WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
Happy Eid al-Adha to all of our readers who celebrated over the weekend.
- US National Security Advisor John Bolton will not make a trip to the region in the fall, despite early reports that he would be.
- Incumbent Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic announces her plan to seek a second term in office.
- PM of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev was named in the latest video released in relation to the extortion case of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
- New British PM Boris Johnson spoke at length with Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic. The primary focus was Brexit.
- Johann Sattlerwill be the new EU Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, he will lead the EU delegation in Sarajevo.
- Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra was granted Serbian citizenship despite being wanted in her home country on corruption charges. But her documentation the Serbian government website appears to have been taken down.
- Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic clarified his earlier statement on urging Serbs to vote for President Trump: “When Jews vote for Trump, that’s not interference or when Albanians vote for the Clintons or Engel. I’m not talking about Serbia as a state, I’m talking about US citizens of Serbian origin. That’s simply how things work in America. Albanians always bring Engel victory in his constituency.”
- Michael Carpenter, a former Department of Defense official and Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, doesn’t think that Dacic’s statement was a smart diplomatic move. In addition, he thinks that it would be difficult to reach a deal on Kosovo-Serbia with elections coming up.
- Johns Hopkins SAIS Professor Daniel Serwer alsocriticized called Dacic’s words and labelled them as “not wise.”
- Serbian protesters officially gave a list of demands to President Aleksandar Vucic. The 1 in 5 million protests have been going on weekly.
- Vucic focuses on infrastructure: “We are in position to easily ensure at least 10 or even 12 billion euros ($13.4 billion) of funding for new investments. We are building more roads and railroads than in the times of Tito.”
- Former Kosovo PM Ramush Haradinaj denies that he intimidated witnesses.
- Bosniak political leader Bakir Izetbegovic confirms that BiH would reduce its cooperation with NATO should it implement the deal to create a government that he signed with HDZ BiH leader Dragan Covic and SNSD’s Milorad Dodik.
- Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova:on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers: “We want to bring to your attention that the work of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office … has yielded no results yet. No charges have been brought against those involved in the killings of people for their organs, which were sold on the black market.”
- Ulcinj, Montenegro Mayor Loro Nrekic announced that state-owned Maltese Enemalta will launch a 46MW wind farm outside Ulcinj next month. The test production came online in April.
- The Croatian opposition proposes a plan in parliament to legalize marijuana .
- Migrants: 161 migrants were detained by police in N. Macedonia. In addition, the police in N. Macedonia found a further 22 migrants in a van. Serbian police detained a driver who was smuggling 46 migrants mainly from Pakistan and Iran. Police in Croatia are accused of beating eighteen migrants and pushing them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. BiH will start keeping records of injuries. Croatia denies the accusation.
- Meanwhile, “The Stajerska Guard, known as an anti-migrant paramilitary group in Slovenia led by a far-right politician, Andrej Sisko, has set up a camp near the town of Podcetrtak some 20 kilometres of the Slovenia-Croatia border, the Zagreb-based Jutarnji List daily reported on Saturday.” (N1)
- The number of citizens of N. Macedonia opting for Bulgarian passports reaches 2,556 in the first six months of 2019. Last year, a total of 3,619 citizens of N. Macedonia obtained Bulgarian citizenship.
- Crime: There are currently 175 Interpol warrants out for citizens of the Western Balkans.
BEYOND THE POLITICS
- Commentary: “Borrell in the Western Balkans” by Petrit Selimi in ECFR
- Analysis: “Could delays to Balkan enlargement undermine the EU?” By Cristina Abellan Matamoros in Euronews
- Human Interest: “An Irish Officer Returns To Sarajevo And The Scene Of War Crimes” by Gordana Knezovic in RFE/RL
- Travel: “‘Yugonostalgic Tourism’: Can A Communist History Turn Into A Business?” by Rebecca Banovic in Forbes
- Travel: A German tourist took it upon himself to clean trash on a Croatian beach.
- Lifestyle: Montenegro is poised to ban smoking in enclosed public places starting August 14.
- Human Interest: On the 108 meter Zagreb Cathedral, a daredevil jumped after climbing scaffolding.