THE UNBIASED OBSERVERS, Issue 32


From 1 September 2011 this newsletter service is subscription only. See Balkan News Service for details.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Politics and others:

Albania:

  • OSCE-ODHIR Report Concludes that Albania’s 8 May Local Elections Are Transparent

Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Palestinian President Abbas Expects Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Support for Palestine’s UN Bid

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry Sells Redundant Weapons and Ammunition
  • Bulgaria’s Ruling Party Plans to Restrict Wiretapping

Croatia

  • Karadzic Asks whether Croatia’s Miroslav Tudjman will Be Allowed to Reveal State Secrets
  • Croatia’s Independence War Veterans Commemorate Anniversary

Cyprus:

  • Mari Blast Investigation in Cyprus Focuses on the Authenticity of a Document

Kosovo:

  • 2,500 Serbs in Kosovo Protest Building of a Bridge Connection with Albania
  • Anti-Trafficking Operation Underway in Kosovo

Macedonia

  • Philip Reeker: “Macedonia Needs to Help Itself”
  • Macedonia’s Former Foreign Minister Milososki “Macedonian Identity Threatened by the Name Issue”

Montenegro

  • The Montenegrin Prime Minister and Opposition Come to an Agreement over the Serbian Language Issue
  • German Ambassador Peter Plate Expects Montenegro to Meet EU Accession Talks Requirements

Romania

  • Victor Ponta “Crin Antonescu could be Elected President of Romania in 2012”

Serbia

  • Referendum on Kosovo Is Counter-Constitutional According to Serbia’s DSS Leader

Turkey

  • Turkey’s President Gul and Saudi King Abdullah Discuss Latest Events in Syria
  • Turkey Condemns Israel’s Decision on Construction of New Houses in E Jerusalem
  • PKK Kidnaps Two in SE Turkey

Economy:

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria’s FDI Collapses Dramatically: EUR 7.9 M Is the Amount of Foreign Direct Investments in 1 Half 2011

Croatia

  • Croatia’s Banks Nervous about EUR 4.6 B of Bad Debts
  • Unemployment in Croatia up by 1.7% in July

Greece

  • Kathimerini Newspaper: “May be Supply Side Economics?”

Romania

  • Romania Indicates the Possibility of State Aid to Chinese Investors

Serbia

  • Serbia’s Public Debt 41.3% of GDP in July
  • Serbian Union of Employees Urges the Government to Launch Immediate Reforms

Turkey

  • Turkey Facilitates Investment in the 1st Nuclear Plant Unemployment in May Down by 1.6%

BALKANS – POLITICS & OTHER

Albania

OSCE-ODHIR Report Concludes that Albania’s 8 May Local Elections Are Transparent

Tirana, Albania’s Prime Minister Sali Berisha qualified the report of OSCE-ODHIR on Albania’s May 8 local elections as objective and found the document as a valuable input for future elections, ATA reported. According to the report, the local elections were transparent. The Albanian Prime Minister commented that was a testimony that the system and rule of law in Albania works. Berisha invited the opposition to implement all the recommendations of the report. In answer to questions about changes to Constitutions articulated by opposition, Berisha underlined that OSCE/ODIHR report does never mention problems related to Constitution of Albania. “Constitution of this nation is completely democratic. The Report has only one suggestion, where mentions change of the Central Election Commission’s (CEC) composition, but this is only a suggestion. I fully accept all the recommendations, including the 2009, and invite [Socialist party leader Edi] Rama to compile the Electoral Code on the basis of these recommendations”, Berisha said.

The OSCE – ODHIR acted as observer to local elections in Albania. The overall assessment of the elections is that they are competitive and transparent, although held in a polarized environment. The report also notes that as in previous elections, the two largest parties have not fulfilled their electoral duties in a responsible manner, negatively affecting the administration of the elections. As per the document, there were significant problems in some 10 per cent of voting centres like delays in the ballot counting process. The document underlines the highly disputed post-election actions taken by the CEC with regard to determining the results of the Tirana mayoral race, which further undermines the trust in CEC as an impartial and independent body.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

Palestinian President Abbas Expects Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Support for Palestine’s UN Bid 

Sarajevo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is on a working visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in Sarajevo on 15 August that he had outlined to Bosnian officials the plans of the Palestinian authorities to request Palestine’s full membership of the United Nations, adding that he expected Bosnia and Herzegovina’s support.

