WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Director of Europe at the International Republican Institute Paul McCarthy talked with Voice of America (Macedonian language). He called for a swift investigation in the special prosecutor’s case. Furthermore, he fully expects N. Macedonia to become NATO’s 30th member, but warned Russia will not stop trying to exert influence.
  • Ethnic Albanian Mayor of Bujanovac, Serbia, Shaip Kamberi, says that the Presevo Valley will have to be discussed as a part of the Kosovo-Serbia talks. He met with US Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY,16) in Belgrade and said Engel appreciated the thought of the Presevo Valley as a part of the talks.
  • Bosnian Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlic Radman met to discuss lingering bilateral issues in the southern Croatian town of Brela. 
  • Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Chair of the Commission for NATO Integrations Josip Brkic on BiH’s future in NATO and the EU: “European and Euro-Atlantic integration is the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the priority of my foreign policy activities. NATO and the EU have always been and remain a synonym for security, development and the stability of all of its members and partners.”
  • Christian Cash, a former spokesperson for NATO-led KFOR in Kosovo, told the Belgrade Politika daily on Monday that Florim Eyupi, a man tried for the attack on a bus in February 2001, in which 12 Serbs were killed and more wounded was released from the camp Bondsteel because he worked for the CIA, the Beta news agency reported.” (N1)
  • N. Macedonia banned on Monday the use of the Vergina Sun in public places in accordance to last year’s Prespa Agreement.
  • Turkstream: The first section of the Serbian Turkstream pipeline was completed. 
  • War Crimes: Serbia to release Mirograd Solaja three years early. He will have served twelve of a fifteen year sentence for killing 14 members of the Bogujevci and Duriqi family. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of N. Macedonia is not expected to rule in favor of extraditing former KLA member Tomor Morina to Serbia which accuses him of war crimes.  
  • Swine Fever Hits Serbia: “Serbia has reported four suspected outbreaks of African swine fever among backyard pigs, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday, prompting neighbouring countries to ban imports of the animals.” (AP)


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Sport: Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade and Bulgaria’s Lokomotivc Plovdiv are charged with racism following their UEFA Europa League soccer matches last week. Partizan will play its next two UEFA matches without fans, while Lokomotiv will face a partial stadium ban.
  • Sport: Meanwhile, Scottish side Aberdeen have made an official complaint to UEFA over the treatment of its fans who were on a trip to play against Croatian team HNK Rijeka. Buses were destroyed and the away section resembled a cage.
  • Culture: Special commemorative tickets will be handed out for the 25th anniversary of the Sarajevo film festival.