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Belgrade Media Report 10 May 2024



Brnabic: Xi's visit is an additional boost for improvement of relations with China (Tanjug)

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ana Brnabic, said that the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Belgrade gives an additional boost to the improvement of relations between Serbia and China, and that she is convinced that after this visit, Chinese investors and companies will be even more present in Serbia. Brnabic assessed that the reception of the Chinese president "looked impressive" and that the visit was marked by a friendly and intimate conversation of mutual respect and trust between the two presidents, Vucic and Xi.


"A mutual understanding has been created, which is a guarantee for a common future," Brnabic said. She recalled some of the topics of the conversation that she assessed as important for Serbia, such as the joint commission for advanced technologies, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, as well as the potential investment in the wagon and train factory, which would be extremely important for Serbia, because, as stated, the whole world is returning to the railways. "It really seems to me that this visit is, in every sense, an additional impetus for building our relations with the People's Republic of China on three pillars - political, economic and technological," Brnabic said.


She reminded that China is a global political, economic and technological superpower and stated that China respects other countries and respects their sovereignty and the right to make decisions independently. "Many superpowers do not do that. Unfortunately, there is a trend that those who are politically and economically superior want to impose their decision-making system and their way of life on others. They do not respect their sovereignty to make decisions. The People's Republic of China is different in that sense, and I think it's a good pledge for the future," said Brnabic.


She assessed that if the world is to be peaceful, stable and sustainable in the future, more and more superpowers will have to respect the sovereignty of other countries. "I think China is going to be under a lot of pressure in the near future, to decide on some issues that can bring peace to this extremely turbulent world. China has been this global superpower that has been extremely restrained so far, so it will be interesting to see how China will position itself," Brnabic said. She stated that it is important that Serbia has a superpower that respects its sovereignty and added that it is a rising global superpower that respects Serbia's territorial integrity.


She emphasized the importance of the common technological future of the two countries and that it is important that a large part of innovation, research and development, especially in the domain of artificial intelligence and biotechnology, be in the Republic of Serbia. "We have scientists who are ready for it, we have scientific research institutes that can handle it. We will additionally do a lot in that field, by building the BIO4 campus here in Belgrade, but researchers, scientists, the best students from the whole of Serbia, and for me that is a pledge for a common future," said Brnabic. She reminded that in the last three years, China has been the single largest foreign investor in Serbia and believes that after this visit, their investors and companies will be even more present in our country.


"Serbia's voice is heard and appreciated more than ever"


The President of the Assembly Ana Brnabic stated that Serbia will continue to fight in the UN against the adoption of the resolution on Srebrenica and reminded that the vote has already been postponed three times. "It is also the result of the struggle of Aleksandar Vucic and the entire team, but it also shows that the voice of Serbia is heard more than ever, respected and appreciated more than ever," said Brnabic. If the subject of the so-called membership Kosovo in the Council of Europe will not be on the agenda of the session of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe, which will be held next week, Brnabic says that this would also be the result of the diplomatic work of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic. "This is the result of the personal influence of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and to a large extent (the result) of Aleksandar Vucic's visit to Paris and his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, but also talks with some other European leaders," Brnabic told Tanjug.


After Xi’s visit, Serbian FM says cooperation with US a priority (Beta)


Serbia’s newly appointed Foreign Minister and former Ambassador to the US Marko Djuric held talks in Belgrade with US Ambassador Christopher Hill on strengthening bilateral cooperation, which, as reported, is one of the new government’s priorities. “Having presented the priorities of the new government’s foreign policy orientation, which includes strengthening cooperation with the US, Djuric assessed that political, economic, and cultural relations between the two countries have seen a positive transformation in recent years,” said the Serbian Foreign Ministry. “The notable progress in Serbia-US relations directly mirrors Serbia’s strengthened global position – first as a regional leader and then also as a trusted partner in the international sphere. We intend to especially step up that policy of creating of friendships and partnerships in the coming period,” Djuric said. The Minister said the partnership with the US rests upon not only regular high-level political dialogue but also upon constantly finding new economic and investment opportunities opening up new paths to strengthening the ties between the two peoples. The Ministry added that the annual volume of Serbia-US bilateral trade was at a record-high 1.2 bln dollars for two consecutive years and that the US was the number one market for Serbian ICT services exports.


