WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson wrote a blog post on International Anti-Corruption Day which emphasized that no one is immune to corruption. He wrote, ”
    No country is immune to corruption. What makes a difference is how a country combats corruption. The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, like all citizens around the world, deserve good governance and the confidence that public funds – the money that comes from the sweat of their labor – are devoted to improving their day-to-day lives. CrToday is International Anti-Corruption Day. But BiH citizens struggle with corruption every day. One constantly hears stories of corrupt politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina; that the justice sector is increasingly captured by political influence; and that people lack hope that things will improve. In despair, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are voting with their feet – leaving the country to pursue their futures in the European Union, the United States, or elsewhere. One hears they are not ‘leaving with their families,’ but ‘for their families.’ These are people who do not believe their leaders are committed or able to improve governance, the economy, or their lives, or that they themselves are able to demand change.” (US Embassy BiH)
  • Meanwhile, Head of the Anti-Corruption and Quality Management Office Erduan Kafedzic says that the US will supply an anti-corruption advisor to BiH.
  • Ahead of the Croatian presidential election on December 22nd, candidate Miroslav Skoro campaigned on the slogan “now or never” and he said, “I’ll be independent of any political, business or private interests. No one will be able to call me and tell me what to do. I will be accountable only to the people and if they give me a thumbs down, I will leave on my own accord, you won’t have to push me away.”
  • Meanwhile, Social Democratic Party presidential candidate Zoran Milanovic said that HDZ Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has the worst opinion of first president, Franjo Tudjman.
  • Slovenian PM Marjan Sarec met with Slovenian troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR’s Major General Reinhard Trischak, and NATO Commander Brigadier General Marti J. Bissell before travelling to Kosovo. In Bosnia, he noted, “It is important that EUFOR and NATO, with their presence, allow BiH and its military to stand on its feet, to become a compatible member of the general society, and to prevent the situation from deteriorating again in any unforeseen direction.”
  • Once in Kosovo, Sarec met with KFOR Commander Major General Michele Risi. When asked about the Kosovo Security Force transforming to the Kosovo Army, Sarec said, “Naturally, neither NATO nor Slovenia, liked the change of the security forces into a regular army without a constitutional change. Especially since Slovenia is among the countries that has recognized Kosovo as an independent state and we are certainly not pleased with such developments.”
  • “The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has an important role in Bosnia and Herzegovina today in the context of numerous security challenges, Zoran Tegeltija, new Chairman of the Council of Ministers said. He stressed that serious security challenges that have not avoided Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as the migrant crisis, radicalism and terrorism, it is necessary to develop cooperation with everyone. He added that cooperation should be carried out in accordance with constitutional and legal solutions, but also in accordance with the will and commitment of its constituent peoples.” (Sarajevo Times)
  • Vetvendosje responded to accusations that likely Kosovo prime minister, Albin Kurti, would  be afraid to sit across from Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The party said, he wasn’t afraid of anyone, including “war criminals or peace-time criminals in Kosovo or anywhere else.”
  • Meanwhile, outgoing Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj opened up about his brother’s murder claiming it was a plan from Serbia. He said, “I believe that his murder was part of that scenario, it was proven in Dukagjini. So that the families are returned to hostility. Some Albanians indeed pulled the trigger, but the scenario was Serbian.” He added, “He did not destroy anyone but Serbia during the war. He was killed just because he was my brother or one of ours. Daut and I were in prison at the time. He was killed to fuel vengeance… But no one in our family killed an Albanian. We did not order (a murder), whether from the back or the front. Our family has some codes of honor that we have preserved.”
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic arrived on Monday night in Greece where he will meet with Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos and PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Vucic is leading a delegation that includes Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic, Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic and State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy Dragan Stevanovic.
  • The Mayor of Novi Sad is suing Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his brother for their alleged involvement in a marijuana farm.
  • Vice-President of the main board of the Serbian Progressive Party and the Head of the Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric will be attending a roundtable on regional co-operation in Tirana from the 7th to 9th December, the Kosovo Office confirmed for KoSSev last night. The confirmation arrived after photos were released last night of an alleged meeting between Djuric and senior officials and deputies of the Self-Determination, LDK and AAK parties in Tirana, at a restaurant called ‘floor 15.’ ‘During his stay in Tirana, in the margins of the conference, Djuric will hold numerous meetings with representatives of political parties from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo, participants of this regional gathering, including representatives of the ruling and opposition parties from the Republic of Serbia,’ the Kosovo Office said in a written reply to KoSSev, after the news of the meeting was published by the Kosovo media last night.” (KosSev)
  • Montenegrin Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic is on an official visit to Egypt. He met with counterpart Mohamed Ahmed Zaki and discussed the situation in the Western Balkans and North Africa.
  • The Economy Minister of N. Macedonia says that his country has benefitted greatly from Kosovo’s 100% tariffs on Bosnia and Serbia.
  • Serbia’s new helicopters from Russia and the West were presented at the Batajnica military base over the weekend.
  • A street in Bratislava was named after Vukovar. Mayor of VukovarIvan Penava, attended the opening ceremony.
  • Meanwhile, “Economy Minister Darko Horvat said on Monday that 114 million kuna (€15 million) had been contracted to date in grants for projects by private entrepreneurs and institutions in the eastern town of Vukovar and Vukovar-Srijem County and that more projects were in the pipeline.” (N1)
  • Meanwhile, the number of countries that will reportedly boycott the ceremony has grown to include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, N. Macedonia, and Turkey.
  • An interactive map of war crimes committed in BiH has been launched. Explore the map here.
  • CRIME: The Serbian Anti-Corruption Agency ruled there was no conflict of interest between the father of Minister of Interior Nejbojsa Stefanovic and purchasing arms from the Krusik plant. A Dutch national was arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs in BiH.
  • MIGRANTS: A new plan to move migrants from the Vucjak camp near Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina will happen over the next three days.
IN OTHER NEWS…
  • SPORT: Slovenia’s Luka Doncic won Sports Illustrated’s Breakout of the Year award.