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January 30th

editorial | And They All Cried Wolf (or Vuk, if You Will) in medias res | Serbia & Kosovo Slow(ly) Coming to the Point

event horizon | Regressions of the Longest Waiting EU Candidate southeast europe · a fortnight in review no.19 / y.2 / subscription only / 30th january 2013

politics | The Slovenian Political Undead Playing Chicken financial | Croatian Cash Businesses (Finally) on the Run

IS TIME RUNNING OUT?

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January 30th

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January 30th

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content

introductory epistle

Is Time Running Out?

in medias res 08

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

Of General Interest Politics

around the world 28

financial 10 12 14

Cash Businesses (Finally) On The Run

Early Elections for Serbia? Two Bomb Attacks Shake up Zagreb Dodik Strikes Some Nerves on RS Anniversary

Skiing in the East

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May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

lifestyle 16 16 17 17

editorial

And They All Cried Wolf (or Vuk, if You Will)

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destinations 30

highlights Croatia’s EU Accession Stalled?

Happy Chinese New Year! May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

news The Economy

Serbia & Kosovo Slow(ly) Coming to the Point

Ye Croatian Residents, Income Tax Changes to Be Aware of

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May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

Hard Times: The Serbian Health System in Crisis

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

politics

in perspective

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fortnightly interview 18

World’s Fastest Electric Supercar… And It’s Croatian

good stuff 34

A Few Eastern Beauties

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did you know?

The Slovenian Political Undead Playing Chicken

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Addiction Treatment in Montenegro: Like & Share

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

event horizon

culture

Regressions of the Longest Waiting EU Candidate May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

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Küstendorf: or Emir Kusturica’s Declaration of War on Red Carpets & Globalisation May the Next One Be BetterRa quis accatusa dolorem faccus.

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Nikola Tesla - A Man Out of Time

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blast from the past

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to do list

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January 30th

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impressum

editor-in-chief Igor Dakić

introductory epistle

Is Time Running Out?

executive editor Lee Murphy lee@see-magazine.eu graphic editor Ivor Vinski ivorvinski@gmail.com art editor Stiv Cinik country editors Miša Milošević Aida Tabaković Sebastijan Maček Ben Berković contributors Dylan Alexander Ivana Stepanović Mark Ferris Michael Devaney Črt Razboršek Paul Suchar Jerko Markovina Marijan Grakalić photography Mens-Libera Photo, Shutterstock, IStock, Wiki Commons unless otherwise specified printer Stega tisak d.o.o. Zavrtnica 17, Zagreb Croatia

director Igor Dakić igor.dakic@see-magazine.eu sales & marketing (cro & slo) Miroslav Tomas miroslav.tomas@see-magazine.eu + 385 95 63 99 702 sales & marketing (srb & bih) Miša Milošević misa@see-magazine.eu + 381 63 224 223

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When at a loss, one should always do the obvious thing: start at the beginning and, if one is in my line of work, explain oneself as quickly as possible. The world indeed did not end in 2012, but 2013 did rather kick off on a hectic note: the Croats are scurrying to and fro in quite panicky attempts to find a solution with the Slovenians and thus avoid a truly horrific, but with each passing day more plausible, scenario, and that is a failure to 'persuade' all the remaining eu countries which have not as yet done so to ratify Croatia's Accession Agreement. The Slovenians, of course, have other things on their mind, as the very top echelon of their political pantheon, namely Janša and Janković, stand accused of having engaged in less than honourable – and not entirely legal – practices. Vesna Pusić seems confident that everything will be fine (as, truth be told, it probably will), but time slowly but surely running out. The fact that, it seems, every few days or so an explosive device tends to go off somewhere in Zagreb certainly does not soothe the strained psyche. There is plenty of strain further down south as well, as the Macedonian executive and legislative branches, after some recognisably Third-World shenanigans in and around the Parliament might soon find out that their historical prerogative of ‘manufacturing’ a State may just have achieved exactly the opposite effect. No matter what certain enthusiastic Irish diplomats may be stating, Europe is tired and would probably have difficulty dealing with a far ‘better’ Macedonia, let alone this one. Time is running out. Time is running out for Serbia as well: the economic situation is not improving – at least not to any palpable degree – and the Kosovo ‘situation’ won’t go away. Tensions have even spilled over from northern Kosovo and into southern Serbia – into the Preševo valley – and it hard to shirk the impression that the Serbian authorities have grown awfully weary of it all. The Albanians have worn them down, and perhaps the best thing Nikolić and Dačić could do is to admit it. As to what that might mean in practice, we must leave to them to decide. But one does rather notice that time is somehow running out…Which may not be an altogether bad thing. Some people can function adequately only when they are presented with a deadline; also, a bit of stress never killed the proverbial ram. As for us, I can only hope you can appreciate our new design – in fact, prompted by our subscribers' kind suggestions , we could only oblige and reduce the format so as to make see easier to handle, as well as increase the number of pages in order to accommodate the ever increasing number of news items. I daresay it looks like this is going to be a rather interesting year.


January 30th

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news  |

The Economy

National Bank of Serbia Promises a Stable 2013 Jorgovanka Tabaković, the Governor of the National Bank of Serbia, believes that inflation in 2013 will not exceed the planned 5.5% and that the exchange rate will remain stable throughout the calendar year. Comparing the situation to that in 2012 Tabaković said that the April-December inflation rate was 9.5%, with the price

Badel 1862 Due Diligence A spokesperson for the Croatian producer of wine and spirits, Badel 1862, has reported that the process of due diligence, by potential bidders, has begun and is expected to last until the second half of February. A representative of Badel stated that “potential bidders have acquired rights to purchase over two million shares in Badel 1862, which are currently the property of the Republic of Croatia”. Those two million shares approximate 66% of Badel’s stock. The Agency for State Property Management, responsible for the overall process of collecting binding offers and for finalising the eventual sale of the shares, has so far received eleven letters of intent from potential investors during the first round of bidding, of which “most were from relevant European and international companies in the sector”. Although official information on the sale of Badel 1862 cannot be acquired during the bidding process, unofficial sources report that amongst the bidders are the domestic Podravka, the Chinese company Tadee Holding Group, the Cypriot Photos Photiades Group, the Canadian company Adria Pacific, and Stock, a company owned jointly by Salomon Berkowitz and a Czech investment fund. Since news of the expected takeover became public, shares of Badel 1862 saw a significant increase in value, 8.5%, bringing the total value of a single share to 43.40 Kuna. The cost of the takeover will be in the region of 12 million Euros. 12

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China to Finance & Reconstruct Serbian Railways The Serbian Ministry of Traffic and Chinese Telecommunications and Infrastructure Company (CCCC International) have signed a memorandum of understanding which includes an agreement on the construction of the railway Corridor 10, which runs parallel with the road of the same name, and the revitalisation of the Belgrade-Bar

of food accounting for 6.6% of that. She went railway. Italfer, a subsidiary company of the Italon to say that food price increases should be ian state railway, had previously conducted a fealowered by promoting new agricultural policies sibility study on the Belgrade-Bar railway and is and by eliminating existing monopolies and the interested in submitting a bid for the contract. oversupply of intermediaries on the food pro- President of Italfer, Mauro Moretti, says that duction and trade chain. A 12% increase in the “Serbia will find itself in the same situation as Afprice of electricity is due this spring, but it is ex- rica where the Chinese infrastructure has proved pected that this will account for just 0.8% in- not to be of the highest quality”. Estimates flation. Miscellaneous Governmental activity will state that the reconstruction of the Belgradecontribute very little to the overall inflation rate. Bar railway will cost 200-300 million Euros.

Regional Large Retailer ‘Cold War’ The largest retail chain in Europe, the French owned Carrefour, has decided to purchase the Croatian company ‘Idea Srbija’, which has until now been owned by Croatian businessman Ivica Todorić, while the Serbian company Frikom is now the property of Ledo, part of Todorić’s Agrokor empire. Carrefour had been looking for an opportunity to enter the Serbian market for a number of years, and had been linked with a takeover of Mercator. Carrefour holds almost 38% of the European market share and is already present in Albania, Macedonia, and Romania. Frikom was purchased for an amount just short of 100 million Euros, with the intention of uniting their ice cream and frozen foods sections with those of Ledo and other Agrokor subsidiaries. Todorić has expressed his desire to see his foodstuff empire become the regional leader in these segments. Ever alert, market analysts are suggesting that this restructuring might actually be a precursor to a renewed takeover bid of Mercator, with Todorić’s hand, perhaps, forced by Carrefour’s strengthening in the region.

United Arab Emirates Invest in Serbia Montenegro is not the only regional state garnering attention from the UAE, with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi showing interest in Serbian agriculture. Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, also the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, recently visited Serbia and it now appears as if the Serbian Government will be signing the first of many agreements with the UAE relating to agriculture, irrigation, and land lease, mainly in Vojvodina. The total investment will be worth several hundreds of millions of Euros, and will also include the reconstruction of river harbours and development of those harbours as cargo centres. Further investment is also expected in the field of high technology and computer production, and possibly even in the revitalisation of JAT, the near defunct Serbian airline.


January 30th

Montenegro Strengthens Relations With Uae

Slovenia Closing Certain Legations With austerity measures causing general unrest amongst the Slovenian populace, the Government has taken steps to reduce their diplomatic costs. The first stage of an overhaul of the Slovenian diplomatic network has resulted in the closure of their Embassy in Dublin and their General Consulate in New York. The Slovenian Foreign Minister, Karl Erjavec, has already stated that additional closures may be necessary in the future. These two closures are expected to save the Slovenian exchequer an annual amount of 2.5 million Euros in overhead costs and salaries. Slovenia is not the only European country choosing to tighten the diplomatic belt in an effort to cuts costs, no matter how small in comparison with their overall national budget.

Strike fails to materialise in Republika Srpska Late last year the trade unions of Republika Srpska had threatened strike action if the Government did not raise the basic working hour rate, which is used to determine the pay rates of the public sector. The trade unions claimed that an increase of 10% was needed so as to offset an expected decrease in public sector pay, deferred from the 2013 budget. Minor action did take place, on January 21st, in 130 schools and 24 facilities across Republika Srpska, but services were barely affected. Several groups returned to work after only a day of action, claiming that they had been subjected to aggressive pressure from management and from Government sources. Many Government institutions remained opened with some staff refusing to strike, while a strike by police was rendered pointless by their work roster.

Milo Đukanović, the Prime Minister and former President of Montenegro, met with the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, while visiting the Arab nation during January. The two men talked about potential improvements in their countries’ bilateral relations, including ways in which business cooperation could be strengthened. Proposed plans included the setting up of a direct route between Abu Dhabi and Podgorica airports. “The UAE has a positive view of Montenegro at all levels, and will be focusing on investing into your country in the coming period”, said the Deputy Prime Minister to the visiting Montenegrin delegation. Earlier during his visit, Đukanović met with the President of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce, Muhammad Thani Al Rumaithi and other businessmen, during which an agreement was reached: businessmen from the UAE will visit Montenegro by the end of May 2013 personally to investigate investment possibilities.

Bauhaus Calls Off Serbian Deal German retail chain Bauhaus have stepped away from any further joint investments with Serbian company Delreal. Although the latter denies any connection with Miroslav Mišković, it would be an almighty coincidence given that the Germans’ decision came just days after the police interrogated the Serbian businessman. Delreal have stated that their erstwhile German partner did not wish to wait any longer for the conversion of a right to use of a parcel of land to ownership of said land, which Delreal had filed for over a decade ago. It is expected that the Serbian company will demand a refund from the City of Belgrade, along with compensation, as a result of the deal falling through. Delreal has released estimates which claim that the country has lost more then 100 million Euros worth of investments because of these delays, while Delreal have lost 22 million Euros and Belgrade has lost out on a potential 1,500 new jobs.

Ministry of Science to Subsidise the Hiring of Young Scientists The Unity through Knowledge Fund has implemented a support programme called “Research in Science and Academics”, with the goal of increasing the mobility of scientists and young experts between the economic and academic sectors, as well as strengthening the collaboration between the two sectors; the maximum amount of financial support allowable through this fund is 160,000 Kuna. The intention of these funds is to subsidise the salaries of the chosen entrepreneurs in Croatian companies or public scientific research institutes, under the following conditions: (1) Create/enhance new products/processes/services; (2) Increase the competitiveness of the Croatian economy by developing innovative technology solutions; (3) Joint involvement of the economic branch and the academe in international and European technology projects.The support programme is available for young scientists and experts who live and work in Croatia, or Croatian nationals and those of Croatian origin who work and live abroad, so long as they are PhD students or have gained a PhD in the last 5 years. Warranty for the co-financing has to be ensured by the enterprise in which they would work. The application deadline is February 22nd 2013, midnight.

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Of Generral Interest

History To Be Rewritten for Future Generations in Kosovo Over the past number of years relations between Kosovo and Turkey have become much more cordial than they have been in the past, so much so that the Kosovan Ministry of Education has decided to make certain alterations to their history curriculum, at least where the Ottoman Empire is concerned. The Turkish Minister for Foreign Af-

20 Croatian Municipalities to Introduce Signs in Cyrillic Official signs on public institutions, as well as names of streets and squares, in the Croatian town of Vukovar are to become bilingual, introducing Serbian Cyrillic to all signs. Though ethnic Serbs constitute 34.8% of the city’s current population, the decision has created a somewhat delicate situation, angering many, including a number of war veterans’ associations. Minister of Public Administration Arsen Bauk, however, says that discussion would not be entered into: “The introduction of official bilingualism is not a matter which is up for debate. It is in fact a direct application of our laws”. According to the Ministry the introduction of such a form of bilingualism is in accordance with the Constitutional Law on National Minorities (and also with the Helsinki Charter), which guarantees the rights of members of minorities to use and display their own language and script. The President of the Serbian Peoples Committee, Milorad Pupovac, commented that the state is obligated to ensure equal use of Serbian Cyrillic in communities with a Serbian population of 30% or more. Minister Bauk also stated that the Government is planning on introducing Serbian Cyrillic signs on public institutions, police stations, post offices, streets and squares in at least 20 other municipalities, including Vojnić, Vrginmost, Plaški, Udbina, Korenica, Gračac, and Negoslavci. 14

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fairs, Ahmet Davutoglu, had in the past expressed his concern that “Kosovars learn history as interpreted by Tito or Enver Hoxha”. The changes include replacing the words ‘violence’ and ‘killing’ with ‘conquering’ and ‘imprisonment’, as well toning down the actions of the Ottoman invaders. Other European countries, such as France and Germany, have also made similar changes in order to remove what was termed “hate language and aggressive vocabulary”.

Former General Rojs Charged With Withholding Legal Fund The District Attorney of Zagreb has charged former General Ljubo Ćesić-Rojs with fraud, or with having allegedly illegally retained almost 58,000 Euros which had been collected in the first half of 2010 and which were meant to finance the Hague defence teams of six Croats, including Gotovina and Markač. The story came to light in August 2011, when the media learned that Jako Andabak, one of the wealthiest Croats, had given Rojs the money, but that it had never arrived at its intended destination. Rojs is arguing that the money was delayed because Interpol had blocked the bank account (Rojs, denied entry into the EU, was suspected of having abetted persons charged with war-crimes) he was using for the issue at hand.

