The Balkans Today: 12th - 16th September 2016
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 12th - 16th September 2016

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

  • Top stories from the Balkans this Monday:
    • The centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, is in the lead in Croatia's general elections with 61 seats, followed by their main opponents, the centre-left Social Democratic Party, SDP, with 54 seats, according to the first preliminary results. Read more.
    • Bosnian parties have widely disrespected election law in the campaign but the authorities have turned a blind eye, Dario Jovanovic, from ‘Pod Lupom’ - which is monitoring the process - told BIRN. Read more.
    • In an interview with BIRN, Goran Danilovic, Montenegrin Interior Minister, says the deadly gang violence in Kotor has grown worse because the criminals have enjoyed support in state structures. Read more.
    • Residents of the village that became notorious as a hub for cannabis production fear a new movie, 'Lazarat Burning', will make them famous again for all the wrong reasons. Read more.
  • Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, was struck by a series of earthquakes on Sunday, the strongest of which had a magnitude of 5.3, injuring at least 50 people and causing minor damage to buildings, authorities said.

    At least four aftershocks followed the largest quake, while a smaller one was recorded earlier in the day.

    Local media reported that most of the injuries people suffered occurred while they were leaving their homes in panic.

    In 1963, a large earthquake leveled much of Skopje, killing more than 1,000 people.
  • Andrej Plenkovic, president of the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, which won the most seats in Croatia’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, said on Tuesday that he would rather Zoran Milanovic, leader of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, SDP, congratulate his party on the election win before he calls for a grand coalition to be formed.

    Plenkovic’s statement came in response to Milanovic’s comment on Sunday evening following the polls that “each of us should suppress their ambition and vanity and to make themselves available,” which some experts say can be interpreted as an offer to form a “grand coalition” with the HDZ.  

    According to still-unofficial results of the elections published by the State Election Commission, HDZ won 61, while SDP's centre-left People's Coalition won 54 seats in the 151-seat parliament.
    Andrej Plenkovic. Photo: BETAPHOTO/AP Photo/Darko Bandic
  • Many scared residents of Macedonia's capital Skopje spent Sunday night under the open sky, sleeping on blankets and in tents after the city was struck by a series of earthquakes earlier in the day.

    The strongest of the quakes hit on Sunday afternoon and had a magnitude of 5.3, causing mostly minor injuries to at least 50 people who had in most cases been fleeing their homes in panic. The earthquake also caused minor damage to buildings.

    As several smaller aftershocks were felt in the area in the evening, authorities had issued a guide to the residents instructing them what to do in case of repeated earthquake.

    Skopje Earthquake. Скопје Земјотрес. 11.09.2016
    by Yesno Darling via YouTube

  • Commenting on Croatia’s Sunday preliminary election results, Dragan Covic, the President of the Bosnian branch of the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZBiH, claimed that HDZ’s win with 61 of the 151 seats in parliament exceeded expectations and will make it easy to for the party to form a new government.

    "I think it will not be difficult to form a government that will be more stable than the previous one," Covic said in a press statement on Monday, Bosnian media reported.

    Dragan Covic. Photo: HDZBiH/Facebook. 

  • Albanian Muslims began their Eid al-Adha celebration, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, on Monday with a traditional mass prayer held on Tirana’s main boulevard. 

    The annual holiday is the second of two in major celebrations in Islam each year, the other being Eid al-Fitr, which follows the month-long fasting period called Ramadan. 

    This religious holiday commemorates the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God.
    Albanian Muslims praying on Monday morning. Photo: LSA/Malton Dibra 
  • Montenegrin police have launched a large-scale drug raid in the resort of Kotor, searching the homes of alleged members of drug gangs in the town.

    Local Vijesti TV reported that the police raid targets persons of “security interest" in the town, which has experienced a surge in violence relating to drugs gangs in the past few months.
    Photo: Montenegrin police.

  • Implementation of #SAA key for modernising #Kosovo's economy, society + politics Looking fw to first Stabilisation & Association Council 2/2
  • Two pairs of shoes recently sent to Melania Trump, the wife of the firebrand Republican candidate in the US Presidential elections, from a factory in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, have been halted by American police. 

