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February 2018 | ISSUE No. 24 | Price 350 RSD



JORGOVANKA TABAKOVIĆ Governor of the National Bank of Serbia


25 AMERICAN JAN page 30



Minister of European Integration in the Government of the Republic of Serbia


Editor-in-Chief of Nedeljnik



H.E. RADKO VLAYKOV Ambassador of Bulgaria





MBA, Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, Boston, US and The Vice President of Wikimedia District of Columbia


Croatian Ambassador to Serbia



Kosovo – The Most Expensive American Word Dear readers, There is a well-known narrative about Kosovo as the “most expensive Serbian word”, and we know a lot about it, up to the point of being overdramatic. I understand what Kosovo might mean to the Serbs, the name Macedonia to the Greeks, the town of Prizren to the Albanians, Crimea to Ukraine or Russia, Ossetia to the Georgians, Karabakh to the Azeri or the Armenians… But I completely fail to understand what Kosovo might possibly mean to the Americans. Kosovo cost America more than any other thing on this planet, still few people know why. Did it cost a lot? Well, Editor of RT, Margarita Simonyan has finally confirmed what my Russian friends had been telling me all along for the last 18 years. She recalled the period between 1991 and 1999, Americanophilia and the love for everything Western (it happened in Serbia too, protesters were waving American flags even in early 1997). “Tell us what you want, and we will give it to you, we adore you”. And then, the Americans bombed Yugoslavia, and it all disappeared including t.A.T.u., the Russian pop band who made the protest song about it. Yeltsin knew he had made a mistake for allowing it and he had to go. He left in haste, before he was overthrown by the protesters in the streets. He withdrew and appointed Putin as the new president only six and a half months after the Kumanovo Agreement. Putin has become everything that the West has always feared the leader of the superpower confronting the West. Not to mention that the West has lost Serbia just to obtain territory that is smaller than Wales. Losing Russia as an ally for a small patch of land? If there is a master plan behind it, it is still invisible, and it was too costly for the West. Kosovo is the priciest land for the West. Ever! Sheer lunacy or a brilliant plan? There is still no evidence to support the latter. ŽIKICA MILOŠEVIĆ



Minister of European Integration in the Government of the Republic of Serbia





Editor-in-Chief of Nedeljnik




Editor in Chief


Editorial manager


PR&Event support Nord Communications vanja.communications



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Art director

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RUŽA RISTANOVIĆ Magazine director



GORAN ZLATKOVIĆ GETTY IMAGES Translation and lecturer



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President of Kingdom of Serbia Restoration Movement



Regional Director for Europe and Director of Country Forecasting Services at The Economist Intelligence Unit



MBA, Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, Boston, US and The Vice President of Wikimedia District of Columbia



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We are Creating an Environment for Better Life

As always, we will work diligently and responsibly on the implementation of reforms, primarily because of the interests of our citizens and the promises we have given to them so that, in the end, the EU membership will come as a logical follow-up activity

JADRANKA JOKSIMOVIĆ Minister of European Integration in the Government of the Republic of Serbia

The EU Enlargement Strategy sends a clear and positive political signal, as it also indicates the respect for our country and its citizens which additionally facilitates the reform process and the transformation of our society. On the other hand, the continuation of the reforms in the rule of law segment is one of the top priorities of our government for this year – says Minister of European Integration, Jadranka Joksimović for Diplomacy&Commerce magazine. What kind of qualitative change did the fact that the EU (and specially the European Commission) give Serbia a potential accession date make in the country's accession process?

— The EU Enlargement Strategy,


which was adopted on Tuesday, sends a clear and positive political signal, as it also indicates the respect for our country and its citizens. At the same time, it confirms that the EU is committed to making itself stronger by 2025, and to demonstrating more solidarity and institutional strength in order to be ready to take on new members. This is a strong political message that successful and responsible governments, and I consider our government to be such, should take on board.

better life. To that end, I would like to underline that the EU integration process is a positive process that inspires us to be faster and more efficient in resolving certain issues. Everybody can see that focusing on the past will not create better future. So why doesn't the pace of opening of new negotiation chapters reflect that at present?

— Bearing in mind that the European Union has declared the year 2018 as a year that will be dedicated to

I SEE EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AS A POSITIVE PROCESS THAT INSPIRES US TO BE FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENT IN RESOLUTION OF CERTAIN ISSUES As always, we will work diligently and responsibly on the implementation of reforms - primarily because of the interests of our citizens and the promises we have given to them so that, in the end, the EU membership will come as a logical follow-up activity that will create an environment for

strengthening of the enlargement policy, among other things, I expect our negotiations to intensify and accelerate this year. In that sense, I also expect that we will open all the chapters for which we are technically ready, and that the clear political will of the EU institutions, primarily the European Commis-

sion and its President Juncker, will be translated into concrete results. How much is the issue of opening of new chapters and concluding a legally binding agreement with Priština a determinant that affects the certainty of Serbia's accession?

— Concluding a legally binding agreement about the normalization of the relations with Priština is nothing new. This is an obligation that is stipulated in the EU's negotiating framework with Serbia. The content of the Agreement has to be a product of the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, with a more pronounced mediation role of the EU and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who I expect to again take an active role in this issue. As you already know, and in order to achieve this, it is vital for both parties to implement all the obligations stipulated in the Brussels Agreement. I am primarily referring to Priština's obligation to form the Community of Serb Municipalities which has not been done for more than 4 years. Serbia is very clear in its position not to recognize Kosovo's independence, as are other five EU members, and is advocating finding sustainable solutions for the comprehensive normalization of the relations. Bearing in mind the current pace of the accession, is it realistic to expect that Serbia can meet all the accession criteria by 2023, and overcome all the challenges associated with the EU members' giving their consent to the accession by the aformentioned deadline?

— If you are referring to the date stated in the Strategy published by the EU Commission, this is an indicative deadline by which Serbia can become a member. We are talking about the year 2025. This is certainly possible. The pace that you are talking about has been the most intensive ever since Serbia embarked on the EU integration process. Each step in the accession negotiations, which is to say the adoption of a screening report for each chapter, the adoption of negotiating positions for 35 chapters, the fulfillment of the criteria for opening and closing chapters, and transitional criteria applicable to Chapters 23, 24 and 35, must always be approved by all, in this moment still 28 EU members. This fact alone should tell you just how

the disputes that, in the substantive legal sense, have nothing to do with the EU Acquis which is the only objective and measurable criterion for the membership. The European integration process is far more than a mere technical process of harmonization. It is the process which has the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights, including minority rights, as its basis. Hence, in the spirit of the rule of law and calm resolution of disputes, I expect that a country,

complex the entire process is. All of this requires a lot of work and patience, and above all, understanding in good faith and accepting that Serbia is a partner today and a full-fledged EU member tomorrow. Such relations, which are based on mutual acceptance, are important for the entire region, regardless of the current status in the EU integration process or the EU membership. Moreover, you have more responsibility as an EU member because it implies that

EU acquis, but Serbia has undoubtedly confirmed its commitment to strengthening and protecting the position of national minorities, although our existing legislative framework exceeds the existing EU standards in that area. Also, further improvement of the legislative framework is envisaged - such as amendments to the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities and the Law on National Councils of National Minorities, which are in progress. As always, we are going to try to resolve all bilateral issues with our neighbours through sincere and open communication. What are Serbia's key priorities in the following period in terms of making the EU integration process more efficient?

OUR PRIORITY IS ENSURING THAT OUR LEGAL SYSTEM IS READY FOR THE MEMBERSHIP IN THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME you have resolved the issues in the past in the spirit of reconciliation, good faith and legal certainty. Do you think that unresolved issues between Crotia and Serbia, which often concern the EU integration process too, could be an aggravating factor on this accession path? Do you also think that Serbia might have similar unresolved issues with other countries too, especially in terms of minority rights?

— The very fact that you can use any bilateral conflict to slow down the accession process is an aggravating circumstance. The most cumbersome thing is that these are

that is facing a blockade in the accession negotiations because of a bilateral dispute, should demonstrate a different kind of approach. A different approach would entail no EU candidate having its accession process blocked, and transferring to the EU candidates positive experiences regarding peaceful settlement of disputes with neighbours in accordance with the accepted models provided by the UN system and international law. Concerning the issue of national minorities, Serbia has adopted a special action plan under Chapter 23 (in the part concerning fundamental rights and freedoms). Minorities are not an integral part of

— The continuation of reforms in the segment of the rule of law is at the top of the government's priorities. This year will be dedicated to adopting constitutional amendments aimed at further ensuring the independent judiciary, as well as to enacting laws in order to meet the criteria laid out in Chapters 23 and 24. At the same time, we are working on a comprehensive revision of the action plans for these two chapters in order to address the shortcomings of the initial versions which were too ambitious in certain elements. The Ministry of European Integration has prepared the third revised version of the National Plan for Adoption of Acquis Communautaire (NPAA), which is expected to be adopted in February. The NPAA envisages full harmonization with the EU Acquis by the end of 2021. Our priority is ensuring that our legal system is ready for the membership in the shortest possible time, and that we have enough time to successfully and efficiently implement regulations. Therefore, the NPAA is not only the priority for the Ministry of European Integration, but also for the government as a whole.

ENLARGEMENT STRATEGY HAS A POSITIVE INFLUENCE The EU Enlargement Strategy, which additionally encourages the process of reforms and transformation of our society, and stipulates the timeframe for accession, set for 2025 as a year of possible membership, has a positive influence on public opinion in Serbia. This is clearly

evidenced by the unequivocal trend of growing support for the European integration process, as well as for the measures and activities aimed at joining the EU as soon as possible. For the first time in several years, 52% of people in Serbia support the country's accession to the EU.



Young Italians are Fed up With the Traditional Political Parties But there are not very many of them

For the first time in its brief history, Italy’s maverick Five Star Movement (M5S) is going into a general election campaign as the front-runner. On December 28th President Sergio Mattarella dissolved parliament, clearing the way for a vote on March 4th. The latest polls give the M5S, which advocates direct, internet-based democracy and a hotch-potch of left- and right-wing policies, a lead of more than three points over the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the dominant partner in Paolo Gentiloni’s coalition government. The inexperienced M5S, founded less than nine years ago, could thus get first crack at forming a government—a prospect that troubles markets already worried by Italy’s huge public debt (132% of GDP at the end of 2016). Like other populist groups in Europe, the M5S thrives on frustrated expectations. In Italy disillusion is most intense among the young and educated. Two-and-a half years after graduating, Valentina Fatichenti works six months in every 12 helping students at an American university campus in her native Florence. Otherwise, she scrapes a precarious living teaching English in primary schools, translating and, occasionally, waitressing. She has decided to vote for the M5S. Its appeal? “New faces,” she says. The M5S chooses its candidates in online polls of its members. Its candidate for prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, is 31, just three years older than Ms Fatichenti (the better known Beppe Grillo, M5S’s founder, is ineligible to run for parliament due to a conviction for manslaughter, in a car accident). Nando Pagnoncelli of Ipsos, a pollster, says 25- to 34-year-olds are the group most likely to support M5S: four points above the average. Young voters are also more likely than their elders to back other radical parties such as the Brothers of Italy (FdI), which has neo-fascist roots, and the Northern League, which wants less immigration and more autonomy for northern Italy. Young Italians resent the older generations, but not their parents, says Alessandro Rosina, who co-ordinated a recent study for the Istituto Toniolo, a think-tank. They are hostile to mainstream parties, trade unions and an ill-defined “ruling class”, which they blame for the vast gap between their incomes, job prospects and pension pots and those of their elders. The Intergenerational Foundation’s most recent “intergenerational fairness index” ranks Italy second from bottom in Europe, ahead of only Greece. In 2014, the last year for which comparative data are available, what the government spent


on Italy’s past (ie, on pensions) was more than four times what it spent on its future (ie, on education and training). But then, as Mr Pagnoncelli notes, it is the elderly who have the electoral clout. Voters over 55 make up 41% of the electorate, compared with 22% under 35—the effect of a steep decline in the birth rate dating back to the 1970s (see chart). Many of the causes of Italy’s generation gap can be found in political choices made in the past 20 years that have favoured the old over the young. Italy’s low birth rate, coupled with


disappointing economic growth, has prodded successive governments into pension reforms. But the way in which these have been carried out has placed on younger, generally lower-earning, workers the burden of providing not only for their own pensions, but also for those of the already retired. Labour reforms in 1997 and 2003 made it easier for bosses to hire new workers on shortterm contracts, but did little to erode the job security of those already in permanent employment. And since the latter, along with pensioners, make up the bulk of trade-union membership, the unions have been keener to defend the privileges of those with jobs for life than to campaign for a more equitable distribution of benefits. Ms Fatichenti’s family is typical: her father toiled in the same factory for 40 years, her mother was a janitor. Ms Fatichenti has a university education. Yet her take-home pay in the six months when she is under contract is €300 a month less than that of her boyfriend, who works in a street market. “A lot of employers don’t want graduates because they don’t have any practical experience,” she says. That points to a weakness stressed in Mr Rosina’s report: a lack of connection between education and the labour market. Italy has the EU’s highest proportion of under-35s not in education, employment or training: 30.7% in 2016, compared with 12.4% in Germany. A big informal economy allows young workers to arrangiarsi (get by, with odd jobs). And Italy’s EU membership lets them search for work in 27 other countries. An estimated 600,000 Italians live in Britain; not even the prospect of Brexit has stemmed the flow. In the 12 months to mid-2017, whereas the number of Poles entering the British labour market dropped by 26%, the number of Italians rose by 2%. A third factor easing the plight of the young is family support. Italian parents let their children live with them far longer than other European parents. In 2016 only a third of 18-35s had left their parental homes, compared with 63% in France. Though changes to pension and employment rules could go some way towards closing Italy’s generation gap, what is really needed, reckons Mr Rosina, is a change of outlook, both among teachers, who should equip young Italians with life skills, and employers, who need to start seeing them not as easily disposable cheap labour, but as sources of innovation. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on



We Understand the Western Balkans Best! We know each other well, we are brothers

H.E. RADKO VLAYKOV Ambassador of Bulgaria

On the 1st of January, Bulgaria took over the EU presidency for 6 months. Since it is the Balkan country, economically and culturally similar to other Balkan EU candidates, the main priority for Bulgaria is pushing the accession agenda. And nobody knows our problems better than Bulgaria. We talked to H. E. Radko Vlaykov, Ambassador of Bulgaria in Belgrade. Having in mind that Bulgaria has become the presiding member of the EU since the 1st January, it is logical that the stability of the Balkans will be one of the top


priorities of the agenda?

— I totally agree with you. There was nothing more logical than to transform Bulgaria's decades of stability for the Balkans into an accent of the six months of our first Presidency and in a lasting commitment of the EU. In this way, we are implementing a Balkan

everyone. For us in the EU - all over Europe will be both geographically and politically united. For Serbia and other countries in the region you are implementing reforms that modernize your countries and societies and become part of Europe's most successful model of development. And I repeat - at the end of

NIKOLINA ANGELKOVA AND RASIM LJAJIĆ ARE JUST ABOUT TO SIGN A MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF TOURISM Presidency. The very formulation of the priority - the perspective and connectivity of the Western Balkans - implies a wider decipherment. We are working for a stable, secure and solidarity Europe. And this can only happen with the further integration of the Western Balkan countries. And notice: the benefit of this is for

this process, Europe will be even more stable, secure and solidary. The Balkans have always been a source of conflict over the centuries. Often they have created problems for the whole of Europe. We believe that the last few years have given the region a completely different perspective. Greece, Bulgar-

ia, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, let's also add the bordering Italy, Austria and Hungary to the Balkans, we are members of the European Union. And that makes us much more stable, secure and solidary. If we look at the map of this part of Europe and immediately see that the most logical is that the Western Balkan countries are also part of us, from a united Europe. And finally stop looking at the Balkans as Europe's "gunfire". In the first half of this year, the motto of Bulgaria is also the EU's motto: "United we stand strong" – the message from the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to Serbia and other countries of the Western Balkans cannot be clearer! Over the past months, you have witnessed that gradually the topic of the perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans is one of the central topics, even in Serbia. With

a huge satisfaction I welcomed the news from the mid-January, that the support of the citizens of Serbia for the EU for the last six months increased from 48% to 52%. Increase of 4% for six months! A very good results! It is logical that the further increase is the main priority of the Bulgarian Presidency. The support of the public opinion is key to the pro-European and pro-reform politicians in Serbia. Only with the support of the citizens of Serbia, the President Aleksandar Vučić, PM Ana Brnabić, her ministers, the entire negotiating team of Serbia and the European Union will continue to fulfill the basic priority - the membership of Serbia in the EU. From my experience in Bulgaria, I know that the path of reforms is painful for the citizens. But you have to believe that your politicians are doing the reforms not simply because of Bruxelles, you have to believe it, they are done for the citizens of Serbia to live much better. Over the centuries, regardless of the history of the history, the Serb people have carried and stored the heart of the European spirit. I am convinced that this European spirit, which is compatible with the tradition of fighting for stability and determination to keep its goals, will be the keys to the successful completion of the negotiating process and the future membership of Serbia in the EU. Do you think that the accession of the Western Balkan states is feasible untile 2025, as JeanClaude Juncker suggested?

