WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • The head of USAID in Bosnia and Herzegovina Peter Duffy calls for Bosnia to build more gas pipelines so it doesn’t have to rely on its single pipeline that is dominated by Russian gas.
  • CRISIS IN THE NORTH?: Kosovo Serb shops, restaurants, and bakeries have shut down in a two-day protest of the 100% tariffs Kosovo imposed on Serbia. Petrol stations also closed.
  • Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic responded to the closures by stating,“It seems really incredible that nowadays we allow European citizens to be deprived of buying groceries based solely on national and ethnic origin. This is not Europe I belong to.”
  •  But Kosovo President Hashim Thaci responded to the closures differently: “There is no humanitarian crisis in Kosovo, there is a tendency by Serbia to improvise and portray Serb citizens in the north of Kosovo as victims. It is very important for the entire democratic world to see and understand the reality. Serbia’s new claim has failed.”
  • Meanwhile, Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj added that Kosovo is working “to organize the temporary opening of wholesale outlets in the north.”
  • And Kosovo Minister of Trade and Industry Endrit Shala went to the north in a van to set up “mobile stores” to sell basic necessities like  milk and flour which will be permanent in Kosovo’s four northern municipalities.
  • Police in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) marked Police Day on Monday. Prime Minister of FBiH Fadil Novalic and Federal Minister of Interior Aljosa Campara spoke at the ceremony. Novalic noted that FBiH looks to fill “the police structures with and their equipment in order to respond adequately to all security challenges.”
  • Meanwhile, President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic said that a meeting with Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic is “permanently open.”
  • The Zagreb-Moscow economic forum was held on Monday in Zagreb as a part of the Moscow Days. Russian Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov said that Russia is the premier investor in Croatia, not the United States or European Union. Trade between the two countries in the first two months of 2019 saw a 132% increase from the year before in the same period.
  • New Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Bocan-Harchenko said that the United States is applying pressure on Serbia over Kosovo. He noted: “The West, primarily Washington D.C, offers exclusive support to Kosovo Albanians, to their military structures and moves taken when it comes to army related issues, leading to obvious further strengthening of tensions.”


BEYOND THE POLITICS