    Marinko Umicevic, technical director of the Bema footwear factory in the Bosnian city of Banja Luka, who had the idea to send two pairs of shoes to the potential American First Lady, says law enforcement agencies will analyse the package for Melania for at least 15 days.

    “Everything that comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina is suspicious for the American police. They immediately think that there is a, God forbid, bomb, and Melania, as I was informed, has not even reached to open the package,” Umicevic told Belgrade-based daily Blic.
  • Ex-prime minister Zoran Milanović says to quit as leader of Croatia's opposition SDP after election setback

  • In just three days, the Romanian Border Police caught 60 migrants who were trying to enter or go out of Romania illegally.

    The migrants told the police that they had been hidden in the truck in Bulgaria. Romania-Insider reported that they were supposed to go to Vienna and had promised 4,000 euros per person to the Bulgarian driver to take them there.

    On the other hand, the driver said he didn’t know that there were people in the truck, as the trailer was already loaded and sealed when he picked it up from the exporting company.

    Under the Romanian-Bulgarian protocol, both the driver and the migrants were handed over to the Bulgarian Border Police, which will continue the investigation.

    Photo: Beta.

  • On a special press conference, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic specially congratulated the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, on being winning the most seats, 61 out of a total of 151, in the country’s parliamentary elections on Sunday.

    She also pointed to the demands given on Sunday night by the centre-right Bridge of the Independent Lists, MOST, in saying: "I will not allow stalling and ultimatums that irritate the public, and are not the way in building a stable government." 

  • The European migrant crisis, economic growth and the energy market will be among the top priorities during Bulgaria’s six-month Presidency of the European Council, Lubomir Ivanov, head of the Bulgarian EU presidency team, said at a press conference on Monday. 

    Ivanov’s comment comes ahead of a meeting on Wednesday of the so-called ‘troika’ with Estonia and Austria, which will take over the next six-month presidencies of the EU from September 2017, ahead of Bulgaria stepping in on June 1, 2018.

    The three countries will have to work together in order to coordinate their activities and priorities, as their presidencies were each moved forward by six months after the UK officially gave up its turn, which was due to commence half way through 2017.
  • Andrej Plenković says HDZ will negotiate with kingmakers Most but insists post of Croatia PM is 'reserved for me'

  • Top stories from the Balkans this Tuesday:
    • Bulgarian officials denied that Sofia was planning to replace its current nominee as new UN Secretary-General, Irina Bokova, with Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner in charge of the bloc’s budget. Read more.
    • NGOs warn that Albanian families expected to give up their properties to make room for the Adriatic pipeline project, TAP, have not been adequately compensated, while some have faced threats of government expropriation. Read more.
    • Kosovo looks set to grant very extensive coal research licenses to a company chaired by retired US General Wesley Clark - which some deem a virtual monopoly. Read more.
    • Positive economic trends and IMF support leave no room for complacency, as budget-tightening and unpopular reforms are not over for Serbia, experts warn. Read more.
  • Vladimira Palfi, one of the leaders of the Croatian anti-establishment party Living Wall, that led the coalition Only Option in winning eight seats in parliament in Sunday’s elections, confirmed that it registered a party called Living Wall Ivan Vilibor Sincic, named after its president, at the state administration ministry.

    She said that the new party was formed just in case the original Living Wall party again have internal problems as they did in July and as they have now, with their future MP Hrvoje Runtic criticizing the leadership, not responding to calls from the party, and not attending their meetings.

