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Belgrade Media Report 6 July

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LOCAL PRESS

• Selakovic: Serbia has strong leadership, preconditions for maintaining peace (TV Happy/Tanjug)
• Joint initiative of Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey for development of rail transport (Tanjug/RTV)
• Hill: Much work to be done in bilateral relations between Serbian, US in the next 140 years (Beta)
• EP adopts resolution on Serbia, demanding it imposes sanctions against Russia (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)
• Serbia no longer in focus of EU attention (Nova.rs)
• Students of Serbian nationality in Bujanovac get certificates in Albanian (N1)
• GRECO urges Serbia to implement further anti-corruption measures (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• RS politicians criticize Schmidt for his statement on decision of B&H CC re RS Law on Medicinal Products that will be passed on Wednesday; Kovacevic: B&H CC is extended arm of OHR (RTRS)
• Dodik, Covic and Izetbegovic set to hold separate meetings with Varhelyi (ATV)
• Komsic calls Izetbegovic and Becirovic to sign statement that Covic cannot be B&H CoM Chair; Karamatic slams Komsic, says he is counting on ‘anti-Croat votes of Muslims’ (Nezavisne)
• EU Council Political and Security Committee reps meet Dzaferovic and stress EU is serious re EU integration perspective for B&H (Hayat)
• EP discusses situation in B&H at plenary session; Rangel says there are two obstacles to progress of B&H on EU path (N1)
• Milanovic: Everything I did in Madrid was for Croat interests in B&H (Dnevni list)
Croatia
• Grlic Radman compares situation in Northern Ireland and B&H (Vecernji list)
• MEPs adopt report on Croatia meeting the criteria for joining the Eurozone (HRT1)
Montenegro
• Metropolitan Mihailo: I will not sign a contract in which the CPC does not guarantee service in Montenegrin shrines; Abazovic’s response to Metropolitan Mihailo: Govt and CPC to sign Fundamental Agreement (CdM/Standard)
• Djukanovic on Fundamental Agreement with SPC: I expect that the govt will make a decision in the state interest of Montenegro (CdM)
• Krivokapic on the Fundamental Agreement: The government must return to its European path, if there is no such thing – the only answer is elections (CdM)
• Protest in front of govt: Such text of Fundamental Agreement does damage to all citizens (CdM)
• Michel to Djukanovic: Strengthening our relations precious for both Montenegro and EU (CdM)
• Abazovic with Pompeo: We are promoting the policies of the future and raising the international reputation of Montenegro (CdM)
• UK’s commitment to European integration process of Western Balkans encouraging (CdM)
• Abazovic: EU to neutralize Russia’s influence in the Western Balkans (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia
• First meeting of working groups over French proposal set to be held in parliament (Republika)
• Michel: This is not a take it or leave it situation (Sitel TV)
• Kovacevski-Michel: Strong support in fulfilment of strategic goal – full-fledged EU membership (Republika)
• Dimitrov: In the end we will all be losers – instead of a strong state in the EU, we will have a divided, unstable state (Republika)
• Police arrest protesters (Republika)
Albania
• Rama strongly supports the Open Balkans process in the Netherlands (Radio Tirana)
• The Minister of Finland and the Minister of Ireland visit Tirana: Optimists for the integration of Albania in the EU (Radio Tirana)
• PES supports European ambitions of Albania and North Macedonia (Radio Tirana)
• Meta meets Pahor: Slovenia strongly supports the opening of membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Selakovic: Serbia has strong leadership, preconditions for maintaining peace (TV Happy/Tanjug)

 

In challenging times, it is important to maintain political stability and peace, and Serbia has all the preconditions for that thanks to the strong leadership it has and to its strategic vision, political stability and commitment to the policy of military neutrality, says Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic. The situation in Europe and in our wider region, as well as globally, is dramatic, and developments in the east of Europe have signaled a change of the geopolitical and security architecture, Selakovic said on TV Happy on Tuesday. “That change brings complete unpredictability,” Selakovic said, adding that Serbia was one of the few countries that had always maintained a very clear and principled position when it comes to respect of international law. He recalled that, at an annual meeting of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in Turin in mid-May, a great many FMs of EU member states had lectured him on respect of the territorial integrity and political independence of states as key rules of international law. Unfortunately, these rules do not apply in Serbia’s case, Selakovic said. Selakovic added that one minister had noted that his country firmly supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia and later said it supported and welcomed Pristina’s Council of Europe membership bid. “But when I ask: ‘What about the territorial integrity of Serbia?’ they ignore the question, and you are faced with the utmost hypocrisy and double standards where no one from the Western Balkans can make a millimeter of progress in European integration, while Ukraine and Moldova get membership candidate status,” Selakovic said.

 

Joint initiative of Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey for development of rail transport (Tanjug/RTV)

 

Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirovic attended on Tuesday the formation of the Ministerial Coordination Council of Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey, whose task will be the further development of rail transport through realization of infrastructure projects, facilitation of border procedures and exchange of knowledge and experiences. Momirovic and his counterparts from these countries signed the document on the formation of this body and underlined that the Ministerial Council will follow all investments in infrastructure, first and foremost in railway, where the state of Serbia has ambitious plans, Momirovic said. He said that he told his counterparts that the Serbian government is investing in ten motorways at the moment and that it will not give up on any infrastructure project. He added that Serbia’s largest cities are getting connected by the most modern road and rail infrastructure on which the fastest trains in Europe go. Momirovic noted that all this is happening in circumstances of war in Europe and when sustainable supply and consumption of energy commodities must be ensured for our population.

