Crisis communication lecture to Faculty of Economics students in Belgrade

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on November 13th, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

Aleksandra Hristov, director of Hristov Consulting, the only certified consulting firm for communication strategy in Serbia, gave a lecture on crisis communication to the students of the fourth year of the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, at the invitation of Professor Galjina Ognjanov.

Students had the opportunity to hear from experienced professional and practitioner in the field of crisis communication, whose consulting firm has successfully solved more than 50 crises of its clients. At the same time, they learned about crises, whether and how could you prepare for crises, how to manage crises, or to be a successful navigator in crisis, what can be learned from crises and why it is important to manage reputation.

“I am very pleased to be at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade for the fifth time and to share my experience with young people. Hristov Consulting is socially responsible business, and its consultants are always willing to give lecture to students on the strategic communications topics, which is our company’s expertise. I would like to pay my respect to professors such as Galjina Ognjanov who recognize the importance of inviting practitioners to be guest lecturers in order to allow their students to gain first-hand experience and thus contribute to the development of Belgrade University and society as a whole.” said Alexandra Hristov.

Hristov Consulting also helps associations of persons with disabilities, as well as individuals who contribute to the development of society. Hristov Consulting is engaged in management consulting in the fields of reputation, media relations, crisis management, law and PR, public affairs and lobbying.

Propaganda as the enemy, communication as the ally of the media

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on September 21st, 2019 under Articles | No Comments »

This article was published on September 19, 2019, in Novi Magazin, Serbian weekly. Ms. Aleksandra Hristov, the director of Hristov Consulting, a certified consulting firm for communication strategy and education in that area has spoken about the illicit connection between various actors in the society and the media that exists for years and makes it difficult to be independent and work in the public interest. This same matter was also commented by Mr. Dragan Janjic, the chief editor of Beta media agency-

Following is the article in its integral version:

“Propaganda as the enemy, communication as the ally of the media”

The cooperation of the media and the public relations sector naturally influences the newspaper texts that are reaching the public on a daily basis. However, the ethical and the judicial boundaries that are meant to protect the public interest during that cooperation are overlooked all too often. The companies, organizations, institutions, political parties, and individuals that appear in public and are influencing truthful and objective informing instead of protecting the public, and they become themselves the tools of disseminating untrue data in creation of the distorted picture of the reality.

“The media and the Public Relations (PR) are two different jobs, with different priorities. The media, journalists and the chief editors, should emphasize their task of protecting the public interest, whereas PR offices want to promote the corporate or organization’s interests for which they are working. In any case, the public interest should be cared for, with the awareness that with some professions such as journalists and public agencies such interest should be the first priority. That is nothing unusual as this is done this way throughout the world. The problems arise when different roles, and the priority goals get mingled, and when the media agrees to put, instead of the public interest, the interest of the company or organization served by its PR, on the first place. That happens either by mistake, when the journalists and the chief editors do not recognize that the public and corporate, organizational interests diverge, or when they do it deliberately”, says Mr. Dragan Janjic, the chief editor of the media agency Beta.

According to his assessment, in the first case, when the mistake was accidental, things can be fixed relatively easily, however, in the second case we are witnessing a potentially dangerous collusion that can be detrimental to the society and damage the public interest. “The drastic example with the tragic consequences occurred recently, during the 1990-ies, when the propaganda machineries of the sides in the war conflict in the former Yugoslavia acted as the deliberate war mongering vehicles, and the majority of the media was transmitting whatever was served to them”, Mr. Janjic reminded us.

The task of the PR sector that is representing the companies, organizations, institutions, political parties, and individuals should be, above all, to communicate with the media that are free from the pressure related to their media business. In practice that means that the task of the PR is to enable the free communication between the media and PR clients, to provide them with the truthful information, while media has the obligation to check all the facts, ant to release to the public the information that is important to the public interest.

Ms. Aleksandra Hristov, CMC, internationally certified business consultant in the area of the public communication, believes that the practice of the illicit collusion between various actors in society and media exists for years, and must be stopped immediately. “It is truly important that the media and PR sector become aware that at any moment they have the obligation to work in accordance to law, ethical codes, and international standards. This is the only way to avoid the errors that can be dangerous to the public interest”, says Ms. Hristov.

