THE UNBIASED OBSERVERS, Issue 42


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

 

Monday, 29 August 2011

 

Politics and others:

Albania

  • Albanian Miners’s Talks with ACR Failed

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria’s GERB Ruling Party to Announce President’s Nominee Name on 4 September

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • RS President Milorad Dodic “Forming the Bosnia-Herzegovina Government Could Begin in Several Days or Hours”

Croatia

  • Croatia Protests Serbia’s President Criticism over Croatian PM’s Messages on Kosovo

Kosovo

  • Blockades and Counter-Blockades in N Kosovo

Greece

  • Greece’s Civil Servants’ Pay on the Agenda to be Discussed by the Government and Troika This Week
  • Fires Under Control in Greece

Serbia

  • Serbia’s President Tadic “Serbia Does Not Want War”
  • Serbian President to Host UNESCO Summit on 2 September

Turkey

  • “We have lost confidence in Syria,” Turkey’s President Gül
  • Sundays’ Zaman “Orders for the recent PKK attacks on Turkish targets have been given by PKK Syrian leader Fehman Hüseyin”
  • Turkish Government Returns Property Taken Away from Minority Foundations
  • Three Soldiers Died in SE Turkey, Two PKK Members Killed

 

Economy:

Croatia

  • Croatia’s Government Provides EUR 109 M for Construction of Ships by Brodosplit Shipyard

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria Stands No Chance to Catch up with Minimum Wage and Living Standards in the EU
  • Bulgaria Privatises Freight Services of the State Railways
  • “Lukoil Has Not Committed Tax Violations”, Lukoil CEO Tells the US Ambassador to Bulgaria

Greece

  • Greece’s Alpha and Eurobank Merge; Investments from Qatar in the New Merger
  • Finland Urges Greece for Quick Resolution of the Collateral Issue
  • Sixty One Percent of Tax-Inspected Companies in Greece Are Offenders

Montenegro

  • BiH Interested in the Port of Bar, Montenegro
  • Italy’s A2A Sticks to Investment in Montenegro’s EPCG

Romania

  • Romania 6 Month Prospects Pessimistic
  • Romania Suspended from Trading Green Certificates

Serbia

  • Serbia Sets Development Bank before Next Elections
  • Serbia’s Budget Deficit Higher than Planned

Turkey

  • Turkey Registers a Slight Drop in July’s Foreign Trade Deficit to US$ 9.01 Billion
  • Turkey and Germany Expect to Strike a US$ 1 Billion Deal with Indonesia by Selling 2 HDW class 209 Submarines

 

BALKANS – POLITICS & OTHER

Albania

Albanian Miners’s Talks with ACR Failed

Tirana, Miners at chromium mine in the northern town of Bulqiza have turned down an invitation by Rothraut Skatche-Depich, the President of Albanian Chrome (ACR), the company operating the mine, to sit down for talks and resolve the current situation. The ACR’s executive board members, headed by Mrs. Skatche-Depich, traveled end of week to Bulqiza to call on miners to return to work, pledging that the company has already met their demands for a 20% increase in salaries, more transparency on the company’s investments in the mine and improvement of the working conditions. Mrs. Skatche-Depich assured miners that “ACR would not penalize participants in the illegal strike and voiced concern that organizers of the hunger strike, Kol Nikolla and Taf Koleci, insisted on new moves that would not be in the miners’ interest.”

 

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s GERB Ruling Party to Announce President’s Nominee Name on 4 September

Sofia, The ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, or GERB Party has finally decided on its presidential and vice presidential nominations. The news came in a speech of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is also the head of the GERB election campaign. Tsvetanov is also quoted by the media that the nominees’ names will be made known on 4 September.

Boyko Borissov’s GERB Party held an official official ceremony on the opening of its renovated party headquarters in downtown Sofia on 28 August. The headquarters is meant to project a fresh, modern image of the party before the local and presidential elections scheduled for 23 October.

