(Own report) - The Deutsche Telekom's expansion is being met with heavy protests in several south European countries. Fearing mass layoffs, wage cuts and deteriorating standards in working conditions, employees of the Greek Telecom OTE are resisting the takeover of their enterprise by the German company. In March, Croatian trade-unionists had already staged a demonstration in front of Telekom's headquarters in Bonn - because of the decrease in real-income and degenerating structural conditions at Hrvatski Telekom. The Croatian enterprise has been under the control of Deutsche Telekom for years. Berlin is hoping to profit from Croatia's imminent entry into the EU by attaining shares through the privatization of previously state owned Croatian companies. German President Horst Koehler will participate in a German-Croatian economic forum in Zagreb on Tuesday. After their protest in Bonn went unheard, Hrvatski Telekom employees characterized the parent company's methods as "colonialist".
An agreement on the purchase of shares in the Greek Hellenic Telecom OTE is pending between the Greek government and the Deutsche Telekom. The Deutsche Telekom will initially acquire 20 percent of the OTE shares totaling 2.5 billion Euros. It is aiming to take control over the Greek company through subsequent increases. This is of strategic importance for the German company because OTE is not only the largest telecommunications company in Greece, it also owns Telekom companies in Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. The Greek enterprise would therefore perfectly supplement the holdings of the Deutsche Telekom in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The German company currently has subsidiaries in Eastern-Central Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary) as well as two coastal nations of former Yugoslavia (Croatia and Montenegro). As announced in Athens, the agreement could grant both the Deutsche Telekom and the Greek government 25 percent plus one share, while ceding management to the German company.
A Piece of Greece
Up to one week ago, Deutsche Telekom's efforts to enter into purchase agreements were met with heavy protests. Greek trade-unionists warned against price increases, declining standards in working conditions and mass layoffs - especially since Telekom had announced in Germany, that it would suppress numerous jobs. "OTE is a piece of Greece and is not for sale," the OME-OTE trade-union warned. Fierce strikes just ended a few days ago. The fact that a German enterprise is purchasing OTE, is provoking particular discontent in Athens. "The people of Greece have paid a great sacrifice in their liberation struggle and contributed decisively to the defeat of Nazi fascism in World War II," a former resistance fighter recalled: "It is unacceptable that Greece should invite the Germans to occupy Greece."
The fears of the Greeks on strike are being confirmed through the experiences being made by the employees of Hrvatski Telekom. Just a few weeks ago, on March 7, approx. 60 representatives of the Croatian RSRH trade-union demonstrated in front of the Deutsche Telekom headquarters in Bonn. The German telecommunications company purchased 35 percent of the Hrvatski Telekom shares In 1999. In October 2001 it increased its holdings to a 51 percent majority and currently owns more than 60 percent. The Croatian trade-unionists are protesting the constant worsening of working and social conditions at the Deutsche Telekom's Croatian subsidiary.
In fact, since the German company became the main shareholder of Hrvatski Telekom, consumer service charges and prices for conventional network telephones were drastically augmented. According to a speaker of the trade-union delegation, while 200 employees at the managerial level have a monthly salary of up to 45.000 Euros, for 90 percent of the employees, there has been a 30 percent loss of real-income since 2002. More than 5.000 have been laid off and the workers have nothing to show for the high profits made last year by the owners. The Deutsche Telekom administration refused to receive the delegation of the Croatian trade-union for talks and the delegation members felt treated as if they were colonial employees.
Siemens Buys Croatia
The Deutsche Telekom is currently the largest German investor in Croatia. Germany is Croatia's second most important trading partner - just behind Italy and it is second in direct foreign investments (with 20 percent just behind Austria). German companies hold not only large shares in telecommunications but also in the energy sector, the banks , the chemical industry and the media. Germany's grab for the Croatian energy market began immediately after the break-up of Yugoslavia, initiated in December 1991 by the Bonn government. Under the headline "Siemens buys Croatia", Südost-Dialog (South East Dialogue) Magazine reported at the end of 1992, that the German company was planning to buy up three billion US dollars worth of Croatian debt certificates  to trade them off for profitable Croatian plants, particularly in the energy sector. The Croatian Siemens board chairman noted in reference to these plans that "energy makes up 45 percent of the Croatian gross national product. Energy is Croatia's vis vitalis. Siemens can be expected to have a maximum engagement in this domain." By March 1994, Croatia's state debt to Siemens had already reached five billion Deutschmark.
