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Belgrade Media Report 23 June

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LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: We are dealing with painful issues, compromise is not easy for Serbia (Tanjug/B92)
EC: Belgrade and Pristina teams in Brussels on 25 June in separate meetings (N1)
RIK: 70.57 votes processed, SNS is the absolute winner – turnout higher than 50 percent (B92)
Djuric: Voter turnout in Kosovo and Metohija 60 percent, SNS wins nearly 86 percent (RTS)
OSCE: Election in Serbia marked by political polarization and opposition boycott (Beta)
Tiodorovic: No rationale for reintroducing state of emergency (TV Prva/Beta)
Another 102 cases (RTS)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Avaz interview with Serbian President Vucic (Dnevni avaz)
RS officials congratulate Vucic on election victory (ATV)
HDZ B&H Presidency holds session (Hayat)
SNSD will not support solution for Mostar elections agreed by SDA and HDZ B&H (FTV)
NS President Kojovic slams SDA-HDZ B&H agreement on Mostar (Dnevni list)
SC and TC most affected by Coronavirus in FB&H (N1)
RS Minister of Health Seranic: Increasing number of infections in significant number of municipalities in the RS is concerning (ATV)
Another 53 coronavirus cases reported in B&H (N1)
Croatia

Milanovic on official visit to Montenegro (HRT)
Croatian President cancels visit to Russia (Hina)
Milanovic: I don’t see any legal basis to postpone election (Hina)
In Croatia 30 new Covid-19 cases today (N1)
Montenegro

Milanovic to Djukanovic: Montenegro will be the next EU member; Kosovo issue must be resolved (CDM)
Djukanovic: I am dispelling nationalists’ illusion about Greater Serbia (CDM)
Democrat deputies entered the Municipal Assembly of Budva (RTCG)
Amfilohije invited for an informative talk (RTCG)
Montenegro records 51 Covid-19 infections (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia

PM Spasovski congratulates Serbia’s Vucic and SNS on election victory (MIA)
Nikoloski rejects DUI demand that the next Prime Minister is an ethnic Albanian (Republika)
Traveling without coronavirus test, quarantine for Macedonians only possible in Serbia, Albania, and Kosovo (MIA)
EC: Decision on opening of borders with Western Balkans in hands of member-states (MIA)
SEC inspects polling stations for safety and health protocols (MIA)
In North Macedonia 118 new cases of Covid-19, 74 patients have recovered, 4 people have died (Libertas)
Albania

EP special session for Albania: No opening of negotiations without fulfilling 15 conditions (ADN)
President Meta meets chief negotiator with EU Mazi (Radio Tirana)
Details of the agreement of the Political Councils will be closed within this week (Radio Tirana)
In Albania 53 new Covid-19 cases (Tirana Times/Radio Tirana)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Grenell: Economy ‘First Step’ to Serbia-Kosovo Peace (NewsMax)
Serbia: Joint Statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the elections (European External Action Service)
Fajon and Bilcik: The dramatic change in the new parliament will present a challenge for the future Serbian government (EWB)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Vucic: We are dealing with painful issues, compromise is not easy for Serbia (Tanjug/B92)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Monday afternoon with the EU Special Representative for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina Miroslav Lajcak. Vucic said that the dialogue cannot be conducted on the principle “we cannot negotiate what’s mine, let’s negotiate what’s yours,” in that way recalling the words of US President John F. Kennedy, explaining the position of Pristina. “I told Lajcak that dialogue is not possible if the only condition is for us to recognize independence of Kosovo. Pristina cannot provide us with a table of requests before each meeting that it knows we cannot and do not want to meet. We are grateful to (US envoy) Richard Grenell for all the effort he has made, but Serbia above all supports everything that the EU is doing to reach an agreement between the Serbian and Albanian sides, because EU membership is our goal and we cannot separate that,” the president stressed. Pointing out that a “difficult and grueling schedule” awaits him, the president said that he would talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, then go to Washington, and continue to Slovenia for a meeting of the Brdo-Brioni process. “Easy days are not ahead of us, there will be no easy issues for Serbia, but I believe that with serious approach, work and responsibility we will manage to protect vital state and national interests, security of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, preserve holy places in Kosovo and Metohija and ensure the future for all Serbian citizens,” he said, adding that he told Lajcak the dialogue can never make sense if only side is essentially participating. His message was also that Serbia is open for talks, entering the dialogue in good faith, and that is something that Belgrade is looking for from the other side as well. Lajcak said that he was ready to fully engage and help the two sides, as well as that he would resolve all issues, after which he hopes that an agreement would be reached that would be acceptable to both sides. “Vucic understands how important this process is for the people. I expect that under the auspices of the EU, the dialogue will be able to continue in Brussels. Serbia is a part of Europe, your problems are our problems, and your future is European,” said Lajcak, pointing out that he was visiting Belgrade for the first time as a representative of the European Union for the dialogue. He said that he wanted to be very clear and that as a mediator he was not here to force anyone to reach an agreement, but to help both sides find solutions and reach an agreement that would be beneficial for everyone.

 

EC: Belgrade and Pristina teams in Brussels on 25 June in separate meetings (N1)

 

The European Union denied on Tuesday some media reports that Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations could resume in Brussels on 25 June, adding the delegations would have separate meetings, N1 reported. Peter Stano, an EU spokesperson, said the dialogue should continue in July. “The exact date is still being discussed. Both sides agreed to resume the talks, so the date or time framework should be decided on,” he added. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his counterpart from Kosovo Hashim Thaci are due to Washington for a meeting at the White House. The meeting was organized by the US President Donald Trump’s special envoy Richard Grenell, and some American media reported Trump could also attend the talks.

 

RIK: 70.57 votes processed, SNS is the absolute winner – turnout higher than 50 percent (B92)

 

The RIK announced on the basis of 70.57 percent of the processed election material that 2.122.773 Serbian citizens voted, which is 50.32 percent of the electorate. The Director of the Republic Statistics Institute Miladin Kovacevic said that, according to the provisional election results, seven electoral lists are entering the Serbian parliament, four of which are minority.