According to her words, the PR sector has an obligation, moral and judicial, regardless of what it does for the client or the boss, to respect the facts, truthful data, therefore the public interest, as it is always meant to be the case with the media in general. “In that business, the media and the PR should be allies”, added Ms. Hristov.

The mainstream media domestically (in Serbia and the region) and in the world are going through the crisis, trying to adjust to the digital age and endless competition brought by the internet. That competition, no doubt, has not brought the quality yet. However, it brought the high dependence of the media on advertisers, and those want to send their propaganda messages not only through the classical advertisements but also through the informative content, albeit without the professional journalistic handling of the matter.

Answering the question whether the propaganda is the enemy of the enemy of the public interest, Mr. Dragan Janjic believes that it is not always the case, because the propaganda is the tool for dissemination of any particular ideas or messages . “When the ideas or the messages are those that are indeed in the public interest, propaganda is allowed even in the media. Therefore, PR can help the media and the public reach various information content with the positive effect to individuals and society, however, the contrary is also possible. The main transmitter of the information is the media, and they should be the filter and the guarantor that everything stays within the perimeter of public interest”, says Mr. Janjic.

With this theme he is in agreement with Ms. Aleksandra Hristov who points out that we are often confronted with the public campaigns that are surely in public interest. “There is no problem when the organizations and businesses want to promote their results and community service based on facts. Serbia has PR outlets that are perfectly equipped and creative to handle such campaigns. The media, very often has ear for such campaigns. The problem arises when the client does not realize that his particular narrow interest is not in public interest, and as a consequence, some PR sectors start propagating the falsehood. That is not an allowed behavior by the PR, and the media itself before anyone, must react and deny such propaganda the media space without fear such action can produce the financial harm on them”, adds Ms. Hristov.

In any case, much work remains to be done in defining both better and clearer rules for the PR and media relationship. Implementing the laws and professional codes of conduct pertaining to media and PR is the key that should bring the quality to this area. Mr. Janjic emphasizes it would be ideal to somehow separate these things, if PR activities could be centered on drawing the attention to the importance of some product, idea or decision, without the indirect or direct influence of the companies or organizations on media business policy.

One thing that should be excluded from this two way communication between the media and PR is the blackmail, that if the media filters the PR content, it loses the client who pays the advertizing space. Furthermore, it should become unacceptable that the media without any checking or sanctions releases the false information whereby misleading the public and hurting the wider interest. The step toward respecting the clear professional rules is needed on both sides. This is in every citizen’s and wider public interest.

The article is part of the project “Propaganda as the enemy, communication as the ally of the media”, that is going to include the analysis of the conditions in this area through the opinion articles from the PR experts, and journalists contributing their views and own case studies. Through this project weekly Novi Magazin wants to promote the awareness about the importance of the media laws and professional codes of conduct implementation, including the imperative of applying the international standards in the media and PR interactions regardless of their own relationships with the political parties and businesses. Novi Magazin project is financed by the Embassy of the United States of America in Belgrade, Serbia.

Five years of notary public profession in Serbia

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on September 14th, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

