WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric Nelson visited his colleague, US Ambassador to Croatia Robert Kohorst, in Zagreb to discuss “BiH’s progress into Euro-Atlantic institutions.”
  • Former Former US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec, has been named the new Head of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, replacing another American diplomat, Bruce Berton.
  • Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach met Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Belgrade. They discussed the importance of the Serbia-NATO partnership and NATO’s commitment to a strong partnership. Dacic noted that Serbia’s military neutrality added to peace in the region. Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilovic was also in attendance. 
  • Outgoing European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn criticized Bosnian rule of law institutions over delays in the David Dragicevic and Dzenan Memic cases. Hahn insists that the EU will be paying more attention to rule of law in BiH. 
  • Czech President Milos Zeman met with Prime Minister Andrej Babis and concluded with regards to withdrawing the recognition of Kosovo: “We will address this at a meeting on foreign policy coordination. There will be a minister of the interior, a foreign minister, a president of the Senate, a speaker of the House of Representatives. This will be a topic to exchange views with other government colleagues.”
  • Meanwhile, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petrícek does not see any reason why Czechia would withdraw recognition of Kosovo noting that his states foreing policy should be “continuous and clear.” Nevertheless, he will participate in a meeting with the president, prime minister, and other government officials on the topic.
  • New Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative in BiH, Austrian Johann Sattler, presented his credentials to Head of the Diplomatic Protocol Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirsad Besic. Sattler replaces Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.
  • Kosovo Elections: There were 42,000 new voter registrations from the Kosovar diaspora before the September 10th deadline. The Central Election Commission (CEC)is still processing the applications.  
  • Meanwhile, according to Kosovo media, Kosovo is thinking of not putting forward an Interpol application if it realizes it cannot garner enough support to join the international organization. 
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with representatives of the  Association of Families of the Missing and Abducted in Kosovo and told them there was no definitive list of missing persons in Kosovo. He said, “Unfortunately, our state did not investigate everything that happened in 1999 or after the year 2000 and we still have no official list of people killed and missing in Kosovo but we believe we will complete that difficult job.”
  • Vucic also said he hoped the average monthly wage to be 500 Euros ($550) in Serbia in 2019, but almost 75% of Serbian workers earn less than that amount.
  • Candidate for Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti (Vetvendosje), who has been a strong proponent of unification with Albania, notes, “Kosovo has the right to join Albania. Today we are incapable to unify. This does not depend only from us, but also from Albania.”
  • Meanwhile, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry welcomes increased cooperation with Azerbaijan in the energy and economic sectors, particularly the diversification of gas.
  • A Croatian journalists was temporarily jailed on Monday over satirical tweets that included the acronym ACAB, or All Cops are Bastards. He was fined 100 Euros for the tweets. The journalist received support from colleagues from neighboring countries.
  • “The government of Bosnia’s Federation entity has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for technical assistance in the improvement of supervision at state-controlled companies, an IMF official said.
  • In response to the call, an IMF mission is planned to visit Bosnia in December for consultations on compiling a list of all firms controlled by the Federation’s government, on supervising their financial results, on improving their management structure and determining the fiscal risk, the IMF resident representative to Bosnia, Andrew Jewell, told Bosnian state-level radio and TV broadcaster BHRT over the weekend.” (See News)
  • But there may be a different law that needs to be translated. Ivana Sekularac writes, “North Macedonia banks on medicinal cannabis growth to boost economy, exports” in Reuters:
    “Slave Ivanovski was among North Macedonia’s biggest exporters of tomatoes and peppers until two years ago he switched to growing cannabis for medical use.The country legalised the growth of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2016, joining a growing number of countries to have done so or be about to do so, such as Britain, Greece, Thailand and some U.S. states.”
  • The 6th Annual Korean-Croatian Business Forum will take place on September 24th. Read more about the agenda here.
  • The UEFA (Europe’s soccer governing body) Executive Committee is set to meet on September 24th in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They will decide the locations of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 UEFA Champions League finals; 2021 UEFA Europa League final; 2021 UEFA Super Cup; UEFA Futsal EURO 2022; UEFA youth championship final tournaments in 2021 and 2022; and UEFA EURO 2020 play-off and final draw regulations. See the full agenda here.
  • Just a day after the UEFA meeting, Red Star Belgrade is slated to play against FK Trepca in the 2019-2020 Serbian Cup. The caveat: The match is set to be played in Zvecan, Kosovo and Kosovar authorities deem the Serbian league matches played in Kosovo as illegal. UEFA is yet to comment.


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Human Interest: “Endi Poskovic: Sarajevo’s Andy Warhol” by Tea Ivanovic in Oslobodjenje: “Endi Poskovic’s monumental woodcarvings leave no one untouched. The full, warm colours, the swirling black lines, and the almost idyllic subjects create particularly appealing graphic ensembles. Born and raised in Sarajevo, the artist spent most of his adult life adapting – what the he calls ‘the future’s greatest gift.'”
  • Something Fishy: A 6.75ft (205cm) sheatfish was caught on  Lake Snijeznica near Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • Welcome: Nashville, Tennessee welcomed 240 new citizens from over 25 countries as they took the Oath of Allegiance for Constitution Day. Some of the 240 new citizens came from Bosnia.