Palestinian President Abbas and BiH Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj discussed the last developments on Palestinian – Israeli relations and Palestine’s plan to persist with UN full membership, FENA reported.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry Sells Redundant Weapons and Ammunition

Sofia, Bulgaria’s Defense Ministry is planning to assign a private company with the task of selling unneeded weapons, ammunition and specialized equipment, reports Novinite.com.The information was reported also by the Bulgarian Sega daily. The Ministry announced it is prepared to sign a 4-year contract with a company to accept, organize and sell everything the army no longer needs against a commission of 2% of the sales for the private merchant.

Currently, the above activities are assigned to the “Supply and Trade” company, which is owned by the Defense Ministry. Since the beginning of the year, it had sold 2 freight AN-26 planes, 6 tank tows, about 80 special vehicles, 24 rockets without warheads. The latter were purchased mostly for scrap.

The company has launched recently a second for 2011 sale of 6 MI-24 helicopters with slightly reduced prices, compared to the first one – between EUR 174,116 and ЕUR 148,000 and EUR 209,000. Тen companies confirmed their interest during the first sale attempt, but later withdrew over the high prices. The Ministry wishes to sell the old choppers and use the money to repair 6 other MI-24, the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily writes.

Another 6 MI-24s, nearly 100 T-72 tanks, 80 fusillade systems, 120 armored machines, several thousands of automatic guns, machine guns, shells and others will be listed for sale by the end of the year. A private company with good management can bring the Defense Ministry some EUR 26 M in revenues from the sales. The State-owned company, according to reports receives a 3% commission.

The announcement of the public tender includes a clause where it is written the money from any sale has to be wired to the Ministry in 10 days while the seller company will receive its payment within 90 days. So far there is only one candidate – Ammunition Group, Dnevnik informs, citing their own sources at the Ministry.

Bulgaria’s Ruling Party Plans to Restrict Wiretapping

Sofia, MPs from Bulgaria’s ruling center-right party GERB plan to table legal amendments drastically restricting the use of special surveillance devices.

A special working group consisting of GERB MPs, experts from Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry and the Council of Ministers have said that the proposals will be given a priority review after the Parliament’s summer recess, according to accounts of Bulgarian Trud daily.

An important draft amendment to the Special Surveillance Devices Act, the Secretary General of the Interior Ministry will take over the responsibility for issuing permits for the use of Special Surveillance Devices. Currently, it is the Interior Minister who performs this role. The shift of responsibilities will imply a chance of the Interior Ministry Act.

Croatia

Karadzic Asks whether Croatia’s Miroslav Tudjman will Be Allowed to Reveal State Secrets

Zagreb, Wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who is on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, sent a letter asking Croatia to clarify if Miroslav Tudjman would be freed from his obligation to maintain state secret during his meetings with Karadzic’s defence counsel, Hina reported.

Radovan Karadžić was arrested in Belgrade and extradited into International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia custody in The Hague in July 2008, as the 44th Serb/Montenegrin suspect sent to The Hague.

In July, The Hague subpoenaed Miroslav Tudjman, former head of the Croatian Intelligence Agency (HIS) and eldest son of first Croatian president Franjo Tudjman to testify in the case of Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on trial for war crimes against Croats and Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Karadzic had requested that Tudjman speak with the defence team as he allegedly has an “in-depth knowledge about the delivery of weapons to Bosnian Muslims, in which Croatia was an intermediary.”

Referring to the “reports of American intelligence services,” Karadzic says that the United States ambassador Peter Galbraith, with president Bill Clinton’s permission, gave green light to Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to import weapons from Iran and transport them to the army of Bosnian muslims at the end of April 1994, in violation of the United Nations embargo, Croatian Times writes. According to Karadzic’s defence, from May 1994 through to September 1995, hundreds of tonnes of weapons were smuggled through Croatia destined for the Muslim forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Karadzic has been indicted on one count of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity, including extermination, murder, persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, deportation and other inhumane acts, amongst other crimes.

Croatia’s Independence War Veterans Commemorate Anniversary

Zagreb, Some 200 veterans of Croatia’s war of independence from former Yugoslavia gathered in Nemetin near Osijek to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the biggest war prisoners exchange that took place on 14 August 1992.On that day. 714 Croatians left Serbian concentration camps in an exchange for Serb soldiers held by Croatian forces, Croatian Times wrote.

