The Balkans Today: 20th - 24th February 2017
Home Page

The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 20th - 24th February 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:
    • As the drug smuggling season begins, Albanian police are stepping up their observation of sea and land borders, over which criminals continuously try to transport tons of cannabis to Italy and Greece. Read more.
    • Serbia is hurriedly beefing up its military stocks but Russian and Belarusian donations of fighter jets will likely cost hundreds of million euros, since they are out of date and may require pricey adaptation. Read more.
    • The biggest retail company in the region, Croatia’s Agrokor, is facing an uncertain future due to its accumulated debt, and analysts say urgent measures are required to save it from demise. Read more.
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday dismissed accusations that Moscow was allegedly involved in an election-day coup attempt in Montenegro in October, after the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper published an article claiming top UK officials had said they believe the Kremlin was directly involved in a plot to kill Montenegro’s pro-Western Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

    "As for your [Sunday Telegraph] mentioned news, it is on a par with other baseless accusations toward us [the Russian government] and our country, including hacker attacks against the entire West, meddling in the election campaigns of the majority of Western countries, the Trump administration's contacts with the Russian special services and much more," Lavrov said.

    According to the newspaper’s report, “senior Whitehall and Nato sources have now told The Telegraph that not only did the foiled plot appear to have been genuine, but it was directed by Russian intelligence officers with backing from Moscow.”

    Sergei Lavrov. Photo:

    Former US President Bill Clinton was moved to tears after an Albanian waiter working at a restaurant in New York City thanked him for accepting his family as migrants after they fled their home during the Kosovo war, media in the US and UK reported. 
    downfall would cause economic and social turbulence across the region, - See more at:
    downfall would cause economic and social turbulence across the region, - See more at:
    According to the UK’s Daily Mail media outlet, the waiter dropped to his knees in front of the former president, who was dining in the restaurant with his wife Hillary, to express his gratitude, evoking an emotional reaction from Clinton.
    Seafire Grill restaurant. Photo: Facebook
    by fatjona.mejdini edited by emma.krstic 2/20/2017 10:54:56 AM
    An onslaught of racial abuse from fans of Belgrade’s Rad football club led Brazilian footballer Everton Luiz, who plays for rival Serbian club Partizan, to exit the field in tears after a local derby in the Serbian capital on Sunday, Deutsche Welle reported.
    Rad fans made monkey noises every time Luiz touched the ball during the match, eventually provoking him to make a one-finger gesture at the rival fans, an act which Partizan’s coach, Marko Nikolic, said his player is likely to face disciplinary action for.
    Nikolic is urging Serbian football authorities to punish Rad’s supporters for their actions too, describing the incident as "a return to the reality of Serbian football."
    Following the match, Luiz said "I was even more shocked by the attitude of opposing players who, instead of calming things down, backed this behavior,” Deutsche Welle reported.
    Bosnia and Herzegovina has fallen into a constitutional crisis, claimed the leader of Serb-led party SDS, Vukota Govedarica, at a press conference this afternoon.
    He said that the Alliance for Change - the bloc of parties from Republika Srpska that forms part of the ruling coalition at state level - have agreed that chairman and Serb member of the country's tripartite presidency, Mladen Ivanic, should request an emergency session of the presidency to resolve the crisis.
    Govedarica said the planned appeal against the 2007 judgment from the International Courts of Justice that cleared Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide during Bosnia's war of 1992 to 1995, announced by Bosniak member of the presidency Bakir Izetbegovic on Friday, is unconstitutional.
    He said criminal charges should be filed against all who participated, and pointed out that the Serb bloc Alliance for Changes is relied upon to make up the parliamentary majority of the ruling coalition.
    Bulgarian Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdjikov will meet with president Rumen Radev on Monday to discuss whether the interim government should nominate a candidate for Bulgarian European Commissioner, after Kristalina Georgieva left the Commission in the end of 2016 to join the World Bank.

    Gerdjikov told Nova TV on Monday that he will meet the President every Monday to discuss important topics.

    On Saturday, Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister, Denitsa Zlateva, said that the interim government is not ready to nominate a European Commissioner, but Gerdjikov explained that he is “inclined to try”.

    “There are many suitable people, many are eager. The question is to find the suitable figure for Bulgaria,” Gerdjikov commented about possible candidates.

