WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: The IMF has pledged to double its support to Bosnia and Herzegovina to fight coronavirus to $356 million. The American Chamber of Commerce in Bosnia helped the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina acquire 150,000 COVID-19 tests. By the numbers: 668 confirmed cases, 27 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: One hundred and forty-eight Croatians have been repatriated from Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. MPs discussed a bill to extend the validity of personal IDs including passports, driver’s licenses, and various permits. The wine industry has described its situation as “critical” amidst the coronavirus crisis. By the numbers: 1,222 confirmed cases, 16 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: Pristina has shut down all parks and squares in the capital by wrapping them in police barricade tape – watch RFE/RL’s eerie video here. The ethnic Albanian Mayor of South Mitrovica Agim Bahtiri and ethnic Serb Mayor of North Mitrovica Goran Rakic will work together to fight COVID-19. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia has sent 248 trucks to Kosovo to help everyone. By the numbers: 145 confirmed cases, 1 death.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: USAID will provide $1.1 million in assistance to N. Macedonia. Turkey will provide N. Macedonia with medical aid according to FM Nikola Dimitrov after meeting with Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto who brought 100,000 face masks to N. Macedonia while on his trip to Skopje. A ban from 4:00PM to 5:00AM will be put in place starting Wednesday and a full lockdown from Friday at 4:00PM to Monday at 5:00AM. By the numbers: 570 confirmed cases, 23 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: Montenegro, along with Serbia, will apply to the EU’s Solidarity Fund to fight COVID-19. The U.S. European Command (EUCOM) donated monitors to a hospital in Montenegro. A mother infected with COVID-19 gave birth in Montenegro. By the numbers: 233 confirmed cases, 2 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: More than 200 3D printing volunteers in Serbia have come together to create and donate medical supplies to health clinics and hospitals throughout Serbia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to send medical aid to Serbia in a letter to Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic. Serbian FM Ivicia Dacic says there are no flights without the president’s approval. By the numbers: 2,200 confirmed cases, 58 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: Slovenian PM Janez Jansa met with unions to discuss the 3 million euro coronavirus stimulus bill. By the numbers: 1,021 confirmed cases, 30 deaths.

WELCOME HOME!: The Alaska Army National Guard’s 1-297th Infantry returned from deployment to Kosovo amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

REMEMBERING SARAJEVO: “Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency Chairman and Bosniak member Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat Presidency member Zeljko Komsic marked the Day of Sarajevo, on Monday, by laying flowers at all the monuments dedicated to this date. Dzaferovic and Komsic laid flowers at the Eternal Flame monument, Kovaci graveyard, the monument to the killed children of Sarajevo, as well as the Vraca monument.” (N1)

RUSSIA ON KOSOVO TARIFFS: The Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Monday released a statement slamming Kosovo for not fulling rescinding the 100% tariffs. The statement notes, “We believe these anti-Serbia steps by Kosovo’s authorities need to be completely and unconditionally reversed” and described the action as “another gesture of demagoguery.”

ALUMINIJ MOSTAR: “A meeting of shareholders in Bosnia’s indebted aluminium smelter Aluminij Mostar accepted an improved bid from an Israeli-Chinese consortium to lease its foundry, the first step towards partially restarting production, officials said on Monday. The Balkan country’s sole aluminium smelter was shut down last July over debt incurred due to high power and alumina prices.” (Reuters)

IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Is Navigating a Highway to Uncertainty” by Jelena Milic in The National InterestOP-ED: “Finally, some good news: Albania and North Macedonia on the road to EU membership” by Tania Lessenska in the European Council on Foreign Relations

ANALYSIS: “In Sarajevo, a small community draws on its wartime experience to survive COVID-19” by David Ian Klein in Forward:”When war came to Sarajevo in 1992, Vladimir Andrle was only a child. But he remembers the synagogue and Jewish community center as a refuge in a city besieged by violence. A generation later, Andrle is a leader of the Jewish Community of Sarajevo, mobilizing relief against the novel coronavirus. While Jews around the world are grappling with a new communal landscape shaped by this pandemic, in the Bosnian capital they are drawing on their experiences during the brutal siege that began 28 years ago — on Apr. 5, 1992 — to guide them through the chaos.”

HUMAN INTEREST: “Moorestown (New Jersey) Man Who Served In Kosovo, Was Quarantined Comes Home” by Anthony Bellano in Patch

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

HUMAN INTEREST: “Foreigners Self-Isolating in Slovenia: Do You Feel Safer? Melinda Hajdin, from California” by JL Flanner in Total Slovenia News

SPORT: “Serbian coach Radomir Antic, the only person to manage Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, died on Monday at the age of 71 following a long illness.” (Yahoo)

SPORT: “Meet the Young Socceroo (Australia) starring in Slovenia” by John Davidson in The World Game

TRAVEL: “Solo Travel Tips for Croatia” in The Dubrovnik Times