Vucic: Serbia will not align with EU’s foreign policy regarding sanctions against Russia, mutual recognition with Kosovo (RTS)
RTS carries that reacting to the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia will not align with the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy related to sanctions against Russia, nor it will accept the EU’s request for mutual recognition between Serbia and Kosovo. Asked how he will respond to the demand from the resolution on Serbia of the European Parliament, which states that “Serbia and Kosovo are expected to sign an agreement on normalization of relations based on mutual recognition” – which is the first time that recognition is mentioned in an official document of the EU institution – Vucic said that Serbia will respond in a “nice, decent and polite way”, and say it will – not do that. “We have no intention of doing that. We won’t consider that,” he added, saying that he could not think of a more polite answer. Addressing the media, Vucic said it is important for Serbia to be on the European path, noting “it also important that Serbia has own freedom and that it considers its vital state and national interests. If someone does not understand the specificity of Serbia’s position then they do not truly want good to their EU, nor to anyone in the Balkans”.
Vucic: Some MEPs tried to break off Serbia’s EU talks (Tanjug/N1)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday some MEPs had attempted to secure a decision to break off Serbia’s EU accession talks. “We are glad such a decision was not passed because it would have been wrong if it had been passed. I thank the majority of MEPs that did not vote for that,” Vucic told reporters in Ivanjica in response to a remark that Green Party MEPs had submitted an amendment to a resolution on Serbia in order to make Belgrade’s alignment with the EU sanctions on Russia a condition for progress in the EU accession talks, rather than for their continuation. Everyone should do their job, Vucic said. “If they think we should beg someone for something – we will not do that. They should do their job and we will do ours. We have our own interests – it is important for Serbia to be on the EU path as well as to have its freedom and consider its vital national interests,” Vucic said. Those who do not understand Serbia’s specific position wish no good to either Serbia or the EU, Vucic said. By an overwhelming majority, the European Parliament passed on Wednesday a resolution on Serbia that expresses support for its future EU membership but calls for urgent alignment with the EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus as a condition for the country’s further progress on the European integration path.
Vucic: No meeting with Kurti agreed
Vucic said on Wednesday reports from Pristina that an agreement had been reached for him to meet with the Prime Minister of the Pristina provisional institutions Albin Kurti were untrue.
Responding to questions from reporters in Ivanjica, Vucic quashed the reports and said no one had even asked him about meeting with Kurti. “I do not shun meetings, it was mostly he who ran out of meetings, I do not shun them,” Vucic said. When a reporter said that he was invited to the meeting with Kurti by the rapporteur of the European Parliament for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, he said, “If she expects it…” “But I thought that Miroslav Lajcak is supposed to invite me,” he stressed.
Vucic: Radojicic lives in Kosovo, what’s the problem
Vucic said that he does not understand what kind of message Milan Radojicic wanted to send by announcing that he had returned to Leposavic (in Kosovo), stressing that Radojicic lives in Kosovo and Metohija and that as a citizen of Serbia he can choose where to live in his own country. Vucic said this in response to TV N1 reporter asking what kind of message he thought Milan Radojicic was sending by announcing that he has returned to Leposavic, and given that he is a “controversial businessman who, along with Zvonko Veselinovic has been blacklisted by the US because of his ties to transnational organized crime”. Vucic first asked for the phrase “controversial businessman” to be explained. “What does that phrase mean to you? Do you mean like Solak, your owner that you work for, a controversial businessman whose family members are being arrested, and they are not on world powers’ lists, but are getting arrested by this country’s competent authorities. What does controversial businessman mean?,” asked Vucic.
The President added that he does not understand Radojicic’s message and that he does not even care what the message is. “What do I care about his message, ask him what it is. They say he got photographed in Leposavic and said he had come back. Well, yes, he lives in Kosovo and Metohija, what’s the problem,” Vucic said. Vucic then asked if Radojicic should be expelled from Kosovo and Metohija and live somewhere else. “He bothers you less in Belgrade than he bothers you in Leposavic. You have to tell me what the meaning is, I have to understand what it is that you want to hear from me. It’s all the same to me, he can choose where he wants to live, in Leposavic, Mitrovica, Belgrade, Novi Sad, wherever he wants, it’s his private matter. He is a citizen of Serbia, tomorrow he can come to Ivanjica, wherever he likes,” Vucic added. The President noted that while he did not understand the meaning of the question, he is sure it is directed against Serbia and her interests. “I know it’s something against Serbia, I don’t know exactly what. Or against her interests, I’m sure, but what exactly, I can’t figure it out. It must be that I’m stupid, which is not terrible, I just don’t understand what your interest is in all of this,” said Vucic.
Bilcik: EP’s resolution not to clash with Serbia’s EU accession (Beta)
The European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilcik said in Strasbourg, on 6 July, that the resolution on Serbia the parliament passed in no way challenged the country’s European future or the enlargement of the European Union (EU), but that Belgrade was expected to take a series of steps before entering the Union. “No one is questioning the EU enlargement process or Serbia’s European perspective, or its future in the Union. It’s made very clear in the report (by Bilcik, which the EP Resolution is based on). Yet Serbia needs to take a series of steps before its entry into the Union, starting now. I believe it will happen,” Bilcik said after the European Parliament’s plenary at which the Resolution on Serbia was passed. Bilcik explained that a decision to open new clusters in Serbia’s accession talks with the EU rested on three main pillars, including internal reforms, progress in the dialogue with Pristina and aligning with the Union’s foreign policy position. When it comes to progress in the negotiations (between Serbia and the EU), three key areas exist. First, internal reforms, which need to be implemented as soon as possible. Second, further engagement and commitment to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, which is the only way to resolve all open issues between the two sides. The third point is full alignment with the EU foreign-policy position,” Bilcik said, expressing hope that Serbia will support the Union’s sanctions against Russia.
