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Belgrade Media Report 26 October

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LOCAL PRESS

Brnabic releases names of ministers in new government of Serbia (Tanjug)
Vucic: The decision was not unanimous; Belgrade will not leave the dialogue with Pristina (B92/Beta)
Dacic: You don’t count me in? Listen to me carefully… (TV Prva/B92)
Botsan-Kharchenko and Dacic on Lavrov’s visit (RTV/Tanjug)
Petkovic: Important role of OSCE Mission in Kosovo in creating safe environment (RTS/Tanjug)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Stevandic thanks Vucic for Serbia’s aid to RS (Dnevni list)
Colak: Formation of FB&H government and changes to Election Law require partnership and trust (Nezavisne)
Dodik: Biden is Serb-hater, Serbs support Trump (ATV)
‘Vision of Joe Biden for America’s relationship with B&H’ sparks reactions (RTRS)
State Department criticizes B&H authorities, but US government’s aid will not be suspended for another year (Dnevni avaz)
Palmer: B&H is not moving forward on its European path in any meaningful way until it does something fundamental to address the problems of public corruption (FTV)
Borrell: Western Balkan political leaders should refrain from any statements that could contribute to political divisions and negatively impact good-neighborly relations (N1)
Croatia

Grlic Radman: Equality of peoples in B&H is guarantee of security (Jutarnji list)
Bickering between Milanovic and Plenkovic continues (HRT)
Pahor: Integration of Western Balkans into the EU is geo-political issue of first category (Vecernji list)
Montenegro

Krivokapic doesn’t want Mandic, Knezevic and Medojevic for ministers (CdM)
Mandic: I won’t let tycoons steal people’s will and form govt (CdM)
Mandic: New govt should have been formed by now (CdM)
Jokovic: Prime minister-designate should negotiate with SNP on govt departments (Pobjeda)
Djeljosaj: The fact that prime minister-designate has accepted our proposals doesn’t mean we will be part of the government (CdM)
Zenka: If they can forgive them for everything they did to the Albanian people, we wish them luck (Pobjeda)
Varhelyi: Montenegro shall meet the recommendations referring to protection of property rights and freedom of religion (Pobjeda)
Republic of North Macedonia

Zaev sees no need for a new treaty with Bulgaria, is open to a clarifying statement or declaration (Republika)
Albania

Rama, Zaev, Vucic to invite Kosovo to Mini-Schengen (ADN)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Serbia to Become One of World’s Most Gender-Balanced Governments (Bloomberg)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Brnabic releases names of ministers in new government of Serbia (Tanjug

Serbian Prime Minister-designate Ana Brnabic released on Sunday the names of ministers in a new government of Serbia after a session of the Presidency of the Serbian Progressive Party.

The ministers in the new government of Serbia will be as follows:

– Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali;

– Minister of Economy Andjelka Atanackovic;

– Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Branislav Nedimovic;

– Minister of Environmental Protection Irena Vujovic;

– Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirovic;

– Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic;

– Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication Tatjana Matic;

– Minister of Justice Maja Popovic;

– Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Marija Obradovic;

– Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Gordana Comic;

– Minister of the Interior Aleksandar Vulin;

– Minister of Defense Nebojsa Stefanovic;

– Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic;

– Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic;

– Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar;

– Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Darija Kisic Tepavcevic;

– Minister of Family Welfare and Demography Ratko Dmitrovic;

– Minister of Youth and Sport Vanja Udovicic;

– Minister of Culture and the Media Maja Gojkovic;

– Minister of Rural Development Milan Krkobabic.

Brnabic said that the Socialist Party of Serbia is yet to decide who will be the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development and that the positions for deputy prime ministers and ministers without portfolio are still being discussed.

Vucic: The decision was not unanimous; Belgrade will not leave the dialogue with Pristina (B92/Beta

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addressed the public after the session of the SNS Presidency. “I want to inform you that we have considered several important things today and agreed at least as far as the responsibility of the SNS is concerned. We have agreed on the members of the republic government, the provincial government,” Vucic said at the beginning of his address. He said that a session of the SNS would be held at the end of March, at which the ‘new foundations’ of the party’s program would be laid, as well as a thorough reconstruction in terms of personnel. At the beginning of his address, Vucic spoke about the development of the situation with the coronavirus in Serbia. “For me, the most important thing was to fulfill the tasks of the government, to be able to measure the results of the government in 2021, to see what someone did, and if we work well, to be able to bring energy into the new government in 2022,” Vucic said. “Only two decisions have not been made, we are still waiting for the SPS decisions for one department and a ministry without a portfolio. There were some disagreements within the SNS over the potential name of a minister without a portfolio. Another position of a minister without a portfolio is being considered, to try to solve these issues, about the family, the village, but also about the state of human rights,” he stated. Vucic especially emphasized the importance of the number of women in the government, of which there will be 11. “I personally insisted and prayed that two ladies who do not have a function and ties with the Serbian Progressive Party be elected, namely Dr Darija Kisic Tepavcevic and Andjelka Atanaskovic,” Vucic said. He pointed out that the most important thing is that the government works on preserving the independence of Serbia and that he hopes that the government will have political continuity.