Sarajevo To Construct Memorial For Victims of Kazani Murders The Vice President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Svetozar Pudarić, and the Mayor of Sarajevo, Alija Behmen, have signed an agreement on cooperation in the construction of a memorial which is to commemorate those citizens of Sarajevo (mainly ethnic Serb and Croat civilians) who were killed at Kazani in 1993. This agreement was not unexpected, with it being on the agenda for the past few years. Behmen said that “this is something that the city of Sarajevo must commemorate, for what happened at Kazani was a show of absolute disobedience of one part of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The monument, which will be chosen by a commission, will stand on the slopes of the Trebević Mountain, but the Mayor reassured the public that whatever design was chosen it would “not be an obelisk, merely a stone tablet which will, in an indicative way, tell the story of what happened at Kazani in 1993”, before going on to remind all that “innocent civilians of Sarajevo, of all nationalities, lost their lives here. I am deeply saddened that such an atrocity took place in my city”. The tablet will include the names of all the victims, but for this plan to proceed there remains a need for the cooperation of various institutions. “At the time when citizens of Sarajevo were coping with the aggression, there was a group of people who were taking advantage of the situation. I would like it if that part of Kazani remained as unaltered as possible, so as clearly to show what the people, with their hands bound, experienced whilst being marched up the hill to their graves”, said Pudarić, who donated 5,000 Bosnian Marks to the project.


January 30th

First Roma Restaurant In Slovenia to Open in Maribor

‘Book Of The Dead’ Finally Published The publishing of a book detailing the names of 96,000 people who died (as well as the cause and place of their death) during the Balkan conflicts has brought hope that political groups on all sides of the divide will no longer be able to muddy the waters with ideological rhetoric. The book was compiled by the Serbian Humanitarian Law Centre, with the help of an international panel of experts. Nataša Kandić, of the Humanitarian Law Centre, said that “at first glance, the data shows there were almost ten thousand female civilian victims”; and Mirsad Tokača, the Director of Sarajevo’s Research and Identification Centre, added that “it is vital that we have, in one place, the names and identities of Bosnian citizens who were killed during the war”.

‘Kozara’ To Be The Most Modern River Ship in the Region Currently undergoing modification and overhaul, Kozara is set to become the most modern river going vessel in Serbia and the wider region. Kozara will be able to operate at peak efficiency for another 30 years now that her engine has been replaced, along with a full electronic update, and has had a modern navigation system installed. Kozara, as well as being the command ship of the River Fleet, will be used as a protocol vessel for the highest of state and military occasions, as a ship base of the accommodation of fleet personnel, as a military transport vessel, as a training centre, and if need be as a hospital. The costs of this refit are estimated to be 20% of the purchase price of a purpose built vessel.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Expecting Outbreak of Swine Flu Epidemiologists in B&H have reported three new cases of the H1N1 virus since last week. The infection, also known as Swine Flu, has been confirmed in five patients, of which three carry the H1N1 virus, and the other two have been infected by the A type flu (H3N2). Marija Željko, of the National Institute of Public Health of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has predicted, along with her colleagues, that the risk of the virus spreading rapidly is high because of the low number of people who have been vaccinated, which is disappointing fact given that the vaccine was available in large quantities well in advance of this outbreak.

The Romani Kafenava is expected to open in Maribor within the coming year, as reported by the EPeKa and Romano Pralipe associations recently. The restaurant is to be the first of its kind in Europe, actually employing members of the Roma community. As an enterprise creating jobs specifically for the Roma it has also been chosen by the Economic Technology and Development Ministry to receive EU social funding. The founders intend to create a model on the basis of which similar restaurants might be opened both nation- and EU-wide, with its income also being put towards funding similar restaurants in Slovenia and the EU. Jure Vahtar of EPeKa stated that one of the main goals of the restaurant is to revive the almost forgotten Roma traditions, to help preserve the Romany culture, as well as to motivate members of the Roma community to find jobs, thereby improving their informal education and level of social integration.

Zadar Listed as One of The Most Beautiful European Ports The magazine ‘National Geographic Traveller’ describes Zadar, a Croatian harbour town in Northern Dalmatia, as a 3000 year old town which has inherited the features of many foreign powers which have, in the past, ruled over it, which are visible today in the old city centre, the Forum, and in its diverse architecture. The February/March issue of National Geographic features ‘Europe’s Best Small Ports’, and other than Zadar, the harbour towns which should be visited, as suggested by National Geographic Traveller, are Alesun (Norway), Tallin (Estonia), Gdansk (Poland), Ajaccio (France), and Valletta (Malta). The magazine describes Zadar as looking out at idyllic Adriatic islands, and notes that it is within an hour’s drive from as many as five national parks.

New Emergency Phone Numbers in Serbia The telephone numbers of the police, ambulance, and other emergency services have been changed as of the start of 2013. The new numbers are very much the same as the old ones, with the exception of the number 1 placed in front of them. Thus, the new phone number for the police is 192, the Fire Department 193, the ambulance 194, 112 for emergencies, 1985 for info hotlines, and 1987 for motor-transport assistance services. Authorities responsible for the operation of these services have stated that despite the changes there was no discernible decrease in the number of calls. In other words, so far no problems have arisen.

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Politics

Serbian PM Calls for Final Resolution Regarding Montenegro Serbian PM Ivica Dačić has stated that it is high time to bring about a final solution to the contentious matters regarding Montenegro: “In the last couple of decades the relationships between Serbia and Montenegro have been quite turbulent. I believe it is time for all such disputes to be resolved ad acta.” He also met with the Montenegrin PM, Milo Đukanović with the aim of resolving any disputes on a tabula rasa principle: “We respect the choices of every citizen of Montenegro… and we wish to nurture and develop a mutually beneficial friendship and brotherhood between Serbia and Montenegro”. Dačić went on to reiterate that there was a pressing need to topple the prejudicial thinking that Belgrade somehow objects to Montenegrin independence and statehood. “There are no two countries or nations which are closer than Serbia and Montenegro”, finished Dačić.

Jeremić To Face His Marching Orders? Following an incident on January 14th, when the Serb ballad ‘March on the Drina’ was played at an event commemorating Serbia’s Presidency of the UN General Assembly, a petition has been created which calls for Vuk Jeremić, the President of the General Assembly, to step down from his position. The ballad in question is associated with Serbian attacks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically Srebrenica. A joint letter signed by the Congress of North American Bosniaks, the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian-American Genocide Institute from the US, and the Institute for the Research of Genocide from Canada, was sent to the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, expressing their dismay at the choice of music. 16

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Montenegrin Presidential Elections Announced

Kosovo Government Cars Torched In Protest Three cars belonging to the Kosovo Government were torched during the early hours of January 18th, apparently in response to EUmediated Kosovo-Serbia talks. The talks are quite unpopular amongst the Kosovo public, with the ethnic majority claiming that Kosovo has nothing to discuss with Serbia as they are now an independent state. The fear amongst the Albanians is that Hashim Thaçi’s Government will agree to concessions for the Serbian minority in northern Kosovo. This is not the first time the Government has lost a vehicle to fire, with two cars having been torched on December 4th, 2012, after Thaçi met with Serbian PM Ivica Dačić. In a separate incident, likely connected with the protests, there were two explosions in the Serb-controlled Mitrovica.

Čačić’s Hungarian Sentence Confirmed by the Croatian Courts The Zagreb County Court has published their decision in relation to the criminal case of Radimir Čačić, who was found guilty of causing a traffic accident, then leaving the scene, causing the death of two persons. The sentence, issued by the Hungarian Court in Kaposvar, stated that Čačić would be expected to serve 22 months in jail. Čačić has confirmed, through his legal team, that he will file an appeal challenging the Croatian court’s decision. Čačić will be eligible to have the remainder of his sentence commuted once he has served 11 months. He has also been banned from operating motor vehicles for three years, and will be liable for 31,000 Kuna in costs which were incurred by the Hungarian court.

President of the Montenegrin Parliament Ranko Krivokapić has announced that April 7th, 2013, will serve as the date for the country’s Presidential Election, while the second round of voting will take place on April 21st. The current President, Filip Vujanović, will see his mandate expire on May 21st, but his political allies, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), will not be supporting his possible candidacy for re-election as the Montenegrin Constitution does not confer the right to a third presidential mandate. So far the only declared candidate is Miodrag Lekić, an independent Lekić supported by the Democratic Front (DF), while the remaining political parties are yet to decide whether they will propose candidates or not (though we’d be fools to expect anything other than a very full ballot come April).

Gilmore: Serbia & Macedonia to Start EU Negotiations in 2013 “2013 will be a great year for enlargement towards the Balkans”, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore told the European Parliament foreign affairs committee on behalf of the serving Irish EU presidency. “We expect to open negotiations with Serbia and Macedonia in the first half of 2013, award Albania the status of a candidate, and also sign a stabilisation and association agreement with Kosovo. We know that this is an ambitious agenda, but the Irish presidency will work for the progress of all Western Balkan countries. Ireland also supports a Bosnian candidacy, and we hope the Bosnian government will show signs of progress towards the EU.” Quite optimistic, Mr. Gilmore is, but that is just what the region needs most – doesn’t it?


January 30th

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highlights

Croatia’s EU Accession Stalled? Will the Slovenians actually fill the role of an anti deux-ex-machina, ruining rather than saving the day? This scenario shouldn’t be ruled out...

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he Croatian Minister of Economy, Ivan Vrdoljak, delivered the initialled contract regarding the sale of the Brodotrogir shipyard to “Kermas Energija”, owned by Danko Končar, to Brussels on Jan 21st, which is one of the remaining problematic issues listed in the 2012 report by the European Monitoring Commission. “We have fulfilled 8 of the 10 issues listed in the last report by the European Monitoring Commission regarding Croatias’ entry into the eu, and we are confident that we will resolve the remaining two issues by the end of January”, was rather optimistically stated by a source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two remaining issues are the privatisation and restructuring of the shipyards, and the construction of two border crossings in the Neum corridor. By presenting the shipyard sales contract to Joaquin Almunia, the European Commissioner for Competition, Vrdoljak is hoping to assure the Spaniard that Croatia will resolve the issues regarding the shipyards before entering the eu on July 1st, 2013. Croatia is obligated to deliver information showing what has been done regarding the 10 issues listed by the emc, by the end of January 2013, the success rate of which is expected to be reported by the emc in March. “The Neum border crossings will be completed within the April 1st deadline”, as the source from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assures us. As Croatia prepares to enter the eu on July 1st, it still awaits the ratification of its’ Accession to the eu agreement by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Slovenia. The greatest concern for Croatia is that Slovenia, currently in political turmoil, is likely to be the 18

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very last country to ratify the process by July 1st, if it does at all. To reiterate, Slovenia’s main reason for not even having commenced the ratification process is the dispute it has with Croatia regarding the “Ljubljanska banka” savings affair, in which more than 130,000 Croatians claim 160 million Euros in savings that

Vesna Pusić & Karl Erjavec

were deposited in the bank before the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Still, the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister, Vesna Pusić, repeatedly stated “I firmly believe that Slovenia will ratify the accession treaty by July 1st. Not doing so, which would result in Croatia not entering the eu in 2013, would not only harm Croatia, but Slovenia also. I am absolutely sure that we will come to a mutually beneficial solution concerning “Ljubljanska banka.” Meanwhile, the eu and even the United States have been putting pressure on Slovenia regarding the ratification, calling for the current Government at least to begin the process, even if it is dissolved due to the political crisis. President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso intimated as much during a recent visit of Slovenian President Borut Pahor to Brussels, although no official statements were issued.

Early Elections for Serbia? Emboldened by recent polls which give his party absolute dominance, the Serbian President may just have gone one step too far...

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t was only last May that Ivica Dačić and Tomislav Nikolić swept to power, ousting the incumbent Boris Tadić from his roost. Whether Tadić’s replacement at the top of the Democratic Party of Serbia, Dragan Đilas, feels he can lead his party back into power, or not, could soon be put to the test as Nikolić, President of Serbia, has intimated that a General Election might yet be called, although no earlier than mid-2013. Dačić, as Prime Minister, has certainly had a baptism of fire in his term in office, as his Government has faced a failing economy, a much publicised battle with corruption, and most recently the trial of Miroslav Mišković, the owner of Delta Holding - one of Serbia’s largest companies. President Nikolić actually said that “politicians have made such a meaningless country out of Serbia. There never would have been this much corruption and crime, bribery, citizens’ dissatisfaction with their lives, if the politicians had not wanted it. Therefore, the politicians need to be dealt with first.” Nikolić also hinted that whether or not elections would be called depended on whether or not Brussels would give Serbia a definitive date for European Union talks. Oddly, however, the Deputy Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, who is determined to root out all aspects of corruption in Serbian political life, has dismissed the idea of any new elections, pointing out that, even if they were to be held, his (and Nikolić’s) party, the Serbian Progressive Party, enjoys such a high popularity rating that they would likely be returned holding an overall majority.


January 30th

Two Bomb Attacks Shake up Zagreb Acts of terrorism in the streets of Zagreb? Something did go off, but no one’s crying wolf just yet...

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agreb was shaken awake in the small hours of January 9th as a cargo train, travelling through the Podsused area, struck an explosive device which had been left on the tracks. That such an event was seized upon by the media was not unexpected, but cries of terrorism and bombing campaigns were soon rife as only two days later a second explosion occurred, this time at a bus stop on Aleja Bolonje in West Zagreb. The same media outlets would go on to report that the ex-

plosion was heard as far away as Samobor and Maksimir – very much an exaggerated claim. The second bomb did cause injury to one man, who was promptly installed as the prime suspect in the two events. Eventually the police named the man as Vojislav Blažević, a 53 year old paraglider from the Croatian capital, and confirmed that he had been officially arrested in connection with the bombings. The police have conducted over 25 separate searches of Blažević’s apartment, car,

computer, mobile phone, as well as those belonging to people of interest, but after 200 seized items, and 250 interviews, they have yet to discover any motive which would connect their suspect to the bombings. Blažević, who was also suspected by the Italian police of rigging explosive devices seven years ago in Udine, denied any involvement with the bombings. But then (just as we were ready to go to print), yet a third explosive device exploded, just after midnight on the 23rd of January, this time round on Zagreb's main square. No one was hurt, but conjectures started running wild immediately. With Blažević in custody, who had set it off? Well, the police were quick to tell us that this bombing was unrelated to the previous two, but one cannot help but wonder...

Dodik Strikes Some Nerves on RS Anniversary We’ve heard it all (or almost all) before, but Republika Srpska’s President may yet have found a new verbal weapon in his secessionist arsenal...

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epublika Srpska celebrated 21 years of existence on Jan 9th, a day off for most citizens, though this year’s festivities came nowhere close to what one would have witnessed last year. With the mood somewhat muted, we could say, not without sarcasm, that a measure of controversy was quite welcome. For one, the President of the Serbian Democratic Par-

ty (sds), Mladen Bosić, pointed out that one should remember the founders of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadžić and Momčilo Krajišnik (who are both currently ‘guests’ of The Hague, having been found guilty of war crimes), “whose determination and bravery made it possible to celebrate our Republic’s holiday”. Milorad Dodik, the President of the same republic, was naturally invited to appear on a local television show, during which he stated how “Republika Srpska must be socially stable, with no protests, because the vultures from Sarajevo and the international community can hardly wait to split everything up here”. He also said that the Croatian President, Ivo Josipović, sent congratulations regarding Republika Srpska’s anniversary, a claim which was officially denied by the Office of the President, stating that “they congratulate countries on independence, and not political entities”.

Dodik also stated that Republika Srpska is the only self-sufficient community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that “it would not agree indefinitely to abide by the decisions brought by high representatives, decisions made in an unconstitutional and unlawful manner, and against the best interest of rs”, alluding to the Office of the High Representative in b&h. Previously, on the 6th of January, he had invited Serbs from Kosovo to come and settle in Republika Srpska (“Serbs in Kosovo don’t even have jobs, while we could offer them both jobs and property”), but it was his latest statement that echoes the loudest. “I believe the external political conditions for the breakdown of b&h will be created. Whether it will be in 2035 or later, is less important”, said Dodik, alluding to the new map of Europe in 2035 created by Russian experts, in which Croatia and Serbia will divide b&h amongst themselves. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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editorial  |

by Igor Dakić

And They All Cried Wolf (or Vuk, if You Will) What might a fictional German Ambassador and the President of The United Nations General Assembly have in common? What has Wagner got to do with an old Serbian folk song? What has football got to do with The Hague? And could it be that we just might be entering the last phase of those ethnic passions which have been reigning supreme in the Yugosphere for quite some time?

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magine the following scenario: a German ambassador to an eminent country or important international institution decides to throw a party – food, drinks, music and all – for the diplomatic and political elite on the occasion, say, of the German Unification Day. As dignitaries, potentates, High Commissioners, General Secretaries and so on begin to trickle in our ambassador consults (or rather inspects) his staff, caterers and hired entertainment – junior officers, chefs, valets, waiters, the orchestra, his butler (let us not be cheap and accord him one) – for one last time. Everything seems to be in order, and he has no reason to think that the evening could be anything but complete and utter success. The ethnic cliché is observed to the finest detail – sausages and sauerkraut are served, Rhineland wine, Bavarian beer etc. – as is the custom at such events – and everyone is absolutely delighted, or at least they all say that they are. Glasses are raised in innumerable toasts, as those in attendance unabashedly drink each other’s health, and as the evening progresses attempts are 20

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even made at light-hearted philoso- have opted for Bach or Beethoven, but phising: a dandified Greek diplomat for some reason – no concrete reason – even lights a cigar and attempts to dis- he had instructed the orchestra to open cuss Kant’s Categorical Imperative with with Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’. a Cardinal; at the other end of the table The music having commenced, our ama powerful Asian lobbyist draws a par- bassador accidentally takes a seat in beallel between Confucius and Nietzsche, tween two South American Prime Minwhich nobody understands but all pre- isters, both of whom are half-German tend they do. An African pm – or per- and hence speak our ambassador’s lanhaps dictator – who was, by the way, guage with native fluency. The rest of educated at Heidelberg – saves the mo- the evening is a pleasant blur, just to ment by quoting Goethe (“Ich habe ge- his liking... The next day, after a good night’s lebt, und ich habe geliebt”...), eliciting earnest applause. Relaxed dilettant- sleep and only slightly hung over, our ism is the order of the day, which suits ambassador picks up his favourite international English language broadeveryone. But then, the table cleared and di- sheet: gracing the cover is a picture of gestives and coffee served, the orches- none other than himself, seated in betra is invited in. Our ambassador could tween those two Prime Ministers, with

Even all the hype surrounding the acquittal of Generals Gotovina and Markač has almost completely subsided, except on the most formal level...


January 30th

Who is the stuff that nightmares are made of? Who indeed is the boogeyman?

the following headline above it: ‘H.E. the German Ambassador Entertains the Elite with Hitler’s Favourite Music’. Suppressing a heart-attack, he immediately checks his messages and discovers that he has already been summoned back home by the Foreign Minister, his boss. The reader can easily imagine how this story will unfold...

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n January 14th, 2013, Vuk Jeremić, the former Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs and currently the President of The United Nations General Assembly, hosts the ‘Serbian New Year's Eve’ at the un headquarters in New York. The old Serbian tradition of celebrating the New Year according to the Julian calendar, which Serbian Orthodox church still adheres to, is the perfect occasion to throw a party of his own and organise the concert of an a cappella choir, which performs a broad selection of Serbian and international hits. Attended by the diplomatic corps accredited in the un and addressed by the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who greets the audience and wishes them a happy New Year in

Serbian, the evening is a complete suc- disgrace that he should ever have been cess. The concert is even broadcast live allowed to assume a post as important as that of the President of the United Naon Serbian State Television… The next day, Vuk Jeremić wakes up tions General Assembly. Even the Serin a pleasant blur (as is just to his lik- bian pm, Ivica Dačić, seems to be irriing), has a cup of coffee or tea, switch- tated, as he had just completed a fairly es on his laptop – but only to discov- constructive bilateral session with his er, alas, that he has been embroiled in a Croatian counterpart Milanović, not to rather serious diplomatic scandal. You mention the fact that he must apply all see, the a cappella choir he had hired al- his faculties to the Kosovo ‘situation’ so performed a certain song, ‘The March and that he clearly wishes to spend as on the Drina’, an old Serbian folk song little time as possible vexing over othreally but a song which was also the tune er issues. Vuk Jeremić now switches on the telly of choice, on various occasions (many of them hardly harmless), of a good to look at his favourite Bosnian channel number of convicted Serb war crimi- via satellite. News comes on almost immediately – and he finds that he himnals back in the nineties. The Croatian media as well as the po- self is the breaking news. The level of litical elites are already having a field indignation amongst the Bosniaks is day, not only because it provides them severe – which is disconcerting to Vuk with a measure of much needed respite Jeremić. You see, he himself is part Bosfrom the ‘Slovenian scare’, ratification niak – and even if he in fact were a propof eu membership hanging on the line. er Chetnik, he reasons that then he nevThey didn’t like him much in the first er would have allowed himself to ask for place (perhaps for a reason, but that is ‘The March on the Drina’ to be includnot the point here), and as far as they are ed in the previous night’s musical repconcerned this is perfect confirmation ertoire. He believes that his ‘innocence’ that something had always been fishy is proof enough of his Innocence, and about Jeremić and that it is an absolute begins to feel indignant himself. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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In the ensuing weeks the situation gets even worse. A whole host of (mainly Bosniak) associations and interest groups files official complaints with the un, embarrassing not only him but also his boss, Ban Ki-Moon, who is really such a likable chap and could even be bothered to learn a little Serb. Now they have really gone too far – they have made it personal…“I may have made it,” he thinks to himself with a slight backhand, “but things really were so much better back in the day when I was a student at Harvard, when I was younger, quicker, and when the (whole) world had no interest in commenting on what kind of music I like to listen to when entertaining my friends, colleagues, and associates...By God, I could handle being accused of not possessing enough tact – especially in my position – but I draw the line at being accused of blatant Chetnik sympathies… ”

say, Gotovina, is good for is to kick off that is not necessarily bad – yet one also the ball in the upcoming Croatia-Ser- cannot escape from the impression that bia March bout in the qualifying group many decent human beings, on all sides, for the 2016 fifa World Cup in Rio. In- have been seriously wronged and can, in deed, more than a few parties have pro- light of their perpetual suffering, only posed this in earnest, and still entertain be enormously frustrated by the way in the notion that it might actually happen. which events appear to have turned. It he above two scenarios, the first As for the Serbs, one almost gets the im- is a futile endeavour, this, trying to pacfictional and second obvious- pression that they are more dismayed ify the human reality of plight with the ly semi-fictional (for the purpos- with what they perceive as a ‘Croatian just as human inclination towards facile es of achieving a semi-dramatic effect), victory’ than with the fact that no one self-stultification; then again, one had testify to two things: 1) that Oscar Wilde has as yet answered for the mass mur- better be fair and admit it, and get on was absolutely right when he said that der and exodus of the Serbs during and with it, whatever that means... In fact, perhaps the only thing that life imitates (rather mediocre) art; and after Operation Storm. was absolutely unfair in this hack piece 2) that Balkan inter-ethnic passions – at was the drawing of a comparison beleast when it comes to the elites – have tween ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ and entered their terminal – meaning rec‘The March on the Drina’. It was done, ognisably thespian – phase. admittedly, so as to achieve dramatic efWhen, say, Milorad Dodik – a man fect. For those are two completely difwho, unlike Vuk Jeremić, does actualferent musical styles, usually enjoyed ly wield real power in this neck of the on completely different occasions and woods – says that there will likely be in completely different ways. And as for no more Bosnia and Herzegovina in this author, the only thing he still owes ten years’ time, very few relevant acyou is the act of declaring his personal tors take him seriously and dismiss his preference – for we do, do we not, live excesses as his usual populist rhetoric. in a day and age when one absolutely has Croatia-Serbia genocide and counter genocide suits, if discussed at all, usualReal issues are giving way to some- to state one’s ‘likes’, for the whole world ly fill no more than half a column some- thing resembling, and awfully so, a to see, read, or hear so there would be where in the middle of national dailies. sporting contest, or the playhouse; to no doubt whatsoever. Well, then, let this Even all the hype surrounding the ac- be fair, we must say that the ideologies author somewhat carefully state that he quittal of Generals Gotovina and Markač are all but spent, and that the ‘contest’ – has never been overly fond of Wagner has almost completely subsided, except that elusive yet so human a thing – is all (whom he finds overbearing), patiently on the most formal level – and both that remains. To be fair, now it is more hoping that his German friends, and eson Croatian and Serbian ends. In other about football and music than about his- pecially his Croatian peers, will not hold words, one gets the impression that all, tory, territory, or ‘justice’. To be fair, it against him.

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To be fair, now it is more about football and music than about history, territory, or ‘justice’.

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January 30th

www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

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January 30th

politics  |

by Sebastijan Maček

The Slovenian Political Undead Playing Chicken The Slovenian Democrats (sds), the party of Prime Minister Janez Janša, labelled the thousands of people protesting against out-of-touch political elites in the centre of the capital, Ljubljana, on December 21st, “zombies”. Less than a month later, it is Janša who looks like a zombie, a political zombie engaged in a high-stakes game of chicken.

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anša was getting ready to celebrate the first year in office for his centreright Government, which would be in early February. He would have plenty to show for: pension reform; a Constitutional Court ruling which in effect prevents any referendums on reforms; a law establishing a bad bank and another law creating a sovereign holding that would take under its umbrella all companies in full or partial state ownership; and a budget pleasing the eu, as well as rating agencies, by putting Slovenia firmly on the course of austerity. Alas, he may find it difficult to stick around long enough to pop the champagne after the independent Commission for the Prevention of Corruption issued a report on January 8th claiming that Janša and the leader of the biggest opposition party, Zoran Janković, had systematically violated anti-corruption legislation by failing properly to account for their assets. The anti-graft commission said that Janša, who is already on trial for corruption over a 2006 defence deal, failed to account for some 210,000 Euros in assets between 2007 and 2012. This figure includes a number of cash transactions

that he was at pains to explain, changing his story several times before defaulting to the narrative, saying that the cash came from either his inheritance or was the payback of loans that he gave his brother. There was also the small matter of him getting a very generous price for a plot of land in the Triglav National Park from a real estate developer who had made millions in deals with the State during Janša's first tenure as Prime Minister, or between 2004 and 2008. The report was even more damning for Janković, who received a whopping 2.4 million Euros of unclear origin from his sons via chain transactions that also included companies which did business with the city of Ljubljana, of which he is mayor. However, the revelations about Janković were not particularly new, since he has already been targeted by a police

inquiry over these and similar deals. The startling thing about them is that in the eyes of the public, the anti-Janša and Janša became one, and both men’s parties now unlikely bedfellows. How do arguably the strongest politicians in Slovenia at the moment cope with such grave accusations? If this was Germany, where President Christian Wulff stepped down over a personal loan that was only ethically questionable but perfectly legal if kept hidden from the public, both would resign immediately. But Slovenia is no such place, as German-like as it likes to think that it is. Instead, both Janković and Janša went on the offensive. The first victim of their ire was the anti-graft commission itself. Its head, Goran Klemenčič, pre-empted the fallout when he cautioned that the commission,

Reactions from foreign partners are telling. US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, has hinted in no uncertain terms that stability might have to take precedence over ethics... www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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its report, and himself personally would come under attack. He was being optimistic, for the amount of sulphur spewed out by both Janković and Janša, but particularly the latter and his political companions, exceeded even his wildest imagination. In the process, truth and ethics became collateral damage. Both were so busy trying to delegitimise the anti-graft watchdog, and so hung up on challenging even the tiniest technical aspect of the report, that they conveniently forgot that ethics is an inalienable part of politics, an asset much more easily lost than gained, even in a country used to brushing off increasingly blatant transgressions of even the most basic standards of political propriety. Tried as they might, though, they failed. Though the report, since analysed in minute detail, has been found to have its shortcomings, that does not change the fact that both have failed to report their assets in accordance with the law, which constitutes an infringement that would normally be considered grave enough to warrant a resignation. This is what the majority of other political parties seem to think as well, and therein lies the making of a political crisis with few parallels in Slovenia's history. Since the report was published Janković has been relegated to the trash heap of Slovenian political history, forever to be considered a silver bullet that managed to prevent Janša from winning the 2011 election, but deflected in a direction that few of his political backers were willing to accept. He ‘froze’ his chairmanship of his party, the Positive Slovenia, and mp Alenka Bratušek has been appointed interim President until a new leader is elected. Though Janković's move has been widely criticised as being cowardly, since he steadfastly refused to step down outright and continues to cling on to his mayoral mandate, it creates an opportunity for the party he founded just over a year ago to survive his almost certain political demise. Janša opted for a different strategy. Though three of his four coalition part26

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Goran Klemenčić, 'The Thinker'

Janković has been relegated to the trash heap of Slovenian political history, forever to be considered a silver bullet that managed to prevent Janša from winning the election...

ners have demanded his resignation, he insists he is innocent and says he will not step down. His party says the whole affair is a conspiracy perpetrated by dark Communist forces which have been after him for over two decades, trying to protect their vested interests against a force that is bent on finally breaking with Slovenia’s Communist legacy. It has even held pep rallies, shows of unity and unyielding support for Janša that are eeri-

ly reminiscent of a bygone era the party claims to want to relegate to history. Janša's recalcitrance has turned the political arena into a game of chicken, in which political survival is not the only thing at stake. He argues that those who want to undermine his Government should make their move and bear the subsequent consequences. His erstwhile partners say he is the one who should call the shots. They would prefer the Democrats to put forward a new Prime Minister, but the party has made it patently clear that this is a non-option. As a Democrat Member of the European Parliament put it, Janša is “irreplaceable” for the party, which is essentially true. There is no obvious successor, mainly owing to Janša's ostracising all such party members as have ever come even marginally close to challenging his supremacy. Realistically, there are several ways out of this quagmire. Janša could decide to carry on with a minority Government, but even the top legal minds in the country claim that such a move is virtually impossible under Slovenian law. Alternatively, a technocratic Government


January 30th

could be appointed. This would suit all parties bar the Democrats, who have already undermined any potential legitimacy of a technocratic cabinet by insisting they would not support such a solution, which means this could not be a true cross-partisan Government. Another option would be for the rebellious coalition partners to join ranks with the centre-left opposition in forming a new majority. Such a coalition would be possible now that Janković is out of the picture, but it is widely agreed that it would be so ideologically incompatible as to render it almost ungovernable. The most likely solution, therefore, is early elections. The smaller parties, as well as the opposition Social Democrats, are salivating at the prospect of voters handing down a verdict on ethics now that the two biggest parties have become embroiled in corruption scandals. The latest opinion polls suggest huge gains for all of them and a drubbing for the Positive Slovenia and the Democrats. Despite that, they are loath to push for this solution at this stage. Why? The economy, of course! Some of the junior partners are now seriously suggesting that Janša stay on for another month or two, so that the Government can adopt urgent (though unpopular) reforms before vacating the scene. Janša has effectively told them to stick it, refusing to play the fall guy, and rightly so if he wants his party to remain a political force of any importance in the foreseeable future. But there is another dimension to the reluctance to proceed with rapid solutions: the company which will take over billions in the banks' non-performing assets, and the Slovenia Sovereign Holding, which will manage assets worth about 10 billion Euros, need new managers and supervisors soon, and they will be appointed by Parliament. Whoever gets their allies in, and there is no prize for guessing what the ratio between real experts and political cronies will be, will have a say in what has already been dubbed the final phase of privatisation, which will continue to yield influence dividends for years to come.