Notary Public profession has succeeded in its primary function to protect the rights of its clients, increase the efficiency and control of the legal transactions, and to lessen the burden on the judicial system, all stated at the Celebration academy on the occasion of the fifth anniversary since first notaries public had opened their offices in Serbia.
In the presence of the minister of justice of Serbia, Ms. Nela Kuburovic, invitees from the judicial bodies of Serbia and the region, delegations from the notary public organizations and chambers, the president of the Notary Public Chamber of Serbia (NPCS), Mr. Srbislav Cvejic has pointed out that the notaries public have achieved within the past five years the outstanding results, and today we can say that the introduction of the notary public profession has improved the legal security of the citizens of Serbia.
The minister of Justice of Serbia, Ms. Nela Kuburovic, representing the government of Serbia and the ministry of justice, has personally congratulated the jubilee to notaries public, and added “with certainty we can say that the notaries public had fulfilled the expectations, and significantly lessened the burden on the courts, including increasing the legal security to higher level”.
Ms. Kuburovic highlighted that we are presently witnessing the widening of the perimeter of work of the notaries public, the consequence of their current scope of activity being done conscientiously and responsibly. She has also underlined the role and the advancement of the notary public profession during the last year, when many things have changed, and the notaries public have gained the access to many public official registries.
According to her, the notaries public will face many challenges in the future, especially in the area of implementing the Law of privacy protection.
“Your work and professionalism shall determine your stature and the future of notary public trade, and the Ministry of Justice shall strive to give you all the help necessary”, said Ms. Kuburovic.
The president of the NPCS stated that the notaries public of Serbia, in five years, have done 8,167,075 legal cases for which they were duly empowered. “Out of the respectable number of legal jobs, the vast majority are notary public authentications, numbering 6,705,983, and solemnizations of documents, numbering 871,768”, added Mr. Cvejic. According to him, thanks to the work of the notaries public, the double selling of real estate has dramatically decreased including the legal actions related to contractual transactions. Reminding that the Law of notary public profession has been brought in May 2011, and after two delays in implementation, finally became official in September of 2014, Mr. Cvejic has added that the beginnings were difficult, but the NPCS received the stable and clear support, above all, from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia.
At this time, in 198 notary public offices in Serbia, in addition to 198 notaries public, employed are 1,226 individuals, among them 69 notary public deputies, 90 notary public assistants, 450 apprentices, and 618 administrative staff. Following the Guidelines jointly issued by the Ministry of Justice and the High Court of Cassation in 2016, we witness the substantial increase in receiving the inheritance proceedings, so the notaries public so far had 362,808 such cases, half of which are the cases of putting together the official death notices.
The statistical data shows that on 173,218 inheritance cases solved there were 718 complaints filed, only 0,4 percentage points. The change occurred only in 31 inheritance cases. “This truly speaks volumes about the high quality of our notary public service. With pleasure we can say that the inheritance cases are handled efficiently, and the citizens are able to exercise their rights in the shortest time, proof that this whole system has significantly improved”, Mr. Cvejic pointed out.
According to the available data, notaries public, during this past Summer from June 01, until July 15, had done 122,031 free of charge notarizations of the documents needed for the enrollments into the High schools and universities. Mr. Cvejic has stated that the role of the notaries public has especially come to prominence since the Law of Real Estate Titles and Infrastructure Titles was brought. This law mandates that the notaries public beginning on July 01, 2018, can electronically send such Titles to the government agencies to be put on the official record.
“This procedure additionally secures the rights of the citizens by diminishing the possibility of officially recording the titles based on the falsified documents”, said the president of the NPCS. Furthermore, the president of the NPCS has also highlighted the big help that the notaries public of Serbia had from their colleagues from Europe and the world including the international organizations. “We lacked the wireless experience, but the biggest and the oldest notary organizations had selflessly shared their knowledge and achievements with us”, added Mr. Cvejic.
As the matter of the outmost importance, Mr. Cveic emphasized that, in October 2016, the NPCS  has become the 87th full member of the International Union of Notaries (UINL), and in June 2017 became the member of the  Notaries of Europe (CNUE) in the capacity of the member observer. The Serbian Chamber got the access to the European Notary Network (ENN) that enables the connection of the notaries from Serbia with their colleagues from the other European chambers.
At the Celebration academy the Thank you Plaques of the NPCS have been distributed to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, High Commission of the notaries of France, Notary Chamber of Germany, and to the notary public from France, Mr. Stefan Zecevic. Whereas, the Plaques of NPCS have been presented to the law professor at the University of Belgrade, Mr. Dejan Djurdjevic, to the first president of NPKS, Mr. Miodrag Djukanovic, and to the notary public from Belgrade, Ms. Natalija Adzic.
Whereas, the plaques of the NPCS have additionally been given to the representatives of the notary chambers from Republic Srpska of Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Germany, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus, and Russia.