The Croatian Society of Serbian Concentration Camp Inmates (HDLSK) erected a monument that attracts several hundred survivors every year, daily 24 Sata writes. The Society’s president Danijel Rehak says that some 30,000 Croatian prisoners were held in Serbian campс.

Cyprus

Mari Blast Investigation in Cyprus Focuses on the Authenticity of a Document

Nicosia, A media report suggesting that a Presidential Palace document linked to the seizure of 98 containers of Iranian munitions, which exploded a month ago killing 13, had been altered. Daily Politis reported that investigators seem to doubt the authenticity of the minutes kept by the Presidential Palace during a February 6, 2009 meeting, which decided to seize the cargo destined for Syria. In a written statement, police “categorically denied” the allegation, adding that the document was authentic, Cyprus Mail wrote.

Police official Michalis Katsounotos said both the document and the computer used to write it had been examined and its authenticity “has been fully confirmed.”

Investigators have said that minutes related to the case have been found to have inconsistencies. Police are already investigating the alleged alteration of one such document by a foreign ministry officer, who allegedly added a paragraph that more or less exonerated former Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou. Kyprianou has denied any involvement in the affair.

Kosovo

2,500 Serbs in Kosovo Protest Building of a Bridge Connection with Albania

Pristina, Residents of the village of Priluzje in the Kosovo municipality of Vucitrn announced that they will block the road leading to the neighbouring village of Glavotina, and thus protest against the plan to build a bridge over the Sitnica River, which would connect the Albanian villages at the foot of the Cicavica mountain with the major road Pristina-Mitrovica, Tanjug reported.

Around 2,500 Serbs live in Priluzje, and several thousand Albanians in the foothills of Cicavica. The Serbs in Priluzje oppose the construction of the bridge, since they are afraid of possible provocations and attacks of Albanians, said residents of this village. The people living in this village have also discussed the matter with KFOR Commander Erhard Buehler.

“Buehler did not know what problems could arise with the construction of this bridge, and we told him that if he wants Priluzje to stay in Kosovo, that bridge should not be built.

“If that bridge is built, it will disturb the fragile peace that we have managed to establish,” said Vucitrn Mayor Zoran Rakic.

Buehler will discuss the construction of this bridge with representatives of the Kosovo institutions, and then he will inform Serbs about the outcome of these talks. Awaiting Buehler’s answer, the Serbs in Priluzje announced that they will block the road leading towards the Sitnica River on 15 August, where the machines for bridge construction are expected to pass.

Anti-Trafficking Operation Underway in Kosovo

Pristina, Kosovo police have arrested 19 people in the vicinity of the eastern Kosovo city of Gnjilane on suspicion of human trafficking and prostitution.The police also identified a trafficking victim whom they housed in a relevant institution, Tanjug reported. The arrested group included six persons from Kosovo and also 13 women of Serb nationality.The police operation has begun a few months ago.

The operation involves the participation of investigators of the Kosovo Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, with the support of the Regional Operational Support Unit, and is approved and supervised by the District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Gnjilane.

Macedonia

Philip Reeker: “Macedonia Needs to Help Itself”

Skopje, Philip Reeker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs within the US Department of State, after meeting with Defense Minister Fatmir Besimi on 15 August said that the strong partnership between the United States and Macedonia was being resumed and that he came to the country as a US representative at events marking the 10th anniversary of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, not as a factor in solving the name issue.

“It’s not my job to help Macedonia, Macedonia needs to help itself. US is a great partner of Macedonia, but this question has to be posed to your premier and your leaders,” said Reeker in an answer to a question whether he would help in solving the name row as a friend of Macedonia after his term as ambassador to the country.

“I was asked to represent the United States at an event marking the 10th anniversary since the signing of the Ohrid Accord over the weekend, when I said that Macedonia was a 21 century model of how similar issues could be settled peacefully. Hopefully, Macedonia will be an example for solving other issues and it will be able to move forward for the

well-being of its citizens,” Reeker was quoted by MIA Agency as saying.

