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Milivoje Pantovic

Beograd, Serbia
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About Milivoje
Milivoje Pantovic is a investigative journalist based in Beograd, Serbia. He is specialized in the fields of domestic politics, foreign politics and culture. Milivoje was a journalist and editor in Serbian news agencies Tanjug and Beta, TV stations B92 and BK, newspaper "Politika", editor in Insajder (Insider) Production and Belgrade correspondent for Balkan Insight. His articles were published in Vice Serbia, Middle East Eye and many others. Also, he was working as a fixer for TV Fusion (The Naked Truth), PRI, Die Zeit Campus, Middle East Eye and many more.
Languages
English Croatian Serbian
Services
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast) Vox Pop
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Skills
Business Politics Current Affairs
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Portfolio

With President Joe Biden ending his reelection bid and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris, Democrats now must navigate a shift that is unprecedented this late in an election year.

24 Jul 2024  |  www.wuwm.com
President Joe Biden has ended his reelection bid and endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris, prompting a significant shift for Democrats late in the election year. Concurrently, a rally in Milwaukee during the RNC highlighted calls for justice for Samuel ‘Jah’ Sharpe Jr. and D’Vontaye Mitchell, both victims of recent violence. Additionally, the Genesis G70 is praised as a top-tier entry-level luxury sport sedan.

Calling for “500 in 500,” the push by Allegheny County leaders aims to move unhoused people out of shelters and into more permanent, stable housing.

07 Jun 2024  |  90.5 WESA
Allegheny County leaders are advocating for a '500 in 500' initiative to transition 500 unhoused individuals from shelters to permanent, stable housing within 500 days, aiming to address homelessness and improve housing stability in the region.

This week's question is about a plaque tucked away in a corner of Eden Park, memorializing a World War I unit.

27 May 2024  |  www.wvxu.org
A plaque in Eden Park commemorates a World War I unit, highlighting a piece of local history.

Bulgaria: The forgotten Balkan migrant route

01 Oct 2023  |  Middle East Eye
Thousands of refugees are attempting to reach Europe through Bulgaria, facing significant challenges and human rights violations. Over 27,000 refugees have been detained by Bulgarian police this year, with reports of abuse and corruption. Amnesty International and other humanitarian organizations have called for investigations into these violations. Despite praise from some European leaders for Bulgaria's border management, activists and refugees report systemic issues and severe mistreatment. The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and UNHCR have documented numerous cases of abuse, urging for immediate action to protect refugees' rights.

‘We have a violent society’: hate speech in spotlight after Serbian mass shootings

15 May 2023  |  the Guardian
In the wake of two mass shootings that left 18 dead and 21 injured, Serbia has initiated a gun amnesty, with over 13,500 weapons surrendered. President Aleksandar Vučić, criticized for fostering a climate of violence and hate speech, announced measures including a moratorium on new gun licenses and increased police presence in schools. The shootings have sparked protests and calls for political accountability, with many blaming Vučić's administration for the pervasive violence. The European Parliament has also highlighted Serbia's challenges in aligning with EU standards, particularly regarding media freedom and relations with Russia and Kosovo.

Is Serbia’s far right an authentic opposition movement?

20 Feb 2023  |  www.intellinews.com
Serbian far-right and pro-Russian groups protested in Belgrade, with tensions escalating due to false rumors and attempts to storm the presidency. The protest, linked to groups like People’s Patrols, Obraz, and Dveri, was in response to Serbia's distancing from Russia and a potential Kosovo agreement. Despite the opposition, analysts suggest that the far-right has been tacitly supported by the government, allowing President Vucic to position himself as a moderate in international negotiations. Arrests were made following the protest, and Vucic condemned the opposition for inciting violence, assuring public safety. Observers argue that the far-right's actions are likely sanctioned by the state, citing the peaceful conduct of state-endorsed events like Gay Pride parades as evidence.

Novak Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia

13 Jan 2022  |  The Irish Times
Novak Djokovic faces potential legal consequences in Serbia for breaking isolation rules after testing positive for Covid-19. Despite his admission of attending events while infected, Serbian authorities and media largely support him. The Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabic, acknowledged the breach but emphasized Djokovic's importance to Serbia. Meanwhile, Australian authorities are still considering revoking his visa, with criticism from Serbian officials like Goran Vesic. Djokovic's situation remains complex as he prepares for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic ‘lured to Australia … to be humiliated’

07 Jan 2022  |  The Irish Times
Serbian politicians and celebrities have condemned the treatment of Novak Djokovic, who is detained in Australia over visa issues related to his vaccination status. They claim he was lured to Australia to be humiliated, with Serbian officials and his family calling for protests and expressing indignation. The Serbian government has formally protested to Australia, while Djokovic's wife emphasized love and respect amid the controversy.

Revealed: the secret ‘forced labor’ migration route from Vietnam to the UK

30 Dec 2021  |  www.taipeitimes.com
An investigation reveals a new trafficking route from Vietnam to the UK via Serbia and Romania, where Vietnamese workers are exploited in forced labor conditions. The Linglong tire factory in Serbia is highlighted as a key site of abuse, with workers' passports confiscated and living conditions described as degrading. The European Parliament is demanding answers, and experts note that many Vietnamese workers are lured by false promises of decent work, only to find themselves in debt bondage and forced labor. The article underscores the severe risks and exploitation faced by these migrants, including dangerous journeys and significant financial burdens.

