HAPPY VETERANS DAY and a big THANK YOU to all of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

BERLIN PROCESS: Leaders of the Western Balkan 6 – Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Montenegro, N. Macedonia, and Serbia gathered virtually yesterday for the Berlin Process meeting hosted by Bulgaria and N. Macedonia.

  • The leaders of the WB6 signed a declaration on creating a regional common market. The move was welcomed by EU leaders who said it moves the region closer to the EU. Read more about the regional common market HERE.
  • The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) adopted the declaration later in the day.

OSMANI CALLS TO END KOSOVO-SERBIA DIALOGUE: Kosovo’s Speaker of Parliament and Acting President Vjosa Osmani called to put a pause on the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue.

  • She noted, “I think that due to the current events, now is not the time to continue the dialogue immediately. Kosovo institutions should take some time, consult with each other, create a much more unified position on dialogue, because it is necessary that everyone who negotiates on behalf of Kosovo presents a more unified stance of the political spectrum than just the coalition it represents.”
  • She commented on changing the Kosovo Constitution: “Unity is necessary, but we must take a step back in the dialogue process, especially after the recent statements of Mr. Lajcak, who asked Kosovo to push through the amendment of the Constitution because of the Association (Association of Serb Municipalities – ASM). Therefore, the political and institutional leaders of Kosovo should sit down to confirm in detail their views on these topics, and not just say that the Constitution is the guide. The constitution has always been the guiding principle. So far, we have signed 33 agreements, many of which have violated the Constitution, especially the document signed in Brussels on the Association from 2015.”
  • And on working with a Biden Administration, “Mr. Biden knows the past in Kosovo very well. He knows the context. He knows that it is not possible to equate what Serbia did in Kosovo and what individuals may have done. He knows full well that Serbia has committed the most heinous crimes against humanity in the country, including genocide, and he was one of those people who stood by Kosovo when few diplomats or politicians were our voice. He was our voice at a time when we didn’t have one.”
  • Watch the full interview (26:09 minutes) in Albanian HERE.

VUKOVAR COMMEMORATION: At a meeting at the  Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs, Minister Tomo Medved announced the Vukovar commemoration would be capped at 500 participants due to the Covid-19 situation in Croatia.

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS + BELGRADE: Russian Railways opened an information and training center in Belgrade. Russian Deputy Railways Director Sergei Pavlov, Serbia’s Minister of Transport, Construction and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirovic and Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko were in attendance for hte opening ceremony.

WAR CRIMES: A Belgrade court is going to try Bosnian Serb Visnja Acimovic for the alleged murder of 37 Bosniaks in Vlasenica, BiH. This is a rare instance of an alleged female war criminal to face trial.

MIGRANTS: “An official inquiry has been launched into the European commission’s alleged failure to protect the rights of migrants and refugees said to have been robbed and abused by police at Croatia’s borders.

“The EU ombudsman is investigating the potential complicity of the EU’s executive branch in the maladministration of funds that should have been spent on supervising the behaviour of border officers working at the scene of some of the violence.

“There have been multiple allegations of aggressive pushbacks of migrants and refugees by Croatian police on the country’s border with Bosnia, including an incident in which a migrant was shot.” (The Guardian)

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “US Balkans Policy is Set to Change, but There’ll be No Quick Fixes” by Vesko Garcevic in Balkan Insight

OP-ED: “A century after the Trianon Treaty: perceptions of Hungary in Serbia and Croatia” by Vassilis Petsinis in Open Democracy

ANALYSIS: “North Macedonia Probe into ex-PM’s Escape Goes Cold” by Vlado Apostolov in Balkan Insight

ANALYSIS: “Bulgaria and North Macedonia: When there is political will, there is a way, but the dispute remains” in European Western Balkans

ANALYSIS: “Peacefully dismantling Dayton: Cynical and delusional” by Emir Suljagic in Anadolu Agency

HUMAN INTEREST: “Croatian Women in Business: Meet Iva, owner of Hong Kong-based global wellness business” in Croatia Week

CULTURE: “Sour Grapes: Slovenia loses exclusive right to ‘Teran’ wine label” in Lexology

CULTURE: “Bosnian Language Reflects The Country and Its People: Complex Yet Relaxed” in The Sarajevo Times

SPORT: “First-year tennis player brings Serbian roots to Marquette” by Matthew Valentene in Marquette Wire – On a side note, Marquette University is the alma mater of our editor, Ryan Scherba

SPORT: “Documents confirm my trial was rigged, says former football mogul” in N1

TRAVEL: “One and Only to open hotel in Montenegro” in Business Traveller