    Bulgaria's interim prime minister Ognyan Gerdjikov. Photo: Bulgarian government press service.  

    Hollywood star Jamie Foxx was racially insulted by two guests in a restaurant in the Croatian coastal town of Dubrovnik on Sunday evening, Croatian media reported.

    Foxx described on his Instagram account how two men were insulting him, but the staff quickly reacted and accompanied them outside while the actor and his company enjoyed the rest of the evening.
    A group of Croatian actors, directors and other film industry workers presented their initiative entitled ‘Puk’o nam je film’ (Croatian slang for ‘We’ve Had Enough’) in a movie theatre in Zagreb on Monday.

    Members of the initiative, seeking to free the country’s movie industry from what they see as political interference, led a discussion that included people who oppose their ideas - members of 1990s war veterans' associations and controversial 20th-century historian Josip Jurcevic.
    Puko' nam je film logo. Photo: Facebook/Puko' nam je film
    Three male asylum seekers - from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Syria – have been ordered to be held in remand prison on suspicion of raping a 22-year-old woman on Sunday, the county court in the Croatian town of Velika Gorica, near the capital Zagreb, said on Monday.

    According to reports from the victim, three asylum seekers invited her to the migrant centre in Zagreb, where they gave her alcohol and drugs allegedly for epilepsy, which prevented her from being able to fend off the men after she earlier expressed her dissent to.

    The state attorney’s office will decide if it will open an investigation against the suspects, who have been put in remand due to the risk of them fleeing the country, as well as of them possibly influencing the woman.  

    Unofficially, the men rejected the claims, claiming that the woman is a prostitute who asked for money after intercourse with them.
    A protest of workers from a steelworks has blocked traffic in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
    Employees of Zeljezara Zenica say they won't leave a street in the city centre until prime minister of the Federation entity, Fadil Novalic, resolves problems related to pay and conditions.
    A meeting is planned between senior officials on the topic of the steelworks for next Monday, February 27. 
    However, said a representative quoted in Sarajevo-based, "We don't have anything to eat until [the meeting takes place]."
    Amir Zukic, secretary general of the SDA, Bosnia's largest Bosniak-led party, has been ordered into custody for 30 days.
    Sarajevo's municipal court accepted the prosecution's request for custody on the grounds of the danger of influence on witnesses, concealing evidence and repetition of the offence.
    Zukic was arrested on Friday afternoon on suspicion of charges linked to illegally hiring party members to posts in public enterprises.
    Bosniak member of the country's tripartite presidency Bakir Izetbegovic commented on Friday that everybody was innocent until proven guilty.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Tuesday:
    • Zagreb made record-breaking sales of aging ammunition and weapons to Saudi Arabia in 2016 - ignoring well-founded concerns that the stocks would be diverted to Syria. Read more.
    • Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa told BIRN that his government has already survived street protests and tear gas attacks, and will ignore the opposition’s continued calls for early elections. Read more.
    • The wave of protests and counter-protests in Romania could have damagong long-term consequences both for people’s trust in politics and for the economy, experts warn. Read more.
    Clear message from @tfajon to #Kosovo MPs: If you don't ratify now demarcation w/ #Montenegro, your country will NOT get #visalib for YEARS.
    Croatian Restructuring and Sale Centre, which manages state shares in companies, will soon commence the process of selling state-owned shares in 100 companies in Croatia, it decided on Tuesday.

