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news 07 Apr 14

Serbia Switches Air Serbia Director's Nationality

The Serbian authorities appear to have suddenly changed the nationality of one of Air Serbia directors in order to fit in with EU rules about the airline's managing board.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

As of Friday, April 4, Davor Miseljic, member of the main board of the Serbia's national carrier Air Serbia, was no longer a Canadian national but a Serbian national. This is according to the website of the Serbian business registry.

The change came on the same day that the European Commission launched an investigation into Etihad Airways’ shareholding and control of several European airlines, including Air Serbia.

On March 25, Etihad Airways, the flag airline of the United Arab Emirates, became the official co-partner of Air Serbia, owning 49 per cent of the shares in a joint company with the Serbian government.

The Commission is probing whether Etihad’s investments are in line with EU rules on ownership and effective control of EU airlines.

Serbia is an EU candidate country and started EU accession talks in January. As such it is obliged to adhere to EU rules.

Etihad's 49-per-cent stake in Air Serbia is in line with EU regulations, but questions have still been raised about whether Etihad has too much effective control over the carrier.

Under EU rules, Serbia's national airline should have Serbian nationals staffing the managing board.

The Commission has sent a letter to the Serbian government requesting detailed information on Etihad’s influence and control.

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