Vucic thanks Jesus on support for Serbia’s sovereignty (RTS/RTV/Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received Sao Tome and Principe Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, economic and multilateral cooperation, as well as geopolitical and regional affairs. The parties discussed potentials for development of economic cooperation, as well as cooperation in various fields such as education – specifically, studies for Sao Tome and Principe students in Serbia. In particular, Vucic thanked Sao Tome and Principe for its principled support for Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Bom Jesus said he hoped the cooperation with Serbia would be advanced, in particular in agriculture, and noted that his country was very interested in importing Serbian agricultural and food products, as well as in exporting vanilla, coffee and other products to Serbia, the presidential press office said in a statement.
Serbia’s aid to Republic of Sao Tome and Principe for flood rehabilitation (Politika/Tanjug)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Wednesday that the government has decided to grant the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe $100,000 as aid for the rehabilitation of the floods that hit that country in December 2021. At the press conference after the meeting with Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus, Brnabic said that Serbia cooperates with that country in the field of tourism and education and stated that five students from that country are currently studying in our country. She added that Serbia is interested in increasing the number of students from Sao Tome and Principe and that these scholarships are for the Faculty of Medicine, which they currently need most. She expressed her gratitude to the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe for being one of the first countries to withdraw recognition of the independence of “Kosovo” in 2013. The Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe expressed the hope that the cooperation between the two countries will be improved, above all in agriculture, and that Sao Tome and Principe is counting on experience from Serbia. He added that his country is interested in the import of especially agricultural products, as well as the export of cocoa, vanilla and coffee to Serbia, but also to export not only raw materials, but also final products. He also sees the future development of relations in tourism, given that his country is an island with great tourism potential. Brnabic previously prepared a reception for the guest in front of the Palace of Serbia, with the Honor Guard of the Serbian Army and the singing of the anthems of the two countries, which was followed by their meeting, and then the meeting of the delegations of the two governments.
Ponos: Removing SNS from power is not a done job but the first step (N1)
Founder of the political organization Serbia Center or SRCE (heart in Serbia) and presidential candidate in 3 April elections Zdravko Ponos said that removing the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) from power is not a done job but the first step towards establishing a normal state. “The job would be done if we could say that our state is sustainable and that every generation creates more than it spends, if we could say that the state is in the service of its citizens and that there are no first-class and second-class citizens. In order for us to achieve these goals and, above all, to make the first and necessary step, bidding farewell to the SNS rule, we have to politically organize ourselves for this mission,” Ponos said. Ponos said his organization advocates Serbia’s accession to the EU and added that the accession process should “enable us to synchronize with the ambiance that we belong to geographically and in terms of values”. We will encourage opposition cooperation, said Ponos, adding he was sorry that the coalition that nominated him as presidential candidate did not achieve the expected results. Explaining that he had 14 times less funds in the election campaign than Aleksandar Vucic, Ponos said: “All things considered, I achieved a good result.” New Belgrade elections are announced, and it is as if some personnel solutions in the new city government were designed so new elections would be called, said Ponos. Ponos presented members of his new political organization and mentioned the names of some of the prominent figures who have expressed willingness to get involved in the organization’s work.
ROSU members raid Strpce, block the municipality and search a school (RTS)
More than 30 members of the ROSU unit in full gear raided Strpce early this morning with the aim of once again intimidating and harassing Serbs in this municipality, the Office for Kosovo and Metohija has anounced. ROSU members were deployed in several locations, they blocked the entire municipality, burst into the elementary school Sarski Oded in Brezovica, the post office in the village of Drajkovce, the building of the Provisional Authority from where they took all the documentation and computers, the TV Herc building – the only Serbian-language television station in Strpce – they were climbing street poles to remove surveillance cameras that have not been working for several years, according to the Office. “They once again chose to carry out an incursion in Strpce on a big (Serbian Orthodox) holiday, considering that today is the village’s patron saint day and a big fair is organized when a large number of locals gather, and they did the same during previous raids in this Serb area,” the Office announced. They added that although the units from Pristina know very well that the cameras, which were legally installed almost ten years ago, have not been in operation for a long time, and they checked this on several occasions in the previous days, “it served them as an excuse to carry out an incursion in Strpce again, they are harassing people who cannot live normally”. “With what justification are ROSU special forces raiding a Serb elementary school in Strpce? There is no doubt this is a new attack and pressure on Serbs to leave their homes because there is no justified reason for another ROSU operation in this Serb area,” the Office for Kosovo and Metohija announced, RTS reported.
Anniversary of unpunished KLA crime against Pec police officers (Beta)
Sixth July marks the 24th anniversary of one of the most gruesome attacks members of the extremist Kosovo Liberation Army committed against Serbian police, claiming the lives of four police officers and leaving eight wounded. The assault took place on 6 July 1998, when a KLA unit led by Mifar Shala ambushed police sent to evacuate two Serb families – the Vujosevics and the Radevics – from the village of Lodja, near Pec. The previous day, members of the KA issued ultimatums to both families, telling them to leave their homes. Two dozen Pec police officers led by Captain Srdjan Perovic were tasked with the evacuation mission. En route to Lodje, the officers were ambushed by the KLA. After repelling that first attack, the police managed to evacuate the Radevics, but the police convoy was assaulted once more on its way to the home of the Vujosevics. Several dozen KLA members participated in the second attack, in which the police vehicle leading the convoy was hit by an RPG.
