WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: Around 2,500 coronavirus test kits supplied by the EU and UN Development Program (UNDP) arrived on Tuesday. Serbia’s shipment of medical aid also arrived on Tuesday.  High Representative Valentin Inzko indicates that Bosnia could receive up to 150 million euro to fight coronavirus. Bosnia is relocating migrants from the streets of Sarajevo and Bihac to centers to help decrease the possibly of coronavirus spreading. The number of confirmed cases reaches 408 including twelve deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: The Croatian Science Foundation has opened over $2 million in grants for scientists to research the coronavirus. The Association of Croatian American Professionals (ACAP) held a virtual town hall featuring Dr. Natasa Janicic-Kahric and Dr. Katherine Vlasica to brief attendees on the coronavirus and answer questions. Croatia institutes drive-in testing amid a rise in the number of confirmed cases which reached 867 on Tuesday after 77 new cases were diagnosed.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: The Kosovo Constitutional Court has deemed the restriction of movement implemented by the Albin Kurti government unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Serbia has taken the lead in supporting Kosovo Serbs in the north for coronavirus. There are 4 more confirmed cases bringing the total to 112.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: Around 2,020 Macedonian nationals have returned to the country since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Student dorms will be used as quarantine centers. A woman from Kumanovo with coronavirus gave birth – there’s no word on the condition of the child. The number of confirmed cases rises to 329 including 2 new deaths brining the total to 9.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO:  Montenegro has enforced a curfew from 7:00 PM to 5:00AM on weekdays and 1:00PM to 5:00AM on weekends. The number of confirmed cases reaches 107.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: European Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi spoke with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and said 15 million euro would be released for Serbia to combat the effects of coronavirus. The Serbian government is set to provide every citizen 100 euro after the state of emergency ends. In addition, small and medium sized businesses will provide funds for the average wage of workers by mid-May. Serbia received 69 pairs of gloves from Kerala, India to combat coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases sharply rises by 115 to reach 900 in Serbia including 7 new deaths which brings the total 23.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: The Slovenian National Assembly delays the National Assembly session, originally scheduled for today, to tomorrow because the 3 billion euro package is too extensive to make proper amendments. Slovenia is expecting the economy to shrink between 6.2% and 16.1% this year as coronavirus grips the country. The number of confirmed cases rises to 802 and reported deaths reach 13.

TARIFFS NO MORE: Kosovo has lifted the 100% tariffs on Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as of midnight on April 1st. For Serbia, the Kosovo government will institute a policy of reciprocity and monitor developments until June 15th. The tariffs will be reinstated on June 15th if reciprocity is not achieved. Kosovo unconditionally lifted the tariffs on Bosnia. Meanwhile, Serbia’s Director for the Office of Kosovo Marko Djuric says the 100% tariff has not been lifted and urged the public not to fall for fake news.

(ICMYI) REP. ENGEL ON KOSOVO POLICY: U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D- NY, 16) released a statement slamming the Trump Administration’s policy on Kosovo and he has become “increasingly concerned with the heavy-handed tactics.” He contends, the pressure imposed on Prishtina for its tariffs is decidedly unbalanced…Something’s wrong with U.S. policy and we need to correct it. We should start with rebalancing our approaches toward Serbia and Kosovo. We should work with our European allies to treat both countries as independent and sovereign partners.”

RUSSIA ON NATO ACCESSION: The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement following N. Macedonia’s full accession to NATO. It slammed the voter turnout in the referendum to change the name from Macedonia to N. Macedonia, said that NATO isn’t reliable to defend its countries, and questioned the official date of joining NATO and its relation to the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

EURO AMBITIONS: Croatia’s Central Bank is sticking with the current plan to adopt the euro as its official currency despite the coronavirus outbreak.

WAR IN CROATIA COMMEMORATED: President Zoran Milanovic commemorated the anniversary of the death of Josip Jovic, the first death in the war in Croatia in the 1990s.

JAILED: N. Macedonia on Tuesday jailed two members of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), Ejup Alimi and Ismet Guri, for three-and-a-half years for tampering with election materials in 2013.
IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “New enlargement strategy of the EU: a new chance for the Balkans” by Svjetlana Ramic Markovic in New Eastern EuropeOP-ED: “How Trump’s America Humiliates Kosovo” by Mikra Krasniqi in Prishtina Insight

ANALYSIS: “Dismantling democracy? Virus used as excuse to quell dissent” by Dusan Stojanovic in AP News

ANALYSIS: “How America’s F-117 Stealth Fighter Was Blown Out of the Sky” by Davide Axe in The National Interest

HUMAN INTEREST: “Foreigners Self-Isolating in Croatia: Do You Feel Safer? Mirela from Romania” by Paul Bradbury in Total Croatia News

CULTURE: “Raichle’s Palace” in Atlas Obscura: “Raichle’s Palace in Subotica was constructed in 1904 as a family palace for the Serbian-Hungarian architect Ferenc Raichle. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in Serbia.”

CULTURE: “Croatian Pantry Recipe: Dalmatian Pašta Fažol” in Croatia Week

TRAVEL: “Sail the Dalmatian Coast on a Luxury Catamaran” in Luxury Travel Magazine