WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: PM of the Republika Srpska entity Radovan Viskovic said he rejected ventilators bought by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity.  Eurowings is restarting operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia starting in June. Bosnia steel producer ArcelorMittal Zenica stopped production due to COVID-19. By the numbers: 2,338 confirmed cases, 1,557 recovered, 136 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIABy the numbers: 2,234 confirmed cases, 1,978 recovered, 96 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: By the numbers: 989 confirmed cases, 769 recovered, 29 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: Hospitals will be ready to receive non-COVID-19 patients starting next week. By the numbers: 1,858 confirmed cases, 110 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGROBy the numbers: 324 confirmed cases, 312 recovered, 9 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: Face masks are mandatory on all Air Serbia flights which resume today. By the numbers: 10,833 confirmed cases, 5,067 recovered, 235 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: The Slovenian government on Tuesday discussed the third stimulus package and revealed some details yesterday including tourism vouchers and changes in labor, public finance, economy, and agriculture. PM Janez Jansa welcomed a French-German plan for the EU to set up a 500 billion euro fund to restart the EU’s economy. Car manufacturer Renault is set to cut 400 jobs in Slovenia due to COVID-19. By the numbers: 1,468 confirmed cases, 105 deaths.

EU FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: The European Council has adopted a financial package that sees up to 3 billion euro in macro-financial assistance to neighboring countries to combat COVID-19 in the form of favorable loans. The numbers:

  • Albania: €180 million
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: €250 million
  • Kosovo: €100 million
  • Montenegro: €60 milliont
  • N. Macedonia: €160 million

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY MONTENEGRO!: On May 21, 2006, Montenegro declared independence. Political parties across the spectrum released statements on its 14th anniversary.

EID AL-FITR: We would like to wish all of our Muslim subscribers and everyone celebrating a Happy Eid al-Fitr/Bajram over the weekend!

VUCIC + IRINEJ ON MNE: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Irinej commented on the situation between the SPC and Montenegrin authorities. Irinej noted, “What is going on in Montenegro wasn’t happening either during the Ottomans or even communists” at a joint press conference with Vucic. Meanwhile, Vucic observed that “the issue is that politics is interfering in the church’s internal order.” He added that Serbia will help Montenegrin Serbs in all facets of life except political life and it will be done with “full respect of Montenegro’s statehood and independence.”

DODIK WEIGHS IN ON MNE: Serbian Member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik told news outlet Borba that “It is the rehabilitation of bad projects from the past that we can see in Ante Pavelic and many others who wanted to divide the Serbian people in this way as Djukanović is doing now. It is an attempt to make a new church for the Serbian people.” He also attacked Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic for attending the Srebrenica Genocide commemoration. He said, “His earlier announcement that he will attend the genocide commemoration in Srebrenica is another matter where we are diametrically opposed. We think that there was no genocide in Srebrenica and that is a hoax and Djukanovic is participating in an additional hoax.” Read the full interview here.

OSMANI ON DIALOGUE: Acting Speaker of Parliament Vjosa Osmani criticized the EU’s approach to the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue during a webinar including saying the dialogue format aims to please Serbia. She said, “I pressed for a long time to change current format and if we continue the same pace, the dialogue will be concluded by dividing Kosovo not only in territorial terms but also in relation to its sovereignty and its capacities to develop and stand in its feet as sovereign and independent country.” She also noted that around 90 percent of the agreements signed by Serbia have not been implemented and concluded that she is completely against any sort of territorial exchange.

VULIN SLAMS NATO: Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin accused NATO of committing a war crime when it bombed the KBC Dragisa Misovic hospital in Belgrade twenty one years ago. Seven Guards Brigade troops and seven patients were killed. At a wreath laying ceremony on Wednesday, he noted, “Twenty one years ago, without a decision by the UN Security Council and with no human, political, reasonable or unreasonable justification, NATO bombed FR Yugoslavia and did not care who it killed. It has been 21 years since then and we have not heard the word sorry.” And added, “That is why Serbia has chosen to remember and not forget”

HUNGER STRIKE ENDED: Bosko Obradovic, leader of the nationalist opposition party Dveri, ended his hunger strike outside the Serbian Parliament after 11 days. He noted, “We have done what has been up to us. And that is to uncover the system in which we live in, raise the international public awareness, show the lack of media freedom, especially on (the public broadcaster) RTS TV.”

VOA AS PROPAGANDA: Kosovo Serb political party Srpska Lista accused Voice of America journalist Budimir Nicic of spreading propaganda after he published a story about a mother who was about to face eviction with her son and would end up living on the streets.

ELECTIONS IN CROATIA: President of Croatia Zoran Milanovic announced parliamentary elections will be held on July 5. For Croatian citizens abroad, voting will occur on July 4 and 5.

ELECTIONS IN N. MACEDONIA: Representatives of the State Election Commission met with the Commission for Infectious Diseases to coordinate best practices for upcoming parliamentary elections. No date has been set. Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to N. Macedonia Kate Byrnes noted the U.S. fully supports N. Macedonia holding elections when it is safe to do so.

IN OTHER NEWS
ANALYSIS: “Partly false claim: Map predicts Muslim population in Europe in 2050” in Reuters: “Social media users have been sharing an image online of a map which claims to show the predicted population of Muslims in Europe in 2050. The map shows a high density of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia.Examples can be found here and here . The map does not give a source. It includes an image of the Islamic crescent moon and star.”CULTURE: “Esplanade Zagreb Hotel reopens and will celebrate 95th birthday” in Croatia Week