WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS by the numbers:

  • BiH: 7,908 confirmed cases,  3,612 recovered, 245 deaths.
  • CROATIA: 4,370 confirmed cases, 3,098 recovered, 122 deaths.
  • KOSOVO: 5,877 confirmed cases, 3,069 recovered, 139 deaths.
  • N. MACEDONIA: 9,249 confirmed cases, 432 deaths.
  • MONTENEGRO: 2,188 confirmed cases, 32 deaths.
  • SERBIA: 21,253 confirmed cases, 16,009 recovered, 482 deaths.
  • SLOVENIA: 1,953 confirmed cases, 113 deaths.

KOSOVO-SERBIA DIALOGUE: Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti named Skender Hyseni as the Kosovo’s government coordinator for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. Hoti claims that the drafting of the final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia will begin this week. He noted, “There is no technical dialogue but only a political dialogue for mutual recognition and normalisation of relations.” Meanwhile in Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with the QUINT ambassadors and discussed the dialogue and Serbia’s EU path.

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT: Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic announced there will be 18 members of his cabinet and 4 deputy PMs. But Croatian President Zoran Milanovic will not attend the formation of the new Croatian new parliament on Wednesday. Plenkovic and Milanovic took shots at each other over the reasoning behind Milanovic’s lack of presence.

PRIJEDOR MASSACRE: “A collective funeral service was held Monday at the Kamicani Memorial Center in Kozarac near the northern city Prijedor, for six Bosniak victims who will finally find peace 28 years after their death. The service was led by Bosnia’s Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic, after which families buried their loved ones. Kavazovic expressed his belief that the day will come when the criminals who committed this and other crimes against Bosniaks will look their victims in the eye and be held accountable for their crimes.” (N1)

OECD + SLOVENIA: “Slovenia should introduce pension and labour reforms, reduce barriers to competition and foreign investment and press on with privatisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Monday. Presenting an OECD survey on Slovenia to a conference in which he participated virtually, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria also said the small Alpine country should increase productivity growth. Slovenia has dealt well with the coronavirus pandemic but economic reforms will be needed once COVID-19 is overcome, he said.” (Reuters)

SERBIAN AIRFIELDS?: A delegation from the Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure met with representatives of the municipality of Gornji Milanovac about potentially building an small airfield. Sounds great, right? Well, the proposed location is airfield where 500 U.S. Airmen were saved during WWII by Draza Mihailovic.

BOSNIAN DIASPORA: Bosnia-born Austrian MP Ahmed Husagic spoke about the relationship between Bosnia and Herzegovina and its diaspora. He said, “Only the diaspora can save Bosnia and Herzegovina, not only regarding its economy but also politically. The Bosnian diaspora sends around three billion Bosnian Marks through banks to Bosnia yearly and we can only speculate how much money goes hand to hand or through certain investments, and especially how much those people spend when they come to Bosnia.” He also supported the idea of creating a Diaspora fund.

DUA LIPA CONTROVERSY: London-born pop star Dua Lipa, whose family is Albanian, caused an uproar on the internet after she shared a photo of the Greater Albania flag with the definition of autochthonous. Albanians backed her post by arguing it is history that Albanians have lived in the areas on the map which includes current day Montenegro, Serbia, N. Macedonia, and Greece. Non-Albanians argue that a pop star of her stature should not be sharing nationalistic images to her world fanbase and some even said they would not continue to support her.

IN OTHER NEWS
OP-ED: “Why ‘Kosovo i Metohija’ offends” by Agon Maliqi in KosSevANALYSIS: “Migrants return to ‘Balkan route’ to chase European dream” by Vassilis Kyriakoulis in AFP

CULTURE: “Sarajevo’s Iconic Hotel: It Survived A Siege, Can It Survive A Pandemic?” by Una Cilic and Dzenana Karabegovic in RFE/RL

SPORT: “Luka Doncic and the eternal comparison with Dirk Nowitzki” in Explica

SPORT: “Gonzaga center Filip Petrusev to sign pro deal in Serbia” in ESPN