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Belgrade Media Report 10 August

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Brnabic: Belgrade sending messages of peace and reconciliation to Zagreb (TV Prva/FoNet)
Patriarch Irinej calls for reconciliation of Serbs and Croats (Politika/Beta)
Bosniaks’ ‘stop’ to war crimes investigations (Novosti)


Bosnia & Herzegovina

B&H CEC allows political parties to monitor printing of ballots (ATV)
Comments to B&H CEC decision (N1/ATV)
In Mostar, 38 political parties and nine independent candidates apply for participating in elections (Dnevni list)
Leaders of SDP B&H, NiP, NS and NBL sign agreement on joint political action in Sarajevo Canton (O Kanal/Nova BH)
Vucic and Borenovic meet in Belgrade (BNTV)
Dodik, Vulin react to statement of Izetbegovic who said that “Serb side got too much through DPA” (RTRS)

Veljovic: We haven’t received any requests related to the murder of the journalist from Malta (CdM)
Son of slain Maltese reporter: My mother was also investigating Djukanovic’s connections (Vijesti)
Mustafic: Owing to the policy we pursue, we expect greater support (CdM)
European Parliament won’t observe elections in Montenegro (Pobjeda)
Republic of North Macedonia

Is the deadline for entrusting the mandate running: Xhaferi has not yet notified Pendarovski that the parliament is constituted (Kanal 5)
Zaev: It is not true that we have a preliminary agreement with DUI (TV Telma)
Taravari claims that they would enter into a coalition with DUI if Ziberi is the prime minister (TV Telma)
VMRO-DPMNE: SDSM to say who will be the prime minister (Republika)
Arsovski: VMRO-DPMNE in communication with all parties (Republika)
SDSM: Meeting between Nikolovski and Grubi doesn’t mean that an agreement has been reached (360 Degrees)

The US Embassy reacts after the investigation of Ylli Ndroqi: SPAK to continue the work! (Radio Tirana)
Albania starts verifying suspicious accounts with 82 countries around the world (Radio Tirana)
Greek Minister speaks on maritime talks with Albania (ADN)

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Brnabic: Belgrade sending messages of peace and reconciliation to Zagreb (TV Prva/FoNet

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told TV Prva that the Belgrade-Zagreb relations are very complex but that the capital of Serbia is sending a message of peace and reconciliation to the capital city of Croatia. “The relations between Belgrade and Zagreb are exceptionally complex, difficult, but we’re sending out the message of peace, reconciliation and that was the most important message in the speech of (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic during the ‘Oluja’ anniversary. And that’s that we want the reconciliation, peace – we don’t ask you to recognize the crimes, to apologize, to recognize genocide in Jasenovac, but let us just grief during those days,” Brnabic said. She also noted that she was following and agreeing with the state policy set by President Vucic. “And that means we want the Serbs never get divided again, no matter if they live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia… I want us to give them support, to be united,” underlined Brnabic.

Patriarch Irinej calls for reconciliation of Serbs and Croats (Politika/Beta

Serbian Patriarch Irinej called on the Croatian state and church leadership as well as the Serb political and religious officials to do everything in their power to reconcile the two peoples.

He expressed the belief that the “euphoria of intoxication with evil” is over and that the time has come for talks on reconciliation, given the open issues, unsolved problems and numerous ordeals.“Let everyone deal with their own business, let them celebrate if they think there is something to celebrate, but I ask and call on Croatian state and church leadership as well as the political and religious leaders of our people to do everything in their power to root out the hatred and reconcile the two peoples,” the Patriarch told Politika. There is an impression, according to Irinej, that the authorities of Croatia are showing the signs that such policy is possible and that, if this is the case, the Serb leaders as “representatives of the people that was a victim of genocide” should accept every opportunity that might contribute to a more peaceful sleep and better life of the Serbs in Croatia. “I am acquainted with the Kosovo Albanians very well and respect them. Basically, that’s a noble people of highlander ethos. But, with all due respect, we cannot give them a part of the history, a part of spiritual and cultural monuments that has never in history belonged to them,” said Irinej.