 

Hill: Much work to be done in bilateral relations between Serbian, US in the next 140 years (Beta)

 

US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said in Belgrade on 5 July that the US and Serbia needed to find common interests and that there would be much to do in bilateral relations in the next 140 years. “The US and Serbia need to find common interests and begin honest talks on their differences. When we think about the next 140 years, there is much to do. The US understands the importance of this part of the world and that is why our relationship with Belgrade is extremely important,” Hill said at the Faculty of Political Sciences on the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the US. “It is not the US that should tell the EU who needs to be its member and when they should join, but it is up to the US to say that the project of a Europe that is whole, free and peaceful needs to continue,” said Hill, adding that relations with Europe including Serbia were very important. “None of us, whether we are Serbs or Americans, like to be told what to do. But I think that we need to listen to each other more, and understand each other. Fundamentally, we need to understand a little better what the logic of our relations is,” he said.

 

EP adopts resolution on Serbia, demanding it imposes sanctions against Russia (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)

 

Members of the European Parliament today by a large majority approved a resolution on Serbia, which expresses support for Serbia’s membership in the EU, but calls on Belgrade to urgently align with EU sanction against Russia and Belarus, and sets this as one of the conditions for further progress of Serbia on the way to EU integration. The report of rapporteur Vladimir Bilcik on Serbia was supported by 523 members of the European Parliament, 78 were against, while 34 abstained. The resolution on Serbia expresses the European Parliament’s support for “Serbia’s future membership in the EU” – but also reminds that a credible perspective of enlargement requires engagement in necessary reforms and adherence to European standards and values.

In this year’s report on Serbia, the European Parliament, in addition to the rule of law and normalization of relations with Pristina, also included alignment with sanctions against Russia as a key element that should determine the country’s overall progress on the path to EU accession. Rapporteur for Serbia Bilcik, stressed that joining the EU is a “strategic decision of Serbia” and that the EP expects that “the country’s political leadership will also treat it strategically”. “That is why it is important that Serbia moves towards the EU, and not to the side,” said Bilcik. In the text of the resolution included amendments that say that “Serbia and Kosovo are expected to sign a legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations based on mutual recognition.” That’s the first time the term “mutual recognition” has been mentioned in an official document of the EU institution as a necessary solution in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. The European Parliament reiterated its invitation to Serbia to take steps to further increase media freedom, guarantee freedom of expression, media independence and media pluralism. European parliamentarians praised the progress achieved in Serbia in the development of a functional market economy, as well as the cooperation shown by Serbia in managing migrations. 439 amendments were submitted to the draft report on Serbia prepared by rapporteur Bilcik, and the parliamentary groups adopted 40 compromise amendments that expanded the text of the report.

Adopted during a plenary session, the report of the European Parliament took the form of a resolution, which is not legally binding, but represents political guidelines for a country in the process of EU integration.

 

Serbia no longer in focus of EU attention (Nova.rs)

 

The Nova.rs portal said on Tuesday that the Serbia is no longer in the focus of the EU’s attention with only Poland casting doubts about its European future. An unnamed high-ranking EU source told the portal that Serbia is not under pressure from the Quint countries (the US, Germany, France, Italy and the UK) or the EU on any issue. The source said that an internal EU agreement has been reached to divide candidate countries into two groups – one for countries who have EU prospects and are negotiating their accession which includes Serbia, and the other of countries that do not have prospects at present. The idea came from French President Emmanuel Macron.

The source said that Poland does not think Serbia should be in the first group but stands alone in the view, adding that official Warsaw and the Baltic countries could slow down Serbia’s accession. “Serbia is not of major interest for the EU because, among other things, there is not will in Belgrade to speed up integration … The Serbian authorities seem to be little interested in getting the integration process moving forward,” a diplomatic source from one of the more important EU member states told Nova.rs. The portal said it had learned that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is stalled with no indication that it could be raised to a higher level. It said that Belgrade is frustrated by that while Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti is showing no interest in meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Sources in Brussels said that Belgrade is under huge pressure from Russia because Moscow wants Belgrade to take steps that would confront it with both the EU and its Western Balkan neighbors. They added that Belgrade, not Brussels, has to handle that pressure and that Serbia can’t expect the EU to show understanding for steps Serbia might take under pressure from Moscow. “Serbia will eventually get into the EU but not soon with its policy of neutrality and pro-European reforms but the process could speed up with a clear Euro-Atlantic policy and commitment to the European system of values,” a source said.

 

Students of Serbian nationality in Bujanovac get certificates in Albanian (N1)

 

The Serbian Ministry of Education said is condemns the actions of the local authorities in Bujanovac because honor students of Serbian nationality were awarded certificates of appreciation in Albanian language. Bujanovac is a town and municipality in southern Serbia whose population is about half Albanian and half Serb with some 5 percent of Roma according to the 2011 census. “It is absolutely reprehensible that students of Serbian nationality were presented with certificates in Albanian. In this municipality classes are held in both Serbian and Albanian language. I demand that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws are honored and that students who attend classes in Serbian language be given certificates of merit in Serbian language,” said Education Minister Branko Ruzic. He said the Ministry of Education respects all rights regarding education in languages of national minorities. “We have made it possible for students to receive their education in eight languages of national minorities. We also demand that the local authorities in Bujanovac honor Serbia’s laws,” the Ministry quoted Ruzic as saying.

