WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

With Fourth of July, American Independence Day, Balkan Insider will be taking a break on Thursday, July 4th. We wish our American readers a relaxing and safe holiday.

  • US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer says that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue should resume before elections in Serbia which will be held in March or April of next year and called for Kosovo to abolish the 100% tariffs on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.
  • But it seems like we’re far away from that – at the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) meeting on Friday in Albania, media in the region is reporting that the Kosovo delegation threw bottles at the Serbian delegation.
  • Congratulations to Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric for being elected Secretary-General of the Council of Europe (CoE). She is of the opinion that Russia would be a much tougher neighbor if it did not participate in the CoE.
  • “Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, called for the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to adopt July 11th as the official day of the memory of the victims of genocide in Srebrenica.” (Sarajevo Times)
  • Hungary blocks the extradition of disgraced former Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Nikola Gruevski. 
  • Pope Francis received Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec at the Vatican for a private meeting. 
  • After visiting Baku, Azerbaijan, Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic announces over $900M in projected investments. For years, the Porto Novi resort complex has been under development in the vicinity of Herceg Novi. Developers promise it will be a “destination unmatched in the Mediterranean”.
  • Early Leaders: First Montenegrin President and former Prime Minister of Yugoslavia Momir Bulatovicpassedaway at 63 years old. Meanwhile, a Serbian lawyer is filing criminal complaint against first Slovenian President Milan Kucan accusing him for the break up Yugoslavia and genocide.
  • Croatia formally notified Brussels of its intention to join the Eurozone by 2023. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic wrote to European Central Bank Mario Draghi, the President of the Eurogroup Mario Centeno and the president of the Eurogroup Working Group Hans Vijbrie.
  • At the tenth meeting of the European Union Stabilization and Association Council meeting with Montenegro, the EU SA Council told Montenegro to step up reforms in chapters 23 (Judiciary and fundamental rights)  and 24 (Justice, freedom and security). 
  • The European Broadcasting Union blocks Kosovo’s national broadcaster, Radio Television Kosovo, from becoming a full member. Final votes: 400 for membership, 673 against. Kosovo is unable to participate in the popular Eurovision competition without being a full member.
  • Zagreb is again facing a growing controversy over recognition of the Holocaust. As the capital plans a monument, the local and international Jewish community is not supportive. Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center made clear “despite its double speak, Croatia is one of the worst rehabilitators of Nazi criminals.”

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • France 24: “The singular voice of Father Sava, a Serb abbot in Kosovo“: “Serbia and Kosovo’s leaders do not agree on much these days, but they do share one uncompromising critic: Father Sava, the social media-savvy abbot of a medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery. Clad in black robes, bespectacled and with a wiry grey beard, Sava Janjic is the guardian of 14th-century Visoki Decani monastery, a UNESCO heritage site lying in the forested foothills of western Kosovo.
  • Fifteen students from University of Denver visited Sarajevo where they learned about the Court of Bosnia.