It is anyone's guess how soon changes will take place. Despite the temptation of early elections, the fact remains that the polity is in such flux that all opinion polls at this point are worthless, aside from polling showing complete distrust of virtually all institutions of the State. Add to that the persistent anti-establishment protests which may or may not evolve into a political movement to be reckoned with, and the only certain prediction one can make is that Slovenia's politics will remain utterly unpredictable for months to come.

The smaller parties, as well as the opposition Social Democrats, are salivating at the prospect of voters handing down a verdict on ethics...

Whichever way the situation plays out, the implications for the country's future are huge. Janša rightly argues that his Government has managed to push through much needed reforms. Though heavy-handed and often unnecessarily ideological, the reforms have checked all the right boxes with partners in the European Union and the almighty rating agencies. Spending has been trimmed, the generous public sector is being scaled back, and public finances are gradually being put on a more sustainable footing. If anything, the Government has opened itself to criticism of being more Catholic than the Pope, aggressively cutting spending even as excessive austerity is turning out to be medicine that can also kill. Reactions from foreign partners are telling. The us Ambassador to Slovenia, Joseph Mussomeli, has hinted in no uncertain terms that stability might have to take precedence over ethics, given the

grave economic situation and the poor prospects for growth in the immediate future. But this risks further fanning the ideological divides in the country and the resentment of the anti-establishment protesters, who appear to speak for a majority of the populace in seeing the corruption allegations as an opening for a final reckoning with two decades worth of increasing corruption and cronyism, for a fresh start. The rhetoric in the aftermath of the anti-graft watchdog's report has escalated to levels that could easily fool an outside observer into thinking that the country is in the midst of a civil war. Not to mention that the turmoil risks undermining relations with Croatia. The two countries have been arguing for the better part of two decades about deposits by Croatian citizens in a defunct Slovenian bank, Ljubljanska banka. Financial experts have been appointed to try and find a solution to at least a part of this elusive dispute, but they have only months to come up with one, for Croatia wants to join the European Union on July 1st of this year. Slovenia insists that the dispute be resolved before it ratifies Croatia's eu Accession Treaty – a mere formality if the issue is resolved in time but a potential nightmare if the Government falls apart and the Parliament is relegated to caretaker role until the election. That said, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec has said this would remain his top priority regardless of how the political crisis pans out. Indeed, he is optimistic about the outcome – if only the Croatian Government does the one thing Slovenia demands of it – revoke its authorisation for lawsuits that Croatian commercial banks have launched against lb and its successor nlb. Both sides will now be under huge international pressure to do what is needed. However, in an interregnum, Slovenian politicians may find it much easier to dodge responsibility for a potential failure and a delay in Croatia's eu accession. Just like Slovenian voters, Croatia is rightly anxious. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

event horizon  |

by Dylan Alexander

Regressions of the Longest Waiting EU Candidate Bickering over the 2013 budget had spilled the glass of political crisis in the country even further, and revealed that the southernmost former Yugoslav Republic may just have reached the final "make or break" point. Police troops in Parliament, check-points on highways, rabid protesters of every hue – it sounds like a story out of some different time...

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kopje, the Macedonian capital, saw protests break out on December 24th last, when opposition MPs tried to block a parliamentary debate on the 2013 budget and were subsequently expelled from the chamber. Branko Crvenkovski, leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (sdsm), was incensed that after their expulsion the Government chose to pursue their debate behind closed doors; he immediately called upon his party’s followers to gather in front of the Parliament in order to prevent the adoption of the annual budget, which also included a new loan of 250 million Dollars from the World Bank. A few hundred people assembled in front of the building, at which point the ruling party, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (vmro-dpmne), responded by rallying their local supporters under the banner ‘Front of People, Front for Macedonia’. This latter group consisted primarily of workers, pensioners, farmers, artists and teachers – in other words, those heavily dependent upon the State budget – demanding of the Opposition that they al28

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Welcome to the Macedonian Sobranje. The police will be coming shortly to restore order...

low the budget to be adopted so that salaries and pensions might be paid timely. The anti-demonstration police made a cordon between the two groups, both of which were exchanging words (as well as sticks and stones), in order to prevent a more severe clash. Tensions continued inside the parliament building. The next day, on December 25th, sdsm mps tried to stop the beginning of the parliamentary session by literally blocking Government deputies from entering the hall, and then surrounding the President of the Assembly, Trajko Veljanovski, so as to prevent him from opening the session. This resulted in

the police (the Opposition also mention that a swat team was involved) breaking into the parliament and bringing Veljanovski to safety, whilst also arresting four opposition mps. At the same time security expelled all media and journalists from the building, saying there would be nothing to report on as the session probably wouldn't even begin. The irony was palpable. Ultimately the budget was adopted by way of a parliamentary extraordinary session, without any opposition mps in attendance and with only 44 of their amendments adopted out of 1,000 presented. “Authority is yours but the State


January 30th

is ours”, claimed the sdsm delegates who spent several nights in the parliament building in order to prevent what they called a “partito-police coup d'êtat”. Crvenkovski was pained to get his point across: “It is not only about the budget, it is about preserving democracy. If this trend continues the Government will soon neglect the very Constitution and completely bury democracy in Macedonia; not just anywhere - they will do it here, in the parliament. We are here - they must see us. If they want war, they will get it”. Some Macedonian media even reported tensions on the Veles-Skopje road, where police blocked buses ferrying opposition supporters who were en route to join other protesters in the capital. The police gave “required technical inspection of vehicles” as the reason behind their actions. In revolt, opposition supporters blocked the e-75 highway south of Skopje for several hours. This winter of discontent has its origins in a rather long list of accusations which were levelled at the ruling party (mainly by the opposition parties), most of which far exceed the usual point and counterpoint barracking that can be expected of any parliament, and which could also be deemed highly inappropriate for an eu Candidate country, such as Macedonia. That said, although Macedonia has held this status since 2005, it has hardly made any progress since.

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he Opposition accuses vmro-dpmne of winning the 2011 elections through the intimidation of voters, thereby commencing an era of authoritarian rule marked by the arrest of political opponents, shutting down of publications connected to opposition parties, silencing of critical voices and

the putting of the media, public administration, judiciary and most of civil society under political control. The Government is also accused of continually drawing new loans, whilst keeping the books very much non-transparent – the Ministry of Finance stopped publishing regular financial statements some time ago and the precise amount which the country owes is currently unavailable to the public. In addition to these accusations the Opposition has expressed concern at the huge amounts of money which the Government has spent on populist events or for recognisably clientelist purposes. ‘Skopje 2014’, being one example, is an attempt to give the Macedonian capital more historical identity and a classical look. In order to achieve this ‘look’ the Government is investing an indeterminate amount (somewhere between 80 and 500 million Euros) in the construction of approximately 20 buildings and some 40 monuments, all of which are to hark back to Macedonia’s past, but which are also being seen as Nationalistic kitsch and quite tasteless. One of these monuments, a statue, is “Warrior on Horseback”, obviously meant to be Alexander the Great, and has drawn much fury from neighbouring Greece.

Especially as regards foreign debt, the precise amount which Macedonia owes is currently unavailable to the public...

This largesse has had predictable effects: unemployment exceeds 30%, while the number of people living in absolute poverty is increasing. Ethnic tensions hang over the country like the sword of Damocles, and it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that everybody feels some degree of fear. Sdsm accuses the International Community of overlooking what the party clearly sees as a recent democratic reversal. “This year will be a year to make or break democracy in Macedonia,” says an sdsm statement, referring to the forthcoming elections. “Democracy, constitutionality, and the rule of law will be restored, or the country will look more like Belarus than an eu candidate country”. It might be unusual to draw a comparison with Belarus, especially since it is precisely Branko Crvenkovski, the Opposition leader, who is the longest tenured major party leader in Europe after President Lukashenko of the former Soviet Republic. In any event, in his New Year’s address Prime Minister Gruevski called upon the opposition to return to the parliament and to take part in the local elections. Sdsm swiftly replied that it would take part only in elections organised by a temporary Government, since it was felt those currently in power had spent its legitimacy and legality to the full. But who is to restore that legitimacy? The Opposition? Well, Crvenkovski has already had his day in Office before, and his record was hardly enviable. Who then? It is a truism to say that the southernmost former Yugoslav republic is still transiting through that purgatory from ex-Socialist country to a young democracy, but it also, to make things worse, appears to be burning through sundry (and quite colourful) populist platforms with such gusto and at such speed that it – both Macedonia and its political elites – might find itself entirely spent before long. Something is in the air, and may one prophesy that it just might be the year 2013 to provide an answer as to what exactly – is in the air… for better or for worse. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

in medias res  |

by Miša Milošević

Serbia & Kosovo Slow(ly) Coming to the Point In a series of meetings under the auspices of the European Union, Serbian and Kosovar leaders are seemingly getting closer to some semblance of common ground, and perhaps finding a place where they can co-exist independently of each other; meanwhile, a new issue has got in the way...

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he dispute between Serbia and Kosovo has lost any real political significance in the region, mostly due to the latter’s imminent and irreversible independence tacitly recognised as fait accompli. In a way, this long-lasting process has become much like a divorce case: while both spouses (Serbia and Kosovo) admit irreconcilable differences, their attention is now focused on splitting what is considered the income of the household (collection and distribution of duties and taxes on the integrated border), and custody of the children (those Serbs living in Northern Kosovo). Needless to say, one party always has better lawyers and the sympathies of the judge on its side. The fourth round of this so-called litigation, mediated by Catherine Ashton, was supposed to bring the talks forward and up to the political level. The much awaited and postponed Serbian platform, which even caused tensions amongst the ruling coalition in Belgrade, and a long parliamentary discussion, was finally adopted just days before the latest round of talks. As outdated or as late as it gets, in brief it insists that the Serbian Constitution be respected, which mentions Kos30

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ovo as an inseparable part of Serbia; there is also the matter of the un Resolution 1244, which also reiterates Serbian formal jurisdiction over Kosovo. Still, the platform didn't make it to the negotiating table. Instead, the round served merely as a probe of each party's inclination towards future political agreement, and also as a corrective session regarding the misinterpretations of the previous agreement on integrated borders administration. The main topic was the collection and distribution of customs, duties, and vat, at the integrated border between Serbia and Kosovo. Obviously, the original agreement that goods coming from Serbia to northern Kosovo would be tax-free has never worked, or even perhaps has never existed. Instead, the new, although temporary, agreement directs the funds collected in this way to the Special Fund for the Development of Northern Kos-

ovo, which will be jointly governed by both sides, as well as the European Union, and kept in a commercial European bank. Serbian pm Ivica Dačić considers this to be a satisfactory solution for Kosovo Serbs who, in turn, are threatening protests and blockades if the taxes are paid to Priština and not exclusively to Belgrade. The Kosovar negotiator, Edita Tahiri, claims that “with this agreement, from the political point of view, Serbia has recognised the state of Kosovo, if only in the customs domain” - customs which, together with vat, will be collected in accordance with the laws of Kosovo. “This agreement abolishes all parallel structures in northern Kosovo, enables tracking of all trade and economic transactions, prevents smuggling in the North, and normalises trade between Kosovo and Serbia in accordance with the eu criteria”.

How does one organise daily life in a situation in which there is no final solution for the status of Kosovo?...


January 30th

Once again, the reading of contrasted statements on the same events is becoming a game of deciphering the true content of agreements, in which Priština has apparently more reasons for optimism. Hashim Thaçi expressed as much at the end of negotiations: “I am now a greater optimist than after previous negotiations, because the talks are now going in the direction of full normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, which will lead to mutual recognition of these states”. Thaçi also claimed that “Serbia has undertaken to disband parallel institutions and withdraw parallel security structures from Kosovo”. Dačić has a different interpretation as to how negotiations went. He said that only certain modalities were discussed, namely with regard to how to resolve the issue of parallel institutions in a manner acceptable for both sides, and how to maintain “special relations” with Serbs from northern Kosovo. “Serbia will not recognise the unilateral independence of Kosovo, but we must reach solutions based on the existing platforms and the Resolution [1244], and organise life of the Serb community and their institutions accordingly.” In other words, these are the main question: how does one define the relations between Belgrade and Priština, and how does one organise daily life in a situation in which there is no final solution for the status of Kosovo.

