CorD Magazine, March 2020, issue no. 185

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Ambassador Of Hungary To Serbia


Transferring Knowledge Is The Most Responsible Job

Nationalism Is Today’s Greatest Danger

Hungary’s Position On Migration Hasn’t Changed


Serbian Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development


MARCH 2020/ ISSUE NO. 185


interviews opinions news comments events CORONAVIRUS


Collage Of Illusions



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More Can Be Done Prior To Elections



Sunday 26th April 2020


The 33rd Belgrade Marathon

Become A Master Of Charity! For 14 consecutive years, CorD magazine has organised its humanitarian CorD Charity Masters run, under the auspices of the Belgrade Marathon, a member of “ World Marathon Majors“, in which it is more important to be a humanitarian than a winner! This year’s CorD Charity Masters run will be held alongside the 33rd Belgrade Marathon, on 26th April 2020. We invite you to join us and run (or walk, if you prefer!) at least five kilometres to raise money for a charitable cause of your choice.

During the past 14 years, participants in the CorD Charity Masters run have collected in excess of €155,000, which was donated to more than 57 different institutions and individuals who badly needed those funds FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: • Where do I register to participate in the CorD CHARITY MASTERS run? Sign up via the email The deadline for registrations expires on 21st April. • How do I raise money? Every participant should secure a sponsor who will donate at least 400 dinars for every kilometre run during the race. The

most common sponsors are companies whose employees participate by running, walking or strolling to raise money that they will donate to the cause of their choosing, either via CorD or by themselves. • Will participants in the CorD Charity Masters run alongside other participants in the Belgrade Marathon? Yes, members of the CorD CHARITY MASTERS will start the race at the same time as other participants in the Belgrade Marathon.

• Where does the CorD Charity Masters run start? As usual, we will gather from 8.30 to 9.30 latest on 26th April, on the edge of Pioneer Park (corner of Kneza Miloša Street and Kralja Aleksandra Boulevard).





COLLAGE OF ILLUSIONS I represent the thesis that the Belgrade elections of 2018 were the last elections in Serbia to include the participation of all relevant stakeholders







EDITOR IN CHIEF: Ana Novčić DESIGN: Jasmina Laković CONTRIBUTORS: Rob Dugdale, Maja Vukadinović,























Mirjana Jovanović, Miša Brkić, Ljubica Gojgić Radmila Stanković, Steve MacKenzie, Zorica Todorović Mirković, Sonja Ćirić, Miloš Belčević EDITORIAL MANAGER: Neda Lukić PHOTOS: Zoran Petrović COPY EDITOR: Mark Pullen

TRANSLATION & EDITING MRP EDITORIAL Halifax Translation Services SALES MANAGERS: Biljana Dević, Nataša Trifunović, Vesna Vukajlović, Mihailo Čučković

OFFICE MANAGER: Svetlana Petrović

DIRECTOR: Ana Novčić

FINANCE: Dragana Skrobonja

PRINTING: Rotografika d.o.o. Segedinski put 72, Subotica


CorD is published by:

PUBLISHER: Ivan Novčić

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 2020

The views expressed in this publication are those of the presenter; they do not necessary reflect the view of publications published by alliance international media


Collage Of




n the parliamentary and local elections of April 2020, the greatest section of the opposition will not be there (the so-called real opposition) which is boycotting, and if the opposition’s vision of a 5th (or ‘6th’ - illustratively) October were to happen, in the first subsequent elections after the ‘abducted state’ is returned to the people - there will probably be no real progressives. This is the misery of the balance sheet of the Serbian multiparty system three decades after its introduction. However, if I’m wrong and there is again some elections that will include the participation of all important stakeholders, then the upcoming elections are merely part of the campaign for the 2022 presidential election. The Serbian presidential elections are essentially for a change in power (Milošević - Koštunica, Tadić - Nikolić). Should the so-called real opposition - the Alliance for Serbia - remain in the saddle, or if it’s able to muster the force to impose the issue of legitimacy as an urgent matter, it is possible that Vučić will call early parliamentary elections alongside the 2022 presidential election. Perhaps Vučić also, due to his discomfort over the boycott, has a desire for a ‘third partner’ (liberal-civic) in power, which would swing the pendulum back to the time before 2016 (before the Savamala affair, which oc-



I represent the thesis that the Belgrade elections of 2018 were the last elections in Serbia to include the participation of all relevant stakeholders curred precisely on election night 2016), thus relaxing the atmosphere for constitutional arrangements, somewhat humanising the media, perhaps giving himself an outlet and further banalising Dačić’s socialists. Hence his engineering also works in this direction. It would be interesting to hear Vučić’s answer to a question posed to Milošević - who is your favourite opposition figure? In his time, Milošević had said Šešelj. Unlike Milošević, who nurtured his own loyal nationalist opposition, Vučić passionately creates his own civic opposition, which Milošević nonetheless didn’t have. While his right-wing opposition serves him as well as Milošević’s did - to show how things could be even worse. However, these are not the 1990s, although the ‘real’ opposition would like them to be. Relapses into the propaganda of primitivism and aggression aren’t lacking, nor are recycled characters, but even then these are still only the 1990s with full exposure, investment and international support. The so-called ‘real’ opposition will formally advocate in favour of fair elections, but will intimately stick to the strategy of ‘delegitimising Vučić’, as an autocrat who’s incapable and unwilling to organise any kind of democratically valid elections anymore. The boycott has gone from a tactic to some kind of cult. But if opposition dis-

sidents Zelenović and Paunović win in the enclaves of Šabac and Paraćin, and if the turnout is higher than expected by Đilas, Jeremić and Obradović, the issue of opposition leadership could also be raised. And the boycott campaign takes on authoritarian and populist hues – if you’re not with us, you’re against us. It can be no other way in a country where almost 80 per cent of the population is authoritarian. Through a collage of illusions, Vučić seeks to blur that divide and secure electoral legitimacy in the view of the external factor. All stakeholders have already calculated some kind of demonstrations after these incomplete elections. Experience has taught us that demonstrations, even if they are massive, can only last at the longest until the great Serbian holiday of Vidovdan, when the summer holidays begin, students go on their break, and the focus shifts from local topics of democracy and dictatorship to regional commemorative-inflammatory summer topics like Srebrenica and Operation Storm. There’s no need to nurture false hope that May’s EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb will cause any difference to the marking of Srebrenica and Storm. Or that it will provide a greater chance for the tourist season in Montenegro.

Interview Exclusive TANJA FAJON


Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon, who chairs the European Parliament Delegation to Serbia, wrote recently that Serbia could be the next country to become an EU member state, thouugh she that that this primarily depends on politicians in Serbia. Their readiness to implement comprehensive reforms that would bring Serbia into alignment with European standards has also been tested over the past few months, during the political dialogue on electoral conditions. CorD Magazine’s interlocutor, who participated in this process together with colleagues from the European Parliament, says that progress has been made at the level of laws and regulations, but it remains to be seen whether the agreed improvements in electoral conditions will be implemented in practise. As a former journalist, Fajon is particularly concerned about the media situation in Serbia. Ms Fajon, Serbia is now entering a preelection period, with elections coming up at the national, provincial and local levels.

More Can Be Done

Prior To Elections I cannot emphasise enough the responsibility of all politicians in Serbia to avoid inflammatory language and to counter hatespeech, aggravating social divisions and disinformation in the media, especially during the electoral campaign – Tanja Fajon 10


By Ljubica Gojgić


Although time is running out before the start of the electoral campaign, more can still be done to improve the overall trust and conditions for holding elections, especially in the area of the media

Given that you participated as part of the team of the European Parliament in political dialogue on fair and free elections, do you believe that the voting in April will be in line with European standards?

At the end of the three rounds of the InterParty Dialogue in December 2019, we concluded with a list of 17 recommendations to be implemented before the start of the electoral campaign. We recognise that progress has been made, but the real and qualitative implementation of these measures to improve conditions for elections can only be assessed once the electoral campaign has started and the bodies responsible for the management of the elections, including the REC, REM and Supervisory Board, are fulfilling their mandates and reporting in a timely and transparent way. Although time is running out before the start of the electoral campaign, more can still be done to improve the overall trust and conditions for holding elections, especially in the area of the media.


I feel responsible to all Serbian citizens to do everything in my power, as Chair of the EU Serbia parliamentary committee, to support Serbia on its path of European reforms and its future in the EU

You’ve spoken repeatedly about media freedom as a key precondition for freedom of choice. How would you rate the degree of media freedom in Serbia?

The need to address concerns about the media remains in our focus and will be a key area for further monitoring as the European Parlia-


The Western Balkans has become a playground of different, strategic geopolitical interests, partly due to the absence of a strong and unified European voice in the region

ment prepares to take part as an observer in the framework of the ODIHR’s International Election Observation Mission. I share my concerns with almost 300,000 viewers who have lost access to the N1 TV Channel recently. I’m a former journalist myself and believe strongly that there can be

At the end of your mission to Serbia that was dedicated to addressing election conditions, EU Enlargement Commissioner Várhelyi said that all conditions have been met for fair and free elections. It seems you didn’t entirely agree with such an assessment?

As I said, some progress has been made, but more can still be done, especially in the area of the media. Improving the media sector and the effective regulation of public broadcasters is essential in order to create a level playing field for all political forces, as well as an atmosphere free of intimidation for all, including journalists and the Serbian electorate. I continue to hear the concerns of opposition forces regarding unfair access and coverage, biased media reporting and editorials, abusive language, intimidation and even hate speech.

At the end of the three rounds of the Inter-Party Dialogue in December 2019, we concluded with a list of 17 recommendations to be implemented before the start of the electoral campaign

no free democracy without free and pluralistic media. I hear too often that there are signs of captured media and captured state, and I take these concerns of citizens seriously. I feel responsible to all Serbian citizens to do everything in my power, as Chair of the EU - Serbia parliamentary committee, to support Serbia on its path of European reforms and its future in the EU. You’ve said that changes to the Electoral Law which lowered the electoral



Interview Exclusive Firstly, I wished to see a united democratic and pro-European opposition taking part in this April’s elections and, secondly, I feel that we failed them even though we’ve done some hard work. Nevertheless, there is some progress on their side and I hope it will continue. We will certainly follow developments, both now and after the elections.

threshold were “dangerous tactics”. What do you think could be the reason for such tactics?

I can only underline that international best practices, such as those established by the Venice Commission, advise against major changes in the electoral framework so close to elections, especially if they have not been subjected to broad consultations and consensus building. All Serbian citizens need to feel confident in the electoral framework and that every effort has been made to build that consensus across society, especially if major changes are to be proposed and implemented. Look at any game – changing the rules just ahead of the start of the game can cause distrust among players.

How would you respond to warnings that the boycott of the opposition with the largest support among citizens and a reduction of the electoral threshold runs the risk of creating the illusion of democracy in the Serbian National Assembly?

I remain concerned that strong divisions also still exist on the assessment of whether conditions for holding the elections are improving or not. During our recent meeting in Belgrade, we urged the government not to waste any time and to fully implement its commitments in order for Serbia’s citizens to have greater confidence in the integrity of the electoral framework. As I said, the European Parliament is preparing to take part as an observer in the framework of the ODIHR’s International Election Observation Mission.

You faced criticism during your February visit with regard to some of your stances on the situation in Serbia, with that criticism coming from the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) majority in the National Assembly of Serbia. You invited Speaker of the Parliament Maja Gojković to address a situation that you consider as “hate speech”. Has there been any additional communication on that topic?

I am a politician and I know that such statements are used mostly for domestic political campaigning. Still, I cannot emphasise enough the responsibility of all politicians in Serbia to avoid inflammatory language and to counter hate-speech, aggravating social divisions and disinformation in the media, especially during the electoral campaign. We will continue to pay particular attention to the media environment and the conduct of politicians in public and through the media. Part of the Serbian opposition has declared a boycott and will not respond to your calls to participate in the elections. Why do you find this political strategy unacceptable?

I urged the opposition several times to carefully consider their decision to boycott the elections. Along with my European Parliament Colleague Bilčík, we have already underlined the fact that even more could have been achieved if the opposition had engaged fully in the Inter-Party Dialogue, in the form of recommendations to improve electoral conditions. The only way



The need to address concerns about the media remains in our focus and will be a key area for further monitoring as the European Parliament prepares to take part as an observer in the framework of the ODIHR’s International Election Observation Mission to guarantee political representation to their constituents is by engaging in the political and electoral process. I therefore regret the decision of those that have announced a boycott, for different reasons.

In one recently published editorial opinion piece you wrote that Serbia could be the next country to enter the EU. On what is the realising of that prediction most dependent?

Serbia could be the next country to enter the EU, but that does not necessarily mean it will be. Both Serbia and Montenegro were mentioned as the front-runners in the last EC enlargement report. However, the ball is in the court of the Serbian politicians.The country has so far opened 18 of 35 chapters. I hope the new enlargement methodology will bring new dynamism to the accession process and speed up the necessary reforms, in order for Serbia to join the EU as soon as possible. I still remember the joy of citizens when we managed to abolish visas for them to travel to the Schengen area. That was one of the many tangible steps on the European path that can truly improve people’s lives. The European Western Balkans portal has listed you among the politicians who

By Ljubica Gojgić

will decide the fate of the Western Balkan region in 2020. Would such a “mandate” cause you to rejoice, or is this region too difficult a job for European politicians?

I am honoured, but it is a challenge and a responsibility. I’m a very passionate supporter of EU enlargement to encompass the Western Balkans. I’ve been dealing with the process for almost two decades - since my own country, Slovenia, was in the waiting room. The countries and peoples of this region are very close to my heart. They have great potential and knowledge; I admire many young and brave people, and am strongly convinced that they deserve a better future. We all share our European values; we are all Europeans and need to rebuild our bridges in the region; we need to reconcile, to fight nationalism and ethnic or religious disputes. We are all responsible for peace and stability in our region, and especially for the dignity and well-being of our citizens.

were integrated into the new methodology. We called for a stronger focus on sector-based integration on economic and social issues, but also on climate issues. We managed to ensure that all Western Balkan countries will be represented in the next conference on the Future of Europe.

with citizens in the countries of the Western Balkans. Moreover, we will remain a watchdog of our institutions and governments to deliver on promises – as we did when the EU made a historic mistake last October with Skopje and Tirana, by calling on them to correct the decision immediately.

How would you respond to the growing sense that it is not the EU, but rather the U.S, Russia or even China that play the key role in the Balkans?

The Western Balkans has become a playground of different, strategic geopolitical interests, partly due to the absence of a strong and unified European voice in the region. We wasted too much time in the past as a result of our own crisis and problems, and we failed to deliver on promises. We now have a chance to take a leading role again. We can prove our commitment to the Western Balkans by giving a green light to the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, and the lifting of visas for Kosovo. We also won’t forget that the Western Balkans is part of Europe and always has been and will be. The EU and its member states are still the biggest donors in the region, and together we can better address the challenges of this century, such as climate change, security, terrorism, migration, trade wars etc. How do you see the role of the European Parliament in the new approach to negotiations on EU membership proposed by the European Commission?

I am glad to see that many of our S&D proposals

The EU and its member states are still the biggest donors in the region, and together we can better address the challenges of this century, such as climate change, security, terrorism, migration, trade wars etc. For me, that is the only right way forward. There can be no scenario ‘B’ Moreover, we will continue reporting on the enlargement progress of all accession countries. We will continue to be a direct link

The aforementioned list of politicians who will have a decisive impact on the Western Balkans also includes the French President. Do you believe that Emmanuel Macron will give a green light to continuing the European integration of the Balkans, and that the new methodology for negotiations will be supported by all EU member states?

I am cautiously optimistic. We have proof that swift political decisions are possible. The new methodology is adopted to please the concerned EU governments. In addition, we are receiving positive signals from Paris. March is already here and the Council will have to prove how serious and committed it is when it comes to the Western Balkans. There are domestic political issues in the Netherlands and Denmark, but it is now or never. We need a strong EU and a strong Western Balkans; we need to rebuild trust in our policies and this year could be a good one for enlargement.




“Today we are facing several security challenges in the region, but I suppose the biggest one is illegal migration, which has caused a lot of problems for the countries of the Balkans,” says H.E. Attila Pintér, Ambassador of Hungary to Serbia, speaking to CorD. “However, the solution doesn’t depend on them. The other very important challenge, in my view, is energy. It is critical for the countries of the region to have cheap and ample energy sources for the sake of economic development. Without this, they may not be able to achieve the necessary GDP growth to reach the level of development of Central Europe, and later that of the Western European countries. Without significant economic development and GDP growth, these countries will face the emigration of their population, and mainly younger generations will decide to leave their place of birth.” Your Excellency, in recent years there has been talk of a strong upsurge in bilateral relations between Hungary and

Hungary’s Position On Migration

Hasn’t Changed

Hungary – as a member of the Schengen zone – is in a special position, given that it is on the external border of the EU. This puts the burden of responsibility on us, while we simultaneously want to ensure safe and reliable transit into the EU. The opening of new border crossing stations helps the flow of people and goods, and makes services more accessible to both sides. It is not just a question of trade and commerce; such developments foster people-to-people contacts as well 14



Today we are facing several security challenges in the region, but I suppose the biggest one is illegal migration, which has caused a lot of problems for the countries of the Balkans

Serbia. Will the final outcome of those strengthened ties be the expansion of the Visegrád Group to include Serbia, as recently suggested by PM Viktor Orbán?

The Hungarian Prime Minister is very proud of the strong bilateral ties between Serbia and Hungary, but he did not specifically mention the expansion of the Visegrád Group. The V4 seeks cooperation with countries in the region, in the Visegrád Plus format. The group gladly invites leaders from these countries to Visegrád Summits based on mutual interest, as happened in October 2019, when Serbian President Vučić was a guest of the summit in Prague.


China is a strategic partner of both Hungary and Serbia, and its dominance and expertise in the field of infrastructure development is unquestionable

present its own ideas and concepts about the future of Europe that may – in certain aspects – differ from French and German perspectives.


It is important to share positive messages as the enlargement procedure of the region steps into the next stage with the new methodology

The issue of permanent accommodation for migrants who do not receive admission to countries such as Germany and Austria has been reactivated in re-

How should we interpret the message of the Prime Minister of Hungary that the idea of connecting Central European countries “does not have to please the tired Brussels elite”?

As the Ambassador of Hungary to Serbia, I cannot give you a detailed understanding of the aforementioned phrase. These countries have embarked on politics based on common sense and sovereign rights, and they are willing to cooperate with each other regionally and within the European Union. The success of these countries is demonstrated by strong economic growth that surpassed the GDP growth rate of the Eurozone. What are your thoughts on the comments that PM Orbán’s initiative is a call to create a so-called counterbalance of the Old Europe, represented by France and Germany?

The European Union is about an unending debate concerning our common future, to which we are willing to contribute. The Visegrád Group has become a significant economic and political player in Europe in past years. We could say that this bloc is now trying to

The Visegrád Group has become a significant economic and political player in Europe in past years. This bloc is now trying to present its own ideas and concepts about the future of Europe that may – in certain aspects – differ from French and German perspectives

cent weeks in Serbia. During the migrant crisis, you have mentioned “points outside the EU” where migrants should be stopped. Is Serbia part of such a plan?

The Hungarian Government’s position has not changed on the topic of migration. Prime Minister Orbán advocated in 2015 to provide backing to countries outside the EU that are located along the migrant routes, in order to provide aid in managing the migrant crisis on the frontlines. Furthermore, in order to address the situation at its roots, the Hungary Helps programme was launched to provide assistance to victims of humanitarian crises and persecuted communities, with special attention paid to Christians and other religious



Interview The long-announced project for the modernisation of the railway from Belgrade to Budapest is still not completed. When will the work start on the Hungarian side and how realistic is it for all works to be completed in five years?

groups. Its main purpose is to contribute to Hungary’s international efforts to eradicate the root causes of migration through direct, locally focused aid to support people remaining in their home countries. The problem is that the migration influx remains uncontrolled and largely illegal. This phenomenon of illegal immigration threatens the stability and identity of European nation states; while it furthermore creates security threats and raises criminal activity within the EU, and places a huge burden on the social systems and, thus, the economies of the EU. Another border crossing opened between Hungary and Serbia at the end of last year, Rabe-Kübekháza in the municipality of Novi Knezevac. What is its significance?

The Hungarian Government has expressed its intention to make the legal crossing of borders easy and widely accessible. The KübekházaRábé station is the fourth new border crossing point that opened in recent years, and more will follow. Hungary – as a member of the Schengen zone – is in a special position, given that it is on the external border of the EU. This puts the burden of responsibility on



The Budapest-Belgrade railway modernisation continues to be one of the most significant infrastructure development projects in the Central European region. Considering the immensity of the investment, due care and diligence is paramount, i.e., it must be in the best interest of all participants us, while we simultaneously want to ensure safe and reliable transit into the EU. The opening of new border crossing stations helps the flow of people and goods, and makes services more accessible to both sides. It is not just a question of trade and commerce; such developments foster people-to-people contacts as well.

The Budapest-Belgrade railway modernisation continues to be one of the most significant infrastructure development projects in the Central European region. Considering the immensity of the investment, due care and diligence is paramount, i.e., it must be in the best interest of all participants. Fortunately, cooperation between the partner countries is excellent and relies on mutual respect and determination to create a corridor of international significance. The Hungarian section of the respective rail line will be built by a Hungarian-Chinese consortium and the construction is scheduled to start in the first half of 2020 and to be completed within five years. The refurbishment of the 350 km railway line between the two capitals will result in an impressive decrease in the travel time for passenger trains (total travel time to be less than three hours), and will offer the fastest freight route between China and Western Europe via the Greek ports. The investment will have a substantial impact on the geopolitical position of both Hungary and Serbia, and also on the development of trade routes along which goods are transported into Europe. China is partner to Hungary and Serbia in rail revitalisation. Can this investment create problems for both countries in Brussels, since Hungary is a member state and Serbia is a candidate for EU membership?

For an investment of this magnitude, due diligence and legal compliance is a must. Hungary, as a member state of the EU, is subject to both national regulatory regimes and existing EU obligations. In this sense, if the rigorous implementation of all national and EU regulations are ensured, then choosing the best financial instrument and implementing partner is a technical question. China is a strategic partner of both Hungary and Serbia, and its dominance and expertise in the field of infrastructure development is unquestionable. For a strategic project like

modernisation of the Budapest-Belgrade railway, China is the rational choice. In recent talks with European Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimović, you reiterated your support for Serbia on its path towards EU membership. Do you share in the hope of your compatriot, EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi, that at least one Western Balkan country might be ready for membership by the end of his term?

I am very pleased that a new member of the European Commission responsible for enlargement expressed such high hopes regarding the accession of the Western Balkans. It is important to share positive messages as the enlargement procedure of the region steps into the next stage with the new methodology. However, this is not an unexpected development, as the Commission forecasted similar deadlines earlier for frontrunners like Serbia,

Hungary has always been an advocate for the earliest possible accession of the Western Balkan countries, especially Serbia. We contribute to this goal not through rhetoric, but through effective political and technical assistance and now this approach receives bolder political support. Hungary has always been an advocate for the earliest possible accession of the Western Balkan countries, especially Serbia. We contribute to this goal not through rhetoric, but through effective political and technical assistance.

You served one of your mandates in Skopje. Do you believe that North Macedonia and Albania should initiate EU membership negotiations?

Yes, of course. If a candidate country has fulfilled conditions for launching accession talks, then the EU must fulfil its promises in return. Finding a lasting solution in the name issue between Skopje and Athens was a prerequisite for Skopje to become a fullyfledged member of NATO. I know very well how difficult it was for the citizens to accept the new name of their country, but they signed that agreement for the sake of stability for their country and the region. NATO has reacted by inviting Skopje to become a member of the alliance. The efforts exerted by the governments and peoples of the region must be respected in a similar manner by other organisations and countries.





“Without action, almost 400 million people will die from chronic diseases in the next 10 years. Many of these deaths will occur prematurely, affecting families, communities and countries alike.” – DR CATHERINE LE GALÈS-CAMUS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR NONCOMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND MENTAL HEALTH

4TH WESTERN BALKANS INVESTMENT SUMMIT The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) summit, which has been held regularly since 2014, brought together the Prime Ministers of Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “As a leading investor in the region, we look forward to the fourth Western Balkans Investment Summit, a priority for the EBRD. Our goal is to unlock the region’s potential by supporting higher rates of economic growth as well as its regional and European integration,” said EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti. . He added that the aim of the summit was to highlight the potential for investment and business in the Western Balkans. The EBRD is one of the largest investors in the Western Balkan countries, to which it has invested € 13 billion.

JEFF BEZOS GIVES $10BLN TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE Jeff Bezos has announced that he is giving $ 10 billion to combat climate change. The richest person in the world will fund different scientists, activists and other organizations fighting global warming.

INDIA TO PURCHASE OVER $3BLN WORTH OF AMERICAN MILITARY EQUIPMENT US President Donald Trump said on Feb 25th that India and the US have expanded their defence cooperation with agreements for New Delhi to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters - the finest in the world. After extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which strategic issues, including trade ties, counter-terror and energy cooperation were discussed, Trump at a joint press meet with Modi said they affirmed the two countries’ commitment to protect their citizens from radical Islamic DONALD TRUMP (LEFT) AND NARENDRA MODI terrorism.



