Blair Institute Recruits Advisor for Serbia Govt

Toni Bler Institut

The former UK prime minister’s institute is seeking to hire a senior advisor for a Belgrade posting, to ‘work closely and advise’ top officials on governance issues.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, TBI, is seeking a senior communications advisor, who will provide strategic communications advice and public relations support to the Serbian government.

Under the headline “governance” and under the location “Belgrade” it has issued an open call for “an experienced management consultant who has considerable experience in public sector reform, and who has worked in developing economies”.

The call is published on the Institute’s website.

The advisor will provide strategic communications advice and support to government officials and cross-cutting support on policy development, project management and foreign affairs for a variety of clients, “typically government agencies or Ministers/Head’s of State”.

The advisor will also conduct fast-paced analysis and international benchmarking which “will input into the government’s overall reform strategy on specific policy areas”.

He or she will also develop presentations and briefings, and meet key decision-makers in government including ministers, senior agency officials and multilateral and bilateral organization officials “that are relevant to TBI’s work in the region”.

„The Institute has an on-going project in Serbia, which helps support public service delivery. This forms part of the Institute’s broader not-for-profit work supporting governments around the world and it is provided at no cost to the Serbian government,“ the Institute told BIRN in a written reply.

This is not the first time that Blair has been connected to consultancy work for the Serbian government.

As BIRN previously reported, the former UK Labour Party leader and prime minister added Serbia to the list of countries he was paid to advise in 2015.

Serbia’s then prime minister, now President, Aleksandar Vucic, made a contract with Blair’s consultancy to set up a “delivery unit”, which was paid for, according to Serbian official sources, by the United Arab Emirates, a joint BIRN and UK Guardian investigation revealed.

Blair’s Balkan operations included Albania until 2016, when Blair’s office confirmed to BIRN that his dealings with Albania were now completed.

Blair’s name came into the Balkan spotlight again in September 2018, when former Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic claimed he was negotiating on Serbia’s behalf on Kosovo.

“In the UN halls, a person can find interesting things, especially if he knows most of the people present. For example, the fact that Tony Blair, with a mandate of the government in Belgrade, is talking with international officials about … the borders of Serbia and Kosovo’s membership in the UN,” Jeremic posted on Twitter.

Days later, President Vucic denied the claims, and said he was the only one negotiating on Kosovo issue on behalf of Serbia.

“[Blair] is not negotiating anything, I negotiate … my name is not Tony or otherwise, but Aleksandar,” Vucic told Pink TV on October 1.

Two days later, the TBI also denied Jeremic’s claims, telling the news website Kossev that its governance-related projects had nothing to do with Serbia’s issues with Kosovo.

BIRN sent questions to the Serbian government about the job ad, the type of agreement with the TBI and when it was signed, but received no answers by the time of publication.

Read more:

Blair’s Global Change Institute: Tony Blair not acting on behalf of the Serbian President & Serbian Government

Is Tony Blair negotiating on Serbia’s behalf? Vucic: My name is not Tony

 

Balkan Insight

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