WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

JANŠA, VON DER LEYEN AT THE EP: “Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša didn’t lash out at European institutions. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen didn’t explicitly call out Janša over ongoing rule-of-law concerns. Several leading MEPs didn’t directly confront Janša.

“The apparent détente came during an appearance before the European Parliament to discuss Slovenian’s Council of the EU presidency, which began last Thursday with a controversial bang — Janša lashed out at EU bodies for holding ‘double standards’ and one of his ministers grumbled about EU ‘swine.’ The remarks left EU officials and MEPs fretting over Slovenia’s power to steer the EU during its six-month term.” (Politico)

  • Read Janša’s full remarks HERE.

KOSOVO’S DEPUTY PM ARRIVES FOR TALKS WITH SERBIA: First Deputy PM of Kosovo Besnik Bislimi met with EU Special Representative to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák on Tuesday ahead of today’s meeting on the chief negotiators’ level. Lajčák noed in a tweet, “Everything in the talks on normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is highly political, nothing is technical.”

VUČIĆ ADDRESSES CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić praised the Communist Party of China (CCP) in a video message on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the CCP.

  • “China moved from a developing country receiving international aid to a superpower,” said Vučić.
  • “There was no other party or political organization in the world which could boast of the results achieved by the CCP, including more than 700 million Chinese citizens who have been saved from poverty,” added the Serbian president.
  • He concluded ,”Rationally and wisely adapting the teachings and practices of Marxism to Chinese conditions and laying the foundations of the practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Mao Zedong, Jiang Ce Min, Hu Jin Tao and you, dear friend Xi Jinping, led the greatest project of social development and poverty eradication.”

VON DER LEYEN TO VISIT CROATIA: European Commission (EC) President Ursala von der Leyen will arrive in Croatia on Thursday after the EC approved Croatia’s national recovery and resilience plan.

EC SPOKESPERSON ON SERBIA’S SANCTIONS AGAINST BELARUS: European Commission (EC) Spokesman Peter Stano clarified which sanctions Serbia agreed to impose on Belarus. He noted that Serbia sanctioned Minsk over the detention of opposition activist Roman Protasevich after forcing a landing of a flight between two EU capitals. However, Stano said that Serbia did not support sanctions of the Council of the EU which added “78 persons and seven entities to the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures.”

OUTGOING HIGH REP TO BiH SHOCKED BY WAR CRIMINAL MURALS: Outgoing High Representative to BiH Valentin Inzko yesterday visited Foča where he saw a 25m long mural of convicted war criminal Ratko Mladić who was found guilty of 10 of 11 charges and sentenced to life imprisonment. Inzko intends to send a letter to mayors to remove provocative murals throughout the country.

  • He said he has “persistently trying to open a public debate on dealing with the war past, which should ultimately lead to reconciliation. Unfortunately, to no avail.”
  • He noted the situation is “embarrassing” and there could be a “‘tourist map’ of the towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina with murals of war criminals.” He said that Foča is “certainly among the ‘champions.’

BALKAN LEADERS TO ATTEND THE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE COMMEMORATION: Balkan leaders will attend the July 11 Srebrenica Genocide commemoration at the Srebrenica-Potočari Genocide Memorial. Bosniak and Croat Members of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić, will attend the ceremony. The duo attended one of the last meetings of the organizing committee ahead of the commemoration.

Montenegro’s Deputy PM Dritan Abazović will attend the commemoration on Sunday. But he will be meeting with members of the presidency on Friday. He will be accompanied by FM Djordje Radulović.

ALSO IN BiH… Croatian President Zoran Milanović will be on a visit to neighboring Bosnia from Jul 11 to 13. He will meet with  Bosnia’s Croat National Assembly and visit towns across the country. According to local media, he will not attend the Srebrenica Genocide commemoration, but is planning a video address.

HOTI ANNOUNCED TO COMMISSION: Kosovo PM yesterday appointed Andin Hoti as the head of the government’s Commission on Missing Persons. Hoti is the son of Ukshin Hoti whose body has never been found from the 1999 war. Ukshin was an activist and a philosophy professor at the University of Prishtina.

IVANOVIĆ TRIAL OPENS: “Over three years after the assassination of Kosovo Serb political party leader Oliver Ivanovic, the trial of four people accused of abetting the murder and two policemen accused of evidence-tampering opened in Pristina…

“The trial for the murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic opened on Tuesday at Pristina Basic Court with the prosecution saying it will prove that the defendants participated in removing obstacles to the killing, abused their official positions and collaborated with the killers, who have not yet been arrested.” (Balkan Insight)

BUILDING BRIDGES: “The governments of Bosnia and Montenegro signed a contract for the construction of a bridge over the Tara river that marks the border between the two countries, Bosnia’s minister of communications and transport, Vojin Mitrovic, said.

“Construction works are expected to start by the end of the year as funds have already been secured, Mitrovic said in a statement on Monday.

“The value of the investment is about 2.5 million euro ($3 million), with each country to covering half of the total cost, Bosnian news portal Indikator reported.” (SEE News)

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