“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” he wrote. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.” Bezos wrote in Instagram. The money will fund any attempt to actually protect the environment. The wealth of Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon and Washington Post, is estimated at 130 billion dollars.


“I think it is likely we will see a global pandemic. If a pandemic happens, 40% to 70% of people world-wide are likely to be infected in the coming year. What proportion is asymptomatic, I can’t give a good number.” – PROF. MARC LIPSITCH, PROF. OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

CORONAVIRUS SPREADS TO SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES Several European countries have extended airport screenings for passengers with fever symptoms arriving from Italy. Such screenings are done in Budapest and Debrecen, Hungary’s second-largest city, as well as airports in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and airport in Serbia’s capital Belgrade. Czech capital Prague’s airport has also earmarked special gates with targeted screening and “increased hygienic measures”. In Poland’s capital Warsaw, medical personnel are boarding planes from Italy for temperature checks before allowing passengers to disembark while Bulgaria Air has cancelled all flights between Sofia and Milan until 27 March. Austria said there could be further temporary border closures following the temporary halt of railway traffic at the Brenner pass In Croatia, people returning from the virus-hit Italian regions will be questioned by border police, epidemiologists and sanitary inspectors.


Policy will give 164 days to each parent. This is about seven months. Parents can also transfer up to 69 of their own days to their partner. This means it is possible for one parent to take nine months of parental leave. For single parents, Finland is giving all 328 days to the mother or father. Finland’s current parental leave gives four months for maternity leave, and two months for fathers.

Finland is giving new parents more time to spend with their babies. The Finnish government has decided to give mothers and fathers seven months of parental leave. This means Finland will almost double the amount of its maternity leave and paternity leave. The new Family Leave

OSCAR 2020: “PARASITE” MAKES HISTORY Movie “Parasite” directed by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, has made history at the Oscars 2020, by becoming the first-ever movie not in the English language to win Best Picture. The magnificent South Korean social thriller won four awards on the night, including Directing for Bong Joon-ho, and beat expected favourite 1917 in Best Picture and Directing where Sam Mendes was all set to win. Best actress was Renée Zellweger, for the role in the movie Judy and the best actor was best actor elected was Joaquin Phoenix, for the movie Joker

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY The Boy Scouts of America, an enduring presence for young people in the country for the past 110 years, has filed for bankruptcy protection amid an avalanche of sex abuse lawsuits that are set to result in huge victim compensation payments. Several thousand men say they were molested when they were scouts by scoutmasters and other leaders several decades ago and are now able to sue due to changes in statute-of-limitations laws in a number of states. This wave of potential financial settlements helped push the Scouts to file for chapter 11 in Delaware. In an open letter, Jim Turley, the national chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, said the organization has taken the bankruptcy option to “ensure we can equitably compensate all victims of past abuse in our programs, through a proposed victims’ compensation trust”.




Could Europe Deal With the Economic Impact of a Major Coronavirus Outbreak?

The Fear Is Intensifying In Europe

The European economy slowed down more than was forecast in the last quarter of 2019, and it is still facing geopolitical risks while it braces for the full impact of Brexit in a few months. Now the coronavirus outbreak has become an economic risk: after Italy imposed a strict quarantine on at least 10 northern towns, it is no longer a distant danger in either space or time


his comes at a moment that could put not only the EU’s economy, but its politics and institutions, under serious stress. Italy is Europe’s third-largest economy, and its slowest-growing — GDP is forecast to increase a paltry 0.3% this year, vs 1.2% for the whole eurozone. The coronavirus had been detected in one of the country’s most prosperous regions of the industrial north, which could hit manufacturing and exports — one of the few strengths of the Italian economy. There are already many reasons to doubt



Europe’s capacity to deal with the problem swiftly and decisively — even before envisioning an even more serious spread of the virus. The bloc is likely to approach a possible severe crisis in the same way it did the euro crises of the recent past: by bickering and delaying, thus increasing the final cost of the decisions it finally takes. To fight a downturn, Europe can in theory consider fiscal stimulus or monetary easing, and preferably both. But policy makers already seem more eager to offload the hot potato than to think about serious ways to deal with

a possible crisis. In the margins of the G20 meeting of finance ministers last weekend, both the French and Italian central bank governors warned that responsibility to deal with the fallout from the virus should fall on governments since the European Central Bank’s policy is already loose enough. No matter that this runs contrary to the ECB’s official party line, which is that it has, or could always find, new tools or instruments to deal with a worsening economy. The governors’ statement is a good advance indication of the game of pass-the-parcel that Europe’s policy makers will play when the time comes for serious decisions. On the central bankers’ side, the “strategic review” that ECB President Christine Lagarde seems so keen on promoting could prove a serious distraction if a crisis hits. Until now it seemed that the next ECB governing council meeting in March would merely be an uneventful one, with policy unchanged. But with new risks tacked on a slowing economy, that may no longer be the case. Meanwhile, European governments have just shown how divided they are on fiscal matters in their discussions of the next EU multi-year budget, with an offensive of the self-described “frugal” countries, led by the Netherlands, who insist on shrinking common spending, in spite of the hole that the lack of U.K. contribution will leave in the budget. There is no doubt where they would stand if the question of a pan-European coordinated fiscal stimulus is raised. Germany has refrained from formally appearing alongside the “frugals” even though there is no doubt where the heart of German politicians is. But the ruling coalition government is too focused on domestic politics to care much about what to do in Europe. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party was just trounced in regional elections in Hamburg and is still in search of a leader. Uncertainty is for now the only certainty in German politics, with the likelihood of Merkel’s early retirement (instead of at the end of the Parliament’s term in the fall of 2021) increasing by the day. Should a major crisis erupt now, the German political funk will prove a serious obstacle to European decision-making.

Health policy is mostly a national matter, and is not included in the EU’s remit. And for now, as UBS chief economist Paul Donovan has noted, “fear is what matters economically”

There are already many reasons to doubt Europe’s capacity to deal with the problem swiftly and decisively — even before envisioning an even more serious spread of the virus when talking about the outbreak’s impact. But what the EU’s responsibility should be is to make sure it would and could help a member country hit disproportionately by the outbreak to cushion its economic consequences. There are reasons to doubt it will be up to the task. In Europe the fears have intensified over

the spread of the coronavirus, roiling markets from oil to equities. Investors have fled to perceived safety, sending gold and bonds higher. In Austria, a young Italian couple who live

in Innsbruck in the Tyrol were confirmed to have the virus. Switzerland said a man in his seventies living in Ticino, had been infected in the city of Milan on 15 February and was now in isolation A man in Croatia who recently returned from Italy became the first confirmed patient in the Balkans On the Spanish island of Tenerife, up to 1,000 guests were locked down in a hotel after an Italian doctor and his wife tested positive for the virus Spain reported its first case on the mainland, involving a woman in Barcelona who had been to northern Italy France and Germany reported new cases involving people who had recently been to northern Italy France also confirmed the first death of a French national from the virus. The 60-yearold French man was the second fatality in the country, after an 80-year-old Chinese tourist died there earlier this month




In which directions should announced negotiations

It Takes Four

To Tango

After being on a dead end road for a long time, the deadlock between Belgrade and Pristina was suddenly broken in 2020 with the appointment of U.S. envoy Richard Grenell, who was praised for enticing leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to sign an agreement on the re-establishing of air and rail traffic. Yet, in an atmosphere of unfulfilled obligations, unrealistic plans, wasted years, exhausted energies and lost generations, much more is needed to restore hope and bring results


ollowing the upcoming elections in Serbia, Belgrade and Pristina should be both gain leaders who have the legitimacy to end the deadlock that dialogue has found itself in. At least this is what’s believed by some of the respondents



surveyed by CorD. However, this is only part of a future puzzle in which it is unclear whether the U.S. and Europe will have similar or different approaches during a juncture when numerous old and new issues have amassed on the negotiating table.

between Belgrade and Pristina unfold?


SYNCHRONISATION OF AMERICA AND EU KEY TO DIRECTION AND FINAL RESULT IF THERE IS NO SYNCHRONISATION BETWEEN EUROPE AND AMERICA, AS THE TWO KEY EXTERNAL FACTORS, THE DIRECTION OF NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN BELGRADE AND PRISTINA, AND THE DIALOGUE’S ULTIMATE DESIRABLE OUTCOME, MAY BE COMPLETELY INCONSISTENT. THAT WOULD ALSO JEOPARDISE THE ACTUAL NEGOTIATION PROCESS, AS WELL AS ITS SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION America or Europe. Or both America and Europe. These are key questions when it comes to the direction in which the announced talks between Belgrade and Pristina will unfold. Specifically, after the apparent failure to date of the EU in leading this process, a new player has emerged on the scene in the form of America. Now, with the resumption of negotiations announced, no one has given a coherent answer to the question of how synchronisation between these two key international factors will unfold or whether it will even exist. Here at the very start we have a double asynchronicity. When it comes to America, we have two official negotiating delegates - Matthew Palmer and Richard Grenell. When it comes to the European Union, things are even more complicated. Officially, negotiations will be led on behalf of the European Union by Josep Borell, or his special envoy. But one of the key members of the European Union, namely Germany, has so far been behind the official representative of the EU, and now that Angela Merkel is leaving it is France, or Emannuel Macron, who wants to take over this role directly. And finally, there is the possibility of asynchronous action by the EU and America. On the occasion of his recent visit to Belgrade and Pristina, Borell stated that he is not vying with the Americans and that they would work together, but he didn’t explain how. This is all the more questionable if we consider since that America has seen the EU as a competitive power since the start of Trump’s term. If the demarcation option has definitely collapsed (which would be good news), negotiations should head in the other direction, with the lowest common denominator for both parties. This would

be the Brussels Agreement that has IF THE DEMARCATION already envisaged the Community of OPTION HAS DEFINITELY Serbian Municipalities, but not as a COLLAPSED (WHICH non-governmental organisation, rather WOULD BE GOOD NEWS), as a functional body with executive powers, which would have relations NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD with both Pristina and Belgrade, HEAD IN THE OTHER and ensure the extraterritoriality of DIRECTION, WITH THE Serbian religious sites in Kosovo. With LOWEST COMMON pressure applied from the outside, DENOMINATOR FOR this could end up being the least BOTH PARTIES painful solution for Pristina, while for Belgrade it would provide an alibi by having secured some kind of autonomy for northern Kosovo while simultaneously preserving Serbian holy sites. With more pressure applied by America, which has a decisive impact on Pristina, but also on Belgrade, and with the EU having conditioned Serbia’s path to EU membership with the solving of Kosovo’s problems, this solution could mark the end of a long negotiation path. But a key question remains from the beginning of the text: namely, if there is no synchronisation among the two key external factors noted, the direction of negotiations and their final desirable outcome could be completely inconsistent, which would jeopardise the negotiation process itself and its successful conclusion.






In which directions should announced negotiations

Over the last three years, the Brussels Dialogue has been like a dying patient surrounded by numerous doctors (politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats and experts) who, instead of providing decisive therapy, occasionally hold consultations (usually in the evening) on whether the patient should be treated. Their exchanges of opinion and frequent political-propaganda strikes invite followers to mobilise. This mobilisation is directed more towards conflict than creating support for dialogue and agreement. The aim is to impose a one-sided solution, but in reality maintain the status quo. And in this the rejection of any change is widening. In the short term, this rejection leads to a deepening crisis and a new conflict. This, in turn, forces the public, the leaderships of Kosovo and Serbia, as well as international stakeholders, to choose between the renewal of conflict and dialogue on normalisation. The appointment of U.S. Special THE CONCERTED Envoys (Matt Palmer for the Western EFFORTS OF THE Balkans and Richard Grenell for the MEMBERS OF THE Brussels Dialogue) and the European QUINT, TO ENCOURAGE Commission’s announcement that it will appoint its own envoys raise THE NEWLY ELECTED hopes that the dialogue and normaliKOSOVO GOVERNMENT sation process will be revived. Two TO ABOLISH TARIFFS letters and one statement of intent AND THE SERBIAN that have been signed by representaAUTHORITIES tives of Serbia and Kosovo in the TO ABANDON presence of Grenell, with the enviable adeptness of this in politicalACTIVITIES AIMED AT propaganda marketing, create the DELEGITIMISING belief that the economy can make RECOGNITION an improvement to people ‘s lives. OF KOSOVO’S However, the Kosovo government’s INDEPENDENCE AND tariffs for products from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina provide a MEMBERSHIP IN ALL reminder that the economy is not INTERNATIONAL omnipotent; that full normalisation is ORGANISATIONS, required for the sustainable developSHOULD CREATE THE ment and democratic construction of CONDITIONS REQUIRED Serbia and Kosovo. FOR RENEWED The concerted efforts of the members of the Quint, to encourage POLITICAL DIALOGUE the newly elected Kosovo government to abolish tariffs and the Serbian authorities to abandon activities aimed at delegitimising recognition of Kosovo’s independence and membership in all international organisations, should create the conditions required for renewed political dialogue. With the aim of renewing the dialogue and reaching a sustainable political solution, the following facts should be kept in mind: Firstly, Serbia and Kosovo cannot resolve the current crisis alone and unilaterally. Kosovo cannot emerge from this crisis rewarded with the full recognition of its statehood by Serbia. The demand for “mutual and sustainable recognition” will have to wait for some new times and different economic, political and security circumstances. Serbia cannot ensure the economic progress and security of the Serb community in Kosovo without cooperating with the Kosovo authorities. Kosovo, however, is not helped by its unilateral insistence on its ultimate interests. It is worth sticking to the rules of equality, and not parity or any measures of reciprocity. 24


Secondly, it is necessary for there to be more creativity than has been shown so far, because the renewed dialogue will have to find answers to numerous issues that have not been debated to date, such as the settlement of mutual claims, but also enabling the establishment of the agreed Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO). The issues of recognition and demarcation will not be able to be avoided. In the development of creativity, it would be good to respect the following principles. The first is that, even if there is no definite answer to the question of whether and when Kosovo is recognised as a full member of the international community, that end can be reached peacefully, through dialogue and the normalisation of Serbia and Kosovo relations. Of course, this is not sufficient if there is no agreement among the “big players” (EU, U.S., Russia and China); The second principle - instead of a “final solution”, it would be good to prepare for the journey in several stages. The first stage should end with Serbia’s EU membership and the opening of realistic prospects for the full recognition of Kosovo. Until then, the rule of status neutrality, contained in the text of the UN General Assembly Resolution on EU-backed dialogue and in Chapter 35 of the Serbia-EU Negotiations Framework, applies.



CHOICES NARROWING FOR SERBIA SERBIA HAS A CHOICE: IT CAN NORMALISE SOONER OR LATER. IF IT WAITS TOO LONG—UNTIL EU ACCESSION IS IN SIGHT—IT WILL GET NOTHING IN RETURN. IF, HOWEVER, BELGRADE CHOOSES NORMALISATION SOONER, IT CAN STILL HOPE FOR SOME CONCESSIONS Now that Kosovo’s government has formed, Washington and Brussels will want to find ways of continuing the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. The first order of business should be the implementation of the many existing agreements, especially on energy. It has been a mistake to let them languish. That should be the focus between now and the April parliamentary elections in Serbia, when both countries will have democratically legitimised governments that can be expected to last several years.

between Belgrade and Pristina unfold? The next order of business, once IT HAS BEEN A MISTAKE a new government takes charge in TO LET NUMEROUS Belgrade, will be a major confidenceEXISTING AGREEMENTS building package that includes the LANGUISH. THAT suspension of Kosovo’s tariffs on Serbian goods; suspension of the SerSHOULD BE THE FOCUS bian anti-recognition campaign and BETWEEN NOW AND THE blockage of Kosovo’s membership in APRIL PARLIAMENTARY technical organisations like UNESCO ELECTIONS IN SERBIA and Interpol; EU implementation of the visa waiver for Kosovo and continuation of the EU accession process for Serbia. Such a package would unblock the Belgrade/Pristina dialogue and open the door to further agreements that move in the direction of complete normalisation. That ultimately means mutual recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as an exchange of representatives at the ambassadorial level. Serbia has a choice: it can normalise sooner or later. If it waits too long—until EU accession is in sight—it will get nothing in return. If, however, Belgrade chooses normalisation soon, it can still hope for some concessions on things like the Kosovo Army, protection of Serbs and religious sites in Kosovo, an association of Serb municipalities consistent with the Kosovo constitution, some sort of international regime for North Mitrovica, a mutual agreement on war crime prosecutions and a serious economic package. The basic principle, however, will have to be reciprocity. Anything Belgrade asks of Pristina for Serbs in Kosovo it needs to be ready to match for Albanians living inside Serbia. The same will need to be true for Kosovo: anything it asks of Belgrade for Albanians inside Serbia, Pristina will need to be ready to provide to Serbs in Kosovo. The days of asking for an Association of Serb Municipalities or limits on the Kosovo Army without providing comparable concessions inside Serbia are over. What’s good for Pristina will have to be good for Belgrade as well.



Nothing more plausible has, until recently, described the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina than the phrase that has been increasingly heard since last summer: dialogue is at a dead end. I have been repeating it at least ten times longer, while not encountering much understanding among my international interlocutors. It was particularly misunderstood when I stated aloud that the dialogue was fake. The ode to normalisation sung in the Brussels spotlight was simultaneously accompanied by the destabilisation of political life in the domestic arena and the descent of our societies left in the dark. As a Serb from Kosovo, I am naturally most concerned with what was happening to my fellow countrymen and our lives. My community has been dwindling for the past 20 years. When I try to clarify to those who know nothing about us the extremely difficult and complex situation of Kosovo Serbs in respect to BelgradePristina relations, then I say that we are an ingredient pressed in a sandwich, a thin sheet of lettuce. It was precisely via this thin salad HERE IS WHAT THE leaf that the normalisation process DIALOGUE MUST of the two sides was introduced NOT BE: A QUICK FIX, back in 2014. Yet we all know that normalisation was another name for DECEITFUL AND the final withdrawal of Serbia from SIMULATED, Kosovo, as part of its state territory, ALIENATED AND towards the expectation of a formal HIJACKED FROM THE arrangement between Serbia and PEOPLE, LED Kosovo as two separate states. The deadlock seems finally to BY ILL INTENTIONS. have been broken in 2020, in a word THE SANDWICH MUST - Grenell. At least that is how the CONTAIN ALL revival of dialogue has been seen by INGREDIENTS FRESH, the public. OTHERWISE IT WILL BE All sides applaud “GrennelisaDIFFICULT TO CHEW tion”, with the stakeholders praising each other in their avalanches AND SWALLOW, of tweets. The EU, with its revised NEVER MIND proactive methodology towards the TO DIGESTED Western Balkans, just re-joined the HEALTHILY club and is expected to soon appoint its own envoy for the dialogue. But why is it not difficult for me to imagine that the great ideas of re-establishing air and rail traffic and building a highway did not originate from Grennel? And why is it not at all difficult to imagine the ease with which the two presidents designed and got their teams ready to sign such Letters of Intent? It is just my fear of 2014 déjà vu: the ease of printing important words on white sheet of papers; the enthusiasm over a new chapter of life and time-line; the big promises and great thoughts versus unfulfilled obligations, unrealistic plans, ignored interests of people, wasted years, exhausted energies and lost generations. Here is what the dialogue must not be: a quick fix, deceitful and simulated, alienated and hijacked from the people, led by ill intentions. The sandwich must contain all ingredients fresh, otherwise it will be difficult to chew and swallow, never mind to digested healthily. March



By Georgi Gotev,

Why Is America Eclipsing The EU In The Balkans?


It’s very rare to witness first-hand an acceleration of history, and this is precisely what is happening in the Balkans now. In a very short time, Serbia and Kosovo took huge steps towards normalising their relations


n 20 January, Belgrade and Pristina agreed to launch direct commercial flights after more than 20 years. Direct flights were halted in 1998 when war broke out in Kosovo between ethnic Albanian insurgents and Serbian security forces. Serbia lost control of its former province after the NATO bombing in 1999 ended the ethnic conflict in which more than 13,000 people, mainly Kosovo Albanians, were killed. Then, on 6 February the new Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, pledged to abolish the 100% tariffs on Serbian imports, an impediment to normalisation efforts between the two countries enforced by his hardline predecessor Ramush Haradinaj in 2018. But there was more. On 15 February, the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Alexandar Vučić and Hashim Thaçi, announced during the Munich Security Conference deals to work on building rail and road links between their capitals. Whereas getting them in the same room was already difficult enough until now, there are even rumours Washington wants the Serbia-Kosovo issue done and dusted this year. There is one thing in common in all these three developments: the broker was the United States, represented by the country’s hyperactive ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell.



The EU had tried and failed to fix the tariffs crisis. In a typical American style, Grenell reportedly told Pristina that the US will annul its investment in Kosovo unless the tariffs are revoked. He may have said other things as well, for all we know. The resumption of flights was hailed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, but no similar congratulations came from the EU side. The same goes for the other breakthroughs. It really looks like the EU is jealous of America’s success in the Balkans.

One of the obvious reasons for the sudden US activism in the Balkans is Russia, which has always had appetites for the region. The other, less visible one, is Turkey, which is no longer the reliable ally the US needs in the region

On 14 February, journalists asked the Commission to comment the US successes, as there is a lot of EU money being spent in the region without any such visible results. In reply, the EU executive was on the defensive during the next 18 minutes. The questions remain: why is the US more successful than the EU in our immediate neighbourhood? Is it because Grenell is more talented as a diplomat than Borrell or his predecessor Mogherini? Or is it because the EU only relies on soft power, while the US also uses other, more effective methods, such as blackmail of corrupt politicians? In any case, the US is much more active on the wider Balkans these days. US pressure can also be felt in North Macedonia and even in EU member Bulgaria. In the latter, State Secretary Mike Pompeo for the first time named a corrupt official, and it is expected that more such “public designations” will follow. One of the obvious reasons for the sudden US activism in the Balkans is Russia, which has always had appetites for the region. The other, less visible one, is Turkey, which is no longer the reliable ally the US needs in the region. Washington needs reliable allies in the corrupt Balkans – and it seems to be getting them rather easily.





Strong Banks Innovative And Remarkable Architecture Guarantee For A Changing World Growth

No Business Without Knowhow

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Strong Banks Guarantee Growth With more than 800 million euros of foreign currency savings, AIK Banka is today the reliable partner of a large number of citizens and entrepreneurs. By following the trends of modern banking, it has adapted its traditionally economically orientated strategy to markets and clients whose needs it has monitored closely for years


consistent and effective fiscal policy, a public debt-to-GDP ratio at a level of 52%, and a low and stable inflation rate, with NBS projections that it will remain at this level, all preserve our macroeconomic and banking sector stability, says AIK Bank CEO Jelena Galić with optimism. The consolidation of the banking system is underway, both on the domestic market and throughout the region, and will continue in the period ahead. Why is the consolidation of banks good for both banks and local economies, but also for all of us, as ordinary citizens? The merging of banks creates economically stronger banks, with greater potential to mobilise new sources, as well as greater



potential to invest in development projects, which ensures the continued growth of the banking sector, and a strong, stable banking sector is one of the basic levers for securing sustainable economic growth. Viewed as such, the banking sector provides support to domestic economic growth and contributes to regional integration and the strengthening of the economies of the entire region, which is composed of markets that are individually small. On the other hand, the needs of the real sector are similar and regulatory requirements are almost uniform, which increases the possibility for the joint financing of large development projects regionally, with which multiple effects are realised – not only on accelerating national economic growth, but rather also on connecting the economy, expanding the entire regional market, strengthening the competitiveness and economic development of the region. All of this is ultimately good for citizens as well, because stable banks have better and higher quality products, which is the most important factor for users of banking services. Serbia has been recording GDP growth for the last two years already. Does this create the opportunity for the growth of investment in development projects and faster economic development? GDP growth of 4% in 2019 and 4.3% in

2018 are extremely important and positive indicators, which create the space for the further growth of investments. The construction sector was the main driver of growth, which is yet more confirmation that investment in infrastructure has an effect on accelerating economic growth that’s several times greater, given that mainly domestic construction operations are engaged. We also shouldn’t forget about greater investments in health infrastructure and education, which improve quality of life and what we call human capital. In the end, building highquality infrastructure eases the operations of the private sector, which is of paramount importance to faster economic development. Serbia’s credit rating was raised at year’s end 2019 from BB to BB+, while a positive outlook was maintained. How important

In addition to occupying one of the leading positions on the basis of client numbers, AIK Bank is also a leader of the Serbian banking system in terms of capital adequacy

is this for attracting foreign direct investment, for accelerated economic growth and development, for strengthening export potential etc.? Yes, it is true that Standard and Poor’s (S&P) increased Serbia’s credit rating from BB to BB+, which is just one step below the investment rating. The raising of the credit rating is based on strong economic growth expectations for Serbia and a reduction in public debt, which creates a positive outlook for further inflows of FDI. This could further strengthen our exports and Serbia’s resilience to external shocks. FDI inflows for the first eleven months of the previous year amounted to 3.1 billion euros, which represents an increase of 37.3%. With an increased credit rating and continued FDI inflows, we can certainly expect stronger export potential and accelerated economic development. The percentage of non-performing loans also increased at one point, with the interest of citizens and the economy in loans simultaneously decreasing. What is the situation like today? Do you expect the expansion of credit to continue? The participation of NPLs is at its lowest level (the NPL level fell further in November 2019 to 4.6%) and is covered by regulatory reserves by over 80%. A positive trend is also being recorded in the adequate structure and improving the quality of banking assets – the ratio of loans and deposits is stable and total around 94%, which shows that credit activity is financed from domestic sources. At the same time, the capitalisation of the banking sector in Serbia is high - capital adequacy stands at around 23%, which contributes to the banking sector’s resilience to potential shocks. Current trends are good and I expect them to remain so in the future. Interest rates on government securities follow the downward trend in the reference interest rate and are being reduced to new minimums, while interest rates on loans are close to their lowest levels. Interest rates on dinar loans to households have fallen to their new minimum of 9.1%, while a sharp reduction in the country’s risk premium and a relaxation of the monetary policy of the

European Central Bank contributed to the fall in interest rates on euro-indexed loans. Lower financing costs and sustained GDP growth are supported by the credit policy - total loans recorded growth of 10.4% in November 2019, with growth recorded in investment loans to corporate clients and

Digital transformation is a strategic commitment of AIK Bank aimed at strengthening its market position, acquiring clients, reducing costs and increasing efficiency

residential loans to households, alongside a slight slowdown in cash loans. All these developments indicate that the continued expansion of credit can be expected, which all together should contribute to achieving higher rates of economic growth and ensuring sustainable development. Thanks to the digital transformation that you’ve embarked upon, you are strengthen-

ing your market and competitive position by the day and acquiring new clients. What can we expect in the coming period? Some new products and services? Banks need to invest ever more in transformations, in order to remain competitive on the market. This implies the implementation of new, advanced technologies, as well as a clear strategy that defines the business model, market focus, clients and products. As such, digital transformation implies that clients and the market embrace new technologies and services, which has to date proven to be a challenge. AIK Bank has already stepped into the world of digital transformation, new technologies and innovations. We strive to be turned ever more digitally towards our surroundings, in order to strengthen our market and competitive position, acquire, serve and retain clients, reduce operating costs and increase efficiency. AIK Bank will continue in this direction in the future, because the satisfaction of our clients is our number one priority. What made this year’s Kopaonik Business Forum different from all previous editions? This year it was dominated by topics such as the fourth industrial revolution, digitalisation, education, smart specialisation, employment policy, the brain drain, innovation etc. Serbia is a country with regulated public finances, low and stable inflation and a relatively stable exchange rate; it is a country with double-digit growth in exports and investments, a strong fall in unemployment levels and a rise in private sector earnings, which enables a shift in focus to topics that are important to further development and wider socio-economic progress. Furthermore, the “Serbian Davos” is an important place not only for us from Serbia, but for the entire Western Balkans. The regional aspect of development is very important, as are the perspectives of each individual economy in our region. We shouldn’t forget that joint regional action makes it easier to realise the effects of economies of scale, which contributes to a significant acceleration of economic growth across the entire region, and consequently has multiple effects on the growth of national economies.





