Vucic: Meeting in Brussels moved to Thursday; US-EU relations are not our concern (RTS)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated after the video summit in Paris that the dialogue with Pristina, planned on Sunday in Brussels, has been postponed for Thursday. The summit was difficult since the Albanians came up with maximalist demands. “People should not worry. Our delegation was very well prepared for this meeting,” said Vucic after the vide-conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Manuel Macron and the Prime Minister of the Kosovo provisional institutions Avdulah Hoti. Vucic said that during the conference he had noted what Serbia implemented from the Brussels agreement, stressing that Pristina didn’t manage to accomplish one single obligation and this is the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO). “They don’t know how to come out of that. Once you enter talks, both sides need to adapt agreements to their legal system, while the Pristina side is justifying itself that the ZSO is contradictory to their constitution,” says Vucic, adding he doesn’t know what will be discussed if Pristina is not capable of fulfilling its obligations since 19 April 2013, after as many as seven-and-a-half years. Asked what they disagreed on with the hosts and other participants of the summit, Vucic said the initial disagreement was regarding the first item, i.e. that the Serbian side insisted that these are Belgrade-Pristina talks and not Serbia-Kosovo talks, since Serbia doesn’t recognize the self-declared Kosovo independence. “We request Belgrade and Pristina, and not Serbia and Kosovo. When you say, Serbia and Kosovo, we ask that you write Belgrade and Pristina, and I have stressed that several times. We have a difficult road ahead of us, so those who think they can easily take everything from Serbia, while Serbia gets nothing will also not have it easy. I am proud of our team in any case,” he said. Regarding the position of Merkel and Macron, he said that they were fair and knew what was realistic and possible and what was not. “I cannot say that we were exposed to pressure from their side in any way, unlike from the Albanian (side). We will have to talk, and it’s not easy to talk to someone who lives outside of reality, and when they tell you that the goal is to repeal Resolution 1244, they can’t say why,” he said. Vucic added that it was a difficult conversation and that the Albanians came up with a list of demands which includes preservation of the territorial integrity of so-called Kosovo, preservation of its so-called constitution, permanent mutual recognition, Pristina’s membership in the UN, and for other EU countries to recognize Kosovo. Vucic said that any talks are pointless if these demands are the essence of everything.
Vucic: Discussing three crucial issues with Macron (Tanjug/B92/RTS)
Three key topics with Macron – the summit, bilateral relations and the future of Europe and Serbia in the European Union, President Aleksandar Vucic said.After the conversation with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, Vucic stated that he talked with Macron in private for an hour and a half. “I must say that he took me to rooms that are not an official office, so I could see special rooms for French presidents. He recalled the emotions he experienced in Belgrade. He showed exceptional hospitality,” Serbian President said. “I have to say that we understand each other well, Macron always speaks clear language,” he added. It is of key importance that I learned from Macron how he sees Europe and the world in the future, with a key review of Serbia’s European path, Vucic added. “We understand each other well, Macron always speaks clear and simple language. I don’t always understand formal bureaucratic vocabulary, but I always understand Macron well…,” Vucic said. When it comes to tomorrow’s summit on Kosovo and Metohija, organized by Germany and France, Vucic said that he was not sure that a joint statement could be adopted. “I spoke strategically about what I think was happening and what could happen in the future,” Vucic said. Asked how he views the continuation of the dialogue since there are hints that Pristina will not be represented on Sunday at the highest level, i.e. at the premier level, Vucic said he had heard certain rumors this evening that the Albanians would not be coming to Brussels even though we have waited for months for the dialogue to resume. “Now I see that I have received a message from EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak and I will talk with him tonight to see what will happen. To be honest, we are trying to show that we are partners of the EU, the international community, to anyone who advocates dialogue, that we don’t want to run away from difficult topics. I am surprised when somebody accepts the date and then says cannot make it over internal circumstances. Imagine if I would say ‘I have demonstrations and cannot make it’,” said Vucic. He says they do so every time something is not to their liking. “I will wait to see and tomorrow we will be smarter. Serbia is prepared, and we are prepared to go to Brussels from here,” said Vucic. Asked whether after talks with Macron he sees clearer what can one expect from the video summit, Vucic says he believes everyone will talk about how they see the dialogue, the future of talks. “I don’t think there will be too many results, there will be some principles, but which we cannot agree on, so that I believe the French and Germans will come up with a presidential statement, we separately, as well as the Albanians,” said Vucic. He explains the Albanians will say how they came to discuss mutual recognition, but Serbia is not interested in that, but there are numerous small steps that can improve relations and do something for the both the Serbs and Albanians. “It’s a tactic I think is good and cutting overnight is something that can’t lead us to a good solution,” said Vucic. He says that Macron, as an exceptional geopolitical expert, understands this. “It would be silly for me to say that Macron is on our side, he is not, but, does he understand Serbia’s position? I think he understands and well comprehends. And I think I have been explaining this in a plastic way, by saying ‘Why would we do something, let us see what is Serbia getting’. He says ‘you are right, let us see what is Serbia getting’,” said Vucic. He stated that he informed President Macron that Serbia accepts the new methodology in negotiations with the EU. “Important news, I informed President Marcon and I will officially confirm that at the Summit that Serbia, as a country, accepts the new methodology, initiated by President Macron. And I think that caused additional respect and satisfaction of the French side,” Vucic said. According to him, that will mean that when Serbia opens economic and social chapters, for example, it immediately starts to have access to funds and everything else from those chapters. Speaking about the protests, Vucic said that there would be no reaction from the police if there was no violence. “It is stupid to demonstrate because of coronavirus, but if they want, protest as much as you want, just don’t touch the police. In Serbia, the right to assemble is guaranteed, and power is taken in elections. if you want to do it during COVID infection, fine,” Vucic reiterated.