Bosniaks’ ‘stop’ to war crimes investigations (Novosti, by S. Misljenovic)

The truth on war crimes against Serbs in B&H “will remain in empty drawers of judicial institutions of B&H for quite some time, as Bosniak political elite has been deliberately stopping the adoption of the Strategy on work on the most complex war crimes cases in B&H”, Novosti reports. Director of the Republika Srpska (RS) Center for Investigation of War and War Crimes and Search for Missing Persons Milorad Kojic said that “Bosniaks stopped the adoption of the Strategy the implementation of which could finally bring processing of hundreds of cases in which Serbs were victims of war crimes” and he added that verdicts for crimes against Serbs would finally reveal the truth about the war in B&H, which is that Bosniaks were not the only victims of the war but Serbs were victims as well. Kojic said that he does not hope to see this document ever be adopted thanks to the current stance of Bosniak politicians on it and he argued: “The Strategy treats crimes with most severe consequences as the priority in processing, and those were crimes committed against Serbs. It is obvious Bosniaks do not want to face the past as they participated in horrible crimes and murdering of Serbs in the area of B&H”. Kojic reminded that obstructions have been underway for two years already. “We have a full right to say that this document will be a dead letter on a piece of paper unless it is adopted in the next ten months. Realistically speaking, this document sets 2023 as a deadline for completion of certain matters in B&H and for ending of cases of large scale war crimes against Serbs and other people”, Kojic explained.

Approach of international community 

Kojic reminded that the international community supported this document but not through some kind of pressure exerted on Sarajevo and Bosniaks to adopt it, unlike the way they treat the RS in case a document is important for Sarajevo. “Not even High Representative Valentin Inzko, who advocates some kind of equality of citizens, came out glorious. Not once has he issued a statement and urged Bosniak political elite to adopt the strategy with the goal to satisfy the justice”, Kojic stated.



B&H CEC allows political parties to monitor printing of ballots (ATV

The Central Election Commission (CEC) Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) issued a statement on allowing political parties to appoint monitors for, among others, printing of ballots for the upcoming local elections. “Political parties may have monitors at all BIH CEC polling stations, Voters Register Center, center for counting of votes, premises for printing in absence and in all diplomatic and consular missions,” read the statement of the B&H CEC.

Comments to B&H CEC decision (N1/ATV

Commenting the announcement of the B&H CEC according to which political parties can monitor the ballot printing process, Serb member of B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik stated that B&H CEC has self-doubts which is why it allows political parties to monitor the ballot printing process now. He added that SNSD does not need that as far as this party is concerned, noting that SNSD is absolutely ready for the local elections. Dodik concluded that no malversations of B&H CEC or the method of appointment of its members can prevent SNSD’s “great victory.” DNS Coordinator for Cooperation with the B&H CEC Srdjan Radul stated for ATV via telephone: “We will appoint monitors that will monitor overall procedure of printing of ballots when the B&H CEC decides who is to print the ballots. However, we expect that the printing process will be, as in the previous election cycles, be monitored via CCTV’’. ATV reports that the B&H CEC assigned ‘Unioninvestplastika’, a company from Sarajevo, to print the ballots for the upcoming local elections, but, a group of bidders led by the ‘Atlantik bb’ company appealed. The reporter notes that the Procurement Review Body needs to decide on the issue within 15 days, but all this may lead to postponement of local elections.

In Mostar, 38 political parties and nine independent candidates apply for participating in elections (Dnevni list

In accordance with the instruction on deadlines and chronology of election activities for Local Elections 2020 in Mostar, the deadline for submitting of applications for verification of political parties and independent candidates for participation in the elections in Mostar expired on Friday. 38 political parties and nine independent candidates have applied for participating in the elections in Mostar.

