WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
BIDEN AND BORIS DISCUSS REGION: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden spoke on the phone with PM of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson on Tuesday. Among the topics discussed included, “strengthening democracy and working on issues such as the Western Balkans and Ukraine.”
EU’S MESSAGE TO PRISTINA: Peter Stano, Spokesperson for EU High Representative Josep Borrell, told Radio Free Europe that there is no alternative to the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue if Kosovo wants to achieve its European future. He underscored, “Kosovo society is mature enough to understand that dialogue cannot be used for short-term political goals.”
BULGARIA + N.MACEDONIA: Leaders of Bulgaria and N. Macedonia will continue to meet to come to an agreement before the November 17 talks that could see Bulgaria use its veto to block N. Macedonia’s formal launch to the EU accession negotiations.
- PM of N. Macedonia noted, “The experience from the negotiations with Greece tells me that the real solution is if both sides emerge victorious, now we have not reached that point in the talks with Bulgaria, we will continue to talk but not through public quarrels.”
- Deputy PM and Defense Minister of Bulgaria said, “Macedonian colleagues realized that Bulgaria is not joking. They understood that there was no one to pressure us to change our attitude. What is new from yesterday is that the colleagues from Skopje understood very clearly that we want clear guarantees for the implementation of the 2017 Friendship Agreement and that they will not bypass it. Whether this will be a new agreement, annex or protocol – it does not matter. We are not in a hurry, there are still a few days until the final decision is made.”
NOMINATED MONTENEGRIN MINISTER WITHDRAWS: Nominated Interior Minister Nikola Terzic withdrew his name from consideration after it was revealed he signed a document to create the Black-White Coalition. PM-designated Zdravko Krivokapic is creating an expert government. Meanwhile, President of the Assembly Aleksa Becic announced the government session to elect a new government has been postponed until December 2.
KOSOVO SERBS TO LEAVE GOV’T?: Spokesperson of the Serb List Igor Simic has said that the Serb List party may leave the Kosovo Parliament after claiming parties in the governing coalition has not lived up to its agreements.
- Simic said, “The Serb List, its MPs haven’t taken part in today’s Parliament session and will not participate in future because the coalition agreement is not honored.”
- As a result of not participating in the parliament session, there was not a quorum and a meeting Law on Economic Recovery could not be held.
IVANOVIC CASE UPDATE: A third suspect has been indicted by the Special Prosecutor’s Office in Kosovo for the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic in North Mitrovica on January 16, 2018.
FREED WAR CRIMINAL SHOT DEAD: Former Croatian Defense Council officer Marko Radic was shot dead in Mostar on Wednesday. He had his war crimes sentence reduced in Croatian courts from 20 years to 12.5 years and was released in 2018.
EARTHQUAKE HITS N. MACEDONIA: A 5.0 scale earthquake shook areas southwest of Skopje at 4:54AM yesterday followed by a 4.9 scale rocked the country at 2:25PM. The Seismology Laboratory at Skopje University says the epicenter was just outside of Gostivar. No casualties have been reported.
IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “Slovenia’s Prime Minister Is a Far-Right Conspiracy Theorist and Twitter Addict Who Won’t Admit Trump Lost” by Domen Savic in Foreign Policy
Read more into Jansa here: “Foreign media analyse PM Janša’s attitude to US elections” in Slovenia Times
ANALYSIS: “In the Western Balkans, a mini-Schengen begins to take shape” by Nikola Djordjevic in Emerging Europe
ANALYSIS: “World’s Populists May Regret Their Embrace of Trump” by Mihir Sharma in Bloomberg
SPORT: “Meet the Aussie brothers carving up in Croatia” in The World Game (Australia): “Three footballing brothers from Sydney are catching the eye in Europe and attracting attention from both Croatia and Australia.”