“It is stupid to demonstrate when you are facing a coronavirus infection,” Vucic said, adding that no one would be allowed to take power by force.
Djuric: Walker is the last person who should speak about crimes (RTS)
The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric has released a statement on the occasion of the statement by the former head of the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo William Walker who said that “Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is partially responsible for the crimes in Kosovo”. Djuric notes that William Walker is responsible for provoking war in Kosovo and Metohija and the aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, adding he should be held responsible together with the terrorist KLA leaders. “Walker is an integral part of so-called KLA and one of the idea inspirators and creators of the war in Kosovo and Metohija. As such, he is the last person who should be talking about crimes, and among the first ones who should be held responsible for these crimes,” says Djuric.
Brnabic: Crisis response team introduces new measures for Belgrade (Tanjug/RTS)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced that the crisis response team at Thursday’s session introduced new measures for the City of Belgrade in the fight against coronavirus.
In her address after the session held at the Palace of Serbia, Brnabic stated that the new measures envisage a complete ban on organized public gatherings of more than 10 people, both indoors and outdoors, as well as limiting the number of people indoors and shortening the working hours of all indoor facilities. The first measure is a complete ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people indoors and outdoors and a restriction on the number of people indoors, Brnabic explained. She stated that each catering facility and store will have to have a clear indication of how many people can stay in that space, which, according to the formula, is four square meters per person. According to her, the new measure is the limitation of the working hours of the facilities in the closed space, which comes into force from tomorrow and envisages that these facilities will be closed in the period from 21.00 to 6.00. That, as she added, does not only apply to catering facilities, closed spaces, but also to shops, shopping centers and all closed type facilities. She mentioned that, when it comes to open spaces and gardens, the working hours will remain from 23.00 to 6.00. These are measures for Belgrade and we will see how we will proceed, we will change them if necessary in accordance with the situation, Brnabic emphasized.
She pointed out that an agreement was reached at the session on the adoption of certain stricter measures for those communities and local self-governments in which the situation with coronavirus is unstable, primarily for Belgrade, where it is most critical. She said that the focus should be on those environments where the situation is extraordinary, unstable and unpredictable. As for the rest of Serbia, a decision was made that cities and municipalities will in the future make decisions on declaring emergency situations based on the full capacity of health institutions. The government strongly condemns the riots recorded in the previous two days in Belgrade and some other cities in Serbia, which cause great material damage just at the time when we as a society should be united in the fight against the infectious disease COVID-19.
It should be added that this is certainly not responsible behavior, which in the current situation would contribute to preserving our health and reducing the pressure on our health system.