At a Lower Level
Still the German foreign ministry is complaining that the privatization, of the large number of state owned enterprises in Croatia, is advancing too slowly. During negotiations in mid March, the Croatian government was given the prospect of being able to join the EU in late 2009. The main condition: Croatia must make comprehensive privatization. The focus is on Croatia's six shipyards. All six (five of which running on a deficit) are still receiving state subventions - not so much because they are a symbol of national industrial competence, but mainly because they are large-scale employers, safeguarding workers (12.000 last year) from unemployment. The privatization of the first shipyards is already in preparation and mass layoffs can be expected. According to the EU Commission, Croatian shipbuilding will take place "at a lower level" in the future. "No six shipyards" will survive.
 Athen kurz vor Einigung mit Deutscher Telekom - Streiks eingestellt; Financial Times Deutschland 09.04.2008
 see also Spenden für die Konkurrenz and Tauschgeschäft
 Telekom: Griechen gegen "Enthellenisierung"; Handelsblatt 25.03.2008
 In Hellas unerwünscht; junge Welt 28.03.2008
 Prosvjed radnika T-HT-a u Bonnu, Vjesnik, 7.März 2008
 see also Umschwung
 Siemens kauft Kroatien; Süd-Ost-Dialog, Nr.12/1992
 Hannes Hofbauer: EU-Osterweiterung. Historische Basis - ökonomische Triebkräfte - soziale Folgen, Wien 2007 (Promedia)
“Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy” magazine
October 31, 1992
Illegal German Weapons to Croatia and Bosnia Fuel the Balkan Conflict
War in the former Yugoslav republics is being fuelled by a massive and complex pattern of weapons shipments to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, funded and organized by Germany. Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy has uncovered a widespread pattern of arms shipments which have been allowed to cross into Croatia and Bosnia with the tacit approval (and sometimes, apparently, direct support) of the governments of Germany and Austria, and possibly other states. As well, Germany has pointedly ignored the movement of German nationals into Croatia and Bosnia to fight against the Serbian residents of those two former Yugoslav states. All of the activity is in direct violation of German and Austrian law as well as being in violation of international embargoes against the supply of weapons to the conflict zone.
All of the actions support Germany's traditional ally, Croatia, against the Serbian populations still resident in what is now Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and against the rump of the Yugoslav Federation. The wide collection of information came to Defense & Foreign Affairs from diverse sources, including Defense & Foreign Affairs correspondents. Some, from other sources, came in written form in a variety of languages, without elaboration, often with only partial identification of some of the transactions, companies and weapons involved.
October 4, 1991: A convoy of three truckloads of anti-tank weapons and 40,000 military uniforms arrived in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, from Bielefeld, Germany. Elements of the Croatian paramilitary forces have subsequently been found in German-made uniforms, and supplied with very nutritious food from German military stocks.
Late October 1991: Four mobile workshops, six 155mm howitzers, and a number of 120mm mortars, along with70 US-made General Dynamics Stinger advanced, manportable surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), reached the port of Zadar, from German sources.
November 9, 1991: Two truckloads of GD Stinger SAMs and a quantity of blank jackets arrived in Karlovac, Croatia.
November 10, 1991: A truck with a variety of arms arrived in Zadar from Germany via Italy.
December 19, 1991: Pier 17 at the port of Rijeka was the site of unloading to 60 tanks (type unspecified, but believed to have been East German "T"-series tanks) from Germany.
January 8-9, 1992: Three MiG fighter aircraft, model unspecified, were received by the Croatian Armed Forces from Germany. The aircraft, from former East German stocks, included one new aircraft and two which had "previously been flown".
Mid-January 1992: Spare parts for Panavia Tornado aircraft were reportedly transported to Croatia from Germany in trucks. They were alleged to have been subsequently assembled and the aircraft (number unspecified, but believed to be more than one) are based now at Pleso airfield, Croatia.
