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Balkan Developments

EU-Turkey summit: Promises for Erdogan, no chair for Von der Layen

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Promises of a new EU commitment to Turkey and an issue that provoked criticism and jokes marked the meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel, Dnevnik reports. European leaders have pointed out that new plans to boost co-operation can only be realized if Turkey adheres to international human rights standards. Plans call for deepening economic ties, modernizing the customs union with better Turkish access to the EU single market, and better co-operation in migration. A video showing that at the meeting between the three Von der Layen was left without a chair went viral on the Internet. Some media linked what happened to the fact that Von der Layen is a woman. "The seating arrangement was made in line with the EU proposal," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.

Greece, Cyprus and Serbia reaffirm co-operation

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Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias and Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides held their first tripartite meeting in Belgrade, Focus Agency reported. They reaffirmed their commitment to mutual cooperation. Dendias pointed out Greece's support for Serbia's path to the EU, as well as the gas inter-connector between Serbia and Bulgaria, which will be connected to the Greece-Bulgaria pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.

Dendias also raised the topic of Greece and Cyprus being frontline migration countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and pointed out the need for Turkey to strengthen border control and comply with its agreement with the EU from 2016. The next meeting of the three ministers will take place in Thessaloniki.

Human rights issues in Romania during the pandemic

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Measures taken by Romanian authorities during the Covid-19 pandemic raise concerns about human rights in Romania. This is seen in a report by Amnesty International, quoted by Radio Romania. Amnesty International recalls that a state of emergency was declared in Romania in March 2020, which was later replaced by a high-alert regime. This has led to a violation of rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, including education, free movement and the holding of peaceful assemblies. During the state of emergency, NGOs and the media reported cases of police ill-treatment of the Roma population. Children from marginalized groups are most affected by online learning. According to the survey, only 15% of them had regular access to online lessons. The main problem for them was the lack of equipment and a place for normal studying in overcrowded housing.

Serbia signs technology transfer agreement for Sputnik V

Photo: sputnikvaccine.com

The Serbian Torlak Institute of Virology has signed a transfer technology agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the company Generium for the production of the Russian vaccine against Covid-19 Sputnik V. The news was reported by Serbian Minister of Innovation and Technological Development and head of an intergovernmental cooperation committee, Nenad Popovic, TASS reported. The Torlak Institute will receive access to data related to the production of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Balkan countries to develop herbal tourism

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Six European countries will work together on the development of alternative herbal tourism. Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina are partners in the project, co-financed by the EU, BNR correspondent in Cyprus Branislava Bobanac reported. The aim is to create tourist-themed routes connecting European destinations with common traditions in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants. In Cyprus, the attractive tourist route will pass mainly through the Troodos Mountains in the central part of the island. It will offer visits to rose and lavender gardens and centers for their processing. The routes will also include botanical gardens, specialized herbal and perfume parks, and an olive park.

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

English: Alexander Markov

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