t accept his arrest. The thought of giving him up was out of the question. For a year she didn’t know where he was and with her two children she went to see everyone just to find out where her husband was. She was in the Marshall’s headquarters as well. And then after a year and a half, she reached Gradiška where she finally found him doing time. There was a man at the graveyard who took us in. My mother cooked green peas and put a baby’s dummy in it so my father would know that it was from her, that she was


His upbringing was leftist and he got it from his family, his there. The guards were cruel to prisoners and they used the most Montenegrin father and Valjevo mother: horrible methods to destroy them. One time they told my father “My parents fought in the war, my mother went in 1944 that his wife and eldest son were drowned in the Zeta River, and after Valjevo was liberated, but she still took part in fighting for our house in Montenegro was near the Zeta river. He jumped and freedom. My father was a young communist, a member of SKOJ started yelling: You are worse than the SS, you fascists! They beat before the war, a rebel and anarchist who decided to fight and him so hard that he could not stand up for days.” eventually he won. I got this fighting spirit from him.” Voja grew up in Valjevo, his mother’s home town, and they Voja is remembered for his partisan activism, first in the still call him Vojkan over there. He says that it is hardest for him Communist Party where he was one of the first advocates of a to perform there: multi-partisan system. Later he was an active supporter of the “I have the biggest jitters when I perform in Valjevo. It is not Democratic Party. As a champion of brotherhood and unity in easy for my friends over there either. I don’t want to let them its original form, he took the breakup of Yugoslavia very hard: down and they worry I will get something wrong.” He named his first-born child Vukota, after his father, and from his first marriage he also has a daughter Iskra. From his second marriage with actress Milica Mihajlović he has a son, Relja. He recently became a grandfather, his daughter Iskra gave him a granddaughter. He thought he would study sculpture because that was his first artistic love, but he enrolled in drama school with professor Predrag Bajčetić, and graduated with professor Ognjenka Milićević. As a young and handsome actor he performed in the oldest play of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre Buba u uhu (A Flee in Her Ear). He is grateful to director Dejan Mijač who at the crucial moment of his career gave him a part that destroyed his beauty and allowed him to become a character and further on a sovereign master in JDP. For his acting achievements he won all the important awards – from Sterija’s, to Ljubiša Jovanović, October Prize of Belgrade, Ćuran at Days of comedy in Jagodina... With BRANISLAV LEČIĆ in the play “Hamlet” He was a young member of JDP when he “I have the biggest jitters “Yugoslavia was like a family to was accepted in the Communist Party. It is an when I perform in me. Just as I was loved in my family, I interesting story of how he became a communist: was loved in that country too. I con“After the famous Tito speech in the wake Valjevo. It is not easy of the 1968 student protests, a party secretary sidered myself a Yugoslav, a federalfor my friends over there at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts gathered us and ist. I believed that I was a welcomed either. I don’t want to told us that we behaved well during the protest. guest in Maribor, Rijeka, Zenica, that let them down and He suggested that youth, intelligentsia join the my hosts were accessible, that I could Communist Party. I stood up and told him: I can’t visit them whenever I wanted, that I they worry I will get be a member of the Communist Party because would not have any trouble wherever I something wrong.” I’m your opposition. He was prepared and told went. Maybe that was utopia, but that me that the Party needed exactly that kind of country guaranteed that. First and people. I replied we don’t need your kind and that was it. They foremost I was looking forward to all that space. As a kid I spent never invited me again. Years later, when I became acting manager summers in Kupare, Igalo, Opatija, later in Hvar, we performed of JDP my friends told me: Listen, you’ll be manager tomorrow there. I was 15 when we visited a village without a hotel so we and you have to be in the Party or they could make a lot of trouble stayed with the locals, in their homes. I will never forget those for us. And that was the reason why I joined the Party. Although, huge feather covers we slept in. After the show our hostess would regardless of political affiliation, I believe there are democratic wait for us with the most amazing food. I was aware that this and non-democratic people. As a kid in high school I thought was the Ustasha region, that long ago members of my people that a communist was someone who was the best, most honest, were persecuted there, but I always thought that life could get and that if you didn’t have it in you, you couldn’t be a communist. better, that people could come to their senses. I still believe that Maybe I got that from my father, I don’t know.” people can be better and I try to see the best in every human.” ■ FEBRUARY



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105-YEAR-OLD CYCLIST BREAKS NEW RECORD ▶ French cyclist Robert Marchand set a record by biking 22.5 kilometres in an hour at the age of 105. Marchand previously held several records for centenarian cycling and had become a vegetarian a month before the record attempt. He completed 92 laps within an hour in front of hundreds of fans at the velodrome at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France, but said he could have extended his record breaking performance even more. Marchand has set multiple cycling records in the over-100s category and a new over-105s category to accommodate his new achievement. “I’m not here to break any record. I’m doing it to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike,” he said before the record attempt. EUROPE

NEW WINEREPELLENT SHIRT ▶ Labfresh, a clothing creator, are


FIRST MILITARY ‘AMBULANCE DRONE’ ▶ Israeli company Urban Aeronau-

tics completed a test flight for a robotic flying vehicle, dubbed the Cormorant, that could one day go where helicopters can’t. The autonomous vehicle is designed to eventually carry people or equipment without a human pilot on board. The Cormorant uses ducted fans rather than propellers or rotors to fly. These fans are effectively shielded rotors, which

means the aircraft doesn’t need to worry about bumping into a wall and damaging the rotors. The vehicle is effectively a decision-making system that can figure out what to do if the inputs from the sensors are off in some way. If the Cormorant detects a potential issue, the drone’s robotic brain can decide what to do: go home, land and wait for more instructions, or try a different flight path. Further tests will look to improve how smoothly the aircraft goes from takeoff to level flight, and to increase speed and maneuverability.

successfully reassuring customers that the white cotton shirt is wine, stain and odor-repellent, allowing people to wipe away irritable stains from the likes of red wine, ketchup and olive oil. However, the company hasn’t

made the magic shirt available just yet, with the team putting the garment on hold until they raise more money to create more of the shirts and successfully sell the garment. Labfresh have promised that people will have the opportunity to gain early access to the shirts and ties, which are made with the same fabric. The creators will be charging $119 for the one-off refreshing fashion piece.


RESTRUCTURE OF JAMIE OLIVER’S RESTAURANT EMPIRE ▶ Famous chef Jamie Oliver is to close six of his Jamie’s Italian UK restaurants, amid “tough” trading and the uncertain outlook following the Brexit vote. The closures will affect some 120 employees, but the celebrity chef hopes to offer them alternative roles in other parts of his restaurant empire.The six restaurants are all scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2017. The Group has been stung by the collapse in the pound, which has ramped up the cost of buying ingredients from Italy. According to accounts, revenue at Jamie’s Italian rose by almost 9 per cent to £116.1 million in 2015, although profits fell from £3.8m to £2.3m. There are 42 Jamie’s Italian outlets in the UK and 28 overseas. The Group will now focus on the “core Jamie’s Italian estate”, to launch another 22 Jamie’s Italian restaurants and develop its newly acquired Australian restaurants in 2017.

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HUGE ICEBERG ABOUT TO BREAK OFF FROM ANTARCTICA ▶ An 130-kilometre crack in the ice on Antarctica’s northernmost peninsula is growing fast, and it’s now a virtual certainty that a massive iceberg is going to break off sometime in 2017, according to Antarctic researchers. The iceberg itself will be nearly 5,200 square kilometres in area, but that’s just the beginning of what figures to be tumultuous times for the Antarctic ice. The breakup could destabilize the entire ice shelf, which could add over 10 cm to global sea level rise all by itself. Ice shelves represent a kind of uneasy buffer zone between ice flowing from glaciers on land and the relatively warm ocean waters. They float frozen atop the water, absorbing ice as it moves down toward the coast. Although they can last for millennia — parts of this ice shelf date back some 10,000 years — ice shelves aren’t permanent, unchanging fixtures, with the water below and the air above below both gradually melting and breaking off pieces. And while the researchers at the British Project MIDAS say this breakup is, broadly speaking, a naturally occurring event, they do acknowledge that climate change has likely accelerated the timing. JAPAN


southern Japan, continues to live with his three children and wife, Yumi, who perseveres in making conversation with him but has only ever received a nod or a grunt in response for 20 years. The Japanese couple’s silence was revealed by their 18-year-old TA I WA N

son Yoshiki, who wrote into a TV show asking them to fix the situation as he had never heard them have a conversation. And sure enough, a meeting was arranged between them in the park where they had their first date, as their emotional children watched on. Otou later explained that he has been giving her the cold shoulder out of jealously for the attention and care the children get. “‘I was kind of... jealous. I was sulking about it,” Otou said.


ICELANDERS’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE SUPERNATURAL ▶ A new study by Icelandic research group M&M Research has revealed that a majority of Icelanders believe in clairvoyance and mediums. A poll asked whether people believe in the ability of some individuals to contact and communicate with spirits, and to see the future. 53.7% of respondents replied yes.



BIZARRE FUNERAL FOR TOP TAIWANESE POLITICIAN ▶ Fifty scantily clad exotic dancers have ridden

on top of beach buggies while performing sexy dance routines in a bizarre funeral ceremony for a Taiwanese Chiayi county politician Tung Hsiang. The processions attended by top officials was organised by his son. He reported spoke of his father’s excitement for life - and delivered a send-off worthy of such an outlook. The two-hour and several kilometers long procession is said to have closed roads around Chiayi city while locals lined the funeral procession route. Hsiang died at the age of 76.

▶ The sculpture unveiled at the 2017 Pennsylvania Farm Show called “A Culture of Stewardship” pays tribute to dairy farmers, who the artists say are stewards of the land, air, water and community. About a half-ton of butter was used to create the piece, which shows a landscape of farms and undulating hillsides giving way to forest-covered peaks. Husband and wife suburban Philadelphia sculptor team Jim Victor and Marie Pelton say they think the piece uniquely depicts the characteristics of Pennsylvania.

According to the study, women are more likely to hold notions about the existence of those who can commune with the otherworldly. 69% of women believe in clairvoyance and mediums, while only 40% of men hold the same beliefs. People 68 or older tend to hold more stock in the prevalence of the ability to speak with the dead, at 49%, while only 17% of people 30 or younger would agree with the same ideas.




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ARE YOU READY This year we are once again presenting you with the latest offer of ski equipment for this year’s ski season. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately go shopping. Given that ski equipment is used only a couple of times a year, before you make any purchase you should check to ensure precisely what you are lacking, to ensure you have a successful skiing debut this year

Regardless of whether you are a novice or an experienced skier, or whether you head onto the snow-covered slopes simply to enjoy fresh air and wintry whiteness, and to chat with friends over tea and coffee, it is essential that, prior to abandoning your warm space, you consider the dangers hidden by every mountain. Take care regarding the slopes you choose,

Lightweight Check Wool And Silk Scarf

your own safety, adequate equipment and weather conditions. This year’s New Year and Christmas holidays happen to fall on weekends, meaning that there will be fewer days off work than usual during the festive period. However, this should not detract from the pleasure and enjoyment of snow, rather it should primarily encourage you to make the most of every moment before you return to your everyday life.

Stio Women's Environ Jacket Stio Women's Environ Jacket is built to handle some of the roughest and toughest terrain. It is comfortable high in the back- or sidecountry, but won't look out of place at the resort. Price: €406

Burberry’s Lightweight Check Wool and Silk Scarf is a perfect transseasonal piece that will serve you for years to come. Price: €617

Salomon Snowboard Boots When style and performance are equally important, these boots answer the call. This women-specific liner provides excellent heel support, comfort, and warmth. Price: €287

K2 Spyre 100 Ski Boots Long days of floating through powder or charging hardpack require an allmountain boot that blends comfort with performance. Price: €478

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Osprey Stratos 24 The LightWire alloy frame optimizes the balance of your load and the AirSpeed back panel provides supreme ventilation, thanks to its suspended mesh layer. Price: €114