    Among the companies is a hotel on the island of Korcula, and 38 per cent of a small airport on the southern island of Brac.
    The meeting of the Bosnian Council of Ministers scheduled for today will not take place at the request of the ministers from Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska, RS, Bosnian security minister Dragan Mektic announced.
    "We, the Serb representatives in the Council of Ministers, do not want to participate in the work of this institution until the status is resolved in connection with the review of the judgment in the case against Serbia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague," Mektic told RS news agency SRNA.
    The Croatian coastal city of Dubrovnik will look like the medieval English city of Nottingham for the next two weeks with filming of a new adaptation of the Robin Hood legend having commenced on Monday, Associated Press reported.
    Produced by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the movie will be the most expensive ever filmed in Croatia, with a budget of between 70-100 million US dollars (66-95 million euros).
    Dubrovnik has become a popular set in recent years, having been used as a backdrop in the latest Star Wars blockbuster and as King’s Landing in the Game of Thrones TV series.
    Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu raised some eyebrows when he told Politico in an interview that he appreciates the protests against his government because they prove Romania is a real democracy. He gave the interview while on his first visit to Brussels as PM last week, when he met with several European Union officials.
    Romanian PM Sorin Grindeanu with EC president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. Photo: EC Audiovisual Service. 
    “I want to look at the good part of what happened: The civic part of our society reacted on this topic. It’s a very good thing for the country,” he told Politico. “This is a plus for our society, a plus that in future we need to ensure we don’t lose, no matter the areas in which there will be some debate.”
    Grindeanu also said that the government would pursue transparency in its decisions from now on, and blamed the latest political crisis on bad communication. He stressed that public officials were not to escape prosecutions for corruption involving sums under 45,000 dollars, but they would be charged with bribery. The PM also pointed out that the executive did not give up on the idea of modifying the Penal Codes, but will submit a bill to the Parliament.
    The European Commission was very harsh in its criticism against the Romanian government during the large protests in Bucharest, but its tone became milder after the Romanian cabinet repealed the controversial decree decriminalizing official misconduct. 
    “If this process is now done in complete transparency, with the full involvement of the NGO community and other stakeholders, then I believe the European Commission can be fairly confident that … the fight against corruption will be maintained at the same intensity as before,” Timmermans said at a news conference with Grindeanu in Brussels last week.
    by ana.maria.luce edited by emma.krstic 2/21/2017 11:37:49 AM
    Fire brigades have evacuated 270 asylum seekers, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, from a burning building in Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp in the southeast town of Harmanli, Focus radio announced on Tuesday.

    The fire started in a non-inhabited room in one of the building of the camp in Tuesday’s early hours.
    The Haskovo fire department, which is in charge of the case, has not released reports on any of the victims of injured persons.

    This is the second fire in the Harmanli refugee center this year after blaze at the end of January in the camp’s canteen forcing 500 people to be evacuated.
    An abrupt reassignment on Tuesday of judges in Skopje's Criminal Court, which is in charge of processing the cases opened by the Special Prosecution, SJO, have caused suspicion of a politically motivated purge.
    The court's temporary head, Tatjana Mihajlova, has reassigned some 20 judges, all those who have in the past granted SJO's requests for searches and detention of suspects, and those who complained of political pressure towards lower ranking positions, mostly in the Skopje Court for Misdemeanors, Kanal 77 Radio reported.
    According to media reports, judges who have a track record of rejecting SJO's requests have, on the other hand, been promoted.
    In its first reaction, the main opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, reiterated their pledge that if they form the new government they would launch a "complete re-election of judges" to eliminate political influence in the judiciary. "All attempts and hopes of the criminals, that they can avoid justice, are in vain" the SDSM wrote in a press release on Tuesday.
    The main ruling VMRO DPMNE party, whose current and former top officials are mostly concerned by the SJO's investigations, also published a press release accusing the opposition of influencing the courts, insisting that the judiciary must resist such pressures.
    Skopje's Criminal Court.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Wednesday:
    • The government in Podgorica has vowed to take action after a series of large-scale, sophisticated and coordinated hacker attacks on the websites of state institutions and pro-government media. Read more.
    • Far-right claims that Serbs are 'taking over' an important university in Croatia have met widespread condemnation and derision. Read more.
    • A recent attack on an LGBT club night in Zagreb rekindled fears of persecution and raised concerns that Croatia has not made as much progress on gay rights as some had hoped. Read more.
    Macedonia’s biggest Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, will soon decide whether to join the opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, to form a new government, Ali Ahmeti, DUI’s leader, told media on Tuesday evening.
    After talking to SDSM leader Zoran Zaev in DUI’s headquarters in the northwest village of Mala Recica, Ahmeti said that "we will call in the [party's] central presidency these days in order to make an important decision".
    Both Ahmeti and Zaev told reporters gathered in Mala Recica that they have overcome the main differences between them regarding a new law that would allow greater use of the Albanian Language, but that smaller differences still remain.
    DUI leader, Ali Ahmeti. Photo: MIA
    #Zakharova: Montenegro’s anti-Russia policy contradicts the interests of its people and centuries-long traditions o……

