WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
- US Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) Curtis Scaparrotti on Kosovo-Serbia: “The negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia on normalisation of relations and efforts to reach a deal acceptable to both sides are currently on hold. Russia foments the instability of the region trying to prevent the Balkan countries from progressing towards Euro-Atlantic integrations.”
- Women from the Ohio National Guard are training women how to defend themselves in the southern city of Vranje.
- President of Montenegro Milo Djikanovic met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and discussed called for greater Western Balkan integration.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina will form a government on by the end of March after talks between the three main parties.
- North Macedonia Elections: SDSM says over 60 MPs have voted in favor of Stevo Pendarovski. Secretary General of SDSM Aleksandar Kiracovski said, “MPs from different ethnic communities, different political parties are coming together in support of the joint candidate for victory, for progress and for the future. Stevo is our joint candidate because we believe he is a person with integrity, who will serve as the true president of all citizens. The lawmakers know all too well how important is the election of the head of state for the country, the citizens and Parliament.”
- Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will host a first of its kind “Open Door Day”. On Saturday, March 23rd, Croats from Bosnia ready to travel to Zagreb will be able to visit with her.
- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called on Kosovo to remove the 100% tariff on Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar promises to push for EU accession for North Macedonia.
- According to Slovenia media outlet Sio1, the Austrian Speaker of Parliament Wolfgang Sobotka asked Slovenian President Borut Pahorfor greater recognition of German speakers in Slovenia.
- Interpol received Kosovo’s application for membership.
BEYOND THE POLITICS
- Foreign Policy: “Journalists are Living in Fear in Republika Srpska“: “Sitting in a coffee shop pecking at a piece of chocolate cake, Vladimir Kovacevic swiveled in his chair to make sure nobody was watching. Then he furtively pulled a can of pepper spray from his pocket.’It’s not usual here to carry this around,” Kovacevic, an investigative journalist who works at the private BN TV in Banja Luka and runs his own blog, told Foreign Policy. “I’m not afraid, but now it’s not the same.’”
- Three Croatian airports have all recorded their largest February in history. Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik all saw record numbers. It was a 6.2% growth from February 2018.
- Not to be outdone. Sarajevo (SJJ) saw an increase of 8.5% from last February. In total, over 53,000 passengers came through the airport in February.
- Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina are ready to celebrate Laylat al-regaib, a holiday to mark the day of new beginning.
- Start up Fly Bosnia intends to grow its fleet with three Airbus A319. In total, the airline will now have four planes and will service Middle East and European routes into Sarajevo