WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

We would like to wish all Orthodox believers from the Balkans and beyond a Merry Christmas!

KOSOVO SNAP ELECTION DATE SET: Acting President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani set snap parliamentary elections for February 14 after the Constitutional Court ruled in December was not in line with the constitution.

HOTI + MERKEL: Outgoing Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti spoke via telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about current developments in Kosovo and the dialogue with Serbia.

KSF TO JOIN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS: Kosovo’s Assembly approved the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) to join peacekeeping missions under U.S. command.

UKRAINIAN ICON AFFAIR: The Embassy of Ukraine in Bosnia and Herzegovina sent an official letter to the Bosnian Foreign Ministry asking  to return the 300-year-old gilded Bosnian Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik gifted Russian FM Sergei Lavrov.

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted, “The Ukrainian has scorched the hands of experienced cynical Russian diplomats who disclaimed it. Dodik even surpassed his more senior friends.” (h/t Mark Raczkiewycz)
  • Meanwhile, Bosnia’s Prosecutor’s Office will question Bosnia’s tripartite presidency members about the affair. Dodik denies this claim and blames the media

CROATIA ROCKED AGAIN: A 5.0 magnitude yesterday rocked central Croatia a mere 28 miles from Zagreb. This comes on the heels of last week’s 6.2 magnitude earthquake in the Adriatic country.

MONTENEGRO AIRLINES SUCCESSOR: Minister of Finance of Montenegro Miljoko Spajic announced the government has will set up a new flagship carrier called ToMontenegro to succeed the now defunct Montenegro Airlines.

LJUBLJANA – A SUSTAINABLE CITY: Lonely Planet has named Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, as one of the world’s top 8 most sustainable cities. It writes:

“Liveable Ljubljana is extremely clean and increasingly green: streets are washed with rain and recycled water; over 10 hectares of the city center are pedestrianized; and new cutting-edge waste management systems mean the city sends 80% less waste to landfill than it did in 2008 – with the goal to reduce that to just 60kg per person per year by 2025.

Ljubljana was the first European city to commit to a zero-waste goal. The city’s waste management company Voka Snaga even operates a zero-waste vending machine that sells organic cleaning products, shampoos, vinegar and oil to customers who bring their own reusable packaging, while Rifuzl expands the offering in a bricks and mortar store.”

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “Bosnia’s Institutions Must Take Lead in Implementing ECHR Judgements” by Harun Cero and Enis Omerovic in Balkan Insight

OP-ED: “Illegal Logging in Serbia” by Marija Sunjka in Global Financial Integrity

ANALYSIS: “Balkans feel abandoned as vaccinations kick off in Europe” by Sabina Niksic and Dusan Stojanovic in AP News

ANALYSIS: “Lockdown Looting: Massive Hoard of Stolen Serbian Artifacts Seized” in Ancient Origins: “Even though humans emerged from Africa, it was from Serbia that we began spreading east and west around 45,000 BC. By 20,000 years ago we had successfully populated most of  Europe and the  Americas. The Yeniseians were followed by the Uralic  Samoyeds, and their Bronze Age weapons, ornaments, jewelry  and implements display distinctive artistic styles. Furthermore, the  Indo-Iranian influences in southwestern Siberia can be dated to the  Andronovo culture  around 2300 to 1000 BC. By the first millennium BC trading was well underway with the East along the Silk Road.”