Balkan Developments

Intense talks before Zaev-Tsipras meeting in Sofia

Photo: BGNESFinal agreement to resolve the Macedonian name dispute is expected to be reached at the meeting of Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaevand Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras planned for May 17 in the framework of the EU- Western Balkans summit in Sofia, Macedonian agency MIA reports. Macedonia's name will be the subject of intense talks a week before the meeting in Sofia. According to diplomatic sources, despite the difficulties, major progress has been achieved on most of the topics.

Cyprus, Israel and Greece want to speed up Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline

hoto: timesofisrael.comLeaders of Cyprus, Israel and Greece have said they want to speed up work on implementing the gas pipeline project that will deliver gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the three countries are aiming to sign an agreement by the end of the year. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the project as "emblematic" for the cooperation between the three countries. The Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline has been declared by the EU to be a "project of common interest" that will enhance the community's energy security by providing an alternative source of gas supplies to Europe, thus reducing its dependence on Russia. Bulgaria may join the project, which is expected to be ready in 2025, via the interconnector with Greece.

MP of opposition Democratic Party of Peoples in Turkey gets suspended sentence

Photo: haberler.comA member of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Party of Peoples (HDP) in Turkey received asuspended 20-month sentence for terrorist propaganda. Reasons for the accusations against Dilan Taşdemir became her presence at a funeral of people claimed to be militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The MP was tried at the court in Erzurum and a five-year probation period was imposed. Thousands of HDP members are behind bars, including 9 people who were elected to enter parliament in the 2015 elections. The government has accused the party of links with the outlawed PKK.

Erdogan's planned visit to Sarajevo confirmed

Photo: BGNESThe Foreign Ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina has receivedan official confirmation about the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Bosnian capital city on May 20th. It is a working visit that should focus on economy, trade, investments and future cooperation between the two nations, the Turkish ambassador said. Earlier media reported that on May 20Erdogan will hold a pre-election rally of his Justice and Development Partyin Sarajevo. A number of Western countries have banned Turkish politicians from campaigning on their territory.

Kosovo expects EU visa liberalization

Photo: BGNESKosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said last week his country celebrated Europe Day - May 9, without visa liberalization with the EU. He pointed out that by the end of autumn Kosovo citizens would be allowed to travel freely. "We expect the EU to confirm in June whether Kosovo met all the criteria for visa liberalization," the Kosovo prime minister said. In order to have a visa-free regime, however, the youngest Balkan state must wait for each EU member to confirm their agreement over this.

Journalist shot and injured in Montenegro

Photo: euractiv.comUnknown attacker shot and wounded an independent Montenegrin journalist writing about crime and corruption in the small Balkan state. 49-year-old Olivera Lakic, a journalist from Vijesti newspaper, was injured in her legs in front of her home in the capital city of Podgorica. Lakic was taken to hospital and her life is out of danger. Six years ago she was attacked after writing a series of articles about murky deals over a tobacco factory.

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

English: Alexander Markov

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