“Serbia is the right place to invest in, as shown by the data on FDI influx and by the significant tax reliefs for investments in research, technology and innovation, but mostly because human capital is one of Serbia’s biggest strengths.” – ANA BRNABIC, PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA NOVA LJUBLJANSKA BANKA (NLB)

NEW OWNER OF KOMERCIJALNA BANKA Komercijalna Banka, Serbia’s largest state-owned bank, was sold to the Slovenian Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) for approximately €450 million. Lest year Komercijalna Banka recorded good results with profit of over €75 million. Once NLB takes over Komercijalna, it will have an 11% market share in the Serbian banking market. Slovenian NLB outbid the other two bidders Raiffeisenbank and AIK Banka. The negotiation process has been completed and that the contract should be signed shortly. In addition to Serbia, Komercijalna Banka also operates in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska where it is the sixth-largest bank. POST OF SERBIA

AWARDED UPU GOLD CERTIFICATE International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union awarded Post of Serbia with a Gold Certificate for quality management in international postal traffic, confirming that Serbian Post in all respects meets the highest international standards and regulations in the performance of international postal traffic, i.e. that reception, processing, transfer and delivery of postal items in international traffic is strictly carried out pursuant to defined acts and according to the highest standards of UPU. The Gold Standard will be officially presented to the Post of Serbia at the 27th Congress of the Universal Postal Union, to be held in August 2020, in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). AIR SERBIA

SIX NEW ROUTES IN 2020 Air Serbia enters 2020 with six new routes in Europe and the Middle East. Starting June, Air Serbia will establish routes from the Serbian capital to Geneva, Amman, Rostov-on-Don, Florence, Lviv, and Chisinau. Air Serbia will operate four weekly flights on the new route to the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Belgrade and Rostov-on-Don, an important city and port in southern Russia, will be connected with four weekly flights, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. It will operate two weekly flights between Belgrade and Florence in central Italy, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights to the west Ukrainian city of Lviv will be operated four times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Belgrade and the Moldovan capital Chisinau will be connected with four weekly flights, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.




As it becomes increasingly more challenging to recruit and retain talented employees, companies are getting creative and turning to workplace design as a solution. Here are the top 10 physical and service features that employees considered to be most important in the workplace, in order of preference: 1. Functional desk 2. Comfortable chair 3. Coffee, and other refreshment facilities 4. General cleanliness 5. Temperature control 6. Small meeting rooms 7. Restroom privacy 8. Functional printing, copying and scanning equipment 9. Natural light 10. Nearby restaurant or canteen


“We are aware of the importance of Industry 4.0 and the opportunities it brings but, at the same time, we should be able to make use of its potential. Serbia needs to set social and political strategies.” – ALEKSANDAR VLAHOVIC, PRESIDENT OF SERBIAN ASSOCIATION OF ECONOMISTS JAT TEHNIKA

CZECH-BASED AVIA PRIME BUYS JAT TEHNIKA The Czech company Avia Prime has signed a contract to acquire Jat Tehnika in a €10.3m deal for the Belgrade-based company. Jat Tehnika’s facility at the Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport will be Avia Prime’s fourth aircraft maintenance site, along with Ljubljana, Katowice and Rzhev airports. Jat Tehnika was founded in 2006 when it separated from its mother company Jat Airways. “With this transaction, we have taken a step forward in the development of JAT Tehnika and the entire Avia Prime Group, pushing the boundaries of the MRO industry by entering Serbia ,“ said Dejan Kostic, vice president of Avia Prime. Avia Prime, which bought JAT Tehnika in December 2019, has 100 percent of ownership in the Slovenian Adria Tehnika and Polish Linetech. Piotr Kaczor, Avia Prime CEO, said then his company would try to put JAT tehnika at the highest world level in the maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) services,” where it traditionally belongs.” AGROMARKET



INDEPENDENT GAS TRANSPORT OPERATOR The Council of the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia (AERS) has adopted a decision certifying the Serbian-Russian company Gastrans, formerly known as South Stream (Juzni tok) as an independent natural gas transport operator. The decision confirms a preliminary decision made by AERS in mid-August last year, under which Gastrans must also submit its exploitation permit or register the right of ownership of natural gas transport system facilities no later than six months after the start of operations. The decision also says Gastrans is obliged to submit evidence showing that it operates and manages the constructed transport system independently. The Council made the decision in keeping with the procedure and the conditions set out in the Energy Law and the Rules on licencing for energy activity and on certification, as well as with the conditions stipulated in an AERS decision on exemption of a new natural gas interconnector.

The company “Agromarket”, owned by Serbian businessman Dusan Mojsilovic is the new owner of “Semenarna Ljubljana. Slovenian daily “Delo”reports that “Dezelna banka Slovenije” (DBS), which as the only owner of “Semenarna Ljubljana” has been searching for a strategic partner for several months, has chosen “Agromarket” as its new owner. “Semenarna” announced that it is expanding its range of seedlings under its brand, will refresh its range of animal food and offer new substrates. The company increased both retail sales and exports last year. “Semenarna” also owns “Juzni Banat” company, which is engaged in cultivation of apples and peaches, fertilizer producer “Fertiko”, agricultural enterprise “Zajecar” and seed producer “Agroseme”. Dusan Mojsilovic is expected to buy receivables from the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) and stakes owned by DBS.


NEW WEBSITE STARTED LAST MONTH The United Media company launched the website end of last month to offer the readers the latest information from politics, society, economy, culture, sports, entertainment, sciences, technology… The website team is made of experienced editors and journalists who will seek answers to all current topics, explain and analyse the background of all events, and there will not be any taboo issue. The editor-in-chief of the new website will be Veselin Simonovic who has huge experience and success achieved in a long-lasting journalist career. He was the editor-in-chief of the Blic daily, editor of its integrated newsroom. Simonovic also had experience in an editorial job with the Vreme weekly and Borba VESELIN SIMONOVIC daily, the UM said.




Innovative and Remarkable Architecture For A Changing World A3 Architects is a multidisciplinary architectural studio that has, in just 12 years of operations, gained the trust of both private investors and the world’s leading international companies, who chose this great team to design their buildings and interiors


heir approach to architectural engagement is based on respect for the natural environment and creative collaboration with project participants, with the aim of achieving a unique and sustainable design, and when asked what clients can expect from them, the partners of A3 Architects say - “Experience the Exceptional”. In just 12 years, your small studio has grown to become a company with offices in Belgrade and Prague, and soon also in London. Are you among the rare regional architects whose work is internationally recognised and acknowledged? Aleksandar Mitić, Master of Architecture, Founder and Partner: I’m happy that we achieved all our medium-term goals in a short period. Our realised projects can be seen in the most prestigious locations: London, New York, Vienna, Prague, Zurich, Dubai etc. There is more than half a million square metres located on three continents that we’ve designed for more than 20 of the world’s most powerful companies. We are today successfully overcoming the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and managing to occupy a place on the global stage with our work and ideas. Flexibility is in focus, while understanding and embracing changes and new circumstances must be beyond question. We design facilities and interiors with an awareness that circumstances will change, and we at-



tach great importance to this, in order for us to keep pace with, and ahead of, the times. Our projects can’t be easily identified according to style. That would not suit our intentions or our philosophy. Our concept of style is fundamentally an intellectual stance. We consider that architecture depends on context; there are always written and unwritten obligations that don’t necessarily suit our aesthetic vision. You are known as a team that experiments, researches and constantly seeks new and better design solutions? Is this also a way to arrive at solutions that are smart when viewed from the perspective of engineering? Mladen Nastasijević, Master of Architecture, Founder and Partner: Absolutely! Research allows us to create innovative environments on the basis of the best possible information and insights, while exploring design offers our clients an additional measure of security. We have an integrated approach to design, because - in addition to architects - we bring together graphic designers, researchers and anthropologists, in order for us to create places that win over and encourage a superior performance. One of our most complex projects in which you can see and experience both our architecture and design, as well as our approach and the creative process itself,

is the Serbian Pavilion at the DUBAI EXPO 2020 World Exhibition, which will be held in Dubai this year. That is actually a project that depicts the future that is happening and that follows for us: the fusing of architecture, design, art, poetry, science and technology, which resulted in a building with a unique design and technology of the future. What kind of cooperation do you have with urban planners, construction companies and workers? Mladen Vulević, architect and partner: Considering that we offer our sphere of activity at various scales – from furniture design to urban planning projects, the scope and volume of our engagement depends on the complexity of a project and the wishes of the investor. We’re proud of the fact that we can offer our expert services on the global market, and we’re even more proud that, with our competitiveness, we realise high-quality, perseverance and dedication with each specific project. We collaborate with experts, independent engineers or teams of various professions with international experience and a will to research and implement the latest technological solutions. Managing a project with external resources is of crucial importance to us, which is why we stick to our collaborators and strive to achieve tangible goals together.


No Business Without Knowhow Thanks to its familiarity with both the local market and global trends, CORPO Public Affairs is focused on coming up with a unique model of corporate governance, organisation and strategic communications for every company in accordance with its size, plans and business culture


ur team is a real partner when it is necessary to create an organisational structure that’s ready for all challenges, which communicates with key target sections of the public and decision makers at the strategic level, and which has a plan and knows how to implement it, reveals Jelena Krstović for CorD. You are a doctor of science and college lecturer, and you also served as vice president of a company that then had an annual turnover of three billion euros and 24,000 employees. Which of those experiences do you rely on the most today? Considering my rich and diverse experience, I must emphasise that I’ve always relied on the mutual integration of my academic and business knowledge and experience. I believe that the results of the company only achieve their full potential when this synergy exists, when academic knowledge is used in the service of business, and, of course, the reverse also applies. What is most important to our clients is extensive experience in a large business system, but also experience gained through managing small businesses and systems and start-up companies. The essence is indeed to adapt yourself and create a unique

model of corporate governance, organisation and strategic communications for a particular company, in the context of its size, plans and business culture. Not every company needs the same organisational culture or development strategy. Are there any restrictions in your work that relate to a company’s size, area of business, volume of operations etc.? Regardless of size, number of employees or annual turnover, every company needs a specific operational system. It must be introduced in a planned and systematic way, and the aim is primarily

We have an excellent team that’s able to create the best business organisation for any company, to placing it on a “healthy footing”

to increase company performance, the better organisation of work, financial monitoring and analysis of the operations and readiness to take on further challenges (growth, development, M&A or that which is already in the plans and focus of a particular company). Of course, a cost control plan is also important, as are building and strength-

ening a brand, which has added value. All businesses have their own channels of communication that already exist and live, the only issue is how successfully and systematically they are utilised. Experience shows that it is always better when strategic communications are managed than when they happen spontaneously, which is inevitable. You are an expert in strategic corporate communications and corporate governance, relations with government, while the majority of your company’s business is related to lobbying. To what extent do all these jobs differ, and how much do they intertwine? What is specific and unique about Public Affairs is precisely that it integrates all of these activities and areas, the synergies of which produce enduring results. It is not enough just to have good PR, marketing or online campaigns when the company behind them can’t take the next step, lacks accurate financial reporting and planning, and doesn’t know what to expect next year or in five years. Since the introduction of the Law on Lobbying last summer, space has been created for constant communication between companies and decision makers. Implementation and effects are yet to be expected, and I believe deeply that the dialogue between institutions and private companies must be constant, and at the highest possible level, in order for us to create a freer, more transparent and better business environment.




“We indolently tolerate the disintegration of the Schengen Area and helplessly view the failure to involve the countries of the Balkans into the integration of Europe.” – VIKTOR ORBÁN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER






ROMANIA WILL HAVE 2ND HIGHEST ECONOMIC GROWTH IN EU THIS YEAR The European Commission (EC) has increased its growth estimates for Romania’s economy to 3.8% in 2020 and 3.5% in 2021, according to the Winter 2020 Economic Forecast. The expected economic growth for both 2020 and 2021 is 0.2 percentage points higher than in the autumn 2019 forecast (3.6% and 3.3% respectively). Romania should thus record the second-highest economic growth in EU after Malta, whose economy is expected to increase by 4.0% this year. Robust economic growth is also expected in Ireland (3.6%), Poland (3.3%) and Hungary (3.2%). The economic growth in the EU is expected to remain rather constant, at 1.4% in 2020 and 2021, and the economies in the Euro area are expected to grow by 1.2% in 2020 and 2021. The German economy, the biggest in the EU, will see a recovery, from an estimated growth rate of 0.6% in 2019, to 1.1% in 2020 and 2021, according to the same document.

The average net salary in Slovenia is already €1,133, an increase of 3.7 percent compared to last year, the National Statistical Office of the country announced. Salaries in the private sector increased by 3.9%. There is even bigger growth in the public sector, where in 2019 the salaries were 5.4% higher than in 2018. According to the State Statistical Office, the highest growth and highest salaries are in the energy sector, where the average salary is €2,628. BULGARIA

QATAR AIRWAYS SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH BULGARIA AIR Qatar Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with Bulgaria Air and the first codeshare flights will operate on March 2, the national airline said. The agreement will provide Bulgaria Air passengers with a “seamless connection” to destinations in


TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE EFFICIENCY How can leaders improve employee productivity while still saving time? Here are the top 10 things you can do to increase employee efficiency at the office 1. Don’t be Afraid to Delegate 2. Match Tasks to Skills 3. Communicate Effectively 4. Keep Goals Clear & Focused 5. Incentivize Employees 6. Cut Out the Excess 7. Train and Develop Employees 8. Embrace Telecommuting 9. Give Each Other Feedback 10. Think Big Picture

Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Qatar Airways’ passengers will benefit from access to two new destinations in Bulgaria: Varna and Burgas. Bulgaria Air chief executive officer Hristo Todorov said, “It is a great pleasure for Bulgaria Air to add Qatar Airways to its partnership network, which is undoubtedly one of the most respected and prestigious airlines in the world. HUNGARY

EXPORT WORTH OVER €100 BILLION ANNUALLY Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó, opening an Uzbek-Hungarian business forum in Tashkent said Hungary belonged to an “elite club of 35 countries”, having exported €100 billion of goods annually over the past three years. A focus of Hungarian foreign policy is to boost cooperation between fast-growing Central Asia and central Europe, “the growth engine of the European Union”, Szijjártó said. Central European growth is more than twice the European average, he noted, adding that Hungary was the fastest growing country in the EU last year. Its population 94th in the world yet its export performance is 34th, the minister said.




“Following recent elections and government formation, Kosovo has a renewed opportunity to realize full potential, both for the citizens and relationships with neighboring countries.” – MIKE POMPEO, US SECRETARY OF STATE NORTH MACEDONIA



POWER EXCHANGE TO START OPERATIONS BY END-2020 Montenegro’s power exchange BELEN is in the final stage of talks with its potential strategic partner - Norwegian power market operator Nord Pool - for establishing the first day-ahead power market in Montenegro, which should start operating by the end of 2020, local media reported. As the local electricity market is small, the power exchange is expected to reach full liquidity only after it connects with the regional markets. In November, Italian electricity transmission system operator Terna and Montenegrin power transmission system operator Crnogorski Elektroprenosni Sistem (CGES) officially put into operation an undersea power cable linking Montenegro to Italy. The interconnection will allow a bi-directional exchange of electricity between the two countries of 600 MW of power initially, which will become 1,200 MW when a second cable is laid within the next few years. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

AVERAGE MONTHLY PAID OFF NET SALARY €485 The average monthly paid off net salary in Bosnia-Herzegovina in December last year was 951 BAM (€485) and was nominally higher by five percent compared to November of the same year, and increased by 2.5 percent compared to December 2018. The lowest average net salary of 580 BAM was in the provision of accommodation and food preparation and service activities in the administrative and support service activities was 641 BAM, while the average net salary in the construction industry was 644 BAM, according to the country’s Agency for Statistics. In December 2019, the average monthly gross earning in Bosnia and Herzegovina was 1,470 BAM (€750) and was nominally higher by 5.2 percent compared to November and higher by 2.6 percent compared to December 2018.

The CEO of Invest North Macedonia - Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion of the Republic of North Macedonia Arben Vila hosted a visit of a delegation from Albania headed by the Italian investor Nunzio Guiseppe Siragusa. They met with representatives of the Technological Industrial Development Zone in Tetovo. The renowned company Maximum International Corp is a leader in the sector of water treatment systems and filtration plants. The new company with Italian and Portuguese capital will produce water filtration systems and will be the first company of this type in the Balkans. ALBANIA


The estimate is based on Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) expectation for a sustained medium-term economic growth, continued budget deficit control and public debt reduction. The agency expects a temporary increase in the budget deficit to 2.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, up from 1.9% estimated in 2019, as the government will work intensively on post-earthquake reconstruction, as well as continue to clear arrears, the ministry noted. Budget deficit will continue to decrease gradually over the medium term, while the net public debt will fall below 60% of GDP by 2022, following the longer-term fiscal rule set out in the organic budget law for reducing public debt below 45% of GDP. CROATIA

TO HIRE 78,470 FOREIGN WORKERS IN 2020 The Croatian government has set an annual quota of 78,470 permits for hiring foreign workers in 2020. A total of 64,604 permits are set for new employment, including 33,300 for construction, 18,370 for tourism and hospitality, 2,904 for the transport sector, 2,300 for the metal industry, and 1,410 for the food industry. There are also permits for seasonal work, most of which are for the tourism and hospitality industries. Croatia, a member state of the EU, like much of the region, troubled by labour shortage, especially in the construction and tourism industries. In 2019, the government issued more than 60,000 work permits for foreign nationals, the Zagreb-based HINA says, as cited by news portal Total Croatia.




China’s Economic Fight Against The Coronavirus

There is no doubt that China will win the battle against the coronavirus. In the meantime, however, policymakers must take steps to ensure that the economy functions as normally as possible – without compromising efforts to contain the outbreak – and can bounce back quickly once the crisis is over




he coronavirus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan has spread across the country and beyond its borders, leaving governments at all levels in China scrambling to limit further person-to-person transmission of the virus, now known as COVID-19. Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, is under lockdown. Many provinces have postponed the resumption of work at non-essential enterprises following the Chinese New Year holiday, with residents instead staying indoors in barricaded neighborhoods. Much intercity and inter-provincial transportation has been halted. And some local governments have even established illegal checkpoints to prevent vehicles carrying industrial products and materials from entering areas under their jurisdiction that contain factories. Clearly, the outbreak and the extraordinary official measures to contain it have hit

China’s economy hard. No one yet knows when the authorities will manage to overcome the epidemic, and what the eventual cost to the economy will be. But the Chinese people have, once again, shown courage and solidarity in the face of a national emergency. There is no doubt that China will win the battle against COVID-19. When the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus hit the Chinese economy in the spring of 2003, everyone initially was pessimistic about the outbreak’s likely economic impact. But as soon as the epidemic was contained, the economy rebounded strongly, and ultimately grew by 10% that year. China is unlikely to be that lucky this time, given unfavorable domestic and external economic conditions. So, with the deadly coronavirus still on the rampage, the Chinese authorities must prepare for the worst. Policymakers should respond to the current

By Yu Yongding, Project Sindicate

crisis in three ways. Their first priority must be to rein in the epidemic no matter what the cost. Because markets cannot function properly in emergencies, the state must play the decisive role. Fortunately, China’s administrative machinery is functioning effectively. At the moment, one of the most serious economic obstacles is the interruption to transport caused by fearful local governments. While recognizing local officials’ legitimate concerns about preventing the further spread of the virus, the central government must now intervene to facilitate smooth flows of people and materials, thus minimizing supply-chain disruptions. Second, the government should devise ways to help businesses survive the crisis, focusing in particular on small and medium-size services firms. While being careful not to create undue moral hazard, the government should cut taxes, reduce charges, and compensate hard-hit enterprises generously. It also should consider establishing pandemic insurance funds so that society as a whole can bear businesses’ virus-related losses. Moreover, commercial banks should strive to ensure that there is no shortage of liquidity, including by rolling over loans to troubled enterprises and allowing them to postpone repayment. In addition, policymakers may need to resort to market-unfriendly measures such as targeted lending and moral suasion to steer the allocation of financial resources, as well as possibly loosening some financial regulations. Third, the authorities should pursue more expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, even if such measures per se are not aimed at offsetting the negative impacts of supply-side shocks. The People’s Bank of China should continue to lower interest rates as much as possible and inject enough liquidity into the money market. Although inflation has risen as a result of supply-chain disruptions and may yet climb further, tightening macroeconomic policy at this point would be counterproductive. Likewise, although the government is unlikely to launch large-scale infrastructure investment projects before COVID-19 has been contained, the general budget deficit may nonetheless grow, owing to the epidemicrelated increase in spending and decrease in tax revenues. In its fight to control the virus’s spread, the government should not worry

too much about whether the budget deficit exceeds 3% of GDP. The battle against the coronavirus undoubtedly will be very costly, and will reverse some of the Chinese authorities’ recent achievements in reining in financial risks. For now, however, any potential problems related to debt, inflation, or asset bubbles are secondary. Policymakers can worry about them once the situation has calmed down.

annual GDP growth to slip below 6%, because expectations of a slowdown are self-fulfilling. In the light of the coronavirus outbreak, I concede that the 6% growth target must be reconsidered. But even if the epidemic lowers growth in 2020 by, say, one percentage point, this probably would not negatively affect people’s expectations, because the slowdown would be the result of an external shock rather than some inherent weakness in the economy.

The battle against the coronavirus undoubtedly will be very costly, and will reverse some of the Chinese authorities’ recent achievements in reining in financial risks. For now, however, any potential problems related to debt, inflation, or asset bubbles are secondary

Chinese policymakers’ most urgent challenge is no longer how to stimulate aggregate demand, but rather how to ensure that the economy functions as normally as possible without compromising the fight against COVID-19. Sooner or later, however, the epidemic will be conquered, and the Chinese economy will return to a normal growth path. When that happens, the question of whether China needs more expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to achieve an adequate level of growth will return to the agenda. And the rationale for a looser stance will still apply. In fact, to compensate for the losses arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese authorities may have to adopt even more expansionary policies than I (and others) had previously suggested.