    Addressing the UN Security Council in a debate on conflicts in Europe on Tuesday, newly appointed US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley expressed America’s support for Kosovo to “take its rightful place in the international community of nations, including as a full member of the UN.”
    Haley, who was US President Donald Trump’s first female appointee to a cabinet-level post, said that while in Kosovo “more must be done to strengthen governance and the rule of law, the United States believes that the international community must recognize Kosovo’s great strides since independence [in 2008].”
    Also during the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke of how Europe remains at risk from new outbreaks of conflict, specifically mentioning the Balkans and the long-standing name issue between Macedonia and Greece as challenges to peace, adding that peace agreements were “simply not being implemented” in parts of Europe.  
    "Within Europe, there are serious unresolved, protracted conflicts, while new threats and challenges are emerging. Populism, nationalism, xenophobia and violent extremism are both causes and effects of conflict," Guterres said.
    A video of the destroyed Hayan gas plant in Syria, co-owned by the Croatian energy company INA, was published on Twitter on Tuesday evening.

    The video shows the remainder of the plant after ISIS fighters blew it up in January.
    The authorities of Montenegro stand behind the latest anti-Russian information campaign in that country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

    The Russian diplomat thus commented on the media reports about the alleged involvement of Russian state bodies in an attempted coup d’etat in Montenegro.

    "This campaign is not new. It is simply going through a new stage of its development," the diplomat said.

    "Of course, Montenegrin authorities stand behind this campaign, as we understand," the spokeswoman said.
    Macedonian Special Prosecutors Katica Janeva and Fatime Fetai were fined 2,000 euros each, after a fierce verbal quarrel with the judge Tatjana Mihajlova at today's continuation of the trial against former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in Skopje's Criminal Court.
    During the brief session, Mihajlova fined them for disrespecting the court after the prosecutors accused her of falsifying the official records from the previous court session.
    The prosecutors insisted that the records falsely show that the discussion over whether wiretapped conversations should be used as evidence took place in front of the public, which they say was not the case. Janeva and Fetai said they would ask for dismissal of the judge over the incident.
    Gruevski, who is accused of ordering an attack on an opposition mayor and his municipality headquarters in 2013, told media that the session today resembled a "theatre".
    The court session has been postponed until March 10.
    Romania’s government faces its first reshuffling after taking power two months ago, with the ruling coalition made up of the Social Democrat Party, PSD, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, ALDE, having decided in a meeting on Wednesday that four ministers would be replaced or reassigned. 

    The PSD-ALDE coalition will replace the Minister of Justice, Florin Iordache, who resigned after the commencement of large protests triggered by a controversial government decree that decriminalized official misconduct. 

    Tudorel Toader, former judge and rector of Iasi University in eastern Romania, who is not a PSD or ALDE member, will take Iordache’s former post.

    Economy minister Alexandru Petrescu will be reassigned to the Ministry for Business Environment, and his post will be taken by PSD’s Mihai Tudose, who also held the post in former PM Victor Ponta’s government. 

    The coalition also decided to fire Mihaela Toader, the Minister for European Funds, and replace her with Rovana Plumb, a long-time PSD member who is close to party chief Liviu Dragnea.
    The European Commission published on Wednesday the results of its in-depth analysis of the macroeconomic markers in EU states, which show that 12 states have macroeconomic imbalance due to their public, private and foreign debt.

    Croatia is among the countries deemed to have excessive macroeconomic imbalances, along with Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, France and Bulgaria.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Thursday: 
    • Croatia’s statistics bureau has confirmed data showing that 2016 was a record year for arms exports to Saudi Arabia, despite claims by a ministry to the contrary. Read more.
    • With high unemployment rates, little investment, a culture of excessive spending, high debts and blocked IMF program, Bosnia's two entities seem to be engaged in race to complete bankruptcy. Read more.
    • While the popularity of Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be growing in a number of countries, in Serbia he has long been a hero - with dozens of towns declaring him an honorary citizen. Read more.
    Romania’s chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi praised the country’s prosecutors for their effectiveness, but stressed that there has been an increase in attacks against the institution, when presenting a new report from Romania’s anti-graft watchdog DNA on Thursday.

