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Balkan Developments

Skopje defines 5 conditions to EU to accept the French proposal for negotiations

The Republic of North Macedonia has rejected the proposal by the French presidency to lift the veto and start EU membership talks with Skopje. After the Western Balkans - EU summit in Brussels, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski said the proposal was unacceptable in the proposed option and set 5 conditions for the EU, MIA reports.

Kovačevski demanded a clear formulation of the Macedonian language in the negotiating framework, clear protection of the Macedonian identity, historical issues not to be criteria in the negotiations, and negotiations between North Macedonia and the EU to begin before Bulgarians, Croats and Montenegrins are included in the preamble of the Macedonian constitution. The fifth request is for Sofia not to set new conditions for Skopje outside those included in the Negotiating Framework and the bilateral protocol, which is still being negotiated.

Greece proposes that the Western Balkans be part of the EU by 2033

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis proposed setting the year of 2033 as the deadline for the completion of the Western Balkans' EU accession process during the EU leadership meeting in Brussels, Euronews reported. He stressed that Athens is on the side of the Western Balkans and understands their relative distrust, because the progress that has been made is virtually minimal.

"This is a good opportunity to restart this process with even more intensity. A necessary precondition for this to happen is that the dispute between Sofia and Skopje is finally resolved, so that negotiations between North Macedonia and Albania on their accession process can officially begin," Mitsotakis said.

Kosovo and Serbia have agreed to implement old agreements

Belgrade and Pristina adopted in Brussels a roadmap for implementing energy agreements signed in 2013. EU special envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajcak wrote on Twitter that what has been achieved is a "big step forward".

According to Serbian negotiator Petar Petkovic, in the last round of talks, Kosovo representative Besnik Beslimi said he was ready to negotiate the functioning of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo.

Residents of the four municipalities north of the Ibar River, most of whom are Serbs, have not paid their electricity bills for more than 20 years.

According to the Kosovo transmission system operator, which is owned by a Turkish company, the loss in 2021 from non-payment of bills alone is 40m euro.

Kosovo imports over 40% of the country's electricity, BTA reports.

Romania has introduced a national blouse holiday

The Parliament in Bucharest has approved June 24 as La Blouse Roumaine Day (Day of the Romanian Blouse). Culture Minister Lucian Romascanu says he expects the blouse with national embroidery to be included in the World Intangible Cultural Heritage List at the 17th session of UNESCO in November, at the request of Romania and Moldova, Agerpres reported. .

"The Romanian blouse, an element of the identity of our culture, has crossed the borders of the country, thanks to its beauty and the ingenuity of famous designers. It has reached the big catwalks and is appreciated all over the world. It was worn by our ancestors, parents and is now worn by even young people, thus ensuring the continuity of Romanian traditions and customs," said Romascanu and called for the promotion and protection of the brand "La Blouse Roumaine".

Due to work problems, Croats have used 22.1 million sick leave days in 2021

In 2021, Croats used more than 20 million sick leave days, the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO) announced. On average, 33,000 people were on sick leave every day, according to the Croatian portal Index.hr.

The residents of the city of Rijeka are highest in the statistics as each employee was there on sick leave for an average of 14 days last year. Next are the workers in Zagreb, Gospic and Čakovec . The institute has paid over 3 billion kuna or 400 million Euros for hospitals.

A significant part of those hospitalized take them due to work problems such as dissatisfaction, frustration, overexertion, overwork, fatigue or conflicts at work, according to Croatian medics interviewed by Index.hr.

Compiled by Ivo Ivanov

English version Rositsa Petkova

Photos: EPA/BGNES, mia.mk, Twitter/@MiroslavLajcak, romania-insider.com, index.hr

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