Balkan Developments

Politicians from the Balkans implicated in the Paradise Papers

Photo: hindustantimes.comAfter the Panama Papers scandal, one more scandal is now shaking the world – the leak of confidential papers revealing that wealthy individuals, corporations and politicians have been transferring money to accounts in offshore tax haven accounts. They include NenadPopovic, minister without portfolio of Serbia in charge of innovations and technological development who possesses assets amounting to no less than USD 75 million. Popovic himself stated that he had not registered a single offshore company to his name. The papers also make mention of Ivan Simic, former head of the Slovenian tax administration, who transferred his consulting company to Cyprus at a time when he was still director of the country’s tax administration. The investigation also revealed that Ana Djukanovic, sister of Montenegro’s former PM Milo Djukanovic and her partner RadomirVukcevic set up two mining and mineral processing offshore companies in Malta. Turkey’s PM BinaliYildirim is also on the Paradise Papers list, but called the allegations an “absolute speculation” stating that he would demand a special investigation into the offshore accounts so as to show that no members of his family had ever, in any way, been involved in such dealings.

Macedonian history school books will no longer call Bulgarians “fascist occupiers”

Photo: BGNESMacedonia plans to revise its school history textbooks so as to preserve the good relations attained with its neighbours.  To this end, Skopje is removing from history books the words “Bulgarian fascist occupiers” in the years of World War 2. “We can revise the phrase down to “fascist occupiers” and keep our friendship,” Macedonia’s PM Zoran Zaevtold the Montenegrin Antena M. “For 10 years we have been quarrelling with all of our neighbours, so wouldn’t it be better to ask ourselves whether it isn’t all of our neigubours that are right, or whether there isn’t some other problem,”Zaev said.  “Bulgaria is an ally of ours on our way to the EU, it will take over the EU Presidency as of 1 January, and during this Presidency  it wants to see Macedonia being given a date for negotiations on its membership of the organization,” said the Macedonian prime minister.

Thousands of Dacia workers protesting against increase in social security contributions

Photo: BGNESThousands of workers from the Romanian carmaker Dacia have taken to the streets in protest against the government’s intention to transfer payment of social security contributions from the employer to the workers. National TU Bloc leader DumitruCostin stated that this rally was the first in a strong of protests that will spread across the country. “We must demonstrate our unity, we must show that we are against their plan to make fools out of Romanian workers,” Costin said. According to the rally’s organizers, almost 10,000 workers from the Dacia plant and a number of supplier companies took part in the protest.

USA and Turkey partially resume visa issuing

The US Consulate in Istambul  /  Photo: tr.usembassy.govThe US has resumed the issuing of visas to Turkish nationals on a limited basis after last month, US missions suspended all non-immigrant visa services after a diplomatic scandal broke out following Turkey's arrest of a US consulate employee. On 8 October the American embassy in Ankara declared it was temporarily suspending non-immigration visa services and Ankara reciprocated.

Albania: Highway to Macedonia – priority No. 1

Photo: tesheshi.comAlbania’s PM Edi Rama stated that the construction of a highway to Macedonia is a top priority among all of the country’s infrastructure projects. The project is called Rruga e Arberitand will link Albania, from its capital Tirana, with Macedonia in the region of the town of Debar by expressway. The highway will cut down on the distance from Tirana to the Macedonian border by about 100 kilometres. In Edi Rama’s words, during their 4-year term of office the government will invest one billion US dollars in improving infrastructure.

Compiled by Miglena Ivanova

English version: Milena Daynova

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