“I will criticize them when I think they deserve it, as the President of Serbia, regardless of whether someone is a member of the SNS or a member of any party. I tried to see together with Ana who did what, to see what have been done for the previous four years and what can be done in the next period,” Vucic said. He emphasized that the decision on ministers was not made unanimously. Vucic added that Bratislav Gasic will remain in the position of director of the Security Information Agency. “Let me point out something to the citizens of Serbia – every day they throw the most garbage on my head. Every day they say that I am the worst in the world. Don’t worry. There will be big changes in the SNS, but we will leave it to the membership. I don’t know what are you cheering for, but I am convinced that the people in the SNS will be satisfied,” said Vucic. Vucic stated that Belgrade will not leave the dialogue with Pristina, despite the fact that Pristina does not fulfill the agreements and violates the agreements it signed.

Vucic said that he was in a situation to ‘turn his head’ and interrupt the dialogue countless times, however, he points out, he was not allowed to do that, because others would hardly wait for that move by Belgrade. “We must continue with the dialogue and we must not leave the field empty, because someone would hardly wait, regardless of whether you are right or not, to make a par-forfait decision. We must not allow ourselves that,” Vucic said in response to the question of journalists whether dialogue is possible, bearing in mind that Pristina continues to lobby for new recognitions and candidacies in international organizations. He says that the worst thing for Serbia would be to get out of the dialogue and still be blamed for that.

 

Dacic: You don’t count me in? Listen to me carefully… (TV Prva/B92

The problem is that everyone thinks that the Assembly is a place for pensioners, the new parliament speaker Ivica Dacic told TV Prva. The parliament speaker is the second strongest position in the country because the parliament, as well as the President, is elected by the people, the SPS leader explained and added that he did not say that for himself but for the institution.

Asked whether President Vucic ‘removed’ him to the parliament or decided it himself, Dacic said: “I did not withdraw, but Vucic and I decided that the institution must be strengthened. No party leader has ever been the head of the parliament, because everyone was looking to measure their power through the executive powers.” As he further points out, whoever wants to seriously deal with politics knows that it is important for politics what kind of policy he will lead. When asked what kind of policy he will lead, considering that the SNS has a majority in the parliament, Dacic said that the SNS is dominant in the government as well. “Political position does not determine one person, but a person can determine a certain position,” he added. “I am here to act efficiently and work well and to form a common front of the government. I know that everyone will now interpret it in their own way, but Vucic did not have to offer me that place, he did not have bad intentions. We talked about it for a long time,’ Dacic said. He points out that he and the President are first and foremost friends. “This is just one moment in the political history that will be turbulent in the next few years. We will have a dialogue with Pristina, pressure on the international scene, talks regarding the EU accession…,” he said. The SPS leader also assessed that Serbia suffers from short-sightedness, in the sense that now everyone will interpret the position of the SPS in one way or another, i.e. in the sense how many ministerial positions it occupied and no one asks how much power certain party has on the political scene. “The SPS has a parliament speaker, a secretary general, a deputy prime minister…,” Dacic underlined. When asked who will be the Minister of Education, since his party will nominate someone for that position, Dacic answered with “I won’t tell you”, and then added that he was joking.

However, to the conclusion that the SPS now has less important positions, Dacic had a ready answer: “Don’t you count me in? How do you measure the political weight of the parliament speaker? It is a problem that you all think that the parliament is a place for pensioners and you want to eliminate it. That is wrong. Hear me well, I lead a strong political party, voters vote for the SPS because of that and I need space to act and I was hosted on all televisions since Thursday, what more can I wish for,” Dacic said. And, as he says, he did not give up on what he announced earlier, and that is the purge in the party. “I’ll have more time for that now.”

Botsan-Kharchenko and Dacic on Lavrov’s visit (RTV/Tanjug

Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic met with Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko. He congratulated Dacic on taking up his new position and wished him success in this responsible new post. He thanked him for the excellent cooperation they enjoyed in the course of Dacic’s time in the previous post hoping that it would continue in the same vein.

