WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
- A nearly 25 ft. wooden statue of US President Donald Trump pops up in a village in his wife’s native Slovenia.
- Sloevnian President Borut Pahor, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen will meet next Wednesday in Sibenik, Croatia to discuss greater cooperation and the future of the European Union, including the Western Balkans.
- Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic thinks that the EU should expand and reform at the same time. She noted “My government has no plan B even if the EU has to reform itself first and we will continue the reforms.”
- Brnabic arrived in Madrid to speak with Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell about the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. Borrell is expected to succeed Federica Mogherini as the chief negotiator of the dialogue.
- Former Slovak MEP Eduard Kukan, who chaired the Western Balkans Working Group during his time, thinks N. Macedonia could receive a date to start accession talks, but is less optimistic for Albania.
- Foreign embassies in Bosnia and Herzegovina urge the Members of Presidency to come together to form a government a day after a scheduled meeting of the tripartite presidency was cancelled.
- Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic met with German MP Katja Leikert, who holds a seat on the German Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, to discuss bilateral relations, improving economic cooperation between the two nation, and Montenegro’s EU accession.. Markovic hopes for stronger German investment in the Adriatic country.
- After garnering more than 600,000 signatures, a referendum in Croatia on pension system reforms will have to take place, according to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. It will be discussed in a cabinet session today.
- Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev and Health Minister Venko Filipce met with American cannabis producer Michael Straumietis who vowed to make make the country a European cannabis superpower.”
- Meanwhile, President Stevo Pendarovski called for the Racket case to be handled quickly and without political pressure.
- Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli’s advisor Jetlir Zyberaj has called for the arrest of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivicia Dacic’s advisor Vladimir Cizelj, accusing him of being linked to international organized crime.
- Victims of the Srebrenica genocide are seeking compensation from the Dutch government for their responsibility in allowing it to occur.
- “The KFOR mission on Wednesday announced exercises and troop movements across Kosovo over the next few days and added that there are no signs of possible threats.” (N1)
- Crime: Croatia arrested eight people for hate crimes after attacking a bar where Serbs were watching a soccer game last week. Serbia arrests the CEO of company formally owned by an opposition MP. A Kosovar citizen waiting to be extradited to the US on accusations of murder committed suicide in his jail cell in Kosovo.
BEYOND THE POLITICS
- Sport: The tank that won’t go away: Red Star Belgrade soccer players drove the controversial tank through the streets of the Serbian capital after qualifying for the Champions League group stage.
- Arts: “Dayton Literary Peace Prize announces finalists in fiction and nonfiction“: “Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is the only international literary peace prize awarded in the United States. The prize celebrates the role of literature in promoting peace, social justice and global understanding.”
- Winners of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize will be awarded at a gala in November.