GERB’s election campaign slogan is “We Are Building Bulgaria.”

The slogan itself sounds a little bit outdated because ever since the fall of the communist regime in 1989, every Bulgarian government has been building a seriously ruined nowadays Bulgaria.

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina .

RS President Milorad Dodic “Forming the Bosnia-Herzegovina Government Could Begin in Several Days or Hours”

Pale, Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik has said that the RS has been ready for quite some time to take part in Bosnia-Herzegovina’s institutions.

He added that, as far as the RS was concerned, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers could be immediately formed.

“The RS wants what belongs to it and those are four ministerial positions, one of which is Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Foreign Ministry,” the RS President said, quoted by B92 .

He stressed that he did not have enough confidence in a Bosniak performing duties of a foreign minister, including Social Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina (SDP) leader Zlatko Lagumdžija. He said that he would not want the situation in which current Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj was going around “badmouthing the RS”.
Dodik said that, as far as the RS was concerned, forming of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Council of Ministers could begin in just several days or hours.

 

Croatia

Croatia Protests Serbia’s President Criticism over Croatian PM’s Messages on Kosovo

Zagreb, The State Secretary for Political Affairs at the Croatian Foreign Ministry, Mario Nobilo, has expressed dissatisfaction to Serbian Ambassador Stanimir Vukicevic over unacceptable and insulting statements made by Serbia’s President Boris Tadic and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, the Croatian ministry said in a statement on 27 August.

The Serbian ambassador was told that Croatia recognised Kosovo as an independent country with which it develops, just like with all the other Southeast European countries, including Serbia, friendly relations based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that it contributes to regional stability and security in the European spirit, the ministry said.

At the same time, Croatia strongly supports the protection of all human and minority rights in Kosovo as well as the restoration of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Croatia’s policy of promoting dialogue and mutual respect is in line with the policy of its EU partners and NATO allies and Croatia will not abandon it. That policy also includes the prospect of membership in Euro-Atlantic structures for all Southeast European countries, the statement said.

 

Kosovo

Blockades and Counter-Blockades in N Kosovo

Pristina, A new roadblock has been set up by Serbs in the north of Kosovo after being removed on 10 August. The roadblock has been set up in the area of Zupçe village, on the road linking the Serb-dominated city of Mitrovica with Ribariç leading to the border crossing point of Bernjak in Zubin Potok commune. Cars, busses and other transportation means are forced to pass through alternative secondary roads in Zveçan area. Kosovo press reported on 27 August that representatives from three Albanian-dominated villages in the northern commune of Leposaviç have warned that “they plan to block the Iber road, if Serbs refuse to remove road block in Rudare and allow free movement of people and students to the high schools in Mitrovica by the beginning of the new academic year in the next few days.

 

Greece

Greece’s Civil Servants’ Pay on the Agenda to be Discussed by the Government and Troika This Week

Athens, Plans to introduce a new across-the-board pay structure in the civil service will top the agenda of discussions between the government and the representatives of its lenders this week, amid concern in Brussels and Washington that Greece is dragging its feet over the reform, Kathimrini reports.

Sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that top officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika, who will begin a visit to Athens on 29 August are unhappy that the government has yet to arrive at a wage formula for public servants.

Last week, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Administrative Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas suggested that the new pay policy would be phased in over seven rather than three years as previously agreed.

Fires Under Control in Greece

Athens, The wildfires raging across Greece have been put under control after hundreds of firefighters, helped by Greek, Spanish and French water bombers, struggled for hours.

