WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • BiH’s EU Path: Members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic, Zeljko Komsic, and Milorad Dodik met yesterday with the Vice President of the European Commission and and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. See her statement here. Members of the Presidency indicated their goal of obtaining EU candidate status by November 1, 2019.
  • History in Language: The Albanian language was used for the first time in an official capacity by ministers and deputy ministers in Macedonia. Read more about the meeting here.
  • Quick Changes: According to Macedonian news outlet Faktor, Macedonia will change signs in front of diplomatic and consular buildings, border crossings, and governmental buildings within two weeks of the ratification of the NATO accession protocol.
  • Backsliding: Balkan states have fallen in Transparency International’s latest report. See their rankings here or read the full report here.
  • Back in Kosovo: The Serbian Director for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric is in northern Kosovo as a part of a three day trip. Today he met with Kosovo Serb representatives from Zvecan. He is expected to open a kindergarten in North Mitrovica and hand out 48 apartments. 
  • IMF + Serbia: An IMF delegation has begun a visit to Serbia with meetings with the National Bank of Serbia in which the Ministers of Economy and Finance participated. The delegation will be in Serbia until Friday.
  • Youth + Security:  Latest from the OSCE in Serbia: “Concluding a three-day visit to Serbia, Samuel Goda, the Special Representative of the Slovak OSCE Chairmanship on Youth and Security, highlighted the crucial role of youth in strengthening comprehensive security and co-operation…Learning about the OSCE Mission to Serbia’s cross-dimensional initiatives with and for youth, Goda stressed the importance of the OSCE’s work to promote youth rights, strengthen inclusive youth policies and build capacities of young women and men in the areas of non-discrimination, media literacy and regional co-operation.”

  • Migration at the forefront: Croatia and Turkish Ministers of Interior discussed yesterday immigration, human trafficking and security in the two states. The Croatian Interior Minister is on a two day official visit that will include a trip to the Syrian border.
  • Slovenian Culture: Slovenia’s Minister of Culture Dejan Presicek has resigned after only four months after his appointment.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • The North is Coming: Bloomberg’s Nikos Chryosolaras nad Jonathon Stearsn write, “NATO Dashes to Expand in Balkans After North Macedonia Name Deal“: “NATO approved the accession protocol for soon-to-be renamed North Macedonia, weeks after the former Yugoslav republic and Greece settled a decades-long dispute that hindered its membership.At the center of a tug-of-war for influence between Russia and the West, the Balkan state cleared its biggest hurdle to joining the military alliance last month by agreeing to change its name from ‘the Republic of Macedonia…’That allowed North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to circulate the accession protocol for the Republic of North Macedonia to the ambassadors of the alliance in Brussels Monday. Greece has agreed to be the first to sign, which will activate the name change and pave the way for a process that will increase the alliance’s numbers to 30.”
  • Emergency!: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty writs, “Kosovo Emergency! What’s That Number Again?“: “Many people in Kosovo do not know the quickest way to call police for an emergency. Experts say that’s because there have been three different emergency numbers over the past 20 years, and there has never been an adequate public information campaign informing people of the latest change — made 11 years ago.”
  • All About the $$$: Bloomberg’s Misha Savic writes “The Silver Lining of an Exodus: Bosnia Cashes In on Exit Fees“:Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose population has shrunk by a quarter in less than three decades, is using the exodus of its citizens to boost coffers. While countries including the U.S. have a renunciation fee, the share of people leaving this Balkan nation is much greater. Since 2000, more than 82,000 have handed back their passports. The government gets as much as 800 marka ($462) from everyone who does so. With only three bilateral deals on dual citizenship with other states, Bosnia gets between 1.2 million marka and 1.5 million marka a year from the fee, Ministry of Civil Affairs data show.”
  • Did you say the Alps?: Follow one journey across over 200 miles of Slovenian mountains, including the Alps. Check out the article here, and make the journey to Slovenia!