WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS by the numbers:

  • BiH: 10,498 confirmed cases,  4,930 recovered, 294 deaths.
  • CROATIA: 4,881 confirmed cases, 3,936 recovered, 139 deaths.
  • KOSOVO: 7,413 confirmed cases, 4,027 recovered, 185 deaths.
  • N. MACEDONIA: 10,213 confirmed cases, 466 deaths.
  • MONTENEGRO: 2,799 confirmed cases, 43 deaths.
  • SERBIA: 24,141 confirmed cases, 19,027 recovered, 543 deaths.
  • SLOVENIA: 2,087 confirmed cases, 116 deaths.

KOSOVO + EU: Kosovo and Europol signed a working agreement for increased cooperation. Head of the EU Office in Pristina Nataliya Apostolva wrote on Twitter, “I congratulate both Kosovo & Europol on this remarkable achievement! The arrangement will multiple contacts at all levels, making the EU and Kosovo safer.”

VUCIC MEETS AMBS.: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with the Ambassador of China to Serbia Chen Bo and Ambassador of Israel to Serbia Alona Fisher-Kamm. President Vucic and Ambassador Bo spoke about the coronavirus response and China’s attempts to find a vaccine to the virus, and the regional situation including the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue. Meanwhile, Vucic met with Ambassador Fisher-Kamm on her farewell visit. They discussed increasing Serbia-Israel relations and increasing economic cooperation. Additionally, Vucic thanked Ambassador Fisher-Kamm for Israel’s nonrecognition of Kosovo.

THACI + HYSENI: Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci met with State Coordinator on Dialogue Skender Hyseni. Thaci noted, “(I) strongly believe in your comprehensive and inclusive approach on uniting all political parties in the country” and emphasized the need for unity in Kosovo on decisions for the dialogue.

KOSOVO’S FM CALLS ON APPLE TO CHANGE MAP: Kosovo FM Meliza Haradinaj wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook after urging the company to recognize Kosovo on Apple Maps. She wrote that by including Kosovo as a part of Serbia, Apple Maps is “in direct contradiction of the political and legal realities. It is felt as a hurt by our citizens who suffered immense loss in our independence struggle. It is also perceived as an insult to our State.” She cited the Kosovo’s declaration of independence, the subsequent ICJ ruling that said the declaration of independence was legal, membership in international organizations, and recognition by two-thirds of nations as reasons for Apple to change its policy.

FM DACIC WAITING ON INT’L COMMUNITY: Serbia’s FM Ivica Dacic reiterated President Vucic’s call for Kosovo to halt applications for international organizations. He noted, “For now, Serbia will wait for the international community reaction to Pristina’s statement it will resume efforts to join the world institutions.” But Dacic noted that Serbia would continue its derecognition campaign that was suspended to get the two sides back to dialogue.

CROATS IN MNE FORM NEW PARTY: After being dismissed as president from the Croatian Civic Initiative (Montenegro’s only Croat party) a year and a half ago Marija Vucinovic founded the Croatian Reform Party of Montenegro. Rade Maric, director of the Tivat Airport, will join Vucinovic in leadership.

UK IN MNE: The United Kingdom appointed Ms. Karen Maddocks as the new Ambassador of the UK to Montenegro. She will succeed the current ambassador, Allison Kemp, in August.

RS AND SRB TO ADOPT LAW ON CYRILLIC: The Education Minister of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska (RS), announced that the Ministry of Education in Serbia and RS will be working on a law to protect the Cyrillic alphabet.

SPEAKING OF RS…: The PM of the entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Radovan Viskovic, was cured from Covid-19.

RUSSIA + SLOVENIA: “Russian Ambassador to Slovenia Timur Eyvazov hopes all obstacles to the transfer of Mercator to Fortenova Group, following a decision by the Slovenian market competition regulator, will be eliminated by year’s end, saying that would be also in Russian interest. We are closely following events in Mercator and Agrokor, he told the Maribor daily Vecer, saying talks were continuing so that a compromise could be found. Russia expects a mutual solution by the end of this year, he added. Eyvazov said he had discussed the matter with Slovenia’s economy and foreign ministry officials.” (N1)

YUGOSLOVENSKA ULICA: Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Goran Vesic announced that Serbia’s capital is set to change the names of streets after places in the former Yugoslav republics. He said the measures were based on reciprocity and the new street names would be named after places where “Belgrade is respected.” He noted, “For example Vienna has Belgrade Square, but we do not have a Vienna Street, Brussels has a Belgrade Street, but we do not have a Brussels Street. It is time to show respect to those who respect our city and our country, and not to be masochists and to have streets named after areas where everything reminiscent of Serbianness has been erased.”

SLOVENIA COVID STATS: “Slovenian authorities issued nearly 14,000 quarantine orders during the first wave of coronavirus infections from 12 March to 31 May. The government helped repatriate some 2,300 citizens, while fines imposed for beach of lockdown and quarantine rules exceeded EUR 100,000, a government report shows. The report, adopted by the government on Thursday for the period of the Sars-CoV-2 epidemic, which formally ended on 31 May, shows that health inspectors processed more than 1,500 reported cases of suspected breach of the government-imposed lockdown rules and the health minister-issued orders.” (Slovenia Times)

BUT….: Don’t expect fines to be enforced for breaking mask rules in Slovenia. The Human Rights Ombudsman announced failure to wear a mask outside cannot result in a fine.

BELGRADE-NIS IN AN HOUR 20: Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic announced a new high-speed railway between the capital, Belgrade, and Nis in southeastern Serbia.

KOPER EXPECTS TOURISTS: Koper, Slovenia, expects its first cruise ship to arrive in late August.

COOPER TIRES TO EXPAND: Cooper Tire Serbia announced it is set to expand its operations at its plant in Krusevac. It is set to invest $55 million to upgrade facilities by 882,000 square feet. The expansion will add 118 jobs to the plant. The Serbian government provided $8 million in incentives for the upgrade.

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