    Ivan Vilibor Sincic. Photo: Beta

    Belgrade-based art and humanitarian hub, Miksaliste, was awarded yesterday for its contribution in aiding migrants and refugees who have arrived in the Serbian capital during the ongoing refugee crisis.
    The Refugee Aid Miskaliste project was recognised as Campaign of the Year by the European Civic Forum and Volonteurope, with the awards handed out at a gala in London on Monday evening.
    Following the ceremony, Tajana Zadravec, the manager of Miksaliste, took to Facebook to share her gratitude on behalf of the organisation. 
    “This award goes to all of the amazing organisations who helped us in the previous year. To all of the press who supported us no matter what. To thousands of citizens who came with donations, and, most importantly, this award goes to all of those people who are part of our multicultural family - VOLUNTEERS!” she wrote.
    Since it was established, in August 2015, Miksaliste has assisted around 150,000 refugees and coordinated some 1,300 volunteers from 60 countries to help with their work.
    by gordana.andric via null edited by emma.krstic 9/13/2016 9:37:46 AM
  • The Croatian Chamber of Economy stated that airport in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, Dubrovnik, Pula, Zadar and the islands of Mali Losinj and Brac had over 4.4 million passengers in the first seven months of 2016, which represents 12.4 per cent growth compared to the same period last year.

    The growth is also twice as big as that registered for Europe as a whole, which saw a 6.2 per cent increase.
  • Serbian police have arrested 30 drug smugglers and dealers in a 13-month joint operation with German police, Serbia's interior minister said Tuesday.

    Police have confiscated about 300 kilograms of cocaine and other drugs, and discovered seven drug-processing laboratories in both Serbia and Germany, Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said.

    Stefanovic added that the street value of the confiscated drugs was estimated at 20 million euros, while police also found weapons and money.

    "This is an excellent example of cooperation between the Serbian and German police," Stefanovic said. "It dealt a huge blow to the organized drug cartels."

  • Irina Bokova will remain Bulgaria’s candidate for the next UN Secretary-General of the UN, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov announced on Tuesday amid growing speculation that she would be replaced as the country’s choice by the European Commission Vice-President, Kristalina Georgieva. 

    Borissov said that the government will support Bokova, the current head of UNESCO, at least until September 26, when he expects her to be among the first two runners for the post after the next secret vote.

    But Borissov did not refrain from criticism of Bokova, saying that he had invited her to Tuesday’s government meeting but she had declined over “more important engagements with UNESCO”.

    “This did not leave a good impression,” he said.

    Irina Bokova. Photo: UNESCO 

  • The last 280 Iranian members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (People's Mujahedin of Iran), an exiled opposition movement that advocates the overthrow of the Islamic Republic in Iran, have left Camp Liberty in Iraq and are now in Albania, the US Republican Senator Thom Tillis stated in a press release on Monday.

    Camp Liberty, which had experienced several attacks in recent years, has now been closed.

    The transfer of the People's Mujahedin of Iran members to Albania is the result of an agreement between the Balkan country and the US signed in 2013, but while the exact number Tirana agreed to take in has not been revealed, it is believed a total of around 3,000 have been given sanctuary.
    Skenderbej Square in Tirana. Photo: Wikimedia/Pudelek 
  • Svetozar Marovic, a former head of state and close ally of Montenegro's strongman, has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for corruption, a court in Pogorica announced Tuesday.

    Marovic, 61, who served as president of Serbia and Montenegro from 2003 to 2006 before the state split in two, was handed a 46-month term after he agreed to a deal with prosecutors.

    Marovic was accused of being the kingpin of a criminal group in his hometown, the coastal resort of Budva.

    "The accused has confessed to his crime," the court said in a statement.

    Svetozar Marovic. Photo: Facebook.

  • Around 70 per cent of Bosnians who took our loans in Swiss francs from the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank between 2006 and 2008 have agreed to a plan offered by the financial institutions to convert their borrowed sums into Bosnian marks, making it easier for them to repay their debts, Bosnian media reported on Wednesday, quoting sources from the bank. 

    From 2006 to 2008, some 9,800 Bosnians took out loans in Swiss francs, which became impossible to repay after the currency appreciated in recent years.

    Swiss Francs. Photo: Pixabay. 

  • Andrej Plenkovic, president of the leading centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, confirmed that at 5pm his party will start negotiations on forming the future Croatian government with centre-right Bridge of the Independent Lists, MOST.

    Plenkovic said that HDZ agrees in principle with MOST's seven conditions, which have to be fulfilled within 30 days from parliament coming into session, before forming the government.

    MOST's conditions are democratisation of the political and elections system, changes in financing the political system, introducing an exclusive economic zone in Croatia's Adriatic Sea territory, amendments on the law on financial seizures, amendment of the law on the public Croatian Radio-Television, regulating pay in local and regional governments, and abolishing taxes for small and mid-level companies.

