WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • KOSOVO ELECTIONS: Outgoing Speaker of Parliament and candidate for prime minister Kadri Veseli put up a billboard with him and US President Donald Trump. He noted, “Unlike my rivals, I am the only candidate running on promoting a strong and public partnership with the USA and the Trump White House.” The NY Post reports the photo is from the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast.
  • KOSOVO ELECTIONS: Meanwhile, the Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States released a statement regarding the campaign period and elections. The Gist: They hope for an “environment of fair electoral competition” and “Most importantly, Kosovo needs the rule of law.  We believe candidates must be free of criminal backgrounds or links to criminal activity, and demonstrate how they will fight corruption and organized crime, resist impunity and cronyism at the highest levels, and deliver clean governance through merit-based appointments and policies and programs that reward integrity.”
  • KOSOVO ELECTIONS: NISMA leader Fatmir Limaj says it is time for Kosovo’s leaders to unite in dialogue with Serbia. He said, “If I become prime minister I will be in charge of the dialogue. I believe the only way forward in the dialogue is for all to participate. The dialogue with Serbia is our national interest. A prime minister should be open to invite all at the negotiation table.”
  • Meanwhile, Outgoing Prime Minister Haradinaj slammed Serbia: “We had to ask for something as a victim – the recognition, plus an apology and reparations (for damages done during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo), while what’s happening with us is quite the opposite. It’s a huge anomaly when Serbia asks for something,” adding ,”The tariffs are an instrument in creating a balance for the recognition (of Kosovo’s independence by Belgrade). We have to strengthen it to trigger mutual recognitions.”
  • KOSOVO ELECTIONS: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic calls on Kosovo Serbs to vote for Srpska Lista in parliamentary elections this Sunday.
  • KOSOVO ELECTIONS: Fatos Bytyci writes for Reuters, “Kosovo to elect new parliament amid anger over graft, unemployment“: “Voters in Kosovo will pick a new parliament on Sunday in a snap election dominated by rampant corruption, sky-high unemployment and poor relations with neighbouring Serbia that it must try to mend if it is to move closer towards eventual EU membership.”
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban made an unannounced visit to Belgrade where he took a tour of the rivers Serbia has to offer with President Aleksandar Vucic.
  • Vucic also met with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, as did Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. Haavisto reitrated Finland’s support for EU Enlargement.
  • Before arriving in Belgrade, Haavisto was in Montenegro meeting with President Milo Djukanovic and Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic. Djukanovic insisted Montenegro is ready to open its last chapter.
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev makes a good point – if N. Macedonia isn’t rewarded for the Prespa Agreement by opening EU accession talks, how could the EU incentivize them to resolve outstanding issues?
  • “The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Bosnia to remove a Serbian Orthodox church that it says was illegally built on land owned by a Bosnian Muslim war widow after she and her family were forced to flee their village during the country’s 1992-95 war.
  • Fata Orlovic and 13 other family members have been fighting a legal battle to have the church removed since 2000, when she returned to Konjevic Polje in eastern Bosnia, part of the country run by Serbs since the end of the war.” (AP News)


  • Meanwhile, this caused furor for Slovakian right-wing party, the Slovak National Party. Its leader, Andrej Danko, wrote “Property disputes cannot take precedence over religious freedom and particularly not in the area where such steps work to increase ethnic and political tension. The church in the village of Konjevic Polje mustn’t become a new powder-keg between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims.” in a letter to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
  • (Slovenian) Foreign Minister Miro Cerar hosted his Luxembourgian counterpart Jean Asselborn onTuesday for talks dedicated to bilateral cooperation and EU affairs. Speaking to the press after the meeting, the ministers emphasised the importance of multilateralism and respect for international law and rulings of international courts.” (Slovenia Times)
  • “At the invitation of the US Department of Defense, Chief of the Joint Staff of the BiH Armed Forces Lieutenant General Senad Masovic attended a ceremony commemorating the handover and was organized in honor of the new Chief of the US Army General Staff at Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.” (Klix)
  • Outgoing Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli predicts that Kosovo will be granted visa liberalization in the coming months.
  • CRIME: Former Bosnian Croat Member of Presidency Candidate Jerko Ivankovic-Lijanovic was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office.
  • MIGRANTS:U.N. Special Rapporteur on Migrant Rights Felipe Gonzalez Morales calls on Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop forcing migrants into unsafe camps. The camp in question?  Vucjak which is a former landfill and reportedly is still scattered with landmines. He also noted, there is “reliable information about violent pushback of migrants and asylum-seekers by Croatian border police into the territory of Bosnia.” Meanwhile,  two migrants died in a Serbian lake near the border with Croatia.
  • Croatia plans to invest over $3.5 billion in its railways system by 2030. 
  • Brussels Airlines will step-in for bankrupt Adria Airways and provide six-times-weekly service from Brussels from November 4th.


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • SPORT/CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb lost to Manchester City 2-0 in England on Tuesday while Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade beat Greece’s Olympiacos 3-1 after the Greek side went down to ten men.