WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Happy Army Day!:  Army Day was celebrated yesterday across N. Macedonia. 
  • The US has quit the Board of the Kosovo Property Comparison and Verification Agency (KPCVA) because of nepotism. Ambassador Phillip Kosnett on Friday wrote on Twitter: “The U.S. has resigned from the KPVCA Board, as the UK did earlier. We won’t continue when its leadership serves personal and political interests rather than the people. Selecting unqualified cronies for government positions hurts Kosovo’s image and betrays the public trust.”
  • US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer said on Thursday that Bosnian Serb Presidency Member Milorad Dodik’s “hardline rhetoric” is not a good approach to be used while negotiating the formation of the government in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and that it is up to the politicians in BiH to determine the scope of cooperation with NATO, though he noted reforms for NATO would compliment reforms for the EU. 
  • Also on Thursday, Dodik met with Russian Ambassador to BiH Petr Ivantsov and discussed the formation of government and the relationship with NATO. 
  • Meanwhile, former White House and Department of Defense Official Michael Carpenter thinks ” it will be very hard for Bosnia to make progress towards the NATO membership as long as any of the Presidency members has something against that.” He added that Bosnia is a dysfunctional state as a “result of political structures which were established in Dayton and after that.” See his interview with N1 BiH here.
  • Bosnian Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic will be in Belgrade on August 29 with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to mark the beginning of the construction of the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway.
  • President of N. Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski “We have decades — not years — but decades of institutions malfunctioning, including the political institutions,” in an interview with VoA Macedonian Language Service. He added, “How we react on the scandal — not how individuals will react, but we as a country — will merit the EU members’ determination this fall on the eligibility of North Macedonia to join the bloc.”
  • Meanwhile, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic claims that a 15th state has revoked its recognition of Kosovo next week. The state will be named later this week.
  • Furthermore, Dacic asked Japanese Foreign Minister Toro Kono to maintain Japan’s stance on Kosovo’s membership in international organizations. Most notably, Japan abstained from voting for Kosovo’s membership in Interpol and UNESCO despite recognizing it as an independent state.
  • Kono also led the delegation across Sofia, Zagreb and Ljubljana.
  • “The Slovenian Foreign Ministry responded on Friday to the recent statements in the media by new Croatian Foreign Minister Goran Grlić Radman related to the border arbitration between the countries. The ministry told the STA that the minister had uttered ‘several non-truths,’ which Slovenia resolutely rejected.” (Slovenia Times)
  • Outgoing Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj has accused Serbian state security services of attacking the Kosovo Consulate in Denmark. 
  • Kosovo has erected a Kosovo flag on the site of a historic Serbian Orthodox Church. It has been at the center of controversy after a Catholic mass was held on the ruins on the St. Nicholas Church in Novo Brdo. 
  • The Montenegrin government looks to invest over $100 million on ski resorts.
  • Crime: Kosovo is investigating the 22 officers that were involved in the arrest and deportation of Turkish nationals suspected of being Gulenists.
  • Business: Slovenian appliance maker Gorenje announced plans to hire 100 new employees. Recently, the company was taken over by Chinese-based HiSense. A Turkish company is building a residential complex in Kotor, Montenegro.


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • A plane made an emergency landing on the highway connecting Rijeka and Zagreb. Local firefighters from Vrbovsko blamed “technical malfunctions” on the unique accident.
  • Speaking of planes, Japan’s largest airline – ANA – will launch charter flights to Dubrovnik this September.
  • Sport: The 1984 Sarajevo Olympic bobsleigh track may very well come back to life. A delegation from Catalonia is ready to invest in the construction necessary to restore the iconic track overlooking the city. 
  • Sport: Croatian-American Mixed Martial Artist Stipe Miocic reclaimed the UFC heavyweight title on Saturday night.