WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Major General Kirk Smith, Commander, Special Operations Command Europe and Director, Special Operations, U.S. European Command, met with representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina including Defense Minister Marion Pandes. Smith reiterated US support for BiH’s NATO path. Srna reports that Smith also met with Republika Srpska Minister of Interior Dragan Lukac about enhanced cooperation most notably with anti-terrorism.
  • Crisis Averted: The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s House of People’s has adopted a budget for 2019 which was already passed in the House of Representatives.
  • Slovenian President Borut Pahor met with the EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini and discussed an “outside the box” solution for Kosovo. 
  • Speaking of Europe: Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is confident in the HDZ party’s chances in the European Parliament elections: “The EU election campaign will show that HDZ is the only serious political option…What party in the last 30 years has been more engaged in protecting the Croatian interests, in the transition of the political system, the economy, in defense of the Homeland War, in recognition of the state and its path towards NATO and the EU, all in a strong national interest, if not the HDZ?”
  • Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec met with Finnish counterpart Juha Sipila in Helsinki and agreed greater cooperation in the EU’s shared interests. Finland will take over the EU presidency in the second half of this year while Slovenia takes it over in the second half of 2021. 
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will be on a state visit to Beijing, China from April 25-27 on an invitation from Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He will take part in the second forum on the One-Belt One-Road Initiative. 

BEYOND THE POLITICS