There are still 22 active fires throughout the country, but none of them endangers populated areas. Thankful to France and Spain that sent helicopters, Greece has hold back its largest wildfire, the one burning in Evros, near the border with Turkey, where a state of emergency has  been declared end of last week. Over 5,000 hectares of forest in the country’s northeastern Evros region are believed to have been destroyed, according to local authorities. Residents evacuated from three villages in the southern Peloponnese peninsula on 27 and 28 August have returned to their homes

 

Serbia

Serbia’s President Tadic “Serbia Does Not Want War”

Belgrade, “Serbia’s policy is peaceful and its goal is to establish permanent peace in the Balkans,” Serbia’s President Boris Tadic told Politika on 28 August. He emphasized that Serbia demanded absolute status neutrality from EULEX and KFOR and prevention of Priština’s violent actions against northern Kosovo because in line with all UN decisions.

He stressed that Serbia would continue to fight to achieve its interests in European, world institutions and the UN, adding that the country would use all legal means to protect security and interests of its people in northern Kosovo or any other place they lived. Tadić pointed out that Serbia’s representatives had been warning the international community of danger that stem from Priština’s unilateral and violent actions the entire time. He added that if anyone risked a war in this part of Europe, they would have to bear responsibility for the consequences.  The President repeated that he had said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Priština’s strategy was to change reality with various actions aimed at expelling Serbs from Kosovo.

“I told my European partners that by accepting the situation created by violence they are accepting the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo and taking responsibility for it,” Tadić said and added that Serbia would never accept ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo.

“I expect the European institutions to contribute to a peaceful solution and therefore I expect continuation of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue. We don’t need anybody pushing us to continue the dialogue because it is in our interest to find a modus of joint existence and to minimize security risks,“ the president was quoted as saying.

Belgrade negotiations team chief Borislav Stefanović said abolishment of Serbian institutions in northern Kosovo would not be a topic in the upcoming talks on 2 September.

Meanwhile, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić commented that he expected the UN Security Council’s meeting to be exceptionally difficult, having in mind conflicting stands regarding presidential release of Russia. He specified that Russia filed the draft presidential release which condemned Priština over its decision to resort to force and calls for restoring the situation to its previous state, that is, before the beginning of the violent intervention.

Serbian President to Host UNESCO Summit on 2 September

Belgrade, Serbian President Boris Tadic, who will be the host of the UNESCO Regional Summit in Viminacium on 2 September, will have a series of bilateral meetings with all heads of states represented at the summit, Tanjug reported. Attendance at the UNESCO summit has been confirmed by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, Albanian President Bamir Topi, Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Presidency Chairman of Bosnia-Herzegovina Zeljko Komsic and Macedonian President George Ivanov.

 

Turkey

“We have lost confidence in Syria,” Turkey’s President Gül

Turkey warned the Syrian regime on 28 August that its fate will be no different from those of the former Egyptian and Libyan leaders unless it ends military operations against its people and starts a meaningful reform process.

“In today’s world, there is no place for single-party governments, [for] authoritarian administrations. The leaders of these countries will take the initiative or they will be changed by force,” President Abdullah Gül told the Anatolia news agency in a comprehensive interview of 28 August.

There is no place for authoritarian regimes in today’s world, Turkey’s president and prime minister say, urging the Syrian regime to end operations against its people if it does not want to follow in the footsteps of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. ‘We have lost confidence [in Syria],’ Gül says.

“There is no place for single-man governments, dictatorships and closed societies. As we have reminded the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya of this fact in the past, we are doing the same today to the administrations in Syria and Yemen,” Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoğan is quoted as saying by Hurryiet. “They must learn the lesson and end this cruel violence imposed on civilians whose only wish is to voice their demands.”

Three Soldiers Died in SE Turkey, Two PKK Members Killed

Ankara, Three soldiers were killed on 28 August in the southeastern Hakkari province when alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK,detonated landmines as their military convoy passed by, the Turkish media reported. The attack was launched on the new road in the Övenç area of the Şemdinli district in Hakkari. Three other soldiers were wounded and taken to the Hakkari Military Hospital.

Meanwhile, Gendermarie forces caught red-handed two PKK members as they were planting a landmine on a road near Hakkari’s Yüksekova district. A firefight broke out when the gendermarie intervened and two PKK militants were killed in the clash.

