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Balkan Developments

Serbia believes it is not obliged to buy weapons from the United States and Europe


Serbia will continue to arm itself with Russian, Chinese and other weapons, President Alexander Vucic said. The statement comes despite fears in the region and the West that accelerated armament of the Balkan state could lead to greater tensions in the Balkans, where they are still feeling the effects of the wars of the 1990s, BGNES reports. Opening an arms fair to coincide with a two-day summit marking the 60th anniversary of the first non-aligned conference, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia was a "free and independent nation" that would not seek outside opinion on who its source of weapons was.

Athens encouraged not to confuse media freedom with "fake news"


Media organizations such as the International Press Institute and Media Freedom Rapid Repsonse have called on the Greek government and justice ministry to withdraw a legal amendment on the spreading of "fake news" because it puts press freedom under enormous pressure, KeepTalkingGreece reported. The proposed amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure provide for sanctions for disseminating "false news that causes public concern or fear or undermines public confidence in the national economy, the country's defense capacity or public health." If such a new story is disseminated repeatedly in the press or online, the penalty is imprisonment and a fine for the perpetrator and the owner and publisher of the media.

New tensions in Kosovo


An ethnic Serb was shot dead, and six Kosovo police officers have been injured in an operation against smugglers in northern Kosovo. The Kosovo police searched private homes, businesses and warehouses, seizing hundreds of thousands of euros in smuggled goods. The action led to ethnic clashes in Kosovska Mitrovica, with police using gas grenades and Serbs using shock grenades. The EU called for an immediate end to the violence and a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. "Crime and corruption are multiethnic and hinder the country's European integration, so we will fight against them throughout Kosovo," Prime Minister Albin Kurti told KOHA DITORE. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has asked EU mediator Miroslav Lajcak to "restrain Pristina, because if you can't, we will," euractiv.com reported.

Albania will speed up its foreign debt


Albanian Finance Minister Delina Ibrahimaj said Tirana would take on international foreign debt from Eurobonds to provide liquidity to the state budget. The minister did not specify the size of the loan, but commented that it would have a lower interest rate. "Over the years, we have created a more stable and secure market economy. We are ready to replicate the debt at the end of October," the minister said. Tirana has already said it is preparing to issue 500m euros in Eurobonds in early 2022, but Ibrahimai says the amount will be higher, BGNES reports.

The Turkish lira depreciates again


The Turkish lira has depreciated to new historical levels after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three members of the Monetary Policy Committee at Turkey's central bank. The market described the move as new evidence of political interference by Erdogan, who has described himself as an "enemy of interest rates" and has often called for interest rates to be cut, REUTERS reported. Following the news, the Turkish lira weakened to 9.19 Turkish liras for 1 US dollar and 10.65 Turkish liras for 1 euro. Since the beginning of the year, the Turkish currency has depreciated by nearly 19%, mainly due to concerns about the central bank's monetary policy, which continues to be under pressure from the head of state.

Romanian doctors are desperately asking Romanians to get vaccinated


Romania has flown the first ten Covid-19 patients to Hungary for treatment. Budapest has said it is ready to take on 50 patients in serious condition due to a shortage of places in Romanian hospitals, DIGI24 TV reported. In an open letter entitled "A Cry of Despair", the Bucharest College of Physicians 'doctors' organization said the country's healthcare system had "reached the limit" and that low levels of vaccination revealed a "failure of trust" between doctors and the general public. Pressure on hospitals has prompted Romanian authorities to suspend non-emergency medical procedures for 30 days.

Compiled by Ivo Ivanov

Photos: EPA/BGNES

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