WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US President Donald Trump sent a message to Senate supporting and urging the ratification of N. Macedonia’s NATO Accession Protocol.
  • The longest-serving US Senator, Richard Lugar, passed away at 87 years old on Sunday. He was instrumental in urging peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and NATO enlargement to the region.
  • Western Balkan leaders descended on Berlin for a summit on the region. It ended with no significant changes.
  • Financial Times: “France and Germany pour cold water on Balkan hopes for immediate EU accession
  • N1 reports that there will be another summit in Paris in summer to continue efforts to restart the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic exchanged words with Albanian journalists regarding the sovereignty of Kosovo and linked it to Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj says he is glad the discussion on border exchanges are over and that he is grateful to Germany for its support.
  • Meanwhile, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci says that there will be no negotiations without he US.
  • N. Macedonia was praised for its reforms and that it set an example for the region, but no official date to open accession talks was promised at the Berlin Summit, according to Deutsche Welle (in Macedonian).
  • Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec highlighted good neighborly relations, solving open issues, and reconciliation in the region at the summit.
  • Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic notes that increased European leadership in the region reminds them that reforms are necessary in order to join the EU to make its members feel comfortable with expansion.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says French President Emmanuel Macron will be in Serbia on July 16.
  • A report coming from Sweden alleges that the Turkish Embassy in Ljubljana, Slovenia spied on Erdogan critics.
  • China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and executives regarding the Uljanik and Treci Maj shipyards who are in financial despair.
  • The campaigning for the presidential elections in N. Macedonia enters the final week. Sundays’ runoff requires 40% voter turnout to be valid.
  • The Azerbaijan-Croatia Business Forum was held on Monday and concludes that the two states have the opportunity to expand trade.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Deutsche Welle Opinion: “Opinion: Berlin Balkan conference — a surprising breakthrough in the cards?“: “The Balkan summit in Berlin could surprise skeptical observers and reveal a new chapter in our common future. Why is that?It is because Germany and France, the two largest, most powerful nations of the European Union and the geographically closest to the Balkans, have never before issued a joint invitation to leaders of the Western Balkans to discuss our common future frankly and responsibly.”