The Serbian Progressive Party won 61.59 percent of the votes, i.e. 191 mandates, 10.32 percent voted for the SPS-JS coalition, which is 32 mandates, while Serbian Patriotic Alliance SPAS Aleksandra Sapic won 3.64 percent or 11 parliamentary mandates. Minority parties will also sit in the parliament: the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians with 10 deputies, as well as the list of Muamer Zukorlic, SDA Sandzak and the united Albanian party with two deputies each.

Kovacevic also announced the provisional results of the lists that did not pass the threshold, in the order from the electoral list. SRS won 2.08 percent, POKS 2.68, United Democratic Serbia UDS 0.93, Broom Movement 2.15, the coalition around Healthy Serbia 1.1 percent, Zavetnici 1.43, Narodni blok 0.27, PSG 1.52, Sovereignists 2.23, Movement “1 of 5 million” 0.62 percent, coalition “Let the masks fall” 0.23, Russian party 0.18, coalition around LDP 0.31 and “Leviathan” 0.69 percent of votes.

 

Djuric: Voter turnout in Kosovo and Metohija 60 percent, SNS wins nearly 86 percent (RTS)

 

The vice-president of the SNA Marko Djuric has stated that turnout at the parliamentary elections in Kosovo and Metohija was close to 60 percent. Following the processed of all 140 polling stations in Kosovo and Metohija, the SNS achieved 86 percent of votes, Djuric told a press conference in Belgrade. He says that after the SNS, the SPS-JS coalition won most of the votes, 7.8 percent, while all other lists won together 5.83 percent of the votes.  “Historical result, historical turnout. More than 46 percent of an increase in relation to the previous elections, 14.675 new voters of SNS in Kosovo and Metohija,” said Djuric, reminding that in relation to the past elections in 2016 the results of the SNS list was 67.73 percent, and not this list won 46.509 votes, i.e. 85.94 percent. He thanked residents of Kosovska Mitrovica that also gave a large contribution to the historical result of the SNS. He noted that at the 2016 elections around 5.000 voters turned out in Kosovska Mitrovica, at the presidential elections in 2017 this number increased to 7.658, while at Sunday’s elections in Kosovska Mitrovica SNS won 8.603 votes.

In the Novo Brdo municipality SNS won 89.9 percent of the votes, SPS won 5.3 percent, while all others won together 3.45 percent. In the Kosovska Vitina municipality SNS won 90.82 percent, SPS won 3.2 percent, while all others won together 5.62 percent. In the Gnjilane municipality SNS won 4.000 votes, SPS 229 votes, and other 75 votes, said Djuric. In the Lipljan municipality SNS won 82.95 percent of the votes, SPS won 9.76 percent and others won 6.52 percent. When it comes to the Vucitrn municipality, Djuric noted that SNS won 82.40 percent and SPS 7.89 percent of the votes.

 

OSCE: Election in Serbia marked by political polarization and opposition boycott (Beta)

 

The head of a special election assessment mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Urszula Gacek, said on 22 June in Belgrade that the general election in Serbia had been marked by political polarization and an opposition boycott.

This election was marked by political polarization and the opposition’s boycott. Moreover, the role of the president of the state, who is also a party leader, cast a shadow on the line between official duties and campaigning, which is a violation of the obligation of respecting the division between the state and parties, Gacek told a press conference at which the ODIHR observers presented their assessment of the Serbian general election. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, as she put it, many parties did not hold campaign rallies and the campaign was naturally redirected to the traditional media and to social networks. We noticed that the biggest media companies promoted the ruling party’s policy. A very small number of media outlets that offered alternative views did not have enough coverage to form a counterbalance, said the ODIHR mission chief, adding that because of the pandemic the observation mission was very small and that the statistical sample was too small to draw a general conclusion from.

 

Tiodorovic: No rationale for reintroducing state of emergency (TV Prva/Beta)

 

Epidemiologist Branislav Tiodorovic said today that despite an increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases in Serbia, there was no rationale for reintroducing a state of emergency under current conditions. He specified that countermeasures should be either tightened or eased individually in local communities, depending on the percentage of new cases. “This is an epidemic of particular importance, a part of a global pandemic, and we have to act accordingly,” Tiodorovic told TV Prva. Speaking about possible restrictions on indoor gatherings, such as cafes and restaurants, he stressed that restrictions should not insist on the number of people, but on a two square meter distance between all occupants.

 

Another 102 cases (RTS)

 

Until 3pm there have another 102 cases, in total 13,092 infected. There has been one more death, in total 263 deaths. The number of active cases is 775. There are 19 patients on respirators.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Avaz interview with Serbian President Vucic (Dnevni avaz)

 