Rossignol - Tesla Amptek Snowboard

Gucci Sunglasses Beautiful classic and oversized acetate frames (made from reusable materials) or premium aviator shapes, Gucci designs one of the most luxurious sunglasses available in the market. Price: €360

From your first time on the slopes to the top of the podium, the Rossignol Tesla Amptek Snowboard fires on all cylinders to keep you stoked. Price: €334

Columbia Veloca Vixen Pants Electric Electrolite Goggles These are Electric's most lightweight goggles, and some of the lightest in the world, which is a combination of tints that enhances vision in any climate, so there's no need to switch lenses. Price: €134

Neve Chamonix T-Neck The Chamonix Zip neck is visually inspired by vintage posters with the perfect fit of ultrasoft silk-merino blend and spandex. Price: €143

The no frill Veloca Vixens are waterproof, insulated, made with a stretch fabric, and have an active fit, making them the perfect pair for the recreational rider that doesn't need bells and whistles. Price: €143

Snowboard Socks Put up a stand against foot injustice and ditch those greasy socks that have seen a few to many seasons in the rotation. Price: €19

Dynastar Glory 74 XPress Women's Skis A progressive new women's all-mountain ski, the all-new GLORY 74 delivers a beautifully balanced blend of playfulness and versatility for beginner to intermediate skiers. Price: €258




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Arcteryx Covert Hoody Clean, casual lines and technical Alpenex™ fleece performance combine in a hooded jacket with wool sweater styling. Price: €190

Northern Lights Optic NL 6 Whether you’re hiking the treacherous peaks of Mt. Everest or simply a fan of the whole retro steampunk movement, this pair of NL 6 sunglasses offers one hell of a statement. Price: €267

Diamond Mad Max Gloves HellyHansenSognCargoPants When most of your days are long and cold, these insulated, relaxed fit pants will keep you comfy. Price: €124

These best waterproof ski gloves feature molded knuckle pads over the fingers and back of the hand which make the gloves more robust and add protection and additional warmth. Price: €163

Paul Smith Cashmere Stripe Scarf Paul Smith’s Cashmere Stripe Scarf is a sophisticated way of adding luxury to your winter wardrobe this season. Price: €323

Helly Hansen Sogn Men's Jacket The outer layer is super waterproof, yet has a soft touch, and insulation is strategically placed where you need it most. The innovative venting system sucks heat and moisture away from your body like a vacuum. Price: €335

Lib Tech T. Rice Pro HP Snowboard Designed to do what has never been done. Price: €574

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Uvex Downhill 2000 Variomatic Goggles Uvex is known for their safety-first approach, but with these goggles, they've added style and functionality. Price: €181

Osprey Manta AG 28 Osprey's Anti-Gravity (AG) suspension system literally lifts the pack off your back to distribute weight and minimize your swampy back. Price: €157

Fischer Pro Mtn 80Ti The Pro Mtn 80Ti's lead this group for edge hold, long turns, liveliness/ responsiveness, and groomed piste; they are joint leaders for low speed. Price: €611

Ski Boots For skiers that never hesitate to drop cliffs or jump headfirst into a mogul field, the First Chair 10 is the stiffest and newest addition to the Full Tilt lineup. Price: €622

Thermograph Jacket With strategically mapped insulation and impenetrable InfiDRY construction, this hybrid shell stays warm and dry, even in the soggiest conditions. Price: €239

Snowboard Socks Made from a warm but moisture-wicking merino wool blend, these socks will keep your feet toasty and dry from first chair to last. Price: €19

K2 Maysis Snowboard Boots K2's Endo construction gives the boot a structure that flexes and returns to neutral without compromising integrity, thus providing a consistent flex for an extremely predictable feel. Price: €287




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Serbian Agriculture and Environmental Protection Minister Branislav Nedimović and his expert team held the first official press conference at the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Agriculture, at which they presented up-to-date information on the Ministry’s ongoing activities and plans for the period ahead. Alongside Minister Nedimović, those in attendance were also addressed by Zoran Janjatović, Assistant Minister in the Rural Development Sector, Radivoj Nadlački, Agrarian Policy Advisor to the Minister, and Žarko Radat, Director of the Directorate for Agrarian Payments. “We have made an ambitious but realistic plan, for which we have secured an adequate budget that we intend to use effectively. We aspire to achieve the European standard in agriculture, both as a goal in itself, but also as a step in the EU accession process,” said Minister Nedimović.