Leaders of SDP B&H, NiP, NS and NBL sign agreement on joint political action in Sarajevo Canton (O Kanal/Nova BH

Leaders of SDP B&H, People and Justice (NiP), Our Party (NS) and the Independent B&H List (NBL) on Friday signed ‘The Sarajevo Agreement 2020’, i.e. agreement on joint political action in Sarajevo Canton (SC). ‘The Sarajevo Agreement 2020’ contains 29 items which the four parties committed to implement ahead of the local elections in B&H planned for 15 November. Signatories to ‘The Sarajevo Agreement 2020’ will meet next week to discuss the names of candidates for heads of Sarajevo municipalities. It was announced that they will discuss other municipalities and cities in B&H as well. SDP B&H leader Nermin Niksic said that the four parties want to turn Sarajevo into a modern metropolis. “That is something that in the period that lies ahead we will definitely persist in,” Niksic underlined. NiP leader Elmedin Konakovic said that in the previous period “we showed that good agreement with clear goals can really be the right path for essential changes on the political scene.” Although they earlier claimed that they will wait for the local elections, the opposition in Sarajevo Canton stressed that they plan to acquire majority for formation of new SC government. “It is becoming life threatening. It was brutal and very ugly so far. From the political aspect, it was something that we knew would happen,” Konakovic said. NS leader Predrag Kojovic announced that the candidates for the elections will be presented in a timely manner, long before the elections take place. Kojovic dismissed a possibility of nominating candidates that all four parties do not agree with. NBL leader Ibrahim Hadzibajric noted: “This coalition has not been called in question, although, in the previous period, many tried to cause division among us”.

Vucic and Borenovic meet in Belgrade (BNTV

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with PDP leader Branislav Borenovic in Belgrade to discuss the importance of regional cooperation of the countries in the Western Balkans and maintaining a good relation between PDP and SNS. Vucic highlighted his commitment to economic cooperation and permanent regional stability. Borenovic presented views on key economic and demographic challenges the RS is facing, as well as complex political relations in B&H. Vucic and Borenovic also highlighted the importance of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the foundation of two-entity constitutional system and clearly defined permanent position of the RS.

Dodik, Vulin react to statement of Izetbegovic who said that “Serb side got too much through DPA” (RTRS

Commenting on the statement of SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic who said that “the Serb side got too much through the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA)”, Serb member of B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik said that nobody gave anything to Serbs and they fought for everything on their own, while the DPA left them without independence they had so they will need to get it back. (NB: Izetbegovic’s statement is part of the interview he gave to Radio Sarajevo) Dodik stressed that the RS has fought to live freely on its own, adding that if Izetbegovic and his political successors keep insisting that something was given to Serbs, “we will show them faster than they thought that we are capable of fighting for things that they declare impossible in advance.” Serbian Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin also commented on Izetbegovic’s statement by saying that the RS is not a gift but it was created as “response of Serbs to the beginning of the renewed Jasenovac genocide.” He stressed that Serbs did not get anything through the DPA but they fought for the RS while Serbia was with them. According to Vulin, Izetbegovic is a sad example of disrespect of the Dayton organization and a leader of politicians who think that the RS needs to be destroyed. Vulin stressed that Izetbegovic does not respect the Constitution of his country and thus gives an example to everyone else. “As long as SDA is perceiving the RS as the enemy, B&H will neither be a successful nor a functional state,” Vulin stressed, warning that there is no successful B&H without a successful RS and that every attempt at destroying the DPA and annulment of the RS would have unforeseeable consequences.

Residents of Velika Kladusa stage protest over growing concern for migrant break-ins 

and incidents (FTV

FTV live from Velika Kladusa reports on new problems with illegal migrants in B&H. The Una-Sana Canton (USC) is most affected by this issue. On Saturday, the B&H Border Police prevented illegal entry of close to 300 migrants. During the coronavirus pandemic, citizens believe the migrant crisis was pushed aside, which allowed the migrants to do what they want. Residents of Velika Kladusa held a protest on Saturday to express their dissatisfaction with the growing problem of migrants in the USC and the incidents they often initiate. Protesters first gathered near a local school, but when police reacted they moved up to the hunting lodge. Around 300 citizens took part in this protest but the police had to ask them to leave as the protest was not properly announced. Data shows that there are 3,600 migrants in reception centers in this canton. The same number is found on streets and in abandoned buildings. Citizens that spoke for FTV news said it is absurd that migrants have all the rights to do what they want, while citizens do not have any rights to protest and seek protection from the police and the authorities. Migrants are connected to many crimes of petty theft, muggings, break-ins and arsons. Velika Kladusa residents say their protest mainly connects to the need to protect their families, their children and their property. Guest of FTV central news was resident of Polje local community Enver Munjakovic, who spoke about the incidents that occurred between the migrants and with locals. This local community witnesses hundreds of migrants each day that form camps in middle of its lands and they often steal food and supplies from the nearby homes. He said the hunting lodge was broken into ten times in the past few months and migrants often stay there. Munjakovic said the authorities downsize the problem by saying there are less migrants in Velika Kladusa than there really is. He said at this moment there are more migrants than residents in Velika Kladusa.


