WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

EU NOT CONSIDERING JOINING US IN SANCTIONS: After US President Joe Biden announced an update to the sanctioning scheme against corrupt actors and destabilizers in the Western Balkans, EU spokesperson Peter Stano said the EU was not considering joining the sanctioning scheme. Stano said that a “reflection on potential sanctions is not on the agenda” and added that sanctions require all member states to be on board.

Read more on US sanctions:

 

ALBANIA DISMISSES META: Albanian Parliament voted 105-7 (3 abstained) of the 140-seat parliament to dismiss Ilir Meta as President of Albania. The ruling Socialist Party initiated the proceedings. The country must await approval by the Constitutional Court.

KOSOVO-SERBIA DIALOGUE TO CONTINUE: The Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue is set to continue in Brussels on June 15, according to European Commission spokesman Peter Stano. Kosovo PM Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić will meet with EU envoy Miroslav Lajčák.

  • Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani highlighted that Kosovo is only looking for mutual recognition. She said, “Kosovo is ready for talks to reach mutual recognition with Serbia. I believe it will depend on how Serbia will behave in the dialogue and what it thinks about its European Union membership since it cooperates with Russia both economically and militarily.”
  • Meanwhile, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Enver Hoxhiaj, said that the meeting should be cancelled if Vučić doesn’t apologize for genocide.

DIMITROV + CHOLLET: Deputy PM for European Affairs of N. Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov spoke with Special Adviser to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss N. Macedonia’s European future and the EU enlargement process. The US reaffirmed support for N. Macedonia’s EU path.

RADEV + RAMA: After a meeting with Albanian PM Edi Rama, Bulgaria’s President Rumen Radev expressed support for the countries of the Western Balkans while calling on better neighborliness in the process. Bulgaria and N. Macedonia are stuck in negotiations over language and historical figures. Bulgaria has kept N. Macedonia from formally opening EU accession talks.

MEANWHILE… PM of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev called on the EU to deliver on promises of no new ethnic borders. He noted that non-papers and new strategies are taken more seriously when progress towards the EU slows down. He warned against nationalism and chauvinism in the region.

DODIK SLAMS BOSNIAN AMB TO THE UN: Chairman and Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik slammed Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Sven Alkalaj for a speech he described as “disgraceful.”

  • Bosnia’s ambassador thanked the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals for confirming Ratko Mladić’s life sentence yesterday and criticized Serbia for protecting Novak Djukić for his crimes in Tuzla during the 1992-1995 war.
  • “The presentation of so-called ambassador in New York who ignored the stand and the rulebook of the Presidency, according to which no representative of BiH can present if its text got no consent of all three members of that highest body, is a mirror of the ruin that cannot be fixed,” said Dodik.

BANJA LUKA MAYOR SLAMS UN COURTS: Banja Luka Mayor Draško Stanivuković said he can’t believe in the UN courts and described rulings against Serbs over the years as “political decisions.”

  • Stanivuković said, “The past is such that we look at it differently. In the difficult times of war, all peoples suffered equally terrible, terrifying sacrifices, whose outcome is that Serbs have received 1,000 years of prison sentences, while other citizens, peoples only 40 or 20 years.”
  • He added, “The Hague Tribunal wasn’t interested in the suffering of Serb civilians in Sarajevo, in Podrinje, in the Neretva Valley, in the western Krajina municipalities, in Posavina, in Ozren. The Hague Tribunal left 30,000 Serb victims, of which 7,000 were civilians without truth and justice.”

MONTENEGRO CANCELS CONTRACT WITH MLADIĆ SUPPORTER: Montenegro’s Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports cancelled a consulting contract with Vladimir Vuković after he glorified Ratko Mladić.

SLOVENIA FAILS TO CENSURE LEFT: “An attempt by two Slovenian coalition parties to contest the legitimacy of the far-left opposition Left party, which they claim harbours anti-constitutional elements, has been thwarted after the speaker refused to put it on the parliament’s agenda.

“‘Such a resolution would be an unparalleled absurdity in a normal parliamentary democracy,’ said Speaker Igor Zoržič, invoking an opinion by the parliament’s legal service.

“He said the constitution, law and parliamentary rules of procedure prevent the National Assembly from evaluating the constitutionality of party documents or actions. Any resolution about the Left’s platform would be “inadmissible interference” in the constitutional right to assembly.” (Euraktiv)

KLA COURT UP AND RUNNING: The Kosovo Specialist Chambers are beginning to open trials against former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army this week.

SLOVENIAN, CROATIAN INTERIOR MINISTERS MEET: Slovenia’s Aleš Hojs and Croatia’s Davor Božinović met in the Slovenian seaside resort town of Portorož to discuss Slovenia’s upcoming presidency of the council of the European Union, migrants, and cross-border travel.

CONGRATS!: A huge congratulations to Serbia’s Nikola Jokić who was announced as the regular season Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association. He becomes the first Serbian player and  just the sixth non-US player to win the award.

OSIJEK JUDGES ARRESTED: Three judges from the Osijek County Court were arrested yesterday morning in connection to allegations by former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamić who claims he bribed the judges to escape charges of embezzlement. The three judges were transferred to Zagreb for questioning by the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime.

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: The Global Vaccine Divide Looms Large Ahead of G-7 Summit by Colm Quinn in Foreign Policy

OP-ED: What the UK and EU can do together in the Balkans by member of the British House of Lords Arminka Helić in Politico