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Balkan Developments

Connectivity between Western Balkans countries improves

The prime ministers of the six Western Balkan countries: Ana Brnabić of Serbia, Dimitar Kovačevski of North Macedonia, Dritan Abazović of Montenegro, Edi Rama of Albania, Zoran Tegeltija of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albin Kurti of Kosovo signed three mobility agreements during the Berlin Process summit. The documents allows for traveling in the region with an ID card, as well as for mutual recognition of university degrees and professional qualifications.

This will allow the development of a common regional market, bringing more than 17 million citizens of the six countries of the Western Balkans closer together, Albin Kurti wrote in Twitter. The meeting was attended by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who announced that the EU would provide 1 billion euros in aid to the Western Balkans to overcome the energy crisis.

Disputes in Ankara about readiness of Sweden and Finland for NATO

It is time for Finland and Sweden to join NATO, as they comply with Turkey's demands. This is what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during his visit to Turkey, after a meeting with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, BTA reported. However, according to Turkey, the two countries have not fulfilled the conditions necessary to join. Erdogan has accused Finland and Sweden of protecting Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers "terrorists" and of not handing over any of the people Turkey wants extradited.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Joining the Alliance requires unanimous support from all NATO members, but Turkey is blocking the process. This was the reason for Stoltenberg's visit to the Turkish capital city. In order to overcome Turkey's resistance, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will also arrive in Ankara for talks on November 8.

Croatia counting down the days to Schengen membership

Croatia will soon become one of the 15 countries that are simultaneously members of the EU, NATO, the Eurozone and Schengen. This is what Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said. "In less than 60 days, Croatia will become a member of both Schengen and the Eurozone. This is how we will complete the main reform processes and achieve our strategic goals, which is extremely important for new investments and further development of the economy," the Prime Minister also pointed out.

The Council of the EU proposed that on January 1, 2023, land and sea border control between Croatia and the countries of the Schengen area be abolished. Control at airports would be lifted on March 26 because of technical reasons. The final decision on Croatia's entry into the Schengen area will be made by the EU members that are part of Schengen area at a meeting in December, BTA recalls.

Greece is ready to continue providing military aid to Kyiv

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou has met in Ukraine with President Volodymyr Zelensky. She said that Greece was ready to continue its military aid to Kyiv, as well as to participate in the reconstruction of the country after the war, BNR correspondent in Greece Katya Peeva reported. The Greek delegation also includes the Minister of Defense, as one of the main topics of the visit is military aid. Zelensky thanked for the first shipment of 20 Russian-made tanks from the ground forces of Greece. "Greece stands by your side in your efforts to protect the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of your country and we will continue to do so as long as necessary," Sakellaropoulou told the Ukrainian president

Belgrade prepares for biggest gaming and pop culture festival in the region

Belgrade is preparing for the region's largest festival of gaming and pop culture - GAMES.CON, which will be held for the seventh time from November 25 to 27, "Danas" reports. The event will bring together the entire modern entertainment industry and offer visitors a wide range of board games and quizzes, movies, comics and others. Video game fans will get to know the latest developments in the gaming industry, try out the latest games and test their skills in various eSports tournaments.

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

English: Al. Markov

Photos: EPA/BGNES, reuters.com, schengenvisainfo.com, president.gov.ua, danas.rs

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