The Balkans Today: 25th - 29th July 2016
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 25th - 29th July 2016

    Top stories from the Balkans this Monday:
    • Britain's decision to pull out of the EU presidency in the second half of 2017 leaves Bulgaria with the challenge of leading the European Council for the first time at short notice and in a turbulent time. Read more.
    • The final closure of the long defunct Zastava car factory in Kragujevac has left many Serbs grieving for a part of their history that is now definitely over. Read more.
    • Macedonia's top journalists' association has savaged the recently agreed deal over the media sector, saying it will not ensure balanced reporting during the early general elections. Read more.
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 1.5-million-strong diaspora is increasingly sending less money back home, but this underused resource could provide the country with expertise as well as investment to boost economic development. Read more.
    The bodies of two of Munich attack victims have arrived in Kosovo, in their hometowns of Vushtrri and Podujevo. Their funerals are expected to happen today, early evening.

    Two youngsters, Dijamant Zabërgja(21) and Armela Segashi(14) were killed by a gunman in Munich on Friday.

    Photo: Kallxo.

    Croatia's centre-left Social Democratic Party, SDP, is still the most popular party in the country with 29.2 per cent popularity, according to public opinion survey of 974 Croatian citizens conducted by private Nova TV in July.

    The party's traditional opponent, centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, closely followed with 28.3 per cent of the vote. 

    However, the results show that SDP has lost the comfortable lead it had when the same poll was conducted last month, in which the party had 30.9 per cent of the vote ahead of HDZ's then 21.5 per cent.
    Vehicles travelling on the highway linking Albania's port city of Durres and the Kosovo capital, Pristina, will be charged 4.16 euro - without VAT - to cover the part of the journey on Albanian territory.

    Albania's transport ministry announced the tariff on Tuesday, which drivers will need to pay after the Turkish consortium gained the right to maintain the Albanian part of the highway.

    Albania-Kosovo highway. Photo: Wikimedia 
    Bulgaria will take over its first EU presidency between January and June 2018 - six months earlier than it has been planned initially – Bulgaria’s minister of education and deputy premier in charge of coordination of the EU policies confirmed on Wednesday, after the Council of EU made the announcement late on Tuesday.

    Following the UK’s decision to relinquish the Council presidency in the second half of 2017 after it voted to leave the EU, the Council has decided to bring forward the order of presidencies by six months, starting from July 1, 2017.

    It has also decided to add Croatia, which was not yet a member state at the time of the original decision, for the period January-June 2020.

    The European Council in Brussels. Photo: Herman Van Rompuy/Twitter 

    Bosnia’s Strike Group Against Terrorism had a meeting with the operative group coordinating police, intelligence and security agencies in the fight against terrorism on Wednesday, during which a resolution was approved stating that the operative group will officially start functioning as of the same day, regional TV network N1 reported.

    The meeting was held in the building of the Bosnian prosecution.

    The building of Bosnian State Prosecution. Photo: BIRN. 

    A disagreement on the contract with Italy’s A2A for the management of power monopoly EPCG has destabilised Montenegro’s government and could lead to the resignation of ministers from the opposition, who joined the government under a recent power sharing deal, BNE portal reported.

    According to broadcaster RTCG, one of the three opposition parties that have joined the government - United Reform Action, URA – has threatened that will leave the government if the parliament approves the new contract with A2A. Another opposition party, the Social Democratic Party,  has also indicated it could cancel the agreement with the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.

    Photo: EPCG.

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