Late last year, I sparked a heated debate among Chinese economists by arguing that the country’s policymakers should not allow

The author is former president of the China Society of World Economics and director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences




“Our economy is the envy of the world, perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in history of our country.” – DONALD TRUMP, US PRESIDENT




HSBC has said it will slash 35,000 jobs over three years as part of a major shake-up as it issued a warning over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Asia. The interim chief executive, Noel Quinn, confirmed that plans to cut $4.5bn worth of costs would involve slashing about 15% of the group’s global workforce. “We would expect our headcount to decrease from the current level of 235,000 to be closer to 200,000 in 2022,” Quinn said. HSBC, which operates in 64 countries, said there would be “meaningful job cuts in the UK”, mainly affecting its head office operations as well as its global banks and markets business, which are largely London-based. The lender would not comment on potential branch closures in the UK but said it was keeping the network “under review”. The group employs about 40,000 staff in the UK.

SEIZURE OF ANGOLAN BILLIONAIRE DOS SANTOS’ BANK ACCOUNTS Portugal’s public prosecutor’s office said last month, it had ordered the seizure of Portuguese bank accounts belonging to Angolan billionaire and former first daughter Isabel dos Santos, who is a suspect in a fraud investigation in Angola. The prosecutor’s office said the order had been given as a result of collaboration between Angolan and Portuguese authorities. Dos Santos was not immediately available for comment. ITALY

JUVENTUS EXTENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH ALLIANZ Football club Juventus extended its sponsorship agreement with Allianz mid last month in a deal worth more than €100 million to the Serie A giant. The new deal means the Allianz logo will be on the team’s training and warmup shirts for the next 10 years. The agreement also includes the extension of the Allianz Stadium’s naming rights for seven seasons — from July 1, 2023 until June 30, 2030 — as well as some sponsorship rights related to the women’s team. “The total agreement consideration is €103.1 million to be added on top of the existing agreements,” Juventus said in a statement.




OF A POSITIVE WORKPLACE Being part of a company that believes workplace wellness can mean the difference between a job you love and one you, well, don’t love. Healthy workplaces tend to exhibit a common set of traits that foster excellence, productivity and camaraderie. Here are 10 characteristics of workplace wellness. 1. Positive values 2. Relaxed and productive atmosphere 3. Commitment to excellence 4. Open and honest communication 5. Cooperation, support, and empowerment 6. Sense of humor 7. Compassion, respect, and understanding 8. Flexibility 9. Positive reinforcement 10. Emphasis on health, family, and environment

Economy II

“If you choose to look at the health of the economy based on GDP, Mr Trump’s claims are suspect when compared to the national economic boom of the post-War years” – MEGAN BLACK, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS




END OF ICONIC CAR BRAND IN NEW ZEALAND The Holden car brand will disappear at the end of the year after its owner General Motors announced it will no longer make right-hand drive vehicles, suitable for New Zealand roads. The company blamed “significant change globally and locally”, which despite implementing “a number of alternative strategies to try to sustain and improve the business”, for the ultimate demise of the struggling Holden brand. hrough its proud 160-year history, Holden has not only made cars, it has been a powerful driver of the industrialisation and advancement of Australia and New Zealand. Holden will also provide servicing and spare parts for at least 10 years, through national aftersales networks in Australia and New Zealand.


ALFA EXPECTS SALES OF $17 BILLION, INVESTMENTS OF $902 MILLION Mexican conglomerate Alfa announced that it expects 2020 sales of $17.02 billion, down from $17.54 billion last year. It said it will make investments of $902 million this year, versus $920 million in 2019. The Monterrey-based company on reported an $80 million net profit in the fourth quarter of last year, a fall of 66% compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

French company Alstom announced last month it had agreed to buy the rail division of Bombardier, speeding up the Canadian firm’s fire sale. Alstom will pay up to €6.2 billion in a mix of cash and shares, according to a memorandum of understanding between the firms. The acquisition stood to boost Alstom’s presence in markets where Bombardier is strong – notably Germany, Britain, North America – and also in China where the Canadian company’s position is “unique”, he said. Analysts said the French company hopes to add scale in a sector where China’s state-owned CRCC is the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer. Alstom’s move comes a year after the European Commission blocked an attempt at a mega-merger of its rail activities with those of Germany’s Siemens, which would have created a European rail champion. TURKEY

TURKCELL INKS DEAL TO USE HUAWEI’S MOBILE APP Turkish telecommunication firm Turkcell has signed a deal with Chinese giant Huawei to use its mobile app infrastructure, becoming the first provider outside China to use the system, the companies said Wednesday. The Chinese company developed its Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), which includes an app store and cloud services after U.S. sanctions effectively prevented it from putting some Google software on its new devices. There are about 4.6 million mobile users in Turkey with a Huawei ID. Having been active in the country for 17 years, Huawei sees Turkey as a critical hub for developing the HMS ecosystem, Liang Dongbo, the deputy corporate affairs manager of Huawei Turkey said last month. Dongbo said Huawei has raised its investments to $1 billion to encourage developers to publish their apps through the HMS platform.





Making Europe

Fit For The Future 40


Kasper Rørsted is the Chief Executive of Adidas Group. Taking on the role in October 2016, Rørsted is charged with reinvigorating Reebok as well as continuing his track record of boosting revenue and improving margins at Adidas, as achieved with some of Europe’s biggest consumer goods groups

The Danish-born executive studied at the International Business School in Copenhagen before completing a series of executive programmes at Harvard Business School. During high school, Rørsted played handball for Denmark’s national youth team. Kasper Rørsted was 42 years old when he was fired from Hewlett-Packard in 2004. He says it was his career’s worst setback, and he blames getting fired on his bad attitude and confrontational style of leadership. The experience was humbling, and he takes a more constructive approach today, which he thinks is better for everyone. From that failure, he eventually gained his career’s most important lesson: To have a more humble approach with regards to organizational change. Later on, he said “The word ‘collaboration’ conjures images of being kind, helpful and considerate to others, appreciating other people’s contributions and building on them; basically, being a good leader and a team member, but it’s only half the truth. Collaboration in a leadership context also has a hard edge: putting the needs of others ahead of your own even if your own target is compromised.” “Most teams might not be ready to talk about this side of collaboration and the corresponding behaviors. It requires a certain level of discipline and grit from leaders. But if you learn to combine the soft and hard facets of collaboration, an essential skill for a balanced

The word ‘collaboration’ conjures images of being kind, helpful and considerate to others, appreciating other people’s contributions and building on them; basically, being a good leader and a team member, but it’s only half the truth

leadership style, you’ll build productive, lasting business relationships,” Rørsted added. He started his career in sales and marketing at the US high-tech companies Digital Equipment and Oracle, the first having been acquired by Compaq in 1998. From 1995 Kasper held different international management positions at Compaq and from 2001 was responsible as general manager for the company’s Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) business. In 2002 Compaq was merged with Hewlett Packard. Before Kasper left the company, where he last headed the EMEA business with more than 40,000 employees and sales of about 20 billion euros. In April 2005 Kasper joined consumer good giant Henkel as Executive Vice President

Human Resources, Purchasing, Information Technologies and Infrastructure Services. From April 2007 Rorsted was Vice Chairman of the Henkel Management Board. In January 2016, it was announced that adidas AG, a German sportswear company, had appointed Kasper to its executive board, effective 1 August 2016, and as its chief executive officer, effective 1 October 2016, at which time Kasper will stand down as Chief Executive Officer of Henkel According to the Financial Times, when his departure from chemical and consumer goods company Henkel was announced,





shares in the German group lost almost $1.2 billion from their market value, while Adidas gained a similar amount. “Kasper Rørsted is the perfect candidate to succeed Herbert Hainer as CEO of adidas AG, who led the German footwear giant for 15 years” said Igor Landau, Chairman of the supervisory board of Adidas in a statement at the time. “He has extensive international management experience, having held positions with high-calibre companies such as Oracle, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.” In an interview with CNBC in 2017, Rørsted made clear his intention to focus largely on digital marketing at Adidas. “All of our engagement with the consumer is through digital media and we believe in the next three years we can take our online business from approximately €1 billion to €4 billion and create a much more direct engagement with consumers,” he said. Kasper Rørsted also opened up about his priorities with Adidas: to quadruple e-commerce revenues by 2020, challenge Nike in the United States, and get more women to join the company’s male-dominated management team. “You and your team are part of a bigger ecosystem with a shared goal. If you watch small kids play football, you’ll notice they are all chasing the ball at the same time. The game tends to be slow. The kids aren’t playing



It is time to move the single European market on into the digital age. Digitalization is a great opportunity for Europe. As one of the megatrends of our time, it promotes the cross-border exchange between our countries and citizens and brings us all closer together across Europe their positions – they’re playing the ball, and having fun,” Rørsted explained “Watch a national team play at the World Cup and you’ll notice each player stays in position, knows their role, and is constantly aware of their team mates. If they don’t, the manager will make the decision to substitute them so the goal isn’t compromised. When you’re clear on the roles and responsibilities of each team member, all you have to do is stick to the plan. Trust your players to know their roles, master their own position, and follow the game plan,” he said. “Tough issues

will arise – it’s only a question of when. The stronger the relationship, the easier it is for a leader to have challenging conversations with the team. It won’t change the rules of the game: Everyone will play as one team to reach one goal,” Rørsted said. Since assuming the role in 2016, Rørsted has overseen significant sales growth in the North American region. Much of the success has come under leadership of Kasper Rorsted, who has rallied the adidas US team to produce more hot product, pump up tech and capitalize on relationships with celebrities and influencers. “We were the first to combine pop culture and sports. Second, [we have] a relentless focus on driving innovation into our product. And third is integrating sustainability into our business model like no one has ever done before,” said Rørsted. “We sign athletes on how they perform first and foremost. What’s important to us is that the athletes with whom we engage are in accordance with our company. I cannot foresee us signing somebody who is, for example, a deliberate racist, because that is a contradiction of what we stand for. If people were inappropriate, we would cancel contracts.” Rørsted thinks that Europe needs a clear roadmap for a competitive digital internal market. “Instead of further weakening the EU, we should strengthen it and initiate ideas and measures to make Europe fit for the future”, writes Kasper Rorsted, CEO Adidas, in one of his essays. “How our continent finds new strength? It is time to move the single European market on into the digital age. Digitalization is a great opportunity for Europe. As one of the megatrends of our time, it promotes the cross-border exchange between our countries and citizens and brings us all closer together across Europe.” “Digitalization is changing all industries. It is not just an industry, but a phenomenon that is permeating the entire economy and society. This development will change the entire value chain – from production through to distribution,” said CEO Adidas As the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board of adidas AG, the total compensation of Kasper Rorsted at adidas AG is $8,163,740. There are no executives at adidas AG getting paid more.


Balkan (Hi)Story, Redesigned… My latest days are filled with hard work, but also excitement at the approach of the biggest global design event, in Milan



y baby project, “Young Balkan Designers”, is turning ten and getting a treat for its 10th birthday. We will be presenting seven “jewels” of the Balkan youth creative scene, discovered through Mikser’s regional talent competition, at the prestigious Milan International Furniture Fair, from 21st to 26th April. I’m proud that the fair’s unbiased and highly demanding jury, comprising some of the world’s leading design figures, has listed seven winners of our competition among the participants of its prominent Salone Satellite talent exhibition, celebrating visionary design through this year’s slogan “Designing for our Future Selves”. I can’t hide my enthusiasm that, in very dark intellectual times, without systemic support, with a lot of sacrifices and juggling almost non-existent funds, a small group of people, equipped with will, talent and a deep sense of responsibility and respect

for nature and human values, found a way to bring to life some rather innovative ideas for the future, and to represent our region in the world’s biggest design arena in the best possible way. After years of supporting students’ experimentations in design, we finally teamed up with the five most progressive furniture manufacturers from all over the Balkans to develop really innovative, sustainable and circular products for the world market, with the help of our mentoring experts and my long-time friends, prof Jelena Matić from Belgrade’s Faculty of Forestry, another “mother” to the YBD project, and Nikola Radeljković, the enfant terrible of the regional design scene and one of the founders of the renowned Croatian-Austrian design collective Numen / ForUse. Under their marvellous conducting, collaborations between young designers and companies are not only a matter of professional development and mutual learning about sustainable design, but also a process of creating new positive Balkan (hi)stories. I promised to keep the surprises until the Milan premiere, but once given this space to share some of my current obsessions, I can’t help sharing the secret. Thus, the new Srem brand “Boreal” and Slovenian designer Sara Badovinac are challenging local readings of history by creating a line of sculpture-furniture made of several-thousand-year-old bog oak rescued from the Sava by local divers. Visionary “GIR” from Kraljevo joined forces with the talented Marija Kojić from Kragujevac to

develop an innovative desk that uses various add-ons made of recycled paper to adapt its functions to the habits of future generations. Renowned for preserving the cultural heritage of local woodcarving, “Zanat” from Konjic is collaborating with Herzegovinaborn, Athens- and Belgrade-based designer Vanja Bovan on a family of circular objects for food preparation made from waste wood, carved to create sound and other sensations that activate users’ senses and restore real conversation at the dining table. Highly awarded Croatian brand “Prostoria” gave their trust to George Bosnas from Greece, whose witty design for the next-generation multi-use coat hanger, based on the concept of replaceable parts, will make every circular economy fan super happy. Young progressive brand “Nunc” from Đakovo joined their love for the coffee drinking ritual with artists Milija Čpajak and Anđela Jerinić from Belgrade, closing the loop with a series of low coffee tables with tops made from leftover coffee grounds. With the support of the Slovenian Centre for Creativity, Maja Repotočnik from Ljubljana will present the new generation of toys made of used fashion fabric, enhancing children’s emotional intelligence and empathy towards other living beings, while raising their environmental awareness. These imaginative stories will hopefully encourage other entrepreneurs to co-create innovative sustainable solutions for our planet and our future, together with the youngsters who will inherit our planet and who certainly understand the future better than us.




Architecture: Germany


Ecological Optimisation Of




Rationality and precision define German building culture. Yet with the success of ecological architecture it is also developing new emotionality and lightness AS+P , KSP JÜRGEN ENGEL, MEIXI URBAN HELIX, CHANGSHA


n Germany, the volume of public and private investment in building is roughly the same as the national budget. Around €300 billion annually is spent on new buildings and refurbishment measures, five sixths of that figure on civil engineering projects. So it comes as no surprise that Germany has an exceedingly rich architectural scene, in which a wide range of trends are reflected. The stylistic spectrum ranges from extensive cutting-edge urban expansion projects to historical reconstruction work. In this diversity, defining currents characteristic of developments in building culture in Germany are nonetheless discernible. Germany’s traditional reputation as a land of engineers has its roots not least of all in design. 100 years after the founding of the Bauhaus, the architectural and design centre of Classic Modernism, which in 2019 celebrated its centenary anniversary, German architects are still regarded as precise and focused on the function rather than being creative shape-wise. In the age of computer-generated building sculptures they are held in high esteem in other countries precisely for these virtues and the reliability that goes with them. Aesthetically this rational design approach is either expressed in the Modernist spirit with abstract to elegant signatures, especially in housing and office construction, or it leads to technoid-looking major projects such as

those by Christoph Ingenhoven’s Düsseldorf firm or Hamburg partnership gmp. With their concept of sensible designs, numerous German architecture firms are successful worldwide, designing stadiums, transport and cultural structures, and high-rises. They include, for example, AS+P , KSP Jürgen Engel, Henn Architekten, and Barkow und Leibinger. Moreover, they boast what is nowadays a major area of expertise, one that asserted itself in Germany particularly early on: Ever since the turn of the millennium for German architects the ecological optimisation of buildings has been an integral part of the design process. NEW PLAYFUL SHAPES Over the past 20 years though, internationally renowned firms such as Sauerbruch & Hutton (Berlin), Behnisch Architekten (Stuttgart), Hadi Teherani (Hamburg), Allmann Sattler Wappner (Munich) and Schneider + Schumacher (Frankfurt) have not only developed convincing methods to help save resources and energy with the facility and building technologies. Their conscientious approach to ecological issues has also given rise to a new playful lightness in the choice of outer shape. Tasteful colour compositions on outer facades or for interiors have replaced the restrained black-and-white palette of the all-defining Modernism. The rigid preference for rectangles had given way to forms with a





Modernism, which in 2019 celebrated its centenary anniversary, German architects are still regarded as precise and focused on the function rather than being creative shape-wise greater appeal to the senses. And the joyful side to a building has emerged as an enduring quality – in line with the statement by Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch & Hutton: “Architecture can only be ecological if people bond with their home and look after it. As regards sustainability, the focus must therefore be on designing a house that is loved.” Many architects with an artistic thrust are successfully championing this new emotionality. For example, Stuttgart-based Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei, who have developed a poetic use of brick that has the feel of Expressionism in female shapes. Ole Scheeren, who along with Dutch star architect Rem Koolhaas designed the looping CCTV headquarters in Beijing, works in a Modernist vein but with humorous edges, for example his high-rise in Bangkok, from which some of blocks seem to have been removed. The idiosyncratic designs by Peter Haimerl, an architect with a particular penchant for concrete as the base material, transform farmhouses and village centres into cultural venues.




By author

The key task of architects and urban planners alike in forthcoming years will be to put this model successfully into practice despite high property prices in cities



At present, the greatest challenges German architects face is to find solutions for housebuilding – which accounts for well over half total construction expenditure. Intensified by the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees, the already tight market for affordable homes in the major conurbations faces complicated tasks. To solve the problem without resorting to frustrating green-field satellite towns, local authorities are increasingly seeking to increase downtown densities. The German architectural world is being immensely creative in mastering the difficulties. For example, with the plans for a large new Werkbundsiedlung in Berlin that takes its cue from the historical districts that arose at the end of the 19th century . For cities are only worth living in, and on this the majority of architects and inhabitants agree, if work and living, shopping and leisure time offerings are closely intermeshed to give rise to diverse and vibrant districts. The key task of architects and urban planners alike in forthcoming years will be to put this model successfully into practice despite high property prices in cities.



&FACES PLACES 30/1/2020

National Day Of Myanmar Celebrated

The newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Union of Myanmar to Serbia, H.E. Thurain Thant Zin, hosted a reception at Belgrade’s Metropol Palace Hotel to mark the 72nd anniversary of Myanmar Independence Day. This date celebrates Myanmar’s Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 4 January 1948. The ambassador used the opportunity to express his satisfaction with the enduring friendly relations between Serbia and Myanmar. The reception was attended by a representative of the Serbian Government, members of the diplomatic corps and friends of the Embassy of Myanmar, as well as representatives of Serbia’s public scene and cultural life. 11/2/2020

NALED Announced Best Reforms Of The Year, Presents The Grey Book




The new electronic flat-rate taxation system, the abolition of tax returns for a more efficient registration of property rights in the cadaster and the introduction of a simplified procedure for hiring seasonal workers are the three Best Reforms of the Year that NALED chose. The special honours were presented at the 12th annual Conference on Economic Reforms, at which NALED presented the twelfth edition of the Grey Book, with 100 recommendations to ministries, local governments and other relevant institutions for reducing bureaucratic barriers to doing business in Serbia. 17 recommendations of the Grey Book have been implemented, which is the best result in the last five years and 40% more than the previous edition is evidence that 2019 was a successful year for reforms.



The Anniversary Of The Islamic Revolution

Embassy of Iran in Serbia marked the country’s national day with a reception celebrating the 41st anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Present at the event as the representative of the Serbian Government was Zoran Đorđević, Minister Of Labour, Employment, Veteran And Social Affairs, members of the diplomatic community, friends and partners of the Embassy. The reception was held at the Vila Jelena in Belgrade. 15/2/2020

Statehood Day Of Serbia Marked

Statehood Day of Serbia was marked with ceremonies paying respects to ancestors that established its modern statehood. The central ceremony took place in the village of Orasac, about 80 kilometres south of the Belgrade, where the First Serbian Uprising against Ottoman rule in 1804 took place. The state delegation laid wreaths at a monument dedicated to the leader of the First Serbian Uprising, in front of the military guard of honour and hundreds of citizens. At another state ceremony in Belgrade, state officials laid wreaths at the Monument to the Unknown Hero. Serbian Statehood Day, established in 2001, also marks the anniversary of the first constitution that the Principality of Serbia adopted in 1835.



180 Years Of Diplomatic Relations Between Serbia And France Marked

On the occasion of the 180th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Serbia and France, a reception was held at the French Embassy. Ambassador of France H.E. Jean-Louis Falconi said on this occasion that France supports Serbia’s European future. Recalling what French President Emanuel Macron said in Belgrade last June “Thanks to France for Serbia and Serbia for France”, Ambassador Falconi said that it was not only an ability to see and know our common past, but it is a promise that is turned toward the future, a promise that the heroism of those who have accepted to sacrifice their present for our future should never be forgotten.” The reception was attended by Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic, representatives of the diplomatic corps, high-ranking officials and personalities from Serbian and French public and cultural life.



&FACES PLACES 20/2/2020

Reception On The Occasion Of The Birthday Of Japanese Emperor Naruhito

The Japanese Embassy in Belgrade organised a formal reception on the occasion of Emperor Naruhito’s sixtieth birthday. The Ambassador of Japan to Belgrade H.E. Junichi Maruyama greeted the guests at the Belgrade City Hall. Emperor Naruhit’s birthday celebration in Japan has been cancelled amid concerns that a large scale public event could contribute to the further spread of the coronavirus. CorD’s special publication dedicated to Japan was presented at the reception.




National Day Of Kuwait

Kuwait Ambassador H.E. Yousef Ahmad S. Abdulsamad hosted a reception on the occasion of his country’s national day. Addressing the officials, Ambassador recalled that Kuwait marks 59 years of independence and 29 years of liberation, as well as the 14th anniversary of Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s coming to power. On this occasion, he wished his country and people to preserve stability, progress, security and further development. Ambassador stressed that this year marks the 56th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Kuwait and Serbia.





Russian Embassy Marks Defender Of The Fatherland Day


The Russian Embassy headed by Ambassador H.E. Alexander BotsanKharchenko hosted a reception on the occasion of the Russian national holiday of the Day of the Defenders of the Fatherland. The reception, which officially began with the intonation of the anthems of Russia and Serbia, and was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, other representatives of the state leadership, Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic, Deputy Speaker Veroljub Arsic, Ministers Aleksandar Vulin, Zoran Djordjevic, as well as representatives of religious communities, the diplomatic corps and the Serbian Armed Forces.



My life

Ivo Goldstein, Historian

He inherited a famous surname and cultivated a Yugoslav, Croatian and Jewish identity. The Yugoslav part disappeared with the collapse of Yugoslavia, while the other two remain and are questioned daily. A university professor and historian who studies events and personalities of the 20th century, this former ambassador to Paris speaks to CorD about his family and his books, but also about nationalism, or chauvinism as the disease of a nation that’s deadly to other nations

Nationalism Is Today’s


Greatest Danger

amed after his grandfather, who was one of the most highly rated and most respected bookshop owners in Croatia prior to World War II, his father Slavko gave him the freedom to choose what he would do, and he opted for university and a career in science. And thus Ivo Goldstein, 62, is today one of the most prolific Croatian historians and among his generation’s most versatile researchers in the social sciences and hu-



manities. His rich oeuvre comprises around 30 books and 200 scientific and professional works published both in the country and abroad. He is a professor who lectures on the subject of Croatian History of the 20th Century at the Department of History of the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Philosophy. In the first part of his career, Ivo Goldstein dealt with Byzantology and Croatia’s medieval history, particularly the period of the early Middle Ages, as well as the history of Jews in Croatia,

and since the mid-1990s he has also dealt with various aspects of Croatian history from the 20th century. He also deals occasionally with the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has written a series of books dedicated to the Croatian history of the 20th century (The Holocaust in Zagreb, together with Father Slavko, Jews in Zagreb 1918-1941 etc.). It was also in collaboration with his father that wrote Jasenovac and Bleiburg are not the same, as well as the book Tito, and all of these

By Radmila Stanković


works attracted great public attention. As the son of famous journalist, publicist and publisher Slavko Goldstein, Ivo was born in Zagreb, where he was also raised, completed his studies and started working, and where he still lives to this day. He says that his parents had a good marriage, even though they were very different characters: “Those were differences that complemented one another. Mum was calm, quiet and measured, but also decisive when needed. Father was open-minded and fond of grand plans, as a restless spirit who was constantly coming up with something. He was terribly curious and trusted in people. I remember from my childhood my father in the study sitting and typing on a typewriter. The characteristic sound of that machine, the thumping of metal letters on the roller, often accompanies me in my mind to this day. And mother’s smoking, which probably caused the development of the fatal disease that she died of at the age of 54.” As a boy, Ivo had wanted to be an astronomer. It should be noted that this was during the ‘60s, a decade of the sensational reach of space flights that culminated in man landing on the moon in 1969. And he consumed every possible text about the stars and the planets. His father brought back from his travels some magazines on this subject in English, which made it easier for Ivo to learn English. Ivo’s father Slavko was born in Sarajevo, while his parents were originally from Tuzla. He spent his childhood in Karlovac, where his father, Ivo, was the owner of a reputable bookshop who was murdered by the Ustasha fascists at the outbreak of World War II. His mother fled Karlovac with her two sons, Slavko and Danijel, and soon all three

The story of Tito isn’t onedimensional; it can’t be boiled down to just good or just bad. He couldn’t be considered a Serb-hater or a Croat-hater, because he wasn’t one of those of them joined the ranks of the Partisans. Slavko grew up with antifascist democratic beliefs, and when asked what kind of upbringing he received in his home and how much he was raised as a Jew and the extent to which those origins defined him, Ivo tells CorD: “My father did not talk much about his own father Ivo (1900-1941), rather my grandmother Lea told me more about him. So, my grandfather mostly read or told stories to his sons from classical antiquity, i.e., about the Greeks and their mythology. Then my father continued recounting those stories to me. My memory was so engrossed in the story of Achilles, whose mother Thetis wanted to render him immortal by immersing him in the River Styx, but who didn’t dip his heel into the water, which she held him by while immersing him. And thus that point remained the only vulnerable part of his body. There were many stories similar to that. I eventually realised that I’d grown up in an atmosphere where it mattered that I was the fourth generation in the family to deal with books.