 

GRECO urges Serbia to implement further anti-corruption measures (Beta)

 

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe (CoE) anti-corruption body, has called for further measures to prevent corruption in Serbia among persons with top executive functions and members of the Serbian police. In its evaluation report, published on 5 July by the CoE, GRECO suggests that in light of the low level of prosecution, the immunity provided to government members should not cover corruption-related offenses. GRECO also notes the central role played by the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, but recommends that the role of the Agency be strengthened by making public its recommendations and the response of the government and presidential administration. GRECO also finds that a public strategy on corruption prevention in the police should be adopted. GRECO calls for a public strategy on corruption prevention that covers explicitly persons with top executive functions. Integrity standards corresponding to top executive functions should be collected in a code of conduct, accompanied by practical guidance and sanctions in case of violation, says the evaluation report.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

RS politicians criticize Schmidt for his statement on decision of B&H CC re RS Law on Medicinal Products that will be passed on Wednesday; Kovacevic: B&H CC is extended arm of OHR (RTRS

 

The Constitutional Court (CC) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) is substitution for the Office of High Representative (OHR) and these two institutions act jointly to detriment of Republika Srpska (RS) with support of Bosniak politicians and Sarajevo-based media. This is reaction of politicians from the RS to the announcement of Christian Schmidt that if necessary, he will use Bonn Powers following a decision of B&H CC concerning the RS Law on Medicinal Product and Medical Devices that should be rendered on Wednesday. Politicians from the RS conveyed messages that regardless to what the B&H CC or Schmidt do, existence of the RS Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices is not questionable, because there is constitutional ground for it. RTRS reminds that member of B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic submitted a motion with the B&H CC demanding it to assess constitutionality of the RS Law on Medicinal Product. Commenting this issue for some media, Schmidt stated that he believes the B&H CC will render its decision on Wednesday in regards to abovementioned motion, i.e. whether the RS has right to establish its agency for medicinal products. “I think they do not, but the court should pass its decision”, stated Schmidt, adding that after the B&H CC passes its decision, they will start with its implementation. Advisor to the Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Radovan Kovacevic stated that by saying he will react after the B&H CC passes its decision, Schmidt has identified himself as a man who directly ordered a decision and judgment of the B&H CC. Reporter commented that it is hard to believe two judges of the BiH CC who were members of SDA and three foreign judges will reject Dzaferovic’s motion and vote in favour of the RS. Kovacevic emphasized that the B&H CC acts as extended arm of the OHR, adding that it is visible in Schmidt’s statement. He went on to saying that foreign judges in the B&H CC, along with Bosniak judges outvote and belittle Serb and Croat judges as well as the RS, and work on unconstitutional and anti-Dayton centralization and creation of a unitary B&H. The reporter commented that Schmidt is in so called win-win situation: if the B&H CC fails to accept Dzaferovic’s motion, he will use Bonn Powers. RS MP Srdjan Mazalica (SNSD) stressed that the RSNA passed the RS Law on Medicinal Product, due to the fact discriminatory acting of B&H Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices against the RS jeopardized health and lives of the RS citizens. He reminded that the RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic stated earlier that the RS government will resume with implementation of the RS Law on Medicinal Products and work on formation of the RS Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices. RS MP in Davor Sesic said that abovementioned Schmidt’s announcement is evidence that he has access to information, adding that it proves the B&H CC is not independent. The reporter commented that on several occasions in the previous period, the B&H CC demonstrated legal violence. Leader of United Srpska Nenad Stevandic underlined that Schmidt has been attempting to exert pressure against the B&H CC by announcing his reaction. He added that this is also part of the pre-election campaign, adding that Schmidt is obviously working for those forces in the Federation of B&H (FB&H) that have been attempting to abolish the RS.  Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac emphasized that everything that has been done earlier by High Representatives is modelled now by the B&H CC. He added this situation is evidence that part of the international community is attempting to the make situation in B&H additionally complex. Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that this situation is “tilting against windmills”. Dodik reiterated the stance of the RS that Schmidt is “the German citizen” without a status of the HR, because Russia and China did not confirm him in the UN Security Council (UN SC). According to Dodik, Schmidt thus does not have the Bonn powers. Kovacevic stated that Schmidt has identified himself as someone who directly ordered the decision and rulings of the CC, and he considers that Schmidt obviously knows the CC’s decision in advance. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic said that clichés with many incorrect theses are being reiterated and she added: “The RS is not working on secession. It is true that its institutions are working on preservation of autonomy and competencies which they have at their disposal as in line with the Constitution. The story on secessionists has been fabricated in order to serve as a cover for interventions of foreign factor and as an excuse for activities of foreigners instead of domestic institutions.”

 

Dodik, Covic and Izetbegovic set to hold separate meetings with Varhelyi (ATV

 

SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic, and SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic are scheduled to meet with European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels on Wednesday. The focus of their meetings is set on the European path of B&H, which currently lacks progress and is characterized by numerous deadlocks. However, they are scheduled to hold separate meetings with the European Commissioner. Varhelyi is scheduled to meet with Covic at 14:00, Dodik at 15:15, and Izetbegovic at 16:30 hours on Wednesday. Namely, ahead of departing to Brussels, Izetbegovic stated that he has no intention of discussing EU issues at a meeting with Covic. Dodik told media on the eve of departing to Brussels that RS is definitely more important to him than the European path of B&H. Dodik doubts the European integration of B&H is achievable, and he even considers that the EU could fall apart before the day B&H could actually reach membership. Dodik stated that the whole story of “foreigners” regarding the EU integration of B&H is actually a path towards creating of a unitary B&H. “It is true that it is easier to obtain projects when you have a candidate status. Serbia’s example is the best to demonstrate that. However, we lack the candidate status”, noted Dodik. He criticized the fact that the 14 EU recommendations would mean that, in case there is no consensus of entities, then “the joint level” would pass decisions. He added that “the Muslim part would never agree to pass a joint decision together with the RS”. Ahead of his visit to Brussels, Dodik stated that he is not going to the EU premises to capitulate. Dodik emphasized that he is not ready to sacrifice the RS for the EU membership of B&H. Reporter noted that Covic hopes issue of amending of the Election Law of B&H will be returned to agenda. He stated earlier that if this issue is not solved, it could result in post-election blockade.

