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Balkan developments

European Commission concludes reports on Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism

The European Commission announced that Romania has fulfilled the benchmarks set in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. The Commission will no longer monitor or report on Romania under the CVM, but monitoring will continue under the annual rule of law cycle. The EC will take into account the opinion of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament before discontinuing monitoring altogether. The EC will return to this issue, including with regard to Bulgaria, in the coming months, the Commission said in a statement. It is specified that the decision to fully terminate monitoring under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism is taken solely by the European Commission. The EC has monitored Bulgaria and Romania under the CVM since 2007.

Saudi Arabia to deposit USD 5 billion in Turkey’s National Bank

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are discussing Riyadh placing a $5 billion deposit at Turkey's central bank, a Saudi Ministry of Finance spokesperson said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The Turkish National Bank declined to comment on the issue, but a Turkish official with knowledge on the matter said discussions are at a final stage with Saudi Arabia over a swap or deposit agreement. Turkey’s economy has been badly strained by a slumping Lira and soaring inflation of over 85% and a swap or deposit agreement would boost Turkey’s diminished foreign currency reserves. According to analysts, this could also help President Recep Erdogan shore up support before elections in June 2023. Turkey’s National Bank has swap deals in local currencies with several of its counterparts to the tune of more than USD 28 billion.

Two thirds of North Macedonia’s citizens disapprove of sanctions against Russia: survey

51.2% of North Macedonia‘s citizens believe that the country is not conduting a wise foreign policy in relation to the events in Ukraine. 25.7% are of the opposite opinion and 23.2% are undecided, indicates a survey conducted by Market Vision commissioned by MKD.mk. 62.8% do not support economic sanctions imposed by Skopje against Russia and 70.9% do not suppport supplying Ukraine with arms from the North Macedonian Army. 48.4% of the polled think the country should not accept the negotiating framework proposed by the EU. 29% support the proposal made by the French Presidency of the Council of the EU. 22.4% have no opinion. Meanwhile, 58.3% of the respondents think that North Macedonia should continue its European integration.

Kosovo, Serbia reach deal on license plate dispute

Belgrade and Pristina have reached an agreement to end the two-year-old dispute over car license plates in northern Kosovo, The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Tweeter. “Serbia will stop issuing licence plates with Kosovo Cities’ denominations & Kosovo will cease further actions related to re-registration of vehicles”. Kosovo had planned to start issuing fines to some 10,000 Serb drivers who continued to use Serbian-issued car license plates. Borrell said he will invite the parties in the coming days to discuss next steps within the framework of the proposal for normalization of relations.

Greece and Egypt sign agreement to recruit seasonal workers in agriculture

Athens and Cairo have agreed to send 5,000 Egyptian seasonal workers to work in the agricultural sector in Greece, skai.gr announced. The agreement signed on November 22, is part of a pilot programme that will start at the beginning of 2023, to meet the needs of the agricultural sector in Greece. The seasonal workers will be allowed to remain in Greece for up to nine months. The Greek authorities describe the agreement as a huge step forward, because for the first time Greece is providing an opportunity for legal migration through an intergovernmental agreement.

Compiled by: Ivo Ivanov

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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