WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Kosovo’s Parliament officially dissolved on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Initiative (Nimsa) and the Alliance for a New Kosovo (AKR) signed an agreement to create a coalition. Nimsa’s leader, FatmirLimaj, will run for position of prime minister. AKR’s leader, BehgjetPacolli, is the outgoing Kosovo Foreign Minister.
  • Special Prosecutor in N. Macedonia Katica Janeva was arrested over her role in the Racket case. 
  • (Serbian) Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar imposed a ban against anyone with a ‘history of homosexual relations during the last five years’ from donating ‘reproductive cells’ in Serbia for artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, or even for laboratory tests.” (RFE/RL)
  • Meanwhile, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic‘s partner is said to have used artificial insemination to become pregnant. Brnabic became the first prime minister with a same-sex partner to give birth while in office.
  • “A Bosnian political party on Friday urged LGBT activists to scrap plans for Sarajevo’s first ever pride parade next month, warning it could “escalate” political tensions and trigger “negative consequences”.
  • “The centre-right “Narod i Pravda” party, which is part of the ruling coalition in the Sarajevo canton, said it feared the parade would “deteriorate the security situation” in the capital.” (AFP/Yahoo News)
  • RFE/RL: “Serbian Anti-Government Protesters Stand By Veterans“: “Critics of Serbia’s government marched in the streets of Belgrade on August 24. The rallies started in December 2018 in protest against an assault on opposition leader Borko Stefanovic but have gradually adopted a number of other demands, including calls for President Aleksandar Vucic’s resignation. The August 24 march focused on the plight of Yugoslav Army veterans who have lived in the Bristol Hotel for 25 years. The last veteran families are now resisting authorities’ attempts to evict them from the building so it can be refurbished for new owners”
  • Johns Hopkins SAIS Professor Edward Joseph spoke to Voice of America focusing primarily on the Vucic-Pompeo meeting at the UN last week.
  • Energy: “Prime Minister Marjan Šarec visited Slovenia’s sole nuclear power plant in Krško on Thursday, calling for “investing all our efforts to build a second reactor” to replace the current one beyond 2043.” (Slovenia Times)
  • Crime: A cafe was attacked near Knin, Croatia during the Red Star Belgrade soccer match last week and left people with injuries. No one has been arrested. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic condemned the attack but refused to speak more about it until she reads a detailed police report. Presidential candidate Zoran Milanovic said the attack contained elements of terrorism since it was ethnically motivated and based on intimidation.
  • In a separate incident near Knin, two people were arrested for disturbing the peace and order for using insulting language in a cafe towards the owner and patrons.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has caused a reaction from Croatia after saying “it was understandable” for local Serbs to have began an armed rebellion against Croatia during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. Vucic’s told media this in response to the two incidents near Knin.
  • Meanwhile, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic accused an N1 journalist of being an activist  for asking whether the prime minister thought his previous statement on the Knin incident was too soft.
  • A bus with Albanian license plates travelling from Pristina, Kosovo to Germany was attacked in Krusevac, Serbia.
  • Migrants: “A migrant died in Croatia after a van carrying 12 of them plunged into a river and police in North Macedonia discovered 30 migrants in an abandoned truck, developments that come as the Balkans refugee route that peaked a few years ago again sees an increased number of illegal border crossings.” (AP News)
  • Slovenia continues to add to its fence to keep migrants out. There are 173 km of fence, 116 km of barbed wire, and 63 km of panel fence.
  • Meanwhile, Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic slammed Croatiafor its methods in dealing with migrants. Mektic noted “It is a well-known fact that Croatian police torture those migrants and enter the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Sport: The Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition took place in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday. Romanian Constatin Pupovici and Australian Rhiannan Iffland won the men’s and women’s tournament, respectively. 
  • Sport: “Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović, the WBC International Heavyweight Champion, defended his title and maintained his unblemished record after knocking out Mexican boxer Mario Heredia on Saturday.” (Voice of Croatia)
  • Sport: A Lebron James fan from Serbia used his head to show his appreciation for the player.