B&H Constitutional Court issues interim measure, rendering RS Law on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, Law on RS Administration temporary ineffective (N1/BHT1)
At a session in Sarajevo on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H temporarily put the Law on Medicines and Medical Devices of the RS and amendments to the Law on RS Administration out of force. The motion for assessment of the constitutionality of these laws was submitted by Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic. The Law on Medicines and Medical Devices of the RS, as well as the amendments to the Law on the RS Administration, are put out of force until the final decision of the CC. The CC reminds that the decision on the interim measure does not in any case prejudge the final decision of the CC in this case. This actually means that the law cannot be applied, even though the law entered into force on 28 June of this year, until the final decision is reached and which should clarify whether the mentioned laws are in accordance with the CC. In the case that the RS authorities do not respect the decision of the CC, High Representative (HR) Christian Schmidt will make a move in this regard. Schmidt recently told N1 that he would act if the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) i.e. the Constitution of B&H are violated. N1 learns that the Constitutional Court (CC) will not make a final decision before September, probably even after the October general elections. In his reaction to the CC’s temporary decision, Dzaferovic welcomed the temporary abolition and noted that adoption of the entity-level Law on Medicines and the corresponding regulations would be a gross violation of the constitutional-legal order. “Adoption of the entity Law on Medicinal Products and accompanying regulations is a flagrant violation of the constitutional order. There has never been a dilemma about that. I expect all institutions, office holders, servants and all others in B&H to respect the constitutional order’’, Dzaferovic was quoted as saying. “Express fulfilment of Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency’s requests and open indications what the Court’s decision will be, even before it was passed, the (B&H) CC has primarily shown a concerning level of non-independence and unhidden bias in decision-making process,” reads the statement by the RS government.
OHR welcomes B&H CC’s decision (Istraga.ba/Oslobodjenje)
Commenting the decision of Constitutional Court of B&H to temporarily suspend RS Law on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices and Amendments to the RS Law on Republic Administration, portal Istraga.ba learns that decision on suspension will remain in force by September, when the Court should render a ruling about merit i.e. whether the RS Law on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices is in line with B&H Constitution. According to Istraga.ba this means that even though the Law came in force in June, the Law will not apply until B&H CC decides about its merit. OHR commented the ruling of B&H CC and stated: “OHR welcomes the adoption of the interim measure of the B&H Constitutional Court putting out of force RS Law on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices as well as the RS Law on Amendments to the Law on Republic Administration until the Court adopts a final decision in the case. The adopted measure prevents serious, far reaching and potentially irreparable damages that would ultimately put at risk the healthcare of citizens.”
B&H CC’s decision to temporarily suspend RS Law on Medical Products causes harsh reactions of politicians of RS ruling parties (BHT1/BNTV/FTV)
The B&H Constitutional Court (CC) issued on Wednesday an interim measure, rendering the RS Law on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices and accompanying regulations, and the Law on amendments to the Law on the RS Administration temporarily ineffective and the measure will remain in force until their constitutionality is reviewed, which was requested by Chairperson of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic. The reporter notes that, despite the measure, SNSD leader Milorad Dodik said the RS Law on Medicinal Products will be implemented. The RS government claims the decision was made under strong influence of international centers of powers. Commenting on the decision, deputy speaker of the RS parliament Milan Petkovic wondered why the decision was issued “exactly now, several days after the Law entered in force, like someone deliberately planned even the CC’s session, and we also saw the decision on the merits is announced in the media for September, i.e. within the election campaign”. RS parliament deputy speaker Denis Sulic (SNSD) told the reporters that the B&H CC once again violated that what it was formed to do – and that is to protect the Constitution of B&H. Sulic underlines that the B&H CC proved it is a political and not a judicial institution. He said the ruling RS authorities, SNSD and its coalition partners, as well as SNSD leader and Vice President, Dodik and Zeljka Cvijanovic respectively, will certainly work in line with the policies which aim to protect the international integrity of the RS, improve the lives of RS citizens and all that the citizens seek from the authorities. Petkovic said that the announcement by (High Representative) Christian Schmidt who said few days ago that he will take certain steps in accordance with B&H CC’s decision is disputable, criticizing that Schmidt commented on the decision even before its announcement. The RS government stated that the law on medicines of the RS had a goal to protect health of the RS citizens, stressing that this decision and the decision to unjustifiably impose sanctions against RS Minister of Health and Social Protection Alen Seranic prove that these are actually mutually coordinated decisions of power centers that work for their own interests – not in the interest of the RS and B&H citizens. The RS government also said that B&H CC has demonstrated a worrisome level of non-independence and unhidden partiality in decision-making, because it has urgently resolved the motion filed by the Bosniak member of B&H Presidency in his favor and openly insinuated on character of the decision even prior its adoption. DNS’ Aleksandar Glavas assessed that B&H CC is a politically motivated court and that the most important priority out of 14 priorities set on the EU path of B&H is that foreigners cannot be members of a constitutional court in any country. He stressed that B&H under the current constitutional order and the rule of the High Representative represents a protectorate of the EU and the international community.