European Parliament won’t observe elections in Montenegro (Pobjeda

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli answered to the president of Montenegro’s parliament Ivan Brajovic that EP missions abroad were banned due to coronavirus situation and that included observation missions for elections. Brajovic’s cabinet reported in July that “Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group of EP stated at the meeting held last month that observation of elections in Montenegro is priority”. Parliament said to Pobjeda Sunday that there had been no any further communication between Brajovic and Sassoli. Arrival of the Mission will be considered in the forthcoming period, on the basis of the epidemic situation. “Be sure that EP stands shoulder to shoulder with Montenegro when it comes to facing present challenges”, Sassoli’s letters said. Parliament of Montenegro reminds that Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has formed delegation consisting of 22 members in charge of monitoring elections in Montenegro. Head of the Office for Democratic institutions and human rights Tomas Mesaric said last week that observation mission of OSCE will provide impartial observation of election process in Montenegro and called on the voters to adhere to all measures imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. He said that the main focus was on public health.


Veljovic: We haven’t received any requests related to the murder of the journalist from Malta (CdM)

Director of Police Department Veselin Veljovic said that they had not received direct requests from the police of Malta in relation to the murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. “Enquires that have been carried out showed that neither the journalist nor the suspect Y.F. visited Montenegro”, Veljovic said. He points out that police of Malta never asked Montenegrin police to conduct any control checks in Montenegrin company that governs Možura wind farm or persons in that company. “In case we receive requests from Malta related to the murder of the journalist, Police Department will act in a timely manner and these request will be given priority”, Veljovic said.

Son of slain Maltese reporter: My mother was also investigating Djukanovic’s connections (Vijesti)  

Matthew Caruana Galizia, son of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a reporter murdered three years ago in Malta, has revealed that Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic was the key Montenegrin figure whom his mother was looking into while investigating the Mozur case. “She was investigating the ties between Djukanovic, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the ruling

elite in Azerbaijan,” he said in an interview which the Podgorica daily Vijesti ran in its Aug. 9 issue. Matthew, also a journalist, left the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists after the murder to devote his time to probing his mother’s case. Together with his father and brothers, he founded the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation to help advance the rule of law in Malta. “My mother was looking into what Maltese officials were doing in Montenegro. The key Montenegrin figure she was looking into was Milo Djukanovic as Muscat’s counterpart there,” he said. Caruana Galizia was investigating a case involving the construction of a wind farm in Mozur, near Ulcinj, a Maltese investment.

Mustafic: Owing to the policy we pursue, we expect greater support (CdM

Political director of Bosniak party (BS) Suljo Mustafic says in the interview with CdM that owing to the policy of his party, they expect greater citizens’ support in the elections and greater number of terms of office in the parliament. He points out that representatives of BS work responsibly in institutions and that results of their work are recognizable and measurable.

Mustafic stresses that BP is committed to multinational, multi-confessional and stable Montenegro.

CdM: What are expectations of Bosniak party from the elections?

Mr Mustafic: Bosniak party will go independently and we look for trust and support. Trust based on all the results we have achieved so far and support for the period ahead of us. Time has confirmed that our policy was correct. We want support for the time ahead when we are going to improve our results, reinforce our part in the institutions and carry out economic and social projects. We have got high-quality election program, it was planned carefully. BS is one of the rare political parties that had no need to change or adapt its program to new circumstances. We implemented almost everything we planned. Owing to that correctness of our policy, we expect greater citizens’ support and greater number of terms of office in the parliament.

CdM: What has BP mostly contributed to?