Revealed: the secret ‘forced labour’ migration route from Vietnam to the UK

25 Dec 2021  |  uk.news.yahoo.com
An investigation by The Observer has uncovered a 'forced labour' migration route from Vietnam to the UK, with Serbia and Romania being used as new gateways for smuggling and trafficking gangs. Over 500 Vietnamese workers were found working in deplorable conditions at the Linglong car tyre factory in Serbia. These workers, often in debt bondage and charged exorbitant fees for passage, are exploited in factories and construction sites before some are transported to the EU and the UK. The 2019 death of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry container brought to light the dangers faced on such journeys. Victims of trafficking from Vietnam continue to be one of the largest groups in the UK, with many forced to work off debts in nail bars, restaurants, and cannabis farms. Social media and bilateral visa schemes facilitate these illegal migrations, with smugglers earning significant sums by arranging visas, jobs, and travel.

Revealed: the secret ‘forced labour’ migration route from Vietnam to the UK

25 Dec 2021  |  the Guardian
An investigation by The Observer has uncovered a 'forced labour' migration route from Vietnam to the UK, with Serbia and Romania being used as new gateways for smuggling and trafficking gangs. Over 500 Vietnamese workers were allegedly found working in forced labour conditions at the Linglong car tyre factory in Serbia. Workers are often exploited in factories and construction sites before being transported across land borders into the EU and eventually to the UK, facing debt bondage and charges up to £30,000 for passage. The 2019 death of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry container highlighted the risks involved. Victims of trafficking in the UK, often forced to work in nail bars, restaurants, and cannabis farms, are predominantly Vietnamese. Recruitment agencies in Vietnam arrange guest worker visas, exploiting workers with 'Commitment not to escape forms' and false promises of well-paid work. Social media, particularly Facebook, is used by smuggling gangs to advertise 'VIP' routes out of Romania. Despite the dangers, many Vietnamese continue to undertake perilous journeys, including Channel crossings on inflatable rafts, driven by debt and the hope of better opportunities.

'I am begging you, get the vaccine': Pockets of fear emerge in Serbia

25 Mar 2021  |  the Guardian
Serbia, despite being an unlikely candidate, has become one of the most vaccinated nations in Europe, delivering over 31 jabs per 100 people. However, pockets of vaccine hesitancy persist, particularly in regions like Sandžak. The Serbian government faces challenges in convincing skeptical communities to get vaccinated amidst misinformation and historical mistrust in the health system. The abundance of vaccines, sourced from China, Russia, and Western Europe, has helped mitigate some skepticism. President Aleksandar Vučić and other officials are actively urging citizens to get vaccinated, but public health experts warn that the success of the vaccination campaign may be limited without proper education on vaccine safety and efficacy.

How Europe’s far-right found friends in Serbia

23 Mar 2021  |  www.thetimes.com
Investigators have uncovered over 1,000 phone calls between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, his brother, the chief of police, and Misa Vacic, leader of the far-right group Serbian Right. The group, co-founded by British nationalist Jim Dowson, includes nationalist politicians, organized criminals, and football hooligans, and has attacked Serbian opposition figures. The wiretap revelations highlight the deep connections between Serbian political figures and far-right movements.

Neither life nor death worthy of a human being

19 Mar 2021  |  kosovotwopointzero.com
Elderly residents in Serbian gerontological centers have been isolated for over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions, with limited freedom of movement and family contact. Despite vaccination efforts, many remain confined, and the government's response has been criticized for lack of effectiveness and discrimination. The mental health impact of prolonged isolation is a growing concern, with experts calling for systemic psychological support. Legal and human rights organizations are challenging the measures, and the situation of the elderly in nursing homes is seen as indicative of the government's broader incompetence in handling vulnerable populations.

Neither Life Nor Death Worthy of a Human

15 Mar 2021  |  Kosovo 2.0
The article discusses the severe impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on elderly residents in Serbian gerontological centers, highlighting the emotional and physical toll of prolonged isolation. It criticizes the government's handling of the situation, pointing out the lack of transparency and the discriminatory nature of the restrictions. The piece also mentions efforts by organizations like the A11 Initiative to advocate for the rights of the elderly and questions the effectiveness of the measures in protecting this vulnerable population.

Why are so many Serbian doctors dying of COVID-19?

13 Jan 2021  |  euronews.com
Serbia has experienced a disproportionately high death rate among doctors due to COVID-19 compared to other nations, with 72 doctors deceased. The Union of Doctors and Pharmacists attributes this to poor organization, fatigue, lack of equipment, and a healthcare system weakened by underfunding and a hiring freeze since 2013. Hospital management positions are often political appointments, and there have been issues with maintaining separate COVID-19 wards and providing adequate personal protective equipment. The government's response has been criticized, including controversial statements by the head of the COVID-19 response team. Despite new hospitals and donations, staffing shortages persist. Retired pulmonologist Slavica Plavsic has taken to offering help on Twitter, even saving a life.

Is Serbia manipulating data to cover up its air pollution problem?

07 Jan 2021  |  www.euronews.com
Serbia faces accusations of manipulating air pollution data to downplay its severity, with activists and experts criticizing the government's reclassification of pollution thresholds. The firing of Milenko Jovanovic, head of the air quality department at SEPA, has raised concerns about transparency and the integrity of environmental data. Despite Prime Minister Ana Brnabic's denial of severe pollution issues, critics argue that the government's actions, including urban development projects, exacerbate the problem. The article highlights the significant health risks posed by high levels of PM 2.5 particles and the lack of effective measures to address the pollution crisis.