Vucic: It is important to remember the reasons for the establishment of the EU, we remain on the European path (RTS)

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said that today it is important to remember the reasons why the EU was created and the basis on which it was created and what unites us, and reminded that the European path is a strategic decision of Serbia. The head of the EU delegation in Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, said that the EU is fully committed to supporting the citizens of Serbia to join the big, European family to which they belong. At the Europe Day reception in the Botanical Garden, President Vucic said that the EU is the biggest peace project in the history of the continent, and that for Serbia it is one of the most important things - preserving peace, life and shaping life and the future for young people. "Thank you to the partners for the help through investments, the EU is the biggest investor, from solidarity funds and others, whenever the citizens of Serbia were threatened by floods and beyond. That money is not small for us. Without the EU, there would be no projects - infrastructure, high-speed rail, school, educational, scientific. And for that I express my immense gratitude to the countries and people in the EU who helped Serbia," said Vucic. On behalf of himself and the citizens of Serbia, he congratulated everyone on Europe Day, as well as the citizens of Serbia who want to be part of Europe. "I don't want to say, but even if we are not as good as you would like, nor submissive, which might be even better for us, I believe that you more, and we less, could not put pride and arrogance aside and talk about the future," said Vucic. He pointed out that it is important that we implement reforms, that we do not lag behind the EU in many areas, but that there is still a lot to do. We think we belong to Europe, and we will be on the European path, that is our strategic and permanent position that we will not change," said Vucic.


Serbia's EU strategic commitment that will not change


President Vucic stated that membership in the European Union is a strategic and permanent position of Serbia that will not change in accordance with daily politics. Speaking at the reception, Vucic said that sometimes it is less and sometimes more popular, but that it will not change. "I believe that we too can contribute, at least in some things, to what is good for Europe. Yes, we think that we belong to Europe, we think that Europe is our home and Serbia will be on the European road, whether it is popular or not. It used to be less, sometimes it is more popular, but it is our strategic and permanent position that will not change in accordance with daily politics," said Vucic.


Giaufret called on Serbia to join the European family


The head of the EU delegation in Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, said that the EU is fully committed to supporting the citizens of Serbia to join the big, European family to which they belong. "Join us in building our home, to build together a European home that can cooperate in these increasingly complex challenges in the world, to build our European home in which we welcome new members," said Giaufret at the Europe Day reception. Giaufret emphasized that he is looking forward to cooperation with the new Government of Serbia in the context of current reforms and added that he is counting on the government of Serbia and its citizens to join in building the European home.


Vucic with the UAE minister on the situation in KiM, cooperation and geopolitics (RTS)

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, spoke with the Minister of State for Defense of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammad Mubarak Fadhel Al-Mazrouei, about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija (KiM), and about developments in the Western Balkans region, and they also discussed strengthening military cooperation. At the meeting with the UAE minister, Aleksandar Vucic expressed Serbia's commitment to "continue working together with friends and partners to resolve challenges and threats to regional and international peace and security".


In a post on the Instagram account, Vucic pointed out that he and Al-Mazrouei discussed complex geopolitical situations, global security challenges, but also the strengthening of military-technical cooperation between Serbia and the UAE. "I emphasized the need for continuous cooperation and coordination in areas such as the fight against terrorism, cyber security and regional stability, especially taking into account the general situation in the world. One of the topics of the conversation was the concretization of the plans that were discussed last time during the international fair IDEX 2023, as well as numerous types of weapons produced by the Serbian military industry, for which the Emirates have expressed interest," said Vucic. He noted that Serbia attaches special importance to partnership and friendly ties with the UAE and thanked Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who personally contributed to unbreakable bilateral and economic ties. "I asked Minister Al-Mazrouei to convey my warm greetings to the Sheikh with an always open invitation to visit Serbia again," the President of Serbia's message states.


Djuric with the head of Greek diplomacy: 145 years of close relations (RTS)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marko Djuric, spoke by phone with his Greek counterpart, Giorgos Gerapetritis, and on that occasion, he underlined Serbia's commitment to nurturing historically close and friendly relations with Greece, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. Stating that the political dialogue, to mutual satisfaction, takes place regularly at the highest level, Djuric reiterated Serbia's readiness to improve cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, according to the announcement. Djuric pointed out that Serbia highly values the sincere support that Greece wholeheartedly provides on the European path.


In the year that marks 145 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two ministers also discussed plans for marking this significant bilateral anniversary. The head of Serbian diplomacy reiterated his gratitude to Greece for its position on non-recognition of the so-called unilaterally declared independence. of Kosovo and emphasized the importance of consistent and principled respect for the basic principles of international law in all multilateral forums. Djuric used the opportunity to point out to his Greek colleague the worrying frequency of unilateral moves by Pristina directly directed against the Serbian people in the province. The ministers expressed their mutual readiness to hold the first meeting as soon as possible.


