The Balkans Today: 13th - 17th March 2017
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 13th - 17th March 2017

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:
    • Iranian media are waging an online war against an opposition group - some whose members live in exile in Albania - launching new websites in Albanian to influence local opinion. Read more.
    • Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity is shelling out more cash for lobbyists and for its US office - hoping to see the end of sanctions slapped on its leader, Milorad Dodik. Read more.
    • As Bosnia sinks deeper into division and turmoil, more and more people remember the ‘golden era’ of Josip Broz Tito with fondness. Read more.
    Twitter in Serbia on Monday was awash with comments about satirist Luka Maksimovic, alias Ljubisa Preletacevic-Beli, who handed the Republic Election Commission his 12,640 signatures of support on Sunday evening for his candidacy in the upcoming presidential election, only for it to be put into question because of the lack of the prefix “group of citizens" ahead of his party’s name, "Beli Just Strong", on the official documents.
    The commission is due to decide on the legitimacy of Beli’s application at 11am today.
    For more updates on Serbia's 2017 presidential elections, follow our coverage here.
    The UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has accused Russia of attempting to assassinate the leader of Montenegro as he warned the country is capable of hacking into political systems in the UK.

    According to Telegraph, Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin's government has been up to "all sorts of dirty tricks" in recent months and added that he is "sad" that relations with the country have deteriorated.

    Johnson added: "You've seen what’s happened in Montenegro where there was an attempted coup in a European state and possibly even an attempted assassination of the leader of that state.

    "Now there’s very little doubt that the Russians are behind these things."

    Boris Johnson. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/John Hemming.

    Montenegro presented its entry for Eurovision to be held Kyiv, Ukraine, revealing it on the Official YouTube Channel for the Eurovision Song Contest.

    This disco-inspired song performed by local Slavko Kalezic is Montenegro’s ninth entry since their debut in 2012. “Space” is written by Momcilo Zeković with the arrangement having been finished in Sweden.

    For a fourth consecutive day, Macedonia's police cannot trace the whereabouts of Macedonian businessman Sead Kocan, for whom the Criminal Court in Skopje ordered the arrest and detention of on Friday on suspicion that he falsified documents to win a large coal extraction tender.
    Police confirmed to local media that the warrant for Kocan's arrest, along with an international warrant, was issued on Friday, but say that they still do not have any information where he might be.
    Kocan's defense previously said that he was not in the country and was on a business trip.
    Macedonian businessman Sead Kocan. Photo: Telma TV
    Kosovo’s ambassador to the US, Vlora Citaku, fell victim to a fake news story on Sunday that claimed a bus from Kosovo was stoned on Serbian territory, questioning why the international community had not commented on the incident which she later found out never happened.
    “A bus transporting Kosovar passengers has been attacked today in Serbia. Maybe we should call a meeting of [UN] Security Council. Hypocrisy. Double standards. Did anyone from international community condemn this attack,” Citaku wrote on Facebook before deleting the post and posting an apology when she realised the news was untrue.
    “I was just informed that the company is denying that there was an attack. Apparently it was a fake news. I sincerely apologise. The media outlet that reported the news of the attack apparently never contacted the bus company,” Çitaku said.
    She added: “I feel terribly sorry as I never would want to share a fake news [story] and cause panic. This is a good lesson for me, and the rest of us to better check our sources of information.”
    The obstacles for awarding the mandate to Macedonia’s opposition leader Zoran Zaev have not been cleared, the cabinet of Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said on Monday, despite repeated calls by the opposition and the international community for the president not to stall the formation of the new government.
    "President Ivanov maintains his position from the March 1 public address. The obstacles for awarding the mandate for a new government are not cleared," Ivanov's cabinet said in a press release.
    Macedonia has been without a new government for over three months, since the early elections on December 11 failed to produce a clear winner.
    In a decision that inflamed tensions, Ivanov refused to award Zaev the mandate on March 1, despite the opposition leader having assembled a majority in parliament, because he claimed that Zaev’s alleged acceptance of the so-called “Albanian Platform” might destroy the country.
    Macedonian President, Gjorge ivanov. Photo:

    The ministry said that it is currently assessing if the materials were filed in an orderly fashion and if everything has been done according to procedures before it will provide the Illinois Northern District Court, which the lawsuit has been filed to, with an official reply.

