The Balkans Today: 17th - 21th October 2016
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 17th - 21th October 2016

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

    All opposition parties in Montenegro decided on Monday not to recognize the results of Sunday's elections, local media reported.

    Early results of Sunday’s elections in Montenegro showed the ruling party led by veteran Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic won the parliamentary polls, amid rumours of an alleged ’terror’ plot and irregularities.

    Photo: Anadolu.

    Serbia should demonstrate results in upholding the rule of law, strengthen its justice system and increase the fight against corruption, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini stated in her list of recommendations for Serbia after it opened Chapters 23 and 24 in its accession negotiations. 

    In the document that Mogherini handed to the EU ministers, it also stated that Serbia needs to align its foreign policy with the EU, Belgrade-based TV station N1 reported.
    A journalist from the Serbian Narodne Novine newspaper, Jovica Vasic, is now on the eighth day of a hunger strike, which he started in protest over his employer’s alleged breach of Serbian employment law.

    Vasic claims that he is working for minimum wage and without social or health insurance while alleging his employer receives millions of dinars from the state for media projects.

    The journalist says he complained about his working situation to Narodne Novine, but the publication did not react, prompting him to start the strike.
    Bosnia and Herzegovina's Central Election Commission (CIK) has fined three parties over hate speech during local election campaigns, according to local media.
    The Serbian Progressive Party was fined about 3,067 euros in relation to a rally in the town of Bratunac at which hate speech was used, according to Sarajevo-based news website
    The party BPS Sefer Halilovic was fined 2,555 euros for an incident in September, and the party United Serbia was charged 1,533 euros.
    The incidents took place between September 26 and 29 ahead of local elections on October 2.
    The sanctions can be appealed.
    Today marks 13 years since the death of wartime chairman of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic. 
    To mark the occasion, a group of enthusiasts cycled 310km from Bihac to Sarajevo, setting off on Monday and arriving in time to lay flowers on Izetbegovic's grave Wednesday morning.
    Opening of the joint consulate of #Kosovo & #Albania in Munich is an important move in providing our Diaspora w/ be……

    Milka Canic, the long-time quiz supervisor of the famous Serbian TV show Slagalica (The Puzzle), died on Wednesday, Radio Television Serbia reported

    Canic became famous for her opening line of every show, which was simply “Good evening”, and has published four literature text books and edited over 1,000 books. 

    Slagalica has been on air in Serbia since 1993.
    Bulgarian vice-minister of regional development Denitsa Nikolova, and deputy minister of self-government of Macedonia Lubcho Prendjov, signed contracts on Wednesday for 45 trans-border projects worth over 10 million euros, the Bulgarian regional development ministry announced on Thursday.

    The projects will be funded by the INTERREG IVC, an EU-financed programme whose aim is to help regional development prosper in Europe.

    The beneficiaries of the projects are local governments, NGOs and businesses from the Bulgarian regions of Blagoevgrad and Kiustendil, and from the Macedonian regions of Kumanovo, Sthip and Strumitsa. 

    The projects cover diverse spheres including environmental projection, energy efficiency, tourism, education, entrepreneurship among others.

    Photo: Ministry of Regional Development of Bulgaria

    Serbian rock band Kazna za usi [Punishment for the Ears] playing at tonight's protest concert in Belgrade. Photo: BIRN

    Members of Kosovo parliament’s foreign affairs commission agreed that parliamentary groups will issue a joint statement to reassure all countries that Kosovo is ready to finish marking its border with Montenegro.

    However, the commission also announced that there remain differences between political forces on the method of marking the border.
    "Despite the differences on the border marking method between Kosovo and Montenegro, the ruling coalition and the opposition remain united in the purpose of completing the process as soon as possible," read a statement from the commission which BIRN has seen.

    The statement also says that Kosovo institutions have fulfilled all the criteria required for visa liberalisation, adding “We as representatives of the people and require understanding of the EU countries to recognise for Kosovo's citizens the right on free movement in the Schengen area.”

    The opposition political party Vetevendosje, did not participate in this meeting.

    Members of Parliamentary Commission of Foreign Affairs in a meeting with the head of Kosovo Assembly, Kadri Veseli | Photo: BIRN 

    Unofficially, local media have reported that the prosecution already gained access to the physical documents that they require. However, for the digital data, they are still awaiting the arrival of IT experts who, according to police officials who previously prevented SJO from gaining access, need to ensure that the current activities of the surveillance system are not interrupted while extracting data on past activities.
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