WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS by the numbers:

  • BiH: 10,776 confirmed cases,  5,220 recovered, 297 deaths.
  • CROATIA: 4,922 confirmed cases, 4,034 recovered, 140 deaths.
  • KOSOVO: 7,652 confirmed cases, 4,129 recovered, 192 deaths.
  • N. MACEDONIA: 10,315 confirmed cases, 471 deaths.
  • MONTENEGRO: 2,839 confirmed cases, 45 deaths.
  • SERBIA: 24,520 confirmed cases, 19,438 recovered, 551 deaths.
  • SLOVENIA: 2,101 confirmed cases, 117 deaths.

KOSOVO-SERBIA: Radio Free Europe’s reports that the next meeting at the expert level between Serbia’s Marko Djuric and Kosovo’s Skender Hyseni will take place on Thursday.

MEANWHILE: Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti announced his country will continue applying to international organizations despite Belgrade’s warning that it would restart its derecognition campaign.

SERBIAN DEMOCRACY: “The Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering of Serbian Ministry of Finance has drawn up a list of media employees and civil society organisations, including media associations, whose bank records it wants to thoroughly check, Newsmax Adria reported on Monday. According to the report, the Administration is demanding access to the bank records over the past year to determine whether the CSOs and individuals are connected to money laundering or operations to finance terrorism.” (European Western Balkans)

MEP RESPONDS: Member of European Parliament and Co-chair of the European Parliament Delegation to Serbia Tanja Fajon tweeted, “Most of the CSOs, media and individuals investigated for money laundering by the Serbian Government have been among the primary advocates for pro-EU reforms and supporters of #EU values in #Serbia. Any unjustified investigation into their work should be regarded as pressure.”

CROATIA + SLOVENIA: Croatian FM Gordan Grlic Radman met with Slovenian counterpart Anze Lugar in Ljubljana on Tuesday to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and cooperation. They agreed the two countries should continue close cooperation with Covid-19 response. They also discussed border controls during the pandemic and the Three Seas Initiative.

GERMAN AMBASSADORS ARRIVE IN SLOVENIA: Slovenian President Borut Pahor received the first duo Ambassadors from Germany, Natalie Kauther and Adrian Pollman. The married pair are the first of its type as a rotating ambassadorship.

N. MACEDONIA + NATO: NATO’s newest member, N. Macedonia, will send 45 soldiers to the NATO mission in Kosovo.

ZAGREB EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE: Croatian parliamentarians entered debate over the reconstruction of Zagreb after a devastating earthquake on March 22

EUROPEAN PROSECUTOR FOR SLOVENIA: “Prosecutor Jaka Brezigar was appointed the Slovenian member of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office by the Council of the EU on Monday, along with prosecutors of 21 other participating member countries. Brezigar, 41, was one of the three candidates nominated for the position by the Slovenian government last year, along with prosecutors Tanja Frank Eler and Marjana Grašič.” (Slovenia Times)

RUSSIAN TOURISM IN MNE: The Montenegrin Tourism Industry reportedly asked the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases to put Russia on the yellow list of countries in hopes of salvaging its tourism season. Russian citizens comprised 29.1% of tourists in Montenegro in 2019.

AIRSTRIP PLANNED FOR HALYARD MISSION FIELD: John Capello of the Halyard Mission Foundation spoke with 5×5 on the history of the Halyard Mission and its efforts to commemorate the mission that saw 500 U.S. airmen saved in western Serbia. To learn more, check out this video.

AMERICANS FLOCK TO CROATIA: ABC’s Good Morning America featured Americans who have travelled to the only European Union country that kept its doors open, Croatia. ABC’s Maggie Rulli has the full story.

AUSTRIAN HEALTH AGENCY ON COVID CASES: The Austrian Health and Food Safety Agency (AGES) claims that the number of Covid cases in the Balkans is actually ten times higher than reported.

IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “An Expanded Commitment to Economic Freedom Will Strengthen US-Croatia Partnership” by Anthony Kim in Daily SignalANALYSIS: “Drug Boss Saric Faces Money Laundering Verdict in Serbia” by Milica Stojanovic in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “New Cyber Attacks on North Macedonia Spur Calls for Better Defences” by Bojan Stojkovski in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “Slovenian Loophole Allows Residents to Grow Their Own Medicinal Cannabis” by Sarah Friedman in CBD Testers

SPORT: “Talking war and Wednesday with departing Atdhe Nuhiu” by Dominic Stevenson in Football 365

SPORT: “Alan Clark leaves Leopards in the lurch, heads for Kosovo” by Mark Strydom in Business Live

ENTERTAINMENT: “Artist Petrit Halilaj Has Pulled Out of the Belgrade Biennial After Its Organizers Refused to Recognize His Kosovar Nationality” by Naomi Rea in Artnet News

ENTERTAINMENT: “Film by Jasmila Zbanic to compete for 77th Venice Film Festival’s main award” in N1

TRAVEL
: “Calamari, Climbs, and Cliffs: A Croatian Peregrination” by Becca Hensley in My New Orleans

TRAVEL: “Why the Vipava Valley should be top of your Slovenian travel bucket-list” by Helen Coffey in The Independent