Balkan Developments

Albania faces political turmoil: Bujar Nishani

BGNESAlbania is in a state of serious political clashes and tensions which are detrimental to the upcoming parliamentary elections, said President Bujar Nishani in an address to the nation and appealed to the parties to find a common language so they may overcome the problems. Postponing the elections, scheduled for 18 June is only possible after agreement is reached by the parties. He also expressed concern over the increased drug trafficking in the country and the politicization of the police. On 18 February the opposition Albanian Democratic Party is organizing protests and boycotting parliament. It is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Edi Rama and the subsequent the formation of an expert cabinet for organizing elections.

26 percent of Macedonians have confidence in Nikola Gruevski, 13.5 – in Zoran Zaev

BGNESThe approval rating of the leader of the Macedonian party VMRO-DPMNE - Nikola Gruevski – is almost double that of Zoran Zaev, chairman of the SDSM (Macedonian Social Democratic Party). According to a survey conducted by the Institute for Political and International Studies in Skopje, 26 percent of Macedonians say they have confidence in Gruevski, whereas only 13.5 percent of the respondents say they have confidence in Zaev. Macedonians are opposed to the introduction of bilingualism nationwide. 54.1 percent of respondents say that adopting a platform on Albanians and bilingualism will lead to a two nation country that will deepen the divides inside it.

“Yes” vote in Turkish referendum will shake Europe: Devlet Bahceli

BGNESThe leader of the Turkish opposition Nationalist Movement party Devlet Bahceli stated that stability in Europe would probably be shaken after the forthcoming referendum in the country. “You see what the Netherlands, Germany and other European countries are doing. The Netherlands was afraid of the April 16 referendum and sided against Turkey. The racist, anti-Turk and anti-Islam EU showed unprecedented intolerance,” said Bahceli at a rally in the eastern province of Elazig, adding that many things will change on the old continent after the referendum. “You should know that the system will change in Turkey. Europe will learn to respect human rights and freedoms, this will inevitably be on the agenda,” he said.

Serbia expects increased migration pressure

BGNESAn average of 81 illegal migrants attempt to cross over onto the territory of Serbia from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Montenegro every day. Migration pressure along the Serbian borders is to be expected to increase soon, said Colonel Milorad Vidakovic, head of the operative business department of the Serbian Defence Ministry. Nenad Vucic, head of the joint army and police force, patrolling the Serbia-Bulgaria border cautioned that the existing teams, numbering around 2,000 men will not be enough to cope with the migration pressure. For this reason, additional forces will be recruited. Last year 92,236 legal migrants were registered in Serbia, a year earlier their number was 5,101.

Isa Mustafa: Kosovo army cannot be formed without coordination with USA

BGNESThe proposal by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci for the transformation of the security forces in Kosovo into armed forces will not be given a green light by the government, said Kosovo’s Prime Minister Isa Mustafa. Forming an army cannot happen without coordination with USA and NATO, he said at a rally marking the 17th anniversary of the party he is leader of – the Democratic League. A few days ago, US ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie stated this could not happen without constitutional amendments.

Unemployment in Greece on the rise

BGNESThe unemployment rate in Greece has gone up from 22.6 to 23.6 percent over the October-December 2016 period, Greek National Statistical Service data indicate. Around 71.8 percent of the 1.12 million people in Greece who are out of a job are long-term unemployed, having failed to find a job over the previous 12 months. Unemployment among young people aged under 24 stands at 45.2 percent. Due to the low levels of domestic consumption and exports, in the fourth quarter of last year, Greece’s economy marked a growth rate of only 1.1 percent.

Editor: Atanas Tsenov

English version: Milena Daynova

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