Balkan Developments

Juncker says Western Balkans are most fragile region of Europe

BGNESThe Western Balkans are the most fragile region in Europe and the EU must give it its due attention, said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Parliament. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council stated on his part that “it was clear to all that forces inside and outside are working vigorously to destabilize the region”. Most MEPs expressed particular concern over the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Macedonia and Kosovo. According to the leader of the European People’s Party Manfred Weber, one of the biggest problems facing the Balkan countries is that the EU has nothing much to offer them in the coming years, probably in the next decade too, as there will be no enlargement in their direction.

Recep Erdogan says fear of Islam is mounting in Europe

BGNESAs tensions between Turkey and some European countries reach their peak, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan renewed his criticism in connection with the cancellation of events by Turkish cabinet ministers. According to Erdogan “the spirit of fascism is running wild on the streets of Europe”, fear of Turks, Islam and migrants is mounting and there is enmity of everything that is not from there. Erdogan’s words have been condemned throughout the EU. The spat is playing out at a key time for Turkey, where a referendum is due on 16 April on amendments to the constitution that would put in place a presidential form of government in the country.

Creating a Kosovo army triggers fierce debate

BGNESThe opposition parties and the majority in Kosovo clashed over the transformation of the security forces into a regular army. According to the opposition, if President Hashim Thaci endorses a law on the formation of such an army, this law would be a violation of the constitution. For this reason the opposition says that to transform the Kosovo security forces into an army, the constitution must first be amended by referendum.

Fresh tensions between Pristina and Belgrade

kca-ks.orgPristina triggered fresh tension with Belgrade, when it decided to register, as property of the independent Republic of Kosovo, the entire real property previously registered as belonging to the former Yugoslavia, Serbia or the autonomous province of Kosovo. The Balkan Insight news site goes back to 1 March, when the Prime Minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa stated that the Cadastral Agency had the obligation to re-register the property, according to Kosovo procedures within the time-limit specified.  After meeting with Serbian leaders on Wednesday, Marco Djuric, head of the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo and Metohija described this step as unlawful.

Albania’s PM allegedly spends half a million euro on façade projects

BGNESThe chairman of the opposition Albanian Democratic Party Luzlim Basha described the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama as a façade that has spent 500 million euro on façade projects and reforms, the Albanian Daily News writes. Basha accused Prime Minister Rama of paying large sums of money to persons unknown in exchange for propaganda in favour of the government. A “conspicuous sum of money” was given to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to a similar end. Luzlim Basha is sure, however that the “façade is going down because citizens are taking their future’s reins in their own hands.”

Compiled by Stoimen Pavlov

English version: Milena Daynova

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