WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott attended a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Halyard in Pranjani where over 500 airmen were saved during World War II. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was in attendance
  • US Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett took to Twitter to show displeasure for Kosovar political parties for including indicted officials. 
  • Kosovo announced that a person can only vote with a Kosovo ID, which drew ire from minority communities. 
  • NATO Chiefs of Defense and Minister of Defense of North Macedonia gathered in Slovenia for the final military conference of 2019. They reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to defense and security for its members. 
  • The US Department of Defense posted that NATO continues to support the Afghanistan Resolute Support Mission. 
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to NATO expansion in the Balkans: “As for the attempts to pull all Balkan countries into NATO, Moscow’s negative attitude toward those destructive efforts is well known. In this regard we welcome the responsible and sovereign policy with which Serbia is maintaining its military neutrality.” 
  • The Visegrad Four (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) have given support to Western Balkan countries and their EU paths at a conference in Prague. Kosovo boycotted the conference after the Czech President said he would work towards his state withdrawing recognition of Kosovo. 
  • Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev will be on a visit on October 19-20 to Serbia on the invitation of President Aleksandar Vucic.
  • The Parliament of North Macedonia dismisses Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva. She was detained on corruption charges. 
  • Bosniak dominated party SDA gives a declaration to make Bosnia and Herzegovina one state without ethnic lines in NATO and the EU. 
  • Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan wants  the party to continue the legacy of Alija Izetbegovic.
  • Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik said that Bosnia should have never survived as a state while opposing the declaration. 
  • Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic pledges entry into the Schengen Zone. His confident pledge comes after President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced that the current Croatian MEP, Dubravka Suica, would hold the post of the vice-President responsible for democracy and demography.
     

  • Croatian Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Darko Horvat met with Russia’s Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev in Dubrovnik on Friday and the Russian minister underscored that interest exists to further expand cooperation between Russian and Croatian companies and invited Horvat to attend the Agro-Industrial fair that will be held October 9 – 12 in Moscow.” (N1)
  • Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan received on Thursday Yang Chuantang, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, for talks that focused on bilateral parliamentary cooperation.
  • The officials highlighted good bilateral relations that have grown stronger in recent years with the increased frequency of visits, the National Assembly said in a press release.
  • The EU will send an observer mission for the October 6th parliamentary elections in Kosovo. 
  • According to news from Azerbaijan, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry says: “Slovenia supports efforts to strengthen EU energy resources diversification. Keeping in mind our partnership in the framework of the Eastern Partnership energy panel, we particularly welcome increasing cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of energy supply. In this respect, we see the Southern Gas Corridor as a great opportunity to increase energy cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan.”
  • Belgrade held a successful Pride Week culminating in a parade that was marred by scuffles with police. Openly gay Prime Minister Ana Brnabic attended with her partner. 
  • Slovenia proposes joint border controls with Austria. 
  • “One of Bosnia’s two regional governments on Thursday designated the Una river a nature park, seeking to head off plans being considered by Croatia to build a landfill site for radioactive waste near the border between the two countries.
  • Trgovska Gora, located just 500 meters north of the Bosnian border and the river Una, has been identified by Croatia as one of four potential sites for dumping waste from the Krsko (NEK) nuclear power plant it shares with neighboring Slovenia.” (Reuters)
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will give 4 million Euros to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve its water supply. 
  • The director of the coal mine in Zenica resigned over accumulated problems.
  • The largest solar field in Croatia opened outside Zagreb on the campus of Dechra Pharmaceuticals. The field will generate over 1.5M KwH.
  • Experts in N. Macedonia and Bulgaria will discuss the legacy of Goce Delchev in the next meeting of the Macedonian-Bulgarian Commission
  • Migrants: Two Afghan migrants are to be deported from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia on terrorism charges. Twenty-six Iraqis were stopped in Kukesi, Albania trying to get to Kosovo.  Bosnia’s Border Police Chief Zoran Galic has denied that Croatia has done anything negative on the border which counters Minister of Interior Dragan Mektic’s statements.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Tasty: Slovenia begins to export craft gin.
  • Croatia’s population continues to shrink. The most acute losses were in Vukovar-Srijem which lost over 3% of its population.
  • Over the course of two weeks, Tuzla has been rocked by four earthquakes. The latest was 4.7 on the Richter Scale.
  • In the area around Bjelasnica Mountain, Bosnia, four WWII era bombs were detonated and disposed of by federal authorities.