Presentation of ISO 20700 guidelines for managing of business consulting services

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on June 21st, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

At the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), Mr. Louis M. Loizou has emphasized the importance of the CMC designation, and the extraordinary contribution of management consulting to the economies around the world. ICMCI, brand name CMC Global is continuously working on the advancement of standards on management consulting.
Our foundational designation, Certified Management Consultant, CMC has, is and will be our top objective internally. Furthermore CMC Global is actively participating in the development of European and International standards directly related to Management Consulting Services. I can say today a CMC is qualified to contribute significantly to the development of industries, corporations, and economies in many countries”, Mr. Loizou said.
Aleksandra Hristov, CMC,  the president of the Board of the Association of Management Consultants of Serbia, (UPKS) said that since its establishment, the Association has been working to establish the highest standards of the profession, firmly believing that only in this way the desired results for the clients could be achieved.
“The CMC certificate, for which a serious assessment is required, where number of documented evidence about the way how business consultant is working is needed truly guarantees to the client that he has engaged an expert who can significantly improve his business, his organization, or his institution “Said Aleksandra Hristov.
She added that the Association of Management Consultants of Serbia (UPKS) insists on ethical rules, which are also part of the certification process. “Companies, organizations and institutions in our country can count on our work to fulfill all the requirements imposed on business consultants, while respecting the consulting standards applied in the most developed countries of the world,” said Aleksandra Hristov.
As part of the process of advancement of consultants and consulting firms in Serbia, the ISO 20700 was presented, which was developed as a guideline for individuals or organizations for efficient managing of management consulting services. This standard was first published in 2017 and developed by the ISO Project Board ISO / PC 280.UPKS organized this event in cooperation with weekly newspaper Novi Magazin

Serbian Association of Lobbyists held 2nd training session on lobbying

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on May 22nd, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

Aleksandra Hristov, Director of Hristov Consulting, a member of the Council of the Serbian Association of Lobbyists and Nenad Vuković, a lawyer and president of the Serbian Association of Lobbyists, held second training session for the educational program on lobbying organized by the Institute for Lobbying and crisis management in Belgrade.
Aleksandra Hristov presented the specifics of lobbying in various areas of economic and social life – public sector, business, non-government sector, trade unions, and talked about differences between lobbying, public affairs and public advocacy.
The Institute for Lobbying and Crisis Management, which aims to improve the capacity of democratic institutions through the education program by training students to argue for different interests, will organize more lobbying programs in the coming period.

Election Assembly of the Association of Management Consultants of Serbia

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on February 28th, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

The Association of Management Consultants of Serbia (UPKS) held a regular election assembly, where Aleksandra Hristov, Director of Hristov Consulting was elected President of the Managing Board, and Daniel Tavčioski, an independent consultant, was elected President of the Association’s Assembly.
At the fifth assembly of the Association of Management Consultants of Serbia Andrija Gencel, independent consultant, Dario Daničić, director of Intema consulting from Belgrade, Borislav Čubrilo, director of BUS Computers from Kikinda and Ljubiša Petrović, director of the Smart Management Solutions Agency, were elected for the two-year mandate as the members of the Managing Board.
Aleksandra Hristov, who held the office of president of the UPK Assembly in the previous mandate, pointed out that the goals of the new management are promotion of the values of UPKS and the opportunities it provides, motivation of a greater number of consultants to join the association, and the realization of full membership in the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI).
“For 10 years, the Association has managed to bring people together with integrity, to be an affiliated member of the ICMCI umbrella organization, which brings together business consultants in 50 countries, and is a guarantee of quality in providing consulting services to clients” said Hristov.
The Association of Management Consultants of Serbia is an associate member of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes ICMCI, a global organization that brings together the most prominent management consultants worldwide and awards CMC certificates that are the only internationally recognized brand dedicated to individual business advisers. By awarding the CMC certifications in 2012, the Association of Business Consultants of Serbia was recognized as a partner of the ICMCI in Serbia.

The Association of Management Consultants of Serbia (UPKS) held a regular election assembly, where Aleksandra Hristov, Director of Hristov Consulting was elected President of the Managing Board, and Daniel Tavčioski, an independent consultant, was elected President of the Association’s Assembly.

At the fifth assembly of the Association of Management Consultants of Serbia Andrija Gencel, independent consultant, Dario Daničić, director of Intema consulting from Belgrade, Borislav Čubrilo, director of BUS Computers from Kikinda and Ljubiša Petrović, director of the Smart Management Solutions Agency, were elected for the two-year mandate as the members of the Managing Board.
Aleksandra Hristov, who held the office of president of the UPK Assembly in the previous mandate, pointed out that the goals of the new management are promotion of the values of UPKS and the opportunities it provides, motivation of a greater number of consultants to join the association, and the realization of full membership in the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI).
“For 10 years, the Association has managed to bring people together with integrity, to be an affiliated member of the ICMCI umbrella organization, which brings together business consultants in 50 countries, and is a guarantee of quality in providing consulting services to clients” said Hristov.

