The Balkans Today: 30th May - 5th June 2016
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 30th May - 5th June 2016

Our team brings you live updates of the most important events and developments in the Balkans as they happen.

    Bosnian authorities will be praised at the next NATO summit in Warsaw, even if the country has not yet met the conditions that were set during the summit in Tallin in 2010 for the activation of the Membership Action Plan, commander of the NATO headquarters in Sarajevo, brigadier general Giselle Wilz, told Bosnian news agency Fena on Monday. 

    "Bosnia has made some progress with its participation in peace keeping operations and the registration of military property," Wilz said, but noted that no further progress has been made on this in the last few months.

    Bosnian state authorities have so far only succeeded in registering 24 of its 63 military assets, which are currently under the authority of the entities.

    Bosnian soldiers. Photo: Facebook 

    Popular Albanian writer Ismail Kadare was made a Commander of the Legion d'Honneur, one of France's highest decorations, by French President Francois Hollande on Monday afternoon in Paris.

    At the award ceremony, which was attended by Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama and culture minister Mirela Kumbaro, Hollande said he considers Kadare a passionate advocate of European culture and a fantastic writer of Balkan stories. 

    Kadare has lived between France and Albania for around 30 years and has won many many prizes for literature, including the Man Booker International Prize, with his books having been translated into 29 languages.

    Ismail Kadare. Photo: Wikipedia  
    Macedonian protesters staged a demonstration in front of Skopje court as the trial commenced against two anti-government protesters accused of participating in the destruction of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov’s office in the centre of the capital on April 13 and 14.

    “We demand freedom for the protesters, freedom for those who fight for justice while the criminals walk freely and hold public offices,” the ralliers said.

    Zdravko Saveski and Vladimir Kunovski, the leaders of the newly formed Levica party and participants in Macedonia’s ongoing protests dubbed the “Colourful Revolution" are charged with destroying Ivanov’s office during demonstrations sparked by the president's decision to stop criminal procedures against 56 top politicians and their associates.

    Ivanov's decision was a controversial move that worsened country’s political crisis, and he has since partly retracted the pardons.

    Zdravko Saveski greeted the protesters as he entered the court | Photo by:

    Serbia has been putting great effort in preserving stability in the Balkans for many years, but it doesn't always have the full support of its neighbouring countries, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said during his official meeting with Serb member of the Bosnian Presidency Mladen Ivanic on Tuesday.

    "It happens often that some politicians, in order to obtain short-term political benefits, increase tension between the people who live in the region, and in this way they cause great damage to the process of reconciliation between nations and peoples," said Nikolic, who is currently on an official visit to the Belgrade, Serbian news agency Tanjug reported.

    Nikolic stressed that this applies especially to Bosnia, where the situation is rapidly deteriorating. 

    "The future of all Balkans is the cooperation [between countries in the region]...but the precondition for this cooperation is peace and stability, and Serbia strongly insists on that," Nikolic said.

    Mladen Ivanic (right) with Tomislav Nikolic in Belgrade on Tuesday. Photo: Anadolu. 

    The National Assembly in Slovenia is expected to ratify the NATO accession protocol for Montenegro next week after the government adopted the relevant law last Thursday, head of the ruling Modern Centre Party, SMC, deputy group Simona Kustec Lipicer announced on Tuesday.

    On Maj 19, Montenegro sign the accession protocol with marking the final stage of the country's path to full membership of the alliance.
    Academics, journalists, and other professionals in Albania have signed a petition organised by exponents of Kosovo’s opposition Vetevendosje [Self-determination movement] asking for the Kosovo government to refuse the EU’s conditions for visa liberalisation, which include ratifiying a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro.
    The 139 people who signed the petition argue that the agreement is unfair and claim Kosovo will lose 8,000-12,000 hectares of land because of it.

    Vetevendosje exponents rallying in Tirana. Photo: BIRN
    Croatian Vice-Prime Minister Bozo Petrov is willing to resign if it is in the country’s best interests, but does not understand how he could be considered a factor in bringing disorder within the ruling coalition, he told a press conference on Friday after Croatia’s PM Tihomir Oreskovic called for him and his fellow deputy PM and HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko to quit.

    Oreskovic's demand comes amid speculation the coalition is on the verge of collapsing due to poor relations between its leaders, particularly Karamarko and Petrov, after MOST ministers said they would vote against the HDZ chief in the parliament’s no-confidence motion, which will take place in the next two weeks.


    Croatian Vice-PM Tomislav Karamarko told a press conference on Friday that he and his party – the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ - cannot accept Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic’s request for him to resign since his party and its Patriotic Coalition won the support of more than 800,000 people, while the government leader only won the support of 76 MPs in parliament.

    In an urgent press conference held earlier the same day, Oreskovic called Karamarko and other Vice-PM, Bozo Petrov, leader of MOST, to step down to stablise the fragile ruling coalition and continue with the country’s reforms.

    Karamarko said that Oreskovic, a non-party PM, no longer has the support of HDZ, suggesting it "would be good if he resigns" so a government reshuffle can happen.

    Karamarko emphasised that his party is ready to both create a new governing majority in the parliament, and for new elections to be held, underlining that cooperation with Petrov's MOST is no longer possible.

    Tomislav Karamarko. Photo: BETAPHOTO/HINA/Damir SENCAR/DS 

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