WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina marked its independence day on March 1st. Happy Independence Day! 
  • The US State Department’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs David Hale will be in Kosovo this week to push for the government to suspend tariffs in order to get Kosovo back to the table and restart the dialogue with Serbia. Th European Parliament has also urged the tariffs to go by MEP David McCallister who led a delegation to both states. 
  • Matthew Palmer in Delphi: “The talks between Belgrade and Pristina are not about the border change, but about recognition. Serbia should recognise Kosovo as an independent, sovereign country, and Kosovo should do the same.”
  • Serbian leaders are in Utah from March 1-9 reviewing renewable energy.
  • Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj could resign if the US asks him, but he insists the tariffs will stay: “Should an American come and say ‘Ramush, will you resign,’ I would resign, but I won’t vote for the abolition of tariffs on Serbian products. I said it once, and I’m not changing my story.”
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik will hand over Bosnia and Herzegovina‘s answers to additional questions to Johannes Hahn on Monday.
  • The ruling party of North Macedonia announced its candidate for the presidential elections on April 21. Stevo Pendarovski was selected for the SDSM and is being backed by various smaller parties. 
  • President Borut Pahor of Slovenia had a lengthy visit to London including audiences with the Queen, visit with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and laying a wreath at Westminster Abbey. He indicated that the EU could approve a Brexit delay.
  • For International Women’s Day on Friday, the EU Parliament announces that President Kolindar Grabar Kitarovic of Croatia will deliver a keynote speech to MEPs.
  • Reuters profiles the continued unrest in Podgorica: “Thousands protested in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica on Saturday, the fourth such rally in as many weeks, demanding that President Milo Djukanovic and his government resign over alleged corruption, cronyism and abuse of office.”
  • While Politico publishes a column from Professor Srdja Pavlovic in Canada arguing for a complete “overhaul” in Podgorica not a “reshuffle”.
  • Journalists rallied in Zagreb against censorship and antigovernment protests continued in Serbia. The Serbian protests made their way across the Atlantic – the first #1od5miliona was organized in Chicago. 
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presideny Milorad Dodik announced the route for the much anticipated Sarajevo-Belgrade highway.  The massive infrastructure project is projected to cost upward of $3.1B.
  • Serbia and Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to build three hydropower plants on the River Drina.
  • 104 Croatian soldiers are set to join NATO allies in Afghanistan in Operation Resolute Support
  • North Macedonia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has begun an investigation into 42 cases of possible nepotism and conflict of interests. 
  • Meanwhile, the 7th Annual Baku Global Forum sponsored by the Nizami Ganjavi Center announced President Milo Djukanovic as a keynote for the March 14thgathering.
  • Serbia is against Kosovo attempting to join Interpol
  • Bosnia is still ignoring a European Court of Human Rightsdecision on election law.
  • German Federal Police donated top of the line biometric document reading equipment to Montenegro Chief of the Border Police Vesko Damjanovic as the country inches closer to EU membership.
  • Croatia moves closer to adopting the Euro. The European Commission affirmed implementation of macroeconomic structural reforms. 

BEYOND THE POLITICS