    "Everybody in Romania says they support the fight against corruption, but we all saw how much legal stability matters and how easily the work of the entire justice system, not just the DNA prosecutors, could be completely cancelled,” she pointed out.

    Kovesi also said that although attacks against DNA have increased, the prosecutors proved very effective; over 870 people were sentenced last year in corruption cases, including a member of the European parliament, 8 MPs, a minister, 5 county council president and 28 mayors. 
    The overall prejudice of abuse of office related crimes amounted at 260 million lei (almost 60 million EUR). 

    Kovesi added that it was still common practice for bribes to be required in order for companies to win public tenders, as well as that requirements are made to favour certain firms and payments are made for fictive works or the state pays a higher price for useless services.
    There was great media interest in covering the separate press conferences to be given by two members of Bosnia's tripartite presidency on Thursday afternoon as they were expected to give opposing statements about a possible appeal to the International Courts of Justice against its 2007 verdict clearing Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide in Bosnia.
    Bakir Izetbegovic, Bosniak member of the presidency, will give a conference at 2.45pm while Mladen Ivanic, Serb member and chairman of the presidency, began a conference at 2pm.
    The Secretary General of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, Georgi Kostov, who was fired on Wednesday evening by President Rumen Radev on the demands of the interim cabinet, has filed a case to the prosecution against the Prime Minister Ognyan Gerdjikov and interior minister Plamen Ouzonov, he announced on Thursday.

    Kostov told Nova TV that he has been pressured to resign by Ouzonov.

    “After he heard my decline [to resign] the minister told me directly that he would start a procedure for my removal and discrediting,” Kostov said.

    He explained the pressure against him had started last week, when Ouzunov told him that unless he resigns, cases against him from police employees would start arriving. 

    The caretaker minister noted on Wednesday that he had demanded Kostov’s resignation over a series of complaints from current and former employees of the ministry, who have accused him of applying politically motivated pressure.

    Georgi Kostov. Photo: Bulgarian Ministry of Interior 

    Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday that he is close to making a decision on whether early elections will be held in Serbia and will reveal it by Monday.  
    Vucic added that he has seen statements from other parties which are in the coalition with the ruling Progressive Party, but refused to comment on these as “everyone would assume what I decided”.
    He stressed how important it is that everything functions democratically in the Parliament, but also said he could not comment on whether there could be greater efficiency in this institution.
    “In our system of checks and balances, the government has the right to say what its thinks, but the Parliament is the one which controls the government, so does the president in a certain sense,” Tanjug news agency reported Vucic as saying. “I do not see any major problems.”
    The Unique Serbia party, which is in coalition with the Progressives, asked on Thursday for early elections, which if happened, would be held at the same time as the presidential elections, expected in March or April.
    The Bulgarian Constitutional Court has unanimously repealed the sanctions against citizens who do not vote, adopted by the ex-parliament in May 2016, media reported. 

    The controversial amendments to the Electoral Code sparked protests in Bulgaria last May and provoked Ombudsman Maya Manolova to bring the case to the Constitutional Court.

    The decision of the court does not repeal compulsory voting, introduced in Article 3 of the Electoral Code, but will remove the sanctions that foresaw removing citizens who refuse to vote in two consecutive elections from the electoral lists, making it ineffective.

    The court will reveal its motives next Tuesday.
    Top stories from the Balkans this Friday:
    • The Albanian President’s decision to award the families of exiled dissidents trained by the CIA to overthrow the communist regime has brought back memories of battles, exile, betrayals and death. Read more.
    • The media in Russia have been following the latest dramas in Montenegro with intense interest – though most see it as little more than a slur campaign. Read more.
    • The pro-government media are stepping up their negative campaigns, vilifying opposition candidates standing in April’s presidential election. Read more.
    The Balkans is at risk of falling under Russian influence if the US President Donald Trump’s administration ignores the region, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper in an interview. 

    Without Washington’s support, the Balkans "would not be a place where there is peace and cooperation," Rama said.

    Edi Rama. Photo:
    Albanian opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha said on Friday that anti-government protesters will respond with “war” if their calls for Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to resign are not heard. 

    "If they (government) want war, war it will be. Shatter their doors and windows and throw them out. The moment when the people anger will rise is coming," Basha said in a speech delivered inside the tent that has been erected in front of the premier’s office in central Tirana.

