MITROVICA, Kosovo (Reuters) – Widespread intimidation in a volatile Serb pocket of Kosovo marred a watershed election on Sunday, part of a European Union-brokered rapprochement between the Balkan country and its former master Serbia.
The Kosovo-wide council and mayoral elections are central to an agreement reached in April to integrate Serb-populated northern Kosovo with the rest of the country, which is majority Albanian and declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
BELGRADE/ABU DHABI (Reuters) – From animal feed to missiles and loans, Serbia is banking on an unlikely alliance with the United Arab Emirates to upgrade its vital farming industry, revive military production and get badly needed cheaper finance.
For the UAE, the new relationship offers an early back door route into the European Union, which Belgrade wants to join, and access to the former Yugoslavia’s once mighty arms industry while much of the Middle East is consumed by unrest or war.
BELGRADE, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Serbia’s new Finance Minister
Lazar Krstic intends to cut the government’s budget deficit to 2
percent of GDP in the next 3-4 years and save 1.5 billion euros
by 2017 to avert default, he said on Tuesday.
The Socialist-led government will raise value-added tax
(VAT) tax on some goods to 10 percent, up from the current 8
percent, end subsidies to unprofitable state companies, cut
wages in the public sector and plug revenue holes such as black
markets in tobacco and oil derivatives, Krstic said.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s government delayed detailing painful spending cuts for a day while the country’s prime minister visited Brussels on Monday to tackle a problem over Kosovo that could delay talks on eventual EU entry.
Last week, powerful Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who heads the Serbian Progressive Party, the senior partner in the coalition government, had said spending cuts would be announced on Monday.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s government banned a weekend gay pride march for the third consecutive year on Friday, citing the threat of violence from right-wing hooligans, in a move that sparked protests by gay activists and criticism from the European Union.
Denying that the government had given in to right-wing threats, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said on state television that the ban on Saturday’s event was a public safety matter. The last gay pride march in 2010 triggered a day of rioting and arson by nationalists in the capital Belgrade.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s government banned gay activists from marching in Belgrade for the third year running on Friday, citing a threat to public safety from right-wing hooligans but risking EU condemnation before the expected start of accession talks.
The last Gay Pride march in 2010 triggered a day of rioting by right-wing nationalists in the capital, Belgrade.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Gay rights activists in Serbia said they expected to hold their first Pride march in three years on Saturday, undeterred by the risk of violence from right-wing nationalists who rioted during the last such event in 2010.
Authorities in the former Yugoslav republic banned the march for the past two years after the 2010 violence, but face pressure from the West to allow this year’s event ahead of the expected start of European Union accession talks in January.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s governing parties toppled opposition Democratic Party leader Dragan Djilas from the high-profile post of Belgrade mayor on Tuesday, in a show of power that could be a prelude to early parliamentary elections.
The Serbian Progressive Party and its Socialist partners in government accused Djilas of driving the capital deep into debt and voted 60-0 in the 110-seat city council to bring him down.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn began work on Tuesday as economic adviser to the Serbian government, his latest incarnation since a sex scandal cost him his job and ruined his French presidential ambitions.
Strauss-Kahn, who has been initially engaged for three months and will take no salary, told a news conference that he and his team had “no magic wand or silver bullet” for the shaky economy of the European Union candidate.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – A top Serbian official said on Thursday he had asked the United Arab Emirates for a low-interest, long-term loan to repay some of the country’s debts and invest in its ailing economy.
Serbia’s economy is expected to grow about 2.5 percent this year, but is weighed down by a rising deficit of 4.7 percent of GDP and debt at 65 percent.