WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeoto meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at the United Nations today on the margins of the UN Security Council debate on the “challenges to peace and security in the Middle East and the Administration’s support for multilateral solutions .
  • PoliticoEU: “Merkel: ‘Truly united Europe’ includes Western Balkans“: “Europe will only be truly united when all the countries of the Western Balkans join the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday…’If you look at things geostrategically and also look at the map then there will only be a truly united Europe with the states of the Western Balkans,’ Merkel told reporters in the Hungarian town of Sopron.”
  • The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia has recalled diplomat Elisabeta Madjarevic, who is stationed in Berlin, over racist, xenophobic, and homophobic social media posts. Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Grlic Radman confirmed Madjarevic’s suspension and disciplinary proceedings could be filed as early as Wednesday.
  • Special Public Prosecutor (of N. Macedoina) Katica Janeva has denied the request submitted by the defense lawyer in the Titanic 3 case to remove the SPO’s prosecutors Fatime Fetai and Gavril Bubevski from the case.” (Nezavisen)
  • The first formal pre-election coalition in Kosovo was formed on Monday between outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and Mayor of Pristina Shpend Ahmeti’s Social-Democratic Party (PSD)
  • Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb Presidency Member Milorad Dodik believes there is foreign influence in a potential deal as Chairman of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic met with US Ambassador Eric George Nelson and UK Ambassador Matthew Field
  • According to Russian state-owned TASS, Serbia will receive four Russian-made Mi-35 and three Mi-17 military transport helicopters in the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin confirmed Serbia’s participation in the 2020 Victory Day Parade in Moscow, noting “To begin with, it is a great honor. It is a great honor for us to be invited by the Russian leadership to take part in the parade. [Russian Defense] Minister [Sergei] Shoigu and President [Vladimir] Putin are Serbia’s true friends. They have shown how much Serbia’s contribution to the victory over Nazism is appreciated.”
  • President of Czechia Milos Zeman and an economic delegation will be in Serbia between September 10-12. The trip will be economic in nature, but he also hopes to invite several Western Balkan leaders to a summit with the Visegrad leaders.
  • Slovenian Government Approval Ratings: “Commissioned by public broadcaster TV Slovenija and the newspaper Dnevnik on a monthly basis, the survey shows that 59.2% of the 700 people who were surveyed believe the government is doing a good job. The figure is 1.3 percentage points lower than in July.
  • “On the other hand, 35.2% believe the opposite, with the share up three percentage points compared to previous month. Nonetheless, the LMŠ remains at the top of the party rankings with a support of 22.2% of respondents. The opposition Democrats (SDS) are in second place with 15.5%.” (Slovenia Times)
  • Croatia’s Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli says that a new tourism strategy to cope with the large influx of tourists will be presented in the first half of 2020 when Croatia becomes the President of the European Union. He also noted that Croatia reached its maximum of 20 million tourists this year and that it should focus on the preseason and postseason.
  • Trade: “Bosnia has restricted imports of poultry products from Turkey, Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Minister Mirko Sarovic said on Monday…’This decision refers to exporters in Turkey who are not on the EU list, which means they don’t have a permit to export into the European Union, and it has the goal of protecting the status of Bosnia and Herzegovina which can since recently export its poultry products into the EU,’ he said” (N1)
  • Migrants: Police Chief of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Border Police Zoran Galic says that 7,650 illegal migrants by August 12 were stopped from entering BiH by police. Meanwhile, the European Commission will give BiH another $11 million (10 million Euros) to assist the country with migrants. Since 2018, it has given BiH $37.6 million (34 million Euros) including the recent assistance.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Podcast: Sarajevo Calling Episode 10: “Bosnia, Out & Proud!“: “Is the upcoming Bosnian Pride a socio-political game changer in the region’s central polity? Can the struggle for LGBT rights help deliver greater civil rights for all Bosnians and Herzgovinians? And how do we square the bigoted comments of North Macedonia’s PM with his government’s recent reform push? It’s all LGBT topics on Sarajevo Calling’s jubilee 10th episode.”
  • Human Interest: “Bosnia native perfects Mercyhurst gardens” by Sarah Grabski in GoEerie: “If you’ve been on the grounds of Mercyhurst University in the past decade, chances are that you’ve encountered Alija Fulurija. Fulurija, 57, works long days perfecting the campus gardens and grounds. Born in Bosnia, he immigrated to New York City when he was 24 and landed in Erie. ‘It’s work that I love,’ Fulurija said. ‘It was lucky I ended up here. I didn’t know anything about it at first. I learned quick.’ He came to the United States with his wife and children after spending six months in a concentration camp in 1992 during the Bosnian War.”