    HDZ and MOST won 61 and 13 seats respectively on Sunday elections and need two more seats to reach the needed majority in parliament.
    Andrej Plenkovic. Photo: BETAPHOTO/AP Photo/Darko Bandic
  • The commission established to organise the disputed referendum in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, RS, confirmed its own voters' list on Thursday, after the country’s Central Election Commission refused to give RS authorities its own registry. 

    According to the referendum commission, 1,219,399 citizens will be able to vote in the poll, which is due to take place on September 25, despite opposition from Bosniaks and the international community.
  • A 4.8-magnitude earthquake was registered on Monday evening in Macedonia, local media reported, referring to an announcement made by Macedonia's seismology observatory.

    According to the seismology observatory, the quake measured 4.8 on the Richter scale while its epicenter was reported to be five km in the southeast of Skopje.

    Macedonia felt several tremors on Monday, following the biggest one on Sunday afternoon, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale.

    The shakes have sparked panic among the citizens as many of them have been staying outdoor fearing a stronger quake.
  • In his final lecture under his mandate as the French ambassador to Bulgaria on Tuesday, Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes upheld the outspoken approach he will be remembered for by telling the young Bulgarians present that “if you emigrate, then you are leaving your country to [Delyan] Peevski [a notorious Bulgarian politician and businessman].”

    He added: “Doesn’t Bulgaria deserve something more, something better than this?”

    During his address, the French ambassador also blamed Bulgaria’s communist past for its current problems, and noted that the lack of critical reflection and condemnation of the former regime is what forces young Bulgarians to leave the country.

    De Cabanes has been an outspoken critic of Bulgaria’s problems with corruption and organised crime who openly advocated for reforms of the judiciary and protection of media freedom, often being criticised for his positions.

    Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes. Photo: Atlantic Club of Bulgaria
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  • Two were injured and three arrested in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Tuesday after a gun fight between two rap groups in which a famous Albanian rap artist was involved.

    The shooting occurred around 5pm and police officers arrested three persons, Kosovo Police spokesperson Florije Ahmeti told BIRN. The two people injured in the fight were taken to the emergency centre in Pristina.

    BIRN has learned that violence broke out after a fight between two rap groups and the Albanian rap artist, Rigels Rajku, known as Noizy, was one of the injured. The musician is being treated at the city's orthopaedic clinic.

    The identity of the other injured person and those arrested has still not been confirmed.
    Photo: BIRN.

    by dusica.tomovic via null edited by emma.krstic 9/13/2016 7:23:28 PM
  • Top stories from the Balkans this Wednesday:
    • Serbian ministers use hardline rhetoric that contradicts the government’s pro-European stance in order to portray Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as a reliable moderate, experts claim. Read more.
    • Once a pro-West centrist, the president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity is now a hard-line nationalist whose policy aims include splitting the country. Read more.
    • Representatives of Croatia and Bosnia will meet next week to discuss the construction of an important and long-delayed new bridge linking the two countries across the River Sava. Read more.
    • A Kosovo parliamentary commission postponed voting on whether to send a government decision to grant extensive coal research licenses to a company chaired by retired US General Wesley Clark for parliamentary approval. Read more.
  • Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated that his country will accept support for protecting its border with Turkey, but highlighted that the “the role of the EU-Turkey deal for limiting the migration flow to Europe is also important,” following a working dinner with his Serbian and Hungarian counterparts - Aleksandar Vucic and Victor Orban respectively - late on Tuesday in the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas.

    Borissov did not clarify whether help with protecting its borders will come from the EU or from neighbouring countries.

    In August, Serbia’s Interior Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, offered to help Bulgaria guard its border with Turkey, but it has not yet been accepted.

    Vucic left Bulgaria after the meeting had concluded, but Orban’s visit continues on Wednesday, when he will discuss with Borissov the joint monitoring of Bulgaria’s land and sea borders with Turkey.