Heartwarming harmony as Balkan tensions set aside in Croatia’s hour of need after deadly earthquake

04 Jan 2021  |  www.euronews.com
Ethnic tensions in the Balkans were set aside as neighboring countries rallied to support Croatia after a devastating 6.4-magnitude earthquake. Offers of aid and solidarity came from Serbia, Bosnia, North Macedonia, and other former Yugoslav republics. Humanitarian efforts were led by figures like Aida Corovic and Janja Slijepcevic, emphasizing the shared cultural space and solidarity among the people despite political divisions. The earthquake's epicenter, Petrinja, a town with a history of ethnic conflict, received significant aid, highlighting a moment of unity and hope for future reconciliation in the region.

How violence and vigilantes are compounding the winter woes of migrants in the Balkans

18 Dec 2020  |  www.euronews.com
More than three-quarters of a million migrants passed through the Western Balkans during Europe's 2015 refugee crisis. Currently, thousands are trapped in dire conditions on the Bosnia/Croatia border due to winter, COVID-19, and border restrictions. In Serbia, the rise of anti-migrant vigilante groups and racial profiling by police are compounding the challenges faced by migrants. Violence and pushbacks are common at the Croatia border, with migrants being denied asylum and abused. The International Organization for Migration warns that migrants in Bosnia face life-threatening conditions, with inadequate facilities and humanitarian aid. Despite these challenges, some migrants, like Karox Pishtewan from Iraq, are trying to build new lives in Serbia.

How Serbia's addiction to coal could cloud its future in Europe

21 Oct 2020  |  www.euronews.com
Serbia's heavy reliance on coal, particularly lignite, poses significant environmental and health challenges, complicating its aspirations to join the European Union. Despite historical efforts by coal miners to instigate political change, working conditions remain dire, with severe health risks and minimal improvements. The Serbian government has not provided a clear transition plan for miners, and new mining operations continue to exacerbate environmental issues. Chinese investments in Serbian coal projects further complicate the situation, often bypassing environmental regulations and providing limited local employment. The European Union's push for greener energy and financial support could be pivotal in transforming Serbia's energy landscape.

Serbia has rolled out the red carpet to China - but at what cost?

08 Oct 2020  |  www.euronews.com
Serbia has increasingly aligned with China, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant Chinese investments in infrastructure and industry. This relationship has brought economic benefits but also severe environmental and health issues, particularly in cities like Smederevo and Bor. Local activists have raised concerns about pollution and lack of government response. The cooperation extends to military and security sectors, with Serbia acquiring Chinese drones and considering other military equipment. This alignment has political implications, including Serbia's support for China's policies and potential conflicts with US interests, particularly regarding Huawei's involvement in Serbia's technological infrastructure.

Serbia has rolled out the red carpet to China - but at what cost?

08 Oct 2020  |  www.euronews.com
Serbia has increasingly aligned with China, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant Chinese investments in infrastructure and industry. However, this partnership has led to severe environmental issues, particularly in cities like Smederevo and Bor, where pollution from Chinese-owned factories and mines has caused health problems and public protests. The Serbian government has been criticized for its lack of response to these issues and for bypassing regulatory protocols. Additionally, Serbia's political support for China, including backing Beijing's policies towards the Uighur community, has raised concerns about its geopolitical stance, especially in light of its relationship with the US and the controversy surrounding Huawei's involvement in the country.

Serbia’s Muslims fear new ethnic violence after Montenegro post-election attacks

21 Sep 2020  |  euronews.com
Muslims in Serbia's Sandzak region are apprehensive of new ethnic violence following attacks on Montenegro's Muslim community after the August 30 elections. Incidents of vandalism and graffiti praising the Srebrenica massacre have instilled fear among Bosniaks. The Islamic Community in Serbia and the Sandzak Committee for Human Rights express concerns over unresolved war crimes and the Serbian government's failure to address past violence, which undermines trust and stability. Despite the tensions, there are signs of solidarity, such as the Serbian Orthodox Church's efforts to prevent violence. The Serbian government, led by Aleksandar Vučić, is accused of using ethnic divisions to distract from other issues. The recognition of Kosovo's independence remains a contentious issue between Belgrade and Bosniaks. Residents of Sandzak hope for peace and coexistence, drawing on historical resilience and inter-ethnic ties.

Serbian diplomatic ship led by a helmsman without a rudder

12 Sep 2020  |  balkans.aljazeera.net
The signing of the agreement in Washington has put Serbia back on the global stage in terms of international activities. The agreement, initially intended to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina, surprised many with its focus on the Middle East and relations with Russia and China. A key point of contention is Serbia's decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This has strained Serbia's relations with many countries, including EU members and the Arab League. The Serbian government's approach to diplomacy has been criticized for its lack of consistency and strategic direction, with decisions seemingly made ad hoc to maintain President Aleksandar Vučić's power. Experts argue that Serbia's diplomatic position is compromised, and its international influence is diminished compared to the former Yugoslavia. The current state of Serbian diplomacy is seen as a departure from the 'Four Pillars of Diplomacy' policy, which was more consistent and strategic.

Will Weapons from Serbia Return as a Diplomatic Boomerang

18 Aug 2020  |  balkans.aljazeera.net
Serbia's arms trade, a significant export product, faces scrutiny as weapons sold to Armenia were used in a conflict with Azerbaijan, a Serbian ally. Despite assurances from Serbian authorities, diplomatic tensions arose, prompting a visit from the Serbian Minister of Police to Baku. Experts suggest the economic benefits of arms exports currently outweigh potential diplomatic fallout. Criticism arises from opposition figures and experts who highlight the risks of indiscriminate arms sales and potential legal consequences, especially concerning US sanctions. The issue underscores the complex interplay between economic interests and international diplomacy.