Sundays’ Zaman “Orders for the recent PKK attacks on Turkish targets have been given by PKK Syrian leader Fehman Hüseyin

Ankara, Sunday’s Zaman newspaper reports that the latest orders for the recent PKK attacks on Turkish targets have been given by PKK Syrian leader Fehman Hüseyin.

According to security analysts, not named by the newspaper, Fehman Hüseyin is probably in contact with both Ergenekon and Syrian intelligence because the most violent acts of the PKK have taken place at the time of the most critical processes of the Ergenekon investigation. Experts say that PKK violence will not end without putting an end to the Ergenekon organization.

Ergenekon is the name given to a clandestine, Kemalist ultra-nationalist organization with possible ties to members of the country’s military and security forces.Alleged members have been indicted on charges of plotting to foment unrest, among other things by assassinating intellectuals, politicians, judges, military staff, and religious leaders, with the ultimate goal of toppling the incumbent government.

In it’s article “Turkey in new process to fight terror, entrench reforms”, Sunday’s Zaman poses the question “Syria or Ergenekon” and indicates that the further steps in fighting terror will be against people inside Turkey who support PKK. It is also reported that Turkey’s air operation against PKK may continue up to two months.

Turkey’s Former Chief of General Army Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner Confirmed that It Was His Voice on the Illegal Tapes

Ankara, Turkey’s former chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner confirmed on 27 August that it was his voice on the two voice recordings published online last week. The tapes created a scandal in Turkey since they revealed harsh criticism on the side of the former military chief of the shortcomings of the Turkish military in the fight against terror as well as statements that the military offended the law.

“Contrary to what has been claimed, there is no single sentence that is illegal or against the laws,” Koşaner said on 26 August in a comment on his secretly recorded statements.

“I stand behind every word of mine,” Gen. Işık Koşaner said, quoted by Zaman newspaper.

In a crucial part of the recording, Gen. Koşaner confirmed the authenticity of the documents describing the Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan, a plan developed by the Turkish Armed Forces to create chaos in society by bombing mosques and attacking popular museums with Molotov cocktails.

In a written statement, Gen. Koşaner has qualified his remarks on the voice recordings as “self-criticism,” shared with high-level state officials.

Turkish Government Returns Property Taken Away from Minority Foundations

Ankara, The Turkish government has signed a historic decree to return property taken away from minority foundations 75 years ago, a decision announced ahead of the prime minister’s Ramadan fast-breaking dinner Sunday with minority group representatives.

Published in the Official Gazette on 27 August and passed by the order of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the decision also states that minority groups will be paid market value for property that was sold to third parties. The decision includes restoration of property to schools, churches, stores, houses and even nightclubs.

 

BALKANS ECONOMY

Croatia

Croatia’s Government Provides EUR 109 M for Construction of Ships by Brodosplit Shipyard

Zagreb, At a session last week, the Croatian government decided to provide advance payment and performance bonds for the construction of ships by the Brodosplit shipyard, amounting to some EUR 109 million.

Economy Minister Djuro Popijac said the ships in question were very sophisticated vessels, commissioned by a Dutch client. He explained that the client had commissioned one ship and would probably commission two more, which he said would enable the Split-based shipyard to start building ships of greater value.

These are the first ships to be built by Brodosplit after the completion of the policy area No. 8 (Competition Policy) in Croatia’s EU accession talks, Popijac said, adding that the guarantees to be provided by the government were allowed by competition rules and did not involve any particular risk for the government.

 

Bulgaria

Bulgaria Stands No Chance to Catch up with Minimum Wage and Living Standards in the EU

Sofia, Bulgaria will need 41 years to reach the minimum wage rates of EU’s most advanced countries, according to a study conducted in the Sofia-based University of National and World Economy, cited by Novinite.com. At present, the minimum wage in Bulgaria is EUR 147, or nearly half of the amount of money necessary for an individual’s monthly survival EUR 271, data of Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute show.

