WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Serb ultranationalists from the Serbian Radical Party burned EU and NATO flags in Belgrade. They marched with a sign: “EU + NATO – Serbia’s Enemies.”
  • US Ambassador to Kosovo Philip S. Kosnett: “Twenty years ago, the United States and other NATO allies intervened to stop a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Kosovo.  This anniversary prompts us to reflect on the human cost of the conflict then, and the pain that so many carry even today.The United States supported NATO’s necessary and legitimate use of force as a last resort to end the Milosevic regime’s campaign of ethnic cleansing, after the failure of sustained diplomatic efforts to achieve a peaceful solution.” Full message here.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the NATO intervention: “They (the West) had made this decision this long before and sought the blessing of the Security Council. But when it became clear that this would not succeed, they carried out a unilateral aggression on a sovereign state, violating the UN Charter and the principles of the OSCE, and disturbing the entire world order established after the Second World War.” See more of his comments here.
  • Antigovernment protests continued in Serbia and Montenegro over the weekend. In Banja Luka, supporters of the Justice for David campaign marked the one year anniversary of the finding of his body. It led to antigovernment protests in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia.
  • The Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina is urging it to adopt a law against genocide denial. Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik says he will reject any bill against those who deny genocide, war crimes, and court rulings.
  • Chief of the Croatian Intelligence hopes to clear up any misunderstandings with Bosnia and Herzegovina after being accused of a plot to stash weapons in a mosque in Bosnia.
  • But Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic says that Croats are the oldest constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina: “You are not guests, newcomers or an ethnic minority in Bosnia but its oldest constituent people which wants nothing more than peace and equality as the other two peoples in the common homeland of Bosnia.” 
  • Prime Minister of Slovenia Marjan Sarec has defended China’s 16+1 investment forum amid criticism 
  • Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to mark the 10 year anniversary of it joining the defense alliance.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Srdjan Darmanovic was in Kosovo where he met with Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj. Montenegro pledged its continued support of the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue.
  • Chetniks issued a warrant and 60,000 Euro reward for a Sarajevo activist for an alleged assassination attempt on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in 2015 and an incident at Radovan Karadzic’s final verdict in the Hague last week.
  • Deutsche Welle: “Who’s allowed to sell ‘Macedonian wine’?“: “The Prespa agreement has put an end to the decades-old name dispute between Greece and North Macedonia, but it hasn’t settled every related question. For example: Who has the right to sell ‘Macedonian wine’ now?”

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Aidan Hehir writes “Kosovo and the Western Decline 1999-2019“: “NATO’s intervention in Kosovo was an act of symbolic importance for the West’s ‘narrative of success.’ 20 years later, Kosovo is still waiting for the transformative power of the West to catch on.”
  • Croatian soccer star Mateo Kovacic discusses his journey from Croatia to playing for top English soccer team Chelsea FC.
  • Slovenian ski jumper Robert “The Flying Carnolian” Kramnjec has retired from competition.
  • Slovenia is the 44th happiest country in the world according to a UN World Happiness Report.