WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer says an unresolved extortion investigation in North Macedonia could undermine prospects for the small Balkan nation’s long-awaited European Union accession talks.
  • “North Macedonia’s former chief Special Prosecutor, Katica Janeva, unexpectedly tendered her resignation last month amid allegations that she masterminded a scheme to extort millions from an indicted businessman in exchange for a reduced sentence.” (Voice of America)
  • Palmer also denied setting up a meeting between Serbian officials and he opposition in Belgrade. 
  • US Ambassador to Montenegro Judy Rising Reinke is encouraging US businesses to invest there. She noted that businesses that operate in Montenegro now “are welcome.”
  • Croatia celebrated yesterday the anniversary of Operation Storm known in Croatia as Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day. Events were held across the country and top officials attended them, including US General Sandra Best who is the Chief of Staff of the Minnesota National Guard.
  • President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said: “Let us build our beautiful homeland together, through solidarity and respect for one another. So that from day to day she is even more developed and even more just. The way previous generations dreamt she would be and the kind our veterans and defenders wanted her to be.” 
  • Meanwhile, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic asked where 400,000 Croatian Serbs and Yugoslavs went to after Operation Storm?
  • And Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic reiterated Vucic’s statistics and said that Serbia mourns on this day. He also handed over 20 keys to refugee families from Bosnia and Croatia in Vranjacka Banja. 
  • On Friday, Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated at Jasenovac.
  • Bosniak Member of the Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic was in Foca on Sunday to mark Remembrance Day of the suffering of Foca citizens during the 1992-1995 wars and noted: “Some 22,000 Bosniaks were expelled, killed, raped, and are missing without a trace from the area where they had lived there for centuries. Of those 22,000, 3,000 were killed, a huge number of them, were never identified… how else to call it but genocide.”
  • War of Words: Fallout after Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was accused of saying Bosnia and Herzegovina was run by “militant Islam” by the Jerusalem Post (JP) – JP editing its article. Furthermore, Grabar-Kitarovic denies she ever said that and that she would fight for Bosnia at every point. 
  • Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met with his counterpart from N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev leading up to Ilinden, or Day of the Republic. They celebrated Goce Delchev and Borissov indicated that the historical committees should come up with a compromise by October.
  • Prime Minister Zaev called on former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to return to N. Macedonia to serve time in prison for corruption.
  • Germany’s Die Welt newspaper reports that Russia is looking to build a military base in Republika Srpska, the Bosnian-Serb dominated entity. 
  • Croatia Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic pledged to save Uljanik shipyard. The government owns a 25% stake in the nearly bankrupt Rijeka icon. 
  • Montenegro State Prosecutor Sasa Cadenovic has named Israeli international political consultant Aron Shaviv as a suspect in the 2016 alleged coup. Shaviv was the head strategist for the opposition Democratic Front. 
  • Chinese police will work with Serbian counterparts to assist with communication between Chines nationals and Serbian police and institutions. China’s Huawei launched the Safe City project in Belgrade which will place surveillance cameras throughout the city and use facial recognition technology.
  • “Now is a historic chance for Serbia and Kosovo to reach an agreement, with the help of visionary political leaders and coordinated support from the US and the EU, Executive Vice President at Atlantic Council of the United States Damon Wilson said, adding that he believes Serbia will recognise Kosovo’s independence.” (N1)


  • The iconic Sarajevo Brewery (Sarajevsko Pivo) will now ship to China. The international expansion began when the brewery presented at the Ningbo Fair in China’s Zhenjiang earlier in the year.  Sarajevsko dates to 1864.
  • As America grapples with two mass shootings, Zagreb is reeling after a man killed six (including a ten year old child) and then killed himself. The tragedy was the worst mass homicide for Croatia in the last 20 years. 
  • Migrants: A fight broke out involving several people that resulted in two injured Pakistani migrants needing medical attention. Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic said there are 10,555 registered migrants in BiH, but only 160 have requested asylum.
  • “The Office for the Collection and Documentation of War Crime of the Kosovo municipality of Gjakova/Djakovica said on Thursday that it has filed 100 new criminal complaints against alleged Serbian war criminals to the Special Prosecution in Pristina.” (KosSev)

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • TravelBill and Melinda Gates and family are yachting off the coast of Montenegro on the 93 meter long Lady S. In previous summers the family has visited Sibenik and elsewhere in Croatia.
  • Sport: The NBA’s Denver Nuggets signed 22-year-old Slovenian forward Vlatko Cancar to a multiyear deal.
  • Music: American singer Miley Cyrus performed in Pristina, Kosovo at the Sunny Hill Music Festival. The festival is organized by English-born Kosovar pop star Dua Lipa and her father Dukagjin Lipa.