 

Komsic calls Izetbegovic and Becirovic to sign statement that Covic cannot be B&H CoM Chair; Karamatic slams Komsic, says he is counting on ‘anti-Croat votes of Muslims’ (Nezavisne

 

Croat member of the Presidency of B&H Zeljko Komsic on Monday called candidates for B&H Presidency members Denis Becirovic and Bakir Izetbegovic to sign a statement saying that HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic cannot be the Chair of the Council of Ministers (CoM) of B&H in the upcoming mandate. Komsic argued that Covic would use this position to fulfil interests of HDZ B&H. In a statement to the daily, leader of HSS and member of the Presidency of Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) Mario Karamatic said that he understands wishes of Komsic very well and added that he is building his political career on fear from Covic. Karamatic added that Komsic’s wishes will not be fulfilled and added: “It will certainly not be up to Komsic to decide whether Mr. Covic, who is not a candidate at any of the lists, will be the Chair of B&H CoM. The decision will be made within HNS and we will let Bakir Izetbegovic fulfil someone’s wishful thinking, just like he did so far”. Karamatic argued that Komsic’s call only proves that he is counting on “anti-Croat votes of Muslims”.

 

EU Council Political and Security Committee reps meet Dzaferovic and stress EU is serious re EU integration perspective for B&H (Hayat

 

Representatives of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) of Council of the EU visited B&H on Tuesday. Representatives of the Committee met Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and they discussed the political situation, continuation of the EUFOR’s peace mission ALTHEA and the EU integration of B&H. During the meeting, attendees said that the EU is serious about the perspective of integration of B&H and it is committed to grant B&H a status of the candidate as soon as work – in line with the European Commission’s Opinion – registers progress.  According to attendees of the meeting, B&H has its position in the EU but only as an integrated and sovereign state.

 

EP discusses situation in B&H at plenary session; Rangel says there are two obstacles to progress of B&H on EU path (N1

 

A plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) was held in Strasbourg on Tuesday. Among other things, MEPs discussed the situation in B&H. Importance of the EU perspective of B&H and implementation of 14 priorities was emphasized again. The EP’s Rapporteur for B&H Paulo Rangel stated that there are two obstacles for progress of B&H on the EU path: boycott and withdrawing of representatives from the RS from B&H institutions and stalemate in talks on reform of electoral legislation. He condemned all destabilizing activities aimed to undermine territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H. MEPs assessed as positive agreement on the EU path of B&H recently reached in Brussels by B&H political leaders as well as recently held the EU – Western Balkans Summit. During the debate on B&H, MEPs demanded restoring of functionality of B&H institutions, underlining that it is key for progress of B&H towards the EU.

Representative of the EC Janez Lenarcic insist on implementation of 14 reforms the European Commission (EC) set for B&H to make progress on the EU path. Lenarcic also stated that they expect the RS to end the current crisis and to guarantee full functionality of state institutions in B&H. The reporter noted that some claim implementation of abovementioned 14 priorities will enable B&H to start with negotiation on the EU accession, while B&H needs to do significantly less to get the status of the EU candidate country. Some MEPs warned of increasing divisions within B&H, as well as growing tensions in this country. Also, Lenarcic warned that the current situation is already detrimental for B&H, because it will not get funds from investment plan for the Western Balkans until state institutions are unblocked. MEP from Croatia Zeljana Zovko said that the EP discusses whether the Dayton-Paris peace agreement should be preserved or B&H shall enter a new crisis. She added that political leaders of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in B&H will meet on Wednesday with the EU officials in Brussels. Zovko stressed that she expects positive agreement that after General Elections 2022 that will be held in October, B&H will resume with path towards the EU. Addressing the EP, MEP Michael Gahler stated: “B&H is now at the EU’s crossroads. After years of political deadlock and secessionist moves, clear signs on the path of European future of the country and its Euro-Atlantic integration were shown. This is a crucial moment for the country, Western Balkans and Europe. The country needs to complete a series of reforms to fulfil the criteria for the EU membership.” Gahler submitted a report on B&H and highlighted that the EU needs to follow the example of the USA and the UK and to sanction President of SNSD Milorad Dodik. It was stressed that two main challenges that B&H is facing are the secessionist activities of the RS and the political halt in the reform process required to harmonize the B&H laws with European ones.

 

Milanovic: Everything I did in Madrid was for Croat interests in B&H (Dnevni list

 

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic on Tuesday referred to the recently concluded NATO summit held in Madrid. He points out that he did everything for Croat interests in B&H, and once again used the opportunity to accuse the Croatian government of betrayal. “The election process (in B&H) begins. What should I have done in Madrid? Throw a bomb like Bosko Buha? I did everything, Plenkovic would not have dared to get on a plane and go there. I was there”, Milanovic reminds. He asked why HDZ Croatia does not deal with the situation in B&H and “fake candidates”. He explains that he doubts the Croat candidates in the Bosniak parties in B&H will actually be able to fight for the interests of all Croats in that country. He also reminds that the B&H Election Law has not been amended yet. Milanovic noted that “Alija’s party” has Croat candidates for the House of Peoples. (Note: he was referring to SDA, founded by late Alija Izetbegovic). Milanovic also commented on the resolution on B&H which is expected to be adopted by German Bundestag. Referring to Bundestag member Adis Ahmetovic, Milanovic said: “Somebody who is a German social democrat, who is a Bosniak, is working on the draft of the resolution which will be adopted soon, and which describes B&H as a civic state in order to annul anything with an ethnic prefix”. He added that he is afraid of German visions, and underlined that only Russian visions are more dangerous. According to Milanovic, there is a Bosniak who pretends to be a citizen, who infiltrated SPD and who is now dealing with social and ethnic engineering in B&H. “I am afraid of the German visions, I swear on my mother. Only the Russia (visions) are more important”, stated Milanovic. The Croatian President criticized HDZ of Croatia and their attitude towards B&H Croats, asking “what is the Croatian Parliament doing?” “What are members of the Croatian Parliament that represent B&H are doing? (MP) Zdravka Busic has nothing to do with B&H and only does what Plenkovic tells her. Member of the European Parliament Zeljana Zovko has bought an apartment in Split and has no intentions of going back to Herzegovina. Dragan Covic lives in Mostar with his family and grandchildren. That alleged biggest scam artist and thief. And now he is not even candidate in the elections”, said Milanovic.

