WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic & Delegation in Israel: An International Sister Seaports Agreement between the Port of Rijeka and the Port of Haifa was signed by temporary CEO of the Port of Rijeka, Dusko Grabovac, and Haifa Port CEO Mandi Zatzman.
  • But Grabar-Kitarovic caused controversy in the region: JPost and Index.hr write: “While nearly all claim to be Syrian refugees, most are actually African or Pakistani migrants who try to break through the border from Bosnia-Herzegovina, which Grabar-Kitarović said was very unstable, and had in some respects been taken over by people who have connections with Iran and terrorist organizations. The country is now controlled by militant Islam, which is dominant in setting the agenda, she said, adding that some are very violent and break into people’s homes. ‘The problem is that the refugees are being left behind.'”
  • European Commission President Ursala von der Leyen met on Tuesday with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. She said Croatia is a “tremendous success story” ahead of its EU Presidency and that it is “a role model” for other countries.
  • Meanwhile Bosnian lawmaker Sasa Magazinovic urged von der Leyen to react to Croatia speaking about dumping nuclear waste near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • QuotedEU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn: “I hope that conditions for progress will be created in Kosovo after eventual early elections in autumn. The resolution of this conflict remains a priority for the international community.”
  • Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will arrive tomorrow in N. Macedonia to visit the grave of Goce Delchev ahead of N. Macedonia’s Republic Day, more commonly known as Ilinden. 
  • Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin defended Serbia’s decision to receive Russian armored vehicles stating, “We are only doing this for the sake of peace because the stronger we are the farther away war is. A strong Serbia is a guarantee that the Balkans will be at peace.”
  • N. Macedonia’s VMRO-DPMNE MP Ilija Dimovski says that for a census to be according to Eurostat standards, it could be pushed back to 2021.
  • The Peljesac Bridge, which is being built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation using Chinese workers, began another step towards the completion of the bridge – concrete was poured into steel bases by Chinese. The catch: nearly $400 million of the $468.5 million project is being financed by the European Commission.
  • Serbia’s Ministry of Justice filed for extradition of the former KLA member Tomor Morina. He was apprehended in N. Macedonia under a Serbian warrant. He is being investigated for war crimes.
  • Deputy Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Bujar Osmani on the subject of Morina, “The warrant is for a Serbian citizen, and we do not know those people as Serbian citizens, they are citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, so it is pointless. This time, it is also specific that the warrant is not from the Serbian Interpol, but from the Interpol headquarters and therefore our country should act according to all procedures. Our pressure is on the justice ministry to speed up the process.”
  • Indian businessman Pramod Mittal and two other executives are granted bail in Bosnia and Herzegovina after being accused of participating organized crime.
  • The merger between Slovenian news outlets Dnevnik and Vecer was cleared by the Competition Protection Agency. They are the second and third largest daily newspapers in Slovenia.
  • Crime: Croatian police apprehended a Slovenian couple that was transporting 8kg (17.6 lbs) of drugs.

BEYOND THE POLITICS