On the contrary, the riots will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the spread of coronavirus and the epidemiological picture in the days ahead. Once again, we strongly appeal to all citizens to adhere to protection measures as much as possible, so that we can all together preserve our health, the health of the people around us, but also our health system, whose capacities are limited. Brnabic spoke about the new measures for RTS and said that they will come in effect as of Friday evening. She expressed hope that these measures that are one step towards more restrictive measures in the fight against COVID-19 will help reduce the number of new cases of the Coronavirus infection in Belgrade in the next 10 days. Brnabic reminded that the most critical situation now regarding the number of newly-infected cases is in Belgrade, as well as in Sabac. According to Brnabic, the curfew and complete movement ban at least over the weekend are undoubtedly the most efficient measure, but these measures were not imposed as citizens have to get used on the living with the virus until the vaccine is developed. Commenting on the latest violent protests in Belgrade and other cities in Serbia over the past two days, Brnabic said that she is not happy about the protests primarily due to the fact that they are actually mass gatherings of citizens, stressing that there will be plenty of time for protests once the Coronavirus pandemic is over. She concluded that currently most important thing for the Serbian government is to focus on the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Moscow: ‘Russian mark’ in riots in Belgrade – fake news (TASS/N1)
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that information about Moscow’s involvement in riots in Belgrade and elsewhere was fake news, N1 reported. “Some online media reported about an alleged ‘Russian mark’ behind the riots in Belgrade on July 7 and 8,” the Ministry said in a statement carried by the state TASS news agency. It added that the authors of such ‘fake news’ continued with “well-known conspiracy stereotypes of their sponsors who “see Moscow’s hand” behind everything. “The only goal of those paid orders is to cast a shadow on Russian-Serb partnership,” the statement said. The statement said Moscow hoped for a quick end to violence and establishment of order and stability in “friendly Serbia”, and for the resumption of political discussion about pressing issues in the state.
Karan: Final stage of hybrid war against Serbia (Politika)
Belgrade media reported that members of “mercenary (US-based) warfare corporation ‘Blackwater’, whose member from Ukraine was arrested in Belgrade, too participated in violent protests in Belgrade”. Retired officer of Counter-Intelligence Service of former Yugoslavia Ljuban Karan told the daily that a special hybrid war has been going on against Serbia for a while now and it is now entering its final phase which should result in a coup in Serbia. Karan argued that members of ‘Blackwater’ are well trained for such situations and “they are the first ones to stab a police officer with a knife or commit an act of crime or an incident”.
CoM fails to adopt agenda after SDA did not support appointment of HDZ B&H staff which is why HDZ B&H voted against adoption of agenda (Nova BH)
Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Council of Ministers (CoM) Zoran Tegeltija has interrupted the session of the B&H CoM on Thursday. Namely, Ministers failed to agree on the agenda of the session. Nova BH reported that things got complicated at the CoM’s Collegium and that SDA was ready to support appointments of staff of SNSD but not appointments of HDZ B&H members, after which HDZ B&H voted against the agenda and thus, Tegeltija had to interrupt the session. Asked whether the CoM will hold sessions in the upcoming period and whether the executive authorities can function at all, Tegeltija said that the CoM will continue consultations and plan a new session. In this regard, Tegeltija announced that the CoM will hold a new session next week, on Wednesday. He also expressed hope that a disagreement between SDA and HDZ B&H will be solved, saying that this disagreement reflects on work of the CoM. The reporter noted that is seems that there are more and more disagreements and lack of understanding between the coalition partners, adding that things did not seem like that two days ago, at a meeting of leaders of SNSD, HDZ B&H and SDA held in Istocno Sarajevo. Nova BH concluded by saying that the upcoming period will reveal whether the partners will manage to solve this issue by Wednesday’ session of the CoM, reminding that the local elections scheduled for November will be called into question without adoption of the budget.
B&H HoR rejects proposal of B&H Budget for 2020; Local elections called into question, as HoR fails to adopt budget for 2020 (Nova BH)
Nova BH reported that this year’s local elections in B&H may be called into question after the key precondition for holding of the elections were not met on Thursday. Namely, the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) failed to adopt the Proposal of the Budget of Institutions and International Obligations of B&H for 2020 as some members of the position as well as MPs from HDZ B&H and SNSD voted against this. Nova BH reminded that just two days ago, leaders of HDZ B&H, SNSD and SDA said that the budget will be adopted by 21 July and that SNSD and HDZ B&H had some remarks regarding the convocation of the B&H Central Election Commission (CEC). Addressing media following the session, speaker of the B&H HoR Nebojsa Radmanovic (SNSD) stated that previous agreements that they had related to the budget and some other issues were not respected, without mentioning any details. DF MP Dzenan Djonlagic said that it is clear that those who opposed want to disable the financial framework for the CEC for continuation of activities related to organization of the elections.