    The ministry concluded that Croatia is not a legal successor of the Ustasa-led, Nazi-aligned puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia, NDH.
    Romania’s Minister of Justice, Tudorel Toader, sparked controversy among prosecutors and magistrates when he announced during a talk show on Sunday night that he plans on evaluating the activity of National Anticorruption Directorate, DNA, chief Laura Codruta Kovesti and Attorney General Augustin Lazar.

    The statement comes after the DNA and the Attorney General conducted an investigation into the way that the Romanian government drafted and passed the Emergency Ordinance 13/2017, a decree meant to relax anti-graft legislation and that triggered the country’s largest protests since the fall of communism.  

    Several ministers and officials were called in for questioning before the DNA last week decided that there was no graft-related crime committed and sent the case to the prosecutor’s office at the Supreme Court for further investigations. 
    The Constitutional Court said an investigation into why a government decides to pass legislation is illegal, but the DNA said the investigation had solid legal grounds and is in line with existing legislation. 

    According to a press release of the DNA, the prosecutors are compelled to start an investigation to find the truth when there is a complaint, even if the object of the investigation is a piece of legislation published in the Official Journal.
    The Serbian Council for National Security concluded at today’s session that the country is stable and that there is no possibility of a significant threat to peace and security in its territory, however, it noted that the situation in the region as a whole is turbulent and complex.
    According to the press release from the Serbian President’s Office after the meeting, Serbia invested effort to preserve peace and stability in the Balkans, “however, without our influence, there is a risk of spreading political conflicts within individual countries in the region, which are encouraged, both by domestic political reasons of intolerance, as well as a significant interference of foreign civilian and military intelligence services.”
    The president’s office added that Serbia won’t let any spill-over of political or other conflicts in its territory, and will respect the independence of other countries, with no interference in their internal affairs.
    During the council’s session, it called on Serbian authorities to collaborate with Serbs throughout the region, and expressed concern over the initiatives to stop the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, as well as over the demand for the formation a regular army in Kosovo.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Tuesday:
    • Albanians were the most numerous nationality to become victims of modern slavery in Britain from 2013 to 2016, UK data show. Read more.
    • Bucharest’s plans to start extracting gas in the Black Sea zone and construct a regional pipeline aim to ensure Romania’s energy security and turn it into a regional gas exporter. Read more.
    • Macedonia’s seemingly benevolent neighbours are using ‘concern’ over the situation there for their own murky games and purposes. Read the comment piece.
    With Ikea planning to open a site its first store in Serbia this summer, the Swedish home furnishings giant has been inundated with applications for staff, with nearly 18,000 people having applied for 250 available jobs, Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

    Ikea is investing 70 million euros in the new site, and intends to open four more stores in the Balkan country after this.

    With unemployment in Serbia at 19.7 per cent in 2016 - and 44 per cent of youth without work - according to figures from the UN, many have been eagerly awaiting Ikea’s entry into the country and the new openings on the job market.
    The war crimes trial of the Bosnian Army’s former Srebrenica commander, Naser Oric, was postponed on Tuesday after his co-defendant Sabahudin Muhic was arrested for assault.

    The cantonal prosecution in Tuzla said Muhic was arrested for allegedly attacking a policeman after being in a traffic accident.

    The trial of Muhic and Oric, who are accused of the murder of three Serb prisoners in the villages of Zalazje, Lolic and Kunjerac in 1992, will resume on Wednesday.
    Sabahudin Muhic (right) with his lawyer Sabina Mehic. Photo: BIRN.
    At a press conference after a meeting between Croat member of the Bosnian tripartite presidency, Dragan Covic, and president of the Republika Srpska entity, Milorad Dodik, Covic announced that there is a stalemate in relations on the state level because of the Bosnia-Serbia genocide case.
    Covic appealed for better representation for Bosnian Croats in politics.
    Meanwhile, Dodik said breaking the constitution should have criminal and political consequences, referring to Bosniak member of the presidency Bakir Izetbegovic's doomed attempt to launch an appeal at the International Court of Justice without the backing of Bosnia's other two presidency members.
    Dodik also pushed once again for the removal of foreigners from the Constitutional Court. 
    Boris Johnson will visit Russia "in the coming weeks", to raise concerns over reports of interference in Montenegro……