— The year mentioned by the Mr Juncker is indicative. It is clear that to some candidate countries this year will be proved to be unattainable. You know that not all states from the Western Balkans have begun to negotiate. And the vice versa. In the case of vigorous reform, in a speedy process, it is possible for the criteria to be covered both earlier and correspondingly to extend the membership a year or two earlier. The different hypotheses are possible. The basic is that there is no compromise with the criteria. In this way, it is all in the hands of the candidate countries. The statement of the President of the EC Juncker from September 2017 is crucial. This is also the result of our enormous impact on the return of the issue of enlargement to the agenda of the Union. Commenting on concrete data is an important motive for the negotiating countries. Often, I have

often heard from the Serbian politicians how important it is to look at the deadlines. And in that sense, we are very much satisfied with the concrete approach. Over the next few months, there will be a series of events which will be an important indicator of the course of Serbia's accession to the EU. A few days ago, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Taiani visited Belgrade. It is already a fact that there is the Strategy for Serbia and Montenegro as the leading candidates for EU membership. This is an unprecedented document that proves the special attention to your state. It is worth

is that Serbia and other candidates from the region are to be regarded as part of the EU form now on. Therefore, apart from the high-level meetings, we have invited your ministers and parliamentarians to participate in the Council on sectoral issues. These intense contacts are very important for building beliefs and trust. During our presidency, we are actively and more pragmatically working on questions for all citizens of Serbia and other countries of the Western Balkans, without waiting for 2025. Priority is the popularization of the EU's digital policies in the Western Balkans.

IN 2007 THE GDP PER CAPITA WAS 41% OF THE EU AVERAGE. AND TODAY IS A LITTLE OVER 49% WITH A GROWTH TENDENCY mentioning that it is introducing a special visit to the Serbian politicians of the Commissioner for the EU Enlargement, Mr Hahn. The upcoming weeks will see the visit of the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker. In April we expect a report of Serbia accession process. It is being understood that I want to give special attention to the high-level meeting of the leaders of the European institutions and of the Member States with the leaders of the countries of the Western Balkans. On May 17, in Sofia, the new history of the region, and Europe, is likely to be written. Our position

Bulgaria gave an example of this by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on reducing international roaming fees with Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia. This, which we seek as the ultimate goal, translated on a very understandable language, is that every citizen of Serbia, as well as a citizen of a country in the Western Balkans, can make a phone call to any EU conutry by the price valid in Serbia and so that they will feel as a part of the European space. Way before 2025 Serbia has already participated and will continue to take part in a joint fight

EMOTIONS ARE NOT CONVEYABLE Dry figures speak to the experts. But they cannot tranfer the emotions of the hotels full of Bulgarian tourists every weekend from the Bulgarian border to Niš. Nor the fact that for the New Year's Eve the most numerous tourists in Belgrade and throughout Serbia are Bulgarians. And they remain very pleased with everything - food, service, music. We are working actively for Serbian tourists to discover that Bulgaria is not just a sea and ski resorts. Bulgaria has a very developed tourist infrastructure. We want to share it with our Serb friends.

against terrorism, the migrant crisis, serious challenges to the EU and to humanity. This co-operation is very important for building administrative capacity, trust, that Serbia is a trustworthy partner. Bulgaria and Romania entered in 2007, during the final phase of the „Big Bang“. Are you satisfied 11 years later?

— Of course! I think that there is no sane person in Bulgaria, who is going to be reluctant whether the EU membership is good or not. If here and there we have some Euroskeptics, it's because of the external, anti-European impact. It is not a secret that some Eurosceptics are financed directly from the anti-European structures. We have a proverb – "You can easily be adjusted to the good." It's been about 11 years and that lots of people have forgotten how life in Bulgaria has been radically changed. And the economic indicators for this change speak for themselves. At the beginning of the changes in 1989 between us and the countries of the European Union thare was a huge gap and comparisons could not be made. In 2007 when we became an EU member, we were able to compare - the GDP per capita in Bulgaria was 41% of the EU average. And today is a little over 49% with a lot of persistent growth tendency. With its accession to the EU, Bulgaria is a part of one of the largest markets in the world - the single market, with 500m European Citizens. Billions were invested by the EC for the modernisation of the Bulgarian regions and infrastructure. The stability and the predictability provided by the standards and rules of the EU created favourable conditions for the increase of both foreign investments in the Bulgarian economy and the permanent increase in the number of newly created jobs. The membership in the EC brought Bulgaria far more than the concrete economic benefits. This is reflected in the political, social and human plan of the Bulgarian citizens. Every day the Bulgarians feels as European. Europe is part of everyday life. Little Bulgaria is an equal participant in the debate and solutions for the future of our continent. At the same time, not only in the 6 months of the Presidency, but in the course of time. Because such are democratic rules of our Union. The advantages that the membership of the EU gives to all of its citizens, have become evident to the Bulgarians and the assessment


of the Bulgarian citizens of these advantages is excellent. Many more Bulgarians support the membership of the country in the EU than in the first years of 2007. At the same time, the public trust in the European institutions in Bulgaria remains at a very high level. Is it true that every year the conditions for EU membership are hasrher and sticter, so Serbia will have to face tougher criteria than Bulgaria?

— The countries of any next enlargment of the EU think that more and more pre-requisites are placed in front of them, than in the previous case. This was also the case with Bulgaria and Romania, for which first monitoring was established in the judiciary, in contrast to the group of countries of the previous enlargement. Similar was the situation with the enlargement of Croatia, which also carried out laborious negotiations, after the negotiating process with the EU was blocked for the years from Slovenia. I do not think that similar comparisons are possible. The global and regional conditions are changing. We are facing new challenges, and there are problems within the EU itself. The implementation of the law is a very important area, but there is already a lot of attention and good-neighborly relations, the resolution of the unresolved bilateral issues, and regional cooperation, which contributes significantly to the process of reconciliation in the context of the region. Bulgaria has also travelled a complex path and responded to difficult requirements, did necessary compromise, to become an EU member. This is why we clearly understand Serbia and other countries. Therefore, we have put a lot of effort into contributing to the enlargement of the EU with the Western Balkans to become a fundamental issue in the EU agenda. That is why I want to help Western Balkan countries with all the possible on their way to Europe. This, which can be captured by the time of the Bulgarian Presidency, is not easy at all. As it was not easy to reach agreement, this focus should be on the accent of our Presidency. It's true, however, that it will be beneficial to the region. How do you estimate Serbian-Bulgarian relations, since during the last 150 years there have been many unfortunate events, so the tow incredibly close nations don't exactly know


or understand each other?

— The question is very complex. I can partially agree with it, but partially - no! As a man who respects the significance of numbers, I take into account the mentioned 150 years. This has been around 1868. A little before this, the First and Second Bulgarian Legions were established in Belgrade. And even before that, Bulgarian volunteers actively participated in the liberation of the Serbs. Today in the park "Tašmajdan" has a modest monument to

Above Dimitrovgrad, or Caribrod, as it is said by the locals, the Neškov Vrh Peak looms. On this top there is a unique ossuary, built in 1887. In the ossuary, the remains of the killed Bulgarian and Serbian soldiers were placed. Remember - 1887! Only two years after a bloodshed. The bones of the killed Bulgarians and Serbs were collected and buried together. The ossuary is the natural place for repentance and reconciliation of Bulgarians are Serbs. And it's tough when you

WE KNOW EACH OTHER, WELL! IT CANNOT BE OTHERWISE WITH THESE SIMILAR TONGUES AND TRADITIONS, OUR COMMON RELIGION, THE SIMILAR CUISINE, OUR SIMILAR JOKES AND INDECENT WORDS THAT WE SOMETIMES USE the heroes of Bulgaria and Serbia Vasil Levski and Georgi Rakovski. Or, until the second half of the 19th century, the Bulgarians and the Serbs were together. We had a joint participation in the past, we were looking forward to the future. And then the turn-tide of the destiny begins. The Russian-Turkish War and the Berlin Congress with the points that diverge the interests of Serbia and Bulgaria. The first open conflict, the beginning of a row of others, was the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885, when Serbia attacked Bulgaria. This war is known in us as the "Brother-killing War". "Brother-killing"! I hope you understand my emotion. Bulgarians and Serbs are brothers. „Brother-killing“!

look at the board with an inscription in the Bulgarian and Serbian languages - "In the memory of the victims of the brother-killing war." I am particularly pleased that, in 2017, the Bulgarian Vice-President Iliyana Yotova and the Secretary General of the President Aleksandar Vučić, Nikola Selaković, and several days later the Deputy Prime-Ministers of Bulgaria and Serbia Valeri Simeonov and Rasim Ljajić laid flowers and revived the memory of the giants of the Bulgarians and the Serbs. With this sign we show that were already on the path of the European approach to tolerance, the cancellation of the hate speech, the striving for unification. For those laid down there, the wreaths have huge value and

they are investment in the future. When on 8 September 2016 I presented the letters of credentials to the then-President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolić, I stated that the prejudice towards my country and my people would be eradicated. And I'm actively working on this. This ends the answer to the part of your question about misunderstanding. Quite briefly about the part of your question that we do not know each other. We know each other, well! It cannot be otherwise with these similar tongues and traditions, our common religion, the similar cuisine, our similar jokes and indecent words that we sometimes use. That is why, if someone still has prejudices in their heads and rumbled from the past, it is high time to leave them to the historians. And I become a daily witness of friendly relations between modern Bulgarians and Serbs. And that makes me happy. Otherwise, if as a diplomat I have to appreciate our relationship – it is excellent! Excellent political dialogue, active work on connectivity in the economy, transport and energy, cooperation in the context of European integration, joint cross-border projects, projects under the Bulgarian Development Cooperation Programme and so on. Another important place in this respect is the protection of the rights of the Bulgarian national minority in Serbia. What can we do to bring our peoples close, apart from the obvious, like city break tourism and Black Sea coast or ski tourism?

— Wonderful question and my favourite theme. Few figures. In 2017, tourists continued to grow in both countries. For the period January October 2017, Bulgaria was visited by 331,484 Serbian tourists, which is 4.4% more than the same period in 2016. Serbian tourists are eighth among foreigners visiting Bulgaria. At the same time, Serbia is in 4th place as the preferred tourist destination for Bulgarian citizens. In the first ten months of 2017, our western neighbour was visited by 398,283 of our compatriots, which is 14.1% more than the same period in 2016. The importance that we attribute to tourism is also mentioned by the fact that Bulgaria's Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova and Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Rasim Ljajić are just about to sign a Memorandum of cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries.



in February & March




New Executive Director for Central and Eastern Europe at Lenovo

Lenovo has appointed Ivan Bozev as the new Executive Director and General Manager for the region of Central and Eastern Europe. He will be in charge of continuous growth and development of business computing units in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, as well as in six other countries of Eastern Europe. Mr. Bozev will work under the President of the Lenovo EMEA, Fran-

cois Bornibus, and he will be working from Lenovo’s office in Sofia, Bulgaria. Ivan Bozev has been working for Lenovo for 17 years at various positions. During this time, he learned about different business models and consumer habits in South-East Europe, the company’s press release reads. Mr. Bozev got a Master’s Degree from the Vienna University of Technology. He lives in Sofia, and his hobbies include skiing, swimming and travelling.


Revolution Day



 ational Day and N Liberation Day



Independence Day





Independence Day

New president of the Komercijalna Banka

Mila Korugić Milošević is the new president of the Administrative Association of Komercijalna Banka Beograd, as decided by the Shareholders Assembly of that bank. At a session held on January 29, 2018, the Shareholders Assembly replaced the former chairman of the Governing Board of Vladimir Krulaj. The newly-elected president will be for four years. At the same meeting, Mats Kjaer was dismissed as an independent member of the UO and Javed

After expanding business operations to the Nordic region, I&F McCann Grupa has decided to further improve its’ organizational structure. As CEO at McCann Adriatic, Vladimir Dimovski will also managing McCann agencies in Serbia and Montenegro. Vladimir has been a part of the team for more than 15 years, his dedication and responsibility have contributed to the agencies being recognized by their clients in the region as a reliable partner in creating communication, and as the leading agencies in the market by the advertising industry. “I have been a part of the McCann system


Hamid was appointed four years in office. At the same meeting, the Shareholders Assembly of Komercijalna Banka adopted the Bank's strategy and business plan for the period from 2018 to 2020. Mila Korugić Milošević has 20 years of professional experience and worked in such companies as Sever Subotica, Kapital Banka, Vojvođanska Banka, Postbanka, Čačanska banka etc. Her special area of expertise in Deloitte&Touche Yugoslavia is financial analysis.

for more than 15 years. Our agencies within the Adriatic region have individually recorded exceptional results so far, each is a leader in its market, and we intend to continue providing efficiency, quality and creativity to our clients, employees and associates, as an integrated communication system” Vladimir said. Olivera Perković has been promoted to Deputy CEO at I&F McCann Grupa and will be responsible for defining the corporate strategy as Chief Strategy Officer. Olivera has been entrusted with the further integration of McCann agencies in Southern and Northern Europe, the

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Proclamation of Independence 1992


BULGARIA Liberation Day



Independence Day



New organizational structure

Heads the Addiko Bank

development of services and the exchange of people and knowledge, as well as forming specialized multi-market teams. “By further integrating our north and south we have a unique opportunity to build on our competitive advantage as wide-ranging communication system that offers our clients high level of expertise across areas of brand strategy, creative product and top-notch design” Olivera said. „We are boldly facing the challenges in the dynamic market we operate in, with responsibility and dedication as well as curiosity to discover consumer needs, striving to build strong relationships with all our partners every day. By exchanging knowledge, experience and people, we will provide our partners with a balanced, high quality service, whether they communicate their brand in the South or North of Europe,“ said Srđan Šaper regarding the new roles of Olivera and Vladimir in I&F McCann Grupa.

Not only Komercijalna Banka will mark the beginning of the new business year with the appointment of a new General Manager. While Vladimir Medan is coming to the position of the head of this bank, Vladimir Medan is coming to the position of the first man of Addiko Bank Vojislav Lazarević was former chairman of the Piraeus Bank executive board. Lazarević, in addition to the management of Piraeus Bank, previously worked in high positions in Vojvođanska banka, but also in Societe Generale Bank in Greece, where he started his banking career. Vladimir Medan, however, gets to the Commercial Bank from the leading position in the Deposit Insurance Agency. He was previously in charge of Novosadska Bank, at the time of its sale to Erste Bank, and then by Basler Insurance.




