Balkan Developments

Juncker warns of risk of war in Western Balkans if hopes of EU membership are dashed

Photo: BGNESEC President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of a risk of war in the Western Balkans if their hopes of joining the EU are dashed. Admitting that the road to EU membership for these countries was “still very long,” Jean-Claude Juncker said he didn't think they would attain membership before 2025, but suggested that EU could offer them an “economic area where they can partially behave as they will eventually do as full member states.” He added, however, that “all border conflicts between the West Balkan states must be resolved before the membership can be attained,” so there would be no instability coming into the EU from the Western Balkans.

Albania and EU conclude agreement on border management cooperation

Photo: BGNESFatmir Xhafaj, Interior Minister of Albania, Herbert Kickl, Minister of the Interior of Austria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship signed an agreement on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The aim of the document is to improve control of the EU’s external borders in light of the political crisis connected with the illegal migration flows towards the EU. Under the agreement Frontex will be able to take action along the borders of Albania and of its neighbours, as well as on the territory of Albania, with the country’s consent.

President Vucic says he does not understand what EU wants of Serbia on question of Kosovo

Photo: rs.n1info.comSerbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic commented he did not understand what the EU and the international factors wanted of Serbia on the question of Kosovo, adding that maybe they did not know themselves. After a meeting in Belgrade with European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia David McAllister, Vucic reiterated that Belgrade would not recognize Kosovo’s independence. The president of Serbia stated that Belgrade was ready for dialogue with Pristina in the interest of peace, but added that it takes two for this kind of dance. As to the Skopje-Athens agreement on Macedonia’s name, Aleksandar Vucic said the deal was good and that, without meddling in the affairs of the two neighbouring countries, the president and the government of Serbia support it.

Kosovo President expects European perspective to induce Serbia to accept border correction

Photo: BGNESThe President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci stated that “national unification with Albania” was the dream of all Albanians, Tanjug reports. In Thaci’s words, “border correction” does not imply any exchange of territories, and he will not discuss any exchange, partitioning, or Union (of Serbian municipalities) with executive powers.  But, according to the President of Kosovo, his idea of border correction will be accepted in Serbia in the interest of the European perspective. As to a change of the national flag in the event of unification with Presevo Valley, Thaci stated that if Presevo, Medveda and Bujanovac join Kosovo, the flag would be adapted.

Turkey’s chief prosecutor’s office files charges against MPs

Photo: haber.sol.org.trCNN Turk reports that the chief prosecutor’s office in Ankara has filed reports, accusing twelve MPs from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of propaganda of terrorist organizations. Three MPs from the Republican People’s Party have been charged of “insulting the president”. The reports have been dispatched to the Ministry of Justice to be submitted to parliament.

Opposition in Romania calls for resignations over failure of referendum aimed at banning same-sex marriage

Photo: BGNES20.41 percent of the people eligible to vote took part in the referendum in Romania, held on 6 and 7 October, that sought to ban same-sex marriage by amending the constitution, the Central Electoral Commission says. That is way below the 30 percent turnout threshold needed to make the referendum valid. The opposition blamed the ruling social democrats for the failure of the referendum, and called for the government’s resignation over the 40 million leu (around 9 million euro) wasted on it. The ruling party says the referendum could have a re-run in the near future.

Compiled by Stoimen Pavlov

English version: Milena Daynova

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