The Ambassador Dacic a letter from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov congratulating him on the appointment to the new post and stating that they have achieved a lot during their years of cooperation as heads of the foreign policy sector. Lavrov thanked Dacic for the work they did together and expressed expectations that the parliament speaker would use his rich experience and knowledge to protect the interests and reputation of Serbia and strongly contribute to the strengthening of parliamentary cooperation between Serbia and Russia. They also talked about the preparatory activities for Lavrov’s upcoming visit to Belgrade.

Petkovic: Important role of OSCE Mission in Kosovo in creating safe environment (RTS/Tanjug

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic spoke today with Head of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo Jan Braathu about political security situation in the province. The meeting looked at problems of the Serbs in the southern Serbian province and a series of incidents in Serbian communities that took place over the past month. Petkovic underlined that the international organizations and institutions which are present in the province have an important task to create a social atmosphere in which attacks on Serbs and other non-Albanians will not be tolerated. He noted that the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and Metohija has an important role in establishing the rule of law and safe environment for all citizens and voiced hope that this mission will continue to act accordingly. Petkovic informed Braathu on the course of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and underlined that the failure to comply with the obligation of forming the Community of Serb Municipalities is a huge obstacle and a challenge in the process of normalization of relations.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Stevandic thanks Vucic for Serbia’s aid to RS (Dnevni list)

The daily carried a statement issued by United Srpska, which reads that United Srpske President Nenad Stevandic spoke with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, on which occasion he thanked the Serbian President for selfless and big aid Serbia is sending to all cities and municipalities in Republika Srpska (RS). Stevandic stressed importance of unity that the Serbian President is representing by caring for all members of the Serb people. In addition, the statement reads that the two collocutors also spoke about future of good relations and projects, and that Stevandic thanked for all the aid Serbia is sending to the RS at Vucic’s initiative.

Colak: Formation of FB&H government and changes to Election Law require partnership and trust (Nezavisne)

The daily carried an interview with member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) House of Peoples (HoP) Barisa Colak (HDZ B&H). Asked if he expects talks on changes to B&H Election Law to begin after the local elections in November, Colak said that he expected the talks to begin a month ago, in line with the Mostar agreement. However, this did not happen and he now believes that the talks will not begin until after the election in Mostar which is scheduled for December. Asked what the minimum demands of Croat people are regarding the Election Law, Colak said that HDZ B&H never asked for any changes regarding the civic principles in civic assemblies such as municipal councils, Federation of B&H (FB&H) House of Representatives, the RS parliament or B&H House of Representatives. However, he added, the issue of representation of peoples is problematic, mainly because of stances of Bosniak political scene and SDA, who believe that it is alright for posts which belong to one constituent people to be filled by representatives of another constituent people. “This is mad. Believe me, this is violating common sense and it is sad. Such election is not legitimate and if we take a close look at our Constitution, it is not legal either,” said Colak. He underlined that election of legitimate representatives of peoples in Houses of Peoples and B&H Presidency is the minimum requirement which Croats will not abandon. Asked how it will be possible to change the Election Law and implement the ruling of European Court of Human Rights in ‘Sejdic-Finci’ case, Colak said that it will be possible. According to him, the law requires members of B&H Presidency to be “a political Bosniak, a political Croat and a political Serb”. He underlined that B&H is a complex state and that all three peoples must work together for its prosperity. Asked to comment the process of formation of new FB&H government which has not been completed even two years after general elections, Colak said that such process requires partners. He reminded parties which belong to the Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) and SDA had agreed to reorganize some ministries, and there were talks about this matter. However, not much progress was made. “When you play trick on your partners once, then you do it again, you get mistrust”, said Colak. He stated the example of appointment of new Central Election Commission members which happened without HDZ B&H’s approval. “The biggest problem are political blackmails which do not bring anything good to anyone, and they least of all contribute to establishing of necessary trust. You cannot cheat people with whom you work, you cannot cheat the opposition, or anyone else. We need a level of political decency which you must not violate at any cost,” said Colak. Asked what he expects from local election in Mostar which will finally take place after many years, Colak said that he expects HNS to achieve excellent results. After that, he underlined, it will be necessary to form the City Council as soon as possible and start working. He concluded that he expects things to move forward in Mostar very soon.