    The three premiers in Burgas. Photo: Boyko Borissov's official Facebook page 

  • Bosnian Security Minister Dragan Mektic addressed those at the 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism in Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening, speaking about the activities that Bosnian authorities have implemented to counter terrorism, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.

    The summit, organised by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, began on September 11 and will conclude on September 15, with more than 1,000 experts from 60 countries in attendance.

    Some of the activities Bosnian has implemented against terrorism in recent years include stricter laws against those who travel abroad to fight for the Islamic State, which Bosnian authorities made a crime in 2014.

    Bosnia has been tackling Islamic extremism among its population in recent years, but experts have warned that the true scale of the problem is unknown, making it hard to monitor the situation, a BIRN analysis published in March reported.

    In the same analysis, it was shown that there have been around 200 departures of people travelling from Bosnia to fight for SIS in Syria and Iraq between 2012 and 2015.

    Dragan Mektic. Photo: Youtube.

  • The State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina sentenced 13 Bosnian citizens to a total of 101 years imprisonment on Wednesday for several crimes including murders, armed robbery and money laundering, regional network N1 reported. 

    In 2014, the Bosnian prosecution accused them of being part of one of the biggest criminal group in Bosnia in the past 20 years.
  • Bulgaria will demand an immediate border assistance package worth 160 million euros at the forthcoming EU Summit on Friday in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, Bulgarian premier Boyko Borissov announced on Wednesday.

    Earlier in the day, Borissov did an inspection of Bulgaria’s land and sea border with Turkey together with the Hungarian premier Victor Orban.

    Orban said that Hungary and the other three countries that make up the the Visegrad Four – the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia - will back Bulgaria’s demand of the EU.

    “If we can give three billion euros to Turkey, which is not in the EU, then it is impossible not to be able to give the Bulgarians, who are in the EU, 160 million euros,” Orban said.

    He also noted that the future of Europe is not determined in Brussels, but on the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

    Borissov and Orban in Burgas. Photo: Borissov's official Facebook page.  

  • The President of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 22 in Moscow, three days before the controversial referendum is planned to take place in the entity.

    Dusko Perovic, head of the Republika Srpska's Representative Office in the Russian capital has told Bosnian media that the Russian Federation’s presidential office confirmed on Wednesday morning that the meeting would take place next Thursday.

    “It is a meeting planned in the scope of regular consultations on various topics,” Perovic said.

    Perovic added that Dodik would also have appointments with Russian businessmen and investors during his visit to Moscow.
    Milorad Dodik. Photo: Beta.

    by dusica.tomovic via null edited by emma.krstic 9/14/2016 1:53:35 PM
  • A Bulgarian and a Dutch citizen have been arrested on a boat carrying nearly 15 tonnes of hashish off Spain’s southern coast, the Spanish Ministry of Interior reported on Wednesday, quoted by Reuters. 

    The seizure is the largest drugs haul in the Mediterranean this year, the ministry said, adding that it formed part of a pan-European initiative called Indalo, which is responsible for monitoring illegal immigration flows and criminal activity along the Mediterranean coast from North Africa.
  • The former chief of the Democratic Party of Kosovo’s parliamentary group, Adem Grabovci, was interviewed by Kosovo’s Special Prosecution on Wednesday for their investigation into leaked wiretapped phone conversations between him and other PDK officials published during August.

    The wiretapped conversations sparked claims that Grabovci influenced appointments to top public sector positions.

    Following the interview, Grabovci gave journalists a sarcastic answer to questions about what happened during it, saying: “I came here to do some appointments”, but added that “I am always ready to contribute for the truth to see the light.”

    His lawyer, Florent Latifaj, said that his client would not answer questions related to the wiretaps, stated he had instructed him “to remain silent until we have a definitive answer from EULEX about the order on telecommunication interception.”

    Adem Grabovci   Photo: BIRN
    by die.morina via null edited by emma.krstic 9/14/2016 2:07:50 PM
  • Montenegro on Wednesday signed a contract with a consortium of Italy's Eni and Russian No. 2 gas firm Novatek, awarding it a 30-year concession for oil and gas exploration in the Adriatic sea, Reuters reported.

