Monday, October 29, 2007

Police seize over 6 kilos of heroin

Belgrade, Oct 29, 2007 – The Serbian Ministry of Interior stated that the police, members of the Security and Intelligence Agency (BIA) and border police have cut off a drug route through which heroin was smuggled.

The statement adds that at the Batrovci border crossing, 6.607 kilos of heroin and 8.795 kilos of paracetamol were found in a Nissan Primera with Italian licence plates, driven by Italian citizen Fabio B. (50).

The drug was packed in 19 parcels covered in sellotape and hidden in a specially made bunker under the vehicle’s rear bumper.

Fabio B. was detained in custody for illegal production, storage and sale of narcotic drugs. He will be taken before the investigating judge at the Sremska Mitrovica district court, adds the statement.

Robne Kuce Beograd sold for €360m

Belgrade, Oct 29, 2007 – Insolvent department store chain company Robne Kuce Beograd has been sold today at a public auction for €360 million to Verano Motors, owned by Radomir Zivanic from Belgrade.
Ten domestic and foreign companies took part in the auction held today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The initial price was €140 million.

Almost 240,000 square metres of office space, that is, a total of 34 department stores, was offered on sale, including department stores in Belgrade as well as Bijelo Polje, Subotica, Kikinda, Vranje, Pirot, Uzice, Backa Topola, Nis, Vrsac, Bor, Zrenjanin and other towns.

In order to take part in the bidding, the prospective buyers had to submit bank guarantees of €44 million and to purchase tender documentation whose price was €7,000.

The documentation was purchased by nearly 40 potential participants.

The Serbian Privatisation Agency issued an advertisement on the sale of this insolvent company as a legal entity on July 27 this year.

Serbia will be more flexible once unilateral Kosovo independence threats stop

Belgrade, Oct 29, 2007 – Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic announced readiness of Belgrade to be even more flexible in negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija once there are no more threats of a unilateral proclamation and recognition of independence of the southern Serbian province.
In an interview with daily Blic, Jeremic said that as long as any document put on the table clearly excludes the possibility of unilateral proclamation and recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

He said that he would like a compromise solution to be found by December 10, but doubted it is a realistic aim.

Hence it is of utmost importance to make substantial progress in negotiations to set foundations for the position of the international community that talks need to continue. However, the threat of unilateral moves puts a big burden on the whole process and thus also burdens the chance to find a compromise, Jeremic said.

Commenting on the fact that the troika could come up with another, final document by the end of the negotiating process, he said that Belgrade shall not, under any circumstances, agree to any offer jeopardising and relativising Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia.

He said he believes that compromise is possible, a model which brings together the legitimate requests of Kosovo Albanians for a high degree of self-government with the equally legitimate Belgrade request for the preservation of sovereignty, which is why both sides should talk until a solution is reached.

According to Jeremic, everything else is not a solution but mere rephrasing of the problem in the Balkans and it is now increasingly clear that more international actors are becoming interested in a precedent, such as the province’s independence.

When asked under which conditions Belgrade would agree that an EU mission comes to Kosovo-Metohija, Jeremic recalled that not even during the talks led by Martti Ahtisaari did Belgrade pose amendments to the proposal defining the European presence in the province.

We did not do that because we believe that the EU should have a leading role in administering Kosovo-Metohija after a compromise solution to the status is reached. However, any change in the way the province is administered must be preceded by an appropriate decision by the UN Security Council. We now have Resolution 1244 according to which the UN mission has clear legitimacy to administer the province and this can be changed by a new resolution, explained Jeremic.

He stressed that Brussels and Belgrade advocate the joint policy that EU accession and negotiations on the status of Kosovo-Metohija are two different processes.

Our decision on Kosovo-Metohija must not in any way be related to our decision to join the EU. This is a choice which our country cannot make. No one should put Serbian citizens in a situation of choosing between those two issues. The European road is equally important to Serbia as is the preservation of its territorial wholeness, said Jeremic.

Salaries in public sector to be adjusted with inflation

Belgrade, Oct 29, 2007 - Serbian Minister of Finance Mirko Cvetkovic said that the Ministry today proposed that the Socio-Economic Council of the Republic of Serbia adjust salaries in the public sector with inflation next year and not to raise them beyond that rate.

Speaking at a press conference held after the meeting with Council members which dealt with macro economic policy of prices and salaries in the public sector, Cvetkovic said that the Ministry proposed that salaries remain within the pay freeze level, which is in accordance with inflation.

He explained that differentiation will be applied within the public sector, with the aim of harmonising and approximating salaries, and added that Council members agreed that this proposal is a solid base for further talks.

At least two meetings should be held next week with representatives of trade unions.

The Minister said that the reduction of public expenditure within GDP next year will be 1%, and the state budget will participate in public expenditure with less than 0.7%.