“I was poorly educated in terms of being a Jew. My father didn’t insist on that, and my mum was a Croat. It now seems to me that they were waiting for me to decide for myself. It was significant when I started going to summer holidays with the Jewish youth – to Zaton near Dubrovnik, Sutivan, Pirovac. There I learned something in Hebrew, poems, and further informed myself about Jewish history. I made a lot of friends during those summer holidays, primarily from Belgrade and Sarajevo. I’m still in touch with some of them today. However, I’ve always cultivated, and still cultivate, a kind of triple or double identity - Yugoslav, Croatian and Jewish. That Yugoslav identity disappeared with the collapse of Yugoslavia, while the other two remained. And I also question them daily.” It’s never been easy to be Jewish in any country, including Yugoslavia and Croatia. And it seems logical to us to ask Ivo whether he recalls a situation in which he felt uncomfortable as a Jew in his own country: “There were almost none in the time of socialist Yugoslavia, but there have been ever more since the early 1990s. And especially in recent years, since it has been possible to comment on various events on the internet, that can be clearly characterised as anti-Semitism. For example, if I post something that has nothing to do with my identity and someone doesn’t like what I’ve said or written, the counting of blood cells, insults, etc. start immediately. Fortunately, those are nonetheless marginal occurrences, at least for me. I have many friends, acquaintances and colleagues in Zagreb and elsewhere in Croatia who think similarly to me. Yesterday I returned from the promotion of my book Controversy of Croatian History of the 20th Century, which was organised in Spilt by an anti-fascist association and was great. And it was similar in Belgrade, where I promoted my book Jasenovac precisely a year ago. The Belgrade promotion flowed phenomenally, the media followed it exceptionally, I gave several interviews and statements, but then some ugly comments followed on the internet. “Of course it’s not nice when you are spat on through the internet, but I try to defend myself. Several times I’ve ended up with lawsuits for defamation in court. I’ve had various experiences. I recently won a second-instance verdict against director Antun Vrdoljak, which benefits me because he called me a plagiarist. It also happens that strangers stop me on the street and support my public statements. All of that gives me the strength to continue.”



My life

Ivo Goldstein, Historian

Ivo’s father Slavko was a successful screenwriter and film director, journalist and publicist until 1968. Ivo recently read a file that the State Security Agency kept on his father from the mid-1960s. That file had grown to 400 pages by 1990. It was stated even during the late 1960s that Goldstein “criticised all events in our country. He considers the state leaders as being guilty for the low standard of living. He claims that English laws and social security have more socialist elements than in countries that call themselves socialist.” He states that there should be “more press freedom and less interference by the League of Communists in social and political life”. When we ask him when he realised that his father was an important figure on the public scene, Ivo explains: “From 1967, the police had been tapping my father’s phone. Officers claimed that Slavko Goldstein “speaks English and German perfectly” and that “as a Jew, he has a wide circle of acquaintances both at home and abroad.” They invited him for informative talks, but “he refuses” cooperation, and in particular “it is unacceptable for him to reveal the views of individuals, because he considers that as denunciation”. “After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Slavko made comments and wrote articles in the media on the situation in the Middle East, protesting against inaccuracies in some articles (because he considered them to be extremely pro-Arab, in line with the then Yugoslav foreign policy). He also defended some aspects of American politics in conversations with friends, and even towards Cuba in one conversation. In discussions with friends and acquaintances on those topics, although his interlocutors opposed him - “he was difficult” and didn’t relent, noted police informants. The intelligence services concluded that such conduct from Goldstein’s represented “publicly politically harmful propaganda declarations” and, as such, was “within the jurisdiction of the prosecuting authorities”. “The affirmation of my father in the general public was gradual. When in the 1970s he became director of the University Publishing House Liber, which published a number of interesting and important books, he was on good terms with, for example, Miroslav Krlež and Milovan Đilas. I also had the opportunity to get to know both of them, and I was only a high school graduate or student. I naturally realised that my old man was an important person.” His father never told his son what he should study. Even as a high school graduate, Ivo considered




Eric Hobsbawm warned in 1994/1995 that Croatia “as a small country, should open up internationally if it wants to progress”. Unfortunately, Croatia did not open up studying medicine, law, economics or history. During his final year of grammar school he decided to enrol in history studies at the Faculty of Philosophy. And it happened that he earned his Ph.D. in Belgrade: “In primary school and Classical grammar school I studied Latin for eight years and Greek for six years. When I graduated, an assistant position opened up at the Department of General History of the Middle Ages, so I applied and got the job. In agreement with Professor Miroslav Brandt, who was my boss, I orientated myself towards Byzantology. I went to Paris for postgraduate studies, to the prestigious Ecole des Hautes Etudes en sciences sociales, where I met Professor Ljubomir Maksimović from the History Department of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, today a vicepresident of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. After prof. Brandt retired, there was no longer anybody in Zagreb who could adequately monitor me in the work on my Ph.D., so I logically accepted Maksimović’s invitation to do my Ph.D.

at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. It was in 1988 that I defended my Ph.D. under the title “Byzantine on the Adriatic from the 6th to the 9th Centuries”. And I’m eternally grateful for the help and understanding of the academic Maksimović, as well as the other two members of the committee from Belgrade - the late academic Božidar Ferjančič and Professor Ivan Đurić. I am also grateful to the people at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, because if I hadn’t worked in the libraries of those two institutions I wouldn’t have been able to write my doctorate.” With the exception of the successful defence of his doctorate and career advancement, Ivo’s first major professional success was the book The Holocaust in Zagreb. It was published in 2001, and with it the author showed himself and others that he can research successfully and write extensive texts about the history of the 20th Century. As historian and write Mirjana Gross wrote, it was “the first comprehensive treatment of a topic only elements of which had generally been known to date, often components in the redrawing of history”. The book prompted discussion in the Croatian historiographical community and influenced further research into these and related topics. The English edition was in the final (one of two shortlisted books) for the 2016 National Jewish Book Award in the U.S. However, Ivo considers his best work to be his book Tito, in which he wrote around 80 per cent of the text, with the other 20 per cent authored by his father. Within it the two of them summarise their views not only of the most significant figures

By Radmila Stanković

We lag far behind in a rapidly changing world and are destroying the future of our countries for the generations to come


of Croatian and Yugoslav history of the 20th century, but also regarding their understanding of Yugoslavia. Specifically, through Tito’s biography they reflect not only the history of so-called Tito’s Yugoslavia, but also on the history of the Yugoslav idea as a whole. And answering that question is a challenge for every historian, including every intellectual of this father and son’s generations. During the time when Croatia was being led by Ivo Josipović, Zoran Milanović and Vesna Pusić, Goldstein took on the position of ambassador in Paris (2013-2017): “It was an honour for me to represent Croatia, especially during the moments when we were entering the EU. In Paris, based on instructions from Zagreb, but also the space I had to act independently, I also promoted - among other things - what we today call regional cooperation. I’m personally pleased that we, representatives of B-H, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia, were able in 2016 to “push through” our joint nomination for the inclusion of “Stećak” [Stećci - Medieval Tombstones] on the World Heritage List, although the first assessments (and official grades) gave us very little chance. The axis of the project in Paris at that time consisted of Serbian Ambassador Darko Tanasković and I, with the wholehearted help of Montenegrin Ambassador Dragica Ponorac and B-H Ambassador Ivan Orlić. That is a real example of how it possible to work for our mutual benefit.” According to CorD’s interlocutor, Josip Broz Tito was the only European statesman to successfully fight battles against Hitler and Stalin in his long

political career. During World War II, in occupied Europe, he was the main organiser and commander of the strongest guerrilla resistance to the GermanItalian occupiers and their collaborators, but after the war he used those successes to impose a communist single-party dictatorship in Yugoslavia, modelled on the harshness of Stalin’s USSR: “However, after three years,Tito came into sharp conflict with Stalin’s hegemony. He separated his country from the Eastern (Communist) Bloc and skilfully maintained neutrality between the democratic West and communist East for about 30 years. “Over the course of those 30 years, Tito gradually eased some of the rigidities of the communist system, expanding space for various civil liberties. Under his leadership, Yugoslavia developed faster economically and socially than the states that composed it ever did before, or after. But Tito never gave up on the single-party system, state- and partycontrolled economies, nor his personal arbitration of authority. He often didn’t handle himself way during occasional economic crises or with nationalist conflicts within the multinational state. Bitten by illnesses in his last years and suffering the heavy fractures of his last marriage, Tito left behind a catastrophically disordered system of governing the country, with immature political leadership, most feuding in inter-ethnic conflicts. Ten years after Tito’s death, that led to a series of mutual armed conflicts in which the former state of Yugoslavia collapsed into seven small states. “The story of Tito isn’t one-dimensional; it can’t be boiled down to just good or just bad. He couldn’t

be considered a Serb-hater or a Croat-hater, because he wasn’t one of those. Only when we consider the elements that I’ve noted, but also many others, can Tito’s personality be grasped. I had a much worse opinion of him when he died than I do today.” And where are we today, after the disintegration of Yugoslavia; in the view of this historian, what are the greatest dangers in the countries of the former Yugoslavia; how would he describe the threat of nationalism in these new states? “One of the greatest historians of the 20th century, Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012), gave an interview in 1994/1995 to a Croatian newspaper and warned that Croatia “as a small country, should open up internationally if it wants to progress”. Unfortunately, Croatia did not open up. We became an EU member seven years ago and, seemingly paradoxically, we were more open at the moment of entry than we are now. “Nationalism is the absolute greatest danger today. Nationalism, or chauvinism, is a disease of a nation that is deadly to other nations. Nationalism, thus, brings misfortune to another nation, but does not bring happiness to its own. We could have learned that in a terrible way from the experiences of the wars of the 1990s. We could have learned, but in a good portion of our publics that lesson has not yet been learned. And those who do not learn such lessons from history are forced to repeat them. I would love to be an optimist, but I’m afraid that the brutal reality doesn’t leave much room for such hopes. “Even today, among the publics of the former Yugoslavia, the dominant narrative is – they are all to blame, only we are just. We can’t progress in that way. It should be understood that there is that other side with which we probably can’t agree on many things, but whose views should be respected, and then find ways for us to resolve disputed issues or function according to some transitional solutions. Specifically, we lag far behind in a rapidly changing world and are destroying the future of our countries for the generations to come.”




Guinness World Milkshake Record Guinness World Records has named a South African restaurant as the official titleholder for ‘Most Varieties of Milkshakes Commercially Available’. Located in Cape Town’s bustling Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Gibson’s offers a brain-freezing array of exotic combinations from nutella and mascarpone to Oreo cheesecake, while catering for more staid palates too. Fat-free, vegan and adults-only alcoholic options are also available. “When we initially opened up the restaurant, we had about 40 milkshakes. Because they were so popular, it became 100, 150 then 200, then 207. So it happened over a period of five years,” said co-owner Ian Halfon.


Waitress Surprised With $2,000 Tip On $12 Bill The server got the tip during the lunch rush at Harvest Market in Swansea,US last week. She declined to give her full name but said she goes by the nickname Leena. The tipper paid his $12 bill for a salad bar and fountain drink using a credit card. He handed the receipt to the host and asked that she make sure Leena received the tip. Leena ran into the parking lot when she realized the size of the tip to thank the customer, but he had already left.


Fox Wanders Into British Parliament A fox found its way into the British Parliament and wandered through the building, to the surprise of workers and lawmakers. Members of Parliament and workers in the London building said the fox was spotted on four different floors of the building Thursday night, with several witnesses sharing photos and videos of the invading animal. Police captured the fox on the fourth floor of the building and carried it outside in a box before releasing it. USA

Al Capone’s Cadillac Offered For Sale Al Capone’s former vehicle, a bulletproof 1928 Cadillac, has been listed for $1 million. Celebrity Cars, the company selling the vehicle, says the infamous gangster’s car is among the earliest surviving bulletproof vehicles, fitted with glass almost an inch thick and lined with nearly 3,000 pounds of armor plating. The four-speed manual transmission vehicle has logged 1,111 miles. Capone apparently purchased the Cadillac from Emil Denemark, a relative by marriage who owned a dealership in Chicago. According to seller, it has a rear window rigged to drop quickly, “allowing occupants to fire upon would-be pursuers.” Celebrity Cars says the Cadillac’s history has been documented since 1932 and can be tracked through references in old newspapers, IRS records, and accounts provided by its more recent owners.




The Carnival Of Tenerife February fills Tenerife with colour and joy especially the capital Santa Cruz. The Carnival of Tenerife is celebrated throughout the Island, although the best known, cheerful, luxurious and extravagant is the Carnival of Santa Cruz, second only to that one of Rio de Janeiro. This three-week event (culminating in the 24-hour party on Fat Tuesday) draws in everyone, if only because no-one can escape the action which captivates the whole island. One of the most important moments is the Queen´s election gala, with the procession of the most beautiful candidates dressed in grand and imaginative clothes. With a quarter of a million party-goers, the whole of the island comes down with Carnival fever, with main venues becoming fully booked, the streets being transformed, and stages and tents with music and tapas erected everywhere. USA


New York To London In 4hr56min Winter storm Ciara causedf some unpleasant weather on the other side of the Atlantic. Including incredibly strong jet stream. Flight times can already be highly variable based on the time of year one is traveling, but winds across the Atlantic on Februry 8 were on a whole different level, setting new flight time record on the flight BA112 from New York JFK to London Heathrow A British Airways 747 operated the flight in just 4hr56min. That flight is blocked at 7hr5min (which includes taxi time and a buffer), meaning that the plane arrived at 4:47AM, a full 1hr38min ahead of the 6:25AM scheduled arrival. Tail winds on the flight were as high as 265mph, and the plane reached maximum speeds of over 1,335 kilometer/hours

Top 10 Richest People Worth More Than 85 Poorest Countries GDP The cumulative wealth of the top ten richest people in the world is now more than the GDP of 85 poor countries combined. Data gathered and calculated by shows that this category of individuals has a combined net worth of $858.1 billion. The list is mainly dominated by American billionaires.


World’s Largest Firework A Colorado town captured a Guinness World Record by detonating a nearly 1,270 kg firework shell over a mountain. The annual winter carnival in Steamboat Springs featured a special display Saturday night when a team from Steamboat Fireworks launched the massive shell, which measured 1.5 meter in diameter, from a 8 meter steel tube buried in Emerald Mountain, which overlooks the festival. The firework detonated proximally 2kg over the ground and captured the Guinness record for the world’s largest firework. Steamboat Springs previously attempted the record last year, but was disqualified when the shell detonated too early.


According to IMF estimates, the bottom 85 countries have a combined GDP of $813.5 billion. From the data, the world’s richest people’s cumulative wealth also surpasses the GDP of various countries considered to be economic powerhouses. By February 2020, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was ranked as the richest person in the world with a net worth of $123.50 billion.



The Best Watches

To Invest In 2020 Watches, unlike most other investments, follow trends. They’re highvalue mechanical marvels, but when you boil it all down they’re simply an accessory. And while trends are cyclical, you don’t want to have to wait 20 years for your watch to come back into style. However, it doesn’t hurt to fall in love with a watch that has the possibility to increase in value. The investment potential for women’s watches isn’t the same as for the men. However, there are brands and models that have stood the test of time, whether they are valued for their elegance, distinguished for superior mechanics or a combination of both. Many of these watches that are iconic are still being made and are listed below.


Among the most collectible women’s timepieces from the latter half of the 20th century are Piaget watches made with natural stone dials. The Piaget Possession is powered by a quartz movement set in a 29mm round 18k rose gold case. The rotating bezel is paved with 42 brilliant-cut diamonds. The green alligator strap matches the color of the natural malachite dial with the Piaget logo at 12 o’clock. €15,255


Since 1931 there have been many iterations of the Reverso for men and women. It was a classic Art Deco piece that was at the height of its popularity in the 1930s and ’40s. This particular timepiece is inspired by the first model created for women in the 1930s. The stainless steel case is set above and below the dial with rows of diamonds. €8,600



Most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the Cartier Tank watch is arguably the most iconic watch by Cartier. The Tank has seen quite the evolution over the last 100 years. From the Tank Louis Cartier designed by Mr Cartier himself in 1922, to the 1996 Tank Française, there have been many other variations within the strong principles of the iconic design. Cartier has made many versions of these watches over the years for men and women €9,900



This model features a 36mm stainless steel case with with polished and satin finish with yellow gold bezel with satin finish. Fitted with self-winding mechanical movement, Calibre 2824 with a power reserve of 38 hours. This model features a champagne dial with iconic Tudor snowflake hands and logo at 12 o’clock €3,700


For those punctual to the point of anxiety, the Impatiente offers both an alarm and a 60-minute countdown to that alert, indicated by a single-note chime as graceful as the watch itself. €33,700

OMEGA RAILMASTER Co-Axial Master Chronometer

The Railmaster might be antimagnetic but it has a forceful allure — a stylish mid-century design with simple legibility. And that antimagnetism will see you good to 15,000 gauss, which should ease your worried mind. €6,138

AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak Extra-Thin


A like-for-like copy of the 1959 original, this reedition of Breitling’s iconic Navitimer combines a chronograph with a rotating slide rule bezel, a scale that can be used by pilots to calculate fuel consumption and airspeed, updating one of the most iconic pilot’s watches ever made with a new movement and a 70 hour power reserve. €7,700

The Royal Oak’s classic silhouette here has all the girth of a wafer-thin mint due to a self-winding movement measuring an extraordinary 3.05mm. View it through the exhibition case back if you don’t believe us. €57,850

VACHERON CONSTANTIN Patrimony Rétrogrades Jour & Date Case is made of 18K white gold, size 42.5mm, thickness 9.70mm, transparent caseback, sapphire glass, water-resistance (3 bars) € 49,100

PATEK PHILIPPE Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

Mechanical self-winding movement. Caliber 324 S C FUS. Dual time zone mechanism indicating local and home time. Local and home day/night indication in apertures. Local date by hand. Dial: blue varnished, gold applied numerals with luminescent coating. Casd: White gold. Sapphire-crystal case back. Water resistant to 60 m. Diameter: 42 mm. Height: 10.78 mm. €42,200




calendar Nemanja Radulovic Film Unique 17,18 – Kolarac Art Cinema

Belgrade Irish Fest

13-22 – various locations One of the world’s most iconic filmmakers, renowned Irish director and screenwriter Jim Sheridan, will be the guest of the eighth Belgrade Irish Fest, which will take place 13-22 March in several locations throughout Belgrade. Director of the Belgrade Irish Fest Jas Kaminski said he invited the director inspired by his famous film “The Field” with Richard Harris about the Irish and their country. Jim Sheridan will open the Irish Film Week on 16 March at 20:00 at the Yugoslav Cinematheque Belgrade Cinema, Kosovska 11. This will be the 8th edition of the Belgrade Irish Film Festival. On this occasion, Sheridan’s film “In the Name of the Father” will be screened, and after the screening, the famous filmmaker will take the questions from the audience. Within Irish Film Week, apart from the aforementioned, four more films will be screened: “My Left Foot”, “Boxer”, “The Field” and “In America”.

The movie-concert “UNIQUE” of famous Serbian violinist Nemanja Radulovic, was filmed during the summer of 2019 in Carnac, France. Nemanja was accompanied in this movie by Double sens, Trilles du Diable - Devil’s Trills, Laure Favre-Kahn, Tamara Aleksic, Ksenija Milosevic, Tijana Tana Milosevic. The movie was directed by Sebastien Lefebvre. The movie Unique was released on 23rd January 2020 in over 300 movie-theatres in France, and in March will be screened at Belgrade’s Kolarac Art Cinema.

XXI Guitar Art Festival

10-15 – Kombank Hall This March, with the Guitar Art Festival, Belgrade will be the world capital of the guitar music. During the 6 festival days, from March 10 to March 15, there will be 13 major concerts and a variety of accompanying programs, and Belgrade will visit more than 130 of the most important guitarists of today. The 21st Guitar Art Festival is held under the symbolic slogan “Rhapsody”, which points to an unusual new form of the festival that brings together very different projects, concerts, musicians and styles from all over the world. This festival edition expresses intense feelings, which are related both to the music program and to the further growth and development of the festival. A new era of Guitar Art begins brings many innovations. One of them is the first Festival Team building in the region, which will be held from 10 to 12 March in Kombank Hall. Guitar Art builds a bridge that strategically connects culture and business. Program

Chopin Festival until 2 – Kolarac

This year’s ninth Belgrade Chopin Fest begins with the “Meet the Chopin Fest” cycle, concerts to be held until 2 March. The first festival cycle will open the “How to Listen to Chopin” concert on Saturday, 29 February in the Great Hall of the Kolarac Endowment, as part of the festival’s traditional collaboration with the Kolarac Endowment Culture Center. At the concert to be held on 1 March beginning at 11:00, the birthday of Chopin will be celebrated with a performances by the young talents of music schools, while moderator Milos Milovanovic will present the work of Frederic Chopin to the little ones in an engaging and fun way.




Exhibition Padobranac 3 - French Institute - 18.00

In the presence of Marija Đeranović, author of the exhibition and Alexander Zograf, comic book author, the exhibition will be opened on 3 March at the French Insitute in Belgrade’s Knez Mihailova Street 31. The „Padobranac“ exhibition was created with the French Institute’s aim to make the author’s works more visible to the public. Following the collective regional women’s comic book exhibition “She Wakes Up” and the collective women’s comic book “Awakening” (published by Dibidus), the French Institute has launched a series of comic book shows aimed at presenting authors who have taken part in the aforementioned two events. This exhibition fits in with the official commemoration of the year of the BD 2020 comic book launched at the initiative of France, which has been taken over by numerous countries in the world.

JINR Days in Serbia

5,6 - Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts On 5 and 6 March events will be held dedicated to the participation of the Republic of Serbia in the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research as an associated member. A JINR delegation of members of the Serbia-JINR Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) and leaders of joint projects headed by ViceDirector R. Lednický will be present. The festive events were tied in time to the International Russian-Serbian Industrial Exhibition “EXPO RUSSIA SERBIA 2020”, where JINR will be represented.

67th Martovski Festival

25-29 – Belgrade Youth Centre March Festival - The 67th Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival will be held 25-29 March 2020 at the Belgrade Youth Center. One of the oldest film festivals in Europe and the world will present to the audience a rich film program in several national competition categories: documentary films up to and over 50 minutes, experimental film and video art, animated film and short film. Numerous special screenings, professional programs and forums for professionals and students, meetings and talks with festival guests, master classes and other accompanying programs are planned. The new artistic director of the March Festival is Dejan Dabic, a longtime film editor at the Nis Cultural Center, screenwriter, director and publicist. More information



From the origins of Homo sapiens to the 21st century, this dynamic visual encyclopaedia of world events tells the surprising and inspiring history of the world. Exploring world history and featuring historical figures that have shaped our past and present, this newly updated third edition includes key contemporary issues, political developments, changes in leadership, and more. Each historical episode, explored visually on a double-page spread, is linked to others by “before” and “after” panels, explaining the causes and consequences of all that has happened. There is a focus on key profiles of major figures, exploration of important inventions, and explanation of significant ideologies that defined their time. An extensive “National Histories” section, separately chronicles the key events of each and every sovereign state in the world, as well as many of their self-governing territories. This is a visual celebration of human achievement and endeavour, combining fascinating content with stunning images of painting, sculpture, and architecture. All of this means that a fresh and contemporary perspective is brought to the subject. DK’s History reveals the common threads and forces that have shaped the past and present and shows that ours is a history with genes and viruses, not just battles and treaties.


Raised in foster care, Matt Freeman has always known he has unusual powers. When he’s sent on a rehabilitation programme in Yorkshire, he finds himself in the midst of sinister goings-on. As he starts to investigate, he uncovers a terrible secret - eight guardians are protecting the world from the evil ones who were banished long ago by five children. But now devil worshippers are determined to let the evil ones back in... This is the complete series of bestselling author Anthony Horowitz’s supernatural teen series, Power of Five. Focusing on children with special powers and featuring elements of witchcraft, these pageturners are the perfect next step for those who were hooked by Alex Rider.



AFTER WORK 29 FRENCH-SERBIAN CHAMBER OF JAN COMMERCE JANUARY GATHERING January gathering of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce’s (CCFS) members was held at the Chamber premises with the aim of presenting an activity program for the first half of 2020. A prize draw of winners of a bottle of famous wines was also held at this gathering, and all the members who filled out the survey on the work of the chamber were in the game. Isabelle Delabre, the founder and director of the catering company Jaty Traiteur, introduced herself to the members at a monthly gathering, which prepared French specialities for this occasion and served with French wine.