Mr Mustafic: BS is committed to multinational, multi-confessional and stable Montenegro. With strong support for European and NATO integration, we contributed to Montenegro’s pro-Western path, NATO membership and progress in European integration. We introduced BP into European People’s Party, the strongest political group in the European Parliament and EU institutions and thus reinforced our country’s position. In the parliament we supported all positive, reform and democratic processes in strengthening institutions, rule of law and human freedoms. By participating in the government and institutions of the executive power we carried out numerous development projects. We worked on the construction of road infrastructure, highway project, regional roads network, all the prerequisites for regional development and greater investment in the north of Montenegro. We worked on the employment of young people in institutions, valuing the right of minority nations to equal representation. We took care of persons with disability and provided them with support for employment through numerous projects and programs. We helped socially vulnerable and poor individuals, we cared about elderly population, pensioners and everyone who need some form of social or healthcare support.

We invested in education of pre-school ad school children. We reinforced institutions that deal with preservation of national, religious, cultural and language identity and we added value to the cultural, scientific and artistic creativity. We worked on strengthening non-government sector, civil initiative and we endorsed projects in that area.

CdM: It can be heard sometimes that BP has too many positions at the top of the government and state administration. What do you say?

Mr Mustafic: Representatives of BS in executive power and institutions worked responsibly and with commitment and results of their work are recognizable and measurable. Institutions we managed record progress in the areas they cover. “Remarks” to that regard you mention in Your question are product of bad intentions or lack of information. When such “assessments” come from those who have shown very little benevolence in their political actions, then it can’t surprise us. Actually, that’s the proof of political hypocrisy: in October 2016, we were offered the entire government and only a couple of months later they said that three departments in the government “are too much” for BS. However, it does come as surprise when civil parties or sometimes even public that shares with us same objectives say something similar. We think it’s lack of information. We just want to remind them of times a decade ago when presence of minority parties in executive power was just a decoration. Why didn’t they mind it? Why weren’t they louder in their support for the representation of minority nations as much as they were agile in taking their votes? We don’t want to believe that some of them think that positions in executive power are reserved for one party only, for creation of monopoly or family dynasties. I would like to point out that I understand this problem and the width and approach of the governing policy of Markovic who has delegated some very important departments to members of minority nations and BS, which has proven to be very effective.

CdM: Are you working on rejuvenating your party?

Mr Mustafic: BP is supported by young people. Seems like they recognize the best our work and see their own chances. Our election program is focused on young people to a great extent. Our electoral list corroborates this claim as it has many young people on it. We have been working a lot on rejuvenating our party and new staff. We believe a considerable number of young people will be on very responsible positions in the institutions of the future executive power, in accordance with their competences and expertise.


Is the deadline for entrusting the mandate running: Xhaferi has not yet notified Pendarovski that the parliament is constituted (Kanal 5

The outgoing parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi has not yet sent a notification to President Stevo Pendarovski that the parliament has been constituted, writes Kanal 5. Xhaferi’s Office has not yet answered why this has not been done and whether this means that the deadline for entrusting the mandate has not started yet. Xhaferi’s party, DUI, they say that without notifying that the parliament is constituted, we cannot count days until the mandate is entrusted. A senior DUI official told Kanal 5 that Xhaferi would notify that the constitution of parliament after the prime minister is elected. However, Pendarovski’s Office does not agree with this interpretation. They confirm that Villa Vodno has not received anything from the parliament so far. But, despite this, Pendarovski since Wednesday is counting the deadline of 10 days to give the mandate for government formation.

Zaev: It is not true that we have a preliminary agreement with DUI (TV Telma

There is still no preliminary agreement for a parliamentary majority and the formation of a new government between SDSM and DUI, the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev told TV Telma. In a statement for the TV station, Zaev called for restraint and understanding when it comes to the negotiations for the majority and the government, the meetings of the working groups and the leaders of the parties. I ask for understanding. It is really necessary. It is not true that we have a preliminary agreement, says Zaev.

Taravari claims that they would enter into a coalition with DUI if Ziberi is the prime minister (TV Telma

We would enter the Government with DUI only if Naser Ziberi is the prime minister, Arben Taravari from Alliance for Albanians told TV Telma. The formation of the government is a game of numbers, of course, we have said, if the prime minister is Naser Ziberi, we will support him. If not, all the other combinations where we would find ourselves with someone with certain program points and principles of good governance, we are here to help and if we can make 61 MPs without DUI, Taravari told TV Telma.

