WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

Don’t miss out on our Fireside Q&A With President of the National Federation of Croatian Americans, Steve Rukavina, today at 1:00PM EST/ 7:00PM CET. For more information and registration, click here. 

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: Bosnia’s Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic did not allow a team of Russian military specialists to enter BiH to assist in combatting COVID-19. The team was invited by Bosnian Croat political Dragan Covic to help in Mostar. By the numbers: 1.857 confirmed cases, 77 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: The EU shipped masks to Croatia. Dubrovnik is looking for ways to save its tourist season – one of them is asking the government to give them special status to avoid the complete lockdown measures. By the numbers: 2,096 confirmed cases, 79 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: Kosovo’s Health Minister Arben Vitia presented a three phrase plan to reopen Kosovo. By the numbers: 851 confirmed cases, 22 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: The World Bank is providing 140 million euro in financial support to N. Macedonia. By the numbers: 1,511 confirmed cases, 84 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO:  Tivat is preparing for business as usual for its summer holiday months and expects plenty of tourism. Montenegro outlined new requirements for the lockdown – hair dressers, tax drivers, and dentists, among others, will be required to wear masks while working. By the numbers: 322 confirmed cases, 8 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic plans to end the state of emergency this week after the number of cases has slowed down. By the numbers: 9.464 confirmed cases, 193 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: PM Janez Jansa says COVID-19 will have “far-reaching change in our thinking and response to the challenges of the time.” By the numbers: 1,439 confirmed cases, 96 deaths.

CROATIA RESPONSE: “Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said on Saturday that Croatia would send protective gear to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro and that shipments were worth HRK 1.2 million (€158,000).” (N1)

EU HEALTH RESPONSE: “Janez Lenarčič, the Slovenian EU commissioner in charge of crisis management, believes the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for the EU to play a greater role in health and civil protection.” (Slovenia Times)

KOSOVO CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS: The Kosovo Constitutional Court suspended President Hashim Thaci’s decree to name a new prime minister until May 29. President Thaci will respect the decision of the court.

WORLD MEDIA FREEDOM DAY: Croatia’s Culture Minister, Nina Obuljen Korzinek calls media freedom “the foundation of every democracy.” Meanwhile, nova.rs reporter Ana Lalic was awarded Deutsche Welle’s Freedom of Speech award for her work on the Vojvodina Clinical Center.

MACEDONIAN LANGUAGE: In the ongoing dispute between Bulgaria and N. Macedonia over the Macedonian language, Bulgarian FM Ekaterina Zaharieva says Macedonian is based off of a dialect of Western Bulgarian.

GERMANY + BiH: German Ambassador to BiH Margaret Uebber on Friday met with Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic and announced a one million euro donation to Bosnia’s border police.

KOSOVO SPECIALIST CHAMBERS: Charles Smith III has been elected as the VP of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers located in The Hague.

ON THIS DAY: Croatia on Friday marked the 25th anniversary of Operation Flash. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic, and President Zoran Milanovic were in attendance. President Milanovic left earlier than expected after seeing some wearing t-shirts with,”For the homeland, ready” written on them.

GOVERNMENT PROTESTS: Slovenians on Friday gathered for a bike protest against the government. Around 3,000 citizens participated.

CRIME: A Montenegrin ship was searched in Hamburg, Germany. Police found half a ton of cocaine on board. One man was arrested of the 23 all-Montenegrin crew.

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “Remembering Jasenovac: the lesser recognized concentration camp” by Aleksandra Petrovic in The Jerusalem PostOP-ED: “Hope and faith matter – especially during difficult times” in The Boston Herald

ANALYSIS:”‘A camera doesn’t lie’: Documenting besieged Sarajevo” by Mersiha Gazdo in Al-Jazeera

ANALYSIS: “Tirana’s Woe, Podgorica’s Wealth” in The Tirana Times

ANALYSIS: “Balkan energy infrastructure key in post-COVID 19 economic recovery” by Kostis Geropoulos in New Europe

SPORT: “Who is Toni Kukoc? 5 fast facts about the European prodigy who drew the ire of Michael Jordan” by Bill Bender in Sporting News

SPORT: “Michael Jordan And Scottie Pippen Dove Into Their Bad Blood Toward Toni Kukoc At The 1992 Olympics” by Bill DeFilippo in Uproxx

SPORT: “Today’s Yugoslavia XI would be one of the world’s best national teams” by Scott Wilson in Give Me Sport