 

Grlic Radman compares situation in Northern Ireland and B&H (Vecernji list

 

Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman wrote on Twitter: “Croatia fully supports the adherence to the Protocol and preservation of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), which stipulates the principle of consent between two communities. The same should apply to B&H. The Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) brought peace to B&H and stipulate the equality of the three constituent peoples, namely Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs in B&H, which needs to be preserved and implemented.” According to the daily, Grlic Radman made the connection between the GFA and DPA, which were supported by the US. The daily further reads that the UK Government recently decided to unilaterally violate the protocol it signed two years ago, however the US said it strongly stays behind the GFA. Daily further reads that whilst it strongly supports the GFA, parts of German politicians and authorities are advocating radical changes to the DPA, especially after the announcement that the German Bundestag could adopt a special resolution on B&H, which should, according to Bundestag member with origins from B&H Adis Ahmetovic, support European B&H without ethnic principles. All this triggered the daily to say that calls for undermining of the DPA actually incite new violence, even perhaps new bloodshed.

 

MEPs adopt report on Croatia meeting the criteria for joining the Eurozone (HRT1

 

With 539 votes for, 45 votes against and 48 abstentions, the European Parliament on Tuesday adopted a report on the introduction of the Euro in Croatia on 1 January of next year. The report concludes that Croatia meets all the criteria for joining the Eurozone. Most of the abstentions and nay votes came from MEPs on the conservative side of the political spectrum, who criticized the decision to approve Croatia’s entry into the common currency. Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats, said that fears about price inflation after the introduction of the Euro, are misplaced: “Based on countries similar to ours, who joined the Eurozone later on, is extremely positive. At that moment of transitioning from their national currency to the Euro, prices did rise minimally. However, in the long-term the ratio of price growth to wage growth is significantly on the wage growth side.” Also in Strasbourg, MEPs are discussing the report on B&H, Kosovo and Serbia. Croatian MEPs agree that Euro-Atlantic integration for all of the countries of the Western Balkans is of long-term strategic importance for Croatia. Karlo Ressler from the European Peoples Party does not believe that B&H’s candidate status will be resolved this year: “It is an injustice on the part of the European Union that we don’t have a broader geo-political understanding of the situation in B&H and her significance for all of Europe. But we also have to be objective and admit that B&H has failed to implement reforms, to achieve a political agreement between the political leaders of the three constituent peoples, and without that it is difficult to expect some kind of deus ex machina solution from elsewhere.” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was participating in a panel discussion titled “This is Europe”, also emphasized the importance EU enlargement to include the countries of the Western Balkans.

 

Metropolitan Mihailo: I will not sign a contract in which the CPC does not guarantee service in Montenegrin shrines; Abazovic’s response to Metropolitan Mihailo: Govt and CPC to sign Fundamental Agreement (CdM/Standard

 

Metropolitan Mihailo of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church said that, if the issue of the property of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church is resolved so that it does not have the right to serve in Montenegrin churches, this religious community will not sign the fundamental agreement under any circumstances, because that would mean that they have signed a contract the benefit of another’s church. He said that they do not accept that the CPC cannot serve in their shrines. “There are no examples in the world that the heritage of one country belongs to another. Cultural assets (monasteries, churches) are the property of the state of Montenegro, as it is regulated in every other state,” said the metropolitan for Standard. He explained that the CPC does not dispute the ownership of the Church of Serbia over the buildings it built, and that it does not interfere in the state’s relations with that religious community, but only wants the agreement to enable equal treatment, that is, service in religious buildings owned by the state of Montenegro.

Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic has called on Metropolitan of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church Mihailo to sign the Fundamental Agreement with the government. Abazovic responded this morning to the CPC Metropolitan’ address suggesting that they were ready to sign the Agreement with the government of Montenegro. “Respecting the Constitution and laws of the state of Montenegro, respecting the right of all citizens to freedom of expression of religion, we want to point out that the attitude of the government towards all religious communities is identical, that we inherit equal treatment and conduct an inclusive policy towards all social categories, including religious communities”, he pointed out.

 

Djukanovic on Fundamental Agreement with SPC: I expect that the govt will make a decision in the state interest of Montenegro (CdM

 

President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic has said that the government will consider and solve issues over the Fundamental Agreement with the SPC in a responsible way. The President stresses that the DPS has given a negative opinion over this version of the agreement. “I expect that the government will consider this in a responsible manner as a current political issue, assess the quality of the procedures carried out so far, the extent of the public’s involvement in this matter, and finally make a decision which will be in the national interest of Montenegro,” he told the press after delivering an address at ‘Business talks Montenegro – San Marino’ organized along with the Chamber of Commerce and competent ministries. Djukanovic also points out that he strongly supported the formation of the current government. “I want it to be successful and do the job for which it was set up. Today, I don’t want to say what the red line would be. For us, this and any other government must follow the state interests, Montenegro’s European path and economic development. If someone leaves that road and gives priority to other issues, then it’s not the same agenda and we’re not committed to it anymore. I hope that won’t happen. I hope the government will do its job at this week’s session as it should and make room for further discussion on this topic, so that we may get the best answer and finally sign the agreement.”