Is Belgrade moving away from Moscow?

27 Jul 2020  |  balkans.aljazeera.net
Serbia, traditionally seen as a Russian ally in the Balkans, is showing signs of distancing itself from Moscow. President Aleksandar Vučić announced a halt to arms purchases from Russia, turning to other suppliers like the US, Israel, and the UK. Military analyst Vlade Radulović notes a shift in Belgrade's foreign policy, with decreased activities with NATO and a stagnation in relations with Russia. Journalist Boško Jakšić suggests Serbia lacks a clear foreign policy direction, while former MP Đorđe Vukadinović views the Serbian-Russian connection as overstated, serving both domestic and Russian interests. The narrative of a strong Belgrade-Moscow alliance is challenged by Serbia's more symbolic military purchases from Russia and more substantial agreements with NATO.

Serbia denies hiding COVID-19 impact to push ahead with election

17 Jul 2020  |  www.euronews.com
Serbia has been accused of underreporting COVID-19 deaths to proceed with parliamentary elections, with discrepancies in reported fatalities and a subsequent spike in cases. Critics argue that the government manipulated data to ensure voter turnout, leading to a landslide victory for the ruling Serbian Progressive Party. The opposition and watchdog organizations have highlighted irregularities in the election process, further eroding public trust in institutions. Government officials have denied intentional concealment but admitted to errors in data reporting.

Construction of a dam on the Drina complicates relations between BiH, Montenegro, and Serbia

06 Jul 2020  |  balkans.aljazeera.net
Negotiations between Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske and Elektroprivreda Srbije have intensified regarding the construction of the Buk Bijela hydroelectric power station on the Drina River, potentially affecting Montenegro's territory. The project, originally planned in 1972, faces complications due to the environmental impact on the UNESCO-protected Tara River. Experts and program directors express concerns over the lack of transparency and the need for careful consideration of energy versus tourism interests. The involvement of a Chinese company and the potential political implications of Serbia's participation through the purchase of Elektroprivreda RS are also noted.

Serbia election: President Vucic declares landslide win in controversial parliamentary vote

19 Jun 2020  |  euronews.com
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced a landslide victory for his right-wing Serbian Progressive Party in a parliamentary election marked by concerns over COVID-19 and an opposition boycott. The SNS secured over 60% of the vote, translating to around 190 seats in the 250-seat parliament, with the Socialist Party of Serbia as their coalition partner. The election, the first national vote in Europe since the pandemic, was held despite a lower turnout and allegations of corruption and unfair practices. The opposition's mass boycott did not materialize as expected. The political landscape in Serbia lacks a clear left-right delineation, and the election saw new parties and movements emerge to fill the void left by boycotting opposition parties. The election's legitimacy was questioned by opposition and democracy watchdogs, and concerns were raised about the potential for a post-election surge in COVID-19 cases. Key voter issues included the economy and the status of Kosovo, with speculation that the constitution could be amended post-election to facilitate negotiations.

Coronavirus: Middle East refugees in Serbia volunteer to combat pandemic

01 Apr 2020  |  Middle East Eye
Middle Eastern refugees in Serbia, including former tailor Soheil Habibi and paramedic Hussein al-Masri, are volunteering to combat the coronavirus pandemic by sewing protective masks and offering their skills. Despite rising anti-refugee sentiment and political tensions in Serbia, these refugees are motivated by altruism and a desire to help during the global crisis. The Serbian Commissariat for Refugees supports their efforts, while the White Helmets are highlighted for their humanitarian work. The article also touches on the broader political context and challenges faced by refugees in Serbia.

Large-scale protests erupt in Serbia over controversial Belgrade Waterfront project

27 Dec 2017  |  Middle East Eye
Protests have erupted in Belgrade, Serbia, against the $3bn Belgrade Waterfront project, backed by the United Arab Emirates. Approximately 9,000 demonstrators protested against what they perceive as a corrupt relationship between Serbian officials and UAE investors. The project, a luxury complex, has been criticized for its funding structure, with concerns that the Serbian state will bear the financial burden. The protests were reignited by illegal demolitions to make way for the project, and revelations from the Panama Papers suggesting links between Serbian policymakers and UAE businessmen. The Serbian government's deal with UAE's Eagle Hills and Etihad Airways has faced scrutiny, with allegations of public money being appropriated for private gain. Critics argue that the project disregards public interest and contravenes human rights, with no benefit to Serbian citizens.

This episode of Insajder (Insider) is based on the investigation of Milivoje Pantovic. Some 200 families (mostly with political connections including former Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic) occupied the bank of river Sava where they have build up illegal settlement. Some 16% of drinking water for Serbia's capitol Belgrade comes from Sava damn, on which private house are build. Also, the damn is protecting from flood over 300.000 inhabitants of New Belgrade. The investigation has shown that not only the authorities turn a blind eye and did not ordered demolition of illegal objects but that laws are rapidly changed in order to allow the conversion of public land into private.

Controversial Tycoon Boguljub Karic Returns to Serbia

30 Dec 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Bogoljub Karic, a businessman and former presidential candidate, returned to Serbia, greeted by family, supporters, and media at Belgrade airport. He announced he would not re-enter politics but aims to help Serbia by creating jobs, pledging to support the Serbian government.

