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Balkan developments

Bujar Osmani: Republic of North Macedonia must change its constitution if it wants to become a member of the EU

The Republic of North Macedonia has begun EU accession negotiations, but to continue it has to change its constitution, said Bujar Osmani, Foreign Minister of North Macedonia in a TV interview, as quoted by the BNR’s Horizont channel. Amending the constitution means including the Creation, the Montenegrin and the Bulgarian community, alongside the other six already listed, in the text of the constitution’s preamble, Bujar Osmani specified, and went on to say that during the talks with Bulgaria, he had maintained contact with representatives of the Macedonian opposition, but had not once heard, from any party, any argument against including Bulgarians in the constitution. In his words, Bulgarians should have been included in the constitution with the constitutional amendments made back in 2001.

Vučić-Kurti meeting yields no result, NATO ready to react

At their meeting in Brussels on Thursday, 18 August, the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti failed to reach agreement on ways to overcome the crisis between the two countries, but the search for a sustainable solution continues, the Bulgarian news agency BTA reports. Tensions flared up over Kosovo’s plans to issue temporary entry and exit documents to replace the Serbian-issued identity cards upon entry into the country, and to replace the Serbia-issued registration plates for vehicles driven inside Kosovo. President Vučić is expected to make an important address to the nation today. According to the director of the Serbian government office for Kosovo Petar Petković, the Serbian side is fighting for peace, stability and compromise solutions.

The Vučić-Kurti dialogue is taking place with the mediation of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who held separate meetings with Aleksandar Vučić and Albin Kurti, stated that NATO’s peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, KFOR, were ready to intervene if stability between Serbia and Kosovo is at risk.

Albania to act as spokesperson for Kosovo’s interests at UN

After a meeting with Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani, the President of Albania Bajram Begaj commended Kosovo for its position in favour of

continuing the dialogue with Serbia as a way to demonstrate that Pristina’s independence is irreversible, the Albanian news agency ATA reports. Bajram Begaj welcomed the position expressed by US President Joe Biden that Washington would “continue to support efforts to secure a lasting peace through productive dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and ultimately a comprehensive normalization agreement, which we believe should be centered on mutual recognition,” as well as the position by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to whom the condition for Serbia’s accession to the EU is for the country to recognize the independence of Kosovo. Begaj stressed that Albania supports Pristina’s accession to NATO and all international organizations, and that it will work towards a visa liberalization for Kosovo. During its term in the Security Council, and as a member of NATO, Albania will act as spokesperson for the interests of Kosovo, he said.

Romania to discard 8,000,000 doses of vaccine against Covid-19

Romania’s Minister of Health Alexandru Rafila announced that he had asked the European Commission to reduce substantially the delivery of vaccines against Covid-19 for this year and for 2023, the Romanian Ziare.com website reports. According to Minister Rafila, there are more than 8 million doses of vaccine in the country which are nearing their expiration date. They cannot be used for lack of interest, and cannot be sold or even donated. “They will have to be destroyed which means spending more money – hundreds of millions of euro,” Alexandru Rafila said. Romania is requesting, if a vaccine is to be offered, that it be effective against the variant currently in circulation.

Compiled by Miglena Ivanova

Photos: EPA/BGNES rs.n1info.com, president.al, capital.ro

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