Dodik: Biden is Serb-hater, Serbs support Trump (ATV)

Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said on Friday that he supports US President Donald Trump in his race for a second term. Dodik assessed Trump’s rival Joe Biden as a Serb-hater. “Serbs will not vote for Biden who is a Serb-hater and gathers people around him who, if he comes into power, will surely direct everything against our community in B&H, as well as Croats in a political sense,” said Dodik.

‘Vision of Joe Biden for America’s relationship with B&H’ sparks reactions (RTRS)

Number of the US citizens already voted in presidential elections that will official be held on November 2. According to RTRS, B&H was involved in race for new US President. Evidence for this is pre-election document of Democrat candidate Joe Biden ‘Vision of Joe Biden for America’s relationship with B&H’ in which he mentions war, sanctions imposed against Milorad Dodik and his vision of centralized B&H. Reporter commented that in abovementioned document Biden brags with his earlier presented stances: that during war in B&H he supported the RB&H Army and wartime leadership in Sarajevo; that he was one of biggest advocates to convince the US to lead the West in response to Serbian aggression. He also mentioned imposing of sanctions against “Serb nationalist” Milorad Dodik. Reporter commented that it is clear that this document aims to get support of Bosniak diaspora. Some analysts said that it is clear from this document that if he wins in presidential elections, Biden will be leading anti-Serb policy. Political analyst Aleksandar Pavic stated that it is clear for everyone that Donald Trump is way less dangerous for Serbs “because he does not have any ideological prejudices towards us”, while Biden has been defending policy built in this region for last 20 years. Also, abovementioned document reads that B&H can succeed only with Biden’s support, adding that Trump’s administration does not have any influence. Biden’s policy got support from Bosniak politicians who defined him as friend of independent B&H and advocate for truth about genocide in Srebrenica and NATO accession of B&H. B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic stated recently that if Biden wins in presidential elections in the US, this will be the US President that is big friend of B&H. Pavic stated that support of Bosniaks to Biden is not surprising. He stressed that it is clear Biden addresses only one of three constituent peoples in B&H. The reporter noted that abovementioned document was published on social media by Elvir Klempic, who is originating from B&H and is member of Biden’s election team. Pavic emphasized that Klempic is Muslim and before becoming member of Biden’s team, he was executive director of foundation for Turkish heritage in the US. Dodik expressed support to Donald Trump and called on Serbs in the US to do the same. “They will not vote for that Biden who hates Serbs, and who has been gathering people who will direct everything against our community here in B&H if they come into power,” stated Dodik.

 

State Department criticizes B&H authorities, but US government’s aid will not be suspended for another year (Dnevni avaz)

Dnevni avaz daily learns that US government’s aid for B&H will not be halted for at least a year. Namely, daily reminded that US authorities recently threatened B&H to halt all state aid because of B&H’s failure to implement national Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons. According to daily’s information, State Department reassessed the current situation in B&H and concluded: “The government of B&H does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so”. The Report explains that for the third consecutive year B&H will remain on Tier 2 Watch List and drop to Tier 3 would result in complete abolition of US government’s non-humanitarian, non-trade aid, including the USAID assistance. Daily noted that the US Embassy to B&H earlier confirmed this information. The State Department explained that the efforts that the state has undertaken include organizing of working groups with government and civil society representatives to draft the national strategy, which the government adopted in January 2020. “The government identified more victims and the State Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) appointed a prosecutor to the anti-trafficking strike force—the only mechanism to coordinate law enforcement efforts across entities. The government revised the structure and guidelines of regional coordinating teams to increase effectiveness” reads the Report. It is added that however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. “The government did not have an approved state budget, which delayed funding to anti-trafficking efforts. Law enforcement continued to regularly investigate trafficking under lesser offenses, while judges continued to issue sentences below minimum penalties, as they tend to do in all criminal cases in B&H. Law enforcement lacked victim-centered investigations and prosecutions and the anti-trafficking strike force remained ineffective”, reads the report. It is concluded that in addition, the government continued to penalize victims and did not disburse annual funds to NGOs for victim protection efforts, while victim assistance providers continued to lack resources and could not assist all domestic victims. State Department issued the following recommendations: 1. Vigorously investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers; 2. Implement the law that exempts victims from penalties for unlawful acts their traffickers compel them to commit; 3. Train first responders on victim identification; 4. Allocate sufficient funding for NGO-run shelters and develop financial policies that effectively allocate funding for victim assistance; 5. Improve cooperation and coordination among state and sub-state actor; 6. Formally disconnect identification procedures and official victim status from cooperation on investigations and prosecutions; 7. Increase law enforcement capacity and training to investigate complex cases; 8. Train judges to understand the severity of trafficking when issuing sentences; 9. Standardize victim assistance throughout the country.

Palmer: B&H is not moving forward on its European path in any meaningful way until it does something fundamental to address the problems of public corruption (FTV)

To ask the politicians to deal with the public corruption is the same as to ask a fox to guard the chickens, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer stated on Friday within a panel discussion organized under the auspices of the US Embassy in B&H. Namely, the US Embassy in B&H posted on Twitter a video of the panel in which Matthew Palmer talks about corruption, specifying in the description of the tweet that corruption is ubiquitous and eats away at the fabric of B&H society. “You cannot fight corruption alone, but there are things you can do, like organizing against corrupt conduct, and most importantly, using the ballot box to hold politicians accountable,” Palmer said. He said the US will do whatever it can to help B&H. “B&H is not moving forward on its European path in any meaningful way until it does something fundamental to address the problems of public corruption,” Palmer said during the panel. Palmer emphasized that for the US the priority in B&H is corruption. “You should be mad about it too, this is your country, this is your future and you have the right to demand better from your political leaders,” said Palmer.

Borrell: Western Balkan political leaders should refrain from any statements that could contribute to political divisions and negatively impact good-neighborly relations (N1)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stated on Friday that the EU supports B&H’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, and that political leaders in the Western Balkans should refrain from any statements that could contribute to political divisions and negatively impact good-neighborly relations. Borrell’s statement comes as an answer to a question posed by the European Parliament members regarding a stance of Serb member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik, who said that RS and Kosovo should be treated in the same way when it comes to international recognition. Borrell also added that the EU expects all political leaders in the Western Balkans to actively support the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue process. He reminded that the EU path of B&H is based on 14 key priorities and that the European Commission (EC) monitors the progress in meeting these priorities, also having in mind the recently published yearly enlargement package.

 

Grlic Radman: Equality of peoples in B&H is guarantee of security (Jutarnji list)

Croatian Foreign Minister (FM) Gordan Grlic Radman stated at a conference organized by the Croatian Pan-European Union that status of constituent peoples and equality of three peoples are guarantee for B&H being functional and stable. FM Grlic Radman, who took part in an international conference entitled ‘Experiences of Croatian Presidency over European Union Council and Discussions About Future of European Union’, that B&H will soon mark the (25th) anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) “which back then meant end of the war, but in fact it should have secured functionality, prosperity and stability of the state so it could have the European perspective”. The FM went on to say that status of constituent peoples of the Bosniak, Croat and Serb people and their equality is the only guarantee for a functional and stable B&H. Grlic Radman also reminded that Croatia welcomed the agreement signed by Croat and Bosniak leaders on 17 June about the local elections, the local elections in Mostar and that Zagreb also support implementation of the Constitutional Court (of B&H’s) decision in the case ‘Ljubic’, as well as the need for changes to the Law on Elections that would allow each people to elect their representatives at all levels of authorities. “Croatia, as an EU member, has a lot of work there,” concluded Grlic Radman.

Bickering between Milanovic and Plenkovic continues (HRT)

Both the incumbent Croatian President and Croatian Prime Minister had served together as they came up through the ranks of the Croatian Foreign Affairs Ministry. The ongoing feud between President Zoran Milanovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic continued on Sunday, with the Office of the President issuing a statement claiming that Plenkovic had lied when asserting that Milanovic had refused to lead the National Committee for Monitoring Croatia’s EU Accession Negotiations during his tenure as SDP party president. “Zoran Milanovic was his then party’s candidate to chair the National Committee for Monitoring Croatia’s EU Accession Negotiations, however, Croatian Parliament appointed Vesna Pusic, with 84 votes, including some from Prime Minister Plenkovic’s HDZ that were vital to achieving a majority vote. Or has Andrej Plenkovic distanced himself from that HDZ as well,” reads an excerpt from a statement issued by the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia. This comes after Milanovic claimed that Plenkovic had refused to be named secretary for Croatia’s EU Accession Negotiations, because he felt he was entitled to the post of Croatia’s chief negotiator. Milanovic made the accusation in a long post on social media, in which he outlined his claim that Plenkovic had rejected an offer from then Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to be named the secretary of the team conducting Croatia’s EU Accession Negotiations because he felt he should have been named Croatia’s chief negotiator. “Sanader took this arrogant refusal personally, but handled himself relatively well, opting to take the high road. He ordered that Plenkovic be removed from Brussels, and instead of demoting him to the boiler room in the ministry, which he had every right to do, ordered that he be transferred to Kiev, which at the time, for us was still that city closest to Chernobyl. And then, former Foreign Minister Miomir Zuzul intervenes, and with Sanader’s tacit agreement, saves Plenkovic and sends him to Paris, where nothing of note happens and he spends the next five years eating croissants and writing long, sometimes interesting, but ultimately irrelevant notes, and waits for his next opportunity,” the post reads.

