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Balkan Developments

Croatia has announced priorities of its EU Presidency

Photo: BGNESCroatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has presented the four priority areas of the Croatian EU Council Presidency: A Europe that is developing, a Europe that connects, a Europe that protects and an influential Europe. He pointed out that in the face of the Croatian government, the European Commission will have a partner it could count on. The priorities were presented at a press conference following a joint meeting between the Croatian government and the European Commission, which gave the start of Zagreb’s presidency.

Ursula von der Leyen: EU should not change membership conditions for North Macedonia and Albania

Photo: BGNESEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Zagreb that Albania and North Macedonia have fulfilled the conditions for opening EU talks and now the EU should not change them, but just improve the methodology of negotiations. The EC President added that at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Zagreb in May, the European Union must improve the enlargement methodology on demands by France and find a way to start negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

US working on de-escalation of tension between Athens and Ankara

Photo: BNR - archiveDeputy Assistant Secretary at U.S. Department of State Matthew Palmer will mediate the de-escalation of tensions between Greece and Turkey. This has been announced by U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in an interview with Greek television Sky. Relations between the two countries have intensified especially since the signing of an agreement between Turkey and Libya on delimitation of maritime space in the Mediterranean. This has been perceived by Greece as a violation of its sovereign rights in the region.

Palmer is expected to visit Turkey in February and Greece in March. For months, US diplomacy has been working on keeping channels of communication open between Athens and Ankara. These efforts are likely to become even more intense after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visit to Washington earlier this month. Mitsotakis asked the United States to take a more active role in de-escalation of tensions.

Romania's President and Prime Minister call for early elections

Photo: REUTERSRomanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced that he and President Klaus Iohanis (both of whom come from the National Liberal Party) think it was best to hold early elections, but did not specify how this would happen. Orban said that the European Parliament elections and the May 2019 referendum, organized by President Iohanis, made it clear that Romanians no longer want the Social Democratic Party (PSD) in power. "Currently, the parliament is dominated by the PSD and acts as a brake, so it is absolutely necessary that the power be returned to the people, so citizens can elect their representatives and parliament could become a true mirror of the preferences of Romanian citizens," Orban said.

Unemployment in Turkey has increased by more than half a million in a year

Photo: BNR - archiveThe number of unemployed in Turkey has increased by 608,000 in a year - from October 2018 to October 2019. Thus, it reaches 13.4%, or about 4.4 million, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute. The number of young people who neither work nor study has been rising too as the level reaches 26 percent. The number of employees in the grey economy, working without employment registration and without social security is 39.4%, which is 1.2% higher in comparison to the previous year.

Shark weighing nearly half a ton caught by fishermen in the Aegean

Photo: BGNESA huge shark, weighing over 400 kilograms and being over 5 meters in length has been caught by fishermen in the Aegean Sea. The huge shark was caught by fishermen off the Greek island of Skiathos. The size of the fish is astonishing and sparked much attention in social networks. The fish was caught alive and since it had no commercial value, it was immediately returned to the marine environment.

English: Alexander Markov

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