WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

PALMER’S VIRTUAL VISIT TO ALBANIA: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative to the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer went on a “virtual visit” to Albania today. He spoke with President Ilir Meta, PM Edi Rama, and Democratic Party Chair Lulzim Basha about bilateral relations, the April 25 elections, Defender 21 military exercises, and expectations.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Albania wrote on Twitter, “”During a “virtual visit” to 🇦🇱, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer met with President Meta, PM Rama, & DP Chair Basha to reaffirm the importance of U.S.-Albanian relations as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.”
  • “They reconfirmed our shared commitment to expanding bilateral cooperation on democracy, defense, & business. DAS Palmer emphasized with each leader the importance of their respective roles, including the institutional roles of the Presidency & the Prime Ministry as prescribed in the Constitution. Institutions and political leaders carry the responsibility to ensure the upcoming elections are free and fair, with rules that are impartial, transparent, and timely.”
  • Read the full press statement HERE.
MONTENEGRIN SERBS RALLY FOR LEPOSAVIĆ: Montenegrin Serbs from throughout the country rallied for Minister of Justice, Human, and Minority Rights Vladimir Leposavić after PM Zdravko Krivokapić urged parliamentarians to remove him from office for denying the Srebrenica Genocide. Leposavić last week said, “I am ready to admit that the crime of genocide was committed in Srebrenica when it is unequivocally established”.
  • The Montenegrin Serbs claim that the government will fall if Leposavić is sacked. Meanwhile, the majority of the ruling coalition does not support removing Leposavić.
  • Western Embassies and international organizations have condemned Leposavić’s statement on the genocide.
  • And PM Zdravko Krivokapić yesterday said he didn’t propose to dismiss Leposavić because of his views on the Genocide, but that personal views must be kept personal for the government to survive.

JANŠA TO RESIGN?: “The right-wing weekly Reporter comments on the political situation in the country, speculating, among other things, that Prime Minister Janez Janša may step down and force an early election.”After a series of defeats, an impeachment against Janša is a victory for the opposition, now presumably stronger by three votes from breakaway coalition MPs from the ranks of the Modern Centre Party (SMC).” (Total Slovenia News)

SPEAKING OF RESIGNATIONS…: Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Finance Qazim Rrahmani offered his resignation. He was found guilty of misusing official funds in 2018 when he was Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare. Rrahmani is a member of the Party of Ashkali’s for Integration.

SARAJEVO CELEBRATES LIBERATION: Sarajevans yesterday celebrated the liberation from Nazi occupiers in 1945. Bosniak Member of the Presidency Šefik Džaferovič and Bosnian Croat Member of the Presidency Željko Komšić laid a wreath at the eternal flame in the middle of Sarajevo to commemorate the anniversary. Mayor Abdulah Skaka congratulated Sarajevans and noted, “Sarajevo has been attacked and defended numerous times, Sarajevo is a city of unbreakable spirit.”

FBiH SECURITIES BLOCKED: “The Securities Commission of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, which is a crucial institution ensuring that banks, the stock exchange and joint-stock companies operate transparently and according to the rules, has been completely paralyzed for more than a year. The consequences of this paralysis are enormous for the economy of the FBiH and the country as a whole, said the EU Delegation, US and UK embassies to BiH and the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in a joint statement on Tuesday.” (N1)

WHICH VACCINE DID YOU GET?: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić opted to receive the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine yesterday. He said in an Instagram video, “I received the vaccine, and I feel great…Thank you our great health workers. Thank you our Chinese brothers.”

VUČIĆ AN HONORARY CITIZEN: President Vučić was named an honorary citizen of the Banja Luka, the capital of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska entity.

DID YOU KNOW…U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has roots in Slovenia? She brought her soon to be 93-year-old father Slovenian potica for Easter.

ICYMI:  The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development appointed Matteo Colangeli as Director with responsibility for the Western Balkans. He will be based out of Serbia. On taking the role, Colangeli said, “I am very proud to take up this role and determined to continue strengthening our delivery in the region. We will focus on building back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and work with our partners towards greener, more inclusive and digitalized economies in the Western Balkans.”

N. MACEDONIA ARRESTS ITS OWN POLICE: N. Macedonia’s Ministry of Interior announced it has arrested nine police officers accused of providing passports and official IDs to foreigners.

ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE ROCKS CROATIA: “New earthquakes hit Sisak-Moslavina County again today. Three weaker tremors with magnitudes of about 3 and one rather strong tremor with a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale, with an epicenter southeast of Glina were recorded.

“The quakes were felt in Glina, Petrinja, Sisak, Dvor and Hrvatska Kostajnica. The new tremors have upset the residents of the area, who are having an even more difficult time due to weather conditions. It is especially difficult for all those who have lost their homes and live in container settlements.” (Voice of Croatia)

IN OTHER NEWS

ANALYSIS: Energy Transitions Generate Friction in Central Europe by Tim Gosling in Balkan InsightANALYSISIn Kosovo, System ‘Failing to Protect’ Domestic Abuse Victims by Adelina Ahmeti in Balkan Insight

BLOGFew routes to power in Bulgaria’s fragmented new parliament by Denitsa Koseva in bne IntelliNews

HUMAN INTERESTTurning a war-torn childhood into a book for young adults that teaches lessons about hate, genocide by Tamsen Fadal and Juan Carlos Molina in Pix11

HUMAN INTERESTMoving to Croatia to Live, an Englishman’s Perspective in Total Croatia News