SDS MP Mirko Sarovic said that it obvious that some find holding of the elections this autumn inconvenient. SDA MP Adil Osmanovic said: “Of course that we are now pessimistic more than two days ago. We did not expect this blockade and we still believe and we still consider that there is room to reach an agreement by (July) 21st”. SBB B&H stated that this party finds that the ruling parties at the state level SNSD, HDZ B&H, SDA and DF exclusively bear responsibility for failure to adopt the budget. SBB B&H said that the budget of institutions of B&H for 2020 is more important than budgets adopted in previous years because it is supposed to secure funds for holding of the elections, funds for mitigation of migrant crisis as well as economic crisis caused by the pandemic. According to SBB B&H, instead of saving the economy, giving a concrete answer to the migrant crisis and meeting promises that they gave to the international community regarding holding of the elections, the ruling parties undermine reputation of the state and causes immense damage to economy and citizens. The press release of SBB B&H also reads that this is “a transparent, ‘cause and effect’ game in which SDA with help of DF, appoints new party members of the B&H Central Election Commission without a public vacancy and this is the motive for SNSD and HDZ (B&H) to prevent adoption of the budget in the seventh (July) month of the year”. SBB B&H also stated that for a longer period of time, they advocate depoliticizing of the election administration and fair elections and vote of their MP proves that they put interests of the state and citizens above interests of the party.
CEC adopts conclusion to initiate adoption of amendments to Election Law of B&H to ensure its financial independence (RTRS)
The Central Election Commission (CEC) of B&H adopted on Thursday the conclusion to initiate adoption of amendments to the Election Law of B&H with the aim to ensure financial independence of this commission. The CEC issued a statement, explaining that, with such amendments to the Election Law, the funds for conducting the elections would be secured within legally set deadlines. The CEC’s statement reads that, in case of failure to meet the legally set deadline, the Council of Ministers (CoM) of B&H would have the obligation to pass a special decision to provide funds for conducting of the elections, within eight days upon receiving the CEC’s request. The proposal stipulates that B&H CoM has an obligation to pass within eight days upon B&H CEC’s request a special decision to ensure funds for implementation of the elections. B&H CEC’s request would be sent only in case that B&H CoM fails to ensure the financing within 15 days since the day of announcing the elections. B&H CEC has again stressed that the creation of a temporary voter list is questionable due to lack of funds, reminding that the voter list is supposed to be completed by 17 July.
Cavara: I fully agree with Sattler that FB&H government should be formed, but conditions should be created for it (Vecernji list)
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) President Marinko Cavara (HDZ B&H), said that the agreement on the elections in Mostar encourages that it is possible to reach an agreement on the issues regarding legitimate political representatives at higher levels. Cavara also said that as a man who comes from central, Bosnia he advocates that Travnik is organized in a similar way, as it was written in amendments to the Constitution of the FB&H. He added: “Unfortunately, the High Representative erased the amendments which defined it and therefore formally we do not have the right to ask for such organization in the Constitution. However, there is the principle to prevent outvoting and domination through mechanisms of the Statute and the Election Law, wherever domination of one people is present. The same way as protection of Bosniaks is demanded, it is principled to demand protection of Croats, where they are in minority position.” As for the upcoming local elections, Cavara said that judging by the statements from the sessions of the Croat People’s Council (HNS), there is readiness of almost all parties, which are part of the HNS, to run in the elections together wherever there is a danger of endangering legitimate representation of the Croat people. Asked to comment on the journalist’s conclusion that one solution is being demanded for Mostar, while there are attempts to manipulate with other levels of the authority at the same time, Cavara said: “Bosniak parties demand civic organization at (higher) levels, while at the local level they insist on ethnic mechanisms of protection. This illustrates political inconsistency. Despite of everything I believe that it is most important for us to reach other political agreements according to the model of Mostar.” Asked if he believes that the Bosniak policy will give up on the possibility of electing Croat political representatives in the FB&H, Cavara said that he does not believe that this will happen. He added that judging by the post-war developments in B&H, it seems that there is an intention to run (the country) by one people and by almost one party. He also stated: “If the international community and factors that can contribute to stability take part in positive resolving of the problem, as it was the case with Mostar recently, then the change of relations can be expected. It is important to bring all sides at the table and with one arbitrage launch the process which will make possible progress for all on B&H.” Journalist reminded that EUSR Johann Sattler recently stressed that democracy implies formation of the authority in the country after the elections, underlining the case of the FB&H. Asked if establishment of the new FB&H government can be expected soon, Cavara said that he fully agrees with Sattler that the government should be formed, but that conditions should be created for it. Cavara added that first of all they should have partners for the authority formation. As for the issue of the new composition of the CEC of B&H, which is illegal in HDZ B&H’s opinion, Cavara said that this is the message to Croats about unfair way of functioning of the parliamentary majority, which should take over responsibility towards B&H institutions. He added that things are done in the FB&H in a similar manner. He added: “However, the most important message about the decision on the CEC is that there is a wish to manage the election process. If there is a wish to do this in an illegal way, then we enter a very dangerous zone of disrespecting the Constitution and the law. We are aware that there is no state in such a situation,” Cavara also expects that the new Croatian government will continue to give strong support to B&H Croats and cooperation through institutions of the HNS and he added: “For us, the most important assistance of Croatia is through European and world institutions so that Croats in B&H are equal.”
