MPs, government officials spar over NIS privatization
BELGRADE -- Aleksandar Vučić said on Thursday that the privatization deal for Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS) reached Gazprom brought more benefits than damage.
The situation is not merely black and white although the agreement could have been much better, said the first deputy prime minister.
Replying to the question concerning the NIS privatization voiced by MP of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina Đorđe Stojšić in parliament, Vučić said that the public company operated with losses prior to the privatization.
“In case of any legal requests for examination of the privatization, it can be conducted without problems,” Vučić said and noted that save for the political, there were no other challenges for the privatization.
He noted that there were some attempts to discuss the increase of mining rent with the Russian partners of NIS but they called on the intergovernmental energy agreement between Russia and Serbia.
“I did not participate in its drafting, and I was notified that if the mining rent was to change, it would not be good for our bilateral relations,” Vučić said.
“We did not have the power to change the mining rent, although it would be good if it was higher, and we did not succeed. I hope that a next generation would have the power, when Serbia grows stronger,” Vučić said.
MP Stojšić stated that people in Vojvodina consider the NIS privatization as the most controversial case and that this had been announced as the job of the century, which it in fact was, but for the Russian partners as they purchased the oil and gas reserves as well, all for EUR 400 million.
Dačić urges signatories to speak out
Prime Minister Ivica Dačić said that the energy agreement between Serbia and Russia signed in Moscow in 2008 is a political agreement and it is high time that those who signed it said something about it.
“For how long will this (ruling) coalition have to defend this agreement, which was signed during the government led by then PM Vojislav Koštunica and the time when the country’s president was Boris Tadić. Do open your mouth and say something about it, about what you signed,” Dačić said in the Serbian parliament.
He was replying to a question from opposition Christian Democratic Party of Serbia (DHSS) official Olga Batić about "why Serbia does not have a privileged status in its energy agreement with Russia as Ukraine does."
The prime minister said that while watching the Insajder TV show, broadcast by B92, he heard that current opposition Democratic Party (DS) whip Borko Stefanović had led some talks in connection with the issue and added that he, therefore, needs to explain why the agreement was concluded to look the way it is.
Dačić asked Construction Minister Velimir Ilić, who was also a minister back then, to explain how these negotiations proceeded.
The prime minister also said that answers to these questions cannot be provided by him, or First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić or head of state Tomislav Nikolić, but can be given by Tadić, Koštunica and Ilić.
Minister Ilić said that the then political leadership was unanimous and pointed out that all of it took place at a time close to presidential elections in Serbia.
Batić asked Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlović why Serbia is not buying gas directly from the producer, but rather through as many as two mediators, which, she said, causes Srbijagas achieve poor business results.
Batić asked why the contract cannot be terminated, as even the Fiscal Council has warned that the success of the country’s fiscal consolidation depends on resolving the issue of the massive debt incurred by Srbijagas.
“Why cannot Serbia get lower gas prices like Ukraine?” Batić asked.
Mihajlović answered that talks on how to solve the financial problems of Srbijagas in a way that would not jeopardize the budget are underway, adding that the issue will be resolved sooner than expected.
“When you mention Ukraine, do not forget its location or how important it is for Russia and the EU. Our location is not that important; our positions are different,” Mihajlović said, stressing that the issue does not concern economic, but rather political and other positions.
December 27, 2013 | 15:59 | Source: Beta | Comments: (15) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The number of asylum seekers from Serbia to the EU increased in November and it could endanger the visa-free regime, warned Prime Minister Ivica Dačić.
December 27, 2013 | 15:36 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (3) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Opposition Democratic Party (DS) leader Dragan Đilas says that as long as he is at the helm, his party "will not enter a coalition with the Progressives (SNS)."
December 27, 2013 | 14:28 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- PM and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić has said that "authorized services will react should they establish that President Tomislav Nikolić has been wiretapped."
December 27, 2013 | 13:24 | Source: B92, Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Acting Director of the Serbian Tax Administration Ivan Simič on Friday resigned from that position, the Finance Ministry has announced.
December 27, 2013 | 11:13 | Source: Tanjug, Večernje novosti | Comments: (10) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Head of the EU Delegation in Belgrade Michael Davenport believes that Serbia could become an EU member state in 2020.
December 26, 2013 | 16:05 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
SREMSKA KAMENICA -- All the claims made by President Tomislav Nikolić regarding wiretapping and the threats he has received "will be investigated carefully," says Vladimir Božović.
December 26, 2013 | 15:30 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (0) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- PM Ivica Dačić says Serbia is making efforts to implement the Brussels agreement fully and continue the dialogue with Priština.
December 26, 2013 | 14:41 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (0) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Serbia has made "a historic progress but it is still at the very beginning of a very challenging process," MPs heard on Thursday.
December 26, 2013 | 14:31 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The Higher Court president has reacted to reports about Judge Vladimir Vučinić's removal as president of the Special Court by saying he never held the position.
December 26, 2013 | 12:29 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
GRAČANICA -- Branimir Stojanović, newly-elected mayor of the municipality of Gračanica, took over the duties from former mayor Bojan Stojanović officially on Thursday.
December 26, 2013 | 11:05 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Tomislav Nikolić says he feels "as safe as any Serbian citizen, but that it is important to determine which of the threats he received recently are serious."
December 26, 2013 | 09:17 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (5) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić has said that there will be no new requirements from Brussels when it comes to Kosovo.
December 25, 2013 | 14:33 | Source: Tanjug, Novi magazin | Comments: (8) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has said that the Brussels agreement "is not her success."
December 25, 2013 | 13:09 | Source: Beta | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- The ruling Progressives (SNS) could "in the first ten days of January" decide whether early parliamentary elections will be called, said Zorana Mihajlović.
December 25, 2013 | 11:42 | Source: RTS, Tanjug | Comments: (2) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Milivoje Mihajlović said on Wednesday that "some services in charge of counterintelligence protection have failed to do their job."
December 25, 2013 | 10:37 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (5) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said that recognition of Kosovo, that is the issue of status, and UN membership for the territory was "a red line for Belgrade."
December 25, 2013 | 10:29 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (1) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- PM Ivica Dačić stated on Tuesday that the allegations about wiretapping Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić should be investigated.
December 25, 2013 | 09:23 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (3) | Send comment
BELGRADE -- PM Ivica Dačić has stated that the government elected by the citizens to open the door to the EU "achieved its goal and thus won its first important battle."
December 24, 2013 | 16:20 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (7) | Send comment
NIŠ -- A total of 25 tons of humanitarian aid sent by the Russian government for use by the Niš-based Serbian-Russian Emergency Situations Center arrived on Tuesday.