WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
CORONAVIRUS – BiH: The ban on restriction movement based on age has been deemed unconstitutional. A member of the EU Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina passed away after falling ill to COVID-19. We send our condolences. By the numbers:  confirmed cases,  deaths.CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic announced three stages to open up Croatia. By the numbers: 1,950 confirmed cases, 48 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVOBy the numbers: 630 confirmed cases, 18 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: PM of N. Maecdonia Oliver Spasovski informs the public that masks are required by law as of today. By the numbers: 1,259 confirmed cases, 56 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: Montenegrin state TV, RTCG, reports that Belgian King Philip was impressed by President Milo Djukanovic reaching out during COVID-19.  By the numbers: 315 confirmed cases, 5 deaths

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: One hundred and eighty Serbian police officers have been affected by COVID-19 because response was slow when it arrived.  By the numbers: 7,114 confirmed cases, 134 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: Slovenia will provide liquidity to business for up to 2 billion EUR. Studies in Slovenia show that the coronavirus has come into the country by multiple strains from Asia and Europe. By the numbers: 1,353 confirmed cases, 79 deaths.

JASENOVAC: Victims of the Jasenovac Concentration Camp were remembered on Wednesday. “Croatia’s top state officials, leaders of ethnic minority groups and anti-fascist associations laid wreaths and flowers on Wednesday at the Jasenovac memorial in memory of the victims of the concentration camp run there by the World War II fascist Ustasha regime. Wednesday’s remembrance ceremony also marked the 75th anniversary of the escape of some of the camp’s inmates.” (N1)

MACRO EU CONTRIBUTIONS: “The Commission has adopted a proposal for a €3 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) package to ten enlargement and neighborhood partners to help them to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal comes on top of the ‘Team Europe‘ strategy, the EU’s robust and targeted response to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. It represents an important demonstration of the EU’s solidarity with these countries at a time of unprecedented crisis.The proposal, following a preliminary assessment of financing needs, provides for the MFA funds to be distributed as follows: the Republic of Albania (€180 million), Bosnia and Herzegovina (€250 million), Georgia (€150 million), the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (€200 million), Kosovo (€100 million), the Republic of Moldova (€100 million), Montenegro (€60 million), the Republic of North Macedonia (€160 million), the Republic of Tunisia (€600 million) and Ukraine (€1.2 billion).” (European Commission)

WHY NOT SERBIA?: The EU says the only reason Serbia didn’t receive the macro fund was because it didn’t apply for those funds.

KOSOVO GOV’T?: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci met with all party leaders. He Tweeted that “All of them, except for LVV, agreed that early elections aren’t necessary as we must prioritize the fight against COVID19. I will respect their political will, the Constitution & laws of #Kosovo.” And added, “In the following days, Kosovo will have a new Government – there is no dissolution of parliament nor new elections. Kosovo is capable to form a new Govt. that will serve its people, fight COVID19, and ensure the democratic functioning of all institutions.”

RESPONSE: Acting Kosovo PM Albin Kurti has deemed Thaci’s actions as against the law and will take it to the Constitutional Court.

MEP VIOLA VON CRAMON: German MEP writes on Twitter, “It becomes more absurd every single day Hashim Thaci. I am speechless. I wonder how this can end up. Why is the president putting his country in danger?”

GREATER REGIONAL COOPERATION: “Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) President Marko Cadez and US special envoy for Kosovo Matthew Palmer said that stronger regional economic integration and cooperation is crucial to economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic, a press release said on Wednesday.” (N1)

PER SLOVENIAN PM JANSA: “This a watershed moment because we have contained the epidemic for the most part even though the virus is still among us and the number of fatalities is unfortunately still rising, however, the successes achieved so far make it possible for us to start easing some of the restrictions.” Read more here.

JASENOVAC COMMEMORATION: The Council of Europe has

SERBIA + EU: Serbian PM Ana Brnabic informed the EU’s Sem Fabrizi and the QUINT Ambassadors that the EU remains a priority of Serbia.

REBUILDING: The earthquake in Croatia is estimated to cost 42 billion kunas ($6 billion).

MIGRANTS: Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency has called for the return of migrants to their home countries. He said, “We cannot keep 6,000-7,000 migrants besides all the problems we already have.”