WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

NEW HIGH REP FOR BiH DISCUSSED IN UNSC: The UN Security Council gathered for a briefing today on Bosnia and Herzegovina at the request of Russia to discuss the appointment of Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Russia’s representative Vasily Nebenzya said Russia opposed the appointment claiming Schmidt was not elected legally. He noted, “We are always ready to discuss finding a solution, but this is an attempt to elect a candidate for High Representative who does not have the support of the Security Council and one side in BiH.”
  • Meanwhile, Bosnia’s FM Bisera Turković addressed the UNSC. She said Sarajevo is looking forward to the day the Office of the High Representative will be closed, but “Unfortunately, that day has not arrived yet.”
  • She added that the High Representative’s role is necessary for now. “The political situation in the country, particularly over the past six months, illustrates the necessity and significance for the OHR to continue its work,” said Turković.
  • Turković concluded, “It is of the utmost importance that the OHR and the High Representative continue their work, with the people and institutions of BiH, as well as with the international community, to ensure BiH’s continued progress toward becoming a prosperous and effective democracy, firmly on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”

PALMER TO VISIT BiH: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Special Representative to the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer is set for an official visit to Sarajevo on Saturday. He is will meet with Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, according to the Sarajevo Times.

MINI-SCHENGEN MOVING FORWARD: Albani’s PM Edi Rama, N. Macedonia’s PM Zoran Zaev, and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić met virtually yesterday to discuss the Mini-Schengen initiative. They are moving forward with agreements that would lead to freedom of movement of people and goods between the countries at a meeting on July 29 in Skopje. They added they will express support for a common regional market at the Berlin Process Summit on July 5.

IZETBEGOVIĆ SLAMS COUNTRIES FOR ONE NATION: House of Peoples Speaker and leader of the Party of Democratic Party Action (SDA) yesterday commented on stability in Bosnia in an interview with N1.

  • He said, When we compare the situation with that of 30, 25 years ago, we are still moving in the right direction. That all members of one nation should live in one country – that theory belongs to the 19th century. It’s a primitive idea, an unfounded idea. Different cultures need to live together. All big, successful cities are multiethnic. They are colourful. It’s stupid ideas that we should part because we don’t belong to one religion, one nation.”

DODIK RECEIVES HIGHEST RECOGNITION FROM SERBIA: Chairman and Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik on Tuesday received the Order of the Republic of Serbia, the country’s highest recognition, from President Aleksandar Vučić for strengthening the relations.

  • Dodik said, “I will wear the recognition with pride, as a member of the same people from Republika Srpska. Together with Vucic, we built Serbia, but also the Republika Srpska. I see this as a recognition to all my associates, the people of Republika Srpska, as a recognition for my love for Serbia, the Serbian people and Republika Srpska.”

COLORADO + SLOVENIA: “The Colorado Air National Guard reinforced its longstanding relationship with Slovenian counterparts during Adriatic Strike 2021, enhancing interoperability and trust.

“Each year, Colorado Guardsmen participate in Adriatic Strike, a two-week, multinational Joint Terminal Attack Controllers exercise led by Slovenia. U.S. Air Force International Health Specialists at U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa helped coordinate a medical component of the exercise. This year, they arranged for 40 Guard members to participate in the exercise and exchange best practices with Slovenian medics in May.” (Air National Guard)

ALBANIA BUYING TURKISH DRONES: Turkish media reports that Albania spent €8 million on Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 pilotless drones in a deal that was announced by PM Edi Rama in June.

WELCOME HOME!: The Armed Forces of N. Macedonia returned home after 19 years of participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Troops participated in NATO’s ISAF mission since 2002. Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska said that the troops that participated in the mission showed Skopje’s commitment to NATO and played a huge role in its accession to the collective security organization.

SLOVENIAN INTERIOR MIN. ON REGION: Slovenia’s Interior Minister Aleš Hojs at a Berlin Process ministerial videoconference said the “Western Balkans are a political and strategic priority” for Slovenia’s EU Presidency. He added, “I would like to highlight how important it is to continue close cooperation and provide support to the countries of the Western Balkans in their integration in Euro-Atlantic integrations in terms of transposal of EU standards.”

SPEAKING OF ITS PRESIDENCY PRIORITIES… FM Anže Logar noted that Ljubljana aims to establish an EU Health Union and center attention on crisis management in cybersecurity during its presidency.

WAR CRIMES VERDICT FOR SECRET POLICE: The Hague tribunal will hand down a verdict today in one of the longest running war crimes cases for two former Serbian secret police chiefs, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, for their role in the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Read an interview with Edin Hadžović, a survivor of a massacre in Doboj, HERE.

CROATIA’S GREEN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT: “Croatia can be a green energy transition leader, Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry state secretary Ivo Milatić said on Tuesday at a conference on  Croatia’s energy future organised by Lider weekly.

“He said Croatia was preparing legislation and all the prerequisites for “as good and successful an energy transition as possible.”

“Milatić said Croatia had a 2030 energy strategy with an outlook on 2050, a national climate energy plan and amended laws on energy efficiency and biofuels, and that it was in the process of amending laws on renewables and the electricity market.” (Total Croatia News)

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: Why Kosovo and Republika Srpska cannot be compared in any way in Sarajevo Times

ANALYSISSerbia Shows Off Its Weaponry To A Weary Balkan Public (And A Wary Europe) by Mila Djurdjević and Predrad Urošević in RFE/RL