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Balkan developments

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons Swedish Ambassador over Erdogan effigy

Sweden's Ambassador to Turkiye Staffan Herrström

An effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hung upside down by Kurdish activists on Thursday in front of the City Hall in Stockholm. The video circulated on the social media. "We strongly condemn this heinous act against the president of a country that has been a NATO member for 70 years and we call on Sweden to take immediate action", Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, Anadolu Agency reported. Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Sweden’s Ambassador to Turkey to lodge an angry protest over the video. Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tobias Billström, said his government strongly distanced itself from “threats and hatred against political representatives”, which comes at a time when Sweden is expecting Turkey to ratify its entry into NATO.

Unemployed Roma persons in Greece can apply for EUR 14,500 to do business

High unemployment among Roma population hinders their adaptation, a European Commission study on Greece shows. To deal with this issue, the Greek region of Attika is launching an economic assistance programme for unemployed Roma aged 40 or under. Preference will be given to women, the BNR’s correspondent in Greece Katya Peeva reported. Applicants will receive EUR 14,500 for a period of one year to start a small family business. Applicants must live in areas with ethnic Roma population. The Greek authorities are ready to extend the programme if it turns successful. People most often apply for funding to open small shops, deliver food to kindergartens and schools, etc. The financial programme is expected to cover other regions as well.

Croatia has removed 73 border crossings with Slovenia and Hungary since January 1

On January 1, Croatia fully joined the Schengen area.  Since then, the country has closed 73 border crossings with Slovenia and Hungary, Croatia’s Minister of Interior Davor Božinović said for the BNT. The increased flow of migrants from Africa (Burundi), Asia (India) and Cuba, who land at airports in Belgrade and Sarajevo and then head for the border with Croatia to illegally cross the green border and request asylum, is among the problems that has been discussed at European level. "The European Union has already informed our neighbours that they will have to bring their visa regimes in line with the Common Foreign and Security Policy, as this is one of the preconditions for EU accession”, said Minister BožinovićChecks at internal air borders will be lifted from 26 March 2023. Croatia is also able to issue Schengen visas and make full use of the Schengen Information System.

Albanian agricultural exports increase by 15.6% year on year

In 2022, Albania’s agricultural exports increased by 15.6% year on year, the country’s Minister of Agriculture Frida Krifca announced, the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) reported. Agricultural exports reached historic highs- nearly EUR 500 million at the end of 2022 compared to EUR 430 million in 2021, Minister Krifca said. In addition to investments in irrigation systems and wastewater treatment plants, Albanian farmers have also been provided with financial assistance through a national support scheme for agriculture and rural development, the BTA reported. Among the main exported products are greenhouse vegetables, tomatos, cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, onions, leeks, etc.,”

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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