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Balkan Developments

Slovenia has taken over EU Presidency

In Ljubljana, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have reaffirmed the European perspective of the Western Balkans. This happened at a joint briefing on the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, which started on July 1, BNR correspondent Angelina Piskova said. Jansa called on Member States to reach a consensus on expanding the bloc and starting talks with Albania and North Macedonia. The main priority of the Slovenian presidency will be the economic recovery of the EU countries after the Covid-19 pandemic. Ljubljana's presidency started amid criticism of Prime Minister Janez Jansa and his government over exercising pressure on media and over problems with the rule of law.

Aleksandar Vučić: Path of Albania and North Macedonia towards EU is not blocked by Bulgaria

The main reason why the EU has not agreed to start accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is its reluctance to expand. This was what President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, said in an interview with Euronews Serbia, quoted by BGNES. "NorthMacedonia was not to blame, as it has met all requirements for the start of EU accession talks, including changing its name. Moreover, Bulgaria’s complaints that led to a veto on North Macedonia were ‘stories for small children,’” he added. Asked whether it was Germany or France that stopped the progress of candidate countries, Vučić refused to name any country but said that “there’s certainly no desire to expand at the moment.”

EBRD: Romanian economy has done well in the coronavirus crisis

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has adjusted its assessment of Romania's economic development, forecasting growth of 6% for 2021. In its September 2020 assessment, the bank forecast growth of 3%. According to the EBRD report, the Romanian economy has coped much better than expected with the coronavirus crisis, with GDP declining by 3.9% in 2020. The most significant decline was marked in domestic consumption - 4.9%. The preservation of investments and the rise of exports have made a positive contribution to the country's GDP, the Romanian public radio reported.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: Turkish Cypriots should not be seen as a minority

"Sovereign equality is fundamental right of Turkish Cypriots. We will continue to defend this cause," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter, quoted by the Turkish Radio and Television. The comment came in relation to the minister’s working visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey and according to the international community it is part of the Republic of Cyprus. Çavuşoğlu said Turkey could not accept the Cypriot authorities' treatment of Turkish Cypriots as a minority. The Turkish Foreign Minister's remarks come amid an agreement between Cyprus and Exxon Mobil to resume development of gas fields at the end of 2021. According to Turkey, the Republic of Cyprus cannot claim monopoly on the natural resources and the distribution of revenues should be fair and based on the recognition of equality.

Head of Croatian Radio and Television arrested in Zagreb

Kazimir Bačić, the general director of the Croatian Radio and Television was among those detained in Zagreb during an operation by police and prosecutors, aimed at fighting corruption and organized crime, BGNES reported. According to Croatian media, the arrests were based on suspicion of corruption. Other famous people were also among those arrested.

No roaming charges between Western Balkan countries

As of July 1st, there are no roaming charges between North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decision was made at the second Western Balkans Digital Summit in 2019. In the first phase of the agreement, which started in 2019, roaming charges were reduced by 80%. "The elimination of roaming charges is the biggest achievement of the Digital Program for the Western Balkans, which I initiated back in 2018," Bulgarian EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel wrote on her Facebook page.

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: EPA/BGNES, seenews.com, dnevnik.hr, prlegal.rs

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