Borenovic criticizes Dodik for carrying on with SNSD’s game of restoring competences (BHT1/BNTV)
The B&H Constitutional Court (CC) issued on Wednesday an interim measure, rendering the RS Law on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices and accompanying regulations, and the Law on amendments to the Law on the RS Administration temporarily ineffective and the measure will remain in force until their constitutionality is reviewed, which was requested by Chairperson of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic. BHT1 reports that PDP leader Branislav Borenovic said adopting and suspending the Law on Medicinal Products is “already seen conflict scenario directed by SNSD and SDA”. Borenovic said that Dodik is not solving any issues in the RS, he is actually creating them. Borenovic called the entire situation ridiculous and said comments and reactions will come to the B&H CC decision but no one will mention the fact that RS agency for medicines does not exist. The PDP leader said “it is formally on paper” but it is just a story created for people’s attention to be diverted from the real problems – that is inflation and the rise of prices. Borenovic concluded by saying this is another “big topic” raised by Dodik which will not have an epilogue. There have been many in the past as well, he adds. Borenovic called the leaders from SNSD-SDA-HDZ B&H coalition “very skillful” in creating fake crises in the country which they then use for gaining more political power. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic points out that the B&H CC continues to meddle into matters it is not authorize to meddle in. That being said, Sarovic also blames the RS ruling authorities of making moves that only hurt this entity and generates enemies for the RS.
Covic: It is not my place to comment on decisions of B&H CC or any other judicial institution in B&H (BHT1)
At a session in Sarajevo on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H temporarily put the Law on Medicines and Medical Devices of the RS and amendments to the Law on RS Administration out of force. Commenting on the decision, HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic said in a telephone statement for BHT1: “It is not my place to comment on decisions of the CC or any other judicial institution in B&H. In any case, it is an interim measure extinguishing fires. The problems have accumulated, and we will need to clearly face those problems.”
SDA, SNSD, HDZ B&H leaders meet with Varhelyi in separate meetings (Nova BH/BHT1)
Leaders of SDA, HDZ B&H and SNSD met in separate meetings with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels on Wednesday. Main topics discussed at these meetings were granting of the EU candidate country status to B&H, fulfillment of 14 priorities the European Commission (EC) set as conditions for B&H to make progress towards the EU membership and amending of the Election Law of B&H. Following the meeting with Varhelyi, leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic said that as far as it concerns him, the most important topic is reform of the Election Law of B&H and that it is evident B&H will not get the status of the EU candidate without progress. Covic underlined that when it comes to the Election Law, Bosniak politicians want to preserve status quo, adding that it did not bring anything good to B&H over last four years. BHT1 reports that, during the meeting with Varhelyi Covic reiterated his and HDZ B&H’s position on election of legitimate representatives, saying that talks on the said issue must continue and something concrete must be done in the period ahead the general elections. Addressing the media after the meeting, Covic said: “In the period before the elections, we must define a clear framework how to have legitimate representatives – as a response of all B&H’s citizens – in legislative and executive branches, also in the (B&H) Presidency, but primarily in the House of Peoples (HoP). Therefore, those were the key topics.”
Following meeting with Varhelyi, leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic said that he is content. Izetbegovic said that Commissioner Varhelyi is optimist in regards to chances of B&H to get the status of the EU candidate country in close future. The leader of SDA added that upon the demand of Covic, Commissioner Varhelyi wanted to impose the topic concerning amending of the Election Law of B&H, adding that he rejected it and said that this topic will be discussed following General Elections 2022. Asked if he believes Covic would continue to create blockades and problems in B&H, Izetbegovic said he does not believe this will be the case anymore. He added that Covic will not create problems on the EU path of the country as he presents himself as a promoter of European values in B&H. Izetbegovic said “let things settle down” and he expressed hope that Covic would stand by his promises made on Wednesday, not continuing with blockades in the country. Addressing the media, after the meeting, Izetbegovic said: “One-on-one talks, both with Mr. Varhelyi and Mr. Covic have been finalized. Changes in the B&H Constitution and the (B&H) Election Law is something in the interest of all citizens of B&H. Local and foreign experts need to be involved in that, all segments of the society need to be included and have a broad debate. We cannot possibly do it before the elections.” The reporter notes that another in a series of meetings has been finalized without any concrete proposals and solutions, and goes on to say that local leaders’ trip to Brussels, individual meetings with Varhelyi, as well as the messages conveyed afterwards indicate they used the opportunity to advocate their political ideas, known from before.