    Romania’s government announced on Tuesday that it will investigate the working conditions and allegations of abuse on 7.500 Romanian women working in Italy’s southern region of Catania.
    The Observer published an investigation on Monday alleging that Romanian women working in agriculture in Sicily’s Catania region are kept in inhuman conditions and sometimes are also forced to have sexual relations with the employers.
    Minister for Romanians Abroad Andreea Pastirnac told journalists today that she will also travel to the region tomorrow to investigate the matter.
    According to several organizations fighting against human trafficking, Catania is known for the poor working conditions and abuses of migrant workers. In 2015, a report of the Global Alliance Against Human Trafficking showed that after Romania joined the European Union, Italian employers gave up bringing Tunisian workers and preferred to employ Romanians. The report also read that up to 12.000 people work in Sicily’s farms, in average 12 hours per day. They earn no more than 20 euros per day.
    A Balkan Insight an investigation in November looked at how large numbers of Romanians seeking work in the rich western half of the EU find themselves as the mercy of unscrupulous traffickers.  The US State Department’s most recent report on “Trafficking in Persons” said: “Romanians represent a significant source of sex and labor trafficking victims throughout Europe.”
    Romanian men, women, and children are subjected to trafficking in agriculture, construction, domestic service, hospitality and manufacturing, as well as forced begging and theft.
    Montenegro’s former prime minister Milo Djukanovic has called on the European Union to stop Russia’s “destructive” influence in the Balkans following what the country says was a thwarted attempt to overthrow its pro-Western government, the Associated Press reported.

    Djukanovic, who stepped down after the alleged pro-Russian plot in October to prevent the small Balkan country from joining NATO, said in an interview on Tuesday that Moscow “is waging a kind of war against Europe” and is threatening “the very existence of the European Union.”

    Milko Djukanovic. Photo: BIRN.

    Dozens of women in Montenegro launched a hunger strike on Tuesday demanding the government reverse its decision to reduce state aid for mothers of three and more children.

    Hundreds of women spent their 12th day in front of the Montenegrin parliament in the capital, Podgorica, after the government decided to cut the aid for mothers by 25 per cent as part of moves to improve fiscal stability.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Wednesday:
    • Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is attending a summit of Balkan leaders in Sarajevo after relations plunged over Bosnia’s failed challenge to an International Court of Justice verdict clearing Serbia of genocide. Read more.
    • Bosnia’s farmers fear the new trade deal with the EU could wipe out domestic farmers - who have been left face the full force of EU competition without support and protection from their government. Read more.
    • The Montenegrin authorities denied claims by Russian heavy metal star Sergey ‘Pauk’ Troitsky that he escaped from a prison near Podgorica where he was serving six months for arson. Read more.
    The EU will send experts to help Bulgaria in preparing for its first Presidency of the European Council, which is set for the first half of 2018, Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister Denitsa Zlateva told BTV on Wednesday.

    The experts will remain in Bulgaria for eight months, while at the same time Bulgaria will send 200 of its nationals who will be engaged with the presidency to be trained in Brussels.

    Zlateva explained that there are worries about the tight schedule for the organisation of Bulgaria’s EU Presidency, but gave her assurance that the coordination has been going smoothly.
    Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, will be visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina this Thursday and Friday.
    The EU delegation to Bosnia said that Hahn will attend the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans Six in Sarajevo, and meet state and entity officials to discuss reforms and the EU integration process. 
    On Friday, Hahn will break ground for the EU-supported Svilaj bridge project at the border with Croatia.
    The President of the Supreme Cassation Court, Dragomir Milojevic, called for the judges who anonymously admitted in questionnaires that they have experienced political pressure to publically admit it.

    The questionnaires was presented by the Association of Judges of Serbia during a press conference on Wednesday.