The daily carried an exclusive interview with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic following the elections in Serbia, which the coalition gathered around him and SNS decisively won. Speaking about the elections, Vucic said that he is honored and content with the number of votes he won, especially because “the campaign was the cleanest, all media were open and because opposition has had ten times more space than we did in 2012”. He stressed that it was interesting to see during the campaign that the more the opposition representatives were present in the media and the more they attacked the SNS the more the percentages in favor of SNS and Vucic were increasing. Vucic disputed the arguments that there is no more opposition in the Serbian parliament, but he also noted that it is not his job to fight for votes of opposition parties, but his job is to fight for progress and economic development of Serbia, which is what people welcomed. Asked about future relations with the neighbors, most notably Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), Vucic stressed that he is aware that there are no sympathies in B&H for any relevant politician in Serbia, but he stressed that he never insulted or disrespected B&H. He underlined that his socializing with Milorad Dodik is job and has nothing to do with his relation towards Bosniak people. “We want best possible relations with B&H and that will be the policy we will build in the future. We trust in higher understanding which seems to me has been reached within B&H between Serbs and Croats. I trust in higher trust and higher closeness between Serb and Bosniak people in the future, regardless where they live,” said Vucic. He underlined importance and extent of economic cooperation between B&H and Serbia, stressing that “people, we are the closest”. He briefly referred to his upcoming trips to Moscow and Washington and dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, noting that he is not overly optimistic, but Serbia is entering the talks in good faith. Asked if Serbia is using Republika Srpska (RS) in solving of Kosovo issue and whether a parallel can be drawn here, Vucic said that this is all too complicated in very different ways and he would not like to talk about this. “This is why I am surprised when I see from certain Bosniak politicians, when they speak from their heart and say ‘Kosovo is independent for us’. This should be heard the least from Bosniak politicians. Because, how will you explain something else to politicians in the RS. Let this be solved by compromise between Pristina and Belgrade. If someone needs to remove from this story those are everyone in Bosnia. This is my stance. I apologize for presenting it. But do not worry, when I say that I support territorial integrity of B&H, I truly mean that,” ends Vucic.

 

RS officials congratulate Vucic on election victory (ATV)

 

Serb member of the B&H Presidency and leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic, RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic and many other politicians from the RS congratulated on Monday leader of SNS Aleksandar Vucic the victory in the Serbian parliamentary elections. Cvijanovic emphasized that economically developed and politically stable Serbia is the strongest support to the RS. Dodik stated that he is content with the fact citizens of the RS with the right to vote in abovementioned elections expressed support to Vucic and SNS. Viskovic expressed hope that brotherly relations between RS and Serbia will become even stronger in the future, and that Serbia and RS will create better living conditions for its citizens through joint projects. Leaders of SDS, PDP and DNS also congratulated SNS victory.  SDS leader Mirko Sarovic stated that Vucic’s victory will contribute to the well-being of Serbian citizens. PDP leader Branislav Borenovic stated that the absolute domination gives Vucic even greater responsibility.

 

HDZ B&H Presidency holds session (Hayat)

 

A session of the Presidency of HDZ B&H was held in Mostar on Monday. The HDZ B&H Presidency, among other things, discussed the agreement that was recently signed between SDA and HDZ B&H, the upcoming elections in Croatia, the upcoming local elections in B&H and elections in Serbia. HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic stressed that HDZ B&H will not support the appointment of Selmo Cikotic to the post of B&H Minister of Security. As for the agreement signed between SDA and HDZ B&H, Covic expressed optimism. “Changes to the Election Law have to pass parliamentary procedure… I believe that at first sessions of the Parliament in the next fifteen days, both in the House of Representatives and the House of Peoples, we will have both discussed and adopted changes to the Election Law related to the City of Mostar,” Covic stressed, adding that he is convinced that there will be prerequisites for normal holding of elections in Mostar. Commenting on the parliamentary elections in Serbia, Covic said that he believes that Serbia will not change its attitude towards B&H. Covic congratulated Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on the victory of his party in Serbian parliamentary elections, noting that he expects continuation of good relations between B&H and Serbia.

 

SNSD will not support solution for Mostar elections agreed by SDA and HDZ B&H (FTV)

 

SDA and HDZ B&H reached an agreement on the solution for elections in Mostar last week. SNSD announced that they will not support this solution in the B&H parliament. President of SNSD Milorad Dodik said they reject the agreement because there were no Serb representatives present during the negotiations. He stressed that the distribution of seats in the Mostar City Council does not represent the representation of Serbs in Mostar in accordance with the 1991 census. “We want to ensure the political representation in a way our FB&H partners advocate it and that is authentic political representation and not camouflage through participation on election lists of various political parties that are dominated by other peoples with constituent status,” said Dodik. The Coordination of Serbs in Mostar, which unites all Serb associations in Mostar, will soon take a stance on the agreement between SDA and HDZ B&H. They request the return of the constituent status they lost in 2012. HDZ B&H claims that maximal and minimal quotes are ensured for everyone. “These minimal and maximal quotes are very practically laid out by using previous experiences and no one should have any complaints about them. Whether someone was excluded from the discussion is another thing. It is a fact that only two political options negotiated and all others were excluded, including Bosniak, Croat and Serb ones,” said HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic. It is possible that there will be certain lack of support for the Mostar agreement within HDZ B&H as well. MP of HDZ B&H in the B&H House of Representatives (B&H HoR) Nikola Lovrinovic said that Travnik and other cities where there were more than 30% Croats before 1991 need to have the same position as Mostar. He announced that he will not vote for the agreement if Travnik does not have the same rights as Mostar. Asked about this, Covic said that one does not need to doubt that adequate solutions for many political issues including this one will be found and there will be no conflicts within the party. President of HS B&H Bozo Skopljakovic said that the Croat representatives in the Central Bosnia Canton (CBC) expect more than declarative support and the solution of their status. He added that Travnik is the only cantonal center that was not declared as a city. The proposal for changes to the Election law which will regulate elections in Mostar will be submitted to the B&H HoR in the next 15 days. Dodik said that the Mostar concept advocated by Bosniaks for representational national caucuses which would not allow outvoting is completely different to what they are advocating at the state level, where the advocate a civic concept. Covic commented the Serb position in Mostar by saying: “There are minimal and maximum quotas. You know that maximum quotas until now were 15 representatives – a maximum number of 15. Which means there can be 15 Serbs. A minimum of four. Which means there can be no less than four Serbs”.