Dodik: Meeting with Varhelyi has shown there is attempt to conceive entirely new agenda in political sense and that could be useful (RTRS)
RTRS carries an interview with Serb member of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, following the meeting he had with European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels on Wednesday. Dodik stated that Commissioner Varhelyi showed an effort to understand the conclusions of the European Council regarding the candidate status of Ukraine and Moldova, and that they are trying to find a way to solve the issue of the Election Law of B&H. Asked whether B&H can expect a candidate status soon, Dodik noted that the meeting was a chance to see where B&H stands now and Varhelyi presented constructive proposals. “Commissioner Varhelyi is interested in the European path of B&H”, noted Dodik. According to Dodik, B&H could obtain the chance of receiving the candidate status in December. Speaking about concrete issues that B&H needs to resolve to obtain the candidate status, the Presidency member confirmed that Varhelyi reminded that those issues refer to amending of the Election Law and regulating the vital interest issue and constituent status in the FB&H. “According to hierarchy, the issue of Election Law is followed by the vital interest and constituent status issues. Both of those issues are primarily related to relations between Muslims and Croats. However, we Serbs are interested in this second issue, regarding the Council of Peoples (House of Peoples), where we have been completely devastated in recent years. We will support what Muslims and Croats agree regarding the Presidency members, and we are interested in discussing the constituent status and equal representation of constituent peoples”, the Presidency member elaborated. In his opinion, there are no effects of the agreement that was reached when President of European Council Charles Michel tried to help B&H about 20 days ago. He reminded that the laws on public procurement, conflict of interest, High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) and courts remain the EU’s requirements when it comes to B&H. Speaking about his stance towards these laws, Dodik noted that the RS is willing to discuss amending of the Law on Public Procurements, assessing the current law in this field to be the worst law “that practically prevents quick passing of decisions and that has been fully set up by the international community”. According to Dodik, the international community is now making the authorities amend this law. He stressed that it is necessary to do something about this law if there is consensus for it. Dodik noted that he is even willing to discuss the amending of the law on courts, which should define the jurisdictions of the Court of B&H. “If there is consensus for that, I am willing to work on it”, he stressed. With regard to the Law on the HJPC, Dodik warned that there is a dispute between jurisdiction in relation to decisions of the RS parliament and added that it is completely clear that the RS authorities will abide by RS parliament’s conclusions. Commenting on the manner in which the meetings in Brussels took place, Dodik said the meeting with Varhelyi shows “there is attempt to conceive an entirely new agenda, in political sense, and that could be useful” and the Serb member of the Presidency agreed to assess that this is something that is necessary. Still, Dodik is skeptical about how Election Law issue can be resolved so he refrained from commenting on whether this will be managed. Dodik criticized SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic for refusing to meet with him and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic under the pretext that he does not want to meet with representatives of constituent peoples. “Here it is visible that conclusions from political platform of SDA are being realized”, he remarked, mentioning attempts to modify the RS, and adding that he is not eager to see Izetbegovic, either, but he will do so if he has to. Commenting on the status of (High Representative) Christian Schmidt, Dodik confirmed he spoke about this with Varhelyi and that he came to learn that there is no understanding for the issue of rule of law or the issue of Schmidt’s status. According to Dodik, there can be no rule of law “when Schmidt, who was not appointed by anyone, can falsely present himself as the HR”. Dodik also stated that “if someone wants radicalization, then they should let Schmidt pass decisions”. Reflecting on the MEPs’ calls for imposing sanctions against him for his ties to Russia, Dodik noted that those MEPs are “most likely paid by Muslims in B&H” and “they cannot resist their imperialistic urge to decide on those who are small”.
European Parliament adopts report on B&H for 2021 (FTV)
The European Parliament (EP) adopted on Wednesday EP Rapporteur for B&H Paulo Rangel’s report on B&H for 2021 and once again confirmed the European perspective of B&H, stressing the need to intensify work on implementation of reforms. The report called for adoption of the electoral and constitutional reforms in line with the EU principles and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Constitutional Court of B&H, which includes equality of the three constituent peoples and all citizens in B&H. Calling for the elimination of all forms of inequality, discrimination and biasness in the electoral process, the MEPs expressed regret over the lack of political will to overcome the impasse in the negotiations on constitutional and electoral reforms, and the failure to implement them ahead of this year’s elections. German MEP Michael Gahler said that two main political challenges on B&H’s EU integration path are secessionist activities of the RS and political deadlock in negotiations on reforms that are necessary in order for the country to be harmonized with European standards. Slovenian MEP Janez Lenarcic stated that only through concrete implementation of reforms B&H will demonstrate that it deserves the EU candidate status. The MEPs urged all political actors in B&H to return unconditionally to state-level institutions and advance the work on the EU-related reforms, reminding that the EU Council clearly stressed at the 24 June summit that the EU leaders are ready to grant B&H the EU candidate status under condition to meet 14 priorities set out in the EC’s Opinion on B&H. Several MEPs warned of harmful policies of the RS leadership and Serb member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik (SNSD) and his ties with Russia, called for sanctions against Dodik. Gahler stressed that the EU Council needs to follow the example of the US and the UK and sanction Dodik, reminding that Dodik keeps refusing to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. German MEP Tineke Strik said that Dodik cannot say that he supports the EU accession of B&H while supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin and trying to cause B&H’s breakdown in the same time. She added that HDZ B&H cannot keep trying to cement the ethnic division through discriminatory election law that violates the ‘one person-one vote’ principle. In light of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the MEPs also called on B&H to implement the EU sanctions the country has joined and warn of Russia’s continuing interest in destabilizing B&H.
Komsic: Constituent status and corruption are two peas in a pod (Oslobodjenje)
Member of B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic issued a statement after European Parliament adopted a report on B&H for 2021, which clearly underlined European perspective of B&H. Komsic said that MEPs have once again rejected the ethnic concept of constituent status of peoples, which is now a regular practice. “European Parliamentarians and this includes EPP MEPs, have once again rejected the outdated ethnic concept of constituent status of peoples. It is good to know that this became a regular practice in the EP. Couple of years ago, we have announced a political fight against this concept, for which we said that it is outdated, contrary to judgements of the European Court on Human Rights and we have been faced with criticism of certain politics in B&H. However, time has shown that we were right and our politics received full legitimization by the EU political institutions as well. Therefore, we will continue to advocate civic state, no matter what anyone think about this, because we have our own principles. Constituent status of peoples and corruption are two peas in a pod. If they want to make progress, this society needs to reject both,” said Komsic.
RS parliament adopts set of laws aimed at increasing salaries to budget users by BAM 100 (BHT1)
At its special session held on Wednesday, the RS parliament adopted a set of laws aimed at increasing salaries to budget users by BAM 100. BHT1 reports that, addressing the session, RS Minister of Finance Zora Vidovic said BAM 47 million has been allocated for that purpose, and the aim is to improve economic and social status of people employed in the public sector. The reporter noted that the said increase will enter in force as of August 1, and commented that, at the same time, the deciding factor for the employees in the real sector will be a good will of their employers. BHT1 reported that the RS parliament also discussed the RS’ debt, and during the discussion, Vidovic said the RS’ planned loan in 2022 amounts to BAM 611 million. She also said public and total debt of the RS as of May 31 amounted to 36 per cent, i.e. 44 per cent of GDP, which is below the maximum indebtedness allowed under the law. Addressing the session, Vidovic said: “This means, the RS is among medium indebted countries, or even below that, i.e. we are not over indebted’’. BHT1 reported that during the discussion on the RS’ debt, the opposition criticized authorities for using loans for expenditures not for development projects.