VMRO-DPMNE: SDSM to say who will be the prime minister (Republika

SDSM with its government in recent years has brought only corruption, crime and hybrid regime. Instead of SDSM lying to the citizens through scarce statements, let it answer with which parties it will secure a majority and who will be the prime minister, VMRO-DPMNE reacted Saturday to a statement from SDSM where they reiterated that they are holding serious talks to form a government with a full four years mandate. VMRO-DPMNE assesses that SDSM with its government in recent years has brought only corruption, crime and hybrid regime. The citizens are fed up with the lies of SDSM. The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia know that SDSM will not provide a better future. SDSM with its government in recent years has brought only corruption, crime and hybrid regime. Zaev’s lies no longer pass, they are read. Because Zaev and the government were thrown into crime, Macedonia was sinking more and more every day. The citizens do not deserve these disastrous policies of SDSM and Zaev. The citizens deserve much better, said VMRO-DPMNE.

Arsovski: VMRO-DPMNE in communication with all parties (Republika

VMRO-DPMNE is in communication with political parties to secure parliamentary majority, spokesperson Dimce Arsovski told a press conference on Saturday. Relations between VMRO-DPMNE and other parties, he added, are friendly. Arsovski refused to comment whether party leader Mickoski is set to meet again with DUI’s Ali Ahmeti or whether they are holding government formation talks with other Albanian bloc parties. What I can tell you is that [VMRO-DPMNE] president Mickoski had one meeting with DUI leader Ali Ahmeti. The one-hour meeting, during which they touched on several topics, took place in parliament. The public will be timely informed once new information becomes available, the spokesperson told reporters. Regarding Friday’s meeting between SDSM and DUI secretaries Ljupcho Nikolovski and Artan Grubi, Arsovski said that information they agreed to form a government are false and asked SDSM once again which are the parties of the new majority. I call on media to ask SDSM which are the parties of the new majority, they’ve been claiming they’ve formed for the past three days. As we can see their coalitions last only several hours, so I’m asking once again for them to reveal which parties and MPs will form the new parliamentary majority. If they don’t we can write this off as another one of SDSM’s attempts to manipulate citizens, Arsovski said.


SDSM: Meeting between Nikolovski and Grubi doesn’t mean that an agreement has been reached (360 Degrees

After the two parties issued a joint statement that they are close to an agreement, SDSM sources told 360 Degrees that the meeting between Ljupco Nikolovski and Artan Grubi does not mean that an agreement has been reached. Several media outlets reported on Friday that SDSM and DUI have already agreed to form a new government, conveying SDSM’s statement after the meeting of their Secretary General Ljupco Nikolovski with Artan Grubi from DUI. In the statement, SDSM says that they agree with DUI on several principles on which the “possible joint government program” should be based, but there is nothing in it about who will lead the government, given DUI’s request for Albanian prime minister, even for only in one part of the mandate of the new government.


The US Embassy reacts after the investigation of Ylli Ndroqi: SPAK to continue the work! (Radio Tirana

The US Embassy in Tirana has made a strong statement on Saturday regarding the work of the State Police and the SPAK. “We strongly support the independent and professional work of the State Police and the SPAK,” the statement said, while appealing that police officers, prosecutors and judges should be allowed to do their job without threats or intimidation regardless of who the defendant is. Such a statement comes directly after the investigation and sequestration of Ylli Ndroqi’s assets by SPAK. “The U.S. Embassy strongly supports the ASP and SPAK’s independent and professional work.  Justice sector professionals – police, prosecutors, and judges – must be allowed to conduct their work free from threats and intimidation, no matter who the defendant is.  It is time to allow them to carry out their duties and support their efforts to combat organized crime.  This is the only way for Albanians to get the professional and impartial justice system they deserve and to make progress towards EU integration” writes the statement of the US Embassy.

Albania starts verifying suspicious accounts with 82 countries around the world (Radio Tirana

The fight against money laundering and tax evasion this year is expected to be further intensified. It is precisely the law on the automatic exchange of financial account information, which makes it possible for Albania to receive information from 82 countries on the bank accounts of Albanians and foreigners. The process will be carried out by the General Directorate of Taxation, which will exchange information with the administrations of the respective states.