27 years will be required for Bulgaria to reach the minimum wage level of other Eastern European countries like Slovakia and Slovenia on condition that its minimum wage increases with 5% each year and nothing changes in the aforesaid countries. Bulgaria will need at least 38 years to reach the minimum pay levels of Portugal and Greece. To catch up with France, The Netherlands and Ireland, Bulgarian would have to wait nearly 41 years, the study concludes. Some 10 national governments and 8 presidents would have come and gone before the goal is reached, the Bulgarian Nova TV has pointed out.

Bulgaria Privatises Freight Services of the State Railways

Sofia, Bulgaria’s Cabinet could complete the privatization of the “Freight Services” unit of state railways operator BDZ Holding within six months, according to Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, quoted by Novinite.com

Moskovski told BNR Sunday that the plan for reforms of the vastly troubled state railway company coordinated with the World Bank called for the splitting of BDZ “Passenger Services” from BDZ “Freight Services.”

“The privatization of the freight railway services unit itself will be carried out by the Privatization Agency. The negotiations with the World Bank have been completed. All documents have been submitted to the WB headquarters,” the Transport Minister explained.

“We need to wait for the board of directors of the World Bank to convene to get an overall approval for the loan. This could happen as early as September or in October but the loan will become a fact. I.e. the restructuring is continuing,” he said.

He promised that there would be no direct layoffs in the state railways BDZ but certain activities that the management of the state company deems “untypical” would be outsourced.

“Lukoil Has Not Committed Tax Violations”, Lukoil CEO Tells the US Ambassador to Bulgaria

Bourgas, Lukoil’s CEO Valentin Zlatev rebutted allegations that the Russian-owned oil refinery has committed any tax or customs law violations. In his words, Lukoil has never stopped fulfilling the requirements  for installation of electronic fuel-measuring devices.

Zlatev made the statement at a press conference in the headquarters of Lukoil Neftohim in the Black Sea city of Burgas, organized after visit of the American Ambassador in Sofia, James Warlick, to the only oil refinery in the country and the biggest in the Balkans. The US Ambassador commended the refinery on being a reliable fuel supplier on the local and international markets and the largest private employer in the country.

Zlatev further rejected wide-spread reports and accusations of Lukoil being a cartel on the fuels market in Bulgaria, Novinite.com reported. The series of Lukoil-related scandals began end of July when Bulgaria’s Customs Agency Director, Vanyo Tanov, issued an order to revoke Lukoil’s license to operate excise warehouses over an alleged failure to install the required fuel-measuring devices within the deadline. Afterwards, the refinery restarted its operation thankful to a court’s decision implying that the blockage of Lukoil’s operations would impair the normal functioning of Bulgaria’s economy.

 

Greece

Greece’s Alpha and Eurobank Merge; Investments from Qatar in the New Merger

Athens, Two of Greece’s three biggest lenders, Eurobank EFG and Alpha Bank have reached an agreement to merge, according to reports, which would create one of the biggest banking groups in the broader region.

Skai radio reported on 27 August that the second and third Greek banks in terms of assets and capitalization have now struck a deal that will be announced formally in the next few days.

The new bank to be created will also have the participation of investment funds from Qatar.

“The deal is about a friendly merger between Alpha Bank and Eurobank, with the participation to a significant extent of the Qatar Investment Authority,” a senior banker at Alpha Bank told Reuters.

Finland Urges Greece for Quick Resolution of the Collateral Issue

Athens/Helsinki, Finland is standing by a demand for collateral as an absolute precondition for new loans to Greece and made a deal with the debt-laden country earlier this month. But it was rejected by other euro area countries.

Talks on a new collateral model continue, the Helsingin Sanomat reported on 27 August.

“This mater has to be solved as soon as possible so Finland’s aims will not hurt other countries,” Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat.