 

Krivokapic on the Fundamental Agreement: The government must return to its European path, if there is no such thing – the only answer is elections (CdM

 

Commenting on the potential signing of the Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), Minister of Foreign Affairs Ranko Krivokapic said that if the government does not return to the European path, the only answer is elections. “The Fundamental Agreement and the Open Balkans are topics that take us back to the past and separate us from the path to the EU.” Suddenly, says Krivokapic, it happened that the priority of the government are two pillars that are not the priority of the EU, but of some other country, and that, he points out, is the position of “her church in Montenegro and the Open Balkans”. “Neither of those two topics is the topic around which this Government gathered and for which the EU supports it. Both of these topics take us back to the past and separate us from our basic path towards the EU,” Krivokapic pointed out. Montenegro, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reminds, has only regained the trust of the leaders of European integration with a good foreign policy. “Time will tell quickly whether it is in anyone’s interest to use these two topics to stop us and return to the past, already on Friday,” emphasized Krivokapic. “Deceiving our European partners twice, with parts of the same government, is something that must not be allowed – the mandate must be returned to the citizens.” The Minister also recalled what the EU thinks about the mentioned topics. “The EP declaration from March, which refers to foreign influences in democratic processes in EU countries and the region, very simply says that the church is under Russian influence and implements an anti-European agenda. Why it is becoming the dominant topic of this government, the vice-president and the prime minister will have to answer,” Krivokapic pointed out. SDP did not want to open the issue of the Law on Freedom of Religion, which is completely controversial for them, because they do not want, as Krivokapic says, to stop Montenegro’s path to the EU. “As far as the SDP is concerned – why we are in the government and why we think that government must return to its European path – we will use these three days to return it to the European path. If there is nothing – the only answer is elections. That government is a continuation of the previous government. That government is again a fraud on citizens and the EU. Cheating our European partners twice, with parts of the same government, is something that must not be allowed. The mandate must be returned to the citizens, and I think that then in October the state elections are ready. However, there is time until October. We want that period to be used,” said Krivokapic. The SDP will insist, he emphasizes, that this government return to the European agenda. “That these kinds of acts that were passed quickly, hastily, and from the very preamble are either falsifications or anti-constitutional elements. This government only had a mandate for a year, now for less than 10 months. She had no obligation or opportunity to do that, she is a minority. She had a clear agenda that she could carry out. This is how it becomes an obstacle for Montenegro towards the EU, and not what it promised – a high-speed train for Montenegro’s entry into the EU,” Krivokapic said. The Minister of Foreign Affairs says that “SDP lasts for 30 years and more”. “We will push through this as well, because we are not alone. Allies are with us, partners from the EU. This momentum on the National Day of Montenegro should not be missed. They come to us in order to open the door wide and show us that. Whoever tries to destroy that path with topics that are not on the European agenda, I think will pay an irreversible political price,” Krivokapic pointed out.

 

Protest in front of govt: Such text of Fundamental Agreement does damage to all citizens (CdM

 

The citizens of Montenegro gathered tonight to protest against the announcement of Prime Minister suggesting that the government is going to declare on Thursday over the text of the Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC). Citizens ended the protest by taking a stroll on Stanka Dragojevica Boulevard, Petar Cetinjski Boulevard and strolled along Bokeska Street and Sloboda Street. The protesters concluded, among other things, that such a text of the Fundamental Agreement only does damage to all the citizens of Montenegro, and called on the government to “finally ensure the European future instead of pathologically lying”.

 

Michel to Djukanovic: Strengthening our relations precious for both Montenegro and EU (CdM

 

The European Council President Charles Michel sent a letter to the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic following Djukanovic’s congratulations on Europe Day and his recent visit to Montenegro, being grateful for meaningful meetings and expressing joy for the continuation of close cooperation. As Michel stated, both the EU and the entire world faced many challenges over the past years, including consequences of the pandemic, the impacts of climate changes and now the war in Europe. “Let me reiterate my belief that strengthening our relations will be valuable for both Montenegro and the EU. In this context, I would like to thank the meaningful meetings we had during my visit on 14 June 2022, and I look forward to the continuation of our close cooperation.”

 

Abazovic with Pompeo: We are promoting the policies of the future and raising the international reputation of Montenegro (CdM

 

Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazovic and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the integration processes of the Western Balkans with emphasis on the need for regional cooperation. As announced by the prime minister’s office, it was concluded that Montenegro can play a special role in this, given its traditionally good relations with its neighbors. “In the context of the crisis caused by the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, it is very important to send positive signals from the countries of the Western Balkan region,” the interlocutors agreed. Abazovic shared with Pompeo his thoughts related to American investments and expressed the readiness of the Government to affirm the arrival of companies from the most powerful country in the world, especially from the energy sector. “Montenegro, with its most important allies, is ready to make a special contribution to integration in the region. We are promoting the policies of the future and raising the international reputation of Montenegro,” the Prime Minister pointed out.

 

UK’s commitment to European integration process of Western Balkans encouraging (CdM

 

The commitment of the UK to the process of European integration of all countries of the Western Balkans is encouraging, regardless of the exit from the EU, said Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazovic during a meeting with Stuart Peach, the UK envoy for the Western Balkans on the sidelines of the international conference in Athens entitled “Antitheses, transformations and achievements in a changing world” organized by The Economist media group. Abazovic, as announced by his Cabinet, expressed his satisfaction with the new meeting with Ambassador Peach, the third this year, stressing the importance of cooperation and constant communication between allies and sincere friends such as Montenegro and Great Britain, especially in the current very complex geopolitical moment. The Prime Minister said that he highly appreciates the engagement of the special envoy of the United Kingdom (UK) in Montenegro and the region when it comes to the desire to preserve the stability and security of this part of Southeast Europe through joint efforts, especially in the time of active conflict in Ukraine. “Montenegro is grateful to the United Kingdom for its overall support for our democratic and reform processes, to which the 43rd Government of Montenegro is uncompromisingly committed, as well as for its support in the fight against organized and transnational crime, as well as cooperation in cyber security and defense,” Abazovic said. Peach, as stated, praised the government’s efforts in promoting and nurturing good relations in the region with all its neighbors. “Our goal is to make key progress in the negotiation process in a short period of time and speed up the integration of Montenegro into the EU. On that path, it is particularly important to fulfil the obligations and tasks from Chapters 23 and 24, that is, in the area of the rule of law, the fight against organized crime and corruption, as well as the appointment of the holders of the most important judicial functions,” concluded Abazovic. At the end, the Prime Minister said that Montenegro is fully committed to “regional peace and stability through nurturing good neighborly relations and cooperation with all neighbors”.