 

NS President Kojovic slams SDA-HDZ B&H agreement on Mostar (Dnevni list)

 

Our Party (NS) leader Predrag Kojovic said that nothing in the SDA-HDZ B&H agreement on Mostar is acceptable to NS apart from the fact that the elections in Mostar will finally take place. According to Kojovic, unfortunately, the two aforementioned parties do not credit for it, instead it is down to (NS’) Irma Baralija and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), adding that SDA and HDZ B&H keep on treating territory of B&H as a chessboard and population as pawns of ethnic kings. He went on to say it is unacceptable to have ethnic constituencies and to still speak about ‘legitimate representatives of ethnic groups’, which is why NS will fight in Mostar in order to prevent realization of the agreement of the two ethnic parties who are trademarks of the blockade of each political process. According to the NS President, it is disgraceful that the international community (IC) celebrates this agreement as a diplomatic victory, stressing that none of the Ambassadors would even dare to seriously mention principles from the agreement in parliaments of their countries. “Just imagine that (US Ambassador to B&H Eric) Nelson proposes to the Congress that the constituencies in the USA are drawn based on demographic concentration of the white people, African-Americans, Hispano-Americans etc. and that elected representatives are legitimate only if members of their race vote for them. I am feeling horrible while presenting this example but this is the political axiom of B&H ethnic parties and the essence of what the international community celebrates as success. B&H must stop being a laboratory for experiments. We need tested, European solutions,” Kojovic said.

 

SC and TC most affected by Coronavirus in FB&H (N1)

 

Due to increase in number of new Covid-19 cases in the FB&H, it is possible that preventive epidemiologic measures in some local communities in this entity will be harshened. Reporter noted that situation with Coronavirus is most difficult in Sarajevo Canton (SC) and Tuzla Canton (TC). Director of the Public Health Institute of TC Maida Mulic said that 23 Covid-19 patients from this canton have been hospitalized. Representative of the Health Institute of Zenica-Doboj Canton (ZDC) Senad Huseinagic said that epidemiologic situation concerning Covid-19 has been improving in this canton. “However, we still consider the situation unstable,” underlined Huseinagic. He added that at this moment there are 120 active Covid-19 cases in ZDC. Regardless to the number of Coronavirus cases in B&H, the general situation has been normalizing, adding that one evidence for this are re-introduced flights from and to the International Airport Sarajevo. Also, according to data of B&H Border Police, more than 309,000 people entered B&H over last eight days. Assistant Minister of Healthcare of the FB&H Goran Cerkez said that considering the fact that the epidemiologic situation is not the same in all cantons, the FB&H Ministry of Healthcare’s Crisis HQ passed a decision that cantonal authorities will be passing decisions on possible introduction of restrictive and preventive epidemiologic measures.

 

RS Minister of Health Seranic: Increasing number of infections in significant number of municipalities in the RS is concerning (ATV)

 

RS Minister of Health and Social Protection Alen Seranic said on Monday that the number of newly-infected patients in the RS has rapidly increased over the past few days, adding that the good news is that they know how all of them got infected with the Coronavirus. In a statement given for ATV on Monday, Seranic said that the newly-infected patients are contacts of previously-infected patients and they got infected within their own families or at work. Seranic also explained that several of the newly-infected patients reported themselves with symptoms to healthcare institutions. Speaking about reintroduction of restrictive measures, Seranic stated that this option is not excluded and reminded that the RS is still under the emergency situation. In this regard, he reminded that the obligation to wear masks and gloves primarily indoors is still in force and that working hours are limited to 23,00hrs. Seranic stated that the increasing number of infections in a significant number of municipalities in the RS is concerning. According to Seranic, the RS Crisis HQ will decide whether this institution will reach decisions for the entire territory of the RS or this will be the task of local crisis HQs. The RS Crisis HQ will discuss on Tuesday whether some new preventive measures will be introduced, whether abolished ones will be re-introduced or whether existing ones will be made stricter.

 

Another 53 coronavirus cases reported in B&H (N1)

 

A total of 53 more people tested positive for the coronavirus in B&H, health authorities said on Tuesday after the country saw one of its largest daily increases in new coronavirus cases by now the day before. According to health authorities in the FB&H, 27 coronavirus cases were recorded since Monday, 15 of which were reported in Sarajevo. The RS saw another 26 coronavirus cases and one more Covid-related death. According to the Civil Affairs Ministry, more than 3,500 people have tested positive for the coronavirus so far across B&H, more than 170 died due to Covid-19 and nearly 2,300 recovered. B&H is currently experiencing a sudden surge of new coronavirus cases after the situation seemed to have started to calm down in May and authorities gradually began lifting the numerous measures that were introduced to contain the virus.

 

Milanovic on official visit to Montenegro (HRT)

 

President Zoran Milanovic arrived in Montenegro on Monday for a two-day official visit that marks the beginning of a two-week foreign tour. Milanovic traveled from Cavtat to Tivat, Montenegro, aboard the Croatian Navy vessel Omis. From there the President went to Cetinje where he was welcomed by his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Djukanovic. Talks between the two heads of state focused on bilateral relations, the situation in the region, the coronavirus pandemic, and Croatia’s support to Montenegro in the process of its integration with the European Union. “I am pleased that I can, in this more symbolic way than when I was prime minister, offer my support to Montenegro’s accession to the European Union as soon as possible. It is in our interests for all of our neighbors to join the bloc. Montenegro is the closest to achieving that goal right now. We would be happy if the others were too, but they are not,” said Milanovic. For his part, President Djukanovic thanked Croatia for supporting his country in achieving NATO membership. “Likewise, Croatia has continually supported us in overcoming the challenges posed by the EU accession negotiations.” On Tuesday, the Croatian president is due to meet with Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and parliament speaker Ivan Brajovic. He will then return to the Bay of Kotor to meet with local representatives of the Croatian community.

