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Balkan Developments

The Council of Europe accuses Skopje of anti-Bulgarian hate speech

In its report on the Republic of North Macedonia, the European Commission ‎against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) to the Council of Europe drew ‎attention to the cases of violence against Macedonians with a Bulgarian identity ‎and the hateful language used against them. ‎

‎"Cases of violence against persons and organizations of citizens of North ‎Macedonia, who identify themselves as Bulgarians, have occurred several ‎times, and at the same time, the authorities are closing down some existing ‎Bulgarian cultural associations," the report noted, the BNR correspondent  in ‎Brussels, Angelina Piskova, reported. It is indicated that a typical used anti-‎Bulgarian stereotype is the labelling of all Bulgarians as “fascists”. Another ‎widespread insult refers to Bulgarian women who are defined as "cheap ‎prostitutes". Attention is also drawn to the case in which the secretary of the ‎Bulgarian Cultural Club "Tsar Boris III" was beaten in January 2023.
According to the commission, a pattern of attitudes is emerging that gives rise ‎to serious concerns and calls for urgent action by the authorities, not only by ‎condemning hate speech and violence and bringing perpetrators of hate crimes ‎to justice, but also by systematic counteraction to the anti-Bulgarian public ‎rhetoric in order to stop and reverse this alarming trend.‎

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Because of the war in Ukraine, a structure of 2,100 reservists is created in ‎Albania

The creation of a structure of 2,100 reservists is envisaged by a draft law ‎prepared in Albania for the reserve of the country's armed forces, Albanian ‎Post reports. The structure will be an integral part of the Albanian Armed ‎Forces. The change stems from NATO membership, the regional situation and ‎especially the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the draft ‎emphasizes. 

The authorities plan to mobilize not only those who have served ‎in the armed forces, but also civilians who were not soldiers but meet the ‎conditions and criteria of the Ministry of Defense. 

‎ ‎Erdogan invites Musk to build Tesla factory in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Erdogan has offered the executive director of the ‎electric car manufacturer Elon Musk to build a factory for his company in ‎Turkey, the Communications Directorate of the Turkish Presidency ‎announced. This happens after the American billionaire announced in May that ‎he was looking for a new location for the distribution of his business, which he ‎will announce by the end of 2023. 

Erdogan and Musk talked in the so-called ‎Turkish House in New York within the framework of the Turkish President's ‎visit to the United States for the UN General Assembly session. Musk has ‎indicated that many Turkish suppliers already work with Tesla and that Turkey ‎is among the most important candidates for the company's next plant. The two ‎also discussed the Turkish program for unmanned combat drones.

Greek scientists create robotic walker for people with mobility difficulties

Scientists from the National Technical University of Athens have developed a ‎robotic walker for people with mobility difficulties. The prototype was ‎presented at the Thessaloniki International Fair, BTA reported. 

The walker has ‎various features to connect with the person. It has cameras on the front and ‎back, as well as a third camera that scans the user. The device gives instructions ‎for rehabilitation exercises, corrects their execution and evaluates the patient, ‎summarizes the results and sends them to the attending physician who monitors ‎the rehabilitation. 

The walker can to a certain extent guess the intentions of the ‎user according to his movements and with the help of obstacle sensors calculate ‎a safe route. For people with mental disabilities, a route can be set for the ‎walker to take the patient to a certain room.‎

Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Croatia adopt joint declaration on the ‎expansion of Schengen

Strong and efficient connectivity requires well-developed infrastructure and ‎unhindered movement of people and goods. The accession of Bulgaria and ‎Romania to Schengen will contribute to increasing stability and prosperity in ‎the entire region and in Europe. This was stated by Bulgaria, Greece, Romania ‎and Croatia after a quadrilateral meeting of their foreign ministers within the ‎‎78th session of the UN General Assembly. 

"The meeting is significant. The ‎four countries are members of the EU and NATO, and this makes regional ‎cooperation even more significant", commented the Deputy Prime Minister of ‎Bulgaria, Mariya Gabriel. Among the topics discussed at the quadrilateral ‎meeting were the Three Seas initiative and regional and economic ‎connectivity.‎
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Compiled by Miglena Ivanova

English publication by Rositsa Petkova

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