WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: Bosnia and Herzegovina bans the entry of foreign nationals to its territory except in certain cases. Sarajevo Mayor Abdulah Skaka donated masks and gloves to news outlets based in the capital city. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to 176 in BiH.CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: 50,000 transparent masks for doctors and nurses are being produced outside of Split by AD Plastik for coronavirus response. All banks have waived withdrawal fees in a bid to reduce social interaction. Two towns on the island of Murter are under complete quarantine after being identified as a potential hotspot. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to 442 in Croatia and announced the virus as the cause of death for a man self-isolating in Istra.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: The EU earmarks EUR 68 million for Kosovo to respond to the coronavirus- EUR 5 million for immediate needs, EUR 50 million for socio-economic impact, and EUR 13 million for the budget. The government of Kosovo was preoccupied with a vote of no confidence in the Albin Kurti led government (see below). The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to 71, up 8 from yesterday.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: The government of N. Macedonia has instituted a curfew between 4:00PM and 5:00AM on the weekends. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to 177 including its third death. Two new confirmed cases include an Army officer and a soldier.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: The EU is providing EUR 3 million in immediate help with the health sector and is working on a EUR 50 million in long-term response. Albanian President Ilir Meta called Montenegrin PM Dusko Markovic and Tuzi Mayor Nik Djeloshaj offering support after 15 residents were confirmed with the coronavirus. Super Yacht luxury marina Porto Montenegro intends to stay open as cases of COVID-19 spread in the region. The marina is experimenting with digital services. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rises to 53, up six from yesterday.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: The U.S. Embassy in Serbia organized a flight leaving Serbia for Los Angeles departing today at noon. EU Ambassador to Serbia Sem Fabrizi announced a EUR 93 million package for Serbia – EUR 15 million for transport of medical equipment and EUR 78 million for economic recovery. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rises to 384, up 81 from yesterday. The virus claimed its fourth victim in Serbia.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: Czechia sent 25,200 N95 surgical masks, 500,000 other surgical masks and 5,000 protective suits to Slovenia. Slovenia’s Interior Minister Ales Hojs says there will be no further lockdown restrictions for now. Minister Hojs indicated the Slovenian Army will be sent to the border with Croatia because of the migrant crisis and the police are stretched thin responding to the coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases rises to 528 and Slovenia confirmed its 5th death.

KOSOVO GOVERNMENT TOPPLED: After nearly 11 hours of debate, the Albin Kurti (Vetvendosje) led government on Wednesday was toppled in a vote of no confidence by an 82 for, 32 against, and 1 abstention. The Vetvendosje led government lasted 52 days. Kosovo’s outgoing PM Albin Kurti sacked his first Deputy PM Avdullah Hoti. The NY Times headline: “Coronavirus Helps Bring Down Kosovo’s Government, With Nudge From U.S.”

CROATIA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE: U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Robert Kohorst followed the lead of PM Andrej Plenkovic, Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandrokovic, and other MPs and pledged to donate his March salary to the response of the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that shook Zagreb last weekend. France sent 2 tons of aid for earthquake relief. Five Croatians in Amsterdam set up a GoFundMe page which raised upward of $150,000 to help with earthquake relief. Check out these photos from a parliamentary session held at an alternative location with social distancing being practiced. After the earthquake, about 180 residents of Zagreb are staying in the Cvjetno Naselje student dorm. Their homes are structurally unsound. The dormitory can accommodate up to 1600 residents.

SLOVENIA + UNESCO: A Slovenian-led bid was officially submitted for Lipizzan horse breeding to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The bid includes Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Slovakia.

CRIME: “The Appellate Panel of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed Radomir Susnjar’s 20-year sentence for crimes committed in Pionirska Street in Visegrad, Dejan Bogdanovic, his defense lawyer, confirmed for the Balkan Investigation Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” (Sarajevo Times)

LOOKING FOR AIRLINE UNIFORMS?: Bankrupt Slovenian carrier Adria Airways has announced that it is selling 1,734 uniforms. The starting price will be $53,800 for the public tender.

IN OTHER NEWS

ANALYSIS: “Could Trump Spark a New Balkan Ethnic War?” by Casey Michel in The New Republic

OP-ED: “A Brief Overview of Macedonian-Greek Relations” by Nolan Gillies in Generation M (United Macedonian Diaspora)

OP-ED:Revolution Exported: Greeks who fought for Serbia” by Dean Kalimniou in Neos Kosmos (Australia)

SPORT: Croatian soccer clubs NK Osijek and Dinamo Zagreb have reduced wages of players and employees amid the coronavirus crisis.