Cvetkovic said that the interim surplus in the budget for nine months of this year is RSD 37 billion and added that there is a possibility that this year will end without the planned budgetary deficit.

The reason for that is a reduced level of expenditure, first of all in the field of the National Investment Plan.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Round table on draft law on denationalisation

The Ministry of Finance is organising a round table on the draft law on denationalisation on October 29 at 12 noon in the Ministry’s premises, Kneza Milosa 20.

Participating will be representatives of relevant ministries, faculties, courts and associations of lawyers and economists.

State Secretary Slobodan Ilic and Assistant Minister of Finance Milorad Bjelopetrovic will open the debate.

Ten potential buyers for Robne Kuce Beograd

Belgrade, Oct 26, 2007 – The Serbian Privatisation Agency stated that on October 29, ten foreign and domestic companies will bid for the department stores company Robne Kuce Beograd, in bankruptcy.

According to the agency, the starting price is €140 million, and bidding will be held at the Hyatt Hotel, beginning at 11 am.

Due to major public interest, the bidding will be broadcast live on the second channel of the Radio Television of Serbia. A three member committee for public auctions of the agency will be in charge of the bidding.

Within seven days from the day when the auction is held, the buyer will be obliged to seek consent from the committee for competition protection and in case of a positive response the buyer will be obliged to pay within seven days of being informed of the decision at the latest.

The decision on the sale of the common debtor as a legal entity was brought at the session of the committee of creditors of the company Robne Kuce Beograd on August 24 in 2006, and the sale was announced on July 27 this year.

Austrian investors interested in investment in construction, tourism

Belgrade, Oct 26, 2007 – Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic met today with a delegation of businesspeople and investors from Salzburg, who expressed interest in investment in the construction and tourism sectors.

Dinkic spoke with Vice-Governor of Salzburg Wilfried Haslauer and representatives of the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce and interested investors on the business climate and investment opportunities in Serbia.

Representatives of Austrian Kronospan announced the building of a new plant of floor coverings in Lapovo, which will be a greenfield investment.

The visit of the Salzburg delegation comes after the Munich fair Expo Real 2007, in which Dinkic presented investment opportunities in Serbia as well as master plans for Stara Planina and Palic.

Foundations for economic, cultural cooperation of Baden-Württemberg, Serbia established

Stuttgart, Oct 26, 2007 – Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic expressed satisfaction today in Stuttgart, after visiting the German province of Baden Württemberg, that Serbia is able to set foundations for economic and cultural cooperation with this strong German province.

Djelic met today with Baden-Württemberg Minister President Günther Oettinger, with who he reached an agreement on forming a joint commission of the Serbian government and authorities of Baden-Württemberg, which would work on speeding up Serbia’s EU integration, economic and cultural cooperation.

I am very pleased that today we established these connections. This is the first visit of a Serbian government official to Baden-Württemberg in the past 32 years, Djelic told journalists after the meeting with Oettinger and a delegation of local businesspeople.

Oettinger said that as the Serbian nation and economy are progressing, Baden-Württemberg has an interest to cooperate with Serbia.

CEO of the Baden-Württemberg Agency for International Economic and Scientific Cooperation Michael Hagenmeyer said that Serbia is now attractive for foreign investors, especially in the areas of water management, energy and renewable energy.

He however, highlighted that political stability needs to be established and that ownership issue need to be resolved.

Djelic will travel to Hamburg tonight to attend the German Social Democratic Party Congress tomorrow.

Injustice redressed by rehabilitating Slobodan Jovanovic

Belgrade, Oct 26, 2007 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica expressed great satisfaction today because of decision on the Belgrade District Court to rehabilitate Slobodan Jovanovic.

"That is a very important thing for Serbia because we redressed an injustice and repaid the debt to a great man of the Serbian people Slobodan Jovanovic.

When we passed the law on rehabilitation we believed that justice is possible and that Serbia must not disregard and forget great injustices committed by the communist regime.

For the Serbian people Slobodan Jovanovic was never a war criminal and traitor to his country and today's court decision is only a confirmation that the state and Serbian people together pay due respects to Slobodan Jovanovic," reads the Serbian Prime Minister's statement.

Conclusion of cooperation with Hague Tribunal in Serbia’s interest

Belgrade, Oct 26, 2007 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica met today with Hague Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and said that there is determination and political willingness on behalf of Serbia to conclude cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.

Kostunica stressed at the meeting that fulfilment of all international obligations is primarily in Serbia’s interest, as well as the conclusion of cooperation with the Tribunal.

Del Ponte emphasised it is important for the Tribunal to have indictees stand trial as soon as possible.

Also present at the meeting were President of the National Council for Cooperation with ICTY Rasim Ljajic and Secretary of the National Security Council Miodrag Rakic.