WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Montenegrin Opposition leader Nebojsa Medoevic said that he will be joining former US Trump Advisor Steve Bannon’s right-wing movement called The Movement.
  • Cultural Diplomacy: US Ambassador to Montenegro Judy Rising Reinke looks to increase people to people ties and cross-cultural connections between the two states after she met with Minister of Culture Sasa Bogdanovic
  • A New Approach?: Senior Policy Analyst at the Open Society’s Foundation Srdjan Cvijic has called for the EU to ditch unanimity for enlargement.
  • NATO Expansion: Bosnian Defense Minister Marina Pendes said there is no reason for Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop its plan for NATO accession.
  • Macedonia + NATO: Macedonian Parliamentarians will be at the NATO HQ this week.
  • Roger That: Montenegro Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic said that the only viable solution for a military airport would be in Niksic at Kapino Polje.
  • Budget Issues?: The SDA in Bosnia and Herzegovina has urged the House of Peoples in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt a budget by February 10th.
  • Piran Arbitration: Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Miro Cerar on the Piran Bay arbitration decision with Croatia: “We believe that our action is justified. By this lawsuit, we claim that Croatia is in violation of the European legal order. The fact is that the arbitration decision has a certain limit under international law. Croatia does not take this decision into account and thus violates European law.”
  • European Parliamentary Elections: Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on European elections: “The HDZ will once again win the European elections because we are the only true Croatian and European party…(HDZ is) the strongest nation-building, patriotic, Christian Democrat and people’s party in Croatia.”
  • Serbia-China: Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met with China’s Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo and reaffirmed friendship between the two countries with an eye towards improved strategic cooperation. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic sent a Lunar New Years message to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik also congratulated Jinping on the New Year.
  • Changing Tones: Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic urged a speedy resolution between Kosovo and Serbia at a meeting with Dominican Republic Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit before international relations could change. He warned he didn’t know who would come in after US President Donald Trump and EU Official Federica Mogherini.
  • Awards Galore: Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will receive the Ewald von Kleist Award at the 55th Munich Security Conference for ending the 27 year dispute over Macedonia’s name.
  • To the East: Zaev and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov aim to abolish tariffs on trade. Zaev was in Bulgaria to celebrate Goce Delchev on the 147th anniversary of his birth.
  • DON’T FORGET: This week is filled with Balkan-related events in Washington DC. Check our events below. Don’t miss out!
  • Zoran Djokic Case: The Kosovo Serb arrested at the Jarinje border crossing has been accused of killing 33 Albanians from Peja/Pec between 26-28 March 1999 and has been detained for thirty days, according to Gazeta Express.
  • Two Sides: Djokic’s denied he is guilty and his lawyer told reporters: “He lived in Kosovska Mitrovica until 2015, where he worked in several non-governmental organizations, but also for the Government of Kosovo. I do not have much information about the case, I did not have access to the files since the investigation had just begun. I do not know where he will be detained because it is determined by Kosovo Prison Service.“

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Croatian-American Super Bowl Champ: Congratulations to Croatian-American NFL Coach Bill Belichick on winning his 6th Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in Atlanta on Sunday. He once noted,  “I am very proud of our Croatian history. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful land and am proud of my heritage.” His grandparents hail from the Karlovac region.
  • Bad Weather Causing Deadly Catastrophes: A boat capsized and four people drowned in Montenegro over the weekend from strong winds. A bridge collapsed in Sarajevo’s Ilidza after floods overflowed the bridge. Bosnaik Member of the Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic will visit the affected areas today.
  • Think Green: Slovenia to add over $70 million to its supplementary budget for the environment.
  • Check it out: Montenegro released its five nominations for the 2019 Eurovision contest. Listen to them here