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o matter how the Serbs living in northern Kosovo choose to react to developments on the ground, there is one thing that might actually influence the upcoming fifth round of the Belgrade-Priština talks: the latest events in Preševo. The area surrounding the Preševo valley, which is near the Kosovo border but in Serbia proper (and also very close to Macedonia), is populated by an Albanian majority. Recently that community erected a monument to the combatants of the BujanovacPreševo-Medveđa Liberation Army, a phalange of homonymous Kosovo militiamen who were connected to the Liberation National Army in Macedonia and

The usual northern Kosovo 'landscape', only this time in southern Serbia proper.

who were killed in clashes with Serbian armed forces in 2000-2001. Although the militia was later disbanded and the surviving members were granted amnesty in 2002, it is still considered a terrorist organisation by Serbian authorities. The tension, which realistically has been there for some time already, escalated last autumn when the monument first appeared, without official decree or permit, in the centre of Preševo. Confronted with Belgrade’s warnings that the monument in question would be removed, either voluntarily by the Albanians or by force by the Serbians, the Kosovar side went to great lengths to defend what it considered a right of their minority; they threatened the mobilisation of 500 Liberation Army troops, and further internationalised their cause by inviting the diplomatic community, accredited in Serbia, to visit the site of the controversial statue. Official Priština promptly reacted, exceeding its diplomatic aplomb, and promised protection to their conationals in the case of physical conflict, whilst simultaneously calling both sides to commit to finding a solution through dialogue. Still, early on January 17th, during the early morning hours, special Serbian police forces entered Preševo and removed the monument, carrying it away to an as-yet unknown location. That same day the Government in Priština issued a statement accusing Serbia of violating minority rights and went so far as to say that “this ugly act by the Serbian Gov-

ernment threatens the very normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, with the latter being solely responsible for this”. This was always a case of an immovable object meeting an irresistible force (although the statue was definitely removed, and Kosovo resists Serbia at every opportunity), metaphysically at least, if not in practise. Perhaps there was no real way in which this new crisis could have been avoided, at least not at this moment in time. The answer to our riddle is that of surrender, but no one here was ever inclined to give so much as an inch – and, lo and behold, in the following few days there would be retaliation, as hundreds of Serbian graves and tombstones would be vandalised and desecrated in Kosovo, namely in Prizren. The aftermath will be two-fold – not only will Preševo become the new smouldering fire in the south of Serbia, potentially escalating to renewed ethnic unrest, but Priština might also use the ‘statuegate’ as an excuse (rather than a reason) to deny any special status or autonomy to the Serbs living in northern Kosovo. Tit for tat, reciprocity, or sheer bloody stubbornness, call it what you will. Either outcome will further weaken Serbia’s internal situation, and weaken their negotiating positions with both Priština and Brussels. The whole furore is being announced by the media as ‘Albanian protests’, but they’ll certainly shape the next round of discussions, which are scheduled to take place in Brussels in February. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

financial  |

by Ben Berković

Cash Businesses (Finally) On The Run On November 8th 2012, the Croatian Government passed the new fiscalisation law, which should allow for a more efficient overall taxation system. It is to be carried out in three phases, the first of which was put into action on January 1st 2013, affecting the catering industry and medium and large companies, all of which are now required to introduce the so called fiscal cash tills, connected by internet directly to the Tax Administration. Is this Big Brother, or simply a necessity, given past tax-related indiscretions?

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s soon as a receipt is created, it will have to be digitally signed, and immediately sent, via a constant internet connection, to the servers of the Tax Administration. In such an electronic transaction the servers of the Tax Administration will then produce a jir (Jedinstveni Identifikator Računa – Unique Receipt Identifier) number for the receipt, which is to be immediately printed on the receipt. The Finance Ministry also announced a hotline to which customers could send an sms, containing their jir, presumably so that the Tax Authority might compile addition-

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al data and thus obtain a more complete picture of spending patterns. What was not mentioned at the time was the fact that calling this hotline phone number would involve a cost, and of course the Ministry found itself in some hot water as a result. The next item regarding the ‘fiscalisation’ process is that businesses are now required to send a file containing the turnover of the previous day at the end of working hours (or at latest before opening hours of the next day), which also has to be in digital format. Practically speaking, every such taxpayer is required to

obtain a digital certificate (issued by fina in Croatia for 300 Kuna and for the period of five years, after which it will have to be renewed). The digital certificate will be used to digitally sign every issued receipt. Furthermore, that means that the taxpayers will have to issue receipts using electronic billing devices (current legislation simply defines the obligatory content of the receipt, but not the way in which it is issued). Affected businesses will consequently have to procure a so called fiscal printer. Already these additional costs are the focus for retail displeasure, as many cafes, salons, and so on, which had previously only dealt with cash, must now ‘tech’ their business in order to be legally compliant. The new law is expected significantly to decrease tax evasion and fraud within enterprises that generally charge cash rather than credit, such as retailers and restaurants. Annual tax registers have shown that the submitted turnovers of a large number of such enterprises are extremely small, which indicates a large number of cases where receipts are not issued or are manipulated in some way. The list of taxpayers affected by the new law can be found in the bill proposal; however, it is important to note that en-


January 30th

Nada Čavlović Smiljanec, the lady in charge

Fiscal Till Implementation Costs pc >  3000 – 4000 Kuna fiscal till software >  1500 Kuna pos receipt printer >  300-1000 Kuna

terprises that do not deal in cash will not be subject to the new law. In the case of it companies, this means that a company which owns a hardware store will be such a taxpayer, while a software company in the b2b sector, which receives payments directly to its bank account, will not be. This is to be welcomed in that it shows that the Tax Authority and the Finance Ministry are actively tackling the issue of tax evasion in areas where it is likely most prevalent, and not looking to interfere in those industries which operate almost entirely in the spectrum of online banking. One of the problems the new fiscalisation law faces could be the speed at which receipts will be issued. The inescapable fact is that a large number of receipt files will simultaneously be sent via the Internet, so as to receive a jir number from the Tax Administration. According to some, the two seconds, which is the expected maximum amount of waiting time, is not a realistic estimate, as pure mathematics shows us that if one were to process an average of ten million cash receipts daily, one would have to be op-

erating at a speed 276 receipts per second. According to the calculations, the most active times of the day could see that figure quadrupled; seeing how betting offices conduct about 800,000 to 1,000,000 transactions daily, the waiting times, or even server over-loads, could be significant. The director of the Tax Administration, Nada Čavlović Smiljanec, said that, via sms or the Tax Administration webpage, citizens will be able to report suspicious receipts and be rewarded for doing so. By collecting up to twenty such receipts and reporting them to the Tax Administration, they will be eligible to participate in a lottery, in which they can win 20,000, 15,000, or 10,000 Kuna. Between Tuesday January 8th and Monday January 14th, 362 tax inspectors conducted 4676 field surveys of catering premises, finding 323 irregularities, primarily due to the lack of a fiscal till, which amounts to 6.9% of the inspected businesses. On January 11th, six catering establishments were sealed and under threat of fines of up to 500,000 Kuna after the misdemeanour proceedings are completed.

By collecting up to twenty receipts & reporting them to the Tax Administration, citizens will be eligible to participate in a lottery…

fiscal till certificate >  300 Kuna for 5 years (60 annually) internet connection >  approx. 100 Kuna monthly all-in-one packages (pc, cash drawer, pos printer, barcode reader) >  approx. 4500 Kuna fines for irregularities >  5000–500,000 Kuna

The Minister of Finance, Slavko Linić, expects the new law to produce 1 billion Kuna in additional revenue, while at the same time he noted that the recent decrease in vat for caterers, from 25% to 10%, is expected to cost the state 950 million Kuna. Of course that vat reduction has not obviously been passed onto the consumer, as very few establishments decided to lower their prices, but that’s of no immediate concern to the Tax Authority, so long as they get their cut. Flawed yes, but well meaning – the new law might yet best serve the state by engendering a more tax compliant attitude in the business world. Stories are already emerging of course, of café owners who ‘recycle’ their receipts so as to reduce their vat obligation… Beware… Big Brother will be watching. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

tion is less than 250 m² in area, and if all pieces of land disposed are smaller than 1000 m² in area. Real estate received as a gift but disposed of within five years of receipt will now be subject to income tax from property and proprietary rights. In relation to the process of determination of the origin of assets that is being carried out by the Tax Authority, the origin of entire assets of an individual acquired after January 1st, 2005, will be examined, and if the Resolution on annual income and pit for that period has already been issued, renewal of the procAs of January 1st, 2013, amendments to two laws came into ess will be initiated without time coneffect, the Personal Income Tax (pit) Law and the Social straints. Security (s/s) Contributions Law. As with any such changes it is Lastly, social security contributions (health insurance contributions, contriimportant to be aware of how they might affect you, the reader. butions against injury at work, and UnPaul Suchar of kpmg is at hand to explain. employment Fund contributions) are now to be calculated on an individual basis, using the aforementioned single form. ith regards to the Personal In- tions attached, however – this only ap- The same form will also have to be subcome Tax Law there is now one plies if three such sales take place, and mitted by employers to the Tax Authority new, single form, which re- within a five year period. When it comes when salary is paid out from a compulplaces the previously existing forms: id, to the disposal of land, all taxable income sory insurance fund or out of state funds idd, idd-1, ip, id-1, and r-sm. This new will not be assessed if the land in ques- (for example, sick leave charged to hzzo). form will be used for reporting, inter alia, certain non-taxable income. The deadline for the submission of information through this form, the method of submission, and format and content, will An important reminder be further prescribed by pit regulations. There is also a new programme of pension annuity which is being introduced into On September 22nd, 2012 the ‘Decision on the collection of information for the the pension insurance system, and unpurpose of preparing balance of payment, amount of foreign debt and amount of der the amended law pension payments international investments’ came into force, whereby the Croatian National Bank made by employers will not be treated (HNB) imposed an obligation for residents to report salary payments and payments as income at the time of their employof other remunerations made to non-residents to HNB. The above-mentioned ees’ retirement, but any pension annu‘Decision’ prescribes the following: ity paid by insurers to retirees will be >  An obligation to submit a DOH-Q form (Questionnaire on income paid to nontreated as employment income if the inresidents) for legal entity residents that make payments to non-residents itial payments were pit exempt. Mon>  A DOH-Q form should be submitted for the quarters in which the above-menies received from non-refundable Eurotioned payments occurred, no later than 15 days after the end of the quarter. pean Union funds and programmes, for >  Exceptionally, legal entities that are chosen in the sample for the submission the purpose of education and professionof monthly or quarterly statistical reports on income and expenditure from the al training, and up to prescribed amounts, exchange of services and special transactions with foreign countries are not reare not subject to pit. quired to submit a DOH-Q form. Income from the sale of property or >  The payment of salaries based on a service contract between two entities should of proprietary rights will no longer be not be included in the DOH-Q form. treated as self-employment income, but instead as income deriving from property and proprietary rights; there are condifinancial  |

by Paul Suchar

Ye Croatian Residents, Income Tax Changes to Be Aware of

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January 30th

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Visit us online at www.anglo-adria.com www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

fortnightly interview

Hard Times: The Serbian Health System in Crisis Serbian Minister of Health, Dr Slavica Đukić-Dejanović, talks about the future of the health system in her country, which proverbially oscillates in between the ideal of the welfare state and the reality of a modern liberal system. Verily, it could be the best of times, or the worst of times, but never the less see was there to ask (let us hope) the right questions.

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EE  To begin with, what can you tell us about the current state of the health system in Serbia, and where does it stand in relation to European Union standards? >  SĐD  Recently I’ve had a number of meetings with the Director of the World Health Organisation, in Copenhagen, and we came to the conclusion that Serbia possesses quite an average European score with regard to mass contagious and non-contagious diseases, as well concerning the parameters of mental health. Bearing in mind that Serbia is a country in transition, and considering past events and the current state of the economy, it is testimony to our health system that we are not significantly different from other countries within the European Union. >  SEE  Still, certain structures and organisations within the Health sector in Serbia are in deep crisis. According to the Euro Health Consumer Index (ehci), Serbia is in the rear in the European league; queues and waiting lists are the worst they’ve ever been, and the infrastructure itself is in dire need of improvement. 36

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>  SĐD  It would be hard to disagree with you. Right now there is near anarchy within the health services: while our biggest ‘resource’ in the Ministry is the fact that the vast majority of Serbian citizens are in good health, and while indeed it is our primary policy to preserve and promote that good health, we are clearly failing in other areas. Our infirmaries, for instance, are unable to meet their primary function because they have become literal reception desks for the hospitals.

Ideally, as many as 80% of all patients should have their problems addressed and treated at this first stage, with no more than 25% of patients needing to progress to an actual hospital or specialist centre. Unfortunately, that is not the case here, and I am convinced that most of the problems which have arisen stem from the fact that the infirmaries are being misused, thus leading to an overcrowding of our secondary and tertiary care facilities.


January 30th

surance, which has just been passed through parliament, actually extend related rights to the poorest citizens, especially those who are most in need. Firstly, we made sure that every citizen has access to various booster shots and immunisation programmes – getting your jab in order to avoid certain ailments is now free for all, even those without health insurance. A budget, sufficient enough to cover the screening of diseases such as breast, cervical, and colon cancer, is in place. Also, we have ensured that all selfsustained parents of pre-school children can also enjoy full health protection. And so, although the economic situation is far from desirable, we continue to do what we can for the health of the people.

I am convinced that most of the problems which have arisen stem from the fact that the infirmaries are being misused, leading to an overcrowding of our care facilities...

>  SEE  Surely the current legislation, which prohibits infirmaries from engaging in subclinical diagnostics, preventative measures, and treatment, is to blame for this? After all, the medical community is audibly upset over it. >  SĐD  Yes, I think this legislation was a wrong kind of step. Once upon a time we used to have extraordinary health services; if someone fell ill all they needed to do was to bring their health card along to the infirmary and the system would take care of the rest. Our goal now is to re-achieve that previous level of health protection, but for now we are pretty far from that goal; thankfully, though, with the infirmaries still in place we do not need to create or build new institutions. In fact, primary health protection is precisely the task of these institutions, chief amongst them being the Institute for Public Health of Serbia – ‘Dr Milan Jovanović Batut’; institutions such as these are in charge of protecting and promoting health, providing early diagnoses, and screenings for a variety of

conditions – and for treating everything that can be treated at that level. Institutions such as these are also the ones that can, and should, help restore the dignity of our doctors and the health system. >  SEE  You are a Minister in a Government which promised a social welfare state and to care for the poorest amongst your citizens. How does your Ministry intend to put this into practice, given the paucity of resources? >  SĐD  It will be a step-by-step process. Current per capita contribution to the cost of health provision amounts to 250 Euros, of which 47% is immediately spent on payroll-related expenditures. These are the facts of the matter; figures are what they are, and going by this parameter Serbia is only doing marginally better than Albania, which puts us in bad standing when compared to other European nations – and yet we still need to protect those who cannot fend for themselves. The latest modifications to the existing Law on Health Protection and In-

>  SEE  In order to harmonise Serbia’s legal framework with that of the European Union for the purposes of accession, this Government will need to carry out certain reforms, legislative and bureaucratic, of social, pension, and health insurance. How do you see your Ministry’s social health policy in relation to these expected reforms? >  SĐD  There should always be an element of realism, even in a health system which strives to cater to all. We will, over the coming years, have to raise the degree of responsibility of the individual for avoidable illnesses which are a result of his or her own lifestyle. The forthcoming Law on Patient’s Rights has already included something in this vein: we’ll require the patient to be not only just a bearer of insurance, but rather the active partner in whatever treatment process, in such a way such that he will jointly agree with his doctor as to the path they will take towards full health. In other words, so long as the patient is doing all he can to recover, recuperate, or avoid relapse, he will enjoy all the benefits the Serbian health system can offer; should he tend towards self-destructive habits, however, then he will find that his doctor has the right to refer him to another treatment centre. It could be said that we are asking future patients to help us to help them. Call it a Social Contract. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

>  SEE  So then, how do you see the economic model of the health system in Serbia, and the relationship between the patient and the state and private health insurers and institutions? >  SĐD  Firstly, we should strive to make the state and private health sectors as equal as possible – particularly if a patient is taking a financial interest in their own health needs. However, without improving overall financial discipline and with such low wages in Serbia, it will be very hard. We will also be looking to tighten control over health contributions, so that large companies will be unable to shirk their responsibilities in paying health contributions. We are being aided by other Ministries in this regard, pushing for non-payment of employee’s health insurance premiums to be qualified a criminal offence; all of these moves are designed to benefit the working citizen. Secondly, we are aware of the need for huge effort in the preservation of health here in Serbia, mainly as regards the early diagnosis of diseases which are treatable in the early stages, such as cancer. The World Health Organisation is worried about the Serbian mortality rate, but we, and rightly so, are even more concerned, since we are the

So long as the patient is doing all he can to recover, recuperate, or avoid relapse, he will enjoy all the benefits the Serbian health system can offer...