Macedonia’s Former Foreign Minister Milososki “Macedonian Identity Threatened by the Name Issue”

Skopje, “This is our way of saying [up yours] to them [the Greeks],” Antonio Milososki, Macedonia’s former Foreign Minister, told the Guardian in a recent interview about the statue of Alexander the Great in the city of Skopje. The statue, erected recently in Skopje, is interpreted as a provocative gesture to the crisis-engulfed Greece and it has sparked additional tension in the Macedonia-Greece name related dispute.

“Alexander the Great, in fact, had no passport or birth certificate. This project is about asserting Macedonia’s identity at a time when it is under threat because of the name issue. We all live in a geographic area where we share a common past but our attitude towards history is inclusive. The Greeks’ is exclusive,” Milososki said.

Montenegro

The Montenegrin Prime Minister and Opposition Come to an Agreement over the Serbian Language Issue

Podgorica, Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic and representatives of the opposition reached an agreement on 15 August with regard to issues of the Serbian language and citizenship, which was the opposition’s condition for providing a two-third majority in the parliament that is necessary for the electoral law to be adopted, Tanjug reported.

Luksic conferred with leader of the Socialist People’s Party (SNP) Srdjan Milic, leader of the New Serb Democracy (NOVA) Andrija Mandic, deputy leader of the Movement for Changes Branko Radulovic. The meeting was also attended by Minister of Education Slavoljub Stijepovic.

After the three-hour meeting, Mandic told reporters that the Montenegrin government agreed to amend the laws on education and citizenship, so that the parliament could then adopt the electoral law, which constitutes the EU’s first condition for granting Montenegro the date of pre-accession talks.

German Ambassador Peter Plate Expects Montenegro to Meet EU Accession Talks Requirements

Podgorica, Montenegro has made substantial progress along the path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, outgoing German Ambassador Peter Plate said, adding that he expects that the country will meet the requirements for the opening of EU accession talks, MINA reported.

Romania

Victor Ponta “Crin Antonescu could be Elected President of Romania in 2012”

Bucharest, Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Victor Ponta said in Suceava on 15 August, thаt leader of National Liberal Party (PNL) Crin Antonescu could be elected president of Romania in 2012, if Romania’s President Train Basescu does not change his position in terms of a future Social Liberal Union (USL) Prime Minister in case the USL alliance wins parliamentary elections, Mediafax reported.

President Traian Basescu said on the private television channel B1 TV on 4 August, that he would not want a ‘cohabitation’ government after elections in 2012 with the Social Liberal Union (USL).

Leftist Social Democrats and rightist Liberals and Conservatives formed USL to oust the center-right government in the next general election set for 2012. The three parties signed a protocol forming the Social Liberal Union on 5 February and agreed to present one candidate for all parties at local elections, planning also to form the next government together.

Serbia

Referendum on Kosovo Is Counter-Constitutional According to Serbia’s DSS Leader

Belgrade, Leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) Vojislav Kostunica stated on 15 August that any referendum at which citizens would be required to choose between the EU and Kosovo would be counter-Constitutional, illegitimate and illegal.

“Citizens cannot be asked to state their mind on the handover of Kosovo at a referendum, Kostunica said in a release for the media and added that anyone who wishes to hand Kosovo over to Albanians would need to change the Constitution first, instead of calling an illegal referendum on the choice between the EU and Kosovo,” Kostunica said quoted by Tanjug.

He commented that Brussels has presented Serbia with the choice between Kosovo and the EU as far back as 2008, when a majority of EU members recognised Kosovo’s illegally declared independence, and recalled that this is the reason why the government was dissolved the very same year. In his words, Serbia has been following a path that has no alternative for three years now and that the incumbent government insists on the policy according to which the EU is the country’s top priority, instead of defence of territorial integrity.

Kostunica points out that the Constitution explicitly states that Kosovo is an integral and unalienable part of Serbia. This is the reason why calling a referendum where people would need to choose between Kosovo and the EU would be counter-Constitutional, illegitimate and illegal, Kostunica underscored.

Turkey

Turkey’s President Gul and Saudi King Abdullah Discuss Latest Events in Syria

Jeddah, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz discussed Syria with Turkey’s visiting President Abdullah Gul at the royal palace in Jeddah. President Gul’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes within an agreement between Riyadh and Ankara regarding the importance of putting an end to the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in Syria, according to Al Arabiya.