The Association of Management Consultants of Serbia is an associate member of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes ICMCI, a global organization that brings together the most prominent management consultants worldwide and awards CMC certificates that are the only internationally recognized brand dedicated to individual business advisers. By awarding the CMC certifications in 2012, the Association of Business Consultants of Serbia was recognized as a partner of the ICMCI in Serbia.

The media should be the protection against the fake news

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on February 7th, 2019 under Articles | No Comments »

I spoke to FoNet  media agency from Serbia about  the fake news – its distribution around the world and in Serbia, as well as how to combat it. Within the project “Press extra“. Within the project “Press extra”. I answered FoNet’s seven questions about fake news from the perspective of a Strategic Communications Consultant. Below is the edited text of the conversation:
1.     What is the purpose of the fake news?
The spread of the fake news has always existed. The purpose has always been to somehow manipulate the individuals and groups of people, to scare off the opponents, spread panic among the population, and for general propaganda purposes. These were always in some form used by the individuals, tribal communities, states, services, different ideologies, and so on.
With the development of the Internet this phenomenon grows to unexpected and hard to control proportions.
In the past, the Great Powers, by fabricating an incorrect data, or by using the fake news, have been trying to achieve their strategic goals in the areas of their own interest, and all this still exists today. This is still  part of the strategy of the powerful, and primarily their various interest groups.
In this context, it must be noted that democracy is the greatest achievement of human civilisation, therefore it has to be defended under any circumstances, now based on the freedom of the media and building of the powerful institutions.
As always, the purpose of fake news is to deceive the public, to direct it in a certain way, and in a democracy “by illicit means” to discredit a political opponent, a competitor, or a certain individual.
The use of the acceptable means in this context is handling of the true, but for someone potentially unfavorable information. I would like to point to a situation where there are facts and evidence sufficient to disqualify an opponent, and this is surely a legitimate way of communication in accordance with the ethical principles.
On this subject, the emphasis is on “illicit means,” because in such case the truth is suffering. The important question never to be overlooked is how does an individual get to what is true without breaking the ethical and moral boundaries.
2. Who creates the fake news?
Here the key question is how to prevent those who create the fake news, and how to prevent their major impact on public.
I believe that the answer is in free professional media, in the development of the strong institutions where every citizen, organization, company or institution can exercise their rights to protect themselves from the spread of lies. As a company, we always tell our clients that the denial is very important, contrary to the wide spread belief that it has little influence. The truth is the best policy, so one who has been attacked by fake news is obliged to defend himself. Simply, it is beyond any doubt a civilized way that someone who is attacked by fake news has the undeniable right to fight back.
Fake news creators are actually the interest groups who are trying to deceive the public and to injure the individuals, political organizations, non-government organizations, companies, institutions, states, etc. Often, there are whole teams from the communication field, related to the individual interests, or the state, who abuse their role and discard the ethics of our profession, so instead of respecting their main duty to truthfully iform the public, they are working against the public interest, the state and the citizens.
That is why free media is essential weapon to act in favor of the public interest regardless of the ownership, outside of the influence of the state, political parties, main advertisers, individuals, and, of course, coupled with the strong institutions, including the judiciary are then capable to defend anyones legal and civil rights.
3. How much fake news affect the public?
Like any propaganda, the impact is enormous and always harmful. Here, I must emphasize that, regardless of dissemination of lies, the truth always wins if one is strongly and consciously fighting for it. Sometimes the impression is that in the atmosphere of the spread of fake news anything is permitted, but the impact of such news almost always returns as a boomerang to those for whom the creators of false news are working.
4. How much is the public illiterate in terms of media?
The general public does not have to be media literate, and we can not realistically expect it. The society tends to consume whatever is being consistently marketed. We cannot expect from every citizen to recognize the sources, or check the news. As always, it is the responsibility of the elite to provide the timely, objective, and impartial information to the public.
5. What is currently the degree of fake news spread in Serbia and the world?
News is always around us. Television, newspapers, social networks generate news all the time. Social networks are the places in the virtual world for expressing the serious attitudes, but also to convey the feelings, beautiful or of frustration, dissatisfaction…
The difference between us in Serbia on the one hand, and in America and the European Union countries on the other, is that in the US and in the EU the mainstream media is mostly an obstacle to the fake news, while in our Serbian media even with the more reputable examples, we can find unverified information such as the false data, and many of them often intentionally generate fake news too.
The responsibility of the mainstream media in the selection and transmission of information is enormous. I believe that the key is in the habit of ethical behavior, the daily application of the Law and media standards that already exist in Serbia, but are either often not applied or are applied very sporadically.
I believe that all those who are affected by the fake news should always, invariably and immediately apply all legally allowed and civilized means in order to exercise their right of self defence.
6. How much are journalists responsible for planting the fake news?
Both the editors and journalists, regardless of the ownership in the media, are in any society still the “seventh force”, and are therefore crucial for the selection, placement of fact-based information, obligated to comply with journalistic standards, codes, all in public interest, and must apply in every situation the Law on Information of Serbia that is fairly competent and in line with the global trend. A democratic society needs free media that can not exist without the upright and brave journalists and editors who will not accept the requests to place the fake news just because it comes from some strongman, and that attitude in itself shall strengthen institutions that are tasked to enable everyone to exercise their rights.
7. How to fight the fake news?
With truth, based on facts and evidence. With freedom of the media and the building of the strong institutions. By obliging all professionals to comply with the standards, codes and laws. Last but not least, by education in the field of ethics.
In these times of technological and societal transformation the Ethics has become the key to fighting the fake news and non-democratic political movements and is now again irreplaceable for personal and professional orientation. Since last year, the Harvard University has introduced a study of ethics in computer programming so that the students are equipped to think in situations where a computer program can, but should not be made. Changes to the economy, society and politics, accelerated by the fourth industrial revolution, seek the education system that forms professionals and citizens aware of the importance and purpose of ethically informed decisions.
The alternative is an accelerated social devastation and fall into totalitarian fascist models.