 

Pahor: Integration of Western Balkans into the EU is geo-political issue of first category (Vecernji list)

Slovenian President Borut Pahor asked to comment on the journalist’s remark that the situation in the Western Balkans is ‘explosive again’, whether the region has been forsaken by the EU and whether he is afraid of a new war, Pahor replied by saying: “Integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union is geo-political issue of first category. If there were the political will in Brussels, the best thing would be to do it as soon as possible and for all the countries in the Western Balkans. If there is no big progress in a relatively short period of time, we could be witnessing revival of a thesis that former Yugoslavia has not broken up completely and that it should happen. In essence it means change of borders along the ethnic criteria. I doubt it can be achieved in a peaceful way”. Asked to comment on the journalist’s remark that the Bosniaks elected Zeljko Komsic as the Croat representative (member of Presidency of B&H) and whether the Dayton agreement should be changed, Pahor said that “to me a very dear B&H is a special and complex issue”. The Slovenian President further noted that the future of B&H is foremost in the hands of people in B&H. “I have already said it would be smart to think about acceleration of the process of EU enlargement into the whole area of Western Balkans. In that way we would at least partly solve the issue of B&H, in other words we would give a different context. However, I am not interfering into election of representatives in B&H,” added Pahor.

 

Krivokapic doesn’t want Mandic, Knezevic and Medojevic for ministers (CdM)

Prime minister-designate, Zdravko Krivokapic, doesn’t want the leaders of the Democratic Front, DF – Andrija Mandic, Milan Knezevic and Nebojsa Medojevic – for ministers in the new government, CdM sources close to Krivokapic claim. According to them, Krivokapic wants to set up a team comprising people not burdened with political exhaustion and court proceedings, for both domestic and international public. Sources also claim that the relations between the DF and Krivokapic seem to be straining and that the formation of an ‘experts government’ runs not so smoothly. It’s obvious now that the government won’t comprise only experts, as many refused to take on the armchairs [positions] in it. While almost no one wants to take over the sectors of finances and economy, a heated debate is being led over the security and education sectors and it’s almost impossible to please everyone aspiring to them. Even though the Prime Minister-designate says that the formation of the govt is going according to the plan, the DF and the Socialist People’s Party, SNP, deny the allegations. The overall situation seems to stir simmering resentment among the parties.

Mandic: I won’t let tycoons steal people’s will and form govt (CdM)

Having in mind that I appointed Zdravko Krivokapic as the leader of the bloc For the Future of Montenegro and that I managed the coalition’s election campaign, I won’t let Montenegro tycoons steal the will of the people and form the new government, one of the leaders of the Democratic Front, DF, Andrija Mandic, noted. Mandic reacted on the information published in the media that the prime minister-designate, Krivokapic, didn’t want either him or Milan Knezevic or Nebojsa Medojevic for minister in the new government. “What Misko Perovic and a group gathered around the second-largest tycoon family are doing is unacceptable for any honest man. The Democratic Front is with its people and will never accept that our future is created with those who stole millions of euros in joint businesses with the family of Milo Djukanovic,” he said.

Mandic: New govt should have been formed by now (CdM)

The new government should have been formed by now in line with a quite simple principle – every party should have gotten positions and elected its representative, who would be in charge of the related policy, according to that party’s election result, one of the leaders of the Democratic Front, DF, Andrija Mandic, said. At a press conference held on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the DF protest in front of the parliament’s building, he told that the new government should comprise people who mainly contributed to the change of power.