“There is an agreement between the stands of both Saudi Arabia and Turkey over the Syrian crisis. Both states stress the importance of putting an end to the bloody crackdown on protesters,” Abdullahj Al Shimary, a Saudi political analyst, told Al Arabiya.

Turkey Condemns Israel’s Decision on Construction of New Houses in E Jerusalem

Ankara, Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned final approval of the Israeli government to construct 1,600 new houses in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem, Xinhua reports.

A statement issued by the Turkish Foreign ministry on 13 August reads that Turkey has reacted over Israeli government’s earlier decision to construct more than 900 houses in Har Homa in East Jerusalem.

“With the construction activities it continued in East Jerusalem and West Bank, which are under occupation, and with the other implementations contradicting international law, Israel aims to change historical, geographical, cultural and religious tissue of East Jerusalem. Israel is in a serious mistake and it is impossible for it to achieve success by seizing territories of Palestinian people,” the statement says.

PKK Kidnaps Two in SE Turkey

Ankara, Members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) on 13 August kidnapped two people in southeastern Turkey, the Anatolia news agency reported.

A group of PKK members stopped a minibus in Senyayla region in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir and kidnapped two people, according to the report.

Meanwhile, other PKK members set on fire two vehicles of a private firm in Tepekoyu region between the towns of Lice and Kulp in the same province, the report added.

On 12 August, three PKK members stormed a construction site for a hydroelectric power plant near the town of Karliova of Bingol province, and kidnapped three workers, said a statement issued by Bingol governor’s office, Xinhua wrote.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the banned PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Some 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the PKK in the past over two decades.

BALKANS ECONOMY

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s FDI Collapses Dramatically: EUR 7.9 M Is the Amount of Foreign Direct Investments in 1 Half 2011

Sofia, Bulgaria attracted a deplorable EUR 7.9 M in foreign direct investment in the first six months of 2011, according to latest data from the Bulgarian National Bank. Compared with the first six months of 2010 when the foreign investments in Bulgaria reached EUR 532.7 M, Bulgaria’s H1 2011 FDI declined 67 times. The newly announced H1 2011 FDI result, however, is still an improvement after all throughout the first five months of the year Bulgaria kept registering a negative inflow of foreign investments. After in January-May 2011, Bulgaria’s FDI amounted to a negative EUR 26.9 M, the balance of investment appears to have been reversed in June 2011, reaching a positive EUR 7.9 M.

Bulgaria’s FDI continues to collapse after the country got only EUR 1.458 B in foreign investments in 2010, and EUR 3 B in 2009, down from the peaks in 2007 (EUR 9 B), and 2008 (EUR 6 B).

Croatia

Croatia’s Banks Nervous about EUR 4.6 B of Bad Debts

Zagreb, Тhe concerns of Croatian banks grow over the EUR 4.6 B of debts considered to be in arrears or with repayments late three or more months, daily Jutarnji List writes.

That is three times more than in 2008 (last pre-crisis year) and two times more than in September 2009, Croatian Times writes. Two thirds of the bad debts belong to companies, and one third to individuals.

The total number of debts has grown 7.2 per cent since last year’s July, with the share of bad credits rising to 34.2 per cent.

HNB (Croatian National Bank) estimates that bad credits could grow to EUR 5 B by the end of the year.

Unemployment in Croatia up by 1.7% in July

Zagreb, The number of unemployed grew 1.7 per cent this July compared to last year, latest Croatian Employment Services (HZZ) data shows.

There were 287,595 unemployed registered in July 2011, 84 more indivdiuals than in June and 4,803 more than the same month 2010.

Greece

Kathimerini Newspaper: “May be Supply Side Economics?”

Athens, Kathimerini newspaper outlines the grim macroeconomic news from Greece in the last 10 days. The state budget deficit stood at EUR 15.5 B euros in the January-July period compared to EUR 12.4 B in the same period a year earlier although the government stressed the figure was lower than the revised deficit figure of EUR 16.5 B for the same period cited in the 2011-15 fiscal strategy plan.As per the report of the Hellenic Statistical Authority released last week, GDP shrank by 6.9 % yoy in the second quarter after an 8.1 % annual drop in Q1.  Greece will be lucky if the drop in the real GDP winds up around 3.9 % in 2011 as envisaged in the upwardly revised forecast by the EU and IMF.Unployment rate rose to 16.6 % in May.

