CORONAVIRUS – BiH: Ten tons of aid from Qatar arrived in Sarajevo yesterday. Cinemas in Bosnia and Herzegovina have reopened. Bosnia will reopen its borders in June with restrictions on citizens of certain countries. Bosnia’s Border Police Director said the more COVID-19 restrictions are eased, the more migrants enter BiH. By the numbers: 2,321 confirmed cases, 1,522 recovered, 134 deaths.CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: Wondering how a theater in Split looks after reopening? Check out Croatia Week’s photos. By the numbers: 2,232 confirmed cases, 1,967 recovered, 96 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: By the numbers: 989 confirmed cases, 769 recovered, 29 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: By the numbers: 1,839 confirmed cases, 1,351 recovered, 106 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: The Netherlands has transported medical aid from China to Montenegro for the second time as a part of NATO’s response efforts. Montenegro will open its international airport today. By the numbers: 324 confirmed cases, 312 recovered, 9 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: Slovenian lawmakers have called for the modernization of the education system after students returned to schools this week. Slovenian tourist companies are back to doing business for the most part. By the numbers: 1,476 confirmed cases, 104 deaths.
VARHELYI ON ALBANIA & N.MACEDONIA: The EU’s Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi confirmed negotiating frameworks for Albania and N. Macedonia will be released in June. He wrote on Twitter, “I confirmed today that negotiating frameworks for Albania (and) North Macedonia will come in June, while annual reports are due in the autumn so further reforms can be delivered & predictability is better in view of COVID19. Important enlargement momentum continues.”
U.S. + U.K. + RULE OF LAW IN KOSOVO: The U.S. Embassy in Kosovo and U.K. Embassy in Kosovo have released statements urging Kosovo to implement the Constitutional Court decision on the Special Protective Zone of the Decani Monastery. U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo to Kosovo Philip Kosnett tweeted, “Three years of failure by the Government to enforce Constitutional Court’s decision on Decan/i land case is a blow to equal justice. Can any citizen – or any potential foreign investor – rely on Kosovo courts when the Government can choose to ignore the courts’ authority?” Meanwhile, the U.K. Embassy tweeted, “On the anniv. of the Constit. Court decision of May 2016, confirming the Decan/i Monastery’s ownership of surrounding land, we call again on the authorities of (Kosovo) to implement this decision. Rule of Law must be applied by all, regardless of their political or other affiliations.
SPEAKING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT: It has criticized Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and acting PM Albin Kurti for trying to influence the court’s decision on Thaci’s decree to form a new government.
MONTENEGRO + ORTHODOX CHURCH: The EU’s Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi urged Montenegro and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) to find a peaceful solution. He said, “This is the current problem but it is also a problem that repeats itself. I was in Montenegro when the crisis escalated and I tried to mediate between the state and the church to find a solution acceptable for all sides.”
MEANWHILE…: The SOC’s Bishop for Montenegro and the Littoral says President Milo Djuknaovic “preaches the Satanic Church and wants to turn Montenegro into a demonic, satanic community.”
DACIC ON SPUTNIK: Serbian FM Ivica Dacic spoke with Russian outlet Sputnik Serbia for an hour-long interview. He discussed Russia possibly joining the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, President of N. Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski’s “hypocritical” statements about changing borders in the region, the Trump Administration, the situation in Montenegro, and derecognition of Kosovo.
ELECTIONS IN SERBIA: U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey called on all parties to participate in the next parliamentary elections and he hoped “media freedom will be at the highest level during the campaign.” The European Parliament received an invitation to observe elections in Serbia on June 21.
CROATIAN REFERENDUM: Croatia yesterday commemorated the anniversary of the 1991 referendum that led to independence from Yugoslavia.
ENERGY: Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, started construction on wastewater treatement system project worth 50 million euro.
ANALYSIS: “China on the Sideline as Japan Plays Bigger Role in Kosovo” by Joseph Hammond in The DiplomatANALYSIS: “Could Bulgaria block the EU path of N. Macedonia over common history interpretation?” by Sandra Maksimovic in European Western Balkans
HUMAN INTEREST: “How a former Vice TV host came to launch Serbia’s most successful podcast” by Aleks Eror in The Calvert Journal
HUMAN INTEREST: “‘It is time for reinvention’: Interview with Startup Macedonia’s co-founder and Balkans super-connector, Nina Nikolikj” in EU Startups