WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

LAJCAK DAY 2 IN KOSOVO: EU Special Representative for the Western Balkans Miroslav Lajcak met with U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, opposition leaders, Srpska Lista, representatives from the Serbian Orthodox Church, and members of international organizations on his second day of an official visit to Kosovo.
  • Lajcak reminded Kosovo’s politicians that a comprehensive agreement requires the ruling coalition and opposition parties to be on the same page for a comprehensive agreement. He wrote on Twitter that he “urged them (opposition parties) to unite on the Dialogue and put it above party lines to strengthen Kosovo’s position and leverage.opposition parties unite on the Dialogue and put it above party lines to strengthen Kosovo’s position and leverage.”
  • The Slovak diplomat reiterated that the EU and U.S. have the same interest for the region. “We both want to see the region advance and have a real and tangible European perspective,” Lajcak wrote on Twitter.
  • But in an interview in Slovakia’s Pravda news outlet, he maintained that the EU is leading the dialogue. He said, “I appreciate the goodwill of all our American friends and their efforts to help. At the same time, it is important to understand that the process in Kosovo-Serbia relations must be led by the European Union. Because the Union is the final destination for the parties involved.”
  • He noted that international organizations are the “eyes and ears” in Kosovo.

LAVROV IN BiH: Russian FM Sergei Lavrov will be on an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 27 and 28.

VUCIC ON RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic gave an extensive interview to Russian state-run media outlet TASS.

  • Vucic said he hopes that Russian FM Lavrov will visit Serbia soon for the opening of the eternal flame “which will become an important symbol of our joint Victory.” Vucic also expects President Vladimir Putin to visit Serbia to consecrate the Saint Sava Cathedral.
  • TASS writes that Vucic responded to a question about the 199 NATO bombing. He said, “Our attitude [towards the events of 1999] has not changed at all. On the contrary, it is felt more and more. At the same time, we must look to the future, and we accept this (U.S.) assistance in the restoration, but this will not change our assessment of those events.”
  • Vucic said, “Serbia has not and will never impose sanctions against the Russian Federation despite the fact that we were under pressure and will probably be under pressure because we are on the path to Europe we will maintain our position and won’t spoil relations with Russia.”
  • The Serbian President added that he expects to rejoin military exercises with Russia, Belarus, and Western partners in about five months.

N. MACEDONIA + BULGARIA: The Historical Commissions of Bulgaria and N. Macedonia are meeting today to discuss historical figures. Bulgaria has threatened to block N. Macedonia from opening EU accession talks if an agreement on heroes, language, and ethnicity are not resolved.

KRIVOKAPIC ON GOV’T FORMATION: Montenegro’s PM designate Zdravko Krivokapic announced that the new government will be a mixture of experts and politicians who have expertise in fields. He wrote on Twitter, “t is impossible in our environment for the Government to be completely expert, but politicians who enter the Government will have to show expertise in the departments they lead.”

VUCIC, HOTI ON COMMUNITY OF SERB MUNICIPALITIES: The implementation of the Association of Serb Municipalities (ASM) signed in 2013 has been the topic of discussion in media outlets, Serbia, and the governments in Belgrade and Pristina.

  • Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti reiterated the ASM will not have executive powers. “The ASM was closed as an issue in the 201 agreement which was ratified by the Kosovo parliament and an agreement on principles in 2015 as well as the opinion of the Constitutional Court. We have every guarantee from our partners that the CSM will not have executive powers,” said Hoti.
  • On timing, Hoti said it would not happen until there is a comprehensive agreement with mutual recognition. He said, “Nothing will be implemented before the final agreement on mutual recognition is reached and ratified by the Serbian parliament. That is when implementation begins.”
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said, “Serbia is waiting for the ASM to be implemented. He said, “We are ready to discuss a compromise solution, but before any compromise solutions, they must fulfill what they signed.”
  • Vucic added there are high expectations for the ASM. “And the ASM cannot be some kind of an NGO. We are not interested in their constitution. People can apply that even without our negotiations and talks,” noted the Serbian President.

ZAGREB SHOOTING: Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic called the attack of a police officer in downtown Zagreb a result of radicalization.

CROATIA + SUPERCARS: “Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with electric supercar maker Mate Rimac on Wednesday to discuss the future of the electric car industry in Croatia, the Croatian Government said in a statement.
“The investments planned by Rimac Automobili have a broader context for the development of local and national transport, as well as educational and research and development infrastructure, according to a statement from the meeting also attended by Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić, Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State property Darko Horvat and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak.

“According to the statement, Prime Minister Plenković “expressed support for Rimac Automobili’s development initiatives and investments and announced institutional support to all investors who develop and apply the latest technologies in Croatia.” (Voice of Croatia)

CROATIA + SERBIA: “The relationship between Serbia and Croatia is important for the entire region, which is why efforts should be made to promote good neighbourly relations and cooperation and to overcome the obstacles resulting from differing views on the recent past, the Serbian president and the Croatian ambassador said in Belgrade on Wednesday.”President Aleksandar Vucic and Ambassador Hidajet Biscevic discussed the need for the two countries to focus on advancing good neighbourly relations and cooperation, because the relationship between Serbia and Croatia is important for the entire region, Vucic’s office said in a press release.” (N1)


IN OTHER NEWS

ANALYSISEU and the Western Balkans, a long engagement” by Francesco Martino in Euraktiv

ANALYSIS: “The Balkans’ Gas Transition” by Andreas Walstad in Natural Gas World

ANALYSIS: “Civil Society Filled a Void in the Balkan Pandemic” by Sofija Todorovic in Balkan Insight

CULTURE: “Michelin Guide to publish Belgrade restaurant selection in December” in N1

SPORT: “After Nadal loss, Djokovic seeks solace at Bosnia’s ‘energy pyramids’” in Yahoo Sports

TRAVEL: “Discover the Colours of Croatia: Croatian Tourist Board Launches New Campaign” by Daniela Rogulj in Total Croatia News