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Balkan Developments

Turkey to bargain over Finland’s and Sweden's NATO membership


Turkey will not support the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. The Turkish president warned governments in Stockholm and Helsinki not to bother sending delegations to persuade him about not imposing a veto. Ankara accuses the two northernmost members of the EU of supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Fethullah Gülen’s organization. Stockholm and Helsinki are preparing visits to Ankara to resolve the Turkish veto issue. In order to change its position, Turkey expects to receive F-35 fighter jets from the United States, Bloomberg reported, citing its sources.

North Macedonian clergy make turn back to Serbian Patriarchate


Archbishop of Ohrid Stefan and Serbian Orthodox Church’s head, Patriarch Porfirije, held a joint liturgy this Thursday in Belgrade, the portal religija.mk reported. This came after a meeting of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Sremski Karlovci, at the request of Macedonian bishops, granted the status of wide autonomy for the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia and lifted the schism over Skopje. Critics of the agreement say the Orthodox Church in North Macedonia has voluntarily returned to the status it had in Yugoslavia in 1959 and is now part of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Thus, the final status will be decided by a general Orthodox consensus, which will require the consent of the other Orthodox Churches.

Greek Prime Minister meets US President in the White House


Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the United States and met with President Joe Biden. The two discussed the crisis in Ukraine and ways in which the United States can contribute to freeing Europe from dependence on Russian gas.

According to the Kathimerini newspaper, Biden thanked Mitsotakis for "Athens’ moral leadership" after the beginning of "Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine". “Our two countries were always on the right side of history,” Mitsotakis replied. Much of the discussion focused on turning Alexandroupolis into a regional energy hub and on US investments in Greece. Mitsotakis invited Biden to visit Greece and said Athens wanted to buy F-35 fighter jets and drones.

Albania might elect female president for the first time


The Albanian parliament has launched a procedure for the election of a president, which includes five rounds. The ruling Socialists have the majority needed to elect a president in the fourth or in the final vote. The Socialist Party has formed a working group to nominate a head of state and has already drawn up a preliminary list. It includes 9 women who have already held high government positions. Among them, one can see Defense Minister Mimi Kodheli, former Parliament Speaker Valentina Leskaj and former prosecutor Ina Rama, Makfax reports.

Over 20% of people living in Cyprus are foreigners


One out of five people living in Cyprus is a foreigner, according to the latest national census data released by the country's Statistics Office. The population of the Mediterranean country has been growing but remains below 1 million. Foreign citizens of the EU and citizens of third countries are more than 190,000, or about 21% of the population. Their number has increased by more than 10,000 for 10 years. Paphos district on the west coast of Cyprus is the most preferred by foreigners. The number of Bulgarians in Cyprus is not yet clear. Official data are still expected, BNR correspondent on the island Branislava Bobanac reports.

Romania wants to regulate private tutoring


Romania has been preparing a law banning teachers from privately tutoring students from their in-school classes. Authorities want to curb the practice, which has been growing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Romania Insider reports. The restriction will be imposed through a legislative package, which is part of the Educated Romania program. One out of three children received private tutoring in the 2019/2020 school year. A survey shows that a large share of parents believe that tutoring was needed for their child in order to receive proper education. 80% of parents say they see significant improvement in their children's abilities as a result of tutoring.

Compiled by: Ivo Ivanov

Photos: EPA/BGNES

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