30 FIRST INTERNATIONAL SPECIALIZED JAN FRUIT AND WINE FAIR IN SERBIA Agro Belgrade 2020, the first international specialized fruit and wine growing and vegetable fair in Serbia, was held at the Belgrade Fair from 30 January until 1st February. “Agro Belgrade is a new event format that encompasses a complete value chain, from production through technology to product placement. The focus is on advanced agriculture and modern production and processing systems, which is necessary for a better appearance of Serbia in foreign markets and to make a more decisive step from traditional to professional production,” said Branislav Nedimovic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.





31 AMBASSADOR OF SWITZERLAND JAN HOSTS SWISS RACLETTE EVENING Ambassador of Switzerland to Serbia H.E. Philippe Guex hosted the Swiss Raclette Evening at the Residence. Ambassador Guex accompanied by the President of the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SSCC) Yana Mikhailova addressed friends and partners of the Embassy, who enjoyed the evening networking while tasting delicious and worldfamous delicacies. ANA GRUJOVIC, DIRECTOR OF THE SSCC


04 FEB IWC FEBRUARY GATHERING On Tuesday, 4 February the International Women’ Club Belgrade (IWC) held its monthly Coffee Morning gathering. It was held at the Brazilian Ambassador’s residence and more than 50 people, members and guests, attended the event. Milica Lundin, President of IWC, spoke on several topics, including how the funds raised at the 2019 Charity Bazaar are being distributed to projects and organisations serving elderly communities of Serbia. The group was also honoured with a presentation by Ambassador H.E. Eduardo Barbosa, a fascinating slide show and talk about his home country of Brazil.


03 AUSTRIAN EMBASSY HOSTS ‘ARCHEOLOGY FEB OF THE MODERN ERA’ EVENT Embassy of Austria in Belgrade hosted talks on the topic of archaeology. The event held at the Embassy premises was led by Sabine Kroissenbrunner, Minister Plenipotentiary and Chargé d’Affaires, who introduced speakers Prof. Dr. Nenad Tasic from the University of Belgrade and Michael Brandl, PhD, Austrian Academy of Sciences. The main topics of the event were “The Neolithic - the Age of Pioneering” and “Did we ever leave the Neolithic village? Lessons from the Neolithic raw material economy.”




AFTER WORK 07 TURKISH EMBASSY FEB HOSTS EXHIBITION Turkish Ambassador to Belgrade H.E. Tanju Bilgiç hosted a humanitarian exhibition of painting works in ebru technique (water painting) at the Embassy’s premises. During the event, Ambassador awarded certificates to participants in the Turkish archery and ebru arts courses. Ambassador Bilgiç emphasised the importance of education and congratulated the recipients of the certificates.


11 TRADITIONAL VASILOPITA FEB CUTTING CEREMONY The Hellenic Business Association of Serbia (HBA) celebrated this year’s traditional event of Vasilopita Cutting, held on 11 February at Grand Casino. In addition to representatives of the member companies and the Embassy of Greece in Belgrade, this year’s ceremony was also attended by friends of the Association. The guests were soon addressed by Executive Director Selena Djordjevic, and the President of the Management Board, Stylianos Zakof, who wished them a lot of luck, success and prosperity in 2020. The new Head of the Department for Economic and Trade Affairs in the Embassy of Greece in Belgrade, Vasileios Skronias, also addressed guests with a brief greeting, emphasising the importance of connecting Greek businesspeople in Serbia.






The business sector and civil society need to work together to monitor and support reforms during the European integration process, as well as work to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – this was a key message of the event, organised by the Belgrade Open School with the support of the Kingdom of Sweden. At the Integration-Innovation event, business and civil sector representatives gathered to create new opportunities for the involvement of the two sectors in policymaking and advocacy. H.E. Jan Lundin, the Swedish Ambassador to Serbia and Vesna Đukić, Director General of the Belgrade Open School (BOS), officially opened the event on behalf of the organisers with numerous guests in attendance.

20 EGYPT A GUEST OF HONOUR FEB AT THE TOURISM FAIR 2020 Embassy of Egypt headed by the Ambassador H.E. Amr Aljowaily has the pleasure of welcoming in Belgrade H.E. Dr. Ghada Shalaby, Vice Minister in Charge of Tourism Affairs, of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism. The occasion was Egypt being this years guest of honour at the Tourism Fair.


20 JAPANESE BUSINESS FEB ALLIANCE GENERAL ASSEMBLY On 20th February 2020, VI JBAS General Assembly took place at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, bringing the members together with a goal of defining further development steps of our Alliance. JBAS has also additionally strengthened its organisation with the election of new (old) Board of Directors member Milena Argirovic, head of our founding member Takeda Representative Office Serbia for being reelected as our BoD member.






25 GOVERNMENT OF INDIA PRESENTS FEB ITS ECONOMIC SURVEY AND ANNUAL BUDGET FOR 2020 H.E. Subrata Bhattacharjee, Ambassador of India to Serbia presented highlights of Economic Survey and Annual Budget for 2020 to senior officials of the Serbian Government, representatives of the Foreign Investors Council, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Serbian Development Agency, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vojvodina, and leading Serbian companies including Yugoimport, MK Group, Agrounija, Delta Holding.

26 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SWISSFEB SERBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The annual General Assembly of the Swiss-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SSCC) was held in the premises of Nestle Adriatic. SSCC President Majo Micovic stressed out the potential for the further development of the economic ties between Switzerland and Serbia. SSCC members adopted an annual activity report and presented a financial report for the past year, as well as a budget and action plan for 2020.




Serbia's Education


D U A L E D U C AT I O N 2 0 2 0

Mladen Šarčević, Serbian Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development ● Dragan Domazet Ph.D., Founder and President of Belgrade Metropolitan University ● Aleksandar Sedmak Ph.D., Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade; Director of the Innovation Centre of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Belgrade; Vice-president of ESIS; President of DIVK ● Zoran Bundalo Ph.D., Director of the High Railway School of Vocational Studies ● Prof. Milica Vukotić, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Information Systems and Technologies, University of Donja Gorica, Podgorica ● Nataša Jovanović Lješković, Dean of the Novi Sad Faculty of Pharmacy, Novi Sad ● Bratislav Filipović, Founder and Instructor-Coordinator of Academy Filipović ● Ralf Naeve, Director of the German School of Belgrade ● Ferdinand Ayen, CEO of Ernst Klett Präsenzlernen Osteuropa GmbH – Provider of Klett DUAL in Serbia ● Predrag Kovačić, Manufacturing Engineering Manager at Grundfos ● Goran Janković, Inmold CEO ● Ivica Dimitrijević, Founder and Director of UniStyle and Delux Style ● Milena Lopušina, Founder of MIND LABoratory ● Predrag Mihajlović, Director, Lingua Hub


Serbia's Education


D U A L E D U C AT I O N 2 0 2 0





















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Transferring Knowledge Is The Most Responsible Job More than 600 experts have been working for 10 months already on a new strategy for education and science until 2030. Although it is built on healthy foundations, the reform will not be able to be implemented overnight, as we now have to implement programmatic and organisational changes that demand time


peaking exclusively for CorD about the introduction of accountability principles, national testing, the reform of high schools and new vocations, the expansion of colleges and student dormitories, the opening of technology parks, the funding of science and all innovations brought by the strategy is Mladen Šarčević, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development in the Government of the Republic of Serbia. • Work on the new Education Strategy has been ongoing for a long time. Are you satisfied with the effect so far? 6 |



- I can’t not be satisfied with what has been done, especially when we consider that my team and I embarked on this work in 2017, and since then we’ve had to change numerous paradigms. More than 600 people, including a huge number of practitioners, worked for more than 10 months on various elements of the strategy. For some areas there was no existing strategy, while for others there was – the one from 2012 – but there was no implementation. Numerous systemic laws had to be changed, so we at the National Assembly had as many as 35 laws. Some are completely new, others have been

amended, while more than 150 by-laws and guidelines have been adopted. Money is no longer a problem either, as we’ve secured around 27.4 million euros from SBS [sector budget support]. • The strongest and weakest links in any serious undertaking are the people, while a problem in our country is a lack of responsibility. Can this change with the strategy? - Transferring knowledge is the toughest and most responsible job, and is not for everyone. The managers of a school must understand that they will be replaced if

they don’t work, and that a license is difficult to obtain and easy to lose. We are raising the level of responsibility to the highest level and introducing personal accountability, because with people it can’t be otherwise. School principals must know their job. It is essential for us to have constant external reviews of their work, the work of the institution,

their homework, to learn with the help of teachers, to learn languages, work in student cooperatives etc. By the end of the year single shift work will be introduced to another 200 schools, while a pilot programme for secondary schools will begin. This is the best response to the problems in society and in this way we gain a healthy nation.

are learning programming in a big way, which has provided us with the foundation to open IT departments in high schools. That’s the fastest growing area, and included there is also the gaming industry. Last year we exported software worth $ 1.096 billion – more than agriculture in its entirety. • How much will the needs of the economy be reflected in the strategy, given that education is the largest economic resource today? - We can’t copy other people’s models, because our economy is unique, but we have to adapt to our specifics. We need many professions in the field of aviation and the aviation industry, which is why we are building new buildings of three secondary schools and expanding the capacities of colleges. When major new companies arrive, it is obligatory for them to talk with our Ministry to see what can be done with regard to the personnel that they need. • When it comes to secondary education, the Strategy also envisages the reform of ‘gymnasium’ high schools. What can students expect? - The reform of gymnasium/grammar high schools is nearing completion, with 90

the outcomes of teaching, as well as international checks. Testing centres will determine what knowhow children have acquired every two years, through national testing, as an indicator of progress and what needs to be changed and improved. In order for teachers to be motivated they need to be better paid, and for that we lack paying classes. If you work poorly and have a salary like someone who is committed and achieving great results, there is no reason to improve yourself. • What has already been done when it comes to planned activities? - We’ve introduced single shift work in 300 schools with almost 80 special pedagogical contents that enable children to participate in more sports, to complete

As of September, we'll have a Unique Information System in education, which will have numerous bases - who works, where they work, how they work, grades, and it will also be able to be used in analytics

A lot of pgress has also been achieved in digitalisation, which began in our country with us introducing IT studies to the fifth grade of primary schools ad hoc. At that time we secured computers with the help of donations – we now have 40,000 of them, while by the end of the year we will have close to 60,000, and in a year and a half to two years we’ll have 70,000 or more. Today children from the age of 11

per cent concluded. We have 13 special profiles and programmes, and for the first time we’ve recognised talented children in a broad sample and realised that, in addition to mathematics and linguistics, we need departments of physics, chemistry and biology, as well as history and geography. We will have departments of sport for the first time, meaning real sports gymnasiums, an international diploma MARCH



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of Belgrade, and at present we don’t receive that much money even from IT. We are now extending a loan of 132 million euros from the CEB [Council of Europe Development Bank] for new colleges and student dormitories, as it is our intention to bring a larger number of foreign students to these top programmes, such as medicine, IT, food technology, according to which we are ranked 37th in the world. • It could be said that science is our strongest side? - We have created independent bodies, have laws on science and research, the Innovation Fund, NAT, NQF, the Fund for Science etc. The Fund for Science has shown itself to be a great solution, because only competitive processes are looked at, external international evaluations of projects, while there is nothing through connections. programme, but also art gymnasiums, among which will be profiles for visual and performing arts, which are important due to the development of the creative industries. • On what do you base your optimism? - Salaries have increased five times in three years, so when it comes to pay grades, education will be on a good road as of 1st January next year. A lot of work is being done on infrastructure and this gives the whole story a good foundation, because existing facilities are dilapidated and outdated. In three years, we have arranged more than 900 facilities, spending nearly €300 million in the process. We have done the hardest part of the job, which is not seen, and created an entire legal framework without which nothing else would be worthwhile. • What is the situation like with private colleges? - Not all private colleges are bad, nor are they all good. We cannot infer that some private college is bad, especially if it enrols students, pays its obligations to the state and satisfies all formal condi8 |



Despite rapid technological development, children are not taught by teaching appliances, but rather by teachers. In order for the strategy to be implemented successfully, teachers need to receive support tions. The value of a college is shown by the entry value of enrolled students, the opinions of employers - who they hire and how much they pay them, while the third indicator of quality is the advice of employers. Apart from all of that, we have finally obliged private colleges to provide bank guarantees for all years of study, for the total number of students and programmes. • Good quality education today means that we send good students out into the world. Can the Strategy bring foreign students to us? - Education can be a strong branch of industry for us strategically and we should relate to it in that way. We could earn at least two billion euros today from foreign students, and that’s only at the University

Science is indeed the best regulated part of the system, and it is very good that Serbia is invited to join international scientific foundations and institutions. We have already adopted a partial strategy for artificial intelligence, and we are in the finally phase of adopting a smart specialisation strategy that is the link between industry and science. And here we’ve mapped four scientific areas - food for the future, machines for the future, ICT and the creative industries. We are strong regionally; Serbia is a regional leader. Serbia has withdrawn over 100 million euros from the funds of Horizon 2020. That is 90 per cent of all funds in the region, which shows how good and high-quality our scientists are. We’re on the right track. Now all we need to do is speed up, stay on course and not stop! ■


Conformism Is Pernicious

Belgrade Metropolitan University assisted in preparation for the Law on Dual Study Models that was passed in 2019, as well as the necessary by-laws. It is now seeking companies that are interested in implementing a dual study model, in order for the first generation of future IT professionals to start their studies on 1st October this year


he EU-funded Erasmus+ project “DualEdu” has helped to gather experience on the dual study model in different countries. On the basis of this, our experts were able to propose and design models that best suit the conditions of study and work in Serbia, explains professor Domazet. • Belgrade Metropolitan University has been committed to dual education since its founding. How did you know 15 years ago that, in addition to theoretical learning, students also needed to have permanent work placement practise during their studies? How much did others fall into line behind you? - We started with the Faculty of Information Technology in 2005, knowing that IT was a young scientific discipline that’s changing rapidly and covers a broad field of application. We concluded that it was essential for us

standards in computing. It’s because of this that our students don’t have a problem finding employment abroad. • As Minister of Science, Technology and Development in the Government of Serbia from 2001 to 2004, you personally advocated for the closest possible cooperation between universities and industry, with the aim of developing innovation and technoentrepreneurship at universities. Why did no one recognise the importance of your initiative at that time? - A certain level of conformism exists with many professors. It is easier to teach the same thing for years and deal with theoretical research, rather than applied and developmental research, when you are facing the harsh demands of industry. People don’t like change, and they generally only change if the circumstances compel them to do so. That’s why I believe that competition is

Healthy and stimulating competition is important in all fields of life and work, including education to work as closely as possible with IT firms, in order to quickly adapt to their needs, and that’s why we update our programmes every year by incorporating new technologies and new areas of application. Moreover, all of our programmes regularly comply with the recommendations of the American associations ACM / IEEE Computer Society, which represent the de facto international

important and that’s why I advocate for the open concept of the university, which - at least in some disciplines - needs to compete on the market of higher education globally. Employers are the most competent to evaluate our quality, i.e. the quality of our graduates, and we need to develop future professionals together with them, by combining formal and non-formal education.

• Belgrade Metropolitan University is a partner of the Erasmus+ project “Implementation of Dual Education in Higher Education of Serbia - DualEdu”. Could you tell us more about this project? - In a way, I actually launched this project, while the Ministry of Education supported it and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering accepted to be the coordinator. In the field of IT, after the second year of their studies many students start working for IT firms or independently, as freelancers, so some of them break from their studies and usually never complete them. This is not good for their careers, nor for their employers, nor for universities that are left with few students in their final years of study. In the dual study model, I found a “win-win-win” solution for students, IT firms and IT colleges. Students both study and work during the period of their studies. With this work during studies, they earn their investment in tuition from their employer and the earnings secured during their studies. The employer gains the specialist they need, universities don’t lose students, and students receive graduate diplomas and employment at the firm that they worked for during their studies. ■ MARCH



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The University of Belgrade Faculty of Mechanical Engineering is the oldest and largest higher education and scientific institution in our country in the field of mechanical engineering. From day one it has also been the base of the development of mechanical science and industry in Serbia, and that is especially so today, when conditions for scientific research work are better than ever before


peaking to CorD about improving links between the college and the economy, the faculty’s innovation centre, the application of new technologies, new study programmes, the increasingly important role of students in innovating the curriculum, the procurement of modern equipment, awards and many other projects is Aleksandar Sedmak Ph.D. • What kind of role is played by the Innovation Centre of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering? - The main role of the Innovation Centre is to transfer technology and improve the college’s links with the economy. The carriers of these activities are Ph.D. students who are simultaneously also employees of the Innovation Centre through projects of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. A significant number of these young researchers participate in the teaching process, within the scope of departments in which they are pursuing their doctorates, thus enabling them to pass on 10 |



The Economy Relies On Us newly acquired knowledge to students. This is especially true for master’s students, with remarkable cooperation in the preparation of master’s works. To illustrate, I would like to cite some examples, whilst noting that this kind of collaboration in teaching innovation exists in all departments. The first example would be the demonstration and application of new technologies in the field of advanced manufacturing, which was realised thanks to the international NATO SPS (Science for Peace and Security) project, within the scope of which 3D printers and a modern material testing machine were provided. The second example is the measurement of deformations by a stereo-metric device (obtained via a competition of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development), which helped in the completion of a large

number of master’s works. Finally, ABAQUS, the strongest commercial software for simulating and solving complex engineering problems, which was also purchased with funds from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, is regularly used in this exceptional collaboration that the college has with its daughter firm. • Which innovations in teaching have emerged from scientific research work? - Based on many years of research, to mention only biomedical engineering, mechatronics and the application of information and communication technologies (ICT), not only is teaching significantly innovated, but new modules and departments have also been formed, often following a multidisciplinary trend that is increasingly present in the world’s leading universities.

In the field of ICT, we can boast of awardwinning master’s work, or a tractor platform for the spectrometric surveying of arable crops, equipped with sensors and tested in work on surveying corn. We would emphasise in particular a new module in Master’s Studies, Industry 4.0, which has just started this semester, in collaboration with the Faculty of Mathematics, with the aim of preparing students to work in digitalised, automated and robotic processes. This programme was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development through a special competition for additional budgetary places, and apart from being based on the latest scientific research, it is extremely important due to cooperation with the economy. • Then now is the right time to ask what’s new that’s been introduced to teaching due to the needs of the economy? - Yes, and it is the right time to continue the story of Industry 4.0, as an example of good cooperation with the economy. It should be known that 95 per cent of IT companies in Serbia struggle to find the right staff, while they offer excellent conditions of employment. As such, topics like machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation, which were until recently treated only as abstractions, have now become tangible, practical and of paramount importance. We also monitor the needs of the economy in some classical disciplines, e.g. Welding, as a leading technology in the field of metal joining. With the support of company Messer Tehnogas, the Module for Welding and Welding Construction was established more than 10 years ago as a successful response to the real needs of the economy. This collaboration not only enables students to familiarise themselves with some of the most advanced technologies, but also to do their master’s work at the facilities of Messer Tehnogas, thanks to the dual education project that has been supported by GIZ. The aforementioned tractor platform for spectrometric surveys of arable crops is also a good example of cooperation with the economy, as are many other innovations that are applied in teaching.

• What kind of role do students have in innovating the teaching process? - Until recently the answer to this question would be “very little” or “none”, and then, a few years ago, teams of students began competing in water, on the ground and in the air! Can you even think of a better way of learning than to design and build prototypes of race cars, so-called “formulas”, both with SUS motors and electrically-powered engines, remote control ships and drones? It would be tough to devise better practical exercises in the fields of design, materials and production, vehicles, engines, aerospace engineering, shipbuilding, automated control etc.. From humble beginnings with just a few students 10 years ago, the known renowned “Drumska strela” student team has reached

• How are the labs of the college equipped; to what extent are they modernised and how accessible are they to students? - In recent years we’ve witnessed dramatic progress in equipping college laboratories, with the help of MPNTR, HETIP IPA programs, donations from foreign governments, as well as cooperation with industry. Millions of euros have been invested in several laboratories, and we are especially grateful to the Government of Japan, a friendly state, and are proud of the Laboratory for Steam and Gas Turbines. This topic was also important during the visit of the audit team of the German ASIIN, which checked the quality of study programmes, and insisted in particular on laboratory work and visits to a large number of our laboratories, selected at random (steam and gas turbines, cybernetics

several dozen members who have this year qualified for four European competitions. The Aurora missile team is working on the construction of autonomous aircraft with long ranges and minimal propulsion, while members of the “Beoavia” student team are designing and manufacturing drones. Finally, shipbuilding students have conquered the world with their cargo vessel and are now working on the design and construction of a solar ship. As future shipbuilding engineers, members of the ‘Confluence Belgrade’ team are also working hard to build a new series of “Sava” and “Danube” ships. I should also mention that, until 10 years ago, every student initiative ended up on paper and remained forgotten somewhere, and just look where we are today.

and mechatronic systems, laboratories of the departments for engines, aero-tunnel, the biomedical engineering laboratory, pumps, hydraulic turbines, gears and hydro equipment, the design and automation of food equipment). The fact that the faculty is already accredited and that this recent check confirmed the good work at all levels also clearly testifies to our laboratories being well-equipped, including computer halls that are always accessible to students. However, it should noted that we are only half way there... the cited examples of good practice do not mean that the equipment is accessible to students always and everywhere, as there are examples of where it is not used at all. The Faculty will devote special attention to this problem in the period ahead. ■ MARCH



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Our Time Is Yet To Come The High Railway School of Vocational Studies, Belgrade has been educating future staff for the needs of the railway for 63 years, while it additionally organises prestigious international scientific and professional consultations, participates in the development of studies, projects and research aimed at improving the development of rail transport in the country and the region


n accordance with the current needs of the economy and society, and within the scope of the Academy of Technical and Artistic Vocational Studies of Belgrade, we will continue developing new study programmes that educate students for certain professional profiles for which a clearly expressed need exists, states professor Bundalo. • The High Railway School of Vocational Studies, Belgrade was established as far back as 1957, when education courses lasted two years. How has the college and its programmes changed? - There was initially only one department – Traffic – but in 2007 the School grew into the The High Railway School of Vocational Studies. Basic vocational studies are taught in five study programs: Railway Transport, Railway Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering inTransport, Commercial Railway Operations and Public Urban and Industrial Traffic. Vocational master’s studies are taught in three study programmes: Transport Engineering, Electrical Engineering in Transport and Commercial Operations in Transport. Basic vocational studies last three years (six semesters) and carry a total of 12 |



180 ECTS, while vocational master’s studies last an additional two years (four semesters) and carry 120 ECTS. • Interest in the The High Railway School of Vocational Studies among young people is growing year on year. Do you have the spatial capacity for all of them? What kind of working conditions do you offer them? - In addition to personnel and the modernising of teaching, there have also been investments in space and equipment. Today we have an amphitheatre with 163 seats, six traditional classrooms, three computer suites and three laboratories, cabinets of teachers and associates, the spaces of the school’s professional services and a library. All classrooms are equipped with projectors that ease our work and the conducting of teaching, especially for applied vocational classes. We also have

several specialised equippedspaces for laboratory and experimental work – laboratories for physics and electrical engineering, energy, electronics and stable electric traction plants, computer laboratories, rooms with a specialised simulator of stationary settings and telecommunications control in rail traffic. • You have eight study programmes, 2,000 square metres of space and the latest equipment, but how do you stand when it comes to staff; to lecturers? - The school has 25 teachers who are employed on a full-time basis and cover over 80 per cent of classes. The scientific title of ‘doctor of science’ is held by 13 professors of vocational studies, while the academic title of ‘master of science’ is held by five lecturers. One teacher of practical courses and six teaching assistants hold the academic title of

Thanks to TEMPUS projects, we've improved the quality of studies and student services, and developed cooperation with numerous higher education institutions

‘master’. The remaining classes are covered by part-time teaching staff and associates from the business. We are proud of the scientific research work of our lecturers that’s focused on writing textbooks, working on studies and major projects, publishing expert scientific articles, giving presentations at scientific gatherings in the country and abroad, writing reviews for textbooks and other professional literature, knowledge innovation, monitoring local and foreign professional literature in the relevant fields etc. The school participated successfully in two TEMPUS projects, thanks to which it improved the quality of studies and student services, and developed cooperation with numerous foreign and domestic higher education institutions. • Where do your students acquire practical knowhow? Do you have good cooperation with companies and other educational institutions? - Our school has 57 contracts for business and technical cooperation with a large number of companies, higher education institutions and institutes both in the country and abroad. We collaborate with 11 railway companies from Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the Directorate for Railways of the Republic of Serbia, 23 faculties, institutes and colleges from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and the Russian Federation, as well as with 22 manufacturing, freight forwarding and logistics companies from Serbia and Croatia. It is thus no surprise to anyone that our students quickly and easily find work upon graduation. Many of them also work in management positions, where they’ve proven to be successful holders of functions. It is an honour for us that our former students are now leaders of the railway profession on the railways of the former Yugoslav republics. • You have a rich, bright history behind you, as well as a great future ahead of you. What kind of path has been outlined for the The High Railway School of Vocational Studies? - Under the scope of the reform of higher education, the Government of the Republic

of Serbia’s decision of 29th August 2019 established a higher education institution called the Academy of Technical and Artistic Vocational Studies of Belgrade. A status change was made with the merging of five vocational higher schools - High School of Applied Railway Studies, the High School of Electrical Engineering and Applied Computer Studies, the High School of Vocational Studies for Information and Communication Technologies, the High School of Civil Engineering and Geodesy, and the High School of Applied Textile Studies for Design, Technology and

• Your vision extends beyond the borders of Serbia. Can you tell us more about that? - Out vision is to achieve a unique relationship throughout the European higher education area, to attain the highest standards of quality in certain areas and to occupy a high place in the company of the best. The continuous process of perfecting our own resources and equipment increases the value and quality of our vision, even ahead of the demands of society. In the process of realising our vision, we will expand our competences and comple-

We are proud of the more than 6,000 students who gained higher education diplomas with us and who today apply their knowledge and skills across the region

Management. This reform will streamline higher vocational education and contribute to ensuring a better and higher-quality education for young people. For everything that it has achieved during the past 63 years, the High Railway School of Vocational Studies has reason to be proud. In accordance with the current needs of the economy and society, and within the scope of the Academy of Technical and Artistic Vocational Studies of Belgrade, we will continue developing new study programmes that educate students for certain professional profiles for which a clearly expressed need exists.

ment them with partnerships with faculties and vocational colleges in the country and abroad, exchanges of teaching staff and students, and the joint implementation of projects, which leads to the gradual adopting of rules from the global education system. Our tasks in the coming period are, primarily, to continuously innovate and modernise study programmes in accordance with the demands of the market for the personnel that we educate, the organising of expert meetings and the improving of research work alongside constant publishing. ■ MARCH



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UDG is the University For The Future Almost 13 years after its founding, the University of Donja Gorica operates on a campus of approximately 17,000m2, with five amphitheatres each containing more than 300 seats, a library with approximately 350 seats, around 800 computers, a laboratory, creative centre, art gallery, gym and much more


DG’s mission is expressed through its motto “History of Future”, which practically means “producing the seed of the future”. By striving to respond with an innovative study model, UDG is dedicated to the student and to training them for both their professional rise and to be a responsible citizen of the globalised world.

