WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: USAID donates $1.2 million to help BiH fight coronavirus. Between 30,000 and 40,000 Bosnians are estimated to lose their jobs. The city of Medjugore is under quarantine after nuns and monks at the tested positive for coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases rises to 358, including its 10th death.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: UNICEF delivered 4 tons of medical supplies to Croatia. The Croatian government temporarily closed six maritime borders. The number of confirmed cases rises by 77 to reach 790.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett sent a message on Twitter revealing the U.S. is sending $1.1 million in aid to Kosovo to fight the coronavirus. The head of the EU’s office in Kosovo Nataliya Apostolova signed a 5 million euro contract to provide Kosovo with support for the coronavirus. The Kosovo government earmarks $190 million to mitigate the economic impact of coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases rises by 12 to reach 106.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: The number of confirmed cases rises by 26 to reach 285, including the seventh death from the virus.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: Montenegro is officially on lockdown  from 7:00PM – 5:00AM during the week and 1:00PM- 5:00AM on weekends. See all the rules here. Montenegro detained a priest at the Rezevici Monastery near Budva after holding a sermon with believers. Montenegro instituted rules against holding religious gatherings with believers in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. The number of confirmed cases reaches 91 after 21 new cases were found on Monday.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: Serbia is set to provide loans and subsidies with $5.54 billion to quell the economic impact of coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases rises by 44 to reach 785.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: Slovenia’s National Assembly will vote on a 3 billion euro stimulus package on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Slovenia’s Interior Minister Jernej Vrtovec calls on the government to continue building infrastructure while Slovenians are at required to be at home. Clothing company Wolford has tasked its Slovenia factories with producing face masks. Slovenia restricts people from moving outside of their municipalities. The number of confirmed cases rises by 26 to reach 756. On a brighter note, there were no new deaths.

BORRELL ON EU ACCESSION: The EU’s High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell  wrote on Twitter, “By opening accession negotiations w North Macedonia & Albania, EU sent clear message: the EU is not complete without the Western Balkans. Also want to congratulate North Macedonia for becoming 30th NATO Ally. Look forward to working together on advancing EU-NATO cooperation.” You can read his full reflections on the EU’s External Action website where he also breaks down the EU’s immediate support for the Western Balkans in the fight against coronavirus.

THACI MEETS QUINT AMBS.: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci on Monday met with the ambassadors of the QUINT countries (France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the US) and informed them that “after consultations with political parties I will take all the steps, as per Constitution, to move forward following the no-confidence motion for the government.” Meanwhile, acting FM Glauk Konjufca (Vetvendosje) says the president has violated the constitution by not allowing Vetvendosje to try to form a government and calling on other political parties. President Thaci invited acting PM Albin Kurti to consultations scheduled for Wednesday. Go more in depth on the political crisis here.

CHARGES FILED: Kosovo’s Acting Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla has filed charges against President Hashim Thaci for calling the public to defy the restrictions of movement put in place by the government.

IN OTHER NEWS

JOURNAL: “Forward or Backward:TheEU, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo at Crossroads” by Johanna Deimel and Michael Weichert in Southeast Europe in Focus/Suedosteuropa-Gesellschaft (53 pages)

OP-ED: “Montenegro Moves Onto Next Phase of Highway Project and Further Into China’s Debt Trap” by Austin Doehler in The National Interest

OP-ED: “Croatia’s Riven Ruling Party Eyes Autumn Election” by Austin Doehler in Balkan Insight

ANALYSIS: “North Macedonia’s Accession to NATO an Important Milestone” by Daniel Kochis in The Daily Signal

HUMAN INTEREST: “Kenosha (Wisconsin) couple from Serbia retires after living the American dream” by Bill Robbins in the Lake Geneva Regional News

HUMAN INTEREST: “Innocence Lost: Childhood Memories of the Kosovo War” by Xhorxhina Bami in BIRN

CULTURE: “The ‘God’s Rambo’ 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Helped Civilians During the Bosnian War” by Mircea Panait in Auto Revolution

ENTERTAINMENT: “A Timeline Of Dua Lipa’s Meteoric Rise, In 15 Pictures” by Fabio Magnocavallo in TheThings.com