Chapter 30 Or “standards before status”

When I asked then French Ambassador to Serbia Christine Moro a question during the “World in 2016” Conference, held in Belgrade, about EU standards that should be applied prior to formal accession, I implied that they are far more important for any country than membership itself. S  TANDARDS WITHOUT STATUS

I also implied that these standards are so important that the importance of membership itself pales in comparison. Once you implement the standards, it’s irrelevant whether you’re a full member or a country regulated by law, with a clean environment, a low level of corruption, high living standards etc. She responded by insisting that, on the contrary, membership is crucial. I begged to differ. And just a few days ago Serbian PM Ana Brnabić said exactly the same thing: if we manage to implement all the high standards that any country in the world should pursue – from Canada to Iceland, from Israel to Australia, from China to Chile – it really doesn't matter if we are a member or not: we can freely sit, relax and wait for the European Union to invite us to join. Like in the case of Iceland, Norway, Swit-


zerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Andorra. These are all countries that are doing fine without formal membership, as they have implemented all the standards. Now it is

pared, i.e. at the same level as, say, Portugal. Some were quite close to achieving the required standards, like Czechia, Estonia etc. But the accession of all other countries had somewhat strange consequences: many Eastern Europeans abandoned their countries to move west – a process that’s most prevalent in Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia. In Poland they were largely replaced by Ukrainians, in Romania by Moldavians etc., but there is still a development gap between East Germany (former GDR) and West Germany, even after 27 years of heavy investments, so it is to be expected. But what is not good is that there aren’t enough investments in all CEE countries from anywhere, since 2008, and the Chinese have jumped onto the wagon, with their “16+1” initiative and “One Belt, One Road” project. This is welcome, given that the CEE region is hungry for capital and the Chinese have plenty to go around. Some fear exists in the West exist, but, hey, you


On the other hand, in the 2000s we witnessed many cases where standards were not fulfilled but the process was still accelerated. And now there's a price to pay, for both sides. Some countries, like Slovenia, were extremely well pre-

can give the money if you have it available. Actually, you are giving it, but not nearly enough. So, this coexistence will clearly be shaped in the future as a result of the financial and investment “hole” left in the CEE region. S  TANDARDS! WHO CARES ABOUT STATUS?

And, finally, the Serbian Government celebrated the opening of Chapter 30 in the EU accession

negotiation process, while conveniently forgetting to mention a few things. First, that after formal accession all regional trade agreements, like those with Russia, Kazakhstan (now the Eurasian Union), Turkey etc., will be abolished. Second, GMO will be allowed. This alarmed the public and inflamed social networks for days to such an extent that the RTS main news had to make it the top news story of its even broadcast at 7:30pm. It was that serious! And around two weeks after the publishing of my article “Serbia like Singapore”, The Economist published its analysis “Singapore-on-the-Thames”, discussing the prospects of the UK out of the EU as a “Singapore-like” economy, neutral and open to everyone. Like it or not, Brexit is happening, so it is the best option. As for Serbia, I will stick to the same viewpoint: Serbia as “Singapore-in-the-Balkans”, like Azerbaijan or Georgia, linking things that are so very different. No to GMO, yes to trade agreements with everyone. Strange? Let me remind you that Greenland and the Faroe Islands opted out for reasons like fishing quotas. Greenland opted out in 1985. Saint-Barthélemy left in 2012, quoting a desire to “obtain a European status that would be better suited to its status under domestic law, particularly given its remoteness from the mainland, its small insular economy largely devoted to tourism and subject to difficulties in obtaining supplies which hamper the application of some European Union standards”. They clearly admitted the difficulties in applying EU standards. It was reason enough. So, be careful! It is better to be close to the EU and to enjoy the best of the both worlds (or many worlds) than to be “locked in”.

ONE STEP NOBODY MADE — And Northern Cyprus? Just one decision in parliament would make them EU members within a future Federal Republic of Cyprus, but they don’t want to do that. Iceland has applied almost all EU standards, but there are some issues: Iceland would face controversial issues over fisheries that could potentially derail an agreement, despite already being a member of the European Economic Area (which excludes fisheries).




Media Scene is in Critical Condition Dogs resemble their owners, media resemble governments in power

VELJKO LALIĆ Editor-in-Chief of Nedeljnik

Six years ago, a weekly called Nedeljnik was launched and it shook the complacent world of investigative, argumented, polemic journalism in Serbia at its core. We are talking to the editor-in-chief of this one-of-a-kind magazine, Veljko Lalić. It’s been a century since the World War I and the immersion of the extended Kingdom of Serbia into first the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and later Yugoslavia from which Serbia emerged shrunk, ended. Was Yugoslavia a smart or a suicidal move on Serbia’s part, considering that these are two predominant views these days?

— First of all, I don’t think we had a choice. This was more the case of superpowers deciding to make a buffer zone, in an effort to prevent Germany from having access to warmer seas. Our interests matched those of winning countries, which was a rarity in this part of the world where East and West, a sometimes the Orient, clash. Secondly, I don’t think that Yugoslavia was a poor choice by any stretch of imagination, especially in 1918. Look, today we attack a king that created a country for us that was bigger than Dušan’s empire, and yet we are not critical of us for


failing to preserve it. The Kingdom lasted for 22 years, which is equal to the period from the Dayton Agreement to date. During that period, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes created the Little Entente, was first to warn about Hitler, had two and a half times bigger economy than Romania, recorded a 14.3% GDP growth in 1936, and had the largest capital city along the Istanbul-Vienna stretch. If you ask me what the most significant legacy of Yugoslavia is, I will have to say it’s Belgrade which, today, is one of the biggest and most important European cities, and yet, in 1914, it was smaller than Subotica. The only problem with Belgrade, and this also goes for FC Red Star, is that it was created for a bigger state. What exactly did we make in these last 22 years!? And let’s not even go into what we had done before that… When we were given an opportunity to join the EU first and have all the investments that later on ended up in the Czech Republic and Poland, we decided to go to war. Ante Marković offered liberal democracy and a high living standard to the Yugoslav people, and yet they rejected him with disgust. He was beaten by Karadžić, Izetbegović and HDZ. In our country, Šešelj ‘crushed’ Borislav Pekić. And we have the audacity to complain about King Aleksandar I? Do you think that the pronounced dislike of King Aleksandar Karadjordjević I is because Serbs, despite all the accomplishments, still have a collective perception that it was

him that “ushered a nation into a country in 1918 which then, in 1991, gave birth to four nations and four languages”? How is his role perceived today?

— Sometime in the 1930s, a British emissary sent a following dispatch: “There are two Yugoslavs in this country. One is King Aleksandar, and another one is me”. As far as I understood, the King was no Utopian. He did negotiate with the Croats. If there hadn’t been a world war, that would have never happened. And if he didn’t negotiate with the Croats and just signed the Concordant, today we would have Serbs that are Eastern Orthodox, Serbs that are Catholics and Serbs that are Muslims. And yet there is no street in Belgrade named after him. Paris, of all cities, has a beau-

I DO THINK THAT NEDELJNIK HAS RESUSCITATED WEEKLY JOURNALISM WHICH WAS ON ITS DEATHBED SIX YEARS AGO tiful monument of King Aleksandar in the city centre. But, before I go any further, I would just like to underline that I am not a monarchist. I only think that, given our situation, the return of monarchy would be like the biggest world party because nobody, in this modern world, has ever done it. We already live in a system that is sufficiently peculiar – we have a king living in his court, an heir to the throne who attends all national

functions, a crown and a coat of arms on our flag, and a monarchist anthem. On top of that, we have a president who has the last say in all of this. Where, on earth, would you find that?! Historically speaking, King Aleksandar made a huge mistake about Montenegro. He grew up in Cetinje, was raised by the Petrović family, and he simply had to be more observant towards them. I think that this was the root of the split between a nation of one name, which Serbs and Montenegrins once were. A fallout between two nations has bigger consequences than a fallout between three nations. As far as Yugoslavia goes, if you go back to 1914 and compare it to what we have today, you can see that Serbia expanded the most. We exchanged the south of the country, where our monuments and cemeteries are, for the exceptionally fertile and wealthy land that is Vojvodina. Today, Serbia has a government in Banja Luka, west of Sarajevo. Imagine if someone offered this to us in 1914?! It was actually Serbs and Croats that profited the most from Yugoslavia. OK, Croats profited a bit more than Serbs. After all, it was their idea all along, and it was them who provided a ‘bankruptcy trustee’, so to speak. Can you imagine what would Slovenia be like today if it had its independence in 1918? Maybe it would be like Switzerland. However, we should not accuse Serbs of being instrumental in breaking up Yugoslavia, because they were not. If Yugoslavia was good for everyone else apart from us, why didn’t they create it with-

out us? If you are in a company of people and someone goes on your nerve, you will not stop hanging out with everybody in that group, but rather throw the annoying person out.

could have happened easily just like it did with Honecker. However, what did transpire is that we destroyed a country. What’s done is done! Communism is a blind alley anyway, to quote Putin.

Considering that it has been a century since the October Revolution, how much do we still resemble socialism? Is this true for every Eastern European nation, and especially for us?

What do you think of media in Serbia?

— I was in Las Vegas recently, more than 40 years after my grandfather visited it. I was thinking of how shocked he was by the city which had its first hotel being built in 1946, particularly when the city left such a deep impression on me. What kind of ideas did our fathers and grandfathers spend their lives on? Today, we can watch Netflix at the same time as Barack Obama, but could you imagine how much did they miss out on by not growing up in the West. I can liken that to growing up in the two Koreas. Or something like that…. I had relatives in the US, and I clearly remember my friends coming over to see a tin of Coke in which I kept my pencils. We had more luck than Romania, but less than Greece. Yugoslavia had good sides too, like culture and a bon-vivant lifestyle which Tito also liked to live. The stupidest reason for liking the life in Yugoslavia is when someone says “oh, we could sleep peacefully in a park”. You could have done that in fascism too. It all boils down to what kind of dictatorship you live in. In Rome, under Mussolini’s rule, trains were never late, and Hitler turned Germany into a global superpower in just few years, but you will never hear people saying that these were good systems. What is good in not being allowed to talk freely? How is that good?! The tragedy of this country is that it has never tasted true democracy. We were just a step away from it, when Milosevic happened. He is the most tragic figure in our history, and, unfortunately, he was also a capable man. Imagine if Stambolić won, which

— They are in a critical condition, to use a medical term. Are we moving towards a sinister age resembling the 1930s when the solution to everything was closing off and being nationalistic?

— I don’t think so. I was reading last week a book by John Mearsheimer, the creator of offensive neo-realism, who talks about the

What role does Nedeljnik play on the media scene in Serbia, and how do you manage to keep on ‘swimming’ amongst all ‘the sharks’ that have encircled you?

— I cannot give you an objective answer to that, but I do think that Nedeljnik has resuscitated weekly journalism which was on its deathbed six years ago. Today, everyone thinks that they can put a weekly magazine together. We are different in a way that most of our staff was raised in journalistic families. We often joke about our marketing director, who was the best sociology student in her generation, being married to a journalist and that you can clearly see that. There is nothing we enjoy more than putting a magazine

THE STUPIDEST REASON FOR LIKING THE LIFE IN THE SOCIALIST FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA IS WHEN SOMEONE SAYS “OH, WE COULD SLEEP PEACEFULLY IN A PARK”. YOU COULD HAVE DONE THAT IN FASCISM TOO. IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO WHAT KIND OF DICTATORSHIP YOU LIVE inevitable conflict between China and the US. Two days later, I attended a talk and later had dinner with Richard Haass, who is one of the creators of the US foreign policy and one of the most important political figures in the world after Henry Kissinger. He is optimistic. He says that the conflict between China and the US is highly unlikely to happen since their economies are so intertwined. America needs China just as much as China needs America. You probably know that, in the last 100 years, no liberal economies went to war against each other. If we did what the French had done in Algeria, we would have all been killed. Instead, we were engrossed in nationalism and nationalism is overrated. You cannot be nationalistic in the world. Nationalism is for home use only. As far as populists go, their time is coming. And that’s normal too. We live in a world that resembles a reality show, therefore the time has come for populists to have their say.

together. This is also how our cooperation with The New York Times started. At first, it seemed there was no economic logic in launching a magazine, but we all knew that we had to try it as journalists. And it worked! Let me tell you how. The business model is very simple in the world of newspapers. In order to succeed, your product has to sell at five time higher price than what it costs in production. Distributers take about 30% and there is 30% of copy returns. So, the math is pretty simple. We were quite mindful of the price since we were the youngest magazine in the market. Today, our magazine’s price is 8 to 9 times higher to what it costs in production. And that’s our secret! Our readership is what sustains us, and they are the only ones who can hold us accountable. You wrote a lot about Milan Stojadinovic and Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic. How should we

view these two Serbian politicians from the time distance, and their role in the events of the 1930s and 1940s?

— Prince Pavle was the most educated man to ever run this country, while Stojadinovic was the most capable. When the two of them worked together, this country recorded an annual growth of 14.3%. However, vanity and gossip, the two characteristics of our nation, destroyed them both, and subsequently destroyed the country they were leading. Stojadinović was declared war criminal, even though he was interned before the World War started, while the Prince was condemned as someone who signed the Tripartite Pact, although no one mentions the fact that he was the only signatory to sign the Pact without a military clause. In other words, he banned the Germans from using our territory to transport weapons to be used in attacking Greece although, at that time, nobody was at war with the Germans apart from England. Nobody today knows that, only a day later, the people who carried out the coup d'état, announced that they were siding with the Tripartite Pact and that that was only an internal coup d'état. Does anybody even know that the Communist Party was in favour of the signing of the Tripartite Pact, as ordered from Moscow which, at the time, let me remind you, was chopping up Poland together with Hitler? After all, what were the consequences of the coup d'état which the British financed with half a million pounds? The consequences were a million killed Serbs, Communism, dictatorship, genocide in the NDH (the Independent State of Croatia), and the permanent hatred between the people living in this part of the world. I don’t know how did the Prince foresee all of this, but he did foresee it. When he was informed about the coup d'état during his train ride, he turned to a military priest Milutin Arsic and said: “Poor Serbs! What will become of them?”

THE ROLE OF THE PRESS You have been a journalist for many years and in a way, that is your family destiny. How would you describe the treatment that the media got from various political regimes, namely those under Slobodan Milošević, Zoran Djindjic, Vojislav Koštunica, Boris Tadić and Aleksandar Vučić? — As each dog resembles its master, so our media

resemble all these people that you have mentioned and their epochs. Have a look at "The Post," a new film by Steven Spielberg. Serious nations solved this issue half a century ago, because the role of the press is to serve the governed, not the governors. That's the problem.



Improving The Financial Culture

Our company implements global programmes with the aim of achieving financial inclusion and educating people across the world

VLADIMIR DJORDJEVIĆ Regional Manager for South East Europe at VISA

We believe that the best way to develop financial literacy is for the public and private sector to cooperate because only by joining forces and exchanging experiences we can do a lot more. I also expect that, through FinPis, we are going to succeed in realizing our intentions in Serbia, said Vladimir Djordjevic, Regional Manager for South East Europe at VISA.

How important is to educate consumers in curbing shadow economy?

— Consumer education is one of the most important activities in the process of curbing shadow economy, and this is something that all of us should be involved in. Banks are our important partners in this process because they directly communicate with their clients. Also, all of VISA's business principles are available through banks that issue VISA cards. We have made one of the biggest steps in financial education in the region of South East Europe by launching the Pilot-project FinPis, and this was done in partnership with the Serbian government. We are proud that Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development has recognized Visa’s role in developing financial literacy programmes worldwide and our extensive knowledge base, and thus invited us to join forces with experts’ team dedicated to FinPis. United, we are harnessing our best expertise, and are collaborating on creating educational resources and materials, communication platforms and promotional campaigns to implement and popularize the first pilot-project for introduction of financial literacy into school


curriculum of the Republic of Serbia For Visa, FinPis is the biggest and the most comprehensive project in the segment of financial education in SEE. I also believe that, with this project, we are going to set an example of good practice for many countries which are facing the same or similar challenge. FinPis is the right way to create a systemic and efficient approach to education since very early age. The idea, the plan and the programme are all in line with the activities that we have either developed or supported globally.

What is the situation with cashless payment like in Serbia?