Addressing the session, Chair of RS SDS Caucus Miladin Stanic said the claim that the RS is not overly indebted is not true. He argued that if the RS is denied access to international institutions like SNSD officials were denied access to USA and UK, the RS will face problems. He noted that projects worth EUR 600 million were already suspended in the RS. Commenting on this, RS SNSD representative Srdjan Mazalica said for BHT1 that regardless of what the opposition representatives say, “the fact is that the RS takes favorable loans, and that it achieved very favorable parameters at the London Stock Exchange, given the B&H’s low credit rating, and good job was done there. However, they will never be satisfied”. RS PDP’s representative Igor Crnadak stated: “This is a matter of a pure election trick. They knew we would support it. However, salaries should have been increased earlier.” Stanic argued that the increase in salaries should be at least equal to the amount by which the prices keep increasing.
Citizens protest in Sarajevo over authorities’ unsatisfactory reaction to economic situation in B&H (BHT1)
Citizens protested on Wednesday in Sarajevo expressing their dissatisfaction over authorities’ unsatisfactory reaction to economic situation in B&H. The reporter notes it is estimated that around 2,000 citizens participated in the protest, although, according to the organizers the number was significantly higher. The citizens gathered at the Skenderija plateau, from where they went on a peaceful walk to the B&H parliament building, conveying a message they are not afraid of the authorities, but also that the authorities should work for the citizens, not for themselves. BHT1 reports that the gathered citizens also presented their demands, including suspension of excise duty on fuel, introducing zero VAT on staple foods, limiting trade margins on medicinal products, food products and children’s equipment, amending the Law on salaries, equal maternity allowance on the whole territory of B&H amounting to BAM 1,000, and child allowance amounting to minimum of BAM 100. Large number of the citizens also demanded adequate medical treatment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Addressing the media, organizer of the protest Sanin Musa expressed his satisfaction over a large number of people participating in the gathering, noting it is estimated that close to 5,000 people joined the protest. Organizer of the protest Harun Salkic said majority of protest participants are young people, noting “this makes me very happy, because young people are drivers of a healthy society”. BHT1 reports the citizens gave three-month deadline for their demands to be fulfilled, and announced a possible new protest gathering in front of the FB&H government building over, among others, disability allowances not being increased for years. BHT1 carries statements of the citizens who participated in the protest who stress the importance of protests to express dissatisfaction and demand changes, and say they hope it is a start of positive changes in B&H.
Citizens protest in Tuzla, Mostar, Bihac and Zenica (BHT1/BNTV)
Citizens organized protests in Tuzla, Mostar, Bihac and Zenica on Wednesday. BHT1 carries video footage from the protest gatherings in these cities and statements of the citizens who say, among others, if the citizens do not insist on and achieve changes this year, they cannot hope for better future. In Mostar, citizens emphasized that all people must join these protests as they are all affected by the current situation and the fact that authorities are not doing anything to improve it. Gathered citizens said some were hungry in the past, and now “we are all starving”. A young woman in Mostar pointed out that around 100 people came to the protest in this city, but she expected all citizens to come as this affects all of them. During Tuzla protest, citizens asked the politicians if they can explain what is really going on and why citizens are unable to live normally and have higher salaries and pensions.
Ruling majority’s meeting: Issue discussed is Fundamental Agreement with SPC (CdM)
“The current government may collapse, but the European dreams of Montenegro will collapse with it”, PM Dritan Abazovic said after the meetings with the leaders of the ruling majority where they discussed the draft Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC). Abazovic has also said that at today’s meeting in the government building, which is still ongoing, it has been announced that the position of almost everyone is that the government headed by him should be preserved. When asked whether tomorrow’s declaration could call into question the survival of the government, Abazovic says that it is possible to move towards that scenario. “I have repeated my views – the Fundamental Agreement with SPC, the Fundamental Agreement with the Montenegrin Orthodox Church and with every religious community that expresses interest can be concluded. Whether someone wants to use the moment to destabilize Montenegro and why they are doing it and who it benefits, I think is the thing that the citizens should judge for themselves”, says Abazovic. As he has pointed out, the Prime Minister and the government will not encourage this destabilization. “But if someone thinks in a different way, it is very legitimate and we cannot stop anyone. I like democratic forms. This government is an expression of some democratic form. If something else needs to be done now, we cannot be dishonest and suppress the possibility of MPs to express themselves in relation to the government”, says Abazovic. He has said that it has not been stated at today’s meeting that DPS and SDP won’t support the government.
Abazovic calls out Konjevic and Krivokapic: It doesn’t even cross my mind to fall under pressure of a group of extremists within government (CdM)
“We are a country of paradoxes. We are the only country in the world where the Minister of Defense wishes for conflicts between its own citizens, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs is more concerned with the church than with European integration”, says PM Dritan Abazovic in response to journalists’ questions about the announced vote on signing the Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church, which is opposed by SDP ministers Rasko Konjevic and Ranko Krivokapic. He has announced that the agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church will be voted on at the cabinet meeting on Friday. “That issue will be on the agenda. The story, propaganda with elements of fascism that aims to divert and destabilize the Government – I don’t know who benefits from it. But I invite the citizens to follow the cabinet meeting, because if there is a need, the Prime Minister will explain the situation in his own style and break all propaganda into pieces. The Fundamental Agreement has no priority over any other issue. We are interested in the water terminal, floating dock, hotels, tourist season, energy crisis. We treat the Fundamental Agreement in the regular procedure”, says Abazovic. He has stated that those who supported the minority government had before them an agreement that dealt with that issue as well. “So, by supporting the minority government, they also accepted the obligation to resolve the issue with the Serbian Orthodox Church, Montenegrin Orthodox Church and other religious communities that want it”, says Abazovic. He stresses he does not want this issue to be prolonged any longer.
