WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Army Press Release: “US, Croatian, Slovenian forces participate in logistics-focused exercise“: “Every year, thousands of European armed forces participate in multiple exercises with the U.S. to help improve interoperability and stability of the region. Exercise Immediate Response 19 is a multinational exercise co-led by Croatian Armed Forces, Slovenian Armed Forces and U.S. Army Europe. From May 10 through June 7, 2019, throughout the Republic of Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary, the logistics-focused exercise is designed to test and improve movements of allied and partner forces and equipment rapidly from one location to another.”
  • A Tweet and video from Rep. Tim Burchett (R -TN,02) re-emerged and has been making rounds: “I had a great conversation with the former President of Kosovo about war crimes carried out by DIRTBAG Serbians and no one willing to punish them.”
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – CA,12) went after US President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal through his Slovenian-born wife, Melania Trump (nee Knauss). She said: “I don’t know if merit counted for when his wife’s family came into the country. I don’t know. Maybe it did. God bless them if it did. But he calls that ‘chain migration,’ which he wants to get rid of.”
  • The US Embassy in Serbia tweeted: “The United States supports full implementation of all commitments undertaken in the Brussels Dialogue. That also includes the obligations regarding formation of the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities.” after Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said that he would not form the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities.
  • Thaci also said that a referendum for a union of Albania and Kosovo (and 3 majority Albanian municipalities in Serbia) is possible: “We can do this through a resolution in the parliaments or in a referendum in Kosovo and Albania, including Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac.”
  • Bosnians across the world honored victims of the Prijedor massacres by wearing white ribbons. Non-Serbs were forced to idntify themselves in public and on their houses in the lead-up to the massacre.
  • Stoltenberg will be joined by ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council in North Macedonia.
  • But the Netherlands has called for a reinstatement of visas for nationals of Albania. The resolution was adopted by the Dutch Parliament in April
  • Kosovo bans Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic from entering the country after stating Kosovar Albanian leaders “literally just emerged from the woods.”
  • Social media users took to Twitter to starting the #literallyjustemergedfromthewoods, including German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt.
  • Slovenian President Borut Pahor met his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Djukanovic in Podgorica. Pahor reiterated Slovenia’s support for Montenegro’s EU accession. 
  • Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic met with Morocco’s Prince Albert anddiscussed “shared interests of the two countries in the fields of tourism, advanced technologies, and green industries (that) would result in successful cooperation.”
  • Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Josep Borrell Fontelles was on an official visit to Croatia where he met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić. They discussed economic cooperation, science and innovation.
  • Croatian Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandrokovic will be on an official visit to Japan on the invitation of  House of Representatives Speaker Tadari Oshima. Jandrokovic will also meet Emporer Naruhito.
  • PROTESTS: Albania was rocked by violent, antigovernment protests in Tirana which led to thirteen people being injured. Hundreds protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina calling for the resignation of the head of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), Milan Tegeltija. Antigovernment protests continued in Serbia for the 26th straight weekend. Also in Serbia, police dispersed protesters of the “Miredita, Dobar dan” cultural exchange festival between Kosovo and Serbia.
  • Meanwhile, Greece and North Macedonia upgraded diplomatic missions to embassies in each others capitals to normalize relations after signing the Prespa Agreement. In addition, Greece upgraded its representation in Bitola to a general consulate.
  • Former Foreign Minister and current Defense Minister of Slovenia Karl Erjavec called head of the parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Commission (IOC) Matej Tonin “a liar” and claims the IOC cleared him in the Croatian border scandal.
  • UP IN SMOKE: A fire engulfed a migrant center in Velika Kladusa in northwest Bosnia. Initial investigations show that the fire originated in the kitchen and there was no foul play. The center services 500 migrants and 32 were injured.
  • Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Kahn met with Bosniak Member of Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic on the sidelines of the 14th summit of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). They discussed bilateral and multilateral areas of interest and the need for high-level political cooperation.
  • A monument of WWII Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic was erected in Bileca, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • The Days of Russian Language and Culture kicked off in Pula, Croatia, according to russkiymir.ru.
  • Reuters: “Balkan telecoms and media company United Group B.V. on Friday acquired Croatian telecoms operator Tele2 Croatia for 220 million euros ($245.70 million), including debt, expanding its presence in south-eastern Europe.”
  • The Banja Luka District Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina canceled the permit for the 93 MW Buk Bijela hydropower plant. 
  • The Port of Rijeka will have upward of $126M invested to modernize it from 400 meters in length to 680 meters. The enhancements will allow for the most modern container ships.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • In Montenegro, the Games of Small States of Europe comes to an end. Luxembourg topped the medal count. IOC President Thomas Bach visited with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic.