WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Bruce Jette met with Montenegrin Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic on the sidelines of the 2019 Dubai Air Show. They spoke about the great cooperation between the two states. Jette noted that the US will strongly support the development of Montenegro’s defense capabilities.
  • Chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa met with US Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett to update the official on progress towards creating a government.
  • Croatia marks 28 years since the end of the Battle of Vukovar. Voice of Croatia writes, “The fall of Vukovar to Serb forces on November 18, 1991 claimed the lives of 1,624 Croatian soldiers and civilians and forced the exodus of 22 thousand people from the city. Several thousand people marched on Monday in the Remembrance Procession, a 5.5 kilometer walk from the city’s hospital to the Memorial Cemetery, to commemorate the soldiers who died defending Vukovar and the civilian victims of the fighting.”
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was released from the hospital on Monday after suffering cardiovascular problems over the weekend. Serbia’s health minister said that “Doctors saved his life on Friday.”
  • Albania and N. Macedonia didn’t have to wait long for France to propose a process for EU integration. France proposes a seven-step process for EU hopefuls. There is no word on how this would affect states that have already opened and closed EU chapters.
  • Kosovo’s likely prime minister, Albin Kurti, says it is well-known who killed Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic and that Serbia must send this person to Kosovo to face justice. It appears Kurti is calling for Belgrade to extradite Milan Radojicic.
  • Deputy Head of Republika Srpska Igor Simic responded, “Heated anti-Serbian rhetoric continues in Pristina, even by those who want to be institutional leaders. Albin Kurti without no evidence whatsoever is accusing Milan Radoijcic and at the same time is directly interfering the work of judiciary. In his earlier statements he said that politician and politicians should not interfere justice.”
  • Meanwhile, the IMF writes on Twitter, “Deputy Managing Director Zhang met w/ Kosovo political leaders Albin Kurti & Vjosa Osmani today in Pristina. They discussed Kosovo’s challenges and opportunities to sustain robust growth and accelerate reforms in education, governance, health and infrastructure.”
  • Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic met with Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat in Podgorica. Malta supports Montenegro’s EU aspirations and reiterated disappointment about not opening EU accession talks with N. Macedonia and Albania. Muscat also attended the opening of Malta state-owned wind farm in the south of Montenegro.
  • Leader of the HDZ in BiH Dragan Covic says he will meet with SNSD’s Milorad Dodik (Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency) and SDA’s Bakir Izetbegovic within a week to push for the creation of a government.
  • Meanwhile, a letter of protest over Peter Handke’s selection for the Nobel Prize drafted by BiH Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic is having trouble reaching Sweden. The issue: a mistranslation into English.
  • The Vice Prime Minister of Economic Affairs Kocho Angjushev who took part in the Summit in Thessaloniki said that it is important for us to build the interconnector towards Greece so we can connect to TAP’s gas pipeline and LNG’s terminals that are located on the banks of the Aegean sea. ‘Now we are connected through one point for gas in Bulgaria and this will allow us to stay connected with other sources of gas and this will increase the price competitiveness of gas in Macedonia which will help for this business to develop. We know that the gas network is under construction throughout the country but that will mean little if there is no qualitative offer for gas from several points of delivery’ said Angjusev.” (Meta)
  • Deputy Editor in Chief of Carnegie Moscow Center Maxim Samorukov told Radio Free Europe (RFE) that Russia seeks to keep frozen the region frozen – it does not want full stabilization nor full destabilization. He told RFE, “The geopolitical limbo in which the region is currently placed is ideal for Russia. This means neither complete stabilization nor total destabilization, but something in between. Russia does not want frozen conflicts in the Balkans to be resolved, as frozen conflicts keep the Western Balkans away from NATO and the European Union, but Russia also does not want these conflicts to become active, because Russia also has its red line.”
  • “To date, two members from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency have joined UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina’s CRC30 campaign #SlušajDijete (“Listen to the Child”). As one of the 52 States that have signed the CRC 30 Global pledge, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains steadfast in its commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Željko Komšić, joined the campaign by sitting for an interview conducted by Iman, age 11. Mr. Komšić spoke about his own childhood and child rights, and commented on the importance of the CRC@30 anniversary.” (Sarajevo Times)
  • Meanwhile, The Serbian government is giving 22 hectares of land to German company Brose to build a plant that creates automotive parts. The land is worth around 1.5 million EUR.
  • “Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovenia continues to rise, albeit at a slower pace than last year. In the first nine months of the year EUR 808 million in inbound FDI flows was recorded, compared to EUR 884 million in the same period of 2018.” (Slovenia Times)
  • MIGRANTS: EU officials arrived in Bihac to discuss the migrant crisis and scope out two new locations for camps.
IN OTHER NEWS…
  • ENTERTAINMENT: Kosovo Serb outlet, Kossev, reports that a music video was filmed on the remains of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in Novo Brdo which is one of forty special protective zones which requires consultations with the SOC under certain circumstances.