Dzaferovic: It is necessary to adopt legislation banning genocide denial in B&H (O kanal)
Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic was amongst the state officials that paid their respects to the Srebrenica genocide victims that will be buried on Saturday at the Potocari memorial. He again stressed that it is necessary to adopt the legislation banning genocide denial is needed in B&H, and the international community should exert pressure on this issue. He added that this law must be adopted, even if a solution is imposed by the international community. Dzaferovic announced that he would address the UN Security Council with such a request. “That is a minimum that needs to be done in B&H; that is a minimum that needs to be done for the victims. That is a minimum that we must do for all of us that live in B&H. Unfortunately, the political forces that deny genocide, that glorify war criminals, do not allow us to do this through parliamentary procedure, and they have the key when it comes to decision-making in the Parliamentary Assembly of B&H,” Dzaferovic told reporters in Sarajevo on Thursday.
Komsic to attend commemoration for Srebrenica victims in Berlin (Dnevni avaz)
B&H Presidency member Zeljko Komsic is currently in Berlin for a working visit. As B&H Presidency announced. Komsic will attend a commemoration service for victims of Srebrenica genocide which will be held at the Memorial Church in Berlin.
UN Secretary General Gutteres: We let people of Srebrenica down (Dnevni avaz)
UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres stated that 25 years ago, the UN let the people of Srebrenica down, and this failure will haunt the history forever. “Facing the past is an important step towards restoration of trust. He underlined that reconciliation needs to be supported by mutual empathy and understanding. It also must include rejection of genocide and war crimes denial, as well as rejection of glorification of war criminals. Gutteres called on all people in the region to stand up against hatred, divisive rhetoric and talk about mistrust and fear. “On this ad anniversary, we remind that the peace in B&H is fragile. We cannot give up working on true reconciliation. We owe this to the victims of Srebrenica genocide, survivors, people of B&H and the entire humankind,” Gutteres stated.
Ambassador Nelson: We grieve with families (O kanal)
On the occasion of marking 25th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide, US Ambassador to B&H Eric Nelson wrote on social media: “We grieve with the families missing their loved ones who were killed in the genocide in Srebrenica”. “We pay respect to the memory of them by choosing justice for the victims, love, and not hatred, unity, and not divisions,” Ambassador Nelson stated on social media.
US Senator Wicker: We emphatically reject Srebrenica genocide denial (FTV)
Some still deny the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and the United States rejects “this dangerous view” US Senator Roger Wicker, who is the Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, said in a video message as he expressed solidarity with the people of B&H ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Wicker said he travelled to B&H together with former US President Bill Clinton to attend the 20th Srebrenica genocide commemoration. “Now, five years later, I again join all Americans, as we remember the victims and express solidarity with the people of B&H” he said and added: “B&H has not yet reached its full potential. There are those who still deny this atrocity. We emphatically reject this dangerous view. We have an obligation to honor the victims, advance the cause of justice, and commit to building a better world”. “On this anniversary we stand together, as we seek to move forward,” Wicker concluded.
HDZ offers national minorities cabinet position (HRT)
Members of parliament representing national minorities met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday to discuss the contours of the new government. Plenkovic’s HDZ won enough seats in Sunday’s parliamentary election to form a majority with 8 minority MPs, representing 11 ethnicities, and two small parties, the Reformists and the People’s Party, easily avoiding having to make deal with the hard-right. The HDZ and their allies are in talks to work out the details. The HDZ confirmed an offer had been made to the minorities. “National minorities would nominate one person who would be a deputy prime minister for social issues. We did not discuss specific names, rather we spoke about the government’s program,” said Tomo Medved, an HDZ vice president and current minister of veterans affairs. Czech and Slovak Minority MP Vladimir Bilek did confirm that Independent Democratic Serb Party leader, Milorad Pupovac, had turned down the offer for the cabinet role. “What I can say is that it will not be me or my colleague, Mr. Pupovac. He was offered the position, but he wants to continue doing his work in parliament,” Bilek told reporters following the meeting. Roma minority MP Veljko Kajtazi signaled minorities may be holding out for a better offer. “That’s something we have to discuss within our club of deputies, but no, it is not enough, in my opinion,” he said, when asked if minority MPs would settle for a minister without portfolio position. Bilek said that they still had to discuss the implementation national minority operational programs, for which minorities want the government’s support. Minorities also want a part of the government’s program to focus on national minorities, he added.