— The situation is getting better year-on-year as clearly corroborated by the market results. In the last few years, cashless payments have grown by 20% on average. Although this is a very good indication, we are still considered an emerging country. This means that there is still a lot of room for development particularly if we consider the fact that cashless payments with cards make 10% of the total payments in Serbia. In terms of other formats of electronic payment, this percentage can go up to 30, but is still lower than the European average. I am definitely optimistic that, in the following period, the said percentages will grow in favour of cashless payments. VISA has issued close to 3.5 million cards in Serbia which can be used on POS terminals in over 56,000 merchant outlets in our country Also, the number of shops accepting cards is on the rise.

How can people be swayed towards using cashless payment more?

— We should not force them to develop the habit of using cashless payments, or introduce repressive methods in order to achieve this. As I have said, education is the key forcitizens, businesses and public sector to understand the benefits of electronic payments and use it daily. There is a lot of talk in our country about the cashless economy, digital payments, and smart cities where most transactions are carried out electronically, starting with the small sales formats. I believe that, in the future, more and more retailers will realize that cash is actually quite expensive. I'll give you a simple example to illustrate this. If, for instance, you only accept cash in your shop, you have to deposit this cash in the bank for which you are paying a certain fee. Also, there are costs of transport and protecting your cash that you have to consider, since keeping cash is not safe – nor for shops or shoppers. If, for example, you lose your card, you have to block it immediately in order to secure the money you have in your account. In case you lose a wallet with cash, it is highly unlikely that even if you find it, all of your money will still be in it. These are just some of the very simple examples, and there are many more benefits of electronic payment methods.

How much do innovations prompt people to transition to cashless payments?

— Innovations play a very impor-

SVETI SAVA AWARD Visa won the Sveti Sava Award, given the company by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, for its contribution to formal and non-formal financial education development in the Republic of Serbia within the FinPis pilot project. FinPis: Introduction of financial literacy into school curriculum of the Republic of Serbia, is being implemented throughout 2017 and 2018, and involves 1,260 teachers and 15,000 children from 36 schools across the country.

tant role in cashless payments because they provide an even faster, simpler and safer way for people to carry out their transactions. Number of contactless payments doubled comparing to the year before. Out of total payments made with VISA card, contactless payments make around 26%. In collaboration with several banks, we have also introduced the HCE technology, i.e. payment via smart phones. Additionally, we are working on developing eCommerce and introducing new premium packages and cards that have even more benefits than electronic payment. Also, VISA is known for its numerous prize games that spur our users to use their cards on a daily basis and carry out transactions of different amounts. I believe that through education, a great offer of our products and services, and partnership with the private and public sector we are going to accomplish great results on our way to cashless economy.

What are the latest global trends?

— The global trends show that an increasing number of shops are now accepting online payments. This does not necessarily mean paying via the Internet because e-commerce is slowly but surely becoming obsolete. In our well-connected universe today, payments are increasingly 'migrating' to portable devices, be it mobile phones, or the payment rings that VISA officially presented at the Olympic Games in Rio, or the payment gloves, or the badges that will be used in the Olympic Village in Pyeongchang. Digitalization is now a global trend, and it has yielded excellent results in most countries that use it fully.



Our Colleagues Have Recognized Our Efforts Both nationally and internationally, the Automobile and Motorcycle Association of Serbia (AMSS) is guided by high quality standards and representing Serbia's best interests

MIRKO BUTULIJA President of Automobile and Motorcycle Association of Serbia (AMSS)

By being appointed to one of the top positions in the International Automobile Federation (FIA) we have managed to demonstrate that we are ready to actively influence mobility and tourism policies, while standing shoulder to shoulder with our counterparts from developed countries.

The General Assembly of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) took place in Paris in early December at which voting for top positions in the organization's executive bodies took place and with your organization achieving historic success. Could you elaborate on this? — FIA is an organization that assembles over 200 clubs from all over the world. I am extremely pleased that our efforts and constant participation in numerous projects in terms of representing the interests of not only our members, but also all drivers yielded results, and that our colleagues have recognized this. As a result of the aforementioned efforts, we were appointed as the representative of Region 1 to the FIA World Council for Mobility and Tourism, which together with the World Sport Council, is one of the two


most important bodies of the FIA. Just to clarify... FIA is divided into four Regions for easier functioning, of which Region 1, to which AMSS belongs, comprises of 107 clubs from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, representing interests of over 38 million members.

recognized by other clubs and the whole region, including Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, thanks to which we have enjoyed a lot of support. For the first time, we have united the entire South East Europe in order for its voice to be heard. We have managed to turn things around to our advantage and prove that we have the potential to hold one of the biggest positions within the FIA, and to defeat very strong candidates from Portugal and France.

It seems that the path that led to this appointment was anything but easy. What tilted the scales in your favour?

Can we then say that this is also a great success for Serbia too, as a country that aspires to become an EU member?

— The path to the World Council has been opened to us since May when the elections for Region 1 took place in Bruges. At this election, AMSS recorded a great success and became a member of Management council of that body. Through working with other clubs, also FIA members, we have creat-

— Each of our international appearances was guided by the fact that Serbia is a country with many potentials, where there is plenty of room for progress. This should be promoted. So far, AMSS has made a positive contribution to the overall image of our society and showed that we are not lagging behind

OUR GOAL OF PROTECTING THE INTERESTS OF OUR MEMBERS AND ALL DRIVERS FROM SERBIA HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED IN THE REGION WHICH HAS FULLY SUPPORTED US IN OUR CANDIDACY ed a strong and stable network so that this part of Europe is equally represented not only in the operational sense, but also in the decision-making process, all with the view of ensuring stable progress in the issues of mobility. Despite the cooperation between clubs, there is a tendency that only those clubs that geographically belong to Western Europe are considered the best. Our primary goal of protecting the interests of our members and all Serbian drivers has been

our counterparts from developed countries. All the changes that are taking place in Serbia, the introduction of quality standards, better traffic management, the country's geostrategic position and its policies definitely contribute in some way towards Serbia having an easier accession to the EU.

What are the main tasks of the World Council for Mobility and Tourism, and what role will you play in it?

— The World Council, to which I have been appointed, defines the mobility policy, but also has a close cooperation with the European Commission for Transport. The Council has a strong influence on all developments in the creation and implementation of public mobility and tourism policies. The president of the Council, Mr. Jean Todt is also the president of FIA, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Road Safety which just shows how broad our scope of work is. My task will be primarily to participate in the Council’s work by contributing to defining positions regarding public policy and protection of our consumers, but also to try to establish a balance by making this part of Europe more active and more involved in the process of planning and implementing FIA’s strategic plans.

Do you think that your membership in this body can lead to better legal solutions in our country in terms of traffic safety and primarily in terms of the quality of traffic services in Serbia?

— The state authorities and line ministries are the ones that mainly deal with legislation, and our task relates to safety and preventive activities. AMSS advocates best interests of drivers and suggests what regulation should be implemented from the drivers' point of view. We are trying to influence and change driver awareness, not in a repressive way through laws and penalties, but through safety and preventive actions where we try to directly influence driver awareness in order for them to apply certain standards and traffic rules that are required so that we can have safer traffic and fewer traffic victims.


Continuation of Successful Cooperation Despite the limitations due to the size of the market, Serbia attracts the attention of many important countries, as well as international economic organizations. This creates a lot of interesting opportunities for the years to come. ITA-ICE Belgrade is engaged in organizing many activities to boost our mutual cooperation


At the end of February around 30 Italian company representatives from the sector of food and drinks will arrive to Belgrade to exchange their experiences with Serbian and other businessmen, arriving from 10 different countries of the region. We spoke with Marina Scognamiglio, Director ITA-ICE Belgrade, about this and other events organized by ITA-ICE Belgrade. Who are the businessmen who will be attending? What is the nature of these events?

— The workshop that will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade on February 27th is dedicated to professional figures such as importers, chefs and distributors, whereas on February 24th there will be another event at the Delta City shopping center, where a wider public will be able to taste some quality Italian products which will include pasta, coffee, oil, wine and others and we will be there to welcome anyone who is interested to come, starting from 12.00 o’clock. February will be marked as the month of South Italian food and drinks. What are the expectations from this gathering?

— My expectations are to contribute to further increase of trade volume between Southern Italy and Serbia, based on passion for the land, that passes through eco-sustainable economic growth and the pursuit of quality. We will try to represent the "Italian living"

through our culinary tradition as well as the Belgrade’s lifestyle and Serbian spirit in general. What were the effects of the previous encounters that were similar to this one?

— Similar initiatives in past contributed to introducing Serbian consumers to less known Italian products with an excellent quality-price ratio. On the other hand the Serbian companies have requested to attend the seminars, in our organization, on the most advanced technologies in the agrofood sector in order to produce locally the high quality products. What are some specific things related to the south of Italy, when it comes to food and wine, what is South Italy famous for and which regions are we talking about?

— We are talking here about Campania that gives us mozzarella - cheese that became famous thanks to pizza, coffee of the most famous roasting companies in Italy, tomatoes from Vesuvio, artisan pasta made with bronze machines. Then we are talking about Puglia that gives us burrata cheese - a mozzarella with butter filling, olive oil, which has a unique aroma thanks to the land where the olives are grown, and taralli – tipical snack from southern Italy. Here we should also mention Calabria and Sicily, which give us dried tomatoes, traditional bread made with mother yeast and special flours, as well as many other traditional products. Maybe it is unknown that Serbia’s biggest export partner is Italy, out of all the EU countries. What does Serbia offer to Italy,

and vice versa?

— Almost all the sectors are represented in foreign exchange between our two countries, but if we go into a more detailed analysis, we’ll notice that machines in general are in the first place and in particular vehicles, followed by textiles – clothing and agro-food sector that is very well positioned. Could we perform together within the third markets?

— Joint-venture agreements between Serbian and Italian companies certainly contribute to a mutual cooperation and, depending on the occasion, such agreements can be useful in accessing the third markets with which one of the countries has a free exchange agreement or some kind of privileged relations. Italian trade agency (ICE) works within the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and has

countries, enhancing industrial collaboration as well as supporting cultural exchange. In fact, it is no coincidence that our office in Belgrade is located in Palazzo Italia, also the head office of the Italian Cultural Institute. Can Serbian businessman address the Agency?

— Of course, Serbian businessmen are very welcome and our Trade Analysts are in contact with them on a daily basis because we constantly collaborate with them on our projects in Serbia, and we organize their visits (participation) to the most important exhibitions in Italy. Furthermore, we have recently created a new website which contains a section in Serbian language, and is entirely dedicated to local companies. It has been a few months since you’ve come to live and work in


— ICE is the Trade Promotion Agency of the Italian Government and acts through its own network abroad following the strategic guidelines established by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ICE opened its office in Belgrade in 1997 with the aim of increasing foreign trade volume between the two

Belgrade. What is the difference between the life in Italy and here in the capital? What are your first impressions of the city, people, business in Serbia?

— Rome is a great city that has so much to offer, but it also has its difficulties in everyday life, especially related to its size. In Belgrade I enjoy the advantages of a smaller capital and month after month I’m discovering and appreciating the great cultural and artistic vivacity.




Monarchies are Not Richest by Coincidence Stability, unity, powerful symbolism ŽIKA GOJKOVIĆ President of Kingdom of Serbia Restoration Movement

Even New York Times published, in the light of the contested presidency of Donald Trump, an article discussing if America needs a monarch, which was unimaginable until recently. Is the monarch a symbol of unity, well-educated and well-behaved leader, are the monarchies richer (Canada, Australia, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Japan, Qatar, the Emirates, etc.) and more stable than much-marketed republics? I’ve heard the story of the forged referendum on monarchy vs republic in 1945 in Serbia for many times. I’ve heard it from my grandfather and from my friend’s grandfather who was a member of UDBA. Replaced lists on ballot boxes, ballot-box stuffing and other illegal practices took place then. According to all witnesses, the monarchy won, but it was robbed of its victory. Could this be the basis for the annulment of the referendum results?

— Without any doubt, it was not a referendum. It was a plain farce, played by those who had siezed the power by force and who had tried to make the world believe that they had the support of the people. The media were controlled by the Communist Party, all the other political parties were banned and the supporters of the King were either arrested or murdered. The National Assembly has the power to annul such results, but it is impossible to annul the


consequences of the half a century long communist rule. Almost all the richest countries in the world are monarchies: does the monarchy represent an easier and more perfect form of government, without a potential double authority: a formal rule to the King and the virtual rule to the PM and the Assembly?

— There is no coincidence in that. Those nations are wise. A monarch is a symbol of the political stability in those countries. He or she holds the precedence of honour, not the precedence of ruling. The citizens vote for their representatives in parliament; the parliament chooses the government; There is no double authority.

follow Spain in that process.

Is the party you belong to the only one that advocates the restoration of monarchy?

— Yes, it is. Although in certain way we are a young party, we already have more than 80 local branches throughout Serbia and our representatives in the National Assembly, the Provincial Assmebly and in more than 30 units of local self-government. We have collected more than 12000 citizens’ signatures needed for the registration of the party in just nine days. Only 26% of people would vote for the restoration of monarchy in some future referendum. Having that in mind, how long would it take to educate people prior

THE IDEA OF MONARCHY IS SO DEEP-ROOTED IN THE NATIONAL BEING OF OUR PEOPLE THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DESTROY IT Is it possible in Serbia to carry out the transition from a troubled country to a modern, democratic, federalised monarchy, similar to Spain?

— Spain is an excellent example. The monarchy had been deposed by violence just like in Serbia. Nevertheless, upon the king’s return to the throne, the country reclaimed its liberties and prosperity. Therefore, in order to successfully deal with current crisis it is enough to

to referendum about historical facts they haven’t been able to learn about before?

— Considering the 72-year-long anti-monarchistic propaganda and all the lies, manipulations and forgeries against the Karadjordjevic dynasty, we have to be content with the fact that more than the quarter of the citizens support the idea of the restoration of monarchy in Serbia. The idea of monarchy is so deep-rooted in the national be-

ing of our people that it is impossible to destroy it. What is your plan for the Belgrade elections?

— We will participate in the elections independently, and see how much support can our idea, our political programme and our people rely on. Predrag Marković, a renowned author, is going to be a number one on our party electoral list. He is also a member of the Crown Council of the Karađorđevic dynasty and a former Speaker of the serbian National Assembly. Our party’s mayoral candidate is going to be Vojislav Mihailović, BL. He was a mayor of Belgrade in 1999, in dificult times, when it underwent bombing. He has got sufficient experience, knowledge and an excellent team of people to run the capital. What are the foreign and interior policies of the party you belong to like?

— We should adopt the EU values we strongly believe in – market economy, independent judicial system, freedom of the media, equal rights for all our citizens. We want Serbia to have good relations not only with the UK, France, all the EU states, but also with our traditional allies – Russia and the USA, just as our country had when it was a monarchy. Good neighbourly relations with every country in the region are the key to its stability and to prosperity of Serbia itself.

SPO DID NOT FIGHT FOR MONARCHY ANY LONGER, SO I LEFT What were the reasons for leaving SPO? — I can only speak for myself, because the majority of more than 10.000 members of our new party had not been members of SPO. SPO enjoyed the support of hundreds of thousands of people while it fought for its programme, especially for the restoration of monarchy. Unfortunately, that party gave up its key goal, so I realized that there is simply no place for me there anymore.


Cash Back IMO

From Expense to Development Opportunity The service of foreign VAT refund for companies (legal entities) is completely original, and still relatively new in the Serbian market. With the help of this service, companies can make substantial savings in overhead since the general VAT rates in Europe are 20% upwards, while, in some countries, they are even higher, up to 27% MIRKO VINCETIĆ Economist, Director of Cash Back IMO

In the Serbian business environment, the foreign VAT is still treated as mandatory expenditure, while in Western Europe, it is considered "deferred financing", since it is assumed that VAT will be refunded from the tax administration of the country where the supplier, which has charged foreign VAT, has its seat. A significant number of companies in Serbia, primarily in small and medium enterprises, still haven’t heard about this option, although we have been operating in this line of business for 10 years now - says Mirko Vicentić, Director of Cash Back IMO.