 

Abazovic: EU to neutralize Russia’s influence in the Western Balkans (CdM

 

Russian aggression and the collapse of the international order show the importance of stability and the European future of the Western Balkans region, emphasized the Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazovic during his participation in the 26th annual government roundtable entitled “Antitheses, transformations and achievements in a changing world” organized by the media of the Economist group. At the panel held in Athens entitled “South-eastern Europe: Can there be stability and prosperity in the region?”, Abazovic emphasized that “accession to the EU is the best possible option in promoting stability, prosperity and security not only in the region, but also beyond”. “The key factor for stability is the strengthening of the transatlantic relationship and closer cooperation between the US and the EU. The key foreign policy goal of Montenegro is to be a full member of the EU, inheriting good neighborly relations,” the Prime Minister indicated. Abazovic said that hypothetically left outside the EU,” the Western Balkans becomes attractive for various competitions of great powers”. The Prime Minister’s Office points out that the panel discussed the implications for the region after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis and negotiations on EU accession. In addition to Abazovic, the participants of the panel, as announced, were Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of the Government of Kosovo, Stuart Peach, UK Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, as well as Dora Bakoyannis and George Katrougalos, former Foreign Ministers of Greece.

 

First meeting of working groups over French proposal set to be held in parliament (Republika

 

The coordinators of the parliamentary groups and other representatives of the parliamentary parties are expected to hold a first meeting today, where they will discuss the conclusions that should be considered and adopted by the parliament in relation to the European proposal and the start of EU accession negotiations. The two largest political parties in the Parliament, the ruling SDSM and the opposition VMRO-DPMNE yesterday confirmed the agreement to hold such talks in the Parliament. In the working groups, the political parties will be represented by two representatives each from VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM, one each from DUI and Aliance and another from the smaller parliamentary political parties.

 

Michel: This is not a take it or leave it situation (Sitel TV

 

It is very important to be calm and composed and allow political debate. As your friend, I hope you will not miss this opportunity to take a step towards the future, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel said in an interview with Sitel TV. He stated that on behalf of the 27 member countries, he should explain what the essence of this proposal is. A few days ago, we succeeded, the political will on the part of the EU to put an offer on the table was demonstrated. I do not see this as a perfect proposal, but at the European level we cannot make improvisations. Nobody can get 100 percent of what they want to get from the European side, Michel said. He emphasized that the protocol was not included in the negotiating framework, and the fact that they respect the Macedonian language, as he said, speaks for itself as a very important signal that all European legislation will be translated into the Macedonian language. EC President Michel, as he said, has the impression that there is misinformation being spread about the agreement itself, and there are also experts who clarify that the language would be put in danger, but this was not the case, on the contrary. This is not a take it or leave it situation because the proposal is the basis and not the final version. We need to carefully listen to the proposals of the authorities and I sincerely hope that there will be a positive decision and this is the only opportunity and I believe that if there is a decision that will not be “yes” we will wait a very long time to come up with another new proposal, Michel, told TV Sitel. I doubt, he added, that any future proposal would be very different from this one.

 

Kovacevski-Michel: Strong support in fulfilment of strategic goal – full-fledged EU membership (Republika

 

The European proposal on start of Macedonia’s EU accession negotiations takes into account all Macedonian positions and remarks, and negotiations can begin immediately after its approval. The proposal includes clear Macedonian language, equal with the other EU languages, said Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski and European Council President Charles Michel at a meeting on Tuesday. At the meeting, the President of the European Council once again emphasized the support and commitment of the EU for the start of negotiations with Macedonia, pointing out that these are key moments for the progress of our country from an economic, political and sociological point of view. Kovacevski emphasized that the support of the EU in the process of integration of Macedonia is of particular importance for the country in fulfilling the basic strategic goal, namely full-fledged membership in the EU. He also stressed at the meeting that in recent days the proposal from the French presidency was discussed at consultative meetings with the leaders of the government coalition, with the diplomatic corps, the civil sector, with representatives of the expert public and the media, as well as with the opposition parties.

 

Dimitrov: In the end we will all be losers – instead of a strong state in the EU, we will have a divided, unstable state (Republika

 

There is no excuse for any violence. The protests should be European criticism, not hijacked by destructive centers. At the same time, the government must slow down and listen to the citizens. A step back is a step forward. Both those who defend Macedonia and those who defend the European future, which are certainly completely compatible goals, will be losers. It is necessary to renew the dialogue, but a prerequisite for that is stopping, stepping back and observing with a cool head. We now need time to avoid hitting a wall. A process of broad consultations is necessary, real and substantial, without haste and panic, writes the former minister of foreign affairs Nikola Dimitrov. He says that the situation, the possible options and their consequences should be honestly explained to the citizens. Then through dialogue, debate and wisdom to find a solution that will be based on a comprehensive strategy. Only a decision reached in this way, whatever it may be, will be accepted as legitimate. The way things stand now is disastrous for everyone. A false dichotomy and narrative of “all or nothing” and “now or never” is created, deepening the already existing polarization. In the end, we will all be losers – instead of a strong state in the EU, we will have a divided, unstable state that, regardless of whether it fulfills the newly composed criteria for “good neighborliness”, if it gets there at all, it will fail the test for democratic governance and stability of institutions, Dimitrov stressed.

 

Police arrest protesters (Republika

 

The police pushed the protesters out of the Parliament building. It chased them towards Women’s Park, whereupon a huge number of people began to flee. The police detained several protesters, and a group of citizens called for their release. According to information from the field, there are injured police officers, and emergency medical vehicles have also arrived.