European officials congratulate Djukanovic on Statehood Day (CDM)
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic has received the first congratulatory notes on Statehood Day from the highest European officials. Djukanovic received congratulatory notes from the British Queen, Elizabeth II, President of Germany, Walter Steinmeier, Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, Austria’s President, Alexander Van der Bellen, Bulgaria’s President, Rumen Radev, Hungary’s President, Janos Ader, Irish President, Michael Higgins, President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman and President of Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga. Steinmeier points out that further implementation of the ambitious reform process remains important item on the Montenegro’s EU path. He assures that Germany will continue to support Montenegro as friend and partner. Mattarella says in his note that the two countries remain committed to the development of strong partnership, based on intense political dialogue and fruitful economic relations. President Radev praises Montenegro’s achievements in European integration process and its leading position in the region.
“Bulgaria will continue to share its experience as reliable partner”, says in his letter Radev.
President of Hungary stresses that his country devotes particular attention to Montenegro’s economic development and progress in integration process. Wishing peace, stability and well-being to Montenegrin people, president Higgins expresses solidarity of his country with the aim of reaching global economy which would be in function of providing basic living needs, finding response to climate change and achieving objectives of sustainable development. Sommaruga points out that relations of trust between Montenegro and Switzerland enable them to stay together in face great global and regional challenges. Queen Elizabeth II, Van der Bellen and president Zeman send their warm congratulations on Statehood Day, with best regards and wishing Montenegro prosperous future. Head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has also congratulated the Statehood Day. “Your Excellence, on the occasion of marking Montenegro’s Statehood Day, I am sending you and your citizens congratulations. I pray that you enjoy in prosperity, stability and peace, sending to Your people blessings of the Almighty God,” the note says.
Zaev: EU negotiating process to be completed in six years (MIA)
SDSM leader Zoran Zaev and BESA leader Bilal Kasami held Thursday a joint press conference regarding the country’s NATO and EU integration. Zaev said SDSM’s policies have opened NATO and EU doors in only three years, compared to the 11 years of standstill by the former authorities. “EUR 2,5 billion of European funds are at our disposal in the coming period. European funds for European standards at home but also for easier management of the coronavirus consequences. We are ready, we know and can open 80 percent of the EU accession chapters by 2024 and close the negotiating process in six years, thus becoming a full-fledged member of the Union. This is our offer for the next four years. We know exactly what kind of a country we want North Macedonia to be in 2024 – free, democratic, European and integrated,” said Zaev. Kasami said the big idea of a European Macedonia brought the two parties together and this will be the guiding light in the next four years. “Everything we do in the next four years will focus on EU integration. We may have different opinions on some things but we will be united in the grand idea of European integration, just like in the past three years. We are proud that although in opposition, we contributed to the country’s NATO membership and paved the way to the European Union. We are proud of having an understanding with the main ruling party SDSM regarding the constitutional changes, for the well-being of all citizens,” noted Kasami.
Germany pushes for electoral reform’s implementation (ADN)
The Electoral Reform must be adopted and implemented without further alterations, the Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag, Johann Wadephul said on Thursday. According to CDU Parliamentary Group’s Deputy Leader, the approval is very important to Albania’s advance in the European Union. He underlined it is a pity that the 5 June deal has not been codified yet. “It is regretful that the 5 June agreement isn’t yet codified. Approval of the cross party consensual electoral reform without any changes, and its implementation is key for Albania’s EU path. I urge all sides, esp. MPs, to finalize this important criteria. Go, Albania”, stressed the CDU Parliamentary Group’s Vice Chair. The agreement reached on Friday, 5 June between political parties on Electoral Reform below:
1 – Electronic Identification: ODIHR recommends gradual introduction and has suggested in comments to the Council that any transition to electronic identification, voting, or counting should begin with a pilot program comprising no more than the 20 percent of voters the Council suggested. Nevertheless, parties commit to support implementation of electronic identification comprising 100 percent of voters in the upcoming elections to the extent it is technically viable. Viability will be determined by the CEC supported by international expertise. The government of Albania guarantees timely funding for implementation in so far as technically viable.