Biography

Slavica Đukić-Dejanović has worked at the University of Kragujevac Medical School since 1982, becoming a full professor in 1996. She also served as the Director of the Clinical-Hospital Centre in Kragujevac from 1995 to 2001. Dejanović is the Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry in Kragujevac and Vice Dean of the Medical School and the Vice President of the Association of Psychiatrists of Serbia. Dejanović has been a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia since 1990. She served as MP in the Serbian parliament for two terms. In 2008 she was elected the President of the National Assembly of Serbia. On April 5th, 2012, Slavica Đukić-Dejanović became Acting President of Serbia, following the early resignation of President Boris Tadić.

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ones who are active on the ground here. Serbians die from malignant diseases more so than most other comparable nations, because we detect them far too late. We can’t rely solely on treating symptoms once they are present, but rather, as already mentioned, focus on educating the populace so that they are more aware of their own health and do not leave their concerns until it is too late. Finally, all of this costs money, so we need to be able to make the system work with us, for us, rather than against us. We should enable different levels of health insurance which would create healthy competition within the insurance sector and health sector. Why shouldn't a private pharmacy be the same as the state one? If the Government subsidises a medication, why shouldn't it share the subsidy money with the private sector, too? This will stimulate the competition between the two sectors, without the state aspect being viewed as a second-class industry. Starting from this year, 2013, we will begin the process of equalisation within the pharmaceutical sector. >  SEE  And a short question to end with – rumours abound that you might soon end up applying your talents in a more diplomatic field? >  SĐD  For now, at least, health diplomacy is the best form of diplomacy for me.


January 30th

www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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SEE - A Fortnight in Review

in perspective  |

by Ben Berković

Addiction Treatment in Montenegro: Like & Share Addiction is an ever growing modern plague, which affects over a billion people worldwide. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, all well known to the public. What is less known is that Facebook, and other social media, now has its own devout, and very much addicted, following. Several million users across the globe cannot go more than a few minutes without checking their smartphone and now, in Montenegro, a private clinic has opened its doors to the country’s youngest, and newest, addicts.

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ow tolerance levels, anti-social crises, neglecting healthy lifestyles, and a constant increase in time spent on Facebook are clear signs of Facebook addiction, says Dr Danilo Jokić, an addiction specialist working at the health clinic Anima Medika in Podgorica, who has, so far, treated two minors addicted to Facebook. This relatively new addition to Dr Jokić’s area of expertise (and indeed to other addiction specialists worldwide), is a clear sign that Facebook addiction is a real disease, and not just a teenager’s excuse for bad grades or “a figment of our imagination”. In fact, a recent study has shown that quitting Facebook is actually more difficult than quitting smoking or giving up alcohol. Quite recently, researchers might have given women a new excuse for whiling away hours updating their Facebook profiles, scrolling through Twitter, or browsing online shopping sites. Scientists have uncovered new evidence of a genetic variant linked to internet addiction - and the link occurred most frequently in women. To explain somewhat, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the brain is influenced by a mutation on the related gene which promotes addictive behavior. 40

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Facebook addiction is a real disease, and not just a teenager’s excuse for bad grades...

While alcoholics might be regarded as jolly, outgoing people (or at least they might think so), Facebook addicts, according to Dr Jokić, are usually intro-

Facebook is a pesky habit

verted personalities, often with little or no friends, prone to fantasising, and will regularly be found neglecting schoolwork and other obligations. “We have found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-toface”, says Dr. Cecilie Andraessen of the University of Bergen, a researcher on Facebook addiction. One can only presume as to what turns certain individuals into Facebook addicts,


January 30th

Are you addicted ?

Scientists from Norway have actually developed a psychological scale to measure Facebook addiction, called the BFAS (Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale), through which researchers hope to investigate problem behaviour associated with using Facebook or other social networking sites. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale is based on six basic criteria, where all items are scored on the following scale: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very often: >  You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook. >  You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more. >  You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems. >  You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success. >  You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook. >  You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/ studies. Scoring ‘often’ or ‘very often’ on at least four of the six items may suggest Facebook addiction.

Scientists have uncovered new evidence of a genetic variant linked to internet addiction most frequently in women.

but a general explanation is given by Dr Ante Bagarić, a psychiatrist dealing with Facebook addicts in the Psychiatric Hospital Vrapče, in Zagreb, where more and more young people are being admitted as well. “When one communicates via Facebook, he or she is in total control of who they will talk with, how honestly, and for how long. When the communication reaches a negative or problematic state, the user can simply close a window and escape reality. This is called ‘behind the blinds’ communication, during which we desire to present ourselves the way we wish we were, resulting in a fear of going out into the real world”. Most people today, both young and old, have become quite reliant on technology,

in order efficiently to function on a daily basis, be it job related, or some matter of their private life. Another study, closely related to Facebook addiction studies, looked at students who were denied access to media for 24 hours, which resulted in clear withdrawal symptoms, both psychological and physical. “I am clearly addicted and the dependency is sickening,” said one student in the study. “I feel like most people these days are in a similar situation; between having a Blackberry, a laptop, a television, and an iPod, people have become unable to shed their media skin.” As mentioned, almost half of the population of Montenegro are Facebook users, numbering 300,420 so far, the

majority being 97,600 young people between 18 and 24 years of age. So far Jokić has treated ten internet addicts, two of which were young Facebook addicts, and is expecting more and more to come. He stated that his patients spent up to fifteen hours per day on the internet during weekends, and five to seven hours during work days. “When denied access to the internet, the children started acting just as any other addict would. They became aggressive and highly agitated, troubled by insomnia, depression and all the other symptoms characteristic of alcoholics or drug addicts, for example”, says Dr Jokić. Many agree it is a failure in parenting, including Dr Jokić, who is calling upon the parents to pay more attention to how their children use the Internet, because “the dangers of serious misuse are numerous”. Specialised clinics which concentrate solely on internet addictions are already present world-wide, and as it stands, such facilities might be emerging in Montenegro too, as unexpected as it might sound to their citizens, since the health-care system, as it is, is struggling with even some basic services. This issue could very well be used in the coming Presidential Elections in Montenegro on April 7th. Only one candidate, President of the Democratic Front Miodrag lekić, has officially put his name forth for now, and he would do well immediately to hire a marketing agency specialising in social networks...before other candidates awaken from their slumbers. Montenegro is a country we like very much, but it has proven yet again that it is a transitional economy/society to the fullest. It is yet to adapt the successes typical of modern and wealthy polities: good road infrastructure, strong educational institutions, advanced medical facilities… But be sure, as it is rather obvious, that it was extremely expedient at contracting all the new age diseases of those same modern and wealthy polities. Then again, we’re not only talking about Montenegro, are we? www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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culture  |

by Ivana Stepanović

Küstendorf: or Emir Kusturica’s Declaration of War on Red Carpets & Globalisation Monica Bellucci, Audrey Tautou, Aleksei Balabanov, Zhang Yimou and a host of other famous film directors made their cameos at the Küstendorf festival, but it just might be that the show was stolen, not by silver screen savants and illustrious celebrities, but by unique architecture, good rakija, and 100% home-grown & home-made food. Something for organisers to ponder...

H

ow many people, who are not Kings, Queens, Conquerors, or Saints, can say that they have a village named after them? Meet Emir Kusturica, who has, since 2008, been organising an International Film Festival, Küstendorf, which is held in the traditional Serbian village of Drvengrad. Drvengrad was built from scratch for Kusturica’s 2004 film Life is a Miracle, but it is also known by a different name to many, that of Küstendorf (Kusta’s Village). This anti-Hollywood of sorts (that is certainly what Kusturica would have us believe) is situated in the midst of a markedly romantic nature preserve and is famous for hosting only stars of European cinema and representatives of the so called auteur theory. This year’s distinguished guests were famous actresses Monica Bellucci and Audrey Tautou, and film directors Aleksei Balabanov, Benh Zeytlin, Zhang Yimou, Yeşim Ustaoğlu Araf and Péter Gothár. As you might suspect, there was no red carpet and no milling paparazzi, but instead the guests were welcomed with rakija and salted bread.

For many the highlight of the festival was the presence – of course – of Bellucci, who was there to accept the ‘Award for Future Movies’, and who will play the female lead in Kusturica’s own upcoming Love and War. When asked to comment on the difference between Hollywood and art films she replied diplomatically: “The difference is just in the money – it means you have a bigger room, a bigger trailer. You are just more spoiled and protected, but apart from that, nothing changes.” Too diplomatically, perhaps; we’re not sure that Kusturica was entirely pleased with this statement, especially after he had given his newest muse an award for movies she hasn’t done yet, but we’ll leave the finer points of this discus-

sion to the two them to work out in their spare time. At any rate, Audrey Tautou of Amélie (2001) fame was also present, but only, as she herself admitted, in the capacity of a fan: “I would not mind acting in one of his energetic films such as Underground, or even partnering up with him in a French film”, said the Frenchwoman. While one may indeed find authentic wooden houses in a host of Serbian villages, those of Küstendorf truly do come across as being straight out of Hansel and Gretel, complete with sugar icing top – especially in this snowy and hence visually obliging winter. Some might say that this creation is cute, or twee, but the fact

The village also acts as a tourist hub – and you will find no cars, trucks, factories, mines, or blatant Western culture allowed in the area.

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remains that such houses are very much what one would expect to find in a traditional Serbian village, if only because these sorts of villages were better preserved than their cousins in other European countries. Wicked tongues are wont to remark that the famed director has not been entirely successful in capturing an altogether ‘faithful look’, but we won’t split hairs, will we? 44

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Other quirks follow: the streets are all named after Serbian celebrities or past greats. Ivo Andrić, the Nobel prize winning novelist, got his own street, as did the very much alive Novak Đoković. Kusturica’s favourite directors are also featured (Fellini, Bergman...), as are a number of personages who inspired the proud proprietor in other capacities (let us mention Maradona and Che Guevara).

And proud Kusturica is: he discovered the area whilst scouting for locations for Life is a Miracle and decided to build his own village. “I lost my city during the war,” he once said, “so this is why I wished to build my own village.” More than a village, Kusturica would go on to say, Drvengrad was his masterpiece. Apparently there is more to the claim than mere affectation, as Drvengrad was hon-


January 30th

Highlights of the Programme

We may begin with Aleksei Balabanov, a Russian director best known for his movies Brother (1997), Brother 2 (2000), and War (2002). He presented his most recent film, Me Too (2012), at the festival this year, holding a workshop afterwards. Balabanov also announced that he will, in collaboration with Kusturica, be making a film about ‘Uncle Joe’: “Stalin was a terrorist and the film will show all the horror of his terrorist activities from 1905 until 1907. I did my research and visited Siberia, all the museums, and even looked into his time in exile when he was robbing trains. I do not have the ambition to send some kind of a message to the world with this film, I simply want to portray the man. I have chosen to work with Kusturica because he is a clever man who knows much about film and life.” Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was the recipient of the festival’s lifetime achievement award. He also made use of the festival to present his latest film Flowers of War (2011). Yimou is famous for his films The Story of Qiy Ju (1992), which was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, To Live (1994), The Road Home (1999), awarded the Grand Jury Grand Prix at Cannes, as well as many others. He directed the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 despite the fact that his films Raise the Red Lantern (1991) and To Live (1994) were banned in his home country. Strangely, Flowers of War was approved for viewing in China in spite of scenes depicting prostitutes, catholic nuns, Westerners, and even Christian Bale in less than admirable circumstances. Yimou had this to say on the matter: “The Chinese Government is going through change and is becoming less rigid. However, censorship still exists and I was forced to change some of the scenes in order to get the approval”. One can only wonder at how the original print must have looked. Kusturica, for his part, presented his own student film Guernica (1978), which served as an introduction to his talk on common mistakes in filmmaking and on the difference between reality and realism. Let us quote him: “Every film director should be able to imprint his own opinion into the film narrative”. Italian director Matteo Garrone, who presented his newest film Reality (awarded with the Jury Grand Prix in Cannes last year), also held a workshop during the festival.

oured with the Philippe Rotthier European Architecture Award in 2005. According to Kusturica, the main purpose of Drvengrad is to act as a cultural centre and bring together artists, musicians, and filmmakers from all around the world: “I wanted to make a place where I can live, but also organise festivals and seminars on filmmaking, music, and arts. I always dreamed of such a place, which

would be able to defy globalisation”. The village also acts as a tourist hub – and you will find no cars, trucks, factories, mines, or blatant Western culture allowed in the area. Everything in the village restaurants is organic and domestic, while the shops only sell local produce or souvenirs which have been made by traditionalists from neighbouring villages. The village founder even introduced his own line

of fruit beverages, Biorevolution, although not without a measure of controversy, as he named his cherry flavoured juice after Draža Mihajlović, the infamous Serbian general from World War II and leader of the Chetnik movement, and the blueberry juice after none other than Josip Broz Tito; it was only after accepting that a court case was imminent that he decided to remove this contentious labelling, calling it a ‘joke’. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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Kusturica’s ecological/traditionalist bent does not end with his village – he is constantly battling to preserve the whole area of Mokra Gora from all kinds of pollutions. He introduced road taxes in order to reduce traffic and recently protested against the initiative for the exploration of nickel in the immediate area. In his letter to the Minister of Natural Resources he expressed fear that “the dirty technology” might endanger people’s health. He even established the Board for the Protection of Serbia from Nickel Mining. Moreover, all the houses in Drvengrad are using pellet heating, which has significantly lowered harmful emissions usually associated with combustible fuels. Perhaps the biggest curiosity of the village is a cemetery made specifically

for ‘bad films’, the first of which to be buried here was ‘Die Hard 4’ – which, we agree, truly was a terrible movie. But this year Kusturica went even one step fur-

Kusturica’s Nationalist/Conversion Controversy

Emir Kusturica was born in Sarajevo in 1954. His parents, Murat Kusturica and Senka Numankadić, were Bosniaks, even though Kusturica claimed that they were in fact Serbs: “My father was an atheist and he always declared himself as a Serb. Perhaps we were Muslims for 250 years, but we were Orthodox Christians beforehand. One cannot change one’s religion. We had to convert to Islam in order to survive”. Kusturica left Sarajevo during the siege in 1992 and moved to Serbia. He had sympathies for Slobodan Milošević and with his friend Peter Handke he even supported Serbian politicians in Bosnia for a while. He was criticised because his film Underground (1995) was supposedly financed by the Serbian National Television, and also for a lack of tact because Underground was filmed while the war in Bosnia was still raging. Accusations that he may have attempted to justify Serbian nationalism and war crimes in this film were probably levelled by people who had never seen it, and it must also be noted, albeit not necessarily directly in his defence, that Kusturica did eventually change his opinion of Milošević over the years. When asked by the New York Times why he did not stand up to him before, he replied: “Nobody’s perfect”. Kusturica, a practical persona non grata in Sarajevo, is of the opinion (expressed in many interviews), that the city of his birth has lost its identity, implying that it has been ethnically cleansed and that there are no Serbs left in the city. In 2005 Kusturica was baptised in a Serbian church in Montenegro and changed his Muslim name Emir to the Serbian Nemanja – causing, naturally, even more controversy.