A successful year for our client Mineco Group

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on January 22nd, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

The British company Mineco Limited, one of the largest mining investors in Serbia and the Western Balkans, is pleased with its results in 2018, although in the second half of the year prices on the international market of non-ferrous metals decreased, which directly affects the mines in the group, resulting in lower revenues.
“After we achieved truly the best results in 2017 since our establishment, we can be satisfied with last year as well, despite lower prices on the international market of non-ferrous metals. Nevertheless, a slightly lower business profit compared to the previous year did not slow Mineco’s development programme”, said Mineco Ltd Director Bojan Popović, while presenting the results of the past year. Mineco’s total investments in 2018 in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina again exceeded $20 million, and the companies in which Mineco takes partial ownership opened about 115 new jobs.
Popović pointed out that during the previous year, Mineco opened the lead mine near Olovo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the first new mine with underground exploitation in Bosnia in the last 30 years. “Then the exploitation of ore began and it is currently being stored and waiting for processing at the beginning of summer,” said Popović, adding that in addition to $4.5 million invested over the past 12 months in further development of the mine and its infrastructure, a gravity separation plant for production of lead concentrate from the ore has been commissioned as well.
According to Popović, in April this year all parts of this plant will be integrated in Olovo, after which the testing and fine tuning in production conditions will start, and the first deliveries of lead concentrate from this mine can be expected in the summer.
Mineco is in the final phase of work on the European project IMP@CT, which should result in a system of equipment and processes for enabling small scale mining. On this project, funded by the European Commission, Mineco is part of a consortium with several universities and equipment manufacturers. During the spring, the delivery of a containerload of equipment to BiH is planned, where the first field tests and production will be carried out in one part of the Olovo mine, as a test mine for this project.
“We hope that this facility will justify the idea of the project and allow the exploitation of small ore deposits of strategically important metals such as lead or antimony that are all over Europe, and that it will provide Mineco a primary access to this technology to utilize its resources for launching a few smaller mines in Serbia and BiH”, said Popović.
One of Mineco mines that is growing and developing is the Bosil-Metal mine in Bosilegrad. There is a project in a pilot phase, which examines the results of trial production of concentrates from excavated ore in order to develop a commercial flotation project.
“This mine represents a great development opportunity for Bosilegrad and we are confident that this municipality will rise from the lowest category of development when the commercial production of lead, zinc and copper concentrates starts in 2020/21″, said Popović.
As for other mines partially owned by Mineco: Gross near Srebrenica, Velika Majdan near Ljubovija and Rudnik near Gornji Milanovac have continued their good work, with positive results in the past year.
In these mines, exploratory works continued in order to ensure the future of operations. Gross, the largest mine, recorded an investment of around $3 million in development, while the Rudnik mine invested nearly $5.5 million in its production and future.
The Rudnik mine, a company of exceptional importance for the economy of the Milanovac region, can look calmly at the years ahead from the aspect of potential and capacity, Popović pointed out, adding that continuous large investments in geological research, both in Serbia and Bosnia, have led to Mineco adding a research drilling team to its team of geologists, which enables more efficient service to existing mines and new sites.
Popović also said that in the past year, the most demanding Mineco project, was the construction of a small hydropower plant on the Drinjač river in Bosnia, near Zvornik, primarily due to the extremely complex geological structure of the site. “During this year, all remaining works will be completed so that Medoš One will start delivering the first kilowatts to the Republic of Srpska’s electrical network”, said Popović.
Mineco is an international group of companies whose essential work lies in the international trade of non-ferrous metals and ore concentrates, investment in mining and geological research. Mineco invests in and develops lead, zinc and copper mines in the countries of south-eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, as well as in Canada and Turkey where the group takes partial ownership. The Mineco Group is the largest lead producer in the Russian Federation. Thanks to a wide partner network the Mineco Group operates globally in Europe, Asia, South and North America, connecting mines and metal smelters from Peru to China.
In Europe Mineco with its partners employs about 2,500 people, about 1,600 of them in the Western Balkan region.

“Strategy is the only right way” new text in “Novi Magazin”

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on January 10th, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

