WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • The US Treasury Department sanctioned multiple Serbians and their companies for their arms dealings.
  • The Wyoming National Guard, which is deployed in Kosovo, is seeking donations of school supplies for Kosovo’s citizens. More information on how to donate can be found here.
  • Peter Handke received the Nobel Prize for Literature as hundreds protested outside the ceremony in Stockholm continuing the call for him to not receive the prestigious award.
  • A 1988 Nobel Peace Prize laureateChristina Doctare, returned her award in a protest to Handke.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic congratulated Handke saying “we consider you a true friend of Serbia.”
  • But, Bosnian Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic said on Handke’s Nobel Prize, “Genocide was rewarded today. Those who rewarded it should be ashamed. We could have expected hate from the man who won the Prize and the man who glorifies genocide, but hate from those who awarded him this Prize is devastating.”
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted on Twitter, “To give the Nobel Literature Prize to a racist personality can have no other meaning than to reward human rights violations”
  • Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci, said “justice will prevail, not lies, denial and fake Nobel prizes.”
  • Amidst the controversy over Handke who has refused to address whether he believes Srebrenica was a genocide or not, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it another Srebrenica could happen, but in Eastern Ukraine, “The amnesty law still hasn’t been passed. While the Ukrainian side keeps insisting: ‘give us the opportunity to close the border using our troops’. But I can imagine what would happen next… There would be Srebrenica, as simple as that.”
  • BiH Presideny Chairman Zeljko Komsic and Bosniak Member of the Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic met Afghanistan’s presidentAshraf Ghani, in Kabul and discussed Bosnia’s experience in peacebuilding after the war in the 1990s.
  • Prime Minister (of N. Macedonia) Zoran Zaev, the Minister of Defense Radmila Shekjerinska, the President of the Parliament Talat Xhaferi, along with the General Vasko Gjurchinovski and the US Ambassador Kate Byrnes, visited the US Aircraft Carrier Harry S. Truman, where they met with Admiral James Foggo, the of United States Naval Forces Europe – Naval Forces Africa and commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, informed the government’s press service.” (Meta)
  • FM of N. Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov hopes to open EU accession talks with or without Albania. He noted, “I think a success of one is a good news for the whole region. As neighbors and good neighbors we believe that Tirana should also be able to start its European journey. So I think that 2 out of 2 is best, we need to all work towards finding a common denominator. But if this is not possible, then we need a positive dynamic, not a negative dynamic. And one is definitely better and more than none.”
  • And the EU’s Josep Borrell said it is “vital to firmly anchor the Western Balkans towards the EU.” In addition, he noted “My priority will be to work on a comprehensive agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.”
  • Speaking of Kosovo-Serbia talks, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said Russia would support a border change in the UN Security Council, if Serbia wants that.
  • Kosovo’s Vjosa Osmani met on Tuesday US Presidential Envoy to the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue Richard Grenell in Berlin.
  • Serbia opened chapter four, the free flow of capital, of its EU accession process. With the opening of this chapter, Serbia currently has 18 chapters open and 2 closed out of 35 chapters.
  • Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, PM Andrej Plenkovic, and Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandrokovic paid homage on Tuesday to Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman, on the 20th anniversary of his death.
  • Montenegrin Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah  el-Sisi in Cairo. El-Sisi praised Montenegro as having “multi-ethnic and multi-religious harmony” while Boskovic called on Montenegro to continue prioritizing NATO and the EU.
  • “The junior coalition Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB) has officially nominated Angelika Mlinar, a former Austrian MEP, for cohesion policy minister. However, her appointment is not certain as Mlinar is not a Slovenian citizen and it is not clear whether Austria will allow her to become a dual citizen.” (Slovenia Times)
  • Hungarian President János Áder visited Hungarian KFOR troops on Tuesday, which is the 20th anniversary of Hungary’s participation in the mission.
  • “Japanese electrical manufacturer Yaskawa will invest between 20 and 30 million euros in an electric motors and electronic components factory in Slovenia. ‘Yaskawa’s investment is evidence that the ministry of economy is achieving concrete goals in the field of internationalisation of the Slovenian economy, attracting foreign investments,’ said Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek, after the Japanese company purchased land in the city of Kocevje, southern Slovenia.” (Emerging Europe)
  • Montenegro’s government will subsidize Montenegrin airlines 155 million EUR over the next 6 years.
  • Serbian news outlet Novosti, which publishes Vecernje Novosti, was purchased by Media 026 company, owned by Boban Rajic who has links to President Aleksandar Vucic’s party.
  • Croatian driver’s licenses will soon be valid documents in the United States Canada, Japan, Australia, and Argentina after Croatia ratifies the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.
  • CRIME: A Kosovo citizen was indicted on Tuesday on terror charges. He joined ISIS in 2014 on terror and was recently repatriated to Kosovo.
  • MIGRANTS: Bosnia has begun moving around 600 migrants from the Vucjak camp and expect it to be shut down by the end of Tuesday. It was noted at a roundtable in Croatia by the Jesuit Refugee Service that refugees are struggling with integration because of the lack of language skills.
IN OTHER NEWS…
  • SPORT: “Nigerian Footballer Fired After Getting Club President’s Daughter Pregnant” by JL Flanner in Total Slovenia News: “Ghana Web reports that an unnamed Nigerian football player at an also unnamed Slovenian club has been fired six months’ after joining the team for getting the daughter of the club’s President pregnant. According to the story, four Nigerians currently play in Slovenia: Bede Osuji (ND Gorica), Temitope Nelson (NŠ Drava Ptuj), Gerald Chiyoke (team unknown) and Sulaiman Adedoja (team unknown).”