Mid-January 1992: Weapons and military equipment worth about DM 5,000,000 were shipped to the port of Rijeka. They were in a container weighting 17.5 tons. The contents included night-vision sniper sights, night-vision field glasses, IC field glasses, optical sights for day shooting, radios for vehicle mounting, mobile radio sets, and a large amount of ammunition of various calibres. Three tons of these weapons were immediately sent to the 113th Brigade of the Croatian Army stationed at Sibenik.
January 14, 1992: Two truckloads of weapons (anti-tank rockets, mortars, Stinger SAMs) were delivered to Croatia. The weapons were reportedly purchased, source say, in Germany and Switzerland by the firm BHM from Basel.
January 15, 1992: Five truckloads of arms and ammunition were unloaded at the port of Rijeka. They were transported to, and store in, the village of Kukuljanovo, 12 km from Rijeka.
March 12, 1992: A truck transporting small arms arrived at Rijeka and continued on via Sibenik to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Early March 1992: Croatian Ministry of Defence bought 90 military trucks from the surplus stock of the French Army contingent in Germany through a German firm identified as Weba or Vebeg. The delivery was carried out in three shipments by the end of March via Austria and Slovenia. The source said that the transaction took place with the knowledge of French and German authorities.
April 10-13, 1992: A further 60 tanks from Germany (again, believed to be former East German "T"-series MBTs) were unloaded in the port of Koper and stored in the warehouses of Kukuljanovo near Rijeka.
April 21-22, 1992: The Croatian Government signed a contract with a German supplier for the delivery of various weapons and ordinance totalling US$ 3-million in value. This deal was signed through the Zagreb-based firm, Jugoart, according to sources, which has offices in Vienna. Jugoart reportedly arranges for deliveries of military equipment to the High Command of the Croatian Army from various suppliers in Germany.
May 1992: During the course of the month, Croatia was supplied with 1,010 Stinger SAMs, 2,000 Armbrust anti-tank rockets, 47,100 AK-47 Kalashnikov automatic assault rifles with 500 rounds per weapons, 2,550 RPG-7 manportable antitank rocket launchers, and 60 MiG combat aircraft engines. These weapons and supplies were delivered to Croatia through Italy and via the border posts at Kozina and Sezana.
July 20, 1992: A shipment of 100 automatic rifles, two sniper rifles, 10 radios and 260,000 rounds of 7.62 mm rifle ammunition was delivered from Stuttgart, Germany, to Prozor, Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the use of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO).
July-August 1992: Sources claim that Fadil Lipovaca, a former manager of the Moscow office of the firm Union invest, Sarajevo, and now owner of the private firm Carinthia (headquartered in Ljubljana), paid some US$ 150,000 for the purchase of arms for Muslim paramilitary forces. Part of this sum was allegedly provided by the Government of Turkmenistan through Industry and Energy Minister Kerimov. As well, a man named as Edo Bolic, manager of the Moscow office of the Sarajevo firm Vranica, reportedly paid US$170,000 to buy weapons for the Muslim forces in Bosnia and Herzegovian. Payments were made to the account of the LHB-Internationale Hondelsbank AG, HTH-Unioninvest Import-Export GmbH, Frankfurt-Main, No. 748.301, BLZ 500 308 00.
Sources indicated that most of the purchases and deliveries of weapons and military equipment for Croatian irregulars were effected with the assistance of the German firms, FABA, FOGA and Franconia-Jagd. The Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank AG in Darmstradt were, in most cases, used for the deposit and transactions involving large sums of money intended for arms purchases.
October 7, 1991: An Adria Airways DC-9 transport aircraft landed at Sarajevo from Klagenfurt. It carried "large amounts" of Heckler & Koch (German-made) automatic rifles and handguns for the Bosnian Ministry of the Interior.
Early October 1991: Croatia's Ministry of Defense paid US$ 61-million into an account at the Austrian bank Die Erst Osterreichische Spar Kasse-Bank for the purchase of T-72 main battle tanks, and in late October, the Croatian ministry requested the Austrian firm identified as AWDM to provide Croatia with spare parts for these tanks.
Late October 1991: The Croatian Ministry of Defense bought, through a firm identified as Xandill International Ltd. Consulting, headquartered in Vienna, 3,500 automatic rifles and 30,000 handgrenades worth US$ 1,750,000.
July 27-28, 1992: Ten MiG-21 fighter aircraft and two Saab aircraft were relocated from Austria to Croatia.