The author of this text, Aleksandra Hristov the owner and director of Hristov Consalting, has published this article in January 2019 issue of weekly magazine “Novi Magazin” under the title “Strategy is Still the Only Real Way”. In the text, Alaksandra noted the importance of creating and implementing communication strategies, as well as the reputation risk factor, which has become extremely important for the business enterprises, but also for institutions, organizations and individuals.
Belgrade – January 10th 2019.
Strategy is Still the Only Real Way
The companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals usually have no awareness of the need to build and maintain their own reputation until they suffer the real damage, and when it becomes too late for any form of the preventive action.
When it comes to companies, they become aware of the damage only when they try to expand their business, enter the international market or sell their corporation. Then they start having difficulties doing business with their partners or with the commercial banks and funds that refuse to grant them the loans. At such moments they, as usual, seek the help of the economists and lawyers, thinking that their problem is a financial or legal. Often they become surprised when, despite all “legal papers”, good business results, credit bureau reports, or perfectly matched business plans, they still cannot do the job. Not because of the poor monetary solvency or lack of capital, but because of the reputational risk.
Due to their lack of such awareness, instead of creating a proactive strategic communication approach, organizations and companies seek help only when they get into financial difficulties, or when they are already deeply in crisis. Unfortunately, they become aware of it much later, when they feel the real pain.
At such moments lawyers and economists may provide some help, but it is often not enough. It is common that inadequate lawyer and PR negotiations take place, personal arrangements with the usual types of conflicts that are typical for the courtrooms. The local media space has now been expanded to unexpected borders, and locally as elsewhere around the world in recent years, other rules and procedures have to be applied. The resulting damage to reputation (from various possible initiatives) has recently gone beyond the ability of the short-term old-fashioned medicine in the form of PR spinning and relying on personal acquaintances and connections in the media to achieve a short-term result, which is then quickly forgotten, and when new opponent attacks, these instantly achieved results become obsolete.
Key factors
The reputation factor is more than ever considered very important anywhere in the world, and even crucial when it comes to investing in some specific markets. This also applies to credit support to countries or companies from those specific markets. In the international financial institutions such as the World Bank or the EBRD, as well as at the large commercial banks, there are the entire sectors or departments dealing with these emerging markets. Their job is all about constantly considering the reputational risk of investing.
In addition to doing the observed company’s due diligence, the entire teams of consultants are engaged in analyzing the position of an organization or firm by using the publicly available data, including the traditional media and the Internet. At the same time, they deal with the issues of possible exposure to litigation, as well as with the question of individuals and firms (working for the one whose business is being analyzed), which in themselves may represent a special political-legal-security risk to the fund lending bank or institution.
Moreover, the European Commission has a legislative and political influence on the banks, insurance companies and investment funds, and regularly warning them not to cooperate with, or not to support those institutions or companies that have problems with the reputation factor. Furthermore, the development of the Internet has led to the unprecedented increase in the transparency of any activity and operation, therefore increasing also the risk of abuse, especially in the media sphere.
It should be emphasized what the reputation itself is, and how important it is for all the aspects of any company’s endeavors, (and also equally important for the functioning of the countries, institutions, organizations and individuals) – that is basically, the assessment of your environment about you. The consequences of a particular reputation are reflected on institutions, organizations, people and their behavior towards anyone, so accordingly they support or they do not support something or someone. Representation, loyalty and cooperation are the key consequences of a positive reputation.