Jokovic: Prime minister-designate should negotiate with SNP on govt departments (Pobjeda)

Leaders of the Socialist People’s Party, SNP, and the Movement for Changes, PzP, Vladimir Jokovic and Nebojsa Medojevic, told Pobjeda daily that they found the draft allocation of mandates in a new government, in case it was real, proposed by the prime minister-designate, Zdravko Krivokapic, unacceptable. Jokovic noted that he had sent a letter to the Prime Minister-designate on Wednesday, requiring negotiations with the SNP on this matter, having in mind the number of seats they won in the elections. “I urged Krivokapic to negotiate on government departments that are going to be offered to the SNP. We don’t want to be included in the new government as part of the Democratic Front quota or the bloc ‘For the Future of Montenegro’,” he told Pobjeda daily. He added that he saw the draft allocation of mandates in the media and didn’t know whether it was authentic. “The SNP won 5 seats and should get the adequate number of departments,” he pointed out. A statement from the leader of the Movement for Changes Nebojsa Medojevic says that both the DF and the PzP are unsatisfied with the document that the media recently published, stating that Krivokapic doesn’t inform them on his gestures. “We should have gotten at least ten departments, and even that is below 66 per cent of the power that belongs to us. We will suggest that the Civic Movement URA doesn’t get the Ministry of Defense and the vice-president position for the coordination of all security services in the country, as the PzP should get them. Any other option would be humiliating,” said Medojevic, adding that he would vote for any reform-oriented government. Medojevic revealed an interesting detail during the negotiation on the formation of a new government for Pobjeda daily. “The Prime Minister-designate refused to come to our offices even though our caucus comprises five MPs. We communicate via e-mail and that’s why we know nothing about his gestures.”

Djeljosaj: The fact that prime minister-designate has accepted our proposals doesn’t mean we will be part of the government (CdM)

Zdravko Krivokapic, prime minister-designate for the composition of the new government, has informed me that our requests are acceptable, modified in accordance with the Constitution of Montenegro and relevant laws. The fact that he accepted our proposals doesn’t mean we are going to participate in the government, but our duty is to ensure that program provisions we advocate for are accepted by the new majority, Nik Djeljosaj from the Albanian list has said. According to him, Albanian list has received enormous amount of support from the Albanians for the realization of political platform they have presented. “We believe that minority nations don’t need orientation. Albanian list had talks with the prime minister-designate. We presented our program and proposed to Krivokapic that our basic provisions be part of the new government. That’s the way how those who respect their voters shall behave,” Djeljosaj said. By accepting the dialogue, they have sent an important message to their voters: that they continue to represent them responsibly, seeking for improvement, first and foremost in the economic sense. “Albanian list is a serious and responsible political subject, it is nobody’s party,” he said. They strive to make a difference in relation to the majority of political subjects. “The objective is togetherness and good representation of the interests of our people. Representatives of the Albanian list are experienced people, successful people. We want to contribute to the equality of all citizens of Montenegro and economic development of the state. We look everybody straight in the eyes, especially those who want to cooperate fairly. We owe only our voters. No member of our list has ever got real estate, and no member has ever abused his/her function. That’s the way we are going to work in future. Honestly and justly – for us, for our families and people we represent,” Djeljosaj concluded.

Zenka: If they can forgive them for everything they did to the Albanian people, we wish them luck (Pobjeda)

If our colleagues from the Albanian bloc ‘Genci Nimanbegu – Nik Djeljosaj’ can forget about all the things that did harm to the Albanian people in Montenegro and accept to be part of the new ruling majority, then I wish them luck, whereas people will tell them what they think about it, Mehmed Zenka, the departing Human and Minority Rights Minister and a representative of the Albanian coalition ‘Unanimously’, assessed in an interview with Pobjeda daily. He said: “Soon after the elections, our coalition declared as the constructive opposition. We listed all most important reasons behind our decision and why we don’t see ourselves as part of the new majority until we see serious changes, which are not in sight.” According to him, the largest part of the new ruling majority is against the principles and tenets of the bloc ‘Albanians Decisively’. “As for the Albanian bloc ‘Genci Nimanbegu – Nik Djeljosaj’, let them do what they think they should do. We were offered to join the new govt, whereas they are offering themselves. According to our sources, they have already had talks with the new majority on several occasions.”

Varhelyi: Montenegro shall meet the recommendations referring to protection of property rights and freedom of religion (Pobjeda)

European Commissioner for Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, said that European commission paid great attention to the rule of law as the basic element of Montenegro’s EU accession.

Asked if the commission plans to include respect for religious freedoms as a prerequisite for aiding Montenegro, Varhelyi said that Montenegro would be obliged to meet the recommendations referring to strengthening human rights, including protection of property right and freedom of expressing religious beliefs. Speaking about pre-accession aid to Montenegro, Varhelyi pointed out that it would depend on Montenegrin commitment to the implementation of reforms.

Election irregularities to be investigated 

Is the commission worried about 50.000 phantom voters? “International observers have noted intense polarized debate related to the issues of church and national identity and concern over the inappropriate advantage of the governing party”, Commissioner said. EC now expects all actors to engage in the dialogue to settle “longstanding election shortcomings”. “The commission also expects authorities to investigate the alleged irregularities in the elections”, Varhelyi concluded.