2. CEC: The CEC will have a deputy commissioner, who will be in charge of determining the viability and implementation of the biometric identification of voters. The deputy shall have joint equal responsibility with the chair for selection, monitoring and implementation of the biometric identification of voters. The deputy shall monitor and exert oversight over the recruitment and training scheme for the commissioners helped by an international expert. Another international expert shall support the GEG and deputy commissioner in training for the Portion of biometric voter identification.
3. CEC: The CEC structure shall comprise regulatory (five members); appeals (five members); and an executive and deputy executive officer. Members will be agreed in majority-minority proportion in the regulatory and appeals bodies. The state commissioner will be selected via Consultation.
4. Counting teams: Two non-political officials, one of whom counts while the other assists, switching roles with each ballot box. The remaining members will be either two monitors from each the government and opposition; or three observers from each of the corp and opposition; or one monitor from each of the top four parliamentary parties that resulted from the 2017 elections.
5. Voting center: Two members of the commission whose rights and responsibilities are limited’ to monitoring and contesting rights (exact title to be deter from each of the majority and minority, and three appointed through lottery by CEC, of whom only one will act as chair and make decisions. The other two will serve as
assistants without voting rights to the chair.
6. ZEZ: Shall be the same structure as the voting center.
7. Electoral College shall be selected from judges who have passed the vetting process.
8. Appeals Process: The Electoral College hearing appeals process remains unchanged (i.e., hearing appeals will not begin at the Constitutional Court.)
9. Depoliticization: No changes will be made to electoral administration for the upcoming (parliamentary and local) elections. Public sector employees will be eligible to be part of the electoral administration in the (parliamentary and local) elections following the next elections. The ongoing reform of the public
administration in Albania will further enhance its focus on the de politicization of the civil service.
10. Adoption: All of the agreed proposals will be drafted into legal amendments that will be reviewed and checked by the Political Council to properly reflect the agreement BEFORE passing Parliament, WITHOUT any further changes or amendments. In the eventuality of any technical legal corrections proposed to these amendments by parliamentary bodies, these MUST be approved by the Political Council PRIOR to voting.
11. Additional Measures: The Political Council will continue to discuss in good faith and strive to reach mutually acceptable solution where and when possible to address the main recommendations of ODIHR regarding: (1) vote-buying; (2) pressure on voters and public administration; (3) misuse of state and financial resources; (4) collusion with criminal groups; (5) vote freedom and secrecy; and (6) manipulation and falsification of electoral results. The eventual lack of progress on these proposals will NOT preclude or delay an agreement and its adoption in Parliament of measures as agreed in Items 1-9.
12.Entry into Force: Points 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 above and the two Notes below ‘enter into force for the incoming (parliamentary and local) elections. Points 4, 5, and above enter into force after the next (parliamentary and local) elections.
– The proposal for caretaker government and caretaker police chief will not constitute a condition for the approval and adoption of the above.
– There was no consensus on changing the system.
President calls for fulfillment of EU conditions (ADN)
President of the Republic, Ilir Meta has described coping with pandemic and fulfilling the conditions set by EU as two major objectives for all Albanians. President explained that the first protects the health and life of every citizen, while the second saves the European future of the country for which everyone swears by words and programs. Furthermore, the President make a comparison with North Macedonia, stating that Although snap parliamentary elections in North Macedonia will be held in a few days, an atmosphere of security and democracy prevails thanks to the maturity of the political leadership as a whole, but also the normal functioning of the institutions, meanwhile in Albania, even though there is no election date yet in the horizon, we still have an artificial tension as if the elections will be tomorrow. “Although early parliamentary elections in North Macedonia will be held in a few days, an atmosphere of security and democracy prevails thanks to the maturity of the political leadership as a whole, but also the normal functioning of the institutions. Unfortunately for us, even though there is no election date yet in the horizon, we still have an artificial tension as if the elections will be tomorrow. Meanwhile, the pandemic is growing along with the deficit and public debt. The blindness of holding or taking power at all costs has made us look like with our eastern neighbor as if we belonged to two distant continents. Therefore, no more minutes should be wasted in fulfilling the essential conditions for the opening of negotiations in order to move forward together with our neighbors towards the European Union. Coping with pandemics and meeting the conditions should be the two main objectives for everyone. The first protects the health and life of every citizen, while the second saves the European future of the country for which everyone swears by words and programs. The time for good deeds is now!” the President highlighted.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Kosovo needs an election (TransConflict, by David B. Kanin, 10 July 2020)
Hashim Thaci’s indictment blows apart the politically-motivated diplomacy of the last few months.