President Stevo Pendarovski condemned the violent protests against the French proposal via Facebook last night. “The interview on TV21 was postponed due to the fact that a special traffic regime was established around the television station, which is located in close proximity to the parliament. On this occasion, I want to condemn violence as a method in politics that should not have a place in modern democracies,” wrote Pendarovski.

 

Rama strongly supports the Open Balkans process in the Netherlands (Radio Tirana

 

Prime Minister Edi Rama strongly supported the pen Balkans process from the Netherlands. During a conference alongside Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Rama said that the Balkans is the most vulnerable part of the chain of Europe regarding the impact of the war in Ukraine. He added that the idea of ​​the Open Balkans is to keep Serbia on the European side and not to go over to Russia’s side. “The Balkans is the most vulnerable part of the chain in Europe that can be touched and even broken as a result of the war in Ukraine, because Russia has a clear influence inside, there are some traditional ties, so I believe that we should take Serbia with us and let’s not leave it on the other side. The Open Balkans has helped in this process to harmonize with the sanctions. The Open Balkans is also about creating a functional space within the EU, in terms of the 4 fundamental freedoms, which is a space of peace and this will help us to be considered as more mature countries to join the EU- when the time may come,” said Rama.

 

The Minister of Finland and the Minister of Ireland visit Tirana: Optimists for the integration of Albania in the EU (Radio Tirana

 

The close relations between Albania and Finland, the process of rapprochement with the EU, regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and Russian aggression against Ukraine were the focus of the talks between the Minister of Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka and the Minister of State for European Affairs of Ireland Thomas Byrne and the Minister for European and Property Affairs of Finland Tytti Tuppurainen. In a joint media conference, Tuppurainen, while thanking Albania for the support given to NATO membership, expressed optimism for the opening of negotiations for the integration of our country in the EU. ” Finland is one of the supporters of EU enlargement. I have made efforts for the opening of negotiations with Albania. I am very optimistic and maybe we can all have hope that the negotiations will be opened. I thank you for the role played by Albania in the Security Council of the United Nations regarding the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Western Balkans countries help each other in the reforms of Justice. I thank you for the support you have given us for our country’s membership in NATO,” Tuppurainen said. While Byrne expressed his belief that the EU will open negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia. “North Macedonia and Albania will receive the opening of the negotiations. Albania has shown great patience and seriousness. I congratulate Albania’s work in the Security Council. The idea and purpose of the EU is to protect peace. I await Albania and the work it will do in the European sphere,” said Byrne.

 

PES supports European ambitions of Albania and North Macedonia (Radio Tirana

 

PES (European Socialist Parties) have sent another message to the EU for giving the green light for the official start of membership talks between Albania and North Macedonia with the European Union. The PES message states, among other things, that Albania and North Macedonia have undertaken essential reforms to advance their accession talks. They have also been linked to the EU sanctions regime against the Russian Federation. Any further delay would seriously risk undermining the considerable progress and good neighborly relations achieved up to this point. “The PES strongly supports the European ambitions of Albania and North Macedonia. It is high time to advance the enlargement process. Europe’s commitment to the Western Balkans is crucial at a time of great global insecurity. We must preserve the credibility of our foreign policy and secure the progress made by Albania and North Macedonia on democracy, the rule of law, and economic prosperity. Both countries have undertaken substantial reforms to advance their accession talks. They have also aligned with the EU sanctions regime against the Russian Federation. Any further delay would seriously risk undermining the significant progress and good neighborly relations achieved up to this point. This process is of huge national significance for both Albania and North Macedonia, and the PES calls on all national actors to build their participation in the public discussion on solid arguments and objective truth, and not on political opportunism and nationalistic sentiments. The PES is closely monitoring the developments in North Macedonia, and we extend our solidarity to the Social Democratic Union in North Macedonia. We fully understand the growing frustration in the region and remain in close contact with our sister parties, and will continue to closely cooperate with them in Brussels. The PES is committed to supporting the enlargement process at every level. Our prime ministers have a central role to play in supporting the enlargement policy. We commend their efforts to facilitate the process, as shown most recently by Chancellor Scholz during his visit to the Western Balkans,” reads the message of PES sent to the EU.

 

Meta meets Pahor: Slovenia strongly supports the opening of membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia (Radio Tirana

 

President Ilir Meta was received by the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor. During the meeting, Meta appreciated the excellent relations between our countries and expressed his gratitude for the comprehensive and determined support that Pahor and Slovenia have given to Albania in the framework of the European integration process. Meta assessed Slovenia as an important regional partner and advocate of the full integration of the countries of the Western Balkans in the EU, thanking Pahor for Slovenia’s great support to the opening of Albania’s membership negotiations with the EU and also Slovenia’s efforts to expand the integration of the Western Balkans. “We fully agreed that we must continue to do our best. Let’s continue with our internal reforms, show more results, give more. We also expressed the conviction that the EU will better understand the geopolitical importance of the Western Balkans for the EU and Europe, especially nowadays. This is why the expansion must continue. This is the reason why this should be concretized,” underlined Meta. Meta said that “this is the reason why President Pahor and Slovenia strongly support the opening of membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, the granting of candidate country status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the liberalization of the visa regime for Kosovo, this is the reason why we appreciated the recent decision of the EU to grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine and Moldova, because it is essential to show the whole world and in particular all the countries of our continent that enlargement carries on, that enlargement is progressing and that these reforms that we are undertaking with the aim of approximation to the European Union will keep  playing the role of driving force for our societies, which will not only help our countries to improve the standards of democracy, rule of law, economy and social standards, but also to strengthen stability and peace in our region and on our continent. “We rely heavily on Slovenia in the future and I hope and wish that the next Brdo-Brijuni Summit that will be held here will give a new impetus to the enlargement of the EU and the aspirations of our countries for a European future,” stressed Meta.

 

 

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