Balkan Developments

Widespread protests in Greece over use of “Macedonia” in name dispute deal

Photo: BGNESThousands protested in the streets of 23 Greek towns in defence of “the Greek nature of Macedonia”. In Chania there were clashes, the police used tear gas, two protestors were arrested and two police officers – injured. The protestors are demanding that the new name should not include “Macedonia” at all which would mean ruling out all of the names proposed so far. The most likely names thus far are “New Macedonia” or “Northern Macedonia”. The organizers of the protests want a future deal to be approved by referendum in Greece, the same way as the government in Macedonia has promised to do. The protests have the support of the influential Orthodox Church in Greece.

Donald Tusk: Today, more than ever, leaders from EU and Western Balkans need not only political declarations but also concrete actions

Photo: BGNES

“Last month, the leaders from both the European Union and the Western Balkans re-confirmed the European perspective as their firm strategic choice. Today more than ever, we need not only political declarations but also concrete actions,” said Donald Tusk, President of the European Council after a meeting with the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic. Donald Tusk added he wanted to “see a faster progress in the accession talks with Montenegro.”

“This means not only opening but also closing of new chapters… A strong track record in the rule of law, fight against corruption and organised crime is essential. Just like thriving free media and civil society are an integral part,” Donald Tusk said.

Former Romanian cabinet minister sentenced to six years of imprisonment for corruption

Photo: BGNES

Former Romanian Minister of Tourism and Regional Development Elena Udrea has been sentenced to six years of imprisonment for accepting bribes and abuse of office. Udrea was found guilty of taking bribes on three separate occasions and one instance of abuse of office. Elena Udrea who was one of the most influential politicians in Romania over the past ten years, a close confidant of ex-President Traian Basescu and herself a presidential candidate in 2014, left for Costa Rica at the beginning of the year, where, according to her lawyer, she has been given political asylum.

Athens facilitates withdrawal of cash and cash cross-border transportation

Photo: BGNESGreece has additionally alleviated the rules for the withdrawal of cash from banks, by raising the monthly maximum from 2,300 на 5,000 euro. The Greek Ministry of Finance announced it was also raising the ceiling of the amount of cash that can be carried across the border from 2,300 на 3,000 euro as part of the third stage of easing of capital control in the country since it was impsoed in 2015. The Greek statistical authority ELSTAT announced that economic growth over the first quarter had reached 2.3 percent. PM Alexis Tsipras imposed limits on cash withdrawals during the 2015 debt crisis to cut off the outflow of capital.

Belgrade is not ruling out taking dialogue with Kosovo to UN Security Council level


“Serbia is not ruling out an extension of the dialogue on Kosovo, including by taking it up to a UN Security Council level,” said Presidency Secretary Nikola Selakovic in an interview for the Russian TASS news agency. What matters is that Serbia is pursuing a serious policy in defence of peace and stability in this part of Europe and will continue along the same course,” Selakovic said.

The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was interrupted on 26 March when the Director of the Serbian government office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric was put under arrest in Kosovo for unauthorized entry into its territory. The dialogue has not been resumed since despite pressure coming from the EU.

The Sun tabloid settles Macedonia naming dispute: adds country to territory of Bulgaria

This is the map with the help of which the British tabloid The Sun illustrates the route the now world famous Penka the cow took after she ditched her herd in Bulgaria and crossed over into neighbouring Serbia. The trouble is that this map shows the territory of Macedonia as being part of Bulgaria. The Sun’s mistake comes at a time when the authorities in Skopje and in Athens are continuing their intensive negotiations on the Macedonia naming dispute. 

Compiled by Miglena Ivanova

English version: Milena Daynova

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