Balkan Developments

Nativity of Christ celebrations in part of Balkans

Photos: BGNESOrthodox Christians from Bulgaria, Greece and Romania celebrated the Nativity of Christ on 25 December. In the Bulgarian Exarchate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Bulgarian Christian Diaspora met for the Christmas liturgy at St. John of Rila Church. Following the Christmas liturgy celebrations continued with a concert of the children from the Bulgarian community. There was plenty of traditional music and dances. The Catholics from the Western Balkans also marked the Nativity of Christ on 25 December – unlike Orthodox Christians in Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro who are going to celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

Bulgaria, Macedonia bound to cooperate: Gjorge Ivanov

Photo: BGNESBeing neighbors Bulgaria and Macedonia are bound to conduct cooperation. This is what the President of the Republic of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov said in his annual address to parliament. He said that the Agreement on friendship, good neighborly relations and cooperation signed by the two countries in August was the result of compromises that could not satisfy everybody. "To fulfil its goals this agreement should be looked from the standpoint of the future, not of the past”, Ivanov said and urged the governments of Bulgaria and Macedonia to work for the fulfilment of the agreement’s goals.

EU door is open to Serbia: Sem Fabrizi

Photo: europa.rsThe Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi has confirmed that the doors of the Union are open to Belgrade and has pointed out that the coming six months (when Bulgaria takes over the rotating EU Presidency) present a unique opportunity and impetus in the process of EU enlargement into the Western Balkans and in providing guarantees that this process will become irreversible.

Thessaloniki port privatization makes decisive progress

Photo: en.wikipedia.orgThe Greek government has signed an agreement for the sale of a majority stake in the Thessaloniki Port. A 67 percent stake has been sold to a consortium including companies from China, France, Germany and Greece. The deal is worth 1.1 billion euro. The amount includes 180 million euro in investments into the port’s development in the coming seven years. The deal will be submitted for approval to the Greek parliament. A Chinese company is the main investor in the Greek Port of Piraeus but it is in fact a concession-holder.

USA to build up-to-date thermal power plant in Kosovo

kryeministri-ks.netKosovo has signed a deal with the American company ContourGlobal for the construction of a 500-MW coal power plant aimed to cater for the energy independence of that Balkan state. In the words of the US Ambassador in Pristina Greg Delawie, who attended the signature of the agreement, the project will be the biggest foreign investment in the history of Kosovo. ContourGlobal will provide 30 percent of financing for the construction of the Kosova e Re (New Kosovo) power plant. Its total value will be about 1.3 billion euro. The new plant will replace Kosovo A Thermal Power Station and will generate close to half of the energy consumed on Kosovo. The project aims to reduce dependence on “unpredictable energy prices on the regional market” as a government release put it. Ambassador Greg Delawie has remarked that energy security is a major obstacle to economic growth in one of Europe’s poorest regions.

Twelve arrested in Turkey for planning New Year terrorist attacks

Photo: dailysabah.comThe Turkish security forces have detained 12 alleged members of the Islamic State radical group who planned to carry out terrorist attacks on New Year, Daily Sabah reports. A source from the law enforcement bodies speaking on conditions of anonymity has said that anti-terrorist police have held parallel operations in a few addresses in Adana and that two Syrians are among the detained. The presumed terrorists have planned to carry out attacks with vehicles and blank weapons. According to the same source, they have also recruited followers for the ranks of the radical group in Syria.

Compiled by Miglena Ivanova

English Daniela Konstantinova

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