Survival or real success
In the last few decades much has changed in the world, and is obviously going to change even more in the future. Globalization has created new conditions of doing business. The development of the Internet is already profoundly affecting the whole world, including the socio-economic relations and the functioning of institutions, organizations, and states. The Internet revolution is now considered to be even bigger than the industrial revolution, with incalculable consequences to anyone who is still unaware of it.
Previously, doing business was exclusively an economic category, where several elements were important – price and product quality, employee selection, product quality and the use of resources. With the development of the global market and global changes, the business has become a truly multifunctional entity where more than just economic factors are needed for the success. These include constant research into market dynamics, increasing expectations of the so-called “Stakeholders”, (who in addition to the partners, suppliers, clients/customers, may include the governments, institutions, organizations, associations, individuals, etc.), and methods depending on the particular business activity. If you are a company that intends to expand the business to, or is already present in the transition markets (with its own extraordinary dynamics of change, turbulent economic and political environment and constant normative activity in the form of new laws and regulations), it is by no means easy to manage the work and succeed in the times of fast change initiated by technology.
It is said that in the transition, those who have the best physical and mental stamina are successful (which is certainly true), provided that in everything they do there is a strategic approach, and understood that they will not resort to a generally common model in our local environment, i.e. corruptive activities, in order to get to new clients.
Channels change, goals do not
In addition to all the transformations in the wider world and locally, the strategic approach is certainly the only constant. It involves defining a business strategy including the development of a communication strategy towards stakeholders or the specific segment of the public. The channels of communication to be selected should always be adjusted to the dynamics of the change that is happening. Depending if you communicate with the targeted public segment through the social networks, traditional media, or by creating and carrying out marketing actions and desired publicity stunts, writing letters, or through an internal magazine, intranets – the selected communication tools and methods are always going to change, provided you first must define what your goals are.
In order to have the answer on how to get to any of the targets mentioned, you will have to start responding to crisis only after defining your own vision, mission and organizational culture, in addition to the value system of the organization in which you operate. This foundation is the hardest thing to create, but that work needs to be started early, as only in this way the reputation necessary for achieving the goals can be built upon.

Lobby Association of Serbia The Lobbyist law

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on May 14th, 2018 under Events | No Comments »

As a member of The Lobbyist Association of Serbia I have participated in the working group for Prevention and Fight against Corruption of the The Ministry of Justice of Serbia panel in Vrsac.

The great struggle of The Lobbyist Association of Serbia for getting The Lobbyist Law included clarifying some paragraphs of this Law in pursuit of preserving the integrity and the transparency, at The Ministry of Justice panel held yesterday. In light of the fact that despite GRECA recommendations for the need of having such Law, some influential organizations in Serbia were against it, we lobbyists are still holding out just fine. However, because of those organization’s insisting, we are going to also have an unregistered lobbyist, who can then remain under the radar of public scrutiny, and we must remain hopeful that the Ministry of Justice shall consider such danger.

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