 

Croatian President cancels visit to Russia (Hina)

 

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has cancelled his visit to Russia due to a fault on the government plane and will not be able to attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow on 24 June, his office said on Monday. “President Milanovic has cancelled his trip to Moscow because of a fault on the government plane which cannot be repaired by the planned date, and there are still no commercial flights to Russia” presidential spokesman Nikola Jelic told Hina. Milanovic is currently on an official visit to Montenegro, after which he was due to travel to Moscow for the Victory Day parade. The parade was to have taken place on 9 May, but was cancelled over the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for 24 June. On the margins of his visit to Moscow, Milanovic was due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

Milanovic: I don’t see any legal basis to postpone election (Hina)

 

President Zoran Milanovic said on Monday he did not see any reason to postpone the 5 July election for the Croatian parliament. “The election in Croatia is set for 5 July. I called the election for that date and I do not know how that can be changed in a democratic country,” said Milanovic. “Now that parliament has been dissolved, we have to go to the polls” he added. Speaking in a TV interview on 21 May, Milanovic said that he did not think this was the best time for the election, but that the decision was made and he respected it. Speaking in Cetinje, Milanovic said he was prepared to listen to anyone who considered that there were material and health reasons to postpone the election, but that that won’t change anything. “The election is set for 5 July and without any cynicism, you got what you asked for. I do not see any reason not to continue with the election,” he added. Earlier on Monday, the head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Davor Bozinovic, told a special press conference convened due to the emergence of the coronavirus among tennis players at the Adria Tour tournament in Zadar over the weekend, that there were no indications for the issue of postponing the election to be considered.

 

In Croatia 30 new Covid-19 cases today (N1)

 

The number of new Covid-19 cases in the Republic of Croatia in a 24-hour period is 30, which means that the total number of patients diagnosed with coronavirus in Croatia is 2.366.  So far, 73.093 people have been tested, of which 347 in the last 24 hours. There are 16 people in hospitals. There are no (0) patients on the respirator. The total number of recovered is 2.142. The total number of dead is 107, the National Headquarters announced.

 

Milanovic to Djukanovic: Montenegro will be the next EU member; Kosovo issue must be resolved (CDM)

 

President of Croatia Zoran Milanovic has arrived in Montenegro for his two-day state visit. In conversation with his host Milo Djukanovic, he said in Cetinje today that Montenegro had gone very far in the EU integration process and that it would probably be the next EU member. He said that Montenegro “will have Croatia’s full support”. Milanovic came to Cetinje after almost four decades. Djukanovic thanked Milanovic for the help Croatia had provided so far and expressed his expectation that cooperation between the two countries would be further improved.

Djukanovic pointed out that the visit has been announced before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Croatia provided continuous support. Montenegro is part of the Croatian contingent in Afghanistan. We have received donation from Croatia. However, still many challenges still lie ahead,” Djukanovic said. He said he firmly believes that this visit was priceless for Montenegro and that the final epilogue would be greater contribution to friendly relations. “Dear Milo, I am so happy to be in Cetinje, after 39 years,” Milanovic addressed Djukanovic. “Montenegro is the closest to the EU of all countries. We want to have predictable neighbors. By that I don’t mean boring, I mean that we want to know who we deal with. Your country chose the character of Western society clearly and openly at the beginning of negotiations. Montenegro will probably be the next EU member,” Milanovic pointed out. The Kosovo issue must be resolved. “Obsessions over territories are overcome. Maybe Mr. Aleksandar Vucic has more advanced reasoning than me. If that’s the case, I apologize in advance,” Milanovic said. Montenegro’s President said that he “advocates for equal conditions for all and fair electoral environment. “I don’t want to comment on Serbia’s internal affairs, just its relationship to Montenegro. Outcome of elections in Serbia is expected,” Djukanovic said.

 

Djukanovic: I am dispelling nationalists’ illusion about Greater Serbia (CDM)

 

Nationalists are right to accuse me of dispelling their illusion about Greater Serbia, said in Cetinje Milo Djukanovic, President of Montenegro, when asked what his comment is on “Milo, thief” exclamations echoing religious processions. “We stopped them from forming new government violently. Now I am not allowing them to abuse religion and Serbian Orthodox Church. From year to year, I still stand firmly,” Djukanovic said, following the meeting with his Croatian counterpart. As he says, the plan of the organizers of religious processions is creation of the Great Serbia. “We stand strong in defending Montenegro as democratic society. We want modern state, not theocratic state,” Djukanovic pointed out.

 

Democrat deputies entered the Municipal Assembly of Budva (RTCG)

 

Deputies of Democratic Montenegro entered the building of the Municipality of Budva. They said they would not leave it until the political crisis in that municipality is resolved, Democrat councilor Dragan Krapovic after the meeting held at the Academy of Knowledge. DPS MP Nikola Divanovic and DF MP Nikola Jovanovic also attended the meeting. The former president of the municipality Marko Carevic who entered his office, as well as the Manager Municipality Milo Bozovic are also in the building. The DPS said that during the meeting at the Academy of Knowledge, forcible entry into the Municipal building happened. It was announced that private security hired by Bulatovic was thrown out of the Municipality building. The meeting was also attended by a member of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) Nikola Divanovic and the head of the cabinet of the mayor Nikola Jovanovic (DF) According to a TVCG reporter, the opposition left the meeting.

 

Amfilohije invited for an informative talk (RTCG)

 

Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije Radovic was on the informative talk at the Security Center in Podgorica. As they point out on the website of the Metropolitanate of the Montenegrin Littoral, the bishop is called for the purpose of gathering information on the citizen who organized the processions in Podgorica.

 

Montenegro records 51 Covid-19 infections (CDM)

 

The number of new coronavirus cases in Montenegro continues to grow, as the Institute for Public Health said this morning that they had completed the analysis of 85 samples and detected eight new Covid-19 cases. New cases were confirmed in Podgorica (4), Rozaje (3) and Bar (1).

“Three cases were in close contact with someone infected with the virus, while infection sources for the other five people are still unknown. On 21 June, a total of 253 analyses were done, and 13 new cases detected,” the Institute pointed out. There are currently 51 active cases in Montenegro.

The Head of the Clinical Center of Montenegro, Jevto Erakovic, said one more person infected with the coronavirus was admitted to the Clinical Center last night, as his/her symptoms had worsened.