The ammunition factory at Baden, Austria, has since the beginning of September 1992 reportedly delivered, on a daily basis, ammunition to the Croatian Armed Forces and to the Territorial Defence Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.
Weapons and military equipment from Hungary were exported to Croatia on several occasions in 1991 in a variety of aircraft -- including agricultural aircraft -- belonging to Croatia and Hungary. Between September 25 and 27, 1991, and October 6 to 8, 1991, an airlift was established between Beremend, Bilje and Osijek for the transport of small arms and ammunition aboard AN-2 aircraft and towed gliders. Hungarian authorities also provided security for these overflights by electronic jamming of Yugoslav air defence surveillance radars.
September-October 1991: A Hungarian, named by sources as Karol Gala, owner of the firm Universum SD, based in Budapest, allegedly brought into Croatia from Poland (via Hungary) two truckloads of arms and ordinance, including 200 RPG-7 anti-tank rocket launchers, 2,500 RPG-7 rockets, 2,000 AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 2,000 handgrenades, and 600,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition for the AK-47s. The trucks were reportedly rented by a Prague resident, identified as Mikulas Nadasi.
End September 1992: Hungary allegedly delivered to Croatia a surface-to-surface missile system, known as R-300, for which the Croatian Ministry of Defence paid US$ 1.5-million through the Croatian companies INJA, Astra and Pliva.
Croatia purchased, during 1991, some 120 T-72 main battle tanks worth US$ 90-million through the Swiss firms Eram Bau Montage AG and F-S International LTS (Ltd.?) of Hong Kong. The transaction was carried out, according to sources, through the Austrian bank, Rossler Bank AG, in Vienna. The tanks, formerly in service with the Soviet Army, were supplied to Croatia during October 1991.
January 14, 1992: Two truckloads of arms -- allegedly including rocket launchers, mortars and US-made GD Stinger SAMs -- arrived in Croatia from Basel. The weapons were allegedly bought in Germany by the Basel firm, BHM, and their delivery itinerary was Basel-Zurich-Gotthard-Venice-Trieste-Pula. On the following day, January 15, four more vans of small arms ammunition came from Zurich via Hungary.
Prague was one of the major centres of illegal supplies of weapons and defence equipment to Croatia during the second half of 1991 and the first half of 1992. Sources claimed that the following firms were involved:
Omnipol, Unimex, the "Bank of Bohemia", the Prague offices of the Swedish firms Scandinavia Invest and Abarent, the Prague office of the Swiss firm Computer Graphic Systems, two other companies from Switzerland, some Arab embassies (including the Syrian Embassy in Prague). Contracts were concluded for large quantities of defence equipment, including: 50,000 AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 20,000 M-16 assault rifles, 70-million rounds of ammunition, 1,000 RPG-7 launches and 5,000 rockets, 100 "guided rocket" launchers. Negotiations are know to be underway in Prague for the supply of heavy weapons and aircraft.
February 1992: During February, and earlier, in late 1991, the Czechoslovak firm Omnipol allegedly supplied R-300 surface-to-surface missiles to Croatia, installing the weapons in the area of Kinkovo village near Slavonski Brod, Croatia.
The Vatican Bank, in 1991, reportedly paid through the trust of the institute for the Dissemination of Religion, US$ 1,988,300, via the International Handel Bank in the Netherlands, for the purchase of weapons in Beirut on behalf of Croatia. [Croatia is Catholic; Serbia is Orthodox. -- Ed.]
November 16, 1991: Croatia shipped through the port of Gdansk, Poland, 16,500 AK-47 assault rifles and 5-million rounds of ammunition, 175 RPG-7 antirank rocket launchers and related rounds; 150 M-82 mortars and 3,500 rounds; M-120 mortars and ammunition. Total value US$ 12.5-million. Payment was allegedly through Lajbic Bank and Banca Nationale de Milano, of Italy.
November 1991: The ships Kumrovec and Kozara, owned by the firm Danube Lloyds, of Sisak, allegedly shipped arms and ammunition from Bulgaria and Romania to Croatia.
December 2, 1991: A large shipment of weapons was sent from Paris to the firm PRO in Zagreb, Croatia. The shipment was by four trucks bearing Greek registration.