• We are increasingly able to hear that the classic university is in crisis and that new generations and new times call for different study methods. What is your view on this? - It is evident that the classical university format is today in crisis. Thus, the questions to be posed are: how can one study and live in a world of rapid changes; a world where complete uncertainty reigns? How should studies be organised for today’s student, who will change professions 7 to 10 times during their working life - unlike their parents, who perhaps 14 |



changed jobs twice, and grandparents who retired at the same workplace where their working life began? Moreover, life expectancy is extended for these generations, so a question arises as to what to install in the foundations of students’ character, their knowledge and skills, their value system, so that these foundations endure that longevity. This is why educa-

UDG’s mission is expressed through its motto “History of Future”, which practically means “producing the seed of the future”. We try to respond with our innovative study model. First of all, more than any other university, UDG is dedicated to the student and to training them for both their professional rise and to be a responsible citizen of the globalised

Our students start getting used to being on top from the beginning, along with the realisation that the top is hard to reach, but even harder to stay on

tion is facing great challenges today, and why it finds itself at a major turning point! The greatest danger is posed precisely by those reformers who know exactly how this process should be organised, how this new school and this University of the future should look.

world. The most rigorous professor at our university is the professor called life, which means that we don’t teach our students about life, rather we put them in a position to learn from life, to learn by living. Unlike classical universities, which

mostly function according to the model A=K (Ability = Knowledge), we are developing our A=K*i2 model, where the variable ‘i’ means learning by living, which is the student’s intensity of life during his studies. One knows only what one has experienced and felt. We prepare students for the rapid changes and uncertainties that I mentioned, and we invest a lot in our students’ confidence and into their passion for learning. Our classes start on the 4th of July each year, with the famous Lovćen race and the Rector’s lecture at the top of Lovćen, in front of Njegoš. They start getting used to being on top from the beginning, along with the realisation that the top is hard to reach, but even harder to stay on. • It is a fact that there is a certain prejudice against private education in this region. How do you see that and how do you fight against it? - Yes, we are aware of that and the only way to fight against it is to show quality! First of all, it is important to note that two very distinguished professors from the State university, prof. Veselin Vukotić and prof. Dragan Vukčević, left their prestigious positions and founded the first faculties of what is today the University of Donja Gorica, as they believed in their idea and were convinced that they could create a system that would result in having young people capable of facing challenges in an increasingly challenging global business environment. Almost 13 years later, we can say that they succeeded in this mission, and the main reason for this success is that quality was the priority from the very beginning. I would like to note that we started from just a piece of land in a field in Donja Gorica. Today we operate on a campus dominated by the UDG building of approximately 17,000m2, which has a modern design with an emphasis on possibilities for students to stay all day. We have five amphitheatres, each with more than 300 seats, a library with approximately 350 seats, around 800 computers used in daily teaching, the laboratory for testing food

safety, a 3D laboratory, creative centre, art gallery, gym and much more. UDG has approx. 3,500 students and around 350 teachers and assistants from all continents, as it works on the principle of openness and cooperation with both the local and the global environment.

projects, as well as projects of the European Food Safety Agency etc. We are particularly proud that research teams gathered around the project themes and

Even after graduation, our students continue to have the same system of values in their respective business environments

• You mentioned international cooperation. Since you are a young university, do you have any problems participating in international projects? - When it comes to research projects, both national and international, we are very proud of the results we are achieving. At the moment, whether in the role of partner or coordinator, the University of Donja Gorica is implementing over 40 projects, while about 50 project applications are in the evaluation phase. We are currently implementing projects from different programmes and are proud to highlight projects from H2020, IPA, Erasmus, Eureka, the World Bank, bilateral and national

activities are multidisciplinary, with the specific requirement that those teams always include the participation of junior researchers and students. • You mention research projects and staff mobility. Do your students have the opportunity to participate in international exchanges? - Our students have a very wide range of possibilities when it comes to international exchange, as well as international internships. There is a very small number of countries in Europe where our students have not had an opportunity to reside. Specifically, exchanges that MARCH



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are currently open are for Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Poland and the UK. Besides Europe, there is a significant international exchange with universities and companies from China and the U.S. • A large number of events, both national and international, are organised at the UDG throughout the year, many of which have become traditional. Which of the events from the previous year would you like to single out? - When it comes to traditional events, I would like to mention: Christmas discussions, where a current social topic is discussed, with prominent individuals from the region as speakers; Entrepreneurial Ideas Exchange, which is an event at which distinguished Montenegrin businessmen buy business ideas from students from the wider region; Factory of Knowledge, the biggest educational IT event in the region, organised together with Belgrade-based company Comtrade within the Days of Science week; as well 16 |



The University of Donja Gorica allocates about half a million euros annually for scholarships to students

as the Free Market Road Show, which is a series of conferences held in over 40 European and American cities, organised by the Austrian Economic Centre. I would like to further mention three events from the previous year. First, the opening of the Entrepreneurial Nest, which is our laboratory for awakening the spirit of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship for all UDG students. Secondly, I would like to mention the conference on the importance of investing in early childhood development that was organised together with UNICEF. Lastly, I must point out the awarding of a grant for establishing the Centre of Excellence in food safety. • You have already pointed out that your students work in highly responsible positions, both in the private and public

sectors, in the country and abroad. Does such success create an obligation? Or, to put it differently, is UDG a socially responsible university? - UDG is very socially responsible. I am limited here by space, so I will just single out the fact that UDG, as a private university, allocates about half a million euros annually for scholarships to students (holders of the “Luca” diploma, tuition fee discounts for a second child and scholarships for third and every subsequent child from the same family; scholarships for students with disabilities, and sports scholarships). When it comes to sports scholarships, I would like to mention that we are sponsors of the Women’s Handball Club “Budućnost”, which has been a two-time European champion during the last ten years. ■


We Educate Future Leaders Of The Profession The Faculty of Pharmacy, Novi Sad, the only accredited private Faculty of Pharmacy in Serbia, operates within the framework of the University Business Academy in Novi Sad. Our aim is to become recognised as a faculty which sets standards in the education of healthcare professionals for the 21st century


he study programmes of the college are designed in accordance with European education standards and the needs of both the market and the profession. Students receive, on the one hand, a good foundation in knowledge, i.e. high-quality, currently relevant and innovative curriculum content, while on the other hand they have an optimal combination of theory and practise, as well as some additional skills.

• Your college was founded in 2012. What do all your programmes encompass today? - The Faculty of Pharmacy, Novi Sad, is the only

with digital transformation taking hold in every segment of society, and thus also the healthcare profession. We are aware that today’s generations of young people need to be educated for many jobs that are yet to emerge. That’s why our goal is to prepare students for the jobs of the future, on the one hand by providing them with a sound basis in knowledge, i.e. high-quality, current, innovative teaching contents and, on the other hand, an optimal combination of theory and practise, as well as some additional skills.

Many of our professors are science Ph.D.s who have practical experience, so students can learn a lot about real-life situations from them accredited private faculty of pharmaceutical sciences in Serbia and has existed since 2012, when its integrated academic programmes of pharmacy and pharmaceutical-medical biochemistry in Serbian and English were accredited. In the meantime, we’ve also accredited vocational healthcare studies, specialist academic studies in cosmetology, and a Ph.D. programme. • Your aim is to be recognised as a college that sets standards in the education of healthcare professionals for the 21st century... - We live in a world that’s changing rapidly,

• Like other leading higher education institutions around the world, have you also placed an accent on practical skills? - Yes, of course, we want to strike a good balance between theory and practise, and to educate generations of future healthcare professionals who will have a sound knowledge base, but also the ability to learn and connect in a real, professional environment. At the faculty we have a lot of hands-on teaching, which is conducted in small groups, thereby stimulating students to adopt functional learning and connect information. Then, through the career guid-

ance programme, students have an opportunity already during their studies to acquaint themselves with accomplished professionals and hear about professional opportunities and professional development. Moreover, through the compulsory subject of Professional Work Placement Practise, students can realise their practise in various sectors of their profession, such as pharmacies, hospitals, the industry, marketing and companies that deal with clinical research. • How did your slogan “Faculty tailored to students, faculty of opportunities, faculty of the future” emerge? - Our motto is to be a college tailored to the student and to individualise and adapt the teaching process as much as possible. In addition to being available to them, we also know our students well. We introduced a concept of mentoring in which it is possible for the mentor to regularly monitor students and their progress, as well as their needs and talents. The healthcare profession offers many opportunities and we are proud of the fact that our students already have the opportunity to learn about the possibilities of the profession. We have a dynamic, ambitious team which is motivated for an educational opportunities and to provide a solid foundation for our students with aim to become responsible healthcare professionals ready for the challenges and market of the 21st century. ■ MARCH



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Everything Starts With a Good Idea It was a decade ago that the programming workshop of the Filipović Academy introduced the complex programme of the 'School Information System', which permanently changed and improved the education process in Serbia. All its parts are being improved and further developed, to the general satisfaction of all participants in the education system


he gratitude of teachers is the greatest reward for me and my colleagues, but also an incentive for us to be even better and more productive. Everyone is aware of the benefits brought by using our applications and training, and that’s why we’re preparing around a dozen new programmes, announces Bratislav Filipović exclusively for CorD. • Has your ‘School Information System’ succeeded in modernising, improving and easing the work of all participants in the education system in Serbia? - The main purpose and intention of the ‘School Information System’ is to mitigate, simplify and improve the work of all participants in the education system, from teachers in preschool institutions to the Minister. The applying of the E-documentation system has a number of advantages: simpler and faster recording of all forms of educational work, monitoring the implementation and development of educational work programmes, increasing the degree of efficiency in work, more effective monitoring of activities – the progress of children, improving communication with parents and all relevant factors. The application represents a high-quality basis for the development and improvement of education and training in the develop18 |



ment of skills for lifelong learning, such as self-confidence, openness, curiosity, perseverance and creativity. Our primary goal is to help users record their activities in all forms and purposes in a very simple way, as well as enable them to more easily access the data and reports that they need in their work. In designing the programme, we followed the legal framework, took into account the average computer literacy of personnel in education and adjusted the programme to the end user, whilst respecting all the imperative elements for the proper functioning of the programme. • Which business processes are covered by your ‘School Information System’? What enables employees in educational institutions, professional services, parents, the Ministry etc.? - The ‘School Information System’ contains parts that form one powerful whole: the ejournal that satisfies all standards, legal requirements, coverage of all types of schools and the implementation of IOP; the e-portfolio for teachers, students, heads of education; the Electronic Pedagogical Notebook, the Programme for Printing Testimonials, the PP service Programme, a platform for developing school websites and the E-Library. Programmes for the self-evaluation of schools and bulletin boards are under development.

In accordance with the latest technical possibilities, and taking into account the needs of preschool institutions, the narrowly specialised team of Academy Filipović has created a project to record, monitor and evaluate work programmes according to the latest model “Years of Takeoff” - E-nursery. An electronic portfolio is a contemporary way of monitoring and recording the creativity and competencies of education staff. The Eportfolio has great potential in promoting the results of the work of employees in education and represents a good way of presenting results achieved by individuals and entire institutions. This is much more than just a set of papers; it is a complete record of an employee’s development and advancement. Archived data can be accessed easily and the development path of teachers can be overviewed, and able to be accessed by colleagues, school management, parents and other interested parties. The E-portfolio programme in Serbia has been attended by 10,198 teachers from 951 schools, and it is also used by teachers from Montenegro and Republika Srpska. The programme is also adapted to school principals for personal portfolio records, with all standards and requirements for obtaining a director’s license. • Your slogan is “A step ahead of everyone” and is based on the regular monitoring of

the needs of education employees. Are the directors and employees of institutions that cooperate with you at an advantage over others? - One step ahead of everyone is reality, and not a simple phrase. We developed and implemented the electronic journal in schools in Serbia as far back as 2008; we perfected our programme by monitoring all legislative changes and developing it further, regardless of the fact that some

other programme was introduced to schools. We started developing our electronic portfolio in 2013, and in 2015 we received international recognition for it - the first award in the field of education, DISKOBOLOS 2015. We developed a platform for the creation of school websites in 2012, which is used today by about 200 schools, and in 2013 we created a programme for managing school libraries and it received the support of the Association of School Librarians of Serbia, as the best programme of its kind. Today we hear about frameworks for the digital competences of teachers, electronic textbooks, digitalisation... and I can state freely and with pride that we at Academy Filipović laid those foundations, approaching the needs of the education system as research work, monitoring global trends and the development of IT. • How does your ‘School Information System’ differ from many other competing systems and programmes with the same and similar purposes? - Several good programmes with a similar purpose exist in Serbia, which were developed at

more or less the same time, but we were slightly ahead in terms of ideas and problem solving, at least a step ahead. I can claim responsibly that only two companies in Serbia can compete seriously with our information system, apart from in the part of the Electronic Portfolio and electronic records of documentation in preschool institutions, where we are definitely without competition. The actual end users of the system helped

tions, would return to the past; those who care only about money and not about people, knowledge, progress and freedom. We move ahead of those who are without ideas, those who are lagging behind us. We want everyone to keep pace with the times, for us to give them guidance in recognising the benefits of progress, but in no way to forget tradition, history, and to take serious steps forward together, to preserve our

The information system that we've developed is the best in the region and is useful to all participants in the education system us in the development of the programme and in finding the right solutions; the teachers, who set tasks for us, sought that we free them from bureaucracy and writings various documents that are in many cases unnecessary or useless. • Increasing the quality of education and training is among the priorities of developed countries and societies. How is this achieved? - At Filipović Academy everything starts with a good idea. We monitor contemporary world trends, carry out the selection of ideas and plan their implementation. We care about education. We care about people and they recognise that. We seek good people who can implement good ideas, making them visible and accessible. We are going a step ahead of everyone, even though we are tripped up by those who, with their actions and considera-

achievements, but also to promote a correlation between the modern and the traditional. • The seminars of Academy Filipović have been implemented in several hundred schools across Serbia in recent years, attended by thousands of education workers. Do you have any new accredited programmes? - Sixteen years of hard work, 52 accredited seminars and 47,000 satisfied attendees, for whom we have provided knowledge and necessary skills, their gratitude and appreciation are the motivation for us to continue on, for us to be even better and more productive. We monitor trends, research and are preparing around a dozen new programmes for the next accreditation period. We also have two seminars accredited in Montenegro. One of them is the ‘Electronic Teacher’s Portfolio’. ■ MARCH



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New Knowledge For A New Era

The Fourth International Conference on Future Education was held in mid-November at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Belgrade. Attended by 93 lecturers from 28 countries from all parts of the world, participants also included prominent scientists from prestigious universities and international organisations

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umerous relevant research works show that 400 million existing jobs will disappear by 2030, but that by then over 260 million people will be doing jobs that don’t exist today. The participants of the Conference agreed that, as such, the educational system must change, from the preschool to postgraduate levels. The fourth international conference on future education, one of the most important events from the end of 2019, was held on 12th and 13th November on the premises

of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts in the Serbian capital. The conference was organised by the Association of Economists of Serbia, in cooperation with the World Academy of Art & Science, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the University of Belgrade and the Serbian Chapter of the Club of Rome, and was attended by 93 lecturers from prestigious universities and organisations in 28 countries. Conference discussions addressed the development of the basic principles of a new paradigm in education, the speed, scale and complexity of the challenges facing global society, but also the transformational changes in preparing future generations for life in a rapidly evolving unified global society. The conference was opened by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, wiith the keynote speeches delivered by academic Vladimir Kostić Ph.D., president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and Garry Jacobs, president and CEO of the World Academy of Art & Science and co-chair of the event’s programming board.

“I believe that the only a society that is founded on knowledge, innovation, culture and creativity, as a society of freethinking individuals, can also be developmental. I believe that, during the term of this Government, we have initiated all educational reforms necessary for us


The first conference was held in Berkeley in October 2013, the second in Rome in November 2017, and the third in Rio de Janeiro in November 2018 “The goal of the education system is to teach young people how to think, and not what to think, and not to be afraid of pushing boundaries,” said Serbian Prime Minister Brnabić speaking at the opening of the International Conference on Future Education. She stressed that this is why the Government of Serbia is investing in education and primarily in modern technologies, for which almost 100 million euros has already been earmarked for investments in infrastructure, innovation, research and the development of start-ups.

Vlahović, president of the Union of Economists of Serbia, one of the organisers of the Conference. He emphasised that certain studies show that 400 million existing jobs will disappear by 2030 and that by then over 260 million people will be doing jobs that don’t exist today.

to prepare young people for the jobs of the 21st century. High-speed internet has been introduced to 500 schools, and a budget has already been set for another 500 schools in 2020. The goal is for our schools to be fully digitalised by 2021, and there are currently 10,000 existing digital classrooms that are used by about 200,000 students across Serbia,” said PM Brnabić, adding that the changes taking place are swift and comprehensive, and that Serbia is responding to them. Also stressing the need for reforms in Serbian education was Aleksandar

Honorary President of the World Academy of Art & Science, Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, noted the insufficient number of teaching staff globally as a particular challenge and emphasised that 236 million children are currently outside the education system. According to him, it is a worrying statistic that only 14 per cent of children in less developed countries complete secondary education. Speaking at the Future Education Conference, he estimated that 48 per cent of basic skills for any job will need to be upgraded by 2022. “It is already known that a higher level of knowledge and better skills for each individual will be required. If we want to have a knowledge-based economy, then the education system must play a key role in that process, as a key factor,” he stressed, adding that demand MARCH



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follow our presentations. That’s why we need to interest them, but the typical, traditional lectures by professors will not help in reaching them. Every university is trying to position itself as best it can, to get to grips with changes and transform itself to satisfy the current needs of students and society. We don’t know what the future will be like, but we are stepping boldly into the unknown,” said Popović. As she stated, the most important thing is for school pupils and college students to acquire the broadest ppossible generic knowledge that will allow them to adapt to whatever the future is. “An active, interdisciplinary teaching method based on identifying and resolving problems will help in this process. The University of Belgrade is a comprehensive university with intensive research that takes seriously its responsibility for the exists globally for highly educated staff and that hundreds of new students should enrol in universities over the next 15 years. It was assessed at the Conference that globalisation could prove to be one of the most fundamental challenges that universities have faced in their entire history. The new concept of the knowledge economy points to the need to direct the educating of students towards the development of skills and competences for the global workplace. Education must enable individuals to improvise, use information independently, become better team players and solve complex problems; it must prepare them for a non-linear career path and for the completing of tasks for which they weren’t originally trained. That’s why universities should be the key place for the synthesis of educational and research activities. “The very idea of science may have to be reconstructed, because the new paradigms of knowledge production are primarily characterised by the importance of context, not only in terms of 22 |



Education is the most enlightened institution humanity has created. This is the place which has to show humanity the path to a better future the final application of science, defining scientific problems and selecting an appropriate methodology, but rather also redefining relevant, usable knowledge,” noted academic Vladimir Kostić Ph.D., President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. “Our graduates must be qualified for their profession. Upon graduating from university, young people need to be experts and, even more importantly, they need to be able to consider solve problems,” stated Ivanka Popović, Ph.D., Chancellor of the University of Belgrade. She stressed that teachers and professors today face great challenges, as children are shaped by the digital world. “Our pupils and students are accustomed to new forms of communication, the question is whether they are able to

development of students,” concluded the University of Belgrade Chancellor. The notion of education and the question of what it means to be a learned citizen are changing with the development of innovation, shifting demographics and changes in our environment, compelling us to reconsider tried and true concepts that previously applied to education and educated people. “Critical thinking, communication, a sense for the changes in the world around us and the ability to solve problems by using new technologies influence the goals of educators from pre-school to post-graduate studies. Close collaboration must exist between all actors in the education process, in order for students to get the most,” explained Sue Henderson, president of the University of New Jersey. ■


Civil Society Organisation Belgrade Open School (BOS) Cooperation between civil society and the business sector - how to turn challenges into new opportunities?


he Belgrade Open School (BOS), as a civil society educational organisation, has spent almost three decades dealing with the development of human resources, the improvement of public policy and the empowerment of the civil, public and business sectors, with the aim of building a better society based on freedom, knowledge and innovation. Improving cooperation between the business and civil sectors in Serbia is one of the issues in the focus of the work of the BOS. This cooperation has to date often been limited to donations and sponsorships, rather than extending to the pursuit of shared development goals and a joint approach to decision makers and the general public. The political and economic challenges that we face as a society have a significant impact on the business world, but also on various organisations in which citizens realise their right to unite around common goals, which we refer to in short as civil society. This was actually what prompted BOS to launch the “Integration Innovation” initiative, which aims to create new opportunities for civil society and the business sector to engage in public policy making and advocacy. Resolving the important issues of social development requires the involvement of both parties. Monitoring and supporting the reforms brought by European integra-

tion and working towards the achieving of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals represent a great opportunity for the two sectors to collaborate, which will bring the greatest benefit to citizens. Many European examples show us that major positive changes in society were solved precisely through the mutual cooperation of all stakeholders. Making this cooperation tangible and creating a common vision are BOS’s priorities in the period ahead. A good example of cooperation with the business world is provided by the activities of the Belgrade Open School aimed at amending the legal framework for implementing internships. Internships are short-term programmes for gaining work experience that aim to improve the employability and employment of interns. This primarily refers to internships performed by the unemployed after the completion of their studies, because other forms of work-based learning, which are an integral part of the education process, are subject to regulations in the field of education. BOS has been working strategically for many years to advance public policies in the field of improving youth employability, always taking care to ensure the involvement of all three sectors of society: public, business and civil. Cross-sector cooperation in the field of improving the

quality of internships is extremely important, both for young people entering the labour market through internships and for employers. Internships have numerous positive effects on the employability of young people, such as reducing the time it takes to move from education to the labour market, then improving knowledge, skills and competences. Through internships, young people gain the more than necessary experience and explore career opportunities and options. Despite the confirmed positive effects that internships have on employability, numerous obstacles hinder the implementing of quality internships in Serbia. No precise legal solutions currently exist, nor by-laws governing internships for the unemployed – those who practise with their employer after completing formal education. Companies are often in a dilemma over which kind of contract to sign with interns. This situation impacts on both young people and employers, who find it more difficult to opt for internship programmes because they are not entirely sure of their obligations and rights. The Belgrade Open School, together with the business sector, proposes measures and solutions for improving the legal framework, which should create conditions for high-quality internships, after which we will have empowered young people and satisfied employers. ■ MARCH



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From Pre-School To Post-Diploma RALF NAEVE

