WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Madison Global Strategies’ Joseph Allaham has begun lobbying for the Kosovo Ministry of European Integration for $19,000 per month for 9 months totaling $171,000. Key goals include “strategic planning in strengthening the position of the Republic ofKosovo in international organizations and institutions of the European Union…strengthening the secutiry sector and rule of law…(and) promoting the Republic ofKosovo in key events ofEuropean Union and international organizations.” See the FARA document here.
  • Major General Linda L. Singh of the Maryland National Guard plans to retire this summer. She is the first woman and African American to head the Maryland National Guard. She held previous deployments to Afghanistan and Kosovo. She was honored by the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina at its 2019 Gala. The Maryland National Guard is the state partner of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • SEECP: Confusion in Tirana and Sarajevo? – After reports that Albania would not participate in the South Eastern Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) in solidarity with Kosovo, Albanian President Ilir Meta participated and urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to “recognize the reality (that) Kosovo is independent.”
  • SEECP: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the construction of the “Peace Highway” between Belgrade and Sarajevo will begin soon. Turkey will provide the $3.41 million of funding for the highway which will have two routes.
  • Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu visited his counterpart Davor Bozinovic in Zagreb. The two signed a cooperation agreement to have their police academies work more closely together. Earlier in the day, PM Andrej Plenkovic hosted the Interior Minister to discuss concerns over migrants. 
  • Serbian NGOs will commemorate the Srebrencia genocide in Belgrade. They are calling for the government to recognize the atrocities as genocide and “stop the glorification and rehabilitation of convicted war criminals.”
  • Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on attending the commemoration in Potocari: “This time as well I’ll send my deepest condolences to the families of all victims of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and surely in Srebrenica. I’m not invited and won’t go.”
  • In the nearly hour long conversation, Zaev talked about foreign policy, Russia and Serbia, and said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci had a plan to partition Kosovo
  • Zaev said “he was the victim of a prank by a well-organized structure” and the conversation was edited. He joins a list of impressive names who have been duped by the Russian duo including French President Emmanuel Macron, UK’s former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
  • Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Miro Cerar gave an interview on Slovenian economic diplomacy. Cerar noted that “Slovenia’s primary focus is on a markets within a 500km (310 miles) radius” and that “Slovenia wants to establish itself as a reference country and an active partner in the digital transformation of Europe.”
  • Bosnia’s only aluminum smelter shuts down over debt of $218 million. The Mostar company is owned 44% by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 44% by small shareholders, and 12% by the Croatian government. Around 900 people work for the company and could affect up to 10,000 jobs.
  • “Representatives of Croatia’s Police Directorate and the Zagreb Police Department on Monday met with representatives of Shanghai’s Public Security Bureau who are visiting Croatia, the Zagreb Police Department said in a press release.” (N1)
  • The Kosovo and Montenegro interstate commissions will meet soon to discuss the border demarcation and the opening of borders in Kula and Cokar.
  • Johns Hopkins SAIS Professor Daniel Serwer told Kosovar news outlet Lajmi that the EU and US should be more patient with Serbia than previously so it can realize how little Russia can offer. He also said the 100% tariff Kosovo maintains against BiH and Serbia are ineffective. 
  • Croatian soccer star Ivan Rakitic calls for July 16 to be a day of unity, pride, and joy to mark the one year anniversary of when the Croatian national soccer team returned from the 2018 Russian World Cup as runners up.


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • The shareholders of Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Cedevita Zagreb (Croatia) have completed the merger of the two clubs to Cedevita Olimpija. The basketball team will be based in Ljubljana, but coached by Croatian Slaven Rimac.
  • “An exhibition on famous Slovenian architect and designer Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) and his designs of sacred objects opened in the Vatican Museums on Thursday evening, featuring 33 selected liturgical vessels as well as video presentations of his sacred architectural works.” (Slovenia Times)