PRISTINA/BELGRADE (Reuters) – The leaders of Serbia and its former southern province Kosovo have spoken by phone in the first direct talks without foreign mediators since a 1998-99 war, both countries said on Thursday.
The telephone call late on Wednesday coincided with the first visit to Pristina and Belgrade by Federica Mogherini since taking over as the European Union’s foreign policy chief, with Serbia impatient to start accession talks with the bloc.
BELGRADE, March 12 (Reuters) – Serbia’s central bank cut its
benchmark interest rate on Thursday for the first
time since November to 7.5 percent, moving to ward off deflation
and support economic growth on the back of a new IMF loan deal.
The cut – by 50 basis points – was in line with the
expectations of seven of 14 bankers and analysts polled by
Reuters. The reduction came on the heels of a new precautionary
loan deal agreed last month with the International Monetary
KOPAONIK, Serbia, March 4 (Reuters) – The World Bank has
allocated $619 million for Serbia this year but will disburse
the funds only if Belgrade presses on with public-sector reforms
required by the International Monetary Fund, the Bank’s country
manager said on Wednesday.
The lending includes two budget-support loans of $200
million each. The rest will be used to improve the business
climate and the efficiency of public administration, Tony
Verheijen, World Bank’s country manager, told Reuters.
KOPAONIK, Serbia, March 3 (Reuters) – U.S. steel firm
Esmark, which saw a bid to buy Serbia’s only steel mill collapse
last month, said on Tuesday it was interested in taking over
management of the state-owned plant with a view to purchasing it
The Serbian government is seeking a management team for the
loss-making plant, with a view to reviving production and saving
at least 5,000 jobs at risk if it is allowed to close.
BELGRADE, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Serbia’s central bank ruled on
Tuesday that commercial banks must offer more favourable terms
to holders of loans denominated in Swiss francs, including
possible conversion, lower interest rates or lower monthly
Some 22,000 holders of Swiss franc-indexed loans in Serbia
have seen their monthly payments soar since the Swiss National
Bank in January suddenly scrapped its cap on the value of the
BELGRADE (Reuters) – The sale of Serbia’s sole steel mill to U.S. firm Esmark collapsed on Tuesday, in a blow to government efforts to rein in spending under the terms of a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said his government was unable to agree to the sale and that the loss-making Zelezara Smederevo plant would remain in state hands.
BELGRADE, Jan 9 (Reuters) – U.S.-based flat-rolled steel
processor and distributor Esmark is set to take over Serbia’s
loss-making Zelezara Smederevo steel mill after submitting the
only valid bid, the commission in charge of the privatisation
said on Friday.
The bid by Esmark Europe, part of Esmark Inc, was the only
one of three bids to meet all conditions set by the tender, said
Bojan Bojkovic, the head of the commission.
BELGRADE, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Serbia said on Wednesday it
expected Chinese construction of a new rail link between
Belgrade and Budapest to begin by mid-2015, part of Beijing’s
strategy to accelerate the flow of goods into Europe through the
China, Serbia and Hungary signed a memorandum of
understanding on the 370-km (230 mile) rail route on the second
day of a summit in Belgrade between China and 16 central and
eastern European states.
BELGRADE, Dec 16 (Reuters) – China said on Tuesday it would
create a new investment fund of $3 billion (2.4 billion euros)
targeting central and eastern Europe, seeking to strengthen its
foothold in the region as a door to the wider European Union.
China sees central and eastern Europe as a potentially
lucrative market and bridgehead to the wider EU, drawn by
relatively low wages, educated workforces and scope for
development on the fringes of the bloc.
BELGRADE (Reuters) – China said on Tuesday it would create a new investment fund of $3 billion (1.91 billion pounds) targeting central and eastern Europe, seeking to strengthen its foothold in the region as a door to the wider European Union.
The pledge comes on top of $10 billion earmarked in 2012 for investment projects in a region comprising some of the EU’s newest members and others in the Western Balkans that are not yet part of the bloc but trying to get there.