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Balkan Developments

From Sofia to Durres by train after 2030

From Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Burgas, via Sofia and Skopje to the Albanian port of Durres on the Adriatic as of 2030.

This idea was discussed at the first tripartite high level meeting of the directors of the Bulgarian “National Railway Infrastructure” company, the “Macedonian railways – infrastructure” and “Albanian railways”. The project is part of the Pan-European Transport Corridor 8, the “National Railway Infrastructure” website writes. An agreement was signed to set up a joint expert group to work on the projects implemented in the three countries. The new railway line is to meet all European requirements. There is one segment of the line where there is a problem – between North Macedonia and Albania in the vicinity of Lake Ohrid, where UNESCO does not allow any construction work. The project is to be finalized in August, and there will be another meeting of the three railway administrations in September in Albania.

Five years since attempted coup in Turkey

Turkey marked five years since the failed coup attempt, for which the authorities are blaming exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen who lives in USA.

On the night of 15 July, 2016 an attempt was made to overthrow President Recep Erdogan with military units, tanks and combat aircraft. More than 250 people were killed and around 2,000 were wounded.

“On 15 July victory went to the people, to the will of the people, to those who have given their hearts over to democracy,” said Recep Erdogan at a commemorative ceremony held in parliament building in Ankara, as quoted by the BNR’s Horizont channel. 

Five years after the attempted coup, Turkey is completely changed – after a massive purge in a number of public sectors, it is now a presidential republic with strained relations with its allies from Europe and the US, and its national currency has lost one-third of its value compared to five years ago.

Greece and North Macedonia sign agreement on natural gas interconnector

Greece and North Macedonia signed, in Athens, an agreement on the construction of a natural gas interconnector, news agencies report. The signing of the document was attended by US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt. The project is worth around 100 million euro. The deal was signed by Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas and the Minister of Economy of North Macedonia Kreshnik Bekteshi who pointed out that the agreement will allow for the diversification of natural gas sources throughout the entire region of the Western Balkans. The project will create around 1,000 jobs.

US helicopter makes emergency landing in the centre of Bucharest

The air parade scheduled for the Romanian Aviation and Air Force Day and the ceremony marking the conclusion of the Romanian military mission in Afghanistan have been cancelled by order of Romania’s Defence Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă. The decision was made after an American helicopter which took part in the rehearsal signaled it was having technical problem and made an emergency landing in the centre of Bucharest, stopping street traffic. There were no casualties or major material damage.

During the ceremony marking the end of their mission, the soldiers and officers will pass under the Triumphal arch in Victoria square. 27 Romanians were killed and more than 200 wounded during the 19 years of Romania’s participation in missions in Afghanistan.

New Covid restrictions in Greece

New Covid-19 restrictive measures are being put in place in Greece as of 16 July, BNR’s correspondent in Greece Katya Peeva reports. Minister of Health Vassilis Kikilias has issued an order by force of which all indoor entertainment facilities will only accept people who are vaccinated.

Outdoor night clubs will work with a reduced customer capacity and with no standing customers. Observance of distancing rules will be strictly monitored. Bar and restaurant owners who break the rules will be fined 2,000 to 10,000 euro and will have their licenses revoked for a period of up to two months. Health workers and nursing home staff who refuse to be vaccinated will have to take unpaid leave.

The new curbs triggered protests in the centre of the Greek capital.

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

Photos: EPA/BGNES, economy.gov.mk and archive

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