Croatia Identifies Remains of 20 Serb War Victims

22 Dec 2016  |  Balkan Insight
The remains of 20 Serbs killed during the war in Croatia were identified at Zagreb’s Medical Faculty, with family members present. The Serbian government’s missing persons commission reported that the victims were exhumed from various locations, with deaths occurring between 1991 and 1995. Since 2001, 1,313 Serb victims' remains have been exhumed in Croatia, with 898 positively identified. The identified remains were returned to relatives for burial. There are still 1,571 people listed as missing from the 1990s war in Croatia.

Balkan War Crime Suspects Maintain Political Influence

07 Dec 2016  |  Balkan Insight
War crime suspects from the Balkan wars of the 1990s continue to wield significant political influence in the region. Figures like Vojislav Seselj in Serbia and Fikret Abdic in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been elected to office despite their controversial pasts. This phenomenon reflects the enduring power of nationalism in Balkan politics, which is used to garner populist support. The presence of these individuals in public life perpetuates a culture of denial regarding wartime atrocities, hindering societal reconciliation and justice for victims. The article also highlights the lack of public debate and accountability for war crimes in countries like Serbia and Kosovo, where former combatants maintain political power.

Serbia PM Mulling Fresh Elections, Experts Say

05 Dec 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is considering holding joint presidential and parliamentary elections in spring 2017 to mobilize voters and boost his party's chances. Experts suggest this move could be a political maneuver to weaken the opposition and maintain power. The Serbian Progressive Party, led by Vucic, has a history of calling snap elections to consolidate power. Analysts warn that frequent elections could fatigue voters and undermine democracy.

Serbian Daily Accused of ‘Fascism’ for Probing PM’s Brother

17 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbia's pro-government tabloid Informer accused Dragoljub Petrovic, editor-in-chief of the liberal daily Danas, of fascism following an article on the Prime Minister's brother, Andrej Vucic. Informer also targeted TV RTS 1's director, Dragan Bujosevic, after his meeting with opposition members. The tabloid has a history of controversial reporting and recently accused several investigative media outlets of being foreign mercenaries. The European Commission's report on Serbia highlighted increasing threats and violence against journalists.

Serbian Soldiers Threaten Protest Over Low Wages

17 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Members of the Military Union of Serbia plan to protest over low wages and poor working conditions, marking the first such protest in Serbian history. Defence Minister Zoran Djordjevic urged soldiers to understand the country's economic challenges and questioned the legality of the protest. Union president Novica Antic argued that the ministry has ignored union demands and violated laws requiring dialogue with representative unions. The protest is scheduled for November 27 in Belgrade, with soldiers participating in their free time to avoid legal issues.

Serbia to Punish Genocide Denial, Says Minister

16 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic announced that Serbia will introduce punishments for genocide and war crimes denial to fulfill obligations towards the European Union. The proposed legislation, which will be submitted to parliament, suggests jail sentences for those who deny or diminish the significance of genocide and war crimes. The Serbian Radical Party and the Democratic Party of Serbia oppose the legal change. Serbia is in negotiations with the EU over necessary legislation for membership.

Unmarked Grave Hides Belgrade’s Post-WWII Execution Victims

04 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Lisiciji Potok in Belgrade is believed to be the site of a mass grave where hundreds were executed by Communist Partisans after World War II. Historian Srdjan Cvetkovic and Slobodan Djuric, whose father and uncle were among the victims, advocate for a monument to honor those killed. Despite numerous testimonies and verified accounts, the graves remain unexhumed due to lack of state will and recent construction over the sites. The article highlights the need to maintain the memory of the Stalinist regime's repressive actions in Serbia.

Yugoslav Army General Tried for Spying for US

02 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Momcilo Perisic, former chief of staff of the Yugoslav Army and deputy prime minister of Serbia, is on trial at the High Court in Belgrade for allegedly passing state secrets to the United States. The trial, which also involves lieutenant-colonel Miodrag Sekulic and civilian Vladan Vlajkovic, is being held behind closed doors due to confidentiality concerns. Perisic, who has pleaded not guilty, was previously acquitted of war crimes by the Hague Tribunal in 2013. The espionage charges date back to 2002, when Perisic was accused of handing over military documents to US diplomat John David Neighbor.

Russia, Serbia Launch Military Drill Amid Spy Claims

02 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
A joint military drill named Slavic Brotherhood, involving Serbian, Russian, and Belarusian armies, is set to commence near Belgrade amid espionage claims. The exercise aims to prepare troops for anti-terrorism operations and involves around 700 soldiers. This drill follows recent allegations of Russian spies being expelled from Serbia and claims of espionage activities by both Western and Eastern intelligence agencies. Despite denials from Serbian and Russian officials, the public remains uncertain about the espionage claims. Military cooperation between Serbia and Russia has increased, with several joint drills and equipment purchases. Analyst Bosko Jaksic notes the growing Russian influence in Serbia, particularly since the Ukraine crisis, despite some unresolved diplomatic issues.

Serbia Must Uphold Western ‘Values’, Ambassador Says

01 Nov 2016  |  Balkan Insight
US ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Randolph Scott, emphasized the positive relations between Belgrade and Washington, asserting that Serbia can maintain good relationships with both Russia and the West. He highlighted the importance of Serbia upholding EU values and international laws. Scott's comments on the Savamala demolitions, where masked men demolished buildings in Belgrade, sparked controversy and criticism from Serbian officials. Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic accused the US of interfering in Serbia's internal affairs, while Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic criticized the US Marines' actions at a Halloween party. The demolitions led to significant public protests and raised concerns about trust in the Serbian government and its institutions.

