WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • CIA Deputy Director Vaughn Bishop visited Sarajevo. He was hosted by BiH Minister of Security Dragan Mekic. Discussions focused on terrorism and corruption.
  • Western Balkan leaders descend on Berlin for meetings led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
  • The key topic of conversation will be between Kosovo and Serbia. EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn says the goal is for the meeting is to unblock the Kosovo dialogue. President Hashim Thaci says the only thing that can happen is recognition by Serbia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says he will be the only one at the summit to speak against Kosovo’s independence. A final deal is not expected.
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik wrote to Merkel and Macron that BiH Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic should not be representing the country.
  • Dodik met with the Pope at the Vatican and discussed the necessity to “preserve peace and stability” in Europe in the World. Republika Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic was on the trip, as well.
  • On the Pope’s visit to Bulgaria and N. Macedonia, he will touch on ecumenism and migration.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a visit to Croatia on May 18th. It will be a political rally for the European People’s Party. This is her first ever political rally outside Germany.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, and Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko at the One Belt One Road Summit in China.
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev is hoping to tackle nepotism by asking for resignations of relatives of officials.
  • SDSM’s Stevo Pendarovski says that high voter turnout shows that people agree with the concept of NATO and the EU.
  • The Meja massacre was remembered in Kosovo over the weekend. Serbian forces killed 376 ethnic Albanians in the area.
  • Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic gave an interview to Russia Today and claims the Western media is biased against himself and President Vucic.
  • Just in time for summer cruise season, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic opened a new two story cruise terminal in Zadar.
  • Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec says “A proactive and balanced foreign policy is crucial for Slovenia” at a meeting with ambassadors and high lefel officials.
  • Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin is in Moscow and spoke on Russia 24 how it is important for  “the large and powerful countries like Russia must recognize that Greater Albania is being created.”
  • Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic says Montenegro will be the next country admitted to the EU.
  • Dozens gathered outside of an ethnic Albanian owned bakery in the Borca district of Belgrade to protest the owner who was photographed showing a double-headed eagle symbol. No incidents occurred, but nationalist songs and severed pig heads were noted during the protest.
  • Dragan Covic was reelected President of the Croat Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Muhamed Šišić, Aziz Šuša and Tarik Šišić were sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison in BiH for war crimes.
  • The Milton Friedman Institute hosted politicians from Germany, Italy, Belgium and Slovakia at a conference in Jahorina. This was done in close cooperation with President Milorad Dodik and RS government looking to advance direct economic ties with the RS. Oddly, the Institute ended operations in 2011 despite the weekend press release.
  • Ethnic Serbs march through Jerusalem to mark Good Friday.
  • The Bleiburg commemoration is ruled as a public, not religious, gathering.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • The Economicst: “Though Bosnia’s demise has long been predicted, it is surviving“: “Bosnia-Herzegovina might have a new government soon. Or maybe it won’t. No one seems to know. The country held elections last October but the winning parties have still not agreed on how to form one. In any case, Bosnia’s central government has little power; the country has three presidents, and their current chairman wishes it did not even exist. Tens of thousands of people emigrate every year, having lost any hope for the future.”
  • Miss Manchester (UK) Fatime Gashi was born in a refugee camp in N. Macedonia and her family left for Kosovo when she was two years old. 
  • Facebook removes 212 fake profiles from Kosovo and N. Macedonia.
  • Montenegro’s mens national soccer team will play in an empty stadium on June 7th in their Euro 2020 qualifying match against Kosovo. The move comes after racist chants against the English player Danny Rose.
  • As a sign of even more deepening of ties between Beijing and Zagreb, a traditional Chinese medicine center opened in Zagreb. 
  • Meanwhile in Slovenia, “household appliances maker Gorenje, the Slovenian unit of Chinese appliance manufacturer Hisense, said on Friday it plans to reduce its workforce by 6.4 percent.” Over 250 jobs are on the chopping block. The company is one of the largest employers in Slovenia.

  • Croatia breaks the Guinness world record for car-pushing.
  • Here is a history of Slovenian money.