The Balkans Today: 5th - 9th September 2016
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The Balkans Today

Up to the minute news and updates from the Balkan region

The Balkans Today: 5th - 9th September 2016

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

    A delegation of the European Federation of Journalists, EFJ, met with Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations on Monday to discuss how to improve working and social conditions for journalists and how to foster high quality public service media and media pluralism in the Western Balkans.

    “Unions are currently not playing the role they should play in Eastern Europe. The EU should support them and initiate social dialogue between stakeholders in the media industry”, said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård emphasizing the need to empower journalists unions in this region.

    The meeting focused on the issue of public service media and its importance for the whole media landscape in the region, the need for media pluralism and sustainable business models enhancing journalists’ employment conditions and quality of news.

    Photo: EFJ.

    During their meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that he hoped Bosnia will get the green light for the activation of the NATO Membership Action Plan, MAP, at the next NATO summit in Brussels in 2017, highlighting the country’s progress towards fulfilling the criteria set by the Alliance at the summit in Tallin in 2010.

    Zvizdic also told Stoltenberg that Bosnia and NATO share a common interest to strengthen mutual cooperation in the field of security and defence.

    Bosnia had hoped its MAP would be adopted at the Warsaw summit in July, but it did not happen given its failure to adopt key reforms set by NATO in 2010.

    Denis Zvizdic. Photo: Anadolu. 

    Montenegro Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Predrag Markovic, has resigned from his post in protest over a recent wide-ranging codeshare agreement signed with Air Serbia, which he fears will result in the carrier becoming a feeder to its Serbian counterpart.

    Local daily Vijesti qouted Markovic as saying that he believes that Montenegro's national air carries interests has not been properly protected.

    Photo: Montenegro Arliners

    Croatia’s foreign ministry did not receive any official information on 57-year-old Croatian citizen Cedo Colovic, who was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for espionage in Serbia on Tuesday, Croatia’s outgoing foreign minister, Miro Kovac, said following the sentencing.

    Miro Kovac. Photo: BETAPHOTO/HINA/Daniel KASAP/MO 

    Tens of prospective students who have not been accepted at their preferred faculty at the state University of Tirana protested on Wednesday in front of the Prime Minister’s office, accusing the ministry of education of being responsible for what they call a chaotic admission process.

    Calling for the Minister of Education, Lindita Nikolla, to step down, the students claimed that their exclusion from their preferred courses at the university is suspicious and unfair as they allege they finished high school with sufficient grades to warrant acceptance.

    Prime Minister Edi Rama and Nikolla reacted to the accusations against the ministry by telling the prospective students that only the first phase of selection had been completed and they have up until September 20 to accepted into their preferred faculties.

    Students protesting. Photo: Facebook 
    The controversial referendum in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, over its annual holiday will go ahead on September 25, Milorad Dodik, the entity’s president, told Bosnian news agency Fena on Thursday.
    The announcement came after a meeting between Dodik and the ambassadors of France, Italy, Great Britain to Tirana, as well as the deputy head of the EU delegation in Bosnia, the deputy head of the German embassy and the head of the chancellery of the US embassy.
    "We had a concrete discussion on that issue," Dodik told Fena, adding that the international representatives in the meeting did not apply any pressure for the referendum to be called off.
    Milorad Dodik. Photo: Anadolu
    Kosovo’s European Integration Minister, Bekim Collaku, resigned on Friday, giving his reason as an overwhelming “dose of disappointment due to European Union delays” in the country’s visa liberalisation process. 

    “I cannot just sit and wait until the European Union and Assembly of Kosovo do steps forward,” he said, adding: “I always said that I will not leave without fulfilling all the criteria. I am sure that if the Assembly will answer to the only challenge left, ratification of agreement on demarcation with Montenegro, citizens of Kosovo will travel free by the end of the year.

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