Serbian State Security ‘Involved in Killing Journalist’

28 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
State Security in Serbia is implicated in the 1999 murder of opposition journalist Slavko Curuvija, with testimonies indicating surveillance was halted just before the killing. Former police task force chief Dragan Karleusa testified that evidence pointed to State Security's involvement, including a car with State Security license plates at the crime scene. The indictment names Radomir Markovic and three former security officers as involved in the crime. The trial has seen conflicting testimonies, but most agree Curuvija was targeted for his opposition to President Slobodan Milosevic. The appeals court has ordered a review of the custody decision for two defendants.

Russia Security Chief Advocates Closer Ties to Serbia

26 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, called for closer cooperation between Russian and Serbian security agencies during a meeting with Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic in Belgrade. Patrushev proposed a memorandum of understanding to be signed in 2017, aiming to establish regular communications between the two countries' security agencies. The visit comes amid allegations of Russian involvement in political and security disputes in the Balkans, including an alleged coup attempt in Montenegro. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic acknowledged the arrest of individuals planning illegal acts in Montenegro but denied any state involvement. The article highlights the complex geopolitical dynamics in the region, with Serbia maintaining close ties with Russia while Montenegro moves towards NATO membership.

Serbia Security Experts Split Over PM’s Spy Claims

26 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
The Serbian Prime Minister's assertion that foreign intelligence activities in Serbia have increased has sparked a debate among security experts. While some analysts view the claim as a diversionary tactic, others believe there has been a genuine uptick in espionage activities by various countries. The discussion follows the arrest of a former Serbian Gendarmerie commander in Montenegro, accused of plotting a coup. The Serbian government has faced calls for transparency from opposition parties, with demands for a special parliamentary session to address the security situation.

Vucic: Serbia Arrests People Involved in ‘Illegal Acts’ in Montenegro

25 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic announced the arrest of individuals in Serbia connected to an alleged coup attempt in Montenegro, clarifying that these individuals are not linked to politicians in either country but to a third country. Vucic detailed the seizure of uniforms and money, and communication with Montenegrin authorities. The Montenegrin Prosecutor’s Office suspects a criminal organization planned to attack police and take over the parliament post-election. Vucic also addressed unrelated allegations involving the Serbian Gendarmerie in controversial demolitions in Belgrade, which have led to public protests.

Serbia Rejects Kosovo’s Trepca Mine Takeover

11 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbia's government, led by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, has rejected Kosovo's decision to take control of the Trepca mining complex, a vital resource for Serbs in northern Kosovo. Vucic declared the decision null and void, emphasizing the importance of protecting ownership rights and refusing to recognize Kosovo as a state. Kosovo's parliament passed a law transforming Trepca into a shareholding company, with the government controlling 80% of the shares. The move has sparked protests from opposition MPs, Kosovo Serb miners, and the Serbian government, highlighting the ongoing ethnic and political tensions in the region.

Serbian PM’s Visit to Nis Dismissed as PR Stunt

09 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is set to visit Nis to address local issues and host Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. The visit, which includes a business forum with over 200 companies, is criticized as a PR stunt.

Serbia, France Unite to Tackle Arms Smugglers

06 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbia and France are set to sign a protocol to establish joint investigation teams to combat illicit arms trading. The initiative aims to address the ongoing issue of arms smuggling from the Balkans to Western countries, which remains a significant problem more than 20 years after the Balkan wars. Key figures, including Serbia’s Prosecutor for Organised Crime Mladen Nenadic and French Ambassador to Serbia Christine Moro, emphasize the importance of this collaboration in fighting crime and terrorism. The low cost of Serbian weapons compared to those from other countries is highlighted as a major incentive for smugglers.

Refugees Start March from Belgrade to Hungary

04 Oct 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Refugees and migrants in Serbia began a protest march towards the Hungarian border, demanding it be opened to allow their passage to Western Europe. The march, involving around 350 people, was escorted by police to ensure security. The protest highlights the plight of approximately 7,000 refugees and migrants stuck in Serbia due to strict border controls by Hungary. Some refugees chose not to join the march, citing fears of confrontation with Hungarian police. The situation underscores the broader challenges faced by non-Syrian and non-Iraqi migrants in seeking asylum in the EU, as Serbia considers tightening its own border controls.

War Talk Grips Balkans Ahead of Bosnia Vote

22 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbia's President Tomislav Nikolic has urged the Serbian military to be more vigilant amid escalating threats between Bosniak, Bosnian Serb, and Serbian officials. This comes as a controversial referendum in Republika Srpska and local elections in Bosnia approach, heightening regional tensions.

Serbia’s UN Candidate Wins Western Media Support

22 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbia's candidate for UN Secretary General, Vuk Jeremic, is receiving significant support from Western media outlets, including the Daily Telegraph and Wall Street Journal, which praise his detailed platform and leadership background. Despite this, experts like Bosko Jaksic believe Jeremic's chances of election are slim due to late support from the Serbian government and emerging consensus around Portugal's Antonio Guterres. The Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development, led by Jeremic, expressed honor at the media support and highlighted Serbia's increased international respect. The UN Security Council's voting process continues, with permanent members' votes being crucial in the upcoming rounds.