How does the EU regulate this right?

— VAT refund is based on a simple premise – if you are not operating in a certain country, you are not supposed to contribute to that country’s budget. This fundamental premise is incorporated into the EU’s Directive 8 which provides a legal basis for foreign VAT refund in the EU, and in Directive 13 which provides a legal basis for EU companies to refund the foreign VAT to non-EU companies. The stipulations from the above mentioned directives are an integral part of national legislations. The foreign VAT refund in the EU has been established back in 1982, while the refund of foreign VAT to non-EU entities has been in force since 1997.

The following expenses are most frequently the subject for VAT refund - hotel accommodation, seminars, congresses, fairs, various services (marketing, maintenance, renting, etc.), processing and additional processing of products, fuel and toll costs in the international transport of goods and passengers and others.

Cash Back IMO is an exclusive representative of the Swiss company, Cash Back. In which way does this business partnership positively contribute to the services you provide for your clients?

— The Belgrade-based company, Cash Back IMO operates under the Swiss group Cash Back which is the European leader in this line of business, has 30 years of experience, and a network of 48 offices in Europe and other parts of the world. Our network is our biggest quality since domicile offices are

the process of gathering travel expense receipts and related documents.

What do you think of the quality of the institutional framework in Serbia?

— For now, Serbia-based companies are eligible for foreign VAT refund from 12 EU countries which regulation does not envisage reciprocity in VAT refund, as well as from 6 EU countries that do implement reciprocity, in addition to Switzerland and Norway which are not EU members. However, there are still 10 EU countries which regulation does not envisage Serbian companies applying for foreign VAT refund, since the reciprocity principle has not been established with them as yet. The majority of the Serbian business community, led by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Union of Employers of Serbia and 12 mixed chambers and business

IN SERBIA, CASH BACK IMO PROVIDES FOREIGN VAT REFUND SERVICES IN LINE WITH THE HIGHEST EUROPEAN STANDARDS fully knowledgeable of the domicile legislation, procedures and activities of tax administration. Owing to the huge international experience that spans several decades, the Cash Back network has an excellent reputation among domicile tax administrations. In Serbia, Cash Back IMO provides foreign VAT refund services in line with the highest European standards. In the following period, we are going to launch several novelties for our existing and new clients in terms of simplifying

associations, have launched an urgent initiative for establishing bilateral reciprocity with all EU countries that are capable of doing that, primarily with the countries that Serbia considers economic priorities like Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece and Spain. At the same time, the initiative proposes the declaration of unilateral reciprocity between Serbia and those countries that have already refunded foreign VAT to Serbian companies and that Serbia

does not refund its VAT to, namely Bulgaria, France, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Ireland and several others. The aforementioned initiative proposes complete reciprocity with Turkey, which would imply that Serbia will refund toll VAT to Turkish truck companies as Slovenia and Austria have been doing for 18 and 23 years respectively.

What benefits does this reciprocity bring?

— It is important to mention that both the Foreign Investors Council and NALED have been supporting these proposals for years now, as evident in their White Book and Gray Book respectively. The establishment of reciprocity boosts the competitiveness of the Serbian economy and significantly increases the competitiveness of the Corridor 10 in relation to its competitor, Corridor 4 which connects Bulgaria and Romania. This measure also directly appeals to foreign investors. Considering that the majority of investors here come from EU countries it is important that Serbia establishes reciprocity with all EU countries. Since the refunded VAT is treated as profit in accounting terms, the increase in the volume of VAT refund increases the basis for calculating income tax and indirectly increases the revenue of the Serbian state budget. The opportunity of refunding foreign VAT certainly affects the "ease of doing business" which indirectly influences Serbia’s position on the Doing Business List. The importance of foreign VAT refund is seen in the fact that wealthy Switzerland has reciprocity with 48 countries in Europe and the world.



Europe’s Sprawling New Financial Law Enters Into Force A disaster-free launch of MiFID 2 is not the end of the worries

AFTER years of rule-drafting, industry lobbying and plenty of last-minute wrangling, Europe’s massive new financial regulation, MiFID 2, was rolled out on January 3rd. Firms had spent months dreading (in some cases) or eagerly awaiting (in others) the “day of the MiFID” when the law’s new reporting requirements would enter into force. One electronic-trading platform, Tradeweb, even gave its clients a “MiFID clock” to count down to it. Apprehension was understandable. The new EU law, the second iteration of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (its full, unwieldy name), affects markets in everything from shares to bonds to derivatives. It seeks to open up opaque markets by forcing brokers and trading venues to report prices publicly, in close to real time for those assets deemed liquid. It also requires them to report to regulators up to 65 separate data points on every trade, with the aim of avoiding market abuse. The changes are greatest for markets, like those in bonds and derivatives, that are now largely conducted “over the counter” (ie, not on exchanges). But the law also restricts share trading in “dark pools” closed to retail investors, provides for access to European markets for non-EU firms, and requires investment banks to start charging separately for research, among myriad other provisions. It is perhaps the biggest regulatory change to European financial markets since the financial crisis. For all the jitters, the first hours of trading under the new regime went fairly smoothly, though trading volumes were lower than usual. Financial firms had collectively spent $2.1bn preparing for MiFID 2 in 2017 alone, according to one estimate by Expand, part of the Boston Consulting Group, and IHS Markit, a data provider. Some banks had people up all the night before the 3rd. The preparations paid off. But regulatory reprieves also helped. In late December the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), an EU regulator, granted a six-month reprieve from the requirement that every counterparty to a trade must have a “legal-entity identifier”, a unique number, after many firms failed to obtain these in time. It also let trading continue across the EU even though 17 of its members had not yet fully transposed the rules into national law. And ESMA clarified that trading on non-EU venues could continue while it finishes its assessment of which


jurisdictions will be deemed “equivalent”. This avoided a worst-case scenario, in which European traders suddenly lost access to the New York Stock Exchange, say, or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Early on January 3rd itself, Germany’s and Britain’s regulators allowed three large futures exchanges—Eurex Clearing in Frankfurt, and ICE Futures Europe and the London Metal Exchange in Britain—to delay implementation of “open access” provisions until mid-2020. These rules, divorcing the execution of futures contracts from the clearing of them (they now occur at the same exchange), were contentious when passed, with Britain reportedly a strong


proponent and Germany staunchly opposed. A London lawyer thinks the long delay, to past the date in 2019 when Britain is to leave the EU, may well mean these provisions “never see the light of day”. Significant as they may be for parts of the market, such reprieves do not amount to a delay of the overall law, says Jonathan Herbst of Norton Rose Fulbright, a law firm. Nonetheless, a disaster-free implementation day does not mean the end of the worries. As Enrico Bruni of Tradeweb points out, market participants will adjust their trading patterns over time, and emerging problems will need to be resolved. It will take even longer to see if the structural changes the new framework is forecast to encourage—such as consolidation among brokers or asset managers—materialise. And the law may yet play a role in the Brexit negotiations. Its rules on financial-market access for third countries, after all, will apply to Britain. There are many more days of the MiFID to come. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on



Davos 2018 Between conflicting winds

This year's World Economic Forum (WEF), held in Swiss Davos (usually shortened to merely „Davos“), was a place for all the elite businessmen and politicians, as usual. But this year's edition was particularly interesting because of the conflicting winds blowing from different parts of the world. AMERICA FIRST, AMERICA BEST

Some people doubted that the American President Donald Trump will even appear there, since he is a staunch opponent to the free trade agreements, and the proponent of „deals“, „America First“ (everybody else later, obviously), protectionism (remember the taxes on solar panels, to stoip investing in clean technologies and to spur the oil industry), etc. His arrival, on his first presidential anniversary, was even greeted by protesters. But, Trump appeared, and only a person who does not understand his psychology would have tought otherwise. He is a superstar, a reality show star, he loves bragging and fighting in public. So, we have witnessed Trump bragging around with good results of the American economy, which, contrary to all his enemies' predictions, are really excellent. Of course, some of it can be attributed to his predecessor, Obama, but he proudly said: „We came to say how America is great again, the economy is blooming, thanks to the regulations cut, as we expected, the


unemployment is record low, but we did not expect companies to grant bonuses to their employees“. The Americans also stated that China was the greatest rival and accused them for the sophisticated protectionist behaviour disguised as liveral globalisation (stated by US Economy Minister Wilbur Ross). But in fact, America was pushing globalisation up to the

It is a clear strategy, not a coincidence, and it seems like an answer to the EU's QE policy. EUROPE AT THE CROSSROADS

One of the most anticipated guests was Emmanuel Macron, a new young superstar of European politics, and a great hope for new European unionism. He is, how-

NATIONALISM IS FOR THE POOR, AS RAMBO AMADEUS STATED WISELY. THE RICH ARE MORE RELAXED moment when it did not serve it any longer, now China is the main proponent, and America is slowly closing. But there is another curious fact, and it might show that Trump (at least in economy) knows few things right: dollar is depreciating, as opposed to the previous efforts to make it strong, and it makes American economy more competitive in the export markets, and the tourism is being boosted.

ever, not in favour of the unified Europe, but in favour of several gear Europe, in which the richest will lead the gamne and the rest will... well, somehow organise. If we understand Europe as a train, it is impossible, but Macron sees it as a caravan, apparently. He also praised Chinese investments in Europe earlier, righfully understanding that if Europe refrains from „One Built, One Road“ it will soon

become the „Second League“, and Asia will win. We know how Chinese Empire thought it was „way too advanced“ and self-sufficient in the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and completely failed. So, young Macron is clever. Just as his statement that EU will have to seek other partnerships, apart from the USA. Time to realign, guys. As for the UK, their plans are now to become something between Canada and Norway: we are close to Europe, have the trade agreement, just we are not exactly part of it. Good luck, Theresa. It will take a lot of mastery to make it all right. THE SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

As for China, it is clear that Xi's doctrine has won, and the Far Eastern economy will be soon the leader of the world, since even China understood the urge of green economy, becoming the leader in this field. Russia is pushing towards expanding its EAU agenda, signing association deals with many, and free trade deals with others. As for the Western Balkans, we are burdened by rivalry and old hatred, but as PM Brnabić said, we are digitalising fast, and as Presidents Vučić and Rama stated, the economy has a priority, although the Free Trade Union is far-fetched, especially because of Montenegro. But, if we are poor, we will hate each other even more. Nationalism is for the poor, as Rambo Amadeus stated wisely. The rich are more relaxed. Let's be rich(er).

SOROS AGAINST INTERNET? And one shocking (is it really?) statement came from the American billionaire and activist George Soros, who, surprisingly, shouted against, guess what: the Internet and its freedoms, which is unusual for a person who supposedly dedicated his life to open society and open flow of information. He said: "Social media companies deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes. They deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide. This can be very harmful, particularly for adolescents. There is a similarity between internet platforms and gambling companies. Casinos have developed techniques to hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don't have.” And there are dork clouds over his empire everywhere. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz informed Soros that his Open Society foundation was given 28 days to close. Otherwise, the fund will face legal claims for "attempts to undermine the democracy of the nation."





The Ambassador of Bulgaria H.E.Radko Vlaykov presented the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in hotel Metropol in Belgrade. Speakers on the event were also the Minister for European integration of the Republic of Serbaia, Jadran-

H.E. Radko Vlaykov

ka Joksimović and H.E. Sem Fabrizi, Head of the Delegation of the EU in Serbia. On January 1, 2018, a decade after its accession to the EU, Bulgaria took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time for six months.

H.E. Sem Fabrizi, Jadranka Joksimović and H.E. Radko Vlaykov



The Embassy of the Netherlands hosted its economic New Year’s reception for key partners in order to celebrate joint achievements and cooperation in 2017. Hosting the event in the Ambassador’s absence, Deputy Ambassador Mariëlle van Miltenburg underlined the growing interest of Dutch companies to invest in the Serbian market, in addition to the 550 registered companies already present. She announced that an investment opportunity promotion event will be held in The Hague in March entitled ‘’Doing Business in the Western Balkans’’.

Prof. dr Srđan Kisin, founder of Konstruktor company

Mrs. Mariëlle van Miltenburg



For almost 14 years of operation, Konstruktor group left its signature on more than 200 buildings. It invited all of its guests-friends to Hyatt regency hotel in Belgrade, where on January 17th, 2018, a celebration for over 250 guests was organized. Impressions of successful business year with friends-business associates were exchanged in pleasant atmosphere, plans for further development of the company were presented and re-gathering scheduled, on the same occasion, for coming year.




Finnish Ambassador H.E.Pertti Ikonen hosted Thank You Reception at the Finnish Residence in order to show gratitude for all those who helped Finland and its Embassy during 2017, which marked 100 years of Finnish independence. During the reception, Svetozar Janevski, Macedonian entrepreneur was given a medal of Finnish Lion.

H.E. Vera Jovanovska Tipko and Zoran Đorđević, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veterans' Affairs and Social Affairs

H. E. Pertti Ikonen

H.E. Axel Dittmann, German Ambassador, and H.E. Vera Jovanovska Tipko



H.E.Vera Jovanovska Tipko, the Macedonian ambassador to Serbia, hosted her farewell party in Belgrade's "Writers' Club" to mark the end of her four-year mandate. She was appointed ambassador on 29 December 2013. The party that was organised was attended by numerous figures from the public life of Serbia - politicians, ambassadors, cultural workers, friends and associates...

H.E. Giuseppe Manzo, Ambassador of Italy and H.E. Arne Sannes BJØRNSTAD, Norwegian Ambassador


H.E. Giuseppe Manzo and Marjan Vujović


H.E. Arne Sannes BJØRNSTAD, Marjan Vujović, H. E. Giussepe Manzo, H.E. Radko Vlaykov and H. E. Augusto José Pestana Saraiva Peixoto, Portuguese Ambassador to Serbia

The Embassy of Italy in Belgrade hosted a ceremony to decorate the Orden of the Italian star to Marjan Vujović, the director of the Museum of Yugoslav Cinematheque. Cooperation in the field of culture, arts and

research is one of the hubs of excellent relations between Italy and Serbia. Director of the Museum of Yugoslav Cinematheque since 2013, Marjan Vujović, is one of the biggest connoisseurs of Italian cinema in Serbia.






H.E.Denis Keefe CMG and Mrs Kate Keefe organised the reception in Elsie Inglis House in order to deepen the economic relationship between the two countries. The British Business Reception was attended by many personalities from business and political life of Serbia.

H.E. Denis Keefe



France and Germany mark 55 years since their official reconciliation, and the Elysée Agreement can be a model for countries in the region, it was said at a reception marking this significant jubilee in the French embassy. Ambassador of France H.E. Frédéric Mondoloni said that the history of reconciliation between the two nations is celebrated. German Ambassador Axel Dittmann recalls that the Elysée Agreement was significant and decisive for the success of the EU.

H.E. Vera Jovanovska Tipko and H.E. Kyle Scott




US Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Kyle Scott made a farewell feast at his residence on the occasion of the departure of Macedonian Ambassador to our country, H.E.Vera Jovanovska Tipko after a four-year mandate in Serbia. Cocktail gathered a number of celebrities from the sphere of politics,

Dr. Hadži-Tanović, Jasmina Knežević, Bel Medic and Jelena Bulatović, SAM

culture, art and entrepreneurship, among which were: Director of "MK Group" Miodrag Kostić, politicians Nenad Čanak and Vuk Jeremić, former protector of the citizens of Serbia Saša Janković, Ambassador of Montenegro in Serbia Branislav Mićunović and many others.

Dušan Vujović



At a festive rally in the Belgrade City Assembly, NALED chose Minister of Finance Dušan Vujović as Reformer of the Year. The NALED Board of Directors awarded the prize for the results achieved in 2017 in the field of suppression of the grey economy, the reform of non-tax levies and the creation of incentive conditions for the development of entrepreneurship.

The Minister Vujović contributed to the fact that the tax collection plans were exceeded for two years in a row, with the realisation of the budget surplus that left space for financing measures of economic development, supported the introduction of tax incentives for beginners in business as one of the important measures of the National Program.