    Anti-government protesters have been staging a sit-in protest at the site since February 18, demanding the Prime Minister steps down over his administration’s alleged failures.

    Lulzim Basha speaking to his supporters. Photo: PD 
    Bulgaria officially entered the electoral campaign period on Friday ahead of the early parliamentary vote on March 26.

    The campaign period will end at midnight on March 24, and after that political agitation will be banned by law until the end of the voting day on March 26.

    A total of 20 parties and coalitions have registered for the vote, with over 4,700 candidates competing for the 240 seats in the Bulgarian parliament.

    The Bulgarian National Assembly in Sofia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons 

    Croatian state information agency HINA reported on Friday that earlier this month the state attorney’s office, DORH, rejected a criminal report against weekly newspaper Novosti raised by marginal right-wing Croatian Party of Rights, HSP.

    HSP had accused Novosti, its publisher, leader of Croatian Serbs Milorad Pupovac, journalist Nikola Bajto, and editors Tamara Opacic and Ivica Djikic of damaging the reputation of the Republic of Croatia - as described in the Criminal Code - by publishing a satirical version of the national anthem, “Our Beautiful Homeland”, as “Our Beautiful Howitzer” in 2015, for the 20th anniversary of the army’s victory over rebel Serbs during Operation Storm.

    Bajto, the author of the satirical anthem, sarcastically referred to the military parade organised by the Croatian state to mark the anniversary, focusing on two of the 12 howitzers on display, which were out of service and transported from Germany, where they were being repaired, especially for the occasion.

    In its explanation on rejecting the report, DORH explained that the satirical song represents a form of freedom of expression and that freedom of thought and freedom of expression are guaranteed by the constitution.
    A pro-fascist sticker saying 'Serbian Family Tree' and showing two figures hanged on a tree was plastered on a bus station in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar on Friday, where there are ongoing political tensions between Croats and Serbs.

    Vukovar, which was heavily destroyed by the Yugoslav People's Army and Serbian paramilitaries in 1991, is still at the centre of quarrels between Croats and Serbs, because of a plan, which has still not been fully implemented, to introduce signs in the town in both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, which Serbs use.

    The 'Serbian Family Tree' stickers have been appearing in cities and towns across Croatia in recent years.
    A group of independent experts who are against the Kosovo-Montenegro border demarcation agreement presented new scientific evidence on Friday claiming that Kosovo will lose land id the deal is ratified by the Assembly of Kosovo.

    “If this agreement will be ratified in Kosovo Parliament, Montenegro will have a bigger surface of territory. Historically,” Shpejtim Bulliqi, a professor at University of Pristina, said, explain that “according to all of the publications of federal office for geodesy of former Yugoslavia and Montenegrin geodetic institutions, from 1945 to 2015, Montenegro had less surface than according to this demarcation.” 

    The group of experts is opposing the Commission for the Measurement of Territory’s report, published on Tuesday, which said that land which the opposition has claimed was wrongly being given away in the border demarcation deal was genuinely part of Montenegro.

    The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, has stated that the controversial border agreement with Montenegro will be put to a vote in Parliament in March, but the opposition is committed to block this process.

    The group of Kosovo independent experts presenting their facts on Friday against the agreement on border demarcation with Montenegro | Photo: BIRN

    After a meeting on Friday night Macedonia's main ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI has decided to extend formal support to the opposition Social Democrats, SDSM, leader, Zoran Zaev, which would allow him to claim the mandate for the formation of a new government after the December 11 elections.
    "The government talks [between DUI and SDSM] will continue" said DUI spokesperson, Bujar Osmani, adding that "the signatures [by DUI's MPs for Zaev] do not mean that we are definitely going to make a government. We are offering our signatures to preserve the deadlines and not to waste too much time."
    DUI spokesperson, Bujar Osmani
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement

Premium Selection

08 Feb 19

EU Missteps Fuelling Perception of Balkan Double Standards

Politicians in the Balkans frequently accuse the EU of double standards in its dealings with the region. Do they have a point? 

08 Feb 19

Faces From the Belgrade Protesting Crowds

In the months-long protests in Serbia, those marching every weekend are not all demonstrating for purely political reasons – but also to raise their voices over other burning everyday problems.