    "I've never been informed about political pressure [experienced by any judge], so feel free to inform me if you experience any," Milojevic stated during the conference.
    After the Croatian government admitted holding secret meetings with the owner of the biggest private company in the country, Agrokor, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic told media on Wednesday that there is no reason to panic over this as government officials often meet with different entrepreneurs or representatives of companies.

    Plenkovic said that it is up to the owners and management of Agrokor to care for the benefit of the company, while the government will monitor the situation.

    On Tuesday, the Croatian government admitted that a meeting had taken place between its representatives and Agrokor’s owner, Ivica Todoric, over the company’s worsening financial troubles.​
    Agrokor's retailer Konzum. Photo: Agrokor Press kit
    The US Senator John McCain on Wednesday accused another lawmaker Rand Paul of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin after he objected to a treaty related to Montenegro.

    "He has no justification for his objection to having a small nation be part of NATO that is under assault from the Russians," McCain said from the Senate floor, the Hill magazine reported.

    "The senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin," Mccain said.

    The flashpoint came after McCain asked for unanimous consent to set up a vote on a treaty on Montenegro joining NATO, but Paul objected.
    Just spoke in EU Parliament to underline need to support Montenegro during accession process, esp by promoting rule of law & human rights

    Serbian tabloids front pages on Thursday

    The headlines of Serbia tabloids have been dominated by the decision to register all immovable property registered formerly as property of Yugoslavia, of Serbia, or of the old Autonomous Province of Kosovo, as property of the now independent Republic of Kosovo on Thursday, making for some interesting front page stories.

    Pro-government newspaper Kurir focused on Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s "polite question" directed to his Kosovo counterpart Isa Mustafa - "Are you scrambling all this alone or someone is helping you?", referring to possible foreign interference in the issue.

    However, according to the Sprski Telegraf, the front page of Kurir initially had a different look today, featuring the headline "Albanian scum is taking everything Serbian" on its front page.

    Surprisingly, pro-government tabloid Informer features another issue on its front page today, reporting on a letter allegedly sent by Kosovo’s President, Hashim Thaci, to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on the planned formation of a regular army in Kosovo.

    Under the headline: "Shiptari [a derogatory and highly offensive term for Albanians] raised panic in NATO", the Informer article claims that the letter was sent as part of lobbying for the formation of a regular army in Kosovo, and allegedly contained information that the Serbian army, after having received training from Russia, had a plan to attack Pristina.
    Croatian media reported on Thursday that the management of the country’s biggest company, Agrokor, needs to come to a solution to its worsening financial troubles by Friday, before the new estimate on its credit rating is made by Moody’s credit ranking agency.
    Agrokor's retailer Konzum. Photo: Agrokor Press kit
    Kosovo’s President, Hashim Thaci, stated that Serbia has no jurisdiction over properties in Kosovo as “Serbia is not Yugoslavia’s successor”, following the Serbian government’s claim that Pristina’s decision to register all immovable property once registered in the name of Yugoslavia, Serbia, or of the old Autonomous Province of Kosovo, as property of the now independent Republic of Kosovo was “illegal”.

    "Serbia has no jurisdiction over Kosovo. Properties belong to Kosovo state. Kosovo has been constitutive part of Yugoslav federation and Serbia is not Yugoslavia’s successor. It is only one of republics," Thaci said during a debate with a Serb journalists in the Kosovo village of Cagllavica, southwest of Pristina, on Thursday.

    "I understand Serbia’s Prime Minister [Aleksandar Vucic] is in an electoral campaign. He could win elections in Serbia but properties are in Kosovo [territory]. He could win elections in Serbia, but [a Kosovo] Army will be established. But now he has two cute topics to win votes in Serbia," Thaci during a debate with Serb journalist in Cagllavica on Thursday.

    Kosovo's President, Hashim Thaci | Photo: BIRN

    State highway tolls in Croatia will rise by 10 per cent during the summer months and 5 per cent for the rest of the year, the Croatian government decided on Thursday.

    Croatia's road sector is 5.2 billion euros in debt because of loans taken out in order to build the network of highways. This figure constitutes 13.5 per cent of total public debt.
    Bulgaria has a plan prepared to manage a possible influx of migrants in case the EU-Turkey deal is cancelled, Bulgaria’s interim interior minister Stephan Yanev told news agency BGNES on Thursday.
    Yanev’s comment comes after Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that Turkey may scrap the readmission agreement amid growing tensions with a number of European states.