Republic Day marks adoption of the Indian Constitution on January 26, 1950, after gaining of independence from British rule in 1947. On this day, India became a democracy and is today known as the largest democracy in the world. The main celebration is held in grandeur in New Delhi, India’s capital. In Serbia, H.E. Narinder Chauhan, Ambassador unfurled the Indian National Flag at the Embassy of India in Belgrade followed by singing of the Indian National Anthem by Serbian school students. The flag hoisting ceremony was attended by prominent Indians and friends of India.

H.E. Giussepe Manzo and Aja Jung



The director of the Belgrade Dance festival Aja Jung was awarded the highest state award in the Italian Embassy in Belgrade in the field of culture - "The Order of the Italian Star". PM Ana Brnabić congratulated Aja Jung on the award and emphasised the significance of the BDF as a great example of how a private cultural initiative has survived for 15 years, although such projects are not easy to launch, and even more challenging to make them sustainable, to bring visitors and famous dancers to Serbia.



PEO PLE & EVENT S CHRISTMAS PLATZ IN FRONT OF UŠĆE: PLACE WHERE MEMORIES ARE CREATED Christmas Platz in front of the UŠĆE Shopping Centre was one of the most popular destinations for the past holidays. From 15th December, 2017 to 15th January, 2018, many citizens of Belgrade and their guests who came here during Christmas and New Year’s holidays visited Christmas Platz. The space in front of the UŠĆE Shopping Centre was holiday joy galore – there were sweets stands, souvenir stands, Christmas decorations stands and stands serving hot mulled wine. All of this was accompanied by a music programme which included performances of the youngest musicians and dance nights. More than 20 children choirs, music groups, dance troupes and bands performed on Christmas Platz in front of UŠĆE in the space of one month. The visitors were able to enjoy in the performances of POPChoir Krsmanac, the Lazarevac children choir, the choir of the Music Star Workshop, the Brothers Baruh choir, the children choirs Rockhoir, Kruna od Nota and Čuperci, as well as the children choirs from elementary schools Laza Kostić and Gornja Varoš, in addition to many others. Several dance troupes and groups, including the senior dance group Stari Grad which members danced the Viennese Waltz, also performed in front of the UŠĆE Shopping Centre. Color Media Communications, the UŠĆE Shopping Centre and Ninamedia were the event’s organizers.

Minja Subota and children choir

The plateau in front of Ušće Thopping Centre


Mokranjac Choral society

Aleksandra Radović

Singing Christmas Tree


Archimandrite Stefan and Robert Čoban, Color Press Group

His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia

The event called “Christmas Village near the Temple” took place for the very first time in front of the Saint Sava Temple from 4th to 28th January, 2018 during which over 100 musicians, children and church choirs, actors and dance troupes performed in front of the Temple and in the Crypt. Every night, the youngest performers were a fitting ‘decoration’ to a unique construction called the Singing Christmas Tree where children and church choirs from all over Serbia performed. Sergej Ćetković, Slobodan Trkulja, Jelena Tomašević, Aleksandra Radović, Lena Kovačević, Bojana Stamenov, Dušan Svilar, Neverne Bebe, Bend 357, Ekstra Nena, and Žarko Dančuo were just some of the artists who performed on the main stage. Companies Color Media Communications and Ninamedia were the event’s organizers in cooperation with the Saint Sava Temple and under the auspices of the City of Belgrade and the City Municipality of Vračar. The following companies were the event's sponsors: Lukoil, CEBEF, Erste Bank, Next, Raiffeisenbank, PDM Agro Fruit, Heineken Serbia, Generali Osiguranje, Swisslion Takovo, Harmonija Catering, Dexy Co Kids, the Bakeries Union, and the Dadov Youth Theatre. His Highness the Archimandrite Stefan, the guardian of the St. Sava Temple, gave letters of appreciation to companies and public enterprises that helped with organizing this event.



The Zlatibor Tourist Board, the Municipality of Čajetina, and the Color Media Communications Company held a promotion of a luxury, bilingual issue of Hello! Travel: Zlatibor magazine. A number of guests assembled at the Stanica 1884 restaurant in Belgrade to attend the magazine promotion. Deputy President of the Municipality of Čajetina, Bojana Božanić, Director of the Zlatibor Tourist Board, Vladimir Živanović, and President of the Color Press Group, Robert Čoban gave welcome speeches. “This summer, we are going to celebrate 125th anniversary of organized tourist activities in Zlatibor which is one of the reasons why we wanted to launch a special issue of Hello! magazine dedicated to this popular tourist destination. Hello! Travel: Zlatibor is the fifth edition in this series. In the last two years, we launched special issues dedicated to Budva, Montenegro, Novi Sad and ski resorts in Serbia. We are going to complete our sixth edition soon called Hello! Travel: Vojvodina. We deeply believe that investing in tourism is one of the most important development directions for our country and we, as a publishing company, are going to try to continue positively contributing to that”, said Robert Čoban in his welcome speech. At the promotion, the guests had an opportunity to enjoy in the wines from the Matalj Winery, finger food from Zlatiborac, Carlsberg beer and the beautiful ambiance of the STANICA 1884 restaurant. STIV DUO were in charge of musical entertainment. The promotion was attended by the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Ms Alona Fisher-Kamm, Director of the Serbian office of the European Investment Bank, Dubravka Negre, Duško Krsmanović from CMS, ballerina Drina Pešić, journalist Vanja Bulić, publicist Žarko Jokanović with his wife, actress Milica Milša and other diplomatic, economic and cultural figures. This special edition covers the history, culture, tourist attractions and the overall tourist offer of the Zlatibor Mountain. There are also interviews with famous people and photographs from their private collections that were taken on Zlatibor. This bilingual issue will be sold in Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, and will be available in tourist facilities on Zlatibor this season.

Vladimir Živanović and Adriana Čortan, TV personality and show host

Vladimir Živanović, Beatris Grozdanić and Robert Čoban

Vladimir Živanović and Bojana Božanić

H. E. Alona Fisher-Kamm

Dubravka Negre with a friend

Milica Milša and Žarko Jokanović

Robert Čoban

The "Frajle" band members

Aleksandra Ignjatović, Svetlana Kostić, MK Mountain Resort, Jelena Savić, CMC, Adriana Čortan and Jelena Vlahović

Vanja Bulić






An increasing number of celebrities have been the specialties and the beautiful ambience of the CREDO restaurant, located on the first floor of the Marriott Hotel. These gastronomic gathering are accompanied by a special menu called "The Five Senses" and the best wine selection. Incredible specialties, served by this increasingly popular restaurant, are prepared by Nenad Jovanovic, the restaurant’s main chef who has a wealth of experience working in Michelin star restaurants. Apart from the menu, the guests can enjoy in the elegant ambience of the CREDO restaurant with the most beautiful view of the historic square in the heart of Belgrade. Last week, our guests fashion designer Igor Todorović, painter Cile Marinković and his wife Beba, Director of the Matica Srpska Gallery, Tijana Palkovljević, Deputy Director of the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Doris Danilović and her associate Milan Lučić, Arts Manager of the British Council, Director of the Nordic Business Alliance, Andreja Pavlović, representative of the PSP Farman Group, Ivana Karić, Director of Diplomacy & Commerce magazine, Ruža Ristanović, Event Manager at CMC, Jelena Savić and President of the Croatian Business Club, Marija Radulović enjoyed in the delightful food at the restaurant, accompanied the wines from the Šapat Winery.


Igor Todorović

Andreja Pavlović and Marija Radulović

Beba and Cile Marinković with Ruža Ristanović

B U SI NESS NE W S British Council & UK Government



THE BEST YOUNG LEADERS FOR CHANGES AmCham announced the winners of the fourth generation of the "AmChamps - Young Leaders of Change" programme. This year's winners are mentor Vladislava Đumić Trtica, young manager of Delhaize and Luka Pavlović, graduate student of the Faculty of Organisational Sciences. Three mentoring pairs finalists in the past three months have developed projects for companies that run managers (Delhaize, IBM, Publicis One), and under the mentorship of AmCham Steering Committee members. The winning couple prepared the project "Maxi Online: People as a Power of Digital Changes", who through the life cycle of one order designed and displayed the process of the online store. This project has been successfully

implemented and already shows excellent results. Vladislava will, as the best young manager and the most successful mentor, receive a scholarship for Executive MBA studies at Sheffield University, while Luka, as the best student of AmChamps, will receive a scholarship for attending master studies at City College of that university in Thessaloniki. The other two final pairs were awarded by half a scholarship for the mentioned study programs.

CEE Banking Study 2018:


The economic environment in which banks operate in CEE is expected to remain favorable. Improvement will be present in lending growth in most countries. NPL: Proactive action and better collection improve asset quality and de-risk balance sheet. Profitability will stay at current levels, beating Western European banks. The flow of EU funds to CEE will remain significant in the coming years (between 1.5 per cent and 3 per cent

of GDP per year on average), and this will represent a driver for economic activity. CEE countries represent an ideal environment to push for digital banking, due to their relatively high degree of overall digitalisation. Households’ net financial wealth in CEE has roughly doubled since 2006. There will be opportunities for advisory, diversified product offerings, increased assets under management as well as scope for greater product sophistication. Any outlook has to take into consideration the low interest rate environment in some CEE countries, that could affect profitability, the impact of regulatory headwinds and legislative measures, the outlook for Turkey and limited growth in Russia.

JUNIOR HOTEL AWARDED At the traditional annual Christmas breakfast ceremony organized by the Regional Chamber of Commerce Kruševac, Hotel Junior was presented with the award for Contribute to the development of tourism. JUNIOR was established in 1990. It was built and managed under the supervision of state authorities as a public company. 2006 was privatized by Greek companies. From 2006, more than 10,000,000 euros of Greek capital, has been invested in the reconstruction of the hotel, as well as in the reconstruction and new facilities in area of 8ha. Capital, invested in adequate facilities, as well as adequate, trained manpower, has lead the hotel to excellent occupancy and it

became recognizable as one of the best, if not even the best, destinations for sports preparations and camps in Serbia Junior is also one of the favorite destination for family holidays with numerous activities for all ages. Junior is not just a hotel, Junior is a destination!

The Digital Cities Project, organised by the British Council and the UK Government was presented at the Splendid Hotel in Bečići, which is also the official start of its realisation. The aim of the project is to connect creative centres, hubs, startups, small and medium enterprises in the field of creative industries, technology and education, as well as local self-governments of the cities of the Western Balkans with colleagues and partners from Great Britain. This type of connection is at the same time the beginning of future cooperation and joint projects. The project was presented by Gavin Vesi, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Montenegro and Larisa Halilović, Director of the British Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Director of the project "Digital Cities". During a one-day conference, the participants had the opportunity to get to know more about the latest trends in this field and examples of good practice from the UK. A special interest was a lecture given by John Newbigin, Creative Director of Creative England and one of the pioneers in the development of creative industries.

Delta Holding


Last year Delta Holding made huge progress in its expansion to the markets of the region and the European Union. InterContinental Ljubljana, the first five-star hotel in the Slovenian capital was opened. The construction site of the largest shopping-mall in Bosnia and Herzegovina was opened and the construction of Varna shopping-mall is being completed. In the next two years the Company plans to invest 600 million Euros in real estate projects. This year Delta Agrar will continue expanding the fruit plantations and livestock production. It will also double the investments and give more than 40 million Euros for the construction of the new Pioneer seed finishing centre, precise agriculture and production modernization. Danubius Pasta and Flour Factory will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Company Yuhor will open 15 new shops so that there will be the total of 56 Yuhor retail shops in Serbia. Last year about one million Euros was invested in more than 200 socially responsible projects and aid was provided to as many as 44,378 people. Delta Foundation marked its 10th anniversary by donating the sculpture called “From There over Here” to the City of Belgrade.


B USINESS NEWS Tourism Fair in Belgrade

SA NORTH WEST AT 40TH INTERNATIONAL TOURISM FAIR IN BELGRADE The Province of North West will proudly present itself at 40th International Tourism Fair in Belgrade, with the main goal to promote its tourism and business capacities in Eastern Europe, where Republic of Serbia is the main focus in this effort due to its ideal geo-political position in the region and excellent relations with Russian Federation and Turkey. Home to the fantastic Pilanesberg and Madikwe game reserves, North West Province has the big five, fantastic bird-life and wide-open African skies. The area boasts archaeological discoveries that go back to the beginnings of humankind, as well as the world-famous Sun City hotel complex, creatively dedicated to ancient lost civilizations and modern-day pleasures. Many choose to stay in this place of sun-baked, often intemperate climate. The Province of North West is a must see destination - one that is diverse and exciting. While visiting the North West, the traditional warmth of the province will be shared with you, as well as pride in the history and culture of the province, and visitors can take home with them lasting memories of a special experiences. There's no reason not to make your next holiday on to the North West.


GLOBAL TRADE FINANCE SERVICES LEADER UniCredit has been named Global Best Service Provider for “All Services”, “Products/Payments”, and “Overall Execution” in Euromoney’s Trade Finance Survey 2018. The survey, now in its seventh year, also saw UniCredit named Market Leader for Trade Finance in Italy, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. Meanwhile, in the new “Best Services” category, UniCredit were named in the top positions in Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia again, with Russia completing the set. Gianni Franco Papa, General Manager at UniCredit said: “We are delighted that Euromoney and the

corporate clients surveyed have recognised UniCredit as the best global trade finance provider in three important categories. This acknowledgement reflects our strong focus on meeting our clients’ needs, our full commitment to innovation, and the growing strength of our International Network. We are connecting clients across the world, offering transparent and simple solutions that meet all their trade finance needs – even in the most complex of cases”.

Hellenic Business Association of Serbia


HPK Assembly

ANNUAL SESSION Almost thirty members of the Croatian Business Club attended the annual session of the HPK Assembly, held on January 25th at the Belgrade Hotel Falkensteiner. During the explanation of the agenda, all of which were unanimously adopted, HPK President Marija Radulović presented a detailed report on the work of the Club in 2017 and plans for 2018. Work in 2018 started in the presence of five new members who will be individually represented in the current year. During the session of the Assembly, HPK Vice President Stanko Krstin and Stjepan Glas, the empowered Minister of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Serbia, addressed the gathering. They made positive impressions about the work of the Croatian Business Club, with special emphasis on a series of activities and a doubling of the number of members in the last two years.

January 24th 2018 - The Hellenic Business Association and the Greek Embassy in Belgrade organized the annual event in honor of traditional Vasilopita pie cutting at Ambassador Residency. The event was attended by HBA’s members and representatives of the Greek Embassy. Mr. Zafiris Lampadaridis, president of the Hellenic Business Association of Ser-

Trag Foundation


Trag Foundation announces a competition for the eleventh-in-line VIRTUS Philanthropy Award with the support of the European Union, the C S Mot Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation (RBF). As in previous years, awards are granted to corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals, who during 2016/2017 supported non-profit actions or organizations of general interest in the most effective way. The VIRTUS Prize for 2017 will be awarded in five main categories: The main prize for


bia and H.E. Elias Eliades, Greek Ambassador to Serbia, addressed guests wishing success to the work of the HBA’s members and stressed the importance of the strong presence of the Greek companies in Serbia as well as the important role of the HBA in presenting Greek business community in a manner worthy of its size and quality. At this year’s event the Hellenic Business Association awarded companies Grand Casino Belgrade and The End of Line for their 10th anniversary of membership in the HBA, while the company Kleemann Lifts found a lucky gold coin in Vasilopita pie.

the company's contribution at the national level, the Contribution Award to the local community in which the company operates, the Small and Medium Enterprise Award, the Long-term Partnership Award between the business and non-profit sector, and the Individual Contribution Award to Philanthropy. Applications for the competition begin on January 16 and will last until February 14, 2018. You can find more information on signup and reward at the following link:





The European Investment Bank (EIB) Media Conference which presented the Results in Serbia and the Western Balkans in 2017, as well as the Perspectives and Strategy of the Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) for 2018, was held at the Metropol Palace Hotel in Belgrade, in the presence of Dario Scannapieco, Vice President of the European Investment Bank and Draginja Đurić, President of the Executive Board of Banca Intesa. After addressing the participants, the signing of a

new tranche of the credit line between the European Investment Bank and Banca Intesa was undertaken, aimed at providing support to entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in Serbia.

Zaječarsko Beer


Zaječarsko beer is launching a nationwide campaign called „Let's Open the National Museum Together“ during which consumers across Serbia will be able to purchase a special series of cans.The proceeds from the sale of these cans will go towards much needed completion of the renovation of the National Musem in Belgrade. As a brand that has a long tradition and heritage, Zaječarsko Beer will donate to the National Museum one dinar from each specially designed beer can that is sold in the

period from 1st February to 15th June, 2018. During this period, the cans of Zaječarsko Beer will be re-designed to bear the images of the four iconic paintings - "Portrait of Vuk Karadžić" by Dimitrije Avramović, "Miloš, Marko and the Fairy" by Paja Jovanović, "The Šid Motif" by Sava Šumović, and "Tree in the Woods" by Nadežda Petrović. The National Museum was founded in 1844 with the aim of "collecting all antiques in one place and preserving them for future generations to enjoy". Most of the Museum has been closed due to the renovation which started in 2003. In the coming months, Zaječarsko Beer will carry out a number of promotional and educational activities throughout the country with the aim of collecting funds for the completion of the renovation, and additionally informing the public about the importance of the four works of art by the outstanding Serbian painters.


FURTHER STRENGTHENING OF REGIONAL COOPERATION Serbian PM Ana Brnabić met with the members of the Managing Board of the SUMMIT100 of Business Leaders in South East Europe with whom she talked about the importance of further establishment of business connections, and the projects which had been launched with the aim of boosting the economic cooperation in the region. Representatives of SUMMIT100 informed the Prime Minister that Serbia took over the presidency of this event, and that our country would host the 7th annual meeting of SUMMIT100 of Business Leaders in South East Europe on 28th and 29th June. Serbian PM Ana Brnabic said that the business community should always be at the helm of co-

operation, and that politics should follow business. She also expressed the support of the Serbian government for the SAMIT100 initiative and for the next annual meeting that will take place in Serbia. The meeting participants also presented a platform for the cooperation with the Chamber Investment Forum of the six Western Balkan countries (KIF ZB) which was established at the sixth SUMMIT100 in Skopje.

The main conclusion reached at the conference 'Environmental Protection – Waste Management', organized by AmCham and attended by the Serbian Environmental Protection Minister, Goran Trivan, the US Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Mr. Kyle Scott and company representatives, was that establishing a more efficient regulatory framework for waste management has exceptional importance for the preservation of the environment, as well as for the process of Serbia's accession to the European Union. The conference participants also discussed the extended liability of packaging manufacturers in terms of packaging waste, as well as in the segment of special waste. At the end of the conference, the participants highlighted that the next steps to take were the improvement of the existing systems of extended liability, investing in waste collection systems and recycling, as well as capacity building in the municipal sector and local self-governments. Waste management is one of the main issues that the AmCham's Environmental Committee has been dealing with. This Committee is actively working to encourage constructive and partnership relations between the business community, the Government and other stakeholders, and improving the regulatory framework that will foster the sustainable development of companies.



Health Minister, Zlatibor Lončar visited Coca-Cola which, this year, celebrates its 50th anniversary in Serbia. At the meeting with the minister, the company representatives prestented the results of the long-term cooperation between the Ministry, Coca-Cola and Rosa Water. Since 2010, proceeds from the sale of Rosa Water have been directed towards supporting babies and parents through establishment of breast milk banks and parenting schools across Serbia. In addition to the existing initiatives and as a member of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce's Food Industry Association, the company has been supporting the National Programme for the Prevention of Obesity, a joint campaign of the Ministry of Health and Serbian food industry. A campaign called "Strive for Balance" will be launched this year. It aims to motivate people to adopt a healthy lifestyle in terms of nutrition and physical activity which will be done through informative and educational activities involving consumers. At the meeting, Coca-Cola representatives also spoke about further cooperation on numerous initiatives, as well as continuation of the projects of Rosa Water which will continue supporting parents in Serbia in the years to come.



“The Last Jedi” Tears Down—and Rebuilds—the Star Wars Franchise Rian Johnson’s film subverts expectations, and offers a new jolt of purpose to the venerable series

In an early scene in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is handed his long-lost lightsaber—only to toss it over his shoulder and walk away. Sacrilege! In another early scene, the moody Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is ordered to take off the “ridiculous” Darth Vader-like mask that makes it so difficult to understand what he is saying. Sacrilege again! The lightsaber and the mask were presented as holy relics in the previous "Star Wars" instalment, “The Force Awakens”, but the follow-up, written and directed by Rian Johnson, establishes in its opening minutes that it won’t be putting up with any of that nonsense. Harrison Ford’s sceptical Han Solo may be absent, having been killed off in “The Force Awakens”, but the character’s grouchily irreverent spirit flows through it. “The Last Jedi” keeps scoffing and smirking at the saga’s iconography and mystic mumbo-jumbo in a manner more akin to a Mel Brooks parody than an official entry in the series. And yet, by the end of the film, it ensures that its devotees will love “Star Wars” more than ever. “The Force Awakens” revived the franchise when it came out two years ago. A decade earlier, George Lucas’s abysmal trilogy of “Star Wars” prequels had staggered to an ignominious conclusion, but it was obvious within the first half-hour of the new film that the people behind it knew what they were doing. Indeed, J.J. Abrams, who directed “The Force Awakens”, clearly understood the magic of Mr Lucas’s original 1977 film more deeply than Mr Lucas did, and he gave its fans everything they treasured about “Star Wars”—not least the scratched, grimy metal interiors, with their grilles and cables and atmospheric puffs of steam. He also gave them the novelty of a female protagonist, Rey (Daisy Ridley) who could outfight, outshoot and out-mind-control her male counterparts. To quote the subtitle of the first “Star Wars” film, Mr Abrams gave the fans a new hope. What he didn’t give them was any compelling reason for the saga to continue other than to heap billions of dollars into the coffers of Disney, the company which now owned it. “The Force Awakens” may have been a barnstorming space opera, but it was also a shameless retread of the 1977 “Star Wars”—yes, it even ended with the rebels blowing up another bloody Death Star—and this lack of novelty undermined the validity of the whole enterprise. If the best a new “Star Wars” film could do was to copy Mr


Lucas’s old ones, then what was the point? To a degree, “The Last Jedi” is derivative, too, in that many of its scenes are minor variations on scenes that were in the 1980 “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back”. To wit, Luke lectures Rey in his off-the-grid Jedi retreat, just as Yoda once lectured Luke, only the lecturing takes place on a mountainous island rather than in a swampy cavern. And Finn (John Boyega) and his sidekick Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) try to evade their fascist pursuers by rubbing shoulders with the galaxy’s high-rollers, just as Han Solo and Princess Leia once did, only the shoulder-rubbing takes place in a casino rather than in Cloud City.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK THAT IT IS NEARLY OVER, MR JOHNSON COMES UP WITH SURPRISING ANSWERS TO ALL THE QUESTIONS HE HAS POSED But if “The Last Jedi” is all too similar to “The Empire Strikes Back” in outline, what is different about it is its maverick attitude. Instead of going along with the received wisdom that the Jedi are virtuous crusaders for peace and justice, and that imperial oppressors have to be fought at all costs, Mr Johnson keeps questioning and mocking everything we took for granted about the series. To paraphrase Edwin Starr, he keeps asking: “Star Wars, what is it good for?” For much of the film, this line of enquiry is intriguing without being especially entertaining.

It is hard to resist BB8, the lovable and astonishingly capable robot (who can be recreated at home by putting an upturned cereal bowl on top of a beach ball). It tugs the heartstrings to see Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, who died before the film was completed) finally getting to show off the Jedi powers which the men in the Skywalker family have always been so free and easy with. And Mr Driver’s wounded performance as the conflicted Kylo Ren must put him in contention for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. But “The Last Jedi” doesn’t have the hurtling pace or the vertigo-inducing action that distinguished “The Force Awakens”, so it is possible to admire Mr Johnson’s cheeky iconoclasm and philosophical musings while glancing repeatedly at your watch. In the film’s last act, however, it makes its metaphorical leap into hyperspace. Just when you think that it is nearly over, Mr Johnson comes up with surprising answers to all the questions he has posed. He stages combat sequences which will have audiences punching the air and cheering, and he deepens the characters in ways which subvert our expectations and then surpass them. It is quite a feat: he tears “Star Wars” down to its foundations, only to build it back up again. As slow as it may initially be, “The Last Jedi” finishes by giving the series not just a new hope, but a new and electrifying sense of purpose. Best of all, it doesn’t rely on anyone blowing up a Death Star. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on


View from London

Gap between economic splendour and political instability

LAZA KEKIĆ Regional Director for Europe and Director of Country Forecasting Services at The Economist Intelligence Unit

Laza Kekic gives us a fresh perspective from his expert viewpoint and talks about geopolitical risks in 2018 from London. This year will be loaded with several political risks. Since I live in the UK, we are mostly preoccupied with Brexit and the tension between the United Kingdom and European Union. I have been advocating Brexit since the very beginning and when the editor-in-chief of The Economist, Daniel Franklin

asked us, on the very day of voting, who was in favour of Brexit, I was the only one who lifted their hand. I still think that Brexit is a good opportunity for the United Kingdom. Almost all risks that I was talking about last year in my presentation “Years of Living Dangerously” are still there (Brexit, political crisis and populism in Europe, migration crisis, terrorism, instability in Turkey, relations between the West and Russia, and threats in the Balkans). Additionally, there are new threats emerging in 2018 like possible armed conflicts in Asia and Spain falling apart. In many respects, the geopolitical risks in 2018 are going to be graver than those in the past. I am referring to the arms race between Russia and the West, the attempts in the US to bring Trump down, election in

Italy, possible election in Germany, the contentious relations between Great Britain and the EU, and the consequences of the Islamic State’s defeat in Iraq and Syria. There is also an interesting gap between positive economic trends and unstable policy. The United States has almost full employment. There is also a 2.2% GDP growth, the recovery of Eurozone and a 2.3% growth. China is now stable and the recession in Russia and Brazil has ceased. How long can

of democracy in the West since there is a low political participation and a weak faith in politicians. Parties of centre are losing support, and objective media are losing on their power. In the first nine months of 2017, foreign direct investments (FDI) in Serbia were higher than in all other Balkan economies put together, as they amounted to 2.4 billion US. However, what is worrying is that the effects of important FDIs in Serbia are fairly modest given the

GEOPOLITICAL RISKS ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO DEVELOPMENT. FDIS WOULD BE MUCH HIGHER IF THE RISK IS LOWER this be sustained? Terrorism and new conflicts in the Middle East are major risks, while the risks of conflicts in East Asia and the collapse of the Brexit negotiations pose somewhat lesser risks. It is important for us to know that the chances of conflicts in the Balkans happening again are small, as are the chances of the conflict between Russia and the West. Spain will probably survive. There is a crisis

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low GDP growth. Geopolitical risks are the biggest obstacle to development. FDIs would be much higher if the risk is lower. Serbia has the traditional Titoist policy of taking the middle road and swimming between the EU and Russia. Once Serbia is on the threshold of joining the EU, the question of the country renouncing its allegiance to Russia will be raised, but only if the EU survives, which is also uncertain.



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Every Day in Serbia Felt Like Eating Really Good Cake! The streets of Belgrade neighbourhood Dorćol, still echo with steps of the man who was the strongest tie between Israel and Serbia - David Albala, the grandfather of Mrs. Rosie Gojich Stephenson-Goodknight ROSIE GOJICH STEPHENSONGOODKNIGHT MBA, Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, Boston, US and The Vice President of Wikimedia District of Columbia

The streets of Belgrade neighbourhood Dorćol, still echo with steps of the man who was the strongest tie between Israel and Serbia - David Albala. Granddaughter of David & Paulina Albala, Mrs. Rosie Gojich Stephenson-Goodknight, MBA, visited recently Belgrade, the home town of her grandfather and D&C had the honour to speak with this remarkable woman who is the Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University, Boston, US and The Vice President of Wikimedia District of Columbia. Who was David Albala?

— My grandfather was a multifaceted man: a son, brother, husband,

father. He was a Serb, a Sephardic Jew, a Zionist, a physician, a military officer, a polyglot, a community leader and organizer. He died in 1942 in Washington DC before I was ever born so I never got to meet him, but I feel as if I have a special bond with him. On December 14th 2017 you were the guest of honour on the ceremony dedicated to the 25 years of diplomatic relations between Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel and the marking of 100 years since Serbia’s endorsement of the Balfour Declaration.

— Yes, on this occasion H.E. Ambassador Alona Fisher-Kamm, ambassador of Israel to Serbia presented me with an authenticated copy of the letter (see page 47) related to the Balfour Declaration written and sent to my grandfather by Mr. Milenko Vesnić, Serbian representative in Washington, in which Serbia declared formal support to this important Declaration. “The Jerusalem Post” writes about David Albala’s role with the Balfour Declaration “On November

2, 1917, the Balfour Declaration was issued, in which British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour stated clearly and unequivocally that Britain’s leaders ‘view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. David Albala utilized his close relations with the Serbian leadership and suggested that they declare their formal support for the Declaration and its goals. Shortly thereafter, on December 27, 1917,

flying into the airport. We broke through the clouds and below me I could see Belgrade all in white, with show everywhere! I said to myself: “This is why they call it white city (Beograd). It felt as if nature played a hand in the “opening act”, wanting to assure that I had an excellent experience, beginning with the snow. Secondary impressions included that the city was much more prosperous than I had imagined

I NEVER GOT TO MEET HIM, BUT I FEEL AS IF I HAVE A SPECIAL BOND WITH HIM- MY GRANDFATHER - DAVID ALBALA – SERBIAN DOCTOR AND A DIPLOMAT, SEPHARDIC JEW, ZIONIST, AN ARMY CAPTAIN AND A MASON Serbia did just that, becoming the first country in the world to openly endorse the Declaration.” What was your first impression of Serbia/Belgrade/People? Compare it to USA.

— My first impression of Belgrade occurred on the plane as I was

and that the farmland I saw in Serbia while driving to Sarajevo reminded me of the California central valley. I have travelled to almost 30 foreign countries and I find that people are friendly everywhere; no exception to that in Serbia. But what struck me was the way people looked. Let me

DON’T SHOOT ANY ARCHDUKES! What is the perception of the home county of your grandfather in California? Do people know where Serbia is? What do they know? — It is impossible to speak authoritatively regarding what people in California or any of the 50 US states think as my country is large and diverse. As a generalization, and I stress this is a generalization, American people do


not know much about Serbia and do not have a strong opinion, one way or the other, about the country. When speaking about Serbia, it is often easier to refer to the former Yugoslavia... Serbia vs Siberia… Balkans vs Baltic countries... some people don’t know the differences. People have heard of the conflict with Kosovo, but don’t understand why Kosovo is as important to Ser-

bia as the Alamo is to Texas. For those people familiar with Serbia, and I would include Bosnia and Croatia, the extent of their knowledge is usually limited to details about wars, and perhaps, some knowledge about religious or ethnic groupings. When I told my friends I was going to the Balkans, they jokingly said, “Don’t shoot any Archdukes!”

explain. On my first evening, December 4th, I attended the 12 year anniversary of Serbian Wikipedia at the University of Belgrade Library. I was asked to make a small speech and when I stood up at the front of the hall, and looked at the audience, for a moment I couldn’t speak. I was staring at all these people and for the first time in my life, EVERYONE LOOKED LIKE ME! I’m an American, and in my country, almost everyone is from some other country. But looking at this audience, I saw my reflection… people whose eyes are shaped as mine and so forth. The other thing I want to say about the people is that everyone in Serbia made me feel like “this is your home”. This was not the first time you visited Serbia. You have seen it during the “dark” nineties?