 

PM Spasovski congratulates Serbia’s Vucic and SNS on election victory (MIA)

 

Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski on Monday congratulated Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), led by President Aleksandar Vucic, on winning Serbia’s parliamentary elections, held on 21 June. “President Vucic and SNS won the trust of the citizens in the Serbia elections. We wish them successful term. In the coming period, we expect the current cooperation to be deepened in the interest of the citizens of the two countries, and in the interest of development and stability in our region, which will accelerate EU integration,” Spasovski wrote in a Facebook post.

 

Nikoloski rejects DUI demand that the next Prime Minister is an ethnic Albanian (Republika)

 

VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski dismissed the demand from the DUI party that the next Prime Minister of Macedonia will have to be an ethnic Albanian. A day after VMRO leader Hristijan Mickoski dismissed the request saying that Macedonians won’t be made second class citizens, Nikoloski said that Mickoski is the party’s’ candidate for Prime Minister.

“VMRO-DPMNE will win the elections and we already have our candidate for Prime Minister. The DUI request is unacceptable for us. We expect to win convincingly so that there is no dispute over who will be the next Prime Minister. That is Hristijan Mickoski. The DUI request is made for propaganda purposes and it is not acceptable for us now, or in the future” Nikoloski said. He added that SDSM and DUI have abused the government for criminal activities as well as for undermining the Macedonian national identity. “They renamed Macedonia, sold out our history and introduced bilingualism just so they can remain in power and can cover up their own crimes. What is coming is an end to the crime, and a better life for our citizens,” Nikoloski said.

 

Traveling without coronavirus test, quarantine for Macedonians only possible in Serbia, Albania, and Kosovo (MIA)

 

Macedonian citizens can only travel to Serbia, Albania, and Kosovo without being obligated to provide a valid PCR coronavirus test, and without having to be quarantined. After a decision made by its government, Albania opened its borders for nationals and foreigners on 1 June. No special protocols have been set apart from the usual measures which stipulate wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance. As of 22 May, to enter Serbia, locals and foreigners don’t need to provide a negative coronavirus test or any kind of special permissions. Kosovo authorities have opened their land borders to all neighboring countries, requiring no test, quarantine, and self-isolation upon entering the country. Persons are randomly selected for a temperature check at border crossings. Even though the government in North Macedonia decided to open all border crossings 17 June, active coronavirus protection measures are still in place. The obligation to provide a valid PCR test and to quarantine upon entering the country discourages citizens to travel outside the borders. Travelers must also sign a 14-day self-isolation statement, based on which the State Sanitary and Health Inspectorate writes up a Health Supervision and home self-isolation Order, monitored by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The 14-day state quarantine measure remains enforced for all citizens or foreigners with a regulated stay in the country who will not provide a valid PCR test. There’s also the possibility for people in state quarantine to request a PCR test, which will be provided for them as quickly as possible by an authorized institution. The citizens with a negative PCR test sign a 14-day self-isolation statement, which includes the days spent in state quarantine, after which they leave state quarantine and go into mandatory self-isolation at the address provided in the statement. If the citizens don’t want to undergo a PCR test, they remain in quarantine for 14 days. Afterwards, they get the aforementioned solution by the SSHI. Previously, the government added to the protocol for uninterrupted transit of foreign citizens through the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia that citizens of other countries can transit through North Macedonia at all border crossings. This transit entails entering through one border crossing and exiting through another, provided that the travelers don’t exit the appropriate highway or local road, and that the transit is completed within five hours, which must be confirmed by a statement that foreigners must fill out upon entrance, handed over to the border police upon exiting to monitor the duration of transit.

 

Entering the neighboring country and the region

In order to travel to Bulgaria and Greece as EU members, directions given by the European Commission are in place to open the borders starting from 1 July. Entrance to Bulgaria is not permitted for Macedonian citizens unless it is to transit to North Macedonia, or to an EU member state under certain conditions. The ban relates to all border crossings between 18 and 30 June. A PCR test, quarantine, or self-isolation is not required during transit. Greek authorities opened their borders for most of the EU, but not for Macedonian citizens, who will be allowed to enter Greece starting from 1 July, with the exception of truck drivers. The ban for entering Greece through North Macedonia extends to foreign citizens in transit through our country, which includes EU citizens. Montenegro opened its borders to 130 countries whose active case numbers are below 25 per 100,000 citizens on 1 June, removing most anti-coronavirus measures. The condition for number of active cases makes it impossible for citizens of North Macedonia to travel to Montenegro. Slovenia requires a PCR test if a traveler is coming from a country with an unfavorable epidemiological condition. This country has a list of countries they update according to the development of events. North Macedonia is on the same list as Serbia, Kosovo and B&H whose citizens must provide a test no older than three days. Afterwards, they go into self-isolation for 14 days. They do not have a state quarantine. Ljubljana’s MIA correspondent says that, if a citizen does not have a permanent or temporary living address, they are in self-isolation at their lodging address. Transporters, i.e. truck drivers, are exempt from this rule. The PCR test in Slovenia costs 96 Euros, and results are available in 24 hours at most. Travelers coming from EU countries do not require a test, and they can enter from so-called entry points where medical personnel takes their temperature. In Croatia, if one has a hotel reservation, they do not require a PCR test. This relates to countries outside of the EU. Austria shares borders with EU countries, and the flow of people is regulated in coordination with the EU. For Western Balkan citizens, rules from Brussels are in place. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published information regarding the movement regimes and rules for transit of citizens of North Macedonia to other countries in Europe and farther in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Borders will be fully open soon

On Monday, Health Minister Venko Filipche said the prospect of reopening the borders without the requirements in place at the moment – mandatory PCR tests and self-isolation – will be discussed by the Commission for Infectious Diseases at a meeting Monday and Tuesday before a decision is made. “Our analysis and analyzes of the number of cases in the countries in the region and information we’ve received from our communication with the health ministers shows that the whole region is considered to be under the same epidemiological risk. Today, I will have talks with my counterparts from the region to share new findings, the number of cases, the overall situation, involving transmission. I believe this issue requires regional approach,” Filipche stated.