According to author Dimitris Kontogiannis, the troika seems to have been more interested in Greece meeting the fiscal targets rather than putting pressure on the government to overhaul and downsize the public sector and push forward with structural institutional reforms. […] So it may be time for both the government and the troika to discover supply side macroeconomics implying that a reduction in regulation, market liberalization and lower marginal tax rates can boost economic growth by encouraging investment and providing incentives for people to work.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the troika, or the representatives of Greece’s creditors, the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund would come to monitor the country’s progress on August 29 instead of a week earlier.

Romania

Romania Indicates the Possibility of State Aid to Chinese Investors

Bucharest, Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc told Chinese investors that Romania would grant state aid if their investments in the country are large enough and create jobs, Mediafax reported.

Boc, who is on a visit to China, assured potential investors that Romanian and EU laws allow the granting of state aid under certain conditions. Romania is looking to China for investors in several projects, including the construction of two nuclear reactors, new coal facilities for thermal power producer Termoelectrica, and a new subway line.

Serbia

Serbia’s Public Debt 41.3% of GDP in July

Belgrade, Serbia’s public debt totalled EUR 13,56 B at the end of July, which represents 41,3 per cent of the country’s GDP, the Serbian Ministry of Finance released on 15 August. The law on budget system limits Serbia’s public debt to up to 45 per cent of the GDP.

At the end of July, Serbia’s total direct obligations added up to around EUR 11,69 B, with internal debt at about EUR 5,57 B and external debt at EUR 6,12 B.

Total indirect obligations at the end of July reached EUR 1,87 B, Tanjug wrote citing data of the Finance Ministry. Serbia’s public debt totalled EUR 13,29 B at the end of June, which implies that it increased by around EUR 270 M during July.

The country’s public debt at the end of 2010 reached EUR 12,16 B, which constituted 42,9 per cent of the GDP. At the end of 2009, the public debt amounted to 9,85 B or 34,8 per cent of the GDP, which means that the sum increased by around EUR 2,3 B during 2010.

At the end of 2008, Serbia’s public debt totalled EUR 8,78 B, or 29,2 per cent of the GDP.

Serbian Union of Employees Urges the Government to Launch Immediate Reforms

Belgrade, The Union of Employees of Serbia (UPS) urged the government  to start radical reforms of the public sector, the Pension and Disability Fund (PIO) and the tax system in the face of a new wave of economic crisis. The UPS has warned that the key reforms should not be delayed any longer, since their implementation is the only guarantee that the domestic economy and the purchasing power will no longer weaken, Tanjyg writes.

UPS underscores the necessity to start an immediate reform of the public sector in Serbia, which is the largest in Europe with 535,000 employees and makes up 30.6 percent of the total number of employees, which is nearly three times more than the average in the EU countries.

It is also necessary to limit the incomes in the public sector to the average one in other economic sectors and reduce the number of state agencies, which is at the moment 128, the request adds. Thereby, further indebtedness of the state will be prevented as well as the possibility of pronouncing bankruptcy in case of continuation of negative trends.

Turkey

Turkey Facilitates Investment in the 1st Nuclear Plant Unemployment in May Down by 1.6%

Ankara, Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority, or EMRA, has finished drafting the regulation for the country’s first nuclear power plant to be built by Russia in Akkuyu, in the southern province of Mersin, Anatolia news agency reported.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear power plant company will be required to set up a new company registered in Turkey with total capital of EUR 563.8 M (US$814.3 M) in order to start the construction of the four power units with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts in Akkuyu. The total cost of the plant construction in Akkuyu will be about US$20 billion.

The company will be required to pay EUR 57.6 M (US$ 83.2 М) as a guarantee to the regulatory authority in the next few months.

“Bearing in the mind Turkey’s need for nuclear energy and the size of the investment, we have prepared a regulation which eases the investment,” EMRA Chairman Hasan Köktaş said during a meeting in Ankara.

As companies building coal or natural gas power plants are required to have capital totaling around 20 percent of the total size of the investment, the Russian nuclear power plant company will be required to have total capital equaling roughly 5 percent of the total size of the investment, he said. “Moreover, we have decided that the maximum limit for the capital of the companies will be about EUR 61.5 M (US$ 88.9 M).”

(Mariela Zamfirova, MBA; 16 August 2011)

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About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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