    The Bulgarian minister linked Turkey’s hardened stance on its deal with the EU with the forthcoming referendum vote on April 16.

    “From now on we will see what is about to happen, but in terms of our expectations for an increased migrant influx, we have our readiness, our preparation and we will manage such a challenge,” Yanev said.

    Bulgaria has erected a wall along its green border with Turkey. Photo: Government Press Service 

    Romanian Social Democrat MP Catalin Radulescu is under investigation for illegal possession of a weapon and public nuisance after telling journalists that he would use water cannons to chase protesters off the streets and would gladly use a machine gun to defend Romania’s integrity, prosecutors at the Supreme Court announced on Thursday. 

    Radulescu made the statements in an interview with daily Adevarul and said the machine gun an AKM model, was a souvenir he kept from the 1989 Revolution.

    Criticised by his fellow party members for his radical views on cracking down on protesters, Radulescu, who has been nicknamed “the machinegun MP”, later told prosecutors that the gun was just for decoration purposes. 

    He also accused the daily of taking his statements out of context. However, journalists from Adevarul published the entire conversation between them and Radulescu in which he says he kept the machine gun and threatened to use it against protesters.
    Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu. Photo: Wikimedia.
    Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu was called on Thursday for a hearing at the Prosecutor’s Office as a witness in the 1989 anti-communist revolution case. 

    The case has been reopened several times in the past 27 years, but no high-ranking official that was in power after 1990 was ever indicted. 
    The case was again reopened in 2016 and prosecutors are now investigating whether crimes against humanity were committed at the time, claiming that it appears there was an orchestrated plan for a coup d'état. 

    Prosecutors called former PM Petre Roman, MEP Laszlo Tokes, head manager of the National Theatre Ion Caramitru, who was also a member of the National Council of the National Salvation Front, as well as writer Mircea Dinescu, who took part in the December 1989 events, in for questioning. 

    Military prosecutors who are investigating the case speak of extreme recklessness, errors, and omissions during the prior investigations. 
    In the first few months of 1990, Romanian prosecutors investigated 4,500 people and only 275 former communist officials were sent to court, including 25 generals.
    The Appeals Court in the Macedonian Capital Skopje, Thursday, has confirmed the arrest warrant for the businessman and media magnate Sead Kocan - an ally of ex-PM Nikola Gruevski.
    The Appeals Court partially approved the complaint by Kocan's defense but ruled out not to withdraw the arrest warrant, on account that he could escape.
    The Criminal Court, has ordered the arrest and detention of Kocan in March 10 - on suspicion of falsifying documents to win a big coal extraction tender. Since then Kocan has been at large.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Friday:
    • The vice-president of the biggest Albanian party in Macedonia, the Democratic Union for Integration, says a new coalition with Nikola Gruevski’s party was never a realistic option. Read more.
    • Worsening relations between Turkey and Europe have raised concerns in Bulgaria and Romania that a new wave of migrants may be on the way - a prospect that both countries find daunting. Read more.
    • Two female activists who were born the same year and studied together now represent opposite ends of the political spectrum, reflecting Serbia’s deep divisions over EU membership and relations with Russia. Read more.
    Turkey could send 15,000 refugees to Europe to shock Europeans, Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu said on Friday.
    His statement comes following a recent diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Germany and the Netherlands, fueled by the latter's ban on allowing Turkish ministers to stage rallies there.
    The new parliamentary majority in Macedonia, led by the Social Democrats, SDSM, filed on Friday morning, an official request for the recall of the assembly in order to elect a new speaker.
    SDSM's secretary general, Oliver Spasovski, urged the current provisional speaker, Trajko Veljanoski, to schedule resumption of the constitutive session in the assembly "immediately", hoping that there will be no obstructions to the process.
    SDSM secretary general, Oliver Spasovski
    EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn urged the Balkans to stop “playing with fire” and to work together amid apparently renewed concern for the region by the EU, Reuters reported on Thursday.