 

Air traffic remains closed

Air traffic is still shut down in North Macedonia. Transport Minister Goran Sugareski said the reopening of airports was being considered. The low-cost carrier Wizz Air expanded its flight suspension to and from North Macedonia until 13 July due to the travel restrictions meant for all foreign flights.

 

EC: Decision on opening of borders with Western Balkans in hands of member-states (MIA)

 

Despite the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the Western Balkans, the European Commission is not changing its recommendation on the opening of the borders with the region, adding that the final decision will be made by the EU member-states in the coming days, MIA reports from Brussels. Last week, the Commission recommended to the Union to open its borders with the Western Balkans on 1 July, unlike other non-EU countries for which travel restrictions should be progressively lifted. EC Spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz told Tuesday’s press conference that the recommendation for the region is still in place. “The recommendation to lift restrictions to the Western Balkans was not related only to the epidemiological considerations but also the close level of integration that the region has with the EU and our relations with the region. With regards to the epidemiological situation, we follow it very closely, and the decision that member-states are meant to take by the July 1 will also have to take into account all of the recent data,” said Jahnz.

 

SEC inspects polling stations for safety and health protocols (MIA)

 

Teams of the State Election Commission (SEC) are inspecting polling stations and finding suitable premises that would meet safety and health protocols for voters and electoral bodies on Election Day- 15 July. SEC President Oliver Derkoski told MIA that a high percentage of premises meet the protocols, such as polling stations situated in schools, which can also use the hallways and sport halls for this purpose. Derkoski said SEC is expecting the health protocol from the Commission for Infectious Diseases, which would be turned into voting guidelines.

SEC is set to select the members of the so-called health electoral boards, which will administer the voting of Covid-19 patients, those in isolation and self-isolation on 13 July. About 500 health workers will be needed for the six election districts, while people can apply for voting seven days before. The Voters’ List will be concluded on 4 July, after SEC processes data obtained from the Ministry of Interior, registry offices, courts and the Sanction Enforcement Directorate. The election campaign begins on 24 June and ends at midnight on 12 July.

 

In North Macedonia 118 new cases of Covid-19, 74 patients have recovered, 4 people have died (Libertas)

 

The Ministry of Health of North Macedonia informs that in the last 24 hours 1.363 tests were performed, and 118 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in: Skopje-55, Kumanovo-9, Debar-1, Stip-1, Prilep-4, Tetovo-20, Struga-2, Veles-2, Bitola-1, Ohrid-9, Gostivar-4, Gevgelija-1, Strumica-2, Sveti Nikole-1, Kicevo-1, Resen-5. Four people from Skopje died at the CGH “September 8” – a patient (58 years old), a patient (73 years old), a patient (73 years old), a patient (72 years old) died on June 21, his positive result was confirmed today. Today, the Institute of Public Health registers 74 recovered patients. The total number of cases diagnosed in our country since the beginning of the epidemic is 5.311, the number of recovered patients is 2.048, the number of deaths is 251 and currently the number of active cases in the country is 3012.

 

EP special session for Albania: No opening of negotiations without fulfilling 15 conditions (ADN)

 

A special hearing is being held at the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the situation in Albania, highlighting critical attitudes towards the Albanian government and the repeated request to meet 15 conditions for the opening of Albania’s membership negotiations with the European Union. In his discussion, the rapporteur for Albania, David Lega, praised President Meta‘s stance in defense of the Constitution, adding that Albania is on the verge of opening negotiations for membership in the European Union, but concrete results are still expected for key reforms. “There are 15 conditions that Albania must meet before the decision to open negotiations with the EU,” warned the rapporteur for Albania, David Lega. He also stressed the need to toughen the fight against organized crime and drugs.

 

President Meta meets chief negotiator with EU Mazi (Radio Tirana)

 

Albanian President Ilir Meta has revealed details from the meeting he had with the chief negotiator appointed by the government for the development of negotiations for Albania’s membership in the European Union Zef Mazin. In a post on social networks, where he also shares the photos of the meeting, Meta says that there has been an open and constructive discussion between them about the perspective of opening the negotiations of our country.

Meta’s message was that “our policy must show the will to meet the conditions, it is important to prepare technically and increase the negotiating capacity.” “It is a pleasure to meet today at Ambassador Zef Mazin, appointed by the government as chief negotiator for the development of negotiations on Albania’s membership in the European Union. We discussed openly and constructively the prospect of opening negotiations. While our policy should show willingness to meet the conditions, technical preparation and increasing negotiation capacity are important. I assured him of the full support of the institution of the President of the Republic. European integration is a nationwide objective,” Meta said.

 

Details of the agreement of the Political Councils will be closed within this week (Radio Tirana)

 

Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that within this week, all the details of the agreement reached in the Political Council will be closed and with agreement or not, they will be submitted to the Electoral Reform Commission before 30 June, where the deadline expires. of her work.

“Within a week, the process of discussions between the majority and the non-parliamentary opposition on the agreement of the Political Council ends. In all cases, with consent or without, the details will be submitted to the election commission until June 30, when the working deadline ends,” said Rama.

In Albania 53 new Covid-19 cases (Tirana Times/Radio Tirana)

 

Fifty-two new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected patients to 2.047 in Albania. This signifies yet another increase in cases after dropping for the first time in a week yesterday. So far, tests have been conducted on more than 24,000 people. A total of 81 patients are being treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, 11 of whom are in intensive care and one is intubated. However, a total of 1195 patients who tested positive for the coronavirus in Albania have recovered. The death toll remains at 45 victims. Currently there are 807 active cases in Albania, 374 of which are in Tirana. June 23 marks the end of the state of emergency in our country, declared due to Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past three months, Albania has been under strict security measures dictated by the coronavirus, which were accompanied by a lock-down, restrictions on freedom of movement, closure of businesses, schools, public transport, borders. The state of emergency was declared on 24 March. The Assembly then decided to postpone it for two months, until 23 June. Earlier, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that the government does not plan to postpone the state of emergency, but spoke of a scenario that had to do only with the postponement in some areas, or more specifically coastal cities. However, it remains to be seen what the decision of the Council of Ministers will be, given the fact that Rama’s statement was made at a time when Albania did not have such high numbers of infected people and deaths in 24 hours.

