Balkan Developments

Pope Francis’ visit to Romania

Photo: BGNESPope Francis paid a historic visit to Romania from May 31 to June 2 after visiting two Christian Orthodox countries less than one month ago – Bulgaria and Macedonia. At a meeting with the Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Pope Francis pointed out that globalisation contributed to uprooting the peoples’ values and that the people needed not to surrender to “the seduction of the hate culture and individualism”. Patriarch Daniel of Romania thanked the Vatican for the support it renders Romanian Orthodox believers in Italy, where the Roman Catholic Church has granted the Romanian Christian Orthodox community the use of 426 religious buildings.

New Democracy sweeps local elections in Greece

Photo: BGNESThe conservative opposition party won a sweeping victory at the local elections in Greece, with New Democracy candidates winning in 11 out of the 13 regions of the country. Sunday’s vote was the second round of the elections for town mayors and regional governors. At the first round in May, New Democracy won 5 of the 13 regions in Greece, and the left-wing – only one. Alexis Tsipras admitted defeat, congratulated the winners and pointed out that the most important battle of all was yet to come – the general election due at the beginning of July.

Antigovernment protests in Albania continue

Photo: BGNESOn Sunday the police in the Albanian capital Tirana used tear gas and water cannon against protesters demanding the resignation of socialist PM Edi Rama. 10 police officers and 3 civilians were injured, the interior ministry says.  The protesters threw rocks and firebombs even though the organizers urged them not to attack the police. The US embassy in Tirana urged all sides to “to practice restraint, disavow violence and engage in constructive dialogue.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was in Tirana at the time of the protests, cautioned that “political violence contradicts our democratic values. It is absolutely unacceptable”.

Turkey apprehends 20 IS terrorists

Photo: bursadabugun.comThe Turkish security forces gave apprehended 20 people suspected of planning terrorist attacks in the country. 300 people have so far lost their lives in Turkey in terrorist attacks by the so-called Islamic State which uses suicide bombers and shooters to target civilians, local media say.

Series of earthquakes rock Balkans

Photo: BGNESAn earthquake registering 4.6 on the Richter scale rocked Sakarya in Turkey on Sunday. No casualties or damage has been reported but the quake was felt as far as Istanbul.

A series of powerful earthquakes on Sunday rocked the region of the Albanian town of Korçë, where four people suffered minor injuries and 184 houses were severely damaged. One day later a series of six powerful quakes were registered in the southeastern part of Albania. They were felt in Macedonia and Greece.

Compiled by: Stoimen Pavlov

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