Balkan Developments

Casualties and damage in the wake of heavy rain in Romania

Photo: romania-insider.comFour people were killed and several evacuated as a result of the heavy rainfall in Romania over the past few days. Several villages in Kovasna county in central Romania were flooded after high water caused a levee break. Firemen and gendarmerie have been mobilized. The water washed away bridges and destroyed dozens of houses.

Belgrade and Pristina bandy words

Photo: reutersconnect.comThe authorities in Belgrade and in Pristina have once again exchanged harsh words. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that “we would benefit from getting back even “one metre” of what we lost in Kosovo because of the previous government (in Belgrade up until 2012, editorial note) now when we have nothing there.” In an immediate retort, Avni Arifi, head of the Kosovo negotiating team in the Pristina-Belgrade negotiations stated said: “Not a metre of Kosovo land, not at any price!... Kosovo’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is not to be given to anyone, not at any price. Not today, not ever.”

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister says Russia is a threat to the Balkans

Photo: BGNESDuring a visit to London, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Enver Hoxhaj stated that “the open issues among individual countries are cause for concern in the Balkans, as are external threats, such as the influence of Russia which is constantly destabilizing the region.” “A specific example of this is the Russian intelligence centre in the Serbian city of Nis,” he said. According to Enver Hoxhaj “to guarantee security and stability in the Balkans all countries must commit to following the road towards the EU, and especially Serbia, while the Western Balkans must capitalize on the Skopje-Athens agreement on the name of Macedonia.”

Referendum on agreement with Greece to be held in Macedonia in September

Photo: reutersconnect.comMacedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on state TV in Skopje that a referendum on the agreement with Greece on the name of Macedonia will be held in the country, most probably in September. Meanwhile NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that he expected Macedonia to be extended an invitation to open NATO membership negotiations at the summit in Brussels on 11 and 12 July.

Every Albanian citizen is born with a 3,000 euro debt

Photo:  abcnews.alArdian Civici, a former head of the central bank's supervisory council said that Albania is currently the most indebted country in the region, and that every Albanian citizen is born owing 3,000 euro. Albania is on the list of problematic countries as its debt is not used to replenish budget revenues instead of to stimulate the economy. Albania’s public debt currently stands at 68.6 percent of its GDP, or 8 billion euro.

Signs in Arabic removed in Istanbul

Photo: yabangee.comIn Esenyurt district, one of the locations in Istanbul with the highest concentration of Syrian immigrants, the authorities have started removing texts in Arabic from shop windows, citing a new regulation that signs in commercial establishments should contain no less than 75 percent Turkish words. The incoming refugees in the district brought with them many Syrian companies, whose conduct has been drawing complaints from the local population. In the past few days the mayor of Esenyurt has personally been attending hygiene inspections at Syrian catering establishments, during which several restaurants were closed down for non-conformity with standards.

Compiled by Stoimen Pavlov

English version: Milena Daynova

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