WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, met on Monday Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic and Prime Minister Dusko Markovic
  • Palmer noted, “Montenegro is a leader and the most successful multi ethnic-country in the region and it is no coincidence that I visit it first after taking over this position.” He also hoped the opposition would return to parliament and participate in the next elections. 
  • Djukanovic emphasized that EU integration is the key to the future of the region. He spoke with Palmer about greater US investment in the Adriatic state. 
  • Markovic welcomed Palmer into his new role, “We are particularly pleased that you are in this position as an excellent expert in the Balkans.” He continued, “In the process of European integration, special emphasis is placed on the results in the area of ​​the rule of law and strengthening the freedom of the media.”
  • The European Union is looking to work closely with Palmer on the Western Balkans. The EU’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said, “The EU works very closely with the US on the Western Balkans. The US has made a valuable contribution to our work in the WB and in particular to the success of the Dialogue. The US and the EU share a strong interest in a stable and prosperous Western Balkans, so we look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the US and with Matt Palmer, now as US Special Envoy.”
  • “Air advisors assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, along with various subject-matter experts and Total Force Airmen from Ohio and Maryland Air National Guard units, have arrived at Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to conduct interoperability training with their counterparts in the BiH armed forces. Airmen have deployed aboard an Ohio Air National Guard C-130H Hercules aircraft operating out of Ramstein to conduct loadmaster, aerial port and tactical air control training.” (DVIDS)
  • Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic asked for Luxembourg’s support in EU expansion while on an official visit to the landlocked EU member. Brnabic and her partner, Milica Djurdjic, were given a tour of the capitol city by counterpart Xavier Bettel and his husband Gauthier Destenay
  • Belgrade Pride Week started on Monday and will culminate in its Pride Parade on September 15, a week after Sarajevo’s first Pride Parade. 
  • North Macedonia’s Prime Minister and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev and VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski will meet in the Parliament on Tuesday, in a bid to find common ground for the Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the fate of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.” (Nezvavisen)
  • Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman and German counterpart Heiko Maas discussed the Chairmanship of the European Council and are preparing for it jointly. Croatia holds the chairmanship during the first half of 2020 while Germany holds it the second half.
  • Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli was in Doha, Qatar to inaugurate the new Kosovo Embassy. 
  • Foreign Minister of N. Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov was in Paris on Monday with State Secretary of European Affairs of France Amélie de Montchalin. Dimitrov noted that he thought there was a good chance for N. Macedonia to receive a date for EU accession talks in October.
  • Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic will be on an official visit to Turkey today to meet Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
  • AlternAtivA political party leader Afrim Gashi of N. Macedonia says: “A long-term peace in the Balkans is impossible without Turkey. Turkey’s involvement would not only facilitate an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, but it would also benefit Turkey to have good relations with Albanians. Also, as a NATO member and a strong U.S. partner in NATO, Turkey can be the guarantor of peace.”
  • The energy ministers of Greece, Albania, and N. Macedonia, and Bulgarian Deputy Energy Minister, agreed that there needs to be more energy diversification at an energy forum in Thessaloniki. N. Macedonia is 100% dependent on Russian gas. 

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Book Review: “Sontag in Sarajevo” by Benjamin Moser in The New York Review of Books: “David Rieff went to Bosnia in September 1992, at the end of the first summer of siege. Like so many of the journalists who made the journey to Sarajevo, he did so because he believed, however implicitly, in the existence of a civilized world and in the duty to inform it. ‘If the news about Bosnia could just be brought home to people,’ he thought, ‘the slaughter would not be allowed to continue. In retrospect, I should have known better than to believe in the power of unarmed truths.’”
  • Sport: UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying Results from Monday: Azerbaijan draws Croatia 1-1. N. Macedonia beats Latvia 2-0. Slovenia beats Israel 3-2. Coming up today: England vs. Kosovo. Montenegro vs. Czechia. Luxembourg vs. Serbia. Albania vs. Iceland.