The decision with the law enforcement deposits has already been published in the official gazette, part of which is the list of countries with which Albania will cooperate. Pursuant to this law, all banks must report to the taxes by May 30 of each year the bank accounts held by all foreign nationals who are resident in the countries that are participants in this process. Following this step the Tax Directorate will automatically report this information to its counterpart in the country where the person holding the account resides. Specifically, if a British citizen has a bank account in our country, by 30 May of each year the taxes in the country forward this information to the tax authorities in England. And the same will happen with the accounts of Albanians abroad. Preparations for the implementation of this law have started after the banks have sent a form to their client, where the data of the place of residence and the tax number of each must be provided. All Albanian citizens, who have money from illegal sources closed in the banks of these 82 countries, can no longer hide them, as they will be exposed to the tax authorities of Albania. This is because the legal initiative has exactly this as its purpose “to verify the payment of taxes, profits from the sale of property, income from rents, or the creation of assets abroad.”

This law paves the way for the exchange of information on offshore accounts, including account balances and ownership accounts. Although there is still no accurate analysis according to the Ministry of Finance this automatic information exchange system will increase revenues, avoid tax evasion, provide better control of double taxation agreements, and verification of taxpayer income. The Albanian government implements 41 agreements ratified by the Assembly to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion.

Greek Minister speaks on maritime talks with Albania (ADN

Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias has commented recently the maritime talks between Albania and Greece after this country signed an agreement with Egypt on same issue. Speaking in an interview, Dendias said that Albania first must solve some problems as the protection of human rights of Greek minority.

– Given this very fact that we have signed an agreement with Italy and Egypt, is it the turn of Albania on the other side, to effectively close a circle?  

– You know, it is a bit difficult there, because the Albanians first agreed, then they appealed to their Constitutional Court. There are some legal issues internally, their own: the power of attorney of the President in relation to the government, which he may not be ready to give. However, it is an issue that Greek foreign policy will handle, I do not discuss it. Albania is a neighboring country, a country with which Greece wants to have friendly relations and wants to solve all its problems. One of these problems is this. Of course, there are other issues: the issue of the protection of the human rights of the Greek minority, which will be resolved in the context of Albania’s accession process, because that is the European acquis. We do not say it as Greece, we say it as a European country and this is our friendly advice to all the countries that start this great journey to our family, the European Union. The protection of human rights is a paramount issue and, in this sense, they should see the Greek minority in Albania as a factor for the development of the country, a bridge of friendship between Albania and Greece.

– A question for which you are also accused by the official opposition ..  

Are they accusing me? Heavy talk.

They keep mentioning it. And yesterday in the announcement they made, they said that we should increase our territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles in the Ionian.  

I have found preparation in the Ministry. As I told you, I have all the minutes of all the previous meetings. You know, no one starts, there is no parthenogenesis, every state is a long continuum. And you have to respect the tradition you handle. I have found preparations for the expansion of territorial waters, and it is something that the government is dealing with. It requires a pre-preparation, i.e. closure of bays, etc., but it is something that the government is dealing with in time and I will inform the colleagues of the parties and we will take the appropriate actions.

In this case, when we closed only in the Ionian, would we create a negative precedent in the Aegean, if Greece proceeded to increase the territorial waters from 6 to 12 only in the Ionian? We can see it in a more positive way, that Greece is expanding its territorial waters, where the issues of characterization of maritime zones have been closed.

With the neighboring countries essentially.  

Indeed. There are opinions on all issues, I respect all opinions. I tell you again that we have a great deal of international experience, which we have gained through our consultants. We talk to the parties, these are national issues, no one has the monopoly of the truth, alas. And I think we can have a new national approach and a new national success in that as well. I want to be honest. Yesterday’s agreement is an agreement whose political responsibility and political responsibility lies with the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis. But, we came to it, after many years of efforts, of many people, of many Ministers, of many governments. Consequently, the Mitsotakis government feels safe to consider that it represents as a whole a conception of the Greek political system, of how the interests of the country are secured. And I think that was evident from the party announcements, even from the awkward announcements, when a party, perhaps for its own reasons, felt the need to leave some small tones of differentiation. I see this agreement as a great national success and a great national achievement.

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Belgrade Media Report 18 September 2020

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