This December, Grand Motors organised its traditional new year’s meeting with the press and electronic media in a newly decorated showroom at the company building in Novi Beograd. The company told the media of good sales results in 2016 of all brands sold and serviced by Grand Motors and the network of their authorised partners, and announced ambitious plans for 2017. “2016 was one of the most successful years since Grand Motors began importing, selling and servicing automobiles and light commercial vehicles of this brand” said Mr. Minja Bolesnikov, Ford brand manager of Grand Motors. Mr. Miloš Stefanović, Grand Motors premium brands manager, presented excellent sales results for the Volvo MILOŠ STEFANOVIĆ , Grand Motors and ZORAN DJIKIĆ, Ford and Infinity brands.

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Aperformancewithaparadeofmusicalinstruments between the business premises was held in the business park Airport City in New Belgrade, marking the official opening of the park’s new building “2200”. Adir El Al, manager of Airport City, took the opportunity to announce further investment in Serbia. “This is our largest office complex, at the moment it covers 115,000 square meters in 9 buildings and over the years has come to be the headquarters of the most successful companies. Here, you can see the city’s lively business activity with around 8,000 people entering the complex every day”, said El Al. During the performance, an announcement was made of the company’s new calendar, produced ADIR EL AL, General Manager of Airport City through a special technique.




“Kibicfenster”, a book by Dušan Petričić, and exhibition of his caricatures were presented to many visitors at Dorćol Platz. “Kibicfenster” is a selection of Petričić’s caricatures published in Politika and NIN in the last four years. Milan Ćulibrk, Editor-in-chief of NIN, Dragoljub Žarković, Editor-inchief of Vreme, and Svetislav Basara, writer, talked about Petričić’s work while Tatjana Nježić, a Blic journalist, was moderating. „Caricature used to make people laugh, but nowadays it seems to me that its goal is much more than that. What Petričić has been doing for years with his caricatures is to make us think and not laugh,“ - said Milan Ćulibrk, Editor-in-chief of NIN.



An exhibition of traditional food and handicrafts took place in Knez Mihajlo street in Belgrade. This was a promotion of local brands named ‘Serbia in Belgrade’ organised by Ethno Network in cooperation with NALED. Belgraders and tourists could taste and buy traditional specialties from all around Serbia – Sombor cheese, kačkavalj cheese from Stara planina, honey from Fruška Gora and Homolje, ajvar from Leskovac, prunes from Osečina, Valjevo duvan čvarci (shredded pork), Lemeš kulen sausage, raspberries from Arilje and kajmak (raw cream) from Užice. The event was opened by city manager Goran Vesić and H.E. Julia Feeney, the Australian ambassador to Serbia. The official opening ceremony was attended by mayors and other officials from VIOLETA JOVANOVIĆ, Executive Pirot, Sombor, Inđija, Leskovac, Pančevo, Loznica director, NALED (left) and H.E. JULIA and other cities and municipalities. FEENEY



H.E. Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, hosted a New Year’s reception for journalists and colleagues from the governmental and non-governmental sectors. According to Davenport, 2016 was a year of numerous surprises, with some terrible and tragic events occurring across the world, and that it is hoped this situation will be overcome in the year ahead. Davenport thanked his colleagues from the EU Info Centre, which has been operating from new premises since February 2016 and has during that time organised 219 events that were attended by more than 10,000 people.




The conference ICT Start (UP) and the bridges of cooperation between Sweden and Serbia was held in Kragujevac and covered individual topics of launching start-ups and IT businesses, as well as encouraging the further development of generally traditionally good bilateral relations between the two countries. The conference had great importance not only for Kragujevac, but for Central Serbia as a whole. “Plenty of room exists for cooperation between Sweden and Kragujevac, as the hub of the IT sector of Central Serbia. These kinds of initiatives are very useful because they bring together in one place representatives of the IT communities of both countries,” said H.E. Swedish Ambassador to Serbia Jan Lundin. Alongside officials from Kragujevac and Central Serbia, the possibilities of entering the Swedish market were addressed by Erik-Wilhelm Graef Behm, on behalf of the Business Region Göteborg ICT, Zlatan Bajrić, representing organisation SEEBA, and Andreja Pavlović, on behalf of the Nordic Business Alliance. FEBRUARY



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Israeli Ambassador Alona Fisher-Kamm organised a celebration at the Israeli Ambassadorial Residence to mark the major Jewish holiday of Hanukkah – a symbol of miracles, hope, light and new beginnings. The Ambassador noted that the word Hanukkah can be interpreted in several ways. “The most common is the inauguration, given that on this holiday we are not only celebrating the victory of the Jews over the Hellenes, but also the restoration of sovereignty over ancient territory and the re-inauguration – consecration of the desecrated temple. That would not have been possible without the miracle that made a very small amount of oil burn for eight days,” explained Ambassador Fisher-Kamm. As she announced, that is also the reason why the feast of Hanukkah became a symbol of miracles, hope, light and new beginnings. “During long periods of history, the light of Hanukkah represented our only symbol of hope for a better future,” said the ambassador. Rabbi Isak Asiel gave a blessing for Hanukkah, while the candles of the shamash candleholder were lit by guests including Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović, ministers Zoran Đorđević and Vladan Vukosavljević, Director of the Kosovo Office Marko Đurić, German Ambassador Axel Dittmann and the president of the Association of Jewish Municipalities, Ruben Fuks.




The Algerian Embassy in Belgrade and the Society of Friends of Algeria, in cooperation with the Museum of Yugoslavia, formally celebrated the 90th birthday of Stevan Labudović, a cameraman of the Algerian revolution and a worthy citizen of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, at the Museum of Yugoslavia. Guests were welcomed by Serbian Defence Minister Zoran Đorđević and addressed, on behalf of the organisers, by H.E. Abdelhamid Chebchoub, Algerian Ambassador, who emphasised Labudović’s great importance for the independence of Algeria.




Members of the Croatian Business Club organised a gathering at the Tata Mama tavern and wine bar and used the opportunity to promote traditional Dalmatian food and wine. The offer included mussels, fresh fish from the Adriatic, specialities from octopus, cuttlefish and fresh seafood, which were prepared by Chef Boris Šiljić, who hails from Split, but also autochthonous types of famous Dalmatian wines. The event was attended by Croatian Business Club members, media representatives, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of embassies, as well as other friends and associates of this club. 104 |






Belgrade’s Serbian Army House is hosting an historical exhibition entitled “Silent and inconspicuous” (Tihi i neprimetni), dedicated to World War II’s heroic Polish paratroopers of the State Army (AK), who operated within the underground during WWII. This group of paratroopers originally had the nickname “The Birds”, but later adopted the name “Silent and inconspicuous”, which was officially used in instructions and orders from September 1941 onwards. Speaking at the opening of the exhibition were Colonel Stevica S. Karapandžić, Director of the “Odbrana” (Defence) Media Centre, and Polish Defence Attaché Colonel Zbigniew Rosinski. The exhibition was opened by H.E. Tomasz Niegodzisz, Polish Ambassador to Serbia.





This year’s winner of the prestigious NIN Award for literature is Ivana Dimić for the novel “Arzamas”, published by Laguna. This novel deals, in an emotional and intimate way, with the relationship between a mother and daughter. The award was presented, in the presence of a large number of literature fans, by NIN editor in chief Milan Ćulibrk. The decision on the winner of the 63rd NIN Award was entrusted to a jury comprising Jasmina Vrbavac, Tamara Krstić, Zoran Paunović, Mihajlo Pantić and Božo Koprivica. The finalists for this year’s novel of the year included four writers Vladan Matijević, for his novel “Meeting under unusual circumstances”, Ivana Dimić for “Arzamas”, Vladimir Tabašević for “So as”, and Vladislav Bajac for his work “The Chronicle of Doubts”. The ceremony at the Yugoslav Film Archives Cinematheque was attended by numerous guests from cultural and public life, as well as previous winners of this prestigious literary award.








The Trag Foundation awarded the VIRTUS Award for Philanthropy to companies, SMEs and individuals who supported non-profit activities or organisations for the common good and interests in the most appropriate, most long-term and most effective ways during 2016. The awards were presented to winners by Serbian State Administration and Local Self-Government Minister Ana Brnabić, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Kyle Scott, and Oscar Benedict, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia. The recipient of the Main Award for contributions at the national level is company Hemofarm. The award for contributions to the local community in which companies operate went to KPMG, while the award for long-term partnerships between the business and non-profit sectors was presented to Telekom Serbia. Niš-based company Yunis won the award in the category of small and medium-sized enterprises, while the award for individual contributions to philanthropy went to Hido Muratović, a benefactor from Novi Pazar. The winners of special awards included Ljiljana Nedeljković, president and founder of the “Višnja” Women’s Association, ERSTE Bank and Ringier Axel Springer.


The photography exhibition “A Lasting Faith: Orthodoxy in the Holy Land”, by Israeli author Dafna Tal, has been opened in Belgrade, under the organization of the Embassy of Israel, by Israeli Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Alona Fisher-Kamm. The exhibition, which runs until 5th February at Progress Gallery, marks the first in a series of events that the Israeli Embassy will organise this year in honour of the 25th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Israel. The Belgrade audience had the opportunity to see 38 photos shot by this Israeli artist during her three years of documentary work within the framework of close cooperation with the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches. H.E. ALONA FISHER-KAMM FEBRUARY



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JOHANNES IRSCHIK, Austrian Cultural Forum Director and JELICA NOVAKOVIĆ, professor

Belgrade has hosted the Festival of European Film, organised by the EU Delegation in Serbia and the EU Info Centre, in cooperation with the embassies of EU member states. The festival gave film lovers the opportunity to see contemporary films from 15 European countries. The 15 films screened during the festival come from Denmark, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Belgium, France, Cyprus, Croatian, Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Germany and Sweden. The festival opened with a screening of Austrian film “Goodnight, Mommy” and culminated with a projection of Swedish film “Palme”, which provides a biographical portrait of former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.






The AmCham Roundtable on Intellectual Property Protection saw the head of Serbia’s negotiating team for EU accession, Tanja Mišćević, meet with representatives of the business community to discuss the negotiation platform for Chapter 7. The roundtable was attended by representatives of the Intellectual Property Rights Office, Market Inspection - Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, TANJA MIŠČEVIĆ, Head of the the Special Prosecutor’s Office for High- negotiating team for Serbia’s accession to the EU Tech Crime, Tax Administration, Customs Administration and the Interior Ministry, who discussed progress in the prevention of piracy and counterfeiting on the internet, parallel imports, labour inspection services and the processing of offenses in the field of intellectual property protection.





On the occasion of the 68th Republic Day of India, H.E. Indian Ambassador Narinder Chauhan hosted a formal reception for representatives of the diplomatic corps, Serbia’s political and economic leaders, business partners, representatives of the Indian community, as well as personalities from Serbia’s public and cultural life. Ambassador Chauhan announced that an Indian Film Festival is being organised from 26th to 29th January at the “Studentski grad” Culture Centre. This event included the screening some of the most publically acclaimed Bollywood movies. The British Society and Repats Serbia held their first joint networking event at Podrum WineArt, Stari Grad, Belgrade to celebrate a positive start to 2017. More than 100 members of both organisation joined the British Ambassador H.E. Dennis Keefe and Mrs Kate Keefe, including representatives from British business, culture and education. British Society vice-chair James Gunn said: “Our organisation with more than 1,200 members is hosting bi-monthly receptions to bring long-term expatriates, short-term visitors and Serbian friends of Britain together in this 180th year of bilateral relations. With Brexit upon us, we are forging deeper links within Serbia, the HE DENNIS KEEFE and Mrs KATE KEEFE country we call home.” 106 |



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