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Grenell: Economy ‘First Step’ to Serbia-Kosovo Peace (NewsMax, by Theodore Bunker, 22 June 2020)

 

An economic approach is the “first step” to reaching a long-lasting peace between Serbia and Kosovo, according to former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell on Newsmax TV on Monday. “We decided to get involved because there’s been a long history of lots of different experts, so-called experts, that have been pushing in on just political issues, largely ignoring the economic issues,” Grenell, who is the president’s special envoy for Kosovo and Serbia negotiations, told “American Agenda.” “When I started discussing these issues with the people of Kosovo, and the business community in Kosovo, the people of Serbia and the business community, what was clear is that they wanted economic development; they wanted jobs for young people; they wanted hope. “And so, what we tried to do is immediately figure out, ‘how do you get the economies to grow?’ We did an airline deal, the first ever in 21 years, a flight between Pristina,” the capital of Kosovo, “and Belgrade,” the capital of Serbia. “That’s not quite implemented yet, but we have the agreement, and we’re working on it. The same with the railway agreement, which would open up the borders to commerce, and a large border agreement with motor traffic. What we’re trying to do is concentrate on the economic situation, to create a little mini Shenzhen zone,” referring to China’s first special economic zone. “We think that’s a very, very good idea, and we think if you can create jobs in the region, if you can bring capitalism and force the parties to get along economically and commercially, then the political issues would be the second step. The political issues are clearly the responsibility of the Europeans. “Bring European and American businesses to the region, and then I think the Europeans will have more success on the political side,” Grenell continued. “We’re trying to be helpful and trying to shift the paradigm, because after 20 years we still haven’t seen enough progress.” When asked if he is concerned about Russia’s influence over the region, Grenell added, “we’re always concerned about the propaganda that Russia pushes and the destabilization policies; we’re always looking at that.”

 

Serbia: Joint Statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Josep Borrell and Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi on the elections (European External Action Service, 22 June 2020)

 

Serbia held parliamentary, provincial and local elections on 21 June; one of the first elections held in Europe since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. While contestants in Serbia’s parliamentary elections were able to campaign and fundamental freedoms were respected, voter choice was limited by the governing party’s overwhelming advantage and the promotion of government policies by most major media outlets, according to the preliminary findings and conclusions of the international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The European Union looks forward to the OSCE/ODIHR final report and recommendations for future elections to be issued in the coming months. We expect all political actors and relevant institutions to engage in a transparent, decisive and inclusive dialogue on the implementation of these recommendations to address long-standing electoral shortcomings well ahead of the next elections. We encourage the new parliament to continue to engage in the inter-party dialogue led by the European Parliament, with a view to forging broad cross-party consensus on EU-related reforms, which is vital for the country’s progress on its EU path. We also encourage the Serbian leadership to engage in a genuine dialogue across the political spectrum to take forward important reforms on the rule of law, fight against organised crime and corruption. The European Union looks forward to engaging with the next government to take forward swiftly the urgent reforms necessary for Serbia’s EU accession. This concerns in particular the rule of law, which lies at the heart of the accession process and should be at the forefront of the next government’s political priorities, and socio-economic reforms, crucial for post COVID-19 pandemic recovery. We also count on Serbia’s continued full engagement in the EU-facilitated Dialogue as well as regional cooperation more broadly. As Serbia’s top donor and investor, and its most important trade and economic partner, the European Union is fully committed to continue supporting Serbia’s EU accession process as well as economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis, including through the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans due in the autumn.

 

Fajon and Bilcik: The dramatic change in the new parliament will present a challenge for the future Serbian government (EWB, 22 June 2020)

 

“The absence of pro-European parliamentary parties in the opposition block must not undermine the pro-European determination of Serbia and its aspirations to join the European Union”, stated MEPs Vladimir Bilcik and Tanja Fajon following the elections in Serbia on Sunday. Elections were won in a landslide by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS). The largest opposition coalition Alliance for Serbia boycotted the election, with the only two other lists crossing the threshold being junior coalition partner Socialist Party of Serbia and SPAS party of a local mayor, who has so far been ambiguous about his position towards SNS. “Whilst there has been substantial effort to improve the electoral conditions through the European Parliament’s facilitated Inter-Party Dialogue, we regret that some opposition parties maintained their position in boycott of the parliamentary elections. The lowest turnout since 2000 and the dramatic change in the political landscape in the composition of the new Parliament, where a two-thirds majority will be held by one political list, will present the future Serbian Government an important challenge. We look forward to final report and recommendations including on the need to address long-standing electoral shortcomings”, stated Bilcik, EP Rapporteur for Serbia, and Fajon, Chair of the EP Delegation for the country. According to the statement, the parliament has a key role in delivering on the consistent and overwhelming aspirations of Serbian citizens for a future in the European Union. This is even more important in the context of the revised enlargement methodology which puts emphasis on enhancing political engagement and dialogue, along with the fundamental reforms (rule of law, democratic institutions, economy). “A more political enlargement process also requires an enhanced role for parliaments and all political forces who play a crucial role in implementing reforms and in building an active societal consensus on the European future of the countries of the region”, they stated. The European Parliament, including through the second phase of the Inter-Party Dialogue, will remain committed to work with the Serbian parliament and all political forces in order to support crucial reforms in the areas of democracy, rule of law and accountability, MEPs stated.

 

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