Lajcak spoke with Guterres and Francis about the situation in the Western Balkans (Tanjug)

The EU's special envoy for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Miroslav Lajcak, spoke in New York with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis. Lajcak referred Guterres to his work and pointed out that he appreciated Guterres' understanding of the politics of the Western Balkans. "I had the opportunity to inform him about my current work and I am grateful for his great interest and deep understanding of the development of events in the Western Balkans," said Lajcak on the X platform. The EU envoy discussed with Francis the upcoming work of the General Assembly, including the draft resolution on Srebrenica. Lajcak described this discussion as "timely and useful" at a time when "the Western Balkans is more prominent on the agenda" of the UN General Assembly.


Agreement reached on amending law to prevent voter migration (N1)


Serbian MP caucuses reached an agreement regarding amendments to the Law on the Unified Voters’ Register, which will be tabled in the Parliament on Friday, opposition MP and Green-Left Front co-president Biljana Djordjevic told N1. Under the proposal, any registered voter who after July 3, 2023 registered their place of permanent residence to a local self-government unit or city municipality in which local elections are scheduled for June 2, 2024, will be listed in the voters’ register according to the place of permanent residence they had on July 3, 2023.


“The decision that was controversial in the public, allowing voting in local elections at the place of temporary residence, is being abolished,” Djordjevic told N1. She said amendments to the Law on the Unified Voters’ Register will be tabled in the Parliament in an emergency procedure on Friday, to ensure that the changes can apply to the June 2 elections. “The process will be supervised by the already established working group tasked with implementing the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, which includes civil society representatives (CRTA, Transparency Serbia, and CESID),” said Djordjevic.


The opposition described this as a victory, while journalist Radomir Markovic told N1 that many things can be labelled as victory. “I don’t believe it was just given like that. I expect the SNS (ruling Serbian Progressive Party) to have something up its sleeve to nullify this if it actually happens,” he said. “I think it’s too late, at least for these elections. It definitely won’t be ready for these elections, and we’ll see if it will have any effect on future elections. We’re used to institutions not reacting, period. Regardless of this or any other initiative,” added Markovic.


Serbian Parliament speaker Ana Brnabic convened the second sitting of the 2024 first regular Parliament session for Friday, May 10. In addition to the aforementioned proposal, also on the agenda is the Proposal of the Decision on the Election of Members and Deputy Members of the Serbian Parliament Committees, Proposal of the Decision amending the Decision on the Composition of the Stabilization and Association Parliamentary Committee, Proposal of the Decision amending the Decision on the Composition of the Serbian Parliament’s Standing Delegations to International Parliamentary Institutions.




Bosnia and Herzegovina


Joint column by Sattler and Sturtewagen on occasion of Europe Day: It is time to make EU complete (Dnevni list)

Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and EU Special Representative in B&H, Ambassador Johann Sattler, and Chargé d'affaires of Belgian Diplomatic Mission to B&H Benjamin Sturtewagen, penned a joint column on the occasion of the Europe Day, reminding of the beginnings of the European Union which was founded by a group of diverse and fascinating people. One of the early leaders of the European integration process was Jean Monnet, who was a successful cognac seller before becoming a politician. Altiero Spinelli wrote a significant manifest on European unity during his stay in a prison in 1941 on cigarette paper, and he managed to smuggle it out in a roasted chicken. The author of the Schuman Declaration, Robert Schuman, was a deeply religious man who was declared venerable by the Catholic Church. German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was the champion of the reconciliation process after the World War II. President of the first directly elected European Parliament Simone Veil was an Auschwitz and Belsen survivor. Despite their different backgrounds, political ideologies and nationalities, all founders of the EU were united by the shared belief that Europe must never again be ravaged by war.


Sattler and Sturtewagen emphasize that for citizens of B&H who remember the consequences of conflict, the promise of future within the EU represents the guarantee for peace, security and better future. They also argued that enlargement is the most successful EU policy. However, they also warned that the project of unification of the European peoples is not completed yet. “There is a new dynamic in the enlargement process, the realization that countries which want to join cannot stay in the Union’s waiting room for ever. This realization came into focus after the illegal aggression of Russia against Ukraine with the goal of drawing new borders and return of Europe to the political spheres in which force is dominant, an idea that the founding of the EU should have left in the past. There is the understanding that if the Western Balkan states honestly engage in reforms, the European path should be revived, and the region should be offered new opportunities for stronger integration with the single European market, as well as new funding sources”, Sattler and Sturtewagen emphasized.


