WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
CORONAVIRUS BiH – Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to distribute an IMF loan worth $373 million after six weeks of political maneuvering. By the numbers: 2,535 confirmed cases, 1,910 recovered, 157 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: By the numbers: 2,246 confirmed cases, 2,088 recovered, 103 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: By the numbers: 1,064 confirmed cases, 829 recovered, 30 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: Acting PM Oliver Spasovski says the three stimulus packages passed in N. Macedonia focused on the economy and added that over 130,000 salaries had been paid in April due to the economic stimulus. By the numbers: 2,391 confirmed cases, 141 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: By the numbers: 11,454 confirmed cases, 6,766 recovered, 245 deaths.
CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: By the numbers: 1,475 confirmed cases, 109 deaths.
GRENELL FOCUSES ON KOSOVO-SERBIA: U.S. Presidential Envoy to the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue Richard Grenell has officially relinquished his post as U.S. Ambassador to Germany leaving his duties as special envoy as his sole focus.
LAJCAK RECEIVES SUPPORT: Meanwhile, the EU’s Special Envoy to the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue claims he has support for his mandate from all 27 EU nations. He wrote on Twitter, “Grateful for the strong support I received from the 27 EU Member States today! Very encouraging discussion about my mandate and the way ahead” after meeting with members of the EU’s Political and Security Committee.
KOSOVO MPS ARE EXPECTED TO VOTE on a new government today led by Avdullah Hoti of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).
TRUCKS WAIT ON BORDER: After the outgoing Kosovo government added further restrictions on goods entering Kosovo, trucks have been sitting on the border for two days. The government requires any goods entering Kosovo to say “Republic of Kosovo” including Serbian newspapers.
BiH MINISTER RESIGNS: Fahrudin Radoncic has resigned as Security Minister over “political differences” the migrant crisis, and the ventilator affair.
PICULA APPOINTED: Croatian MEP Tonino Picula has been appointed as the European Parliament Rapporteur for the United States. Picula will focus on the equality of EU citizens for visa waivers, and particularly double taxation laws that Croatia faces.
SERBIA + IRAN + U.S. SANCTIONS: “President of Iran Hassan Rouhani has called for the expansion of relations with Serbia in all fields, stressing that the US’ cruel sanctions should not be allowed to ruin the bilateral ties between Tehran and Belgrade, particularly their economic interaction. In a telephone conversation with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday, President Rouhani stressed the need for the enhancement of economic, trade, scientific and technological cooperation between the two nations. ‘We should not allow the cruel American sanctions to disrupt the promotion of economic relations between the two countries, so that we’d be able to serve the interests of the two nations by employing the capacity for cooperation,’ the Iranian president added.” (Iran Front Page)
EC FOLLOWING SERBIA + MONTENEGRO: The European Commission (EC) is paying close attention to the recent tension between the Montenegrin government and the Serbian Orthodox Church. EC Spokesperson Ana Pisonero said, “The EU is closely following developments in the Western Balkans and our next detailed comprehensive assessment will be contained in the annual reports on the countries of the region, which will be published as part of the enlargement package.”
FUKUYAMA ON REGION: Stanford Professor Francis Fukuyama spoke Voice of America with a grim outlook of the region. He said, “Montenegro has not done much to join the European Union at the moment. I talked to (President Milo) Djukanovic for a long time last summer when I was in Podgorica. I think he is an effective politician, but I do not consider him to lead a democratic state.” Meanwhile, while speaking about Serbia, Fukuyama said, “At some point … or maybe we have already reached that point, where any idea of EU membership will be impossible, because the EU is based on a system of values, which does not support or personify the current regime in Belgrade.” And added,”He (Vucic) wants to present to the Western public, Brussels and Berlin and other capitals that he is still on the path to EU membership, but also deepens cooperation with Russia and China. In fact, earlier efforts to stay on the side of the West are a way to avoid criticism from the West.” Listen to his full interview here.
ELECTIONS IN N. MACEDONIA: Deputy PM and Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani said July 5th is the only possible date for elections.
ELECTIONS IN SERBIA: The U.S. Embassy in Serbia weighed in on upcoming elections and requiring equal media access to all political parties participating. It wrote on Twitter, “It’s up to the Government to provide access to media for all political views’, it’s up to parties to participate in the political process, and it’s up to people in Serbia to take part in the process without interfering with others’ right to do so” with a a Radio Free Europe article on the OSCE sending a mission to Serbia.
MINING ACCIDENT: Two people have died in a mining accent in Novobrdo, Kosovo.
MIGRANTS: Slovenia sent over 1,000 police officers to the border with Croatia to secure it after detecting large scale movement by migrants through the region.
CULTURE: “Serbia to raise 23 German WW II ships sunken in Danube River” in N1TRAVEL: “Not Sure If Visiting Kotor, Montenegro Is Worth It? This Itinerary Should Convince You” by Luisa Santos in The Travel
TRAVEL: “Croatia’s Best Road Trip: Swap the Motorway for the Magistrala” by Joe Orovic in Total Croatia News