WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Trump to Save the Dialogue?: Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj says he would suspend the 100% tariffs on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina should US President Donald Trump call a meeting. He said: “When I wrote my first letter to explain that Kosovo does not block processes, I said that if President (Trump) invites the parties to a meeting, we will immediately suspend the tariff because we would know that it is serious and that there is a contract in the process.”
  • Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin disagrees that a solution can be found that quickly.
  • The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA, 2), Paul Mitchell (R-MI, 10), Debbie Dingell (D-MI, 12), and Steve Strivers (R-OH, 15) released a statement in support of NATO accession. 
  • Suspected mosques massacre shooter traveled to Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia in December 2016. Authorities in Serbia and Montenegro are talking with their counterparts in Australia and New Zealand. The shooter took inspiration from the ethnically-fueled wars of the 1990s during the breakup of Yugoslavia. 
  • PROTESTS: Protests have continued to rock capital cities across the region. People marched against domestic violence in Zagreb. Meanwhile antigovernment protests have returned to Montenegro, violent protests in Albania need riot police, and protesters in Belgrade entered the Radio Television Serbia building and surrounded the home of the presidency.  
  • North Macedonia sentenced sixteen people in connection to the 2017 parliament break-in including eighteen years for former Minister of the Interior Mitko Cavkov. The move was criticized by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. 
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia https://nezavisen.mk/en/news/2019/03/135853/ was in Albania over the weekend and met Prime Minister Edi Rama. Zaev praised Albania and called it “the friendliest country we have.”
  • Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic on a trip to Azerbaijan told reporters at the Global Baku Forum: “We have our own path. Our path is an integral, democratic Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a member state of the EU and NATO, where numerous economic and social reforms will take place, and where equality of every single person on every inch of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be secured.”
  • Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic was also at in Azerbaijan where he met his counterpart Ilham Aliyev. They praised strong relations and agreet there should be a direct flight between the two states.
  • Following Azerbaijan, Djukanovic travelled to Germany on Monday on an official visit to German President Frank Steinmeier
  • Croatia’s Bleiburg commemorations will be held under the auspices of the Croatian Parliament, but Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic will not be in attendance. 
  • But Plenkovic is in Germany to receive the Steiger Award. He met with the Croatian diaspora in Dusseldorf  on his trip. 
  • Time Flies: Slovenia marks fifteen years since joining NATO
  • Sarajevo-born award winning filmmaker Emir Kusturica will serve as an adviser to President Milorad Dodik. He is a two time winner of the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Kosovo Serbs have commemorated the fifteenth anniversary of the violent unrest in Kosovo that saw houses, religious sites, and civilians targeted.
  • Slovenia will deport three suspected radical Islamic extremists
  • Meanwhile, in N. Macedonia, a man was arrested for smuggling five people from Greece on the way to Serbia.
  • With an eye to Brexit, Zagreb is preparing legislation. Nearly 660 Britons live and work in Croatia and over 5,000 Croatians live and work in Britain.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • An Iowa high school student has returned to Kosovo for a second time after enjoying a student exchange in August 2018.
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “Facebook trolls and scammers from Kosovo are manipulating Australian users“: “A network of popular Facebook pages that have built large audiences catering to Australians agitated over hot button issues such as Islam, refugees and political correctness is under the control of trolls and scammers from the Balkans who profit from the outrage they stir up.”
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has approved $52 million financing package for a coal plant in Tuzla.