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ther in his imaginary war against “imperialist trash” and staged a fight with the hologram of Bruce Willis. He dramatically announced this event as an “historical battle between David and Goliath”, and claimed that this event marked the triumph of auteur theory over Hollywood ideology. At the opening ceremony, Kusturica stressed that his festival aims to support true artists such as Tarkovsky, Fellini and Forman, rather than “vulgar and commercial” films. And yes, we almost forget (the wine and the hearth had lulled us into a rather tufted slumber). The winner of the main prize in a competition of 28 movies was the Swiss film Stammering Love by director Jan Czarlewski, who accordingly received the Golden Egg. The Silver Egg was given to accorded to the Danish movie Barvalo, directed by Rasmus Kloster Bro, while the Bronze Egg went to Israeli director Yaniv Linton for the film Tateh. As could only be expected, the Festival was closed by who else but Emir Kusturica, who once again stressed the importance of championing auteur films. Modern trends may not be playing his tune, but there was certainly plenty of resolve to go all the way around the table… If nothing else, we dare hope we might have at least aroused the reader’s curiosity and given him – or her – the perfect excuse to visit a rather picturesque part of Serbia – if not before, then at least right round this time next year.


January 30th

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around the world  |

by Lee Murphy

Happy Chinese New Year! Almost every larger business deal, every major project, in the Western Balkans is, at some point or another, connected with Chinese investors and, being fair, sometimes there is even an actual business delegation involved. In other words, paying a sort of homage to the second largest global economy, we owe you this: Chinese New Year usually falls in February, the 10th in this case, and since SEE’s resident Irishman will actually be in London to celebrate the day in question we said we'd take a short look at one of the most celebrated events in the world.

1

Similarly to the Occidental zodiac, Chinese New Year too is represented by twelve distinct avatars – animals in this case: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each animal, much like the zodiac, is purportedly reflected in the personalities of those born in a particular year. 2013 will be the Year of the Snake, which means that those born this year are meant to appear acute, aware, cunning, proud, vain, and vicious.

2

Much in the same way that Saint Patrick’s Day has become an internationally observed event (more of a celebration than a holiday), so too is it for Chinese New Year, especially in countries where there is a sizeable Chinese population. Parades and parties can be found in almost every larger Western country, and more often than not these festivals are treated as an excuse to party even by those not directly connected with the Chinese community. Vancouver, Sydney, San Francisco, London, and Dublin (Chinese is officially the second 48

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most spoken language in Ireland), as well as sundry other cities, play host to memorable celebrations.

3

Chairman Mao was known for his Little Red Book, but it was red for a reason, as red is considered to be a very lucky colour in China. The colour also associated with fire is believed to ward off evil spirits, oh-so important as the Year passes from Dragon to Snake. Red clothes are clearly in evidence, and children receive red envelopes with money in them. Wedding dresses in China are traditionally red (white is worn at funerals), and this idea is slowly becoming more prevalent in Western weddings as well. The famous designer Vera Wang has exhibited an entirely red collection for Spring 2013.

4

What would Chinese New Year be without fireworks and firecrackers? China has long been feted as the home to gunpowder, and all those who saw the opening ceremony to the 2008 Olympics will be aware that

the Chinese are the benchmark when it comes to such dazzling displays of aerial pyrotechnics. Originally, firecrackers were used to fend off evil spirits, but like in so many traditions the initial reason behind this practice (or craft) has been refashioned so as to be more in line with the esprit of the modern world. In short, we all like standing out in the cold, watching things explode in the sky in a series of bright sparks and flashes.

5

You know how Queen Elizabeth has two birthdays? One actual birthday and one public birthday? It’s pretty much the same in China: Chinese New Year is when everyone gets one year older, specifically on the 7th day of the year. Birthdays, while also celebrated, simply don’t have the same resonance for the Chinese as they do for people in the West. Chinese New Year is supposed to be a time for family and friends, and it would be hard to argue that that wouldn’t be a kick-ass birthday party, especially with all the food and drink on offer.


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7

You’ve heard of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and no doubt you’re aware of Advent. The Chinese New Year is celebrated for up to fifteen days, with each day symbolising something different, and the activities are organised to match. The first day is all about parades, floats, parties, etc, while the second day is all about family – preferably the maternal side of the family. The third day is spent indoors, as venturing outside is considered bad luck, and so on and so on. The seventh day, as already mentioned, is ‘everyone’s birthday’.

8

6

While the New Year, like in any culture, symbolises a new beginning, the Chinese New Year also proves a boon to those who own clothes shops: tradition holds that those celebrating the day in question should wear a completely new outfit to welcome

Not exactly related to Chinese New Year, but most definitely Chinese. The number 8 is considered to be exceptionally lucky in Chinese mythology, with both the word and calligraphy being similar to ‘prosper’, ‘wealth’, ‘joy’, and ‘happiness’. Not only is 8 a lucky number, but can also be an expensive one at that: a telephone number comprising New Year fireworks in Hong Kong entirely of ‘eights’ sold, in China, for approximately € 200,000! The Petronas Towers in Malaysia, only recently ousted the new and brighter year. In addi- as World’s Tallest Building by Burj Khation, there is a ban on cleaning on the lifa in Dubai, both have 88 floors. And first day of the Chinese New Year (al- the 2008 Olympic Games, held in Beijing, though you can be sure the matriarch of held their opening ceremony on August any family has likely whipped the fami- 8th, 2008, at the fortunate time of 8 secly into making the place spick and span onds and 8 minutes past 8pm local time. Take that, Daniel Craig! beforehand).

The order of the day (or year, if you will)

According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide, and so they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish. All twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in. Unbeknownst to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, came in last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last… * Chinese sign for number 8

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destinations  |

by Mark Ferris

Skiing in the East We all know Slovenia managed to assert itself decades ago, and we also know that the Serbs at Kopaonik can throw quite a party. We also know about the Snow Queen Trophy on Zagreb’s Sljeme... but Bosnia and Herzegovina? Yes, there are the erstwhile Olympic slopes of Bjelašnica and Jahorina, but there is even more. Be prepared for a different experience – perhaps even a different kind of skiing etiquette – which is not to say for something necessarily substandard. Cheaper, yes, but, then again, that can only recommend the following four destinations.

> Jahorina A mere 28 kilometres from Sarajevo, Jahorina is easily accessible by a decent road which is regularly maintained, especially during the winter months. There is over 20 kilometres of ski trails at your disposal, at an elevation between 1300 and 1880 metres, with two six-seat chairlifts, four ski-lifts and three two-seaters which are capable of transporting over 10.000 people each hour. The trails and transports are managed by the Jahorina Olympic Centre (anyone remember the 1984 Winter Olympics?), which provides the services of professional skiing instructors and also rents out skiing and snowboarding equipment. The price of ski passes here is about half that of Alpine resorts, and is usually around 15-20 Euros, which will leave you with quite enough money to experience the turbulent night life in the many bars, restaurants and discos. And believe us when we say turbulent, for you will be meeting the dawn in a very different manner than the Alpine yodelling kind you’re used to. So let us repeat: Jahorina is a beautiful mountain with a “soul”, the nature is stunning, all the prices are significantly lower than the European ones, and the night life is unforgettable.

Straight out of an Alpine idyll, isn't it? And the party scene won't disappoint either.

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> Bjelašnica There are about 10 kilometres of official ski trails, which range from 1250 m to 2067 m in elevation, predominantly red flagged, with a few blue ones too. The higher slopes are bare and thus remindful of the high Alps, while the middle and lower trails go through a thick pine forest, which, when covered in snow, is quite idyllic. Mind you, your enjoyment can be interfered with by the often “weekend crowds”, and the still present occasional stones on the slopes. A great advantage of this resort is its night skiing offer, which is open from Tuesday until Sunday, and which, with its excellent lighting, is simply pleasure guaranteed. The best time to enjoy winter sports at Bjelašnica, which applies to most ski resorts in the region, is the end of February and beginning of March, when the accumulated snow is highest, the temperatures are not too low, and the days are somewhat longer. Finally, Bjelašnica has a wide variety of apartments for rent and a few hotels, all at very affordable prices.


January 30th

> Vlašić Vlašić Mountain is situated in the very centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with its highest peak Paljenik rising to 1963 m. It is an ideal weekend destination, especially for beginners, while more advanced skiers might grow bored with it relatively quickly. There are several less known ski resorts situated nearby, but the most popular of them all is undoubtedly the sports and recreation centre Vlašić, located at Babanovac (1260 m). The ski resort includes six ski-lifts, two of which are baby lifts, 15 kilometres of ski trails, and, as a bit of an oddity, even very ‘serious’ looking ski-jumping ramps. Please only take photos, do not try to have a go... Starting from the top, it is possible to go down two paths, leading you down trails which separate in certain areas, which can make orientation challenging during bad weather and low visibility. Most of the trails are a combination of blue and red. One of them passes by the aforementioned 90 metre ski jumping ramp, and literally through the centre of the town. Skiing on the town streets, which are closed for traffic during the winter season, is quite the experience, although you must exercise caution since there are many strollers and families with children sledging. Today, Babanovac is a quaint (in a very positive sense) tourist town, with over 1000 weekend cottages and a few hotels and boarding houses, with a capacity that surpasses even the largest skiing centres of b&h. The quality of accommodation, as always, is diverse, but suffice it to say that there indeed are a number of luxury Spa-Wellness hotels. There are also many coffee shops in the area, with sunlit terraces and numerous steak houses. In comparison with Jahorina and Bjelašnica, the prices are about 20% lower.

Fancy having a go at a veritable Olympic size ski jumping ramp?

> Kupres The Kupres ski resort – ‘the Pearl of Herzegovina’ – spreads over three unconnected mountains: Čajuša, Stožer and Čordaćica. The most popular among them is Čajuša, which is – deservedly so – in fact one of the most popular skiing destinations in b&h (and perhaps beyond). The elevations of the Čajuša ski resort are between 1200 and 1550 metres. Skiers and snowboarders are transported by one two-seater, one four-seater, two T-bars and one baby lift – enough for a smooth upward trip. All in all, there are about 13 kilometres of ski slopes, which are often considerably more crowded than those at Stožer or Čordaćica. Skiing and snowboarding equipment rental is available on site, with two skiing schools situated in the Adriaski hotel. Nearby is the fine “Ognjište” restaurant, just below the beginning of the ski resort, which includes a sledging slope for youngsters. While the prices for food and drinks are higher than in the rest of the ski resorts in Bosnia, the daily pass costs no more than 20 Euros, and Kupres indeed is an excellent weekend or one day trip destination, especially for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts from Dalmatia, for whom this is the closest adequate ski resort. So, especially ye Dalmatian residents, do not be shy of the Eastern border... www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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lifestyle |

by Michael Devaney

World’s Fastest Electric Supercar… And It’s Croatian With a maximum power output of 1088 horse power, an acceleration time of 2.8 seconds, a top speed close to 200 mph, and with an autonomy of 600 kilometres the Rimac Concept_One, breaking the mould of the supercars and shattering the stereotype of an electric car as a boring and unreliable enterprise, could be considered the first true supercar powered purely by electricity. And it’s Croatian, mind you...

T

he Croatian company Rimac Automobili took the perfect chance and unveiled the latest version of their Concept_One electric supercar at the “Top Marques Monaco 2012”event, the first of which was sold to a buyer in Spain in mid January 2013, for a whopping 750,000 Euros. Not bad, especially if we take into account that this one sale can finance the entire Rimac operation for as long as six months. What else can one say? Well, little else. So, first, here’s a short story on how a young innovator from a small town in Croatia managed to get his name on Bloomberg’s “Worlds’ Best of 2012” list. Mate Rimac, a 25 year old innovator, the brain behind Concept_One, has apparently always stood out amongst his peers, be it in high school or university. While still in school, he won the national award at the inventors championship, which resulted in him being sent to a Tokyo inventors contest, where he won another prize: his side mirror solution solved the blind spot problem for motorists, and was duly patented. Four years ago, Rimac took interest in drifting and for the purposes bought a bmw e30 323i, which is considered 52

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January 30th

A curious feature of the car is that it does not have a back window but cameras instead...

one of the best cars in the world to learn how to drift. Unfortunately – or not, as it would turn out – during one session he burned out the engine and decided to replace it with an electric one. He found the instructions for building one online, ordered the parts, and with a team of friends put together his first electric car, during which time he, as he says, realised that such a project wasn’t all that complicated. The next step was natural (for those, of course, born with business in their bones): Rimac also started developing his own parts and software for a concept car he had in mind.

