WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US diplomat and future Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker was in North Macedonia where he called on Kosovo to “annul the tariffs” and for Serbia to stop influencing countries to block Kosovo’s accession to international organizations.
  • Reeker also noted his thoughts on the Prespa Agreement: “I can tell you from my own experience that the issue was incredibly complex and, by many, considered intractable. Getting to this point was not easy, of course. So many times the leaders involved refused to give up on the process and pressed ahead. The success of the Prespa Agreement is a testament to what hard work and compromise can accomplish if individual leaders demonstrate such leadership,”
  • US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric George Nelson met with Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak. They discussed Bosnia’s NATO Membership Action Plan, and Crnadak hoped for continued high-level visits to increase cooperation between the US and Bosnia.
  • Bosnian Serb Member of Presidency and Chairman Milorad Dodik handed the European Commission Questionnaire to the EU’s Johannes Hahn who remarked, “It would be a mistake to think that nothing has to be done from now on, it is exactly the opposite, essential reforms have to resume.” 
  • After his trip to the UK, Slovenian President Borut Pahor embarked on a two-day working visit to Albania where he will meet President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama, and Speaker of Parliament Gramoz Ruci.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic mentioned the possibility of recognizing Kosovo: “We must first find the compromise, we can not recognize Kosovo without getting anything on the other side…I am sure that with the help of our European friends and with the support of Russia, America, China and other countries, we can reach a solution” 
  • Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic indicated that Serbia is still fully committed to its European path.
  • An ethnic Albanian coalition won 16 of 32 seats in the Tuzi Municipality just outside of the Montenegrin capital Podgorica. These are the first elections since the municipality was disbanded in 1957.
  • Speaking of Montenegro, US academic Daniel Serwer says it isn’t time for Montenegrin President Milo Djuknaovic to resign.
  • Enver Robelli takes a look at what five steps are needed to have a successful dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia
  • Kosovo Speaker Kadri Veseli indicates there could be a rift in the governing coalition: ““All government can be ousted but not the [US military base of] Bondsteel. No Government can affect sacred relations with the US.”
  • VIDEO: BBC went to the Serbia-Hungary border to investigate what it has been like to live on the border since the 2015 migrant crisis.
  • Meanwhile, Vice News went to Bihac to monitor the migrant crisis in Bosnia and Herzegvoina
  • Ukrainian businessman Andrija Matiukha sets his sights on investments in Croatia.
  • Croatia and Slovenia receive EU protections for extra virgin olive oil from the Istria region.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Royal Central interviewed Serbian Crown Prince Alexander after he and Crown Princess Katherine held a gala dinner in London. Read it here.
  • Heading to Sarajevo soon? Check out MeetBosnia.com‘s top 5 places to eat in the capital. Or maybe you’re looking for pizza in Zagreb, Croatia.