WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Bosniak Member of the Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic responded: “They are also responsible for all other victims, not just the 350 of them whom they forced out of their camp and handed over to (former Serb army general Ratko) Mladic and (former Republika Srpska entity president Radovan) Karadzic and their butchers. Their responsibility is absolute and cannot be expressed in percentages.”
  • Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker is on a week-long trip to N. Macedonia and Greece. He will discuss the path NATO and EU membership and bilateral relations while meeting with top officials in Skopje.
  • The US Senate endorsed Lynda Blanchard as the new US Ambassador to Slovenia on Thursday.
  • While in Washington… Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic met with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker. Darmanovic also met with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME, 1). Finally, he also spoke to Atlantic Council’sBalkans Forward Congressional Fellows.
  • Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli met with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and “friendRudy Giuliani. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met with US National Security Advisor John Bolton. Kosovo Speaker of Parliament Kadri Veseli met with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D -CA, 12).
  • Radio Free Europe (Macedonian language) interviewed President Stevo Pendarovski who noted that he is looking for reconciliation with rival party VMRO-DPMNE and that he would not provide amnesty to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, nor any associates, even if they committed crimes.
  • Zeljko Komsictook over as the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday for an eight month term.
  • The migrant crisis is coming to a head in Croatia. An anonymous police officer has alleged 20 to 50 migrants physically assaulted at the border each day. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic did recently suggest “a little bit of force is needed” when patrolling the Croatian-Bosnian border.

  • Meanwhile, Slovenia will send 35 troops to its borders to help police patrol in the southwest of the country.
  • Albanian police confirmed it held a joint drill with Kosovo and Montenegro focusing on cross-border crime. 
  • Fitch boosted Slovenia to an A rating comparable to Japan or Iceland. Prime Minister Marjan Sarec projects the government will have a budget surplus and debt continuing to decline.
  • Weird News of the Day: A Serbian man admits to calling in a fake bomb threat for a Lufthansa flight set to take passengers to Frankfurt, Germany from Belgrade. Why did he do it? He wanted a date with a flight attendant.


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Podcast: Sarajevo Calling Episode 8: “101 Dalmatian Recessions?!” (1 hr. 4 minutes): “The Western Balkan tourist boom: economic golden hen or flash in the pan? The boys discuss the social and political context of the region’s increasing (over)reliance on tourism, and the need for more sustainable economic management. Sunny skies and tax evasion, oh my!”
  • Sport: The Bosnia and Herzegovina Soccer Federation was fined 33,250 Euros ($37,290) for fan behavior during a match against Italy. Fans lit pyrotechnics and threw objects on the field.