It wouldn’t be long before Rimac, with his now 600 horse power electric BMW, nicknamed “The Green Beast”, broke five electric car acceleration world records, for instance going from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.3 seconds. The work he did on the BMW provided him with the knowledge to start patenting Concept_One. He took to the drawing board and started writing a patent for the car, documenting every single detail before he even had any investors. After he realised that all the details and sketches could actually be fully functional, he found some investors and began to manage a team of professionals

General Specs

engine : electric battery capacity : 92 kwh battery range : 372.9 miles (600 kms) horsepower : 1088 hp 0–60 mph: 2,8 seconds top speed : 189.5 mph (305 km/h) wheelbase : 2,750 mm (108.3 in) length : 4,548 mm (179.1 in) width : 1,997 mm (78.6 in) height : 1,198 mm (47.2 in) curb weight : 1,950 kg (4,300 lb)

to help him build Concept_One, which quickly became reality. It was first shown at the 2011 iaa Motor Show in Frankfurt. The super aerodynamic body was designed by Adriano Mudri, and is sculpted out of carbon fibre, which gives it true supercar dynamics. The interior is designed by former associates of the famous designer Pininfarina, and is made from high quality materials (leather seats, bespoke infotainment system, etc.). The wheels are custom made for the car, with huge brake callipers. A curious feature of the car is that it does not have a back window but cameras instead, or rather a total of seven of them. The prototype did not have any side mirrors either, but the production model does, due to safety regulations. 90% of the car is built in Croatia, specifically in the town of Sveta Nedelja near Zagreb, where Rimac has his factory and test track; also, a vast majority of the parts are patented by Rimac himself and produced by his company. As if the range of 372.9 miles that the batteries provide was not enough, the company is developing new technologies to further improve this figure, leaving most electric cars in the dust with their maximum ranges of 150 miles or less. Incidentally, Concept_One has a range of 86-112 miles – in race mode! Additionally, 3800 Nms of torque provide a major push, and the car could theoretically accelerate up to ridiculous speeds, as stated by Rimac himself: “It could go 500 km/h, but we can’t guarantee the safety of the passengers, so we electronically limited it to 300 km/h.” Perhaps exaggerated, this statement, but experts don’t dismiss is as implausible. In any event, Rimac – or rather his small manufacturing outfit – plans to produce 15-20 cars per year, each costing an overwhelming 750,000 Euros, or approximately 1 million dollars. They plan to release a limited series of 88 vehicles in total, by which point they hope they will have started developing new models as well. Rimac states that their goal is to increase production of new, less costly, models during the next 2 or 3 years. Concept_Two? Why not. www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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good stuff

A Few Eastern Beauties > Tatra T87 There has been a recent, and welcome, resurgence in the automotive industry in the region, what with FIAT finally taking off in Serbia, and Croatian electric cars (there's more than one) headed for the market. But what about the past, and the glorious collectibles that may have inspired this renaissance of sorts? We couldn’t find much in the Yugosphere, but we indeed did find a few delicacies in the former Eastern Bloc… So enjoy – and possibly treat yourself.

This Czech(oslovak) 2.9 litre V8 engine produced 85 HP, helping the car reach speeds of 100 mph it had one rather infamous fan – Adolf Hitler, who once even quipped, “this is the car for my roads”. Indeed, the T87 was often praised by the German officers who drove them, both for its speed and excellent handling on the Autobahn. The first car designed using aerodynamic principles was the Tatra T77, and this car heavily influenced the T87, which in turn influenced other, more renowned, car manufacturers such as Ferdinand Porsche. In the 1940s a brand new T87 would have cost you 25,000 Swiss Francs, while nowadays the price is closer to 100,000 Euros. A 1941 T87 won a New York Times reader’s poll of collector’s cars in 2010, beating 651 other collectibles.

> Trabant > Uncle Joe’s Russian ‘Rolls Royce’: ZIS-110 Like so much of Russia’s Cold War technology this particular vehicle was the result of reverse engineering of a 1942 Packard Super Eight, once given to Stalin as present by F.D.R. It was powered by a six litre, eight cylinder engine, could produce 140 HP, and had a top speed of over 87 mph. Stalin’s personal parade car, built in 1949, was one of these, painted Soviet green, and by the time of his death four years later the car had only 2040 miles on the odometer. ZIL are still active to this day, and making cars which they claim are as of high a quality as any Maybach or Rolls Royce. Only 2083 ZIS-110s were ever produced and if you felt the need to own one then you would fork out in the region of 65,000 Euros... But it could be worth it, no? 54

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Of course not every 'cool' car can be as suave as a ZIL or Tatra. The Trabant was of course the ‘pride’ of East Germany; described as a lunch box with a lawn-mower engine, it could accelerate from 0 to 100 – eventually. It was durable, however, though it may be that that is the best thing which can be said about it. For, while it could fit four adults and their luggage, it had worse fuel economy than any American muscle car and emitted exhaust fumes such as would announce its presence even unsighted. Every dog will have its day, however, and the Trabant has earned its place amongst the more frugal car aficionados, especially after the onset of Ostalgie. Proper Trabant motorcade sightseeing tours are regularly organised in Berlin, and, though not at all rare by collectable standards (there were over 3 million produced), a mint condition Trabant could sell for up to 4,000 Euros. We like it.


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did you know?  |

by Lee Murphy

Nikola Tesla - A Man Out of Time January 7th, 2013 saw the 70th anniversary of Nikola Tesla’s death, and it’s no great secret that Tesla has his admirers in the SEE offices. So then, what seems fitting for this ethnic Serb born in Croatia under the Austro-Hungarian Empire? Well know are Tesla’s disputes with Thomas Edison and his long struggle with near poverty, but we took it upon ourselves also to look at some Tesla trivia – in a bit more detail to boot – which you might not necessarily have heard about.

> Remote Controlled Vessels

> Wireless Energy Transfer All the great technology companies of the 21st century are pushing hard to be the first to unveil wireless energy transfer. Imagine being able to charge your phone without having to plug it in, or being able simply to unpack a new television or computer and have no need to rearrange a multitude of leads and cables? Tesla could well have been the first, but for a lack of investment funding. More specifically, Wardenclyffe Tower was to have been one of the world’s first industrial parks, housing thousands of workers and hundreds of generators and associated equipment. The tower itself was to be 57 metres tall, coupled with a 37 metre earthing rod placed underground so as “to have a grip on the Earth so the whole of this globe can quiver”. It was to be twinned with one situated in Britain, and was expected to transmit radio signals initially, and eventually even energy. However, as Tesla left behind no workable blueprints (nothing unusual in his case, and also the main reason why he was often refused financing), such technological solutions are yet to be fully grasped, even more than a century later. 56

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Although a man dedicated to science like all who preceded him, and those who would follow, Tesla’s inventions were often twisted to darker purpose. Tesla patented “Method of and Apparatus for Controlling Mechanism of Moving Vessels or Vehicles“, patent no. 613,809, and demonstrated for all to see, before the National Electric Light Association, in 1893, and again later, in 1898, at the Madison Square Garden, where he unveiled his remote controlled boat to the public, calling it a telautomaton. The two boats involved could withstand a certain amount of submersion and while they were not in any way related to what we now know as submarines, they were adapated, or at least the technology was, into the concept of guided missiles – used in World War II and other modern conflicts. Thankfully, actual science has managed to utilise this technology for something other than war, for Tesla's invention has also partly resulted in nasa being able to operate remote vehicles on Mars.

Nice toy, for grown men


January 30th

> A 100-Year-Old Electric Car, Anyone? Believe it or not, electric vehicles, though somewhat of a current fad, were briefly popular (and yes, in fact existed, though mostly in prototype form) as far back as the early 1900s, when they used a series of batteries and dc engines to move about. The electric automobile, for instance, could not be adapted to accommodate and utilise a polyphase motor (i.e. ac power), so the batteries required recharging every night and the range of travel was restricted to about 100 miles. Even comparatively low speeds in the range of 45 to 50 mph could not be attained for this would have destroyed the batteries in moments. Bursts of speeds of 25 to 35 mph could be maintained only for a moment or so. Normal driving speed – depending on traffic conditions – was between 15 and 20 mph; by 1910 standards, this was an acceptable speed limit, especially as concerns an electric vehicle. Still, somewhere around 1915 or so, the electric automobile became history and would not be further developed in a serious fashion until modern times. However, in a brief 1931 revival episode, with the financing of Pierce-Arrow and George Westinghouse, a 1931 Pierce-Arrow was selected to be tested at the factory grounds in Buffalo, New York, its standard internal combustion engine removed and an 80 horsepower, 1800 rpm electric engine put in place instead. The ac motor was 40 inches long and 30 inches wide, and the power leads were left standing in the air - no external power source! And here is where Nikola Tesla comes in. At the appointed time, Tesla arrived from New York City and inspected the Pierce-Arrow automobile. He then went to a local radio store and purchased a dozen tubes, wires, and assorted resistors. A box 24 inches long, 12 inches wide and 6 inches high was assembled to house the circuit and then placed on the front seat. Its wires were connected to the air-cooled, brushless motor. Two rods, ¼ inch in diameter, stuck out of the box, which was about 3 inches long. Tesla settled himself into the driver's seat, pushed the two rods in and stated, “We now have power”. He put the car into gear and it moved forward! This vehicle, powered by an ac motor, was driven to speeds of 90 mph and performed better than any internal combustion engine of its day! One week was spent testing the vehicle, and several newspapers in Buffalo reported on it. When asked where the power came from, Tesla replied: “From the ethers all around us”. Several people suggested that Tesla was mad and somehow in league with sinister forces of the Universe. He became incensed, removed his mysterious box from the vehicle, and returned to his laboratory in New York City. His secret died with him!

How eccentric can you get?

>  Tesla intentionally exposed himself to cholera in order to avoid military service. >  He was obsessed with the number 3, and felt driven to perform everything in sets of 3. Anyone heard of the old Aristotelian triad of Art, Imitation, and Exercise? Or maybe it was the Holy Trinity behind it all, Tesla's father having been an Orthodox priest? We shall never know. >  He methodically fed pigeons and brought injured ones back to his Waldorf Astoria to tend to them. Unusual, isn't it, for a germophobe to have established such a close 'relationship' with ordinarily disease-spreading birds, isn't it? >  He declared that he received messages from aliens from Mars or Venus over his radio equipment. Perhaps only to pull people's legs, but then again... >  In his autobiography (My Inventions), he claimed that he would get a fever just by looking at a peach. Naturally, he never provided an adequate explanation as to why? Or how...

> A Self-Aware Recluse “I contracted many strange likes, dislikes and habits, some of which I can trace to external impressions while others are unaccountable. I had a violent aversion against earrings of women… I would not touch the hair of other people except, perhaps, at the point of a revolver. I would get a fever looking at a peach and if a piece of camphor was anywhere in the house, it caused me the keenest discomfort.” So said Tesla, which goes some way to explaining why the man never settled down, nor even became involved with someone, at a time when science was likely attracting the sort of fan-girl attention that Apple and other ‘stylish’ companies enjoy today. Then again, genius has its price, and perhaps we all of us would be better off if we had more passionate recluses and fewer business savvy dot-com-ers or social network impresarios. Anyone care to join the 21st century Tesla defence team? www.see-magazine.eu  | 

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blast from the past

› Goce Delčev: Macedonian revolutionary

1872

Goce Delčev, an important revolutionary figure in Ottoman-ruled Macedonia and Thrace, was born on February 4th, 1872. He was one of the leaders of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (IMRO). While in high-school (in Thessaloniki) he already organised and led a secret revolutionary brotherhood. Then, as a cadet in the Military Academy in Sofia, he secretly handed out socialist literature which eventually got him expelled. In 1898, upon foundation of the so called Četnik Institute, the goal of which was the autonomy of Macedonia and Thrace, Goce was named commander of all the Macedonian troops. He died in 1903 in a skirmish with the Turkish police whilst preparing the famed Ilinden Uprising.

› Slavoljub Penkala: the passing of a Croatian Innovator

1922

Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, a Croatian engineer and innovator of Polish-Jewish and Dutch ethnicity, died on February 5th, 1922. Having earned his doctorate from the Royal Technical College in Dresden, Penkala came up with more than 70 inventions in the fields of mechanics, chemistry, physics, aeronautics, etc. However, he is by far best known for inventing the fountain pen. In 1907, in collaboration with Edmund Moster, he started the Penkala-Moster Company and built a pen-and-pencil factory, which was one of the biggest in the world at the time. The company still exists to this very day, as TOZ-Penkala (Tvornica Olovaka Zagreb which means Zagreb Pencil Factory). Some of his other notable inventions are the hot water bottle (Termofor), a rail-car brake, and an anode battery.

› The Balkan Pact

1934

On February 9th, 1934, a treaty was signed between Greece, Turkey, Romania and Yugoslavia, thereafter known as the Balkan Pact. The main goal of this treaty was to maintain a geopolitical status quo in the region in the aftermath of The Great War, guaranteeing the signatories’ territorial integrity and political independence against attack by another Balkan state. The countries involved agreed to suspend all claims against each other concerning disputed territories, which was important for the pursuit of peace as a rise in regional ethnic minority tensions had become evident after 1918. A number of countries chose not to sign the treaty: Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy and the Soviet Union, whose Governments all had territorial expansion in mind.

› Constantine XI Palaiologos

1404

Constantine XI, also known as the Marble Emperor, was the last reigning Byzantine Basileos. Born on February 9th 1404, he reigned from 1449 until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, when, according to legend, he shed his royal garments after the Ottomans had breached the Wall and joined his men in the last charge, during which he fell. One of the most prominent national heroes of Greece, it is – outside of academic circles – a less known fact that Constantine XI was half Serbian, his mother being Helena Dragaš, daughter of the Serbian Prince Constantine Dragaš, whose surname he added to his own dynastic moniker upon gaining the imperial throne. He even almost married a Serb, Mara Branković, but for a number of reasons the marriage never took place.

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to do list  |

January 30th - February 12th

rijeka carnival Do not miss the 30th International Carnival Parade

• croatian photography through the eyes of peter knapp World renowned photographer Peter Knapp offers his view on Croatian photography

samoborski fašnik Indulge in various carnival activities like concerts and street shows held throughout Samobor

• pbz zagreb indoors – atp world tour 250 The main events take place at 17:45h, (semi-finals: 15h on Feb 9th; finals: 19h on Feb 10th)

the kurentovanje international carnival festival The most high-profile carnival event in Slovenia

• mark eitzel – american music club A San Fransicso-based alternative rock band led by singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel

giusseppe verdi: aida Celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Verdi with his most spectacular opera

international festival “sarajevo winter – art of touch” Theatre plays, Concerts, Movies, Fine Arts Exhibitions, Panel Discussions, Literary Events...

• slash feat. myles kennedy & the conspirators Rock out with the legendary Slash, and lead singer Myles Kennedy

zagreb chocofest Indulge yourself in the pleasures of the world's finest chocolates at the 2nd Zagreb Chocofest

crotour - 6th international tourism fair & zagreb boat show Learn more about tourist agencies, hotels and all other important aspects of tourism in Croatia

• josipa lisac A renowned singer with a unique voice will invigorate your Valentines’ Day sentiments

beowine fair The largest wine manufacturing fair accompanied by the Tourism Fair

• belgrade international film festival (fest) Annual film festival held in Belgrade since 1971, guaranteed quality

dear art exhibition Exhibition is focused on the interconnectedness of art & politics

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Lasts until 17th February Various locations in Rijeka Lasts until 3rd March | 10–19h (Sun: 10-14h) Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb Feb 1st – Feb 12th | start at 10h Trg Kralja Tomislava, Samobor Feb 2nd – Feb 10th Dom sportova, Zagreb Feb 2nd – Feb 13th | 11-20h Ptuj Feb 3rd | 21h Dom Omladine, Belgrade Feb 4th | 19:30h Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb Feb 7th – March 21st Various locations in Rijeka Feb 8th | 21h Hala Tivolii, Ljubljana Feb 9th – Feb 14th | 11–20h Main square, Zagreb Feb 13th – Feb 17th | 10–18h Zagrebački Velesajam Feb 14th | 20:30h Sava Centar, Belgrade Feb 21st – Feb 24th | 10–19h Belgrade Fair Feb 22nd – March 3rd Belgrade Nov 29th 2012 – Feb 24th 2013 Museum of Cont Art Metelkova, Ljubljana


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Is Time Running out?