Early January 1992: The Zagreb firm, Astra, contracted for the acquisition of weapons in Turkey to be supplied to Croatia and the civil defence units of Bosnia and Herzegovian. The purchases were worth DM1,600,000 and the delivery was made by sea.
Early January 1992: A deal was made to ship 250 anti-aircraft missiles and 25 launchers (unspecified type) to Croatia from Poland, with the agreement of the Polish authorities, according to sources. The Customs certificate for this shipment was issued in late January 1992, indicating a dealer from the Philippines as the buyer. The airline "General and Aviation Services", registered in Nigeria, was indicated as the shipper.
January 11, 1992: A vessel carrying weapons left the port of Junieh in Beirut. These arms were bought from the Lebanese Christian militia headed by Shamir Zhazhra. The weight of these weapons and equipment was estimated at between 2,000 to 4,00 tons, and included a range of supplies from small arms to howitzers. Lebanon, as one of the largest illegal suppliers of weapons to the Croatian forces, has so far exported US$ 20-million worth of defence items to Croatia.
Early January 1992: Croatia ordered from Chile 100 UK-manufactured Shorts Blowpipe manportable SAMs. These SAMs had reportedly been upgraded in Chile. The same order included 500 Mamba anti-tank rockets valued at US$ 2,056,298. The order was reportedly placed through the export company "Fabricas y maestranzas del ejercito avida Pedro Montt 1606". The indicated buyer on the end user certificate was a Sri Lankan firm, and Croatia made the payment through Banco Central de Chile.
January 23, 1992: A ship bound for Rijeka was loaded in the port of Odessa with assault rifles, guns, sniper rifles, mortars, anti-tank rockets, SAMs and ordnance.
Mid-August 1992: A vessel from Turkey entered the port of Split carrying arms for the Croatian and Muslim forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
August 15, 1992: A Turkish Air Force aircraft flying humanitarian relief to Sarajevo also brought an unidentified amount of weapons and other military equipment for the Bosnian territorial defence units.
August 23-24, 1992: Three Boeing 747s of the Iranian Air Force landed at Zagreb and Sarajevo airports carrying weapons in unknown quantities and types. United Nations (UNPROFOR) officials were allegedly unable to inspect the cargoes.
Mid-October 1992:I Two ships carrying weapons for Bosnian and Herzegovinan Muslims started their voyages from Istanbul on October 10, 1992, and it has been established that one of these ships reached the port of Ploce, Croatia, on October 13, 1992.
The Bulgarian firm, Kintex, reportedly mediates the sale of Russian-made weapons to Boznia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Through its brokerage efforts, 25 tons of weapons and ammunition are reportedly ferried each week from Bulgaria, via Romania and Hungary. A larger shipment of weapons and related equipment from Bulgaria reached Split on October 16, 1992, however. These weapons were for the use of the Zenica-based units of the Muslim Army in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The highest officials in the Government of the Republic of Slovenia are directly involved in the delivery of weapons to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to sources. These include Prime Minister J. Drnovsek, Defence Minister J. Jansa, and Interior Minister I. Bavcar.
In the first part of 1992, these officials allegedly signed, through their agents, agreements with Jerko Doko, Bosnia's Defence Minister, and Ragib Merdzanic, adviser to President Alija Izetbegovic, for the delivery of 30,000 AK-47s at DM500 each, 20,000 Italian Beretta 92 handguns at DM750 each, 6-million rounds of ammunition (for the rifles and handguns), and an unidentified amount of Motorola radio equipment, winter camouflage uniforms, four-wheel drive vehicles, and other military equipment.
Representatives of the Bosnian Government paid for the weapons with funds donated by Islamic countries. At least 13,000 of the AK-47s have been delivered of the amounts ordered.
At the beginning of October 1992, Croatia concluded a business deal with Venezuela and Brazil, offering three oil tankers for two squadrons of Embraer Tucano turboprop training aircraft. A group from the Croatian Ministry of Defense was reported in Brazil in October and November with several pilots to test the aircraft.
Defense & Foreign Affairs has additional material on foreign mercenaries, defense transactions and other related intelligence on the violation of the international embargoes on defense materiel shipments to the combatants in the current Balkan conflict. Much of this material will appear in the next edition -- December 1992 -- of Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy.
Posted for Fair Use only.
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