WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott met with President Aleksandar Vucic to discuss the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. Ambassador Scott urged the dialogue to continue. 
  • N1 reports that Camp Bondsteel commander US Colonel Roy Macaraeg said that KFOR would have to respond if the Kosovo Security Forces violates its mandate.
  • According to Al-Jazeera Balkans, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said he was an American soldier “who only implement orders related to the situation on the ground,” and that the introduction of 100% tariffs were “against the Russian and Serbian interests in the Balkans.”
  • Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has called early elections in the four Serb-dominated northern municipalities on May 19 after leadership stepped down following the 100% tax on Serbian goods. 
  • Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj encouraged citizens to go and vote: “Following President Hashim Thaci’s decision to announce local elections in Zvecan, ZubinPotok, Mitrovica North and Leposavic, I invite all political parties to present their programs on May19 and exercise their constitutional right to both run and elect representatives in local elections,” Haradinaj wrote in Twitter. “I also invite citizens of respective municipalities to elect the best candidates that will work in their citizens’ best interests. I call for free, democratic and fair elections, based on Kosovo laws and Kosovo Constitution.”
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik redrew” the borders of the Balkans to include Republika Srpska as a part of Serbia which caused a staunch response from politicians in Bosnia.
  • One of those was Bosnia’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic: “The border on the Drina river is the border between Bosnia and Serbia which has been there for centuries and will be there till the end of days. The border between the two friendly, neighboring countries will exist there until the end of the world.”
  • Meanwhile Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic met with the High Reprsentative Valentin Inzko and Deputy High Representative Michael Scanlan. Dzaferovic noted that the Office of the High Representative should remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina as long as the Dayton Peace Agreement is continuing to be implemented.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina will be suspended from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly until the end of 2019 because it hasn’t appointed a new representative in the six months after a general election.
  • There have been several presidential pardon requests in North Macedonia from some convicted during the storming of the parliament on April 27, 2017.
  • But Prime Minister Zoran Zaev says it is legally impossible for President Gjorge Ivanov to pardon them.
  • N. MACEDONIA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: VMRO-DMPNE presidential candidate Dr. Gordana Siljanovska Davkova was in Makedonski Brod at a rally where she said: “Let me remind you that the citizens said NO to change the name.The referendum failed. But the government forgot about the people. We silently sent a message to the government that we do not legitimize either the government or the referendum. We only delegitimize them.”
  • N. MACEDONIA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: SDSM presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski promised not to give any presidential pardons, urged voters to go to the polls, and noted the economic growth since he invitation to join NATO at a rally.
  • Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic wants the EU to keep its focus on Southeast Europe: “We want to see security, stability and economic prosperity in our neighborhood. I will explain Croatia’s position and underscore that we are prepared to support European prospects and future membership for all our neighboring countries, after they meet the necessary criteria of course.”
  • In other news, the Vatican has added Macedonian as the 34th language on its website, a month before the Pope’s visit on May 7.
  • The head of Slovenia’s central bank Bostjan Vasle slammed a bill introduced that would compensate investors for losses in the 2013 banking bailout.  
  • Speaking of banking, Slovenia and Croatia are leading the way in adopting crypto currency as form of payment, similar to Apple Pay or Google Pay.
  • Croatia is looking to invest heavily into solar power
  •  Bulgaria seized over 1 ton of cannabis on the border with Serbia.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • N1 reports that Camp Bondsteel commander US Colonel Roy Macaraeg said that KFOR would have to respond if the Kosovo Security Forces violates its mandate.
  • According to Al-Jazeera Balkans, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said he was an American soldier “who only implement orders related to the situation on the ground,” and that the introduction of 100% tariffs were “against the Russian and Serbian interests in the Balkans.”
  • Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has called early elections in the four Serb-dominated northern municipalities on May 19 after leadership stepped down following the 100% tax on Serbian goods. 
  • Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj encouraged citizens to go and vote: “Following President Hashim Thaci’s decision to announce local elections in Zvecan, ZubinPotok, Mitrovica North and Leposavic, I invite all political parties to present their programs on May19 and exercise their constitutional right to both run and elect representatives in local elections,” Haradinaj wrote in Twitter. “I also invite citizens of respective municipalities to elect the best candidates that will work in their citizens’ best interests. I call for free, democratic and fair elections, based on Kosovo laws and Kosovo Constitution.”
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik redrew” the borders of the Balkans to include Republika Srpska as a part of Serbia which caused a staunch response from politicians in Bosnia.
  • One of those was Bosnia’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic: “The border on the Drina river is the border between Bosnia and Serbia which has been there for centuries and will be there till the end of days. The border between the two friendly, neighboring countries will exist there until the end of the world.”
  • Meanwhile Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic met with the High Reprsentative Valentin Inzko and Deputy High Representative Michael Scanlan. Dzaferovic noted that the Office of the High Representative should remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina as long as the Dayton Peace Agreement is continuing to be implemented.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina will be suspended from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly until the end of 2019 because it hasn’t appointed a new representative in the six months after a general election.
  • There have been several presidential pardon requests in North Macedonia from some convicted during the storming of the parliament on April 27, 2017.
  • But Prime Minister Zoran Zaev says it is legally impossible for President Gjorge Ivanov to pardon them.
  • N. MACEDONIA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: VMRO-DMPNE presidential candidate Dr. Gordana Siljanovska Davkova was in Makedonski Brod at a rally where she said: “Let me remind you that the citizens said NO to change the name.The referendum failed. But the government forgot about the people. We silently sent a message to the government that we do not legitimize either the government or the referendum. We only delegitimize them.”
  • N. MACEDONIA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: SDSM presidential candidate Stevo Pendarovski promised not to give any presidential pardons, urged voters to go to the polls, and noted the economic growth since he invitation to join NATO at a rally.
  • Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic wants the EU to keep its focus on Southeast Europe: “We want to see security, stability and economic prosperity in our neighborhood. I will explain Croatia’s position and underscore that we are prepared to support European prospects and future membership for all our neighboring countries, after they meet the necessary criteria of course.”
  • In other news, the Vatican has added Macedonian as the 34th language on its website, a month before the Pope’s visit on May 7.
  • The head of Slovenia’s central bank Bostjan Vasle slammed a bill introduced that would compensate investors for losses in the 2013 banking bailout.  
  • Speaking of banking, Slovenia and Croatia are leading the way in adopting crypto currency as form of payment, similar to Apple Pay or Google Pay.
  • Croatia is looking to invest heavily into solar power
  •  Bulgaria seized over 1 ton of cannabis on the border with Serbia.

BEYOND THE POLITICS