    The contract for four blocks covering an area of 1,228 square kilometers has been awarded in line with the terms of a 2014 tender, which initially covered an area of 3,000 square kilometers. Each of the partners will have 50 percent interest in the exploration licenses.

    "The signing of the contract will pave the way for the commencement of the oil and gas exploration," said Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro's Prime Minister.
  • Top stories from the Balkans this Thursday:
    • Despite the leader's claims to have moved the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, to the centre ground, a few far-right candidates have still entered the new parliament under its auspices. Read more.
    • The ongoing privatisation of media organisations in Serbia has forced many local, independent outlets to close - or become the tools of political parties. Read more.
    • The chief Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Efraim Zuroff, told BIRN that the next Croatian government must confront politicians who try to rehabilitate the country’s World War II fascist regime. Read more.
    The ongoing privatisation of media organisations in Serbia has forced many local, independent outlets to close - or become the tools of political parties. - See more at:
  • Launching the #Montenegro friendship group in EP w PM Djukanovic as our first guest

  • In US Senate hearing yesterday, support for #Montenegro's #NATO accession was loud & clear

  • A debate on Twitter started after one of two candidates for the new president of Croatia’s leading centre-left Social Democratic Party, SDP, Tonino Picula said that he will stay an MEP in Brussels even if he becomes president and will lead the party from there.

    In response to his tweet, Maja Sever, a journalist for public broadcaster Croatian Radio-Television, HRT, asked if he is aware that SDP is in such condition that it needs him "on a full-time" basis, "plus a few more hours in the afternoon".

    Picula answered her by saying that the SDP has so much work to do that they could have someone working through the night on a “third shift”, and added that he "isn't short in energy and the will" to do it.
    Tonino Picula. Photo: Flickr/Tonino Picula's Office
  • Macedonia's Special Prosecution, SJO, tasked to investigate high-level crime, raised the first indictments in two cases stemming from last year's wiretap scandal on Thursday.

    The indictment for the first case has been raised against seven people employed by the Counter Intelligence Agency for "illegal destruction of documentation" in relation to the case dubbed "Fortress", which deals with alleged illegal destruction of documentation and equipment used for large-scale illegal wiretapping.
    The second indictment is against 14 persons for "enticement and carrying out of criminal act against the public order", linked to the conversations alleging that former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, back in 2013, ordered an attack on Skopje's Centar municipality mayor, Andrej Zernovski.

    Macedonian special prosecutors. Photo: MIA

  • Three judges from the western Serbian towns of Sabac and Loznica were arrested on charges of corruption on Wednesday, Serbia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs announced in a written statement.

    The President of High Court in Sabac, Gojko Lazarev, the president of the Municipal Court in Loznica, Dragan Cvetinovic, and a judge in the Primary Court also in Loznica, Olivera Lazarevic, were arrested alongside one other person in an operation that had been planned for months, Serbian Police Ministry spokesperson Biljana Popovic Ivkovic said.
    Building of the High Court in Belgrade 

  • The leaders of the parties which form the government coalition in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the larger of the country’s two entities, met on Thursday in the presidency building in Sarajevo to discuss infrastructure development, regional television network N1 reported.

    "After today's meeting ... I think we are on the right path and that in the next five-six years we will have built the majority of the European corridor 5C and the highways, in order to ensure modern infrastructure to Bosnia and Herzegovina," Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Bosnian Presidency and leader of the Bosnian branch of the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZBiH, told Bosnian media after the meeting.

    Dragan Covic. Photo: HDZBiH/Facebook. 

  • Montenegro is making a good progress in EU accession negotiations with 24 chapters opened so far, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in Thursday’s debate with the Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic.

    In his opening remarks Foreign Affairs Committee chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) welcomed the good progress made by Montenegro in EU accession negotiations, noting that it is “the most advanced country, when it comes to the process of negotiations”.

    Djukanovic reassured MEPs of Montenegro continued commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration, hoping this path will be sustained after the general elections to be held on 16 October. New efforts in fighting corruption and ensuring rule of law were amongst the examples highlighted by the Prime Minister, who also stressed that Montenegro is ready to start the negotiations on new chapters, on top of the 24 opened so far.

    Photo: Pixabay.

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