— In 1995, my husband, Mark Stephenson; we are now divorced; and I wanted to vacation in Europe, including a few days in Serbia. Before we left the United States, we tried to get visas for ourselves and sons to visit Yugoslavia, but were unsuccessful. We were told that if we went to Turkey, and tried again, we might get them; and this worked out for us. We boarded a train in Istanbul, travelled through Bulgaria, and upon reaching the

David Albala

Serbian border in the middle of the night, the train stopped. Eventually we heard gunshots, and then the train proceeded across the border. After it stopped again, two young men came into our compartment, dressed in military uniforms, car-

rying guns. They spoke in Serbian, and said, “Oh, this is just a family traveling together. We don’t need to search their luggage.” Then they took Mark off the train, carrying our four passports. If you remember, in 1995, the American-Serbian


relationship was “difficult”. I looked out the window and all I could see is was the light from our cabin reflected on the night time snow. I thought about the Agatha Christie novel, “Murder on the Orient Express”. After more than an hour, Mark returned and the train moved on. After arriving at the Belgrade train station in the morning, we were greeted by men with machine guns protecting the train station. Mark took two photos of me standing underneath the train station sign, one side of it containing the word “Beograd” and the other, “Belgrade”. For posterity, I could say, “I was here!” But we decided that because we had our children with us, 1995 was not a good time to be American tourists in this city, and so we continued on the train till we reached Vienna. It was a very disappointing experience. The trip in December 2017 was the exact opposite. I was invited to come to Serbia! I didn’t need a visa. Upon arrival at the airport, my son and a family friend met me and we went out for coffee and cake. Every day in Serbia during my December 2017 trip felt like a “cake day”… like eating really good cake! For the full version of this interview please log on to

The letter addressed to David Albala and signed by the Serbian representative in Washington, Milenko Vesnić- confirming Serbias support to the Balfour Declaration Source: The National Library of Israel, Archives Department, V603



BDI Now has Meaning for Dancers We have put Belgrade on the global cultural map

year, Israelis definitely take the lead. In a city like Tel Aviv, which has fewer inhabitants that Belgrade, a venue of the size of Sava Centre would not be enough to take in everybody keen on listening to a dialogue about cultural diplomacy. They really do give a lot to culture and it pays off. This is something that we here should also aspire to do.  HE MEASUREMENT IS T REVENUE

AJA JUNG Director of the Belgrade Dance Festival (BDI)

Our celebrated ballet dancer and now director of the Belgrade Dance Festival (BDI), Aja Jung talks about beginnings, the peculiarities of modern dance and difficulties she came across in organizing the festival, as well as about the precious change in the awareness of the audience in the last few years.  ULTURAL DIPLOMACY IS C THE KING

It is quite clear how much Serbia has to do in order to catch up to the world in this segment of art. Modern dance is very popular in the world and such type of non-verbal


communication (‘bodies cannot lie’, as the saying goes) has a strong presence in the biggest cities in the world, as well as in smaller towns, on stages and at festivals. Since my connection to Serbia and Belgrade wasn’t that strong back in the day, I thought that organizing would be an easy task (ignorance makes everything looks easy). I did not rely on strategies because I don’t believe in them. I rather rely on my capability. Several days ago I came back from Israel and I can tell you that this country has what is probably the most important modern dance scene in the world. Israel treats modern dance as its most important export product. You can find in everywhere – from Paris and New York to Tokyo. Their choreographers and dancers participate in global productions and manage big theatres and dance troupes. In terms of the number of productions in the world every

Yet, when everything is said and done, you have to be profitable. There is no cultural event without profitability in a way. Yorgos Loukos, who was our consultant in the first days of BDI, told me that there was no other gauge of success than good box office. Only when a show is sold out several times in a row, and only when the NY Times or the Guardian report about it, then we can say that it actually exists. Modern dance is modern, just as it name says, and it has role in a cer-

enough. We could not offer to them financial conditions. We also could not guarantee enough shows to the Hong Kong Ballet because, for instance, when they go to New York they have 20 shows in a row. Furthermore, we did not have financial attractiveness either. Back in the day, Belgrade was not an important enough to be mentioned in their biographies. It wasn’t prestigious enough. But when BDI brought the Paris Opera, Milan’s Scala, and the Monte Carlo Ballet here, then it became a destination that has earned its rightful place. I like it when they compare me to Mira Trailovic and BITEF, but we do differ in many ways. BDI is a private festival, so, simply put, it would not exist if it weren't for me. In that respect, everything is quite personalised here. It is a fantastic thing that BDI managed to sell 23,000 tickets, but it is a whole different story how we have managed to do that. In the beginning of BDI, I had to sell my own car and was fighting with my

ISRAEL TREATS MODERN DANCE AS ITS MOST IMPORTANT EXPORT PRODUCT. YOU CAN FIND IN EVERYWHERE – FROM PARIS AND NEW YORK TO TOKYO tain time which is now. Everything is happening now! We cannot conserve modern dance for future, unlike classic art. We bought 473 airplane tickets for this BDI which is a huge expense. However, we view it as an investment. When dancers come to our festival they subsequently become our ambassadors. Yes, there were some problems in the very beginning. At first, globally renowned dancers like Mikhail Baryshnikov and others did not want to come to Belgrade despite our personal friendship and them liking me. Simply put, we didn’t have enough money or were prestigious

family when they found out how much money I had invested in the festival. I had to find initial capital. However, marketing in culture is a necessity. It has to be contemporary, it has to resonate with younger generations, it mustn't be rigid or complacent. Also, we have to follow global trends daily and pay attention what is going on elsewhere. We cannot be isolated from the world but follow in the global trends. Only in that way can we remain relevant and mean something in the global framework. And once you mean something, eminent guests will come.


The Dida Hornjakov Grange The Dida Hornjakov grange (salaš, in Serbian language) was built in 1901. The grange's main building houses two exhibition rooms with the furniture that is family hairloom, and the exhibition of the Bunjevac folk costumes. The grange's ancient barn also houses an exhibition studio of old arts and crafts where visitors can buy souvenirs and other handicrafts. Furthermore, the studio has a specialized workshop where children can make souvenirs which they can take home with them. The Dida Hornjakov Grange has a four-star-accommodation which includes one double suite with additional room and two extra beds suitable for families, and two double rooms. The

dining room has a beautiful view of the area, and, from here, you can also see the buildings in the Sombor town centre because the grange is only is 3km away. In addition to playing host to tourist visits, we organize various other events. The grange is closed off and each visit must be booked in advance. Since agriculture is the main activity on the grange, it is surrounded by arable land, and has an ecological garden with domestic animals. We prepare the food in an old-fashioned way, and most of the food is grown on the grange's premises. THE DIDA HORNJAKOV GRANGE Tel: 063 / 89-52-767 (Aranka Hornjak-Mijić, the host) Address: Gradina 65, Sombor E-mail: Website: www.


we would like to celebrate it with you On the Occasion of the 2nd Anniversary of the Diplomacy&Commerce magazine, we will present the “Diplomacy & Commerce Awards” to individuals, organisations and companies. On 22nd March we will all celebrate this anniversary together, along with the awarding of the

to those who have contributed the most to ensuring all of these themes have come to life, and left a trail. Sponsored by



We are Changing the Perception of Domestic Audience… ...but we are also changing the perception that foreigners have of us!

TIJANA PALKOVLJEVIĆ BUGARSKI Director of Matica Srpska Gallery

Novi Sad is busy preparing to mark the European Youth Capital 2019 and the European Capital of Culture 2021, with all institutions, especially the cultural ones, devising their place in the new constellation. One of the most dynamic institutions is the Matica Srpska Gallery which is run by equally dynamic Tijana Palkovljević Bugarski. Traditional and digital are two tracks of cultural diplomacy, and it is not complicated to deal with both. Running a cultural institution in the 21st century is a serious diplomatic job, especially for museums, because museums

are constantly travelling between the past, the present and the future while trying to combine the three into a harmonious entirety. We are engaged in protecting the Serbian cultural heritage also beyond the borders of our country. For instance, we are involved in Arsenije Teodorovic's project of the protection of the Serbian cultural heritage in Hungary. We have also been engaged in a very interesting project involving restoration of the 73 icons in the period after the demolition of the church in Budapest in 1949. This is a kind of a project that an institution like the Matica Srpska Gallery is expected to do. Parallel with this, we are also working on several other things including a mobile application. We must be in touch with the contemporary moment and respond to the needs of the audience. The audience expects the museum to engage in new technology and have new approaches. Concurrently, we are the first museum to ensure such approach through virtual reality. However, we did not go so far as to allow the audience to experience this from home – they

have to come to the gallery and see the artwork, and they can also see it via modern media. All the museums in the world do this - they find a way to have a dialogue between the past and the present in order to have an impact in the future. Success of a theatre play, an exhibition or a work done by an institution is measured against how much it shapes the society. Also, culture changes the perception of Serbia abroad. For the first time in the last 35 years, we have staged an elaborate exhibition in Perugia;

has multiple benefits since it has been in existence for over 30 years. This is an example of how culture suddenly becomes a hot topic in the city, with everything, including utilities and infrastructure, connected to it. We need to position culture as an investment rather than as an expense. The price of real estate or the number of tourists can go up because of culture which becomes a cohesive factor. Novi Sad allocates 6% of the budget for culture, which is a lot more than 0.62% that the state budget allo-

NOVI SAD HAS WIDE APPROACH TO CULTURE, WITH NUMEROUS FESTIVALS, INSTITUTIONS, AND INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED. IT DOES NOT OBSERVE CULTURE TOO MODERNLY OR TO TRADITIONALLY, BUT IN A MULTITUDE OF WAYS rather than a small exhibition in a minor cultural centre. We have exhibited Serbian artwork (18th century icons) along with the Italian renaissance pieces. Novi Sad was declared the European Capital of Culture which is one of the best EU brands that

cates. Novi Sad has wide approach to culture, with numerous festivals, institutions, and individuals involved. It does not observe culture too modernly or to traditionally, but in a multitude of ways. And it is not a coincidence that all of this is happening in Novi Sad.

Theory Leads us Nowhere

Culture without audience is meaningless IVAN TASOVAC Director of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra

In his typical humorous but critical manner, Ivan Tasovac talks about the current situation in the Serbian culture, the complacency and theoretical approach that dominates over the practical one, as well as about the lack of objectivity in critics and their pretentiousness. Culture completely absorbs you! When you begin to engage in culture, you have literally dedicated your life to its preservation. Without such people there would be no culture around the world. Sport


used to be the best representative of our country, so we frequently talked about sports diplomacy. After this came the tennis diplomacy. Now that cultural diplomacy has emerged, we still have a lot of work to do. First, we need to define what cultural elite is. Unfortunately, I would be very cautious about defining what cultural elite is because today anyone who wakes up in the morning can feel like a part of the cultural elite and present themselves as such in social media. Since there are many subjectively

perceived critics and pretentious individuals, it would be good if we had more objective parameters for criticism of everything – from art to dance. Most critics in this country remind me of theoretician mistresses. You can clearly see from their critique who is on good terms with whom rather than what is the event that is the subject of the critique really like. We do have ‘cultural products’ but we need to promote them. Culture is something that changes the perception in society. It's just a matter of how quickly


it does that. Culture without audience is a private party, and we should not forget that our mission is to serve the community by creating a new audience through concrete products and actions. We live in a digital age that changes so fast that our knowledge and legislation cannot catch up to it. Anyone who based their strategy on Facebook a year ago proved to be a fool given the changes on Facebook that happened in the meantime.




Concert hall


THE FIFTH 2 February 2, 20:00 Grand Hall of the Kolarac Foundation Tijana Milošević

Conductor: Gabriel Feltz, Soloist: Tijana Milošević, violin Nemanja Stanković, violoncello, Gabriel Feltz, piano

PHILHARMANIA(C) 3 February 8, 20:00 Grand Hall of the Kolarac Foundation Xavier de Maistre

Conductor: Uroš Lajovic, Soloist: Xavier de Maistre

AIR 4 February 9, 20:00 Grand Hall of the Kolarac Foundation Uroš Lajović

Conductor: Uroš Lajovic, Soloist: Xavier de Maistre, harp

WATER 3 February 23, 20:00 Grand Hall of the Kolarac Foundation Tamara Stefanović

February 2018 Tuesday, 13th at 20.00 Concert Hall


Italian Opera & Fashion evening Silvana Froll, soprano Aleandro Mariani, tenor Belgrade National Theater Orchestra Conductor: Jacopo Sipari di Pescasseroli Fashion Show: Renato Balestra Production: Fashion Agency Fabrika 1.000, 1.200, 1.500 Wednesday, 14th at 18.00 Music Gallery


Goran Muratovski, violin Irina Naumovska, piano Production: Music Center Admission free

Wednesday, 14th at 20.30 Concert Hall


Mostar Sevdah Reunion & CD promotion Traditional music 1.200, 1.500 Sunday, 18th at 11.00 Concert Hall Kolarac Podium of Chamber Music


Programme: Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Konjović... Production: Music Center

Admission free Wednesday, 21st at 18.00 Music Gallery


Katarina Popović & Aratos trio Production: Music Center Admission free Thursday, 22nd at 20.00 Concert Hall


Chamber Orchestra Muzikon Programme: Shostakovich, Gershwin 800, 1.000 Friday, 23rd at 20.00 Concert Hall


Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Fabrice Bollon Soloist: Tamara Stefanović, piano Programme: A. Zemlinsky, J. Brahms Production: Belgrade Philharmonic Information: 011.2630744 Saturday, 24th at 11.00 Concert Hall


Host: Miloš Milovanović Quartet Production: Music Center 200 Saturday, 24th at 20.00 Concert Hall


RTS Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Bojan Sudjić Production: RTS Music production Sunday, 25th at 11.00 Concert Hall Cycle: Kolarac Podium of Chamber Music


Production: Music Centre Admission free Monday, 26th at 20.00 Concert Hall


Free tickets – Dobročinstvo

Tuesday, 27th at 18.00 Music Gallery Cycle: Encounter with an Artist


Birgit Stolzenburg de Biasio, hackbrett Stana Krstajić, flute Programme: Hofmann, Tošić, D. Jovanović, M.Stojadinovic Milić Production: Music Centre Admission free Wednesday, 28th at 18.00, Music Gallery


Jelena Jakovljević, flute Production: Music Centre Admission free

Conductor: Fabrice Bollon, Soloist: Tamara Stefanović, piano

MUSICAL TALKS with Gabriel Feltz

February 28, 14:00 Grand Hall of the Kolarac Foundation Gabriel Feltz


Mirjana Nešković, violin, Gabriel Feltz, piano Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra

BELGRADE TOURISM FAIR The 40th International Belgrade Tourism Fair will be held from February 22 – 25, 2018, at Belgrade Fair. The most important tourism event in Serbia and Southeast Europe has been promoting for four decades the latest trends and events in the international tourism industry and open new perspectives in the tourism business development. This year’s Tourism Fair Partner Country is Greece, the eternal inspiration for travelers and the favorite summer destination for the local tourists.


Belgrade Philharmonic has presented something completely new in January 2018 – the first in a series of short concerts in the daily term called “Music talks” with chief conductor Gabriel Feltz. Not only did chief conductor Feltz perform as a great pianist in a joint performance with the first bassoon of the Philharmonic Nenad Janković, he was also the great host through a conversation with a musician and the audience that surrounded them on stage. The next „Music talk“ in line is scheduled for February 28, when chief conductor Feltz as a pianist will perform with violinist Mirjana Nešković.


Belgrade international film festivalFEST is back for its 46th edition. During ten festival days, from February 23rd to march 4th, films from all over the world are going to be the main topic of Belgrade's cinema goersfrom acclaimed titles to breakout films whose FEST screening will be, almost certainly, the only screening in this part of the world. Jugoslav Pantelić, artistic director and Mladen Đorđević, programming director of Thrills and kills, Frontiers and Microwave, have made sure that this year's programme is the best it could be. The honour of opening the festival has gone to the acclaimed film Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri by Martin McDonagh.



Diplomacy & Commerce 24  
Diplomacy & Commerce 24