    Speaking at a meeting of the prime ministers of all six western Balkan countries in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, Hahn urged the leaders present to "use this rare window of opportunity" to move ahead on their accession paths.

    "I don't think you can afford to squander this positive climate through domestic confrontations and blaming neighbours," he said, adding that he “really cannot recall a time like now when member states and others actively approached – even pushed - me to check what items could be quickly delivered to the Western Balkans to support the region.”
    Croatia’s biggest private company Agrokor, currently experiencing worsening financial troubles, refuted media claims on Friday that it owes the state around 800 million euros in taxes and other dues.

    Agrokor stated that it pays around 400 million euros of VAT, income tax and fees for mandatory health insurance and pension for its employees.

    It concluded that there are no debts towards the state at present.

    Meanwhile, suspicions that Agrokor's creditors, Russian state-owned Sberbank and VTB Bank, will partially take over the management and ownership of the company are growing daily, a move which, according to economic analyst Guste Santini, would have momentous consequences but “cannot be ruled out”.
    Agrokor's retailer Konzum. Photo: Agrokor Press kit
    In a video published by local Kosovo TV network Dukagjini, Murat Jashari, who admitted he shot at veteran Kosovo politician and lawyer Azem Vllasi, is filmed talking about a plan to carry out executions of people from spring 2017.

    Jashari confirms in the video that an execution list was created, and that there was a plan to inform the public of the reasons why the executions had been carried out after each hit was complete.
    Seen in the video addressing a group of men in a room, Jashari, speaking on behalf of an unnamed group of people, confirms that they have been following politicians, religious clerics and personalities from local and central institutions.

    After Jashari shot Vllasi on Monday, an organisation called “People’s Eye” accepted responsibility.
    Croatian war veterans' ministry confirmed on Friday that no human remains were found at an excavation site in the Zagreb neighbourhood of Gracani.

    The ministry said that despite speculation that the site contains the remains of people - members of German and Nazi-aligned forces - allegedly shot by the anti-fascist Partisans in 1945, the remains were of animal origin.

    It added that it will nevertheless continue to investigate potential mass graves in Gracani.

    The excavations started as Zagreb planned to build a cable car going from Gracani to the mountain top at Sljeme.
    Excavations in Gracani. Photo: Ministry of Croatian War Veterans
    Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic announced on Friday that the Government of Serbia has adopted a decision which annuls Pristina's decree on taking over Serbian property in Kosovo.
    Speaking to media, Vucic said that the Serbian authorities’ decision is similar to the one it made in October 2016 in the Trepca case, when Serbia decided to ignore the Kosovo government’s decision to put the once-important mining complex in Kosovo under its own control, despite an ongoing dispute with Serbia over ownership and rights.
    Vucic also said it was clear that, since the start of the negotiations in Brussels, Pristina would pull such a move and that it refused to talk about the disputed assets in the dialogue.
    "Therefore, the move of Pristina, which is nothing else then robbery of other people's property, we consider null and void," he said.
    The Bulgarian State Agency for National Security, DANS, announced on Friday that it has extradited two Turkish citizens and has declared one more as a threat to national security.

    Later on Friday, the Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov said he completely backed DANS’ actions and added that such cases would not remain isolated.

    According to DANS, the two extradited Turkish citizens have been engaged with “anti-constitutional activity, targeted against the state sovereignty and the unity of the nation.”

    Photo: DANS 

    Macedonia's provisional parliament speaker, Trajko Veljanoski, has scheduled the resumption of the constitutive session in the assembly for next Tuesday at noon. The session aimed at electing a new parliament speaker comes at an initiative of the new parliament majority led by the opposition Social Democrats, SDSM.


    This coincides with the timing of the expected visit by the EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn to Skopje who is expected to push for unblocking of the government formation process.

    Serbia's Regulatory Body for Electronic Media (REM) on Friday banned the airing of an election video for the Serbian Progressive Party which featured its leader, Aleksandar Vucic, overhearing himself being insulted as a “faggot".
    The video was banned because it violated the Advertising Law, which specifies that "advertising messages must not contain statements or visual presentation which may be considered offensive."
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