 

Zaev sees no need for a new treaty with Bulgaria, is open to a clarifying statement or declaration (Republika)

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he sees no need for a new treaty with Bulgaria, but that he is open to a statement or declaration that would go in more detail on issues Bulgaria wants clarified. His comment comes after the speculations that Bulgaria wants a new treaty, one which will include constitutional amendments in Macedonia that would redefine the Macedonian nation and language in line with Bulgaria’s positions, to replace the 2017 Zaev – Borisov treaty. There is no need for a new treaty. Bulgaria agrees and we agree. We have no problem with an oral statement, a written declaration or something similar that would declare that the official name Republic of (North) Macedonia and the short name (North) Macedonia refer to the territory of the Republic of (North) Macedonia and nothing else and that we have no territorial claims against any of our neighbors, or anybody in the world, Zaev said following the online congress of his SDSM party. Zaev is due to meet Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov in mid-November to see if he can avoid a veto against Macedonia’s EU accession talks. This could be complicated by Borisov’s revelation that he has Covid-19 made just today. Zaev also announced that the SDSM party delegates agreed to hold their first ever open election of the party leadership next year, when his term as party leader expires. All SDSM party members will be allowed to vote for leader and for heads of the main party groups, such as the youth wing, the women’s association, international and organizational secretary and other offices, Zaev said. The delegates also agreed to declare red as the party color. SDSM has often moved between red and blue, in an attempt to switch between their communist past and the current Euro-Atlantic orientation. The red has also been embraced by SDSM’s chief opponent VMRO-DPMNE, as the color of patriotism and fight for freedom, which does not sit well with SDSM’s policy of concessions on issues of national identity.

 

Rama, Zaev, Vucic to invite Kosovo to Mini-Schengen (ADN)

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced that he would meet with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic on 30 October, and that on that occasion they would invite Kosovo to join the regional Schengen initiative. He said that the improvement of wider regional cooperation will be the reason for him to meet with the two leaders next Friday. “In my country, it is said that we do not choose our neighbors, but they are the first to come to the rescue. Therefore, we expect Kosovo to join the regional initiative, so that its inclusive character is a priority for the region, regardless of open political issues,” Zaev said.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES 

Serbia to Become One of World’s Most Gender-Balanced Governments (Bloomberg, by Misha Savic, 25 October 2020) 

Serbia’s proposed new-look government is among the world’s most gender balanced, with women named to half of ministerial posts. The lineup, announced Sunday, propels the Balkan country to the brink of the global top 10 for gender equality — an issue that has typically been higher on the agenda of western European countries. Still, critics say that even with the appointments, President Aleksandar Vucic will call all the shots and women remain under-represented in local politics. Serbia was already something of an outlier. Vucic selected openly gay Ana Brnabic as the country’s first female prime minister in 2017, while the posts of parliament speaker and central bank governor are also held by women. Almost two-fifths of the legislature’s 250 seats are held by women, nearing a representation target set before the June general election. After a resounding victory in that vote, Vucic called for a “revolutionary” change as he announced Brnabic’s re-appointment. “Thus we’d represent our country in the best possible way and show, not in words but with action, how gender equality works in practice,” he said. Brnabic raised the proportion of women in the government up from a fifth. Some of the new arrivals include women leading ministries for economy, justice, energy and mining, environmental protection, labor, culture and human rights. Parliament is expected to approve the cabinet in the coming week. Vucic’s opponents say loyalty trumps gender in a country that’s dominated by his Serbian Progressive Party. With the shifting gender balance of the new parliament and government driven by the president, rather than by Brnabic, there’s “every reason” to question whether it will bring “essential change” in equality, said Tanja Ignjatovic of the Autonomous Women’s Center in Belgrade. “In Serbia, women remain under-represented in local governments — as heads of municipalities or mayors,” Ignjatovic said. “Very few of them are in the diplomatic corps and there are hardly any in security affairs.” Vucic has countered that women are “equally competent, even more competent to perform the most important state jobs.”

The main drive of Brnabic’s government has been to advance Serbia’s plan to join the European Union this decade. At the same time, the country has been locked in a standoff over its refusal to recognize its neighbor Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Belgrade in 2008, a decade after the two sides fought the last war in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia. Speaking at a joint press conference with Brnabic at the party headquarters on Sunday, Vucic said that the new government will continue current policies.

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