Kosovo Expels Two Reporters Held in Detention

16 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Russian journalist Oksana Sazonova and Ukrainian colleague Sergei Belous were fined and banned from re-entering Kosovo for five years after being detained for allegedly entering the country illegally. The journalists, who were working on a documentary about Serbian Orthodox churches, claimed they entered Kosovo legally. The Russian Embassy in Belgrade confirmed the detentions and is working for their release. Kosovo police have yet to comment officially on the matter.

Attacks on Serbia Media ‘Aim to Cut Their Funds’

12 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
The article discusses the ongoing attacks on independent media in Serbia, particularly by the pro-government tabloid Informer, which aims to cut their funding from the EU and other donors. Journalists and media organizations believe these attacks are intended to silence criticism and monitoring of the government. The Serbian government and media close to it are accused of using inflammatory language and creating a hostile environment for independent journalists. The article highlights the risks faced by journalists and the potential consequences of losing EU funding.

Bosnian Serbs Give Ultimatum to Constitutional Court

09 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik stated that the planned referendum on the Day of Republika Srpska would only be canceled if Bosnia's Constitutional Court reversed its ruling that the celebration is unconstitutional. The referendum, set for September 25, challenges the court's decision, which deemed the celebration discriminatory against non-Serbs. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has not supported the referendum, despite attending the celebrations earlier. Bosniak politicians have urged non-Serbs to boycott the referendum, calling it unconstitutional and a threat to peace.

Vrsac Mountains: A Cure for Modern Ills

07 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
The Vrsac Mountains in Serbia, located near the city of Vrsac, offer a peaceful retreat with historical significance and natural beauty. Known for their healing properties since the 18th century, the mountains were once a popular destination for naturists and gliders. Despite their potential, the mountains remain underutilized, providing a serene environment for hiking, biking, and climbing. Recent renovations to the 15th-century castle tower have sparked some controversy, but the area continues to attract visitors seeking both adventure and tranquility.

Serbia Slates EU Response to Complaints About Croatia

01 Sep 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and his government criticized the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's response to a letter Vucic sent in August, which complained about anti-Serbian policies in Croatia. Vucic and other Serbian officials, including Vice Prime Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, expressed dissatisfaction with the EU's perceived double standards and lack of action against Croatia's nationalist actions. The Serbian government accused the EU of ignoring anti-Serbian policies and jeopardizing regional peace and stability.

Over 10,000 Still Missing from Yugoslav Wars

30 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Serbian officials and missing persons associations emphasized the ongoing priority of finding the 10,653 people who disappeared during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. Veljko Odalovic, head of the Serbian Commission for Missing Persons, criticized neighboring countries for their flawed identification processes and lack of cooperation. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci acknowledged the issue as a significant wound from the war. Dragan Pjevac from Serbia’s Coalition for Missing Persons highlighted the lack of exhumations in Croatia and Kosovo. The coalition urged Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to intensify efforts to locate the missing, which could aid in normalizing regional relations.

Refugees on Hungary Border Face More Obstacles

29 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Refugees in the transit zone near Kelebija face long waits, worsening weather, and poor conditions as Hungary tightens border controls, allowing only 15 refugees a day through each of its two border crossings with Serbia. Humanitarian aid is insufficient, and police restrictions prevent refugees from accessing nearby towns. Serbia is expanding its refugee capacities and preparing for winter, with five camps currently operating. Many refugees avoid camps to maintain their position in line for entry into Hungary and the EU.

Serbian Unions Seek Higher Minimum Wage

19 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Negotiations have begun in Serbia to increase the minimum wage, which is currently one of the lowest in the Balkan region and Europe. The Serbian Association of Employers proposes a modest rise, while the union Sloga criticizes the talks as a political spectacle and demands a more substantial increase. Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulin emphasizes the need for a joint decision involving all relevant groups.

New Serbian Cabinet is Mix of Old and New

10 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Prime Minister-designate Aleksandar Vucic has presented a new cabinet for Serbia, retaining many ministers from his previous administration while introducing eight new members. Key figures include Ivica Dacic as Foreign Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic as Interior Minister, and Dusan Vujovic continuing in charge of Finance. The cabinet features a mix of experienced politicians and new faces, with some ministers facing criticism and controversy. The new government aims to continue its agenda with a focus on stability and progress.

Serbia to Highlight Croatia Concentration Camp at UN

10 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
The Serbian foreign ministry plans to stage the 'Hidden Holocaust' exhibition at the UN in New York in 2017 to highlight the atrocities of the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp and counter historical revisionism. The exhibition aims to promote universal values such as peace and human rights, featuring testimonies, personal possessions of prisoners, and contributions from artists and filmmakers. The initiative, which involves collaboration with Jewish organizations and various institutes, is expected to provoke reactions from Croatia, where nationalist elements have downplayed the camp's death toll.

Serbia Mourns Victims of Croatia’s Operation Storm

05 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Political leaders from Serbia and Republika Srpska commemorated the Day of Remembrance of the Suffering and Persecution of Serbs, criticizing Croatia for celebrating Operation Storm, which led to significant Serbian casualties and displacement. Prime Minister-designate Aleksandar Vucic and Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik condemned the rise of nationalism in Croatia and the celebration of war criminals. Relations between Serbia and Croatia have deteriorated, marked by diplomatic tensions and harsh political statements.