He added it was clear the collateral hurdle would dent Finland’s reputation in the European Union and said it was in the interest of the Nordic country to maximise its influence.

Sixty One Percent of Tax-Inspected Companies in Greece Are Offenders

Athens, Three in every five enterprises inspected by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) this summer were found in violation of regulations, according to the squad’s director of Accounting Inspection Planning, Nikos Lekkas, quoted by Kathinerini.

Lekkas told Vima FM radio station on 26 August that “SDOE performed checks on 318 targets. The offenders are 195, which is a 61 percent rate, with a total of 900 violations.”

Lekkas added that SDOE is now turning its attention to the payment of value-added tax and that by the end of the year all inspection directorates will be operating with an online system.

 

Montenegro

BiH Interested in the Port of Bar, Montenegro

Bar, “Bosnia and Herzegovina is interested in cooperation with Montenegro in the field of economy and tourism, while its companies are especially interested in the Port of Bar,” said the newly appointed BiH ambassador Izmir Talic during a visit to the Municipaility of Bar on 27 August. The port of Bar is Montenegro’s main sea port.

The reconstruction and renewal of the port’s facilities started in 1981 and today’s port of Bar, capable of handling cca 5 million tons of cargo, officially began operations on July 13, 1983.

Currently, the Port of Bar is operating with a financial loss, and significantly below its designed capacity. With Montenegrin market being too small to fully utilize its capacity and make it a profitable port, it is generally accepted that Port of Bar has to acquire new markets to which it would cater. The announced building of Belgrade–Bar motorway and proposed reconstruction of Belgrade – Bar railway would thus mark a breakthrough in attracting the Serbian, and thus the Central European market.

Italy’s A2A Sticks to Investment in Montenegro’s EPCG

Podgorica, A2A , Italy’s biggest regional utility, intends to stick with its investment in Montenegro state power company EPCG despite changes to the original agreement that will now prevent it taking control. A2A owns 43.7 pct of Montenegro’s EPCG and had paid EUR 436 M for the stake. A2A, which owns 43.7 percent of Elektroprivreda Crne Gore, signed an agreement with Montenegro in 2009 that paved the way for it to take a majority stake.

But in a Memorandum of Understanding on Aug. 4, A2A agreed in principle to waive its right to acquire majority ownership while the Montenegro government in turn waived a right it had to buy out A2A’s shares in EPCG.

“There is no exit strategy, we have rebalanced the agreement,” A2A management board chairman Giuliano Zuccoli said last week, adding the alterations had been necessary because of political changes in Montenegro.  Italian newspaper MF reported earlier last week that A2A could pull out of Montenegro following the change to the EPCG agreement.

EPCG generates much of its power from hydroelectric sources and one of A2A’s aims is to import green energy once Italian grid company Terna has built an interconnector with Montenegro.

A2A, which jointly controls Italy’s No. 2 power utility Edison alongside France’s EDF has previously said it is looking at waste management opportunities in Montenegro to extract synergies.

Under the August MoU, A2A will be granted the right to manage EPCG until the end of 2014 with the possibility of a 5-year extension if certain conditions are met.

The MoU says A2A and the Montenegro government will agree an amendment to the original agreement before the end of this year.

Shares in A2A closed up 2.5 percent at 0.9175 euros while the STOXX Europe 600 Utility index was up 2 percent.

 

Romania

Romania 6 Month Prospects Pessimistic

Bucharest, Romanian economic outlook for the next six months declined for the third straight month in August, on mounting pessimism in financial markets and renewed concern about Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, a ZEW/Erste survey showed end of last week. Economic expectations for Romania dropped to minus 0.1 points in August, from 21.2 points a month earlier.

However, the country remains a top business destination in the Central and Eastern Europe region, followed by Poland, with minus 15.2 points, and Hungary with minus 15.7 points.

In the CEE region, economic expectations on a six-month horizon dropped 21.4 points to minus 26.4 points in August.

“The major decrease of experts’ optimism for the CEE region is likely to be a result of the increasing concerns regarding the Eurozone’s economic prospects and reflects the increasing uncertainty on the financial markets,” the survey, cited by Mediafax noted.

Zew-Erste Group Bank’s monthly survey includes responses from analysts in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey.

Romania Suspended from Trading Green Certificates

Bucharest, The Kyoto Protocol committee has decided to suspend Romania from trading green certificates, after it noted breaches in the national inventory of carbon emissions, and the decision will apply until the county meets all requirements, the Environment Ministry said on 28 August. According to the ministry, the final decision taken by the Kyoto Protocol committee confirms the preliminary conclusion of the forum’s latest reunion, on July 8. The decision takes effect immediately.

The ministry said it is currently implementing measures to improve its data collection strategy so the carbon emission inventory will be revised.

People close to the matter told Mediafax that Romania would lose hundreds of millions of euro following a pending suspension from trading green certificates.

Romanian Environment Minister Laszlo Borbely said Friday he will dismiss the head of the National Agency for Environment Protection (ANPM), Iosif Nagy, most likely on 29 August over the breaches in carbon emission inventory.

 

Serbia

Serbia Sets Development Bank before Next Elections

Belgrade, Jurij Bajec, an adviser to the Serbian Prime Minister has said that the country could have a development bank ready “by the next parliamentary election, in April 2012”. This would allow domestic companies to receive more favorable loans compared to those taken out from commercial banks. A draft law on the development bank has already been completed. The benefits for the economy would be immeasurable, because commercial banks have high interest rates, which is one of the things preventing higher economic activity, he remarked.

Serbia’s Budget Deficit Higher than Planned

Vladimir Vuckovic of the Serbian Fiscal Council hinted there is a possibility that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) might this year accept a slightly higher figure of Serbia’s budget deficit, which was originally set at around RSD 120 billion (EUR 1.174 B), adding that the actual deficit could not be much higher than initially planned.

He noted that the reasons for increasing the budget deficit comprise high inflation rate, lower budget revenues in the second half of the year and the new wave of the global economic crisis.

The IMF mission arrived in Belgrade on August 18 and will conduct talks with representatives of the Serbian government by August 31 with regard to the precautionary arrangement and the realisation of this year’s budget, as well as the preparations for the 2012 budget.

 

Turkey

Turkey Registers a Slight Drop in July’s Foreign Trade Deficit to US$ 9.01 Billion

Ankara, Turkey’s foreign trade deficit reached US$ 9.01 B in July, increasing 38.4 percent compared to the same month last year, according to Turkish Statistical Institute, or TurkStat.

In June, Turkey’s foreign trade deficit soared to US$ 1.2 B, a record in the nation’s history.

In the first seven months of 2011, the foreign trade deficit has been 79.1 percent higher than the same period of 2010.

Turkey and Germany Expect to Strike a US$ 1 Billion Deal with Indonesia by Selling 2 HDW class 209 Submarines

Ankara, A team of Turkish and German companies, as well as Turkey’s procurement office, are jointly looking to sell two HDW-class 209-type diesel submarines to Indonesia in a US$ 1 B deal, Hurryiet Daily reports quoting a senior Turkish procurement official.

The only competitor for the German-Turkish partnership is South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine, which emerged as the favorite after French and Russian bidders for the Indonesian Navy’s tender dropped.

Daewoo was expected to bid together with Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, or HDW, but later decided to join the competition on its own.

Facing the threat of being left out of the deal, HDW, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, then approached the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, or SSM, Turkey’s defense procurement agency, to seek the Indonesian contract jointly; at the same time, President Abdullah Gül was paying an official visit to Indonesia in April during which the two countries signed a comprehensive defense industry cooperation agreement.

(Mariela Zamfirova, MBA; 29 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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