Balkan Developments

Three candidates continue in presidential race in North Macedonia

Photo: BGNESOnly three presidential candidates in North Macedonia have managed to keep the deadline and collect the 10,000 signatures needed to register at the Central Electoral Commission.

One of the three remaining candidates is Stevo Pendarovski of the ruling coalition between the Social Democratic Union and the Albanian Democratic Union for Integration. Analysts say that in the event of a high voter turnout, Pendarovski stands a chance of winning the election in the first round.

The second candidate was nominated by the opposition VMRO-DPMNE – Gordana Siljanovska, and the third is Blerim Reka, supported by BESA and the Alliance of Albanians. Pendarovski and Siljanovska are not party affiliated and come from academia, but Pendarovski has more political experience. At different times they have both worked for the VMRO-DPMNE, as well as for the Social Democratic Union.

Turkey is not giving up the S-400 Russian missile complexes

Photo: heglobepost.comTurkey’s President Recep Erdogan stated that Ankara would not go back on the S-400 Russian missile deal, and that it was even considering the acquisition of S-500 missile systems, Daily Sabah writes, adding that earlier the USA had warned Turkey that purchasing the S-400 missile system could put at risk military-industrial deals among the NATO countries.

Washington has also decided to deprive Turkey of trade preferences, something that elicited a critical reaction from President Erdogan. Nonetheless, Recep Erdogan stated Turkey could still purchase the Patriot system if the conditions were suitable.

Brussels urges Bucharest not to undermine Laura Kövesi’s candidacy for European Chief Prosecutor

Photo: BGNESEU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has warned Bucharest not to “undermine or discredit” the candidature of Laura Kövesi who is the European Parliament’s choice for EU Chief Prosecutor.

The Romanian government, notably Social Democratic Party leader Liviu Dragnea, have been trying to block Kövesi’s candidacy. The Romanian judiciary has filed legal action against the former Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate on two counts, the second of which is of coordinating an organized criminal group consisting of her subordinate prosecutors in the course of five years.

Meanwhile a growing number of Romanians have been supporting the spreading wave of protests by magistrates against the judicial decrees by the government of Viorica Dăncilă.

USA urges Kosovo to lift tariff on Serbian commodities

Photo: BGNESUS Under Secretary of State David Hale urged Kosovo leaders, in Pristina, to revoke the 100-percent tariff on Serbian commodities. “The United States calls for the abolition of tariffs, an end to mutual provocations, and resumption of dialogue,” he said.

In Pristina, and in Belgrade, David Hale denied speculations of a deterioration of the relations between Kosovo and USA, and reiterated that mutual recognition is crucial to a future agreement between Serbia and the former Yugoslav province.

The parliament of Kosovo approved a platform for negotiations with Serbia which does not leave much room for maneuvering. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic responded angrily saying that if the tariffs on Serbian goods were lifted, with such a platform in place, he would have to start formal negotiations though there would be nothing to negotiate. 

New border checkpoint opens between Greece and North Macedonia

Photo: novamakedonija.com.mkGreece and North Macedonia have signed an agreement on opening a new border checkpoint Lemos-Markova Noga near Lake Prespa. This took place under the Prespa Agreement, which resolved the long-standing naming dispute between Greece and North Macedonia over the latter’s name. Athens and Skopje are hoping that the border checkpoint will contribute to the development of bilateral relations and the promotion of tourism and relations between the border regions in the two countries.

The Lemos-Markova Noga border checkpoint was closed in 1967 on the initiative of Greece which rendered communication between the two countries much more difficult. Once it is reopened it will take no more than one hour to reach the beautiful island of Samuil from Bitola by car, across the Pelagonia field.

Compiled by: Ivo Ivanov

English: Milena Daynova

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