Serb Refugee Villagers Dream of Lost Croatian Homes

04 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
The village of Busije near Belgrade, established by refugees after the Balkan wars, is home to many Serbs who fled Croatia during Operation Storm in 1995. Despite building a new life, many residents, like Zivko, still dream of returning to their homeland. The village faces infrastructure challenges, including a lack of schools and proper drainage. Commemorations for the victims of the Balkan wars are held annually, with high-profile officials attending. The Serbian government and NGOs are working to provide permanent housing for remaining refugees, but the return to Croatia remains fraught with difficulties due to rising nationalism and poor conditions for the Serb minority.

Violence Against Migrants on Rise in Balkans

01 Aug 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reports a rise in violent attacks on migrants in the Balkans since spring, with injuries inflicted by Hungarian authorities and smugglers. The violence includes physical assaults and theft, affecting men, women, and children. MSF provides psychological support but faces challenges due to the transient nature of migrants. The organization criticizes tightened border controls, arguing they increase migrants' vulnerability to smugglers and violence.

Croatia-Serbia Tensions Escalate Into Diplomatic War

29 Jul 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Relations between Croatia and Serbia have deteriorated due to inflammatory exchanges and harsh political statements. The crisis is driven by internal political issues and nationalist leadership in both countries. Tensions are expected to rise further with Croatia's upcoming celebration of the 1995 military operation Oluja, which is a point of ethnic contention. Experts note a resurgence of nationalism on both sides, contributing to the diplomatic conflict.

Study Shows Young Serbs Turning Against EU

28 Jul 2016  |  Balkan Insight
A study presented by the Institute for European Affairs reveals that while a majority of Serbians support EU integration, a significant portion of the youth prefer closer ties with Russia. The research highlights a growing skepticism among young Serbs towards the EU, influenced by historical education and societal values. The study also notes widespread opposition to NATO membership and identifies Croatia, the US, and Albania as perceived adversaries. Experts suggest that better education on Serbia's historical role in the Yugoslav conflicts could shift these conservative views.

Seselj’s Radicals to Run in Montenegrin Elections

26 Jul 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Vojislav Seselj’s Serbian Radical Party is reactivating in Montenegro ahead of the October 16 parliamentary elections, with plans to campaign in Podgorica and promote Serbian nationalist ideology. The party, which has been largely inactive due to Seselj's detention, aims to revive its influence by advocating for Serbian national identity, dual citizenship, and closer ties with Serbia and Russia. Seselj, recently acquitted of war crimes, is expected to participate in the campaign if allowed entry into Montenegro. The party's resurgence follows its success in Serbia's April elections, where it became the main opposition party.

EU Concerns Over Serbia’s Russia-West Balancing Act

14 Jul 2016  |  www.balkaninsight.com
David McAllister, the European Parliament's Rapporteur for Serbia, warned that Serbia's policy of maintaining close ties with Russia while seeking EU membership is unsustainable. Serbia has not imposed sanctions on Russia following the annexation of Crimea, which EU officials view as an obstacle to integration. McAllister emphasized the need for Serbia to reduce energy imports from Russia and comply with EU energy market rules. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated that Serbia would not impose sanctions on Russia and that EU membership remains a key priority. McAllister also reassured that Brexit would not affect Serbia's EU membership process.

Croatia, Britain, Stop Serbia Opening Chapter

27 Jun 2016  |  www.balkaninsight.com
Croatia and the UK have blocked Serbia from opening Chapter 23 in its EU membership talks, with Croatia citing substantial reasons and the UK citing technical reasons due to the Brexit referendum. The decision was made during the EU working group on Serbian negotiations under the Dutch presidency. Croatia demands Serbia to respect minority rights, cooperate with the ICTY, and revoke jurisdiction over war crimes from the 1990s conflicts. Serbia's Prime Minister-designate Aleksandar Vucic and Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic have discussed the issues. The next opportunity for Serbia to open Chapter 23 is June 30, but many EU diplomats predict a delay until September due to the current EU crisis.

Picturesque Eastern Serbian Town Reveals Extent of Election Fraud

25 May 2016  |  Balkan Insight
Safet Pavlovic, the mayor of Zagubica in eastern Serbia and a member of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), gained notoriety after a video from a pre-election rally went viral. During the rally, Pavlovic compared the local electorate's support for the SNS to North Korea, suggesting that the party would achieve a sweeping victory in the municipality of Sige, with a predicted 95 percent of the vote. His comments sparked a flurry of witty responses from the local media.

Thousands rally against $3bn UAE development project in Serbian capital

25 May 2016  |  Middle East Eye
Large-scale protests erupted in Belgrade against the $3bn UAE-backed Belgrade Waterfront project, highlighting alleged corruption between Serbian and UAE officials. Demonstrators, supported by opposition parties, criticized the project for illegal demolitions and lack of transparency. The project, a joint venture between Eagle Hills and Serbian authorities, faces scrutiny over its funding and potential financial burden on Serbian taxpayers. Previous UAE-Serbia collaborations, including the Etihad-Air Serbia deal, have also raised suspicions. Activists and experts argue the project is unsustainable and benefits political elites at the expense of the public.

Serbian embassy staff killed in US strike in Libya

Bulgaria: The forgotten Balkan migrant route

18 Dec 2015  |  Middle East Eye
Thousands of refugees are attempting to reach Europe through Bulgaria, facing significant challenges and human rights violations. Over 27,000 refugees have been detained by Bulgarian police, with reports of abuse and corruption. Amnesty International and other humanitarian organizations have called for investigations into these violations. Despite praise from some European leaders for Bulgaria's border management, activists and refugees report systemic issues and severe mistreatment. The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and UNHCR have documented numerous cases of abuse, urging urgent action to address these concerns.
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