Commenting on the situation in B&H, Sattler and Sturtewagen remind that before the historical decision of the European Council to open the accession negotiations with B&H, the ruling coalition expressed the wish to engage in reforms necessary for progress on the EU path. A series of key laws were adopted through negotiations, dialogue and compromise. However, Sattler and Sturtewagen note, B&H in once again in a political crisis, and its political leaders need to show vision and courage, and seize the historical moment to make lasting progress on the EU path. “Accession to the Union requires difficult decisions. It is time to start making such difficult decisions. It is time for further upgrade in the spirit demonstrated by local authorities in the months before the decision of the European Council”, Sattler and Sturtewagen underlined. They also argue that consensus is necessary for making joint decisions, and it is the basis of the decision-making process in the EU, which can be difficult, but it produces results. Sattler and Sturtewagen note that B&H is already seeing many benefits from its partnership with the Union, including better infrastructure, business opportunities, or programs like Erasmus+, Creative Europe and Horizon Europe.


They also remind that the successful joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic secured significant aid for B&H. Sattler and Sturtewagen stress that while there is interest in enlargement on both sides, but the rules for membership cannot be changed. The integration process is difficult, but it brings reforms which improve the functionality of institutions, strengthen the rule of law, improve the fight against corruption, support energy transition and environment protection, create opportunities for business, create jobs, and much more. Sattler and Sturtewagen also note that the EU is also carefully considering the possibilities for Western Balkan states to enjoy the benefits of EU integration even before the full membership. For example, agreements on abolition of roaming surcharge already make traveling easier. The EU wants B&H to join the Single European Payment Area, which would significantly reduce the banking expenses. The EU is also looking into ways to simplify border crossing procedures. At the same time, the EU is investing in infrastructure. “It is time to complete the European Union. Robert Schuman, the reclusive academic Bible scholar, emphasizes in his May 9, 1950, Declaration that ‘Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity’. On Europe Day in 2024, the same day we celebrate the fall of fascism, we must remember the enormous achievement of Europe’s unification, and we must relentlessly work on completing the vision of the Union founders here in B&H, as well as on the entire continent”, Sattler and Sturtewagen concluded.


IC representatives, B&H politicians congratulate and stress importance of Europe Day (BHT1)

BHT1 carries that May 9th is marked as Europe Day. On the occasion of Europe Day, BHT1 polled citizens, domestic and foreign officials on Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H)’s EU future and progress made on B&H’s EU path. Citizens said that most youths chose to leave the country due to poor work conditions and life quality, while some noted that there is plenty of room for improvement and that they want to see B&H become a part of the EU. Others noted the importance of educational and legislative reforms, with special emphasis on improving the status of B&H youth and making changes that will make them want to stay in B&H. Secretary General of the Council for Regional Cooperation Majlinda Bregu, on the occasion of Europe Day, called on all officials of the Western Balkans to dedicate themselves to hard work on the reform process, the fight against corruption, and building a future in which the Western Balkans is part of the EU family. B&H Ambassador to Belgium Erol Avdovic said that B&H has made it to the halfway mark of its EU path, but that the entire country is aware of what is stopping its progress. He emphasized that there is no other alternative for B&H except for the EU. SDPs Sasa Magazinovic said that B&H authorities have shown they can make progress, as was stated in the last report of the European Commission but noted that the authorities lost all momentum in the last few months. HDZ B&H President Dragan Covic congratulated Europe Day, via post on X. “From the bottom of my heart, I wish all B&H citizens and the entire continent, a happy Europe Day! Let this day, which reminds us of the importance of European peace and unity, continue to direct B&H on the way to the EU family,” wrote Covic. Bregu stated that all Western Balkan states experience an 8-percent decline in support to EU integration compared to 2021. She noted that this reflects the frustration of citizens, but also represents a wakeup call urging political leaders to do something.


Dodik: B&H is unsuccessful country; We will never accept narratives that  Serb people is genocidal; Cvijanovic: Resolution is instrument of Bosniak policies to implement anti-Serb measures around the world (BNTV)

Victory over Fascism Day was marked in Banja Luka on Thursday with a march of the Immortal Regiment. On this occasion, numerous delegations laid flowers and wreaths at the Monument to the Victims of Fascism. In addition to numerous citizens and members of SUBNOR, Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik, Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Zeljka Cvijanovic, Speaker of the RS National Assembly (RSNA) Nenad Stevandic, Banja Luka Mayor Drasko Stanivukovic, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to B&H Igor Kalabukhov and Consul General of Serbia in Banja