Mickoski: If this proposal is accepted, complete assimilation is accepted and a tool for Bulgaria to block Macedonia whenever it wants (Republika)
The president of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski last night in a phone call with the “Jadi Burek” show during the national protest Ultimatum, NO THANKS, spoke about what are the critical points why the French proposal should be rejected. Mickoski emphasized that if this proposal is accepted, there will be complete assimilation, and it also gives Bulgaria a tool when it wants and how it wants to block Macedonia from being a member state of the EU. In the documents that have been made available to the public, there are practically several essential things that we have to reject. The first is that one of the documents refers to the protocol of the second intergovernmental conference with Bulgaria in relation to history and education and monuments and culture, all that is contained in the first resolution of the Bulgarian Parliament of 2019 and if we let that to be accepted, practically complete assimilation is ahead of us. And the second one is in the first document, which is practically the negotiating framework in point 5 where we have several conditions. In addition to the Copenhagen and the conditions defined by the accession process, there are bilateral agreements, that is, a tool is given in the hands of Bulgaria when it wants and how it wants to block us, despite the fact that until now for no country that has become a member it was a condition. Thus, the bilateral agreement, not only the Prespa Agreement, but also the Good Neighborly Agreement are part of the offered negotiating framework. Those are the two essential things that we should reject, said Mickoski. Mickoski indicated that the third point why this proposal should not be accepted is in the part of making statements, where we refer to two unilateral statements, one from our side, one from neighboring Bulgaria, where they can put a footnote practically, i.e. an asterisk to our language, a Macedonian language that has just been codified.
Mickoski: With a smart, rational approach, the “French proposal” can be changed (Republika)
Today we gave our proposal which is the position of VMRO-DPMNE on the negotiating framework, but also on the common positions of the EU member states, said tonight the leader of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski before the start of the “Ultimate – No thanks” protest. You can negotiate as our government negotiates and take us into the abyss and not have a second option while falling into the abyss. Will we accept that option until we are in the abyss – no, no thanks. That is why we say no to assimilation. And instead of consulting with us, they conducted exhibitionist negotiations. I will remind you of the Lisbon Declaration back in the early 90s, when Macedonia was becoming an independent state, there was a conclusion that the name of the state should not contain the word Macedonia, and then it was changed. So, with a smart approach, a rational approach, an approach that is a national Macedonian approach, everything can be changed, said Mickoski. Regarding today’s meeting of party working groups in the MPs Club, he emphasized that he does not see the purpose of continuing these talks, pointing out that VMRO-DPMNE stated their positions. As proud Macedonians, dignified Macedonians, what we were, what we are and what we will remain, proud of our ancestors and the sacrifice that our ancestors gave so that we could have this independent Macedonian state, which speaks the beautiful native language Macedonian language, recognized and codified since the last century, Mickoski pointed out.
Nikoloski: Our positions are clear, we demand Macedonian language without any explanations (Republika)
VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski after Wednesday’s meeting of the party working groups in Skopje unveiled the opposition party’s remarks to the EU’s draft general position on the negotiating framework and the EU’s common position on the accession negotiations. It is about three documents, two of which are essential because only for Macedonia a precedent is set in which the first intergovernmental is postponed and conditioned by the adoption of constitutional amendments. Our positions are very clear, very precise, we presented them in a document that will be distributed to you after the statement, in which we intervene exactly within the framework of these two documents, in correct articles and with correct names.
The first point in which we intervene is point three of the general paragraph where we request that the sentence “The EU takes into account the respective unilateral declarations of Bulgaria and Macedonia on the Macedonian language” be deleted. We request this because we consider that the Macedonian language is independent, and there is no need for Bulgaria to give an opinion regarding the Macedonian language, which will soon become part of the EU documents, and we suggest that it be written clearly that the EU documents from the acquis and everything else in the negotiations will be in Macedonian language. So they say a clear formulation for the Macedonian language, this is a clear formulation for the Macedonian language, the Macedonian language without any statements, clarifications, sub-explanations, etc. Secondly, in point five of the negotiating framework, the last paragraph is deleted, which includes the agreement on good neighborly relations with Bulgaria from 2017, as well as the annual reviews and measures for its effective implementation according to article 12. In point five, the criteria according to which Macedonia will progress for all countries, that is the Copenhagen criteria and the Stabilization and Association Agreements, only for Macedonia bilateral agreements are added and especially Article 12 in which it is foreseen that Bulgaria will have control over our history, our textbooks, our education and our self-identification, we cannot accept that and therefore request that it be deleted. Furthermore, in the negotiating framework, we request that the words “the first phase of” be deleted in point 1, that is, in simpler terms, that there be no division of the first intergovernmental conference and that it is not conditioned by a change to the Constitution, but that the negotiations begin immediately. Then, we request the deletion of point 11 which reads “we will present this negotiating framework to you on the basis of the general position of the EU during the next meeting of the intergovernmental conference which we are ready to hold without further delays or additional political decision, as soon as Macedonia will implement its commitment to complete the constitutional amendments”. We believe that constitutional amendments are not necessary for Macedonia to start negotiations with the EU. The next thing we ask to be deleted is point 13 of the negotiating framework which also divides the negotiation process. And finally, point 14 of the negotiating framework, in which it is written that “in this regard, we welcome the agreement on the protocol of the second meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission established in accordance with article 12 of the good-neighborly agreement with Bulgaria, this important step will contribute to good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation which remain essential elements of the enlargement process as well as of the stabilization and association process”, we propose to delete the conditionality with the adoption of the protocol and subsequent protocols that Macedonia would have with Bulgaria, because those protocols are blackmailing for Macedonia and they require revision of Macedonian history, Macedonian culture and identity. These are our views, these are our positions and we have presented them clearly, said Nikoloski.