The fix was in. Thaci and Isa Mustafa had made their deal to hijack Kosovo’s politics, eject Albin Kurti from the job he won in the last election, and strike a deal with Belgrade that would be awful for Kosovo but great for their overlapping political ambitions. Thaci and Avdullah Hoti, the pliant Prime Minister chosen by the political bosses, would permit an aggressive American envoy to orchestrate a result having much more to do with US politics than with the interests of those Kosovars willing to play the role of Washington’s clients. The result would join the Dayton Agreement and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 as signal triumphs for Serbian diplomacy. Then the international court created to investigate war crimes allegedly committed by former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army decided to haul Thaci into the dock before he could have another controversial conversation with his pal, Aleksandar Vucic. This action made a sort of logical sense. All parties to the meeting supposed to be held in Washington on June 27 were acting in their parochial interests. Why should the Court give up an opportunity to answer criticism that it – like the plodding international tribunal on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia – was largely engaged in time-consuming choreography sure to result in a poor performance? The muted response from Pristina, Belgrade, and Washington suggested the Court played this well. No one was going to attack the sanctity of what passes for a legal process. Even an American administration that has been more than a little skeptical of any political, diplomatic, commercial, and legal activities not made in America saw no reason to overreact to an event of miniscule importance to American domestic politics. Vucic did not really need the meeting in the first place. He could bask in the spotlight provided by PR opportunities in Moscow and Brussels. And the tattered Kosovar leadership had nowhere to go. The effort to craft a deal with Vucic marked Thaci’s all-out effort to remain relevant in Kosovo’s politics beyond the end of his term as President. For his part, Mustafa would have drawn even with Thaci as a political fixer, and would have used that status to attempt to become even more powerful after Thaci left office. In Kosovo, like many other countries, such institutions as constitutions, political parties, and parliaments matter much less than the personal performances and trust-based reputations of individual power figures. A deal with Serbia blessed by the Americans would trump the parliamentary arithmetic that had produced Hoti’s forgettable government. Hoti’s decision not to go to Washington on June 27th – in the face of an initial US claim that he would – also was a predictable afterthought. There is no way he could play in the big sandbox without adult supervision. Kosovo dodged a bullet. Vucic had made clear he would not agree to recognize Kosovo – and the other parties made no effort to make him do so. A possible deal whereby Kosovo would remove Ramush Haradinaj’s tariffs in exchange for Belgrade’s agreement to suspend its effort to convince countries that have recognized Kosovo to un-recognize it would have done nothing to solve the dispute over Kosovo’s stunted sovereignty. If Serbia had thrown in the sweetener of withdrawing its opposition to Kosovar membership in international organizations the deal still would have been bad for Pristina. Even a UN General Assembly seat would do a less than universally recognized Kosovo as little good as membership on the UN Security Council did for Taiwan, which was never able to shake off its status as part of China. Kosovo’s attention now needs to shift home. Thaci remains President for now, but his legal problems will not do for him what multiple trials on war crimes charges did for Haradinaj. Although Albanians in Kosovo and the rest of the Albanian universe are rallying to his defense and to the defense of other former KLA fighters caught up in the Court’s net, Thaci is unlikely to stem his political decline. Younger people are impatient to replace the wartime generation in his and the country’s other patronage networks/political parties. Despite his government’s ouster, Kurti and Vetevendosje retain a likely plurality of popular support. During his short stint as Prime Minister, Kurti placed a proper focus on Kosovo’s sovereignty. He proved he was more likely than his political opponents to avoid the mistake of accepting a quick deal engineered by Washington or the EU’s demand that Kosovo knuckle under to its insistence on a weak-tea ”normalization” that would push off both the sovereignty issue and the empty promise that Kosovo might someday join “Europe.” Mustafa is going to attempt to keep Hoti in office long enough for Mustafa to figure out his next move. A deal with Haradinaj is possible if the two men can decide how they both can benefit like Thaci and Musatafa planned to. The first thing they will have to do is undermine Albin Kurti and Vetevendosje. This should not be allowed to happen. Kurti had demanded a new election before the shaky Hoti government came into office and is well within his rights to demand one now that Thaci has been indicted. The last democratic test in Kosovo put Kurti and his party at the top of the political heap, and a new one should decide if he should return there. If so, he should once again be Prime Minister. If not, then Kosovo will see where its people – not just a couple political bosses – want it to be.
David B. Kanin is an adjunct professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University and a former senior intelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of TransConflict.