Balkan Developments

Russia, Greece to strengthen bilateral relations

BGNESOn the sidelines of the forum One Belt, One Road in Beijing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tsipras has said that in the recent years, trade and tourist flows between the two countries have increased. The two governments cooperate closely for furtherance in bilateral relations in all sectors. Therefore Athens and Moscow have been preparing a new meeting of the joint ministerial committee.

Greece not very optimistic for GDP growth

BGNESGreece has lowered its outlook for the 2017 economic growth from 2.7 percent down to 1.8 percent. This has become clear from the medium-term budgetary frame of the government. The budgetary plan envisages 2.4 percent in economic growth in 2018 and 2.6 percent in 2019. The outlook is lower than the one of the European Commission that was also lowered but down to 2.1 percent for 2017.

Erdogan sees Serbia as neighbor President Recep Erdogan met with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Beijing during the forum One Belt, One Road. The two leaders have discussed economic cooperation. Vucic has expressed satisfaction over growing investor interest from Turkish businesses. He has pointed out that there is a positive business climate between Belgrade and Ankara and that it is necessary to keep the trend going. The Turkish president in turn has said that though it shares no border with Serbia, Turkey accepts that Balkan country as its neighbor.

Belgrade dismantles biggest illegal refugee camp

BGNESThe authorities in Serbia have started clearing an abandoned railway warehouse which had turned into a home of thousands of blocked migrants since late 2016. Most of the migrants who had found shelter there while waiting to continue their way to West Europe have agreed to move to official refugee centers. About 200 migrants though have refused to move over fears that they might be deported to Bulgaria or Macedonia, instead of reaching Croatia or Hungary as they hope.

Romania with new gas field worth 4 billion dollars

BGNESThe gas field in the Romanian Southeastern Bazau County is worth 4 billion US dollars and can provide Romania with energy independence from Russia for a period of three years. This is what Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated at the presentation of the largest natural gas field in mainland Romania found by the Romanian state in the past 30 years. He said that the deposits found by Romgaz company amount to 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

New government, local elections due: Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia

BGNESIf the new government of Macedonia had been formed there would not be any need to delay the local elections, said the leadership of the Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDUM). The Union points out that the irrational blockades organized by VMRO-DPMNE have already left citizens without mayors and councilors, employees of municipal companies without salaries, and people – without the respective municipal services. The Union called on Nikola Gruevski and the VMRO-DPMNE leadership “to stop immediately with the destabilization of Macedonia for their private benefit and to allow a fast and peaceful transition of power and a legitimate dating of local elections.”

Muslims press for turning Hagia Sophia into mosque

BGNESA large group of people who want the Hagia Sophia to be turned into a mosque again gathered at the Istanbul cultural monument to hold a prayer. Organized by the Anatolian Youth Association, the group raised the slogan "Break the chains" and held a morning prayer calling for the museum to be turned into a mosque again. Since its construction in 537, until 1453, when the Ottoman Empire conquered the city, Hagia Sophia was an Orthodox church, after which it was converted into a mosque before the secular authorities transformed it into a museum.

Montenegro opposition against recognition of Kosovo

Savo Prelević/vijesti.meOne of the key opposition leaders in Montenegro Nebojsa Medoevic has urged the government to withdraw the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. The reason for the proposal is the decision of the parliament in Pristina to put off voting an agreement for the demarcation line between the two countries. „This decision of Kosovo is a fresh proof of the Albania project. It has to do with territories of our country. We have to protect ourselves”, Medoevic has said.

Compiled by: Atanas Tsenov

English Daniela Konstantinova

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