People deal with provocateurs, stop violence on their own! (Republika)
The citizens protesting today in front of the parliament building are left on their own to deal with the provocateurs, who are trying to once again cause tensions and riots at the protests. Several people throwing smoke bombs and firecrackers were surrounded by the crowd to stop the violence. There’s is not much police presence outside the parliament building, and they do not react against the individuals who rushed towards the parliament.
The person whom Mickoski claims planned to kill him has been detained (Republika)
The person whom the president of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski claims wanted to kill him, was detained tonight, confirmed the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of the Interior says that they do not have additional information about the case for the time being. Unofficially, he is the owner of a hotel located near the Mavrovka shopping center. He pulled out a gun while the crowd of protesters was passing by the Skenderbeg bridge and was in the presence of the other group that was throwing stones. This is the man who was going to kill me tonight. I demand that he be immediately arrested by Spasovski and the Ministry of the Interior!, Mickoski said after tonight’s events at Skanderbeg’s memorial.
Integration/ Dutch Prime Minister: If North Macedonia does not accept the French proposal, Albania should continue its journey alone (Radio Tirana)
“If North Macedonia does not accept the French proposal, Albania will continue the path of European integration alone. I think it’s right, but I hope it won’t be necessary.” This is what Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte declared after the meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in the Netherlands. Dutch media write that Rutte expressed optimism that North Macedonia will accept the proposal and there will be no need for the decoupling of the two countries on their way to the EU. “During the EU-Western Balkans summit in Brussels, the European Union confirmed its commitment. Regarding Edi Rama’s remark afterwards, I think he was right – the meeting was not a success”, he said. According to the Dutch Prime Minister, the countries of the Western Balkans, including Albania, are working hard to join the EU. “The problem here is North Macedonia and, thanks to the efforts of France, there is a new moment in the membership process that also affects Albania, so the two countries, at least politically, are connected. We support the French proposal, as it offers solutions to all remaining concerns,” Rutte emphasized. Also, he pointed out that the EU supports North Macedonia in its next steps if it accepts the French proposal. According to him, setting the date for the first intergovernmental meeting will be a reward for the Albanian government of Edi Rama and for the reforms carried out by him. For his part, Edi Rama appreciated the commitment of the Netherlands and thanked Mark Rutte for promoting the EU membership process. Both prime ministers supported the idea of creating a new political community, and Rutte even spoke of an Albanian-Dutch initiative to lead the process.
Balla meets the Bulgarian Ambassador Momchil Raytchevski: We strengthen the relations between our countries (Radio Tirana)
The head of the Parliamentary group of the DP Taulant Balla held a meeting with the Ambassador of Bulgaria in Albania Momchil Raytchevski. In a post on Facebook, Balla announced that the further strengthening of bilateral relations and the First Intergovernmental Conference between Albania and the European Union were the main topics of this meeting.
Balla also states that the new geopolitical context after Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine brings the necessity of an immediate expansion policy with the Western Balkans. “I received the Ambassador of Bulgaria in Albania, Momchil Raytchevski, in a meeting today. The further strengthening of bilateral relations and the First Intergovernmental Conference between Albania and the European Union were the main topics of this meeting. The new geopolitical context after Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine brings the necessity of an immediate expansion policy with the Western Balkans,” writes Balla.
Srebrenica Massacre, Balla: 11 July should be declared Genocide Remembrance Day (Radio Tirana)
The chairman of the DP Parliamentary Group Taulant Balla presented to the Assembly today the draft resolution for the recognition of the Srebrenica genocide. Balla said that “genocide will remain as an open wound in the heart of Europe to remind us that such crimes will never happen again. The resolution that the Assembly approves today condemns the continuation and escalation of ethnic hatred. 11 July should be declared as the day of commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica.” “Thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, children killed in front of their mothers. These are truly scenes of hell gone into the darkest pages of history. On 11 July, 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which had long been declared a safe zone, was captured by Bosnian Serb forces. From that moment, for several days in a row, more than 8 thousand Muslim men and boys who had sought safety in this area. About 30,000 women, children, and the elderly were raped and forcibly deported in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing. Tragic but shameful history of modern times in the heart of Europe. This should serve as a warning bell to the dangers. The Srebrenica genocide spread to Kosovo shortly after. Unfortunately, genocide recently happened in Ukraine. Today we have gathered to remember and honor the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica. This resolution is a very serious document, far from any form of folklore, it is the language of the heart of the Albanian and Albania. This resolution comes in support of the objectives of the Albanian presidency of the Security Council, which focused on respecting international law. Europe and the United Nations failed miserably to stop that carnage. Genocide will remain as an open wound in the heart of Europe to remind us that such crimes will never happen again. The resolution that the Assembly approves today condemns the continuation and escalation of ethnic hatred. July 11the should be declared as the day of commemoration of the genocide in Srebrenica”, said Balla in the parliament.
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