WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS FOR LAGUMDŽIJA: The new President of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) Halil Lagumdžija said Thursday that his main goal for the post is to restore the public’s trust in Bosnia’s justice system.
KRIVOKAPIĆ + MERKEL: Montenegrin PM Zdravko Krivokapić spoke via video with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The interlocutors discussed bilateral relations and Montenegro’s EU accession.
WEEDING OUT CORRUPTION IN ALBANIA: Albania’s Special Prosecution Against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) arrested thirteen individualsincluding a judge for corruption related charges. Judge Enkeleida Hoxha was brought into the spotlight after controversial early releases. In response to the arrests, U.S. Ambassador Yuri Kim tweeted, “Good to see SPAK delivering more results. Justice reform is moving forward – step by step.”Read the full SPAK announcement HERE (in Albanian).
N. MACEDONIA NAMES AMB. TO U.S.: N. Macedonia has proposed former Minister of Interior and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ljubomir Frčkoski for the post of Ambassador to the United States. He is a controversial figure that has faced scrutiny in the past. The post has remained empty for three years.
UK AMB. ABBOTT ON ELECTIONS, DIALOGUE: British Ambassador to Nicholas Abbott highlighted the importance of the elections in Kosovo on Sunday and the UK’s expectations for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue in an interview with Kosovo news outlet Gazeta Express.
CROATIA REJECTS BOSNIA’S CONCERNS OVER EEZ: Croatia’s Foreign Ministry rejected the concerns of Bosnian FM Bisera Turković over Croatia declaring an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). FM Turković wrote a diplomatic note to Zagreb claiming Croatia declaring the EEZ would endanger Bosnia’s rights to enter the high seas. In December, Croatia reassured FM Turković’s that the EEZ would not interfere with Bosnia’s rights. Therefore, the Croatian MFA rejected the Bosnian Foreign Ministry’s note and Croatia’s EEZ comes into effect on Saturday.ELECTIONS IN BiH:
SERBIA + FRANCE: “President Aleksandar Vucic told French ambassador to Serbia Jean-Luis Falconi on Thursday that good relations with Paris were significant for Belgrade and that he would personally follow the realisation of joint projects. According to Vucic’s office statement, the two discussed the President’s recent meeting with the French counterpart Emmanual Macron in Paris. They agreed the Belgrade underground project was progressing in line with the planned dynamic.Other significant projects such as works at the Belgarde airport managed by the French Vinci company, the remediation of the Vinca landfill also were on the meeting’s agenda.” (N1)
FBiH TO GET PFIZER: The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity confirmed it will receive 16,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next Wednesday through the COVAX system. An additional 7,400 vaccines will be sent to the Republika Srpska entity through the COVAX system.
SPEAKING OF VACCINES…: Serbian PM Ana Brnabić said the delivery of Pfizer vaccines to N. Macedonia is delayed since the pharmaceutical company has not given permission for the delivery.
DJOKIĆ SENTENCED: In a first instance verdict, a Pristina court found Zoran Djokić guilty for war crimes committed in the Peja/Peć region between March and April 1999. Djokić was sentenced to twelve years in prison.
IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “Islamist Extremism In The Balkans: The Case Of Kosovo” by Kolë Krasniqi in Eurasia ReviewANALYSIS: “Kosovo Parties’ Glittering Promises Leave Many Voters Cold” by Përparim Isufi and Emirjeta Vllahiu in Balkan Insight
ANALYSIS: “The explainer: Kosovo’s parliamentary election” by Nikola Djordjević in Emerging Europe
BLOG: “No ‘Navalnying’ in the Balkans is the uncompromising message from Russia” by Clare Nuttall in bne IntelliNews
HUMAN INTEREST: “Expats in Croatia/Pandemic Edition: Michael Freer, from UK in Split (VIDEO)” by Cyndie Burkhardt in Total Croatia News
ENTERTAINMENT: “Actors: Jasmila Zbanic had the courage to take on the Srebrenica genocide” in N1