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Balkan Developments

North Macedonia with no date for start of EU accession negotiations as yet

Photo: BGNESNegotiations on the accession of North Macedonia and Albania to the EU are, for the moment, blocked. The main reason for this are the disagreements on the matter in Germany. A government delegation from North Macedonia was received in Berlin by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who declared her support for North Macedonia’s future membership of the EU. The Bundestag is expected to approve the start of negotiations between the EU and North Macedonia in September. The country has had EU candidate status since 2005 and even changed its name to this aim. Meanwhile, the parliament of the Netherlands rejected a resolution for blocking the negotiations with Skopje, though it supported the same resolution concerning Albania.

20 years since deployment of NATO forces in Kosovo

Photo: BGNESThe 20th anniversary was marked with an official ceremony in Kosovo since the deployment of NATO forces in the country which put an end to the war between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in 1999. In the course of 78 days, NATO bombed the Serb forces in Kosovo, an operation that put an end to the war but cost 10,000 human lives. Former US President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attended the ceremony in Pristina. During the ceremony the centre of Pristina was awash in Albanian, US and NATO flags. The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci, who was leader of the Albanian rebels from the Kosovo Liberation Army during the war, awarded Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright Freedom Orders. Even though more than 100 countries, among them Bulgaria, have recognized the independence of Kosovo from Serbia, the tension between Pristina and Belgrade has not subsided to this day.

Ilir Meta: Democracy in Albania is in jeopardy

Photo: BGNESThe ruling Socialist Party of Albania has collected the number of signatures necessary for the resignation of President Ilir Meta. Before that parliament voted a resolution, declaring the President’s decision to postpone the local elections scheduled for 30 June unconstitutional. Ilir Meta made this decision at the end of May, citing as a reason the political crisis in the country. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, has called for overcoming the political crisis in Albania by way of dialogue involving all sides, as Albania is set to take over the OSCE’s chairmanship in 2020 and also the country is awaiting the European Council’s decision on the launch of EU accession negotiations.

Tourist industry in Croatia wants more workers from abroad

Photo: BGNESThe tourist industry in Croatia has urged the government to allow more foreign workers ino the sector so there will be enough staff at the peak of the tourist season. Croatia, the EU’s youngest member, relies heavily on revenues from tourism, with the industry accounting for almost 20 percent of the GDP. At the moment there is a quota of 65,100 for foreign workers, 15,611 of whom in the sphere of tourism.

Underwater museum with sculpture park to be created off the coast of Cyprus

Photo: eu.greekreporter.comThe first in the Mediterranean underwater museum with a sculpture park is to be built off the coast of Cyprus. The project, presented in Nicosia, is the work of British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, author of the famed underwater museum in the Caribbean near Cancun in Mexico. There will be more than 70 life-size sculptures 10 metres underwater, near Ayia Napa. The compositions will be combined with natural underwater trees and plants so as to form an underwater forest. The underwater museum can be seen by divers, but also from glass-bottom tourist ships. The opening is scheduled for next year. Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

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