Since 1864, when the German School in Belgrade was first established, many parents have entrusted their children to the hands of its staff and educators, confident that their children would be challenged by an academic education that would open them up to unlimited opportunities in any field of science, economy or even craftsmanship


nterest in a German education remains unabated today, allowing graduates to gain access to universities all over the world and promising that students are invited and taught not only to reproduce knowledge, but also to question any given content, to think critically and to create an individual perspective. The “Deutsche Schule Belgrad” (DSB – German School of Belgrade) feels bound to the general principles of German education and has more to offer, as we discovered when conversing with the new headmaster, Mr Ralf Naeve, and head of the school board, Mr Christoph Czettl. • Why should parents opt for DSB? C.C: The German School of Belgrade offers a perfect mix of tradition and wellestablished educational goals, with the courage of modernisation. We try to use the best of the experience amassed by our German colleagues, coming from all over Germany, and to combine it with the knowhow of Serbian teachers. If we wanted to describe it in stereotypes, one could say that we have the opportunity to fuse German orderliness with Serbian passion 24 |



– and this seems to be a perfect match for learning and for life . R.N: And let me add that this can be convincing at the rational level, but we are a small school and with our approach we try to convince the parents and students that every single person is important to our school community and we care! We know many of our students from kindergarten to graduation, and are therefore able to accompany and support them in a very individual way. • How do parents react to your approach? R.N: First of all, families are interested


an easy transition from German schools and back. But more and more parents seem to value our conviction that learning is based on good relationships. They treasure our smaller classes and opportunities to promote individually. And, of course, the reputation of high requirements is still present. • Who enrols in the German school? C.C: We have families from all over the world. There are families from Germany, Austria or Switzerland – often related to embassies or companies doing business in Serbia. There are also Serbian families with a

Besides our lessons and our extracurricular activities, we promote a sense of responsibility, intercultural exchange, democratic values and an awareness of acting and thinking in a sustainable way in the German language, the German culture and the German school-leaver certificate, which enables entrance into any university in Europe. German families that are not resident in Serbia permanently want to ensure

close connection to Germany. Often at least one of the parents was raised in a Germanspeaking country. Additionally, there are a lot of families from all over the world that trust the German education system. And,

of course, there are many Serbian families who enrol their children in the German kindergarten and German School in order to learn German and graduate with the opportunity to attend any European University. • You were talking about tradition and well-established educational goals – besides Goethe, Schiller etc., what more do students learn? R.N.: German Curricula are not only marked by traditional knowledge. In any

subject, in any situation at school, we want to offer opportunities to learn for life, to overcome individual boundaries and to find out about individual talents. Besides our lessons and our extracurricular activities, we promote a sense of responsibility, intercultural exchange, democratic values and an awareness of acting and thinking in a sustainable way. • What are the prospects of the DSB? C.C.: We feel that we have a great baseline. Our building has been “recently” reconstructed. Our school board has worked intensively to set up a strategy for the future. The Administration is continuously optimising processes and our teaching staff is highly motivated and very well experienced. • So, what are the next steps? C.C.: We are about to move the kindergarten and preschool class to a new building, in order to meet the requirements of expansion. We are also planning to set up a new building for the primary school. R.N.: Additionally, besides optimising

hardware, we constantly improve our teaching methods in order to meet the individual needs of our students and prepare them for the future. Buzzwords, such as digitalisation, human values, or individualisation, need to be transformed into classroom action. • Why is the German school represented by its headmaster and the head of its school board? C.C.: The German school is a private school that’s supported by the German

financial requirements. In short, one could say that we are a successful and prospering school because the school board and headmaster collaborate in such a trusting, respectful and responsible way. One of the key elements of our success is that all our decisions are based on a constant exchange with students, teachers, parents and the

One of the key elements of our success is that all our decisions are based on a constant exchange with students, teachers, parents and the administration – so that everyone in the school community is included and able to take responsibility government. One could say that the headmaster, who comes from Germany, is the representative of Germany, while the head of the school board represents the many families supporting the school with their tuitions, but that is only a broad picture. In theory, there is a strict division of responsibility. The headmaster is in charge of educational activities, while the school board secures financial affairs. We knew from the first day of our collaboration that there was a need for constant communication. Values that are supposed to be taught and modelled in the classroom must also be supported and equally modelled by the school board members. In that same way, the headmaster needs to meet and consider

administration – so that everyone in the school community is included and able to take responsibility. • If you had to describe your school in one sentence…: R.N.: Don’t ask a teacher to explain something in one sentence; we are used to many, many words. Well, in Germany there is a saying: “Klein aber fein,” which could be translated as “small but excellent”. However, considering our first questions, I am tempted to say: tradition meets the modern spirit. C.C.: Taking into account the enthusiasm, spirit and support provided by the families and the school board, I would put it in very simple words: We love school. ■ MARCH



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Dual Education Is A Strong Tool The Klett DUAL programme has two major advantages - it offers a comprehensive package of practical and theoretical knowledge, which is useful for people changing professions and seeking to gain practical knowledge. Another major point is the opportunity to gain a special, specific vocation


eveloping new educational formats – to combined mid-length vocational courses for individual students with the active mentoring of company partners – is a solution made in Serbia and made for Serbia. That is a way to help cope with the new reality of demand-driven labour markets. • What reflects the significance of dual education and vocational schooling? How important are they for the individual, for students; how important for companies and how important for local communities and society as a whole? Mr Ayen: In Serbia, as well as in many other countries throughout Europe, we face a massive shift from supply-driven to demand-driven labour markets. The reasons are well-known: demography, emigration and a long trend of preferring academic education over vocational education. All these factors constantly 26 |



reduce the pool of skilled workers. To put it bluntly: head-hunters and HR departments no longer search for managers, rather technicians and hotel clerks. As for the question of the importance of vocational education for companies, communities and society, I would like to respond with a question: who is actually running all that? Who is producing our goods, who is welcoming us to hotels, who is repairing cars and who is capable of maintaining production systems? Society owes much to its workers, and Ernst Klett DUAL knows how to contribute to their qualifications. Mr Kovačić: The ability to change, nowadays, means the difference between success and failure. Education is one of the

major fields to provide the ability to adapt quickly. Dual education is a strong tool for that purpose. It provides individuals with a fast and efficient way to increase their knowledge and become competent with the most important skills nowadays. While learning, students will acquire practical knowledge that’s connected directly to theoretical points. An additional important point to applying changeability is the usage of rare resources. The labour force has become quite a scarce resource in Europe recently. The utilisation of the existing workforce has started to be one of the most important activities for companies that also operate in Serbia. On top of that, scarce resource

cost effectiveness comes as a relevant factor. Dual education supports the solving of both of these challenges, through practical training that fits the need and hits the demand for jobs. Government and local communities are also interested parties, trying to ensure a good working environment for all business purposes. Together with infrastructure, the available skilled workforce is among the top interests where dual education can play a key role in ensuring skills that respond to the needs of the market. • To what extent are the programmes of Klett DUAL tailored to the needs of the market and employers in Serbia? Mr Ayen: Our approach is easy to comprehend and based on solid, dual-education didactics. We have developed a variety of learning situations for each of our programmes, in which the students solve specific professional problems. Each learning situation lasts one to three full days, and they are usually designed in advance by our expert development team. If changes are necessary, we can implement them very fast. Our partner Grundfos Serbia, for instance, needed to adjust two of these learning situations to their needs, so we sat together with their technical staff and developed a tailor-made solution for electrical engineering. Employers could use this knowledge immediately in their production process. Based on intensive research of market needs, we started last year with Mechatronics and will continue in the first half of 2020 with several programmes: Hospitality Management and Welding, as well as Language courses. We thereby always address two customer groups: companies and individual students. Mr Kovačić: There are two major advantages of the Klett DUAL programme. It offers a comprehensive package of practical and theoretical knowledge, which is useful for people changing professions or in eliminating the deficiencies of the practical part of the public education system. Another major point is an opportunity to gain a special, specific vocation. The education system can give general education and fill the most needed working positions. The diversity of job roles creates a need for

specific education, and that is something that Klett DUAL provides very effectively, through tailored professional education programmes. At the Grundfos Srbija production plant we have allocated a long list of different skills that are needed. Additionally, taking into consideration various industries, I believe that the significance of tailored programmes in acquiring skills offers huge opportunities and tangible advantages, for both companies and individuals.

Having such partnerships, we at Klett DUAL also have the opportunity to develop new educational formats. One recent idea is to offer combined mid-length vocational courses (6-9 months, school-based) for individual students, with the active mentoring of company partners. That would be a solution made in Serbia and made for Serbia, to help cope with the new reality of demand-driven labour markets.

Partnership is everything for dual education, especially partnerships with companies like Grundfos • How important is partnership with specific companies to the dual concept of work that makes Ernst Klett DUAL Serbia unique in the region? In what is it reflected? Mr Ayen: Partnership is everything, especially partnerships with companies like Grundfos, whose factory in Inđija is most impressive and incredibly well-run. We listen to our partners, and we help to solve their problems. Just recently, Mr Kovačić and representatives of PepsiCo and Tönnies joined us when German Ambassador Schieb and Mrs Piplica, Head of the embassy’s economic division and first secretary, visited our training centre in Belgrade. I can state with pride that our partners provided extremely positive feedback on our courses and partnership.

Mr Kovačić: For us at Grundfos Srbija, employees are the most important asset. Our journey started with the first education programme, mechatronics. The employees who attended the programme rated it as the best education programme they’ve applied in their life. We continued with the allocation of key company needs and the creation of an appropriate plan of education. Successfully stepping from one point to another, followed by great satisfaction and unconditional support in all aspects of cooperation and flexibility to adapt to our needs, convince us that we have a real partner on whom we can rely in solving these most sensitive topics and providing the best possible solution. ■ MARCH



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Practice Is Gained In The Field Požega-based company Inmold, which deals with the manufacturing of IML robots and sophisticated tools, stops the outflow of young people from Western Serbia. The company has, for almost a decade, been providing scholarships to high school pupils and mechanical engineering students, which has increased interest in manufacturing work and the mechanical engineering profession among young people


he education system should make a departure from offices and electronic communications and try to understand the practises and needs of private employers on the ground. Only in this way can healthy, spontaneous cooperation be established between two diametrically opposed systems, notes Goran Janković. • Inmold emerged as a family-owned company that quickly became one of the backbones of the economic development of Western Serbia. Are you satisfied with the speed of your development and progress? - In a very short space of time, we grew from a mini-company with 25 employees into a medium-sized company that today has more than 300 employees. That’s similar to when a pubescent child suddenly sprouts and outgrows its peers, which may initially seem powerful and amazing, but a longer time is needed for that same child to mature and assume its rightful place. That’s how we also plan to stabilise at this level for a certain period of time, and then continue conquering new markets and new products, as well as significantly increasing employee numbers.

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• You deal with the production of highquality injection moulding tools for plastics and non-ferrous metal. Do young people avoid manufacturing occupations? Are there enough engineers, managers and lawyers in Western Serbia? - I think that the trend of avoiding manufacturing occupations is waning; that young people with a healthy manufacturing example in their environment are increasingly and more easily opting for professions in the mechanical engineering sector. This was not the case 10 years ago. Then it was shameful to be a worker, as everyone wanted to work

Schools for almost 10 years. What professions are they studying for? How do you motivate them to take up employment with you? Do you have scholarship recipients? - We first got involved in this process of educating children for mechanical engineering professions nine years ago. These are future computer control technicians, locksmiths and mechatronics technicians, and today there are fewer children in nonmechanical engineering majors, such as a computer engineering. We endeavour to provide secure a pleasant environment for children to stay

Scholarships that high school pupils receive during their schooling represent excellent motivation for every young and diligent person in management, while today there are young manufacturing engineers who are seeking a chance to show what they can do where they live and were born. • You have been implementing a programme for training pupils of Secondary Technical

in our company. With us, they have mentors who take care of them, teaching them to be safe, meticulous and professional in their jobs. We also organise educational visits to other companies in the area for them, recreational trips abroad, visits to fairs and many other contents in the area of

recreation, such as swimming, paintball etc.. During their schooling, they receive a scholarship from us that is very good motivation for a young and diligent person. In an environment where incomes are low, that can also be a significant help and contribution to the home budget, so the children feel like very helpful and valuable family members. In this way they learn to be household leaders, family people that set an example in their environment. • How do you see dual education? How can it be improved and made even more attractive for young people? - It is a shame that the dual education we had 50 years ago didn’t resist the whirlwind of time and the painful events imposed on us. What we had, and what was destroyed, is again imposing itself as a necessity, because without the youth it is impossible to conquer markets today or in the future. It is not necessary to calculate much, but rather to strive in every way to keep the youth here, and not have them leave the country. Youngsters need to be understood and in no way compelled to live the life of our youth. We older folks need to enter their lives, to listen to what pleases young people, to listen to their opinions and share emotions with them honestly. We wonder how possible that is in the accelerated way of living and doing business, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Children should be loved, understood and taught true values of life, listened to and shared with. • Can entrepreneurs, as future employers, influence school curricula, profiles and directions? They best know what kind of staff they need. - The voice of entrepreneurs and employers needs and must be ranked first by an educator when he outlines his needs. That other side of education needs to be addressed as quickly and creatively as possible, so that businessmen are satisfied. Unfortunately, the great sluggishness of the education system is being drawn legislatively into the entrepreneurial system, with forms, papers and requirements to do as they have have devised it in an office setting.

That seems unsustainable to me, which is why it has to be done differently. That which is theoretical should and can be done by teachers in classrooms, while everything else, everything practical, should be done with entrepreneurs. Thus, a private employer should define his needs, and the education system should secure that for him. And it should not be

- Those responsible are mainly interested in our opinion via emails, the passive gathering of statistics, meetings that serve only to satisfy form, and it would be good for this to change in the way I stated above. We go out of our way to meet the needs of

The dual education that we had 50 years ago didn't resist the whirlwind of time, but now it is again imposing itself as a necessity

that an entrepreneur acts in the function of education according to their curriculum of education from bygone times. The education system should make a departure from offices and electronic communications and try to understand the practises and needs of private employers on the ground. Only in this way can healthy, spontaneous cooperation be established between two diametrically opposed systems. • Do competent staff at the Ministry of Education show an interest in the opinions and needs of potential employers? Do you, as a businessmen, listen to the needs and desires of pupils, as your future employees?

our scholarship recipients and our staff if they express a desire and need to further their studies and acquire higher education qualifications. We link up with colleges and agree on the best way for a young, employed person to most effectively educate themselves further in the current system. Another way is to organise seminars within the framework of the company and in this way we award internal and practical qualifications that are essential for the better performing of demanding jobs within our company. We internally teach them the necessary knowledge and skills that are required on a daily basis at work. We strive to work and learn the essentials, setting form aside. ■ MARCH



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Young People Need Practise

The architects and craftsmen of Swiss company UniStyle, which covers a wide range of interior design services, are responsible for the appearance of many luxury homes and offices across Europe, but those interiors would not be so valued and special if it weren't for furniture made in Niš


would like to see all businessmen in Serbia understand that they need to invest in young people, that they need to train workers who will be able to produce goods for even the world’s most demanding markets. I hope that Delux Style will receive its first pupils from the Grdelica Carpentry Secondary School as of this autumn, reveals this company’s founder and CEO Ivica Dimitrijević • You’ve lived and worked in Switzerland for 22 years, and for the last five you’ve been running your own successful company, UniStyle. What motivated you to launch your own business? - Enthusiasm, a need for innovation, but also sophisticated taste all motivated me to establish UniStyle in June 2015, as a company that covers a wide range of services in the fields of design, furniture production and interior design. We also opened a showroom after two years and we are very proud of it because it’s a place that inspires everyone to delve into the world of top design. Furniture based on our needs, according to our ideas and the designs of our architects and designers, was produced for us by various companies, but we were not completely satisfied with that, so in 2016 we founded Delux Style in Niš. We started 30 |



with three workers and a 300-square-metre workshop, while today we have 1,500 square metres and 16 employees. We also have our own design bureau and paint shop, but also a constant need for new workers. A hiring call is always open with us. • Is there any interest? Is it easier to find a good architect or a good craftsman? - Believe it or not, it’s easier to find an architect and a designer than a good carpenter and a good painter. Young people have been avoiding manufacturing professions for years, and older craftsmen have become rigid after 20, 30 years and generally don’t want to learn, adapt and improve their knowhow. Having learned from my experience in Switzerland, which has one of the world’s best dual education models, I last year expressed an interest, via the Chamber of Commerce, in including Delux Style in the youth education programme. I hope that our head of production and one of our craftsmen will acquire the necessary licenses by the coming autumn and that the pupils of the Carpentry Secondary School in Grdelica will start work placement practise with us from the start of the next school year. This would really be an opportunity for them to learn a trade, to become the kind of workers for the 21st century that

are in short supply in Serbia have, securing a certain future for themselves. For us it would be an opportunity to gain access to young professionals and top workers. That is my wish and my goal - to invest in young people, to develop my company and to help in the development of Serbia. • The Swiss are diligent, meticulous and demanding. What is it like to work there? How is their model of dual education? - It was form them that I learned to pay attention to details, to every little thing. That’s why what we do as UniStyle is recognised for its top quality and top design. We leave nothing to chance. We monitor world trends, especially in Italy, which is unrivalled, and we insist on the high-quality of our work and the furniture we provide, because that is demanded. Thanks to their great dual education programme, the Swiss have top craftsmen. There children on three-year educational programmes spend four days a week at firms and only one day learning theory in classrooms. That’s why they’re ready to work as soon as they complete their schooling. They are motivated, which makes them good workers, and that is good for everyone. This is a model that we need to apply in Serbia and I will provide that with as much strong support as I can. ■




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The Most Successful Learn Constantly The training courses and workshops of MIND LABoratory are based on the NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] methodology and other knowhow from psychology, management and HR. Educating young people is based on their preparation for a job, a career and life, while businesspeople are provided with powerful tools that help them do their jobs to the highest level


ur employers prefer to invest in formal education, financing studies and the like, rather than in the training, instructing and personal development of employees. On the other hand, employees didn’t care much about training either, but things are slowly changing for the better. • Did MIND LABoratory – as an agency for education, consulting and management – emerge out of your personal desire and need for training and education? - MIND LABoratory is indeed a product of my desire to constantly improve. I believe deeply that knowledge is the greatest wealth and that the learning process never ends. The training courses that I organise are the best opportunity to share the knowledge that I’ve gained, but also to upgrade it. I’m convinced that we can learn something new from everyone and that during these training courses I am both a student and a teacher. A person should devote themselves to that which they genuinely love, to invest their entire self and to be the best at that. This is achieved through constant work on self, a willingness to accept our weaknesses and to work in order to overcome them. 32 |



• You created the agency as an accomplished person, because at that time you already had both a formal education and enviable work experience. What were you lacking? What do both young people and experienced businesspeople lack today? - Today, from this perspective, I consider that at the beginning of my career I lacked flexibility in work and the ability to better manage my emotions, so – like most businesspeople today – I had to deal with the work burnout syndrome. I wouldn’t want to generalise, but young people mainly lack motivation and interest in further learning, with a certain amount of fear and a lack of confidence present. I also often encounter the problem of focusing. A very small percentage of young people know what they want and few of them have clear goals. On the whole, businesspeople lack empathy, on the one hand, while on the other hand they are quite unfamiliar with how to organise their time and manage stress. Unfortunately, there is also only a small percentage of people dedicated to continuous improvement in the business world. An insignificant number of companies invest in their employees, while the

majority treat such allocations as a cost or don’t even consider this possibility. • Is it true that a college diploma is of little value today without self-confidence, a good performance, social intelligence and soft skils? - I really believe that knowledge is power and in no way would I undermine the value and importance of a university degree. Business success is impacted 15% by intelligence and 85% by optimism, the support of other people and clearly set goals. If someone lacks self-awareness, self-confidence, empathy, a capacity to make decisions and communication skills, that person is incomplete. Alongside this, we should in now way overlook tireless learning – as one of the basic characteristics of successful people. • You spent years working in the hospitality industry, as part of middle, senior and top management. What are the problems facing the workforce in that industry? How much do hotel owners and managers invest in employees? How interested employees are themselves in additional education and training? - The biggest problem in the hotel industry

is a shortage of workers. Due to a shortfall of service staff, they resort to recruiting non-professional and incompetent people. Statistics show only only around seven per cent of hoteliers invest in their employees, which - you will agree - is a very small percentage. On the other hand, as I know from experience, many employees regularly attended training courses that are organised for them, but they generally only see that as another work obligation. The general conclusion is that employees rarely opt for education on their own initiative, and another problem is the large fluctuation of staff, which impacts negatively on teamwork and produces poorer results. Of course, we should also mention the generally unsatisfactory working conditions in the hotel industry (low wages, high levels of stress, overtime requirements etc.). • Thanks to the natural shift of generations, we are also slowly becoming aware of the importance of continuous, lifelong learning. In which industries is this idea most easily “received”? - Probably in science generally.Technology and its rapid innovations are becoming ever more widely applied in all industries... I wouldn’t single out anything in particular. On the whole, major global companies are bringing this trend to our country. Domestic firms recognise the importance, but are reluctant to allocate funds for these purposes. I see the reason for that in relations between the general culture, awareness and economic opportunities in the country and the surrounding area. • Investing in knowledge and the development of skills of employees is seen in our country as an expense, and not as an investment. Is that also changing? How willing are we to learn about communication, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, conflicts resolution methods etc.? - Things are changing, but quite slowly. Practises to date have shown that employers prefer to invest in formal education through retraining, financing studies etc., rather than in non-formal forms of education. There is a neglecting of the fact that people spend a third of their day at work and that it is very important that they utilise their time

in a high quality way and without stress. And it is precisely healthy communication and good interpersonal relationships that contribute to better teamwork and better business results. It’s not enough to just bring people together, but rather it is necessary to work on empowering them individually and as a team. It is necessary to encourage employees to think in the most diverse ways in order to find the most creative solutions to a particular problem or to improve some production process. This is achieved precisely through constant work, an insistence on high-quality communication and a pleasant working en-

cating and developing businesspeople is another, is it not? - Training courses and workshops are fully adapted to clients and their specific needs. Every client is approached with special care and each client is unique. Training courses and workshops are based on NLP methodology and other knowledge from psychology, management and HR. Education of the youth is based on their preparation for a job, career and life. The idea is for them to

A complete person possesses emotional intelligence in synergy with formal education and knowhow

vironment. Research shows that employees cite the most common reasons for leaving a job as the lack of possibilities for advancement and poor interpersonal relationships. All of this testifies to the importance of the aforementioned topics. • To what extent are training courses and workshops adapted to clients and their specific needs? Do you always cover the same topics and do you use the same tools and methodology? Educating young people on a personal front is one thing, while edu-

gain additional knowledge that will help them find their way through the proper setting of goals and the development of business and organisational skills. In today’s competitive environment, it is essential for businesspeople to have powerful tools that will help them do their jobs to the highest possible level. This education is directed towards improving work outcomes through the increasing of productivity while optimising resources, changing models of behaviour that aren’t useful and focusing on solutions. ■ MARCH



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Stability, Reliance, & Excellence In Teaching Belgrade-based Lingua HUB isn't a classical language school, but rather an agency for education. Along with its main programme of language classes, it also organises courses and workshops in the fields of business skills, communication, human resources, literature, culture, art, psychology, IT, sales etc.


he secret of our good results lies in our abaility to adapt to the client. The prerequisite for finding the right plane in which the student and their educator find themselves is to always have a different working method, alongside frequent changes in dynamics, exercises and activities, says Mr Mihajlović, revealing the secret of his agency’s success. • Lingua HUB is, as you yourself say, the “Hub of linguistic and other knowledge and skills of modern times”. What does that mean? - We provide a high-quality, precise and fast service. The field of education is probably, after medicine, the most delicate domain, and should be approached as such – in a wholly humanistic way. This is our commitment, hence the initiative, and this is where our agency becomes a hub of linguistic and other knowledge and skills of modern times. Alongside having a unique approach for each student, we are ready to evaluate (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, since 2001), advise and direct in the right way. The concept of exchanging knowhow and experience in languages, culture, business skills, new technologies, literature, art, music and trends raises us above the clustering of people and returns them to their habits and commitments. 34 |



• Familiarity with the English language is implied nowadays, while it is commonplace to actively use at least two foreign languages in the business world. Who comprise the majority of your students? - Most of our students are made up of businesspeople, managers, directors or owners of enterprises. Proficiency in foreign languages in Serbia is, according to CEFR standards, still at an unenviable level, but the fact is that there is an upward trend and that the use of English and other foreign languages in business is becoming commonplace. In circumstances in which people have no time to waste, we often strive to emphasise the

• You adapt your method and programme to each client. Are there rules... as to who performs better in individual lessons and who works best in a group? - Our success lies in adapting to the client. The prerequisite for finding the right plane in which the student and their educator find themselves is to always have a different working method, alongside frequent changes in dynamics, exercises and activities. This is a very challenging approach for both the student and the teacher. All our programmes are modern and deductive in their adoption. Every individual is a set of different characteristics. In the world of fast-moving infor-

Group work generally takes place in companies, in small groups, where commitment to each student is still maximised importance of the slogan “Stop Wasting Time”, so alongside the main programme we are also preparing a course supplement or workshop in the fields of business skills, communication, human resources, literature, culture, art, psychology, IT, sales etc. This leads to the interest becoming higher, so even students at lower CEFR levels are more engaged, motivated and productive.

mation, people of modern times have a good basis in being more ready both logically and linguistically to further develop their knowledge and skills. The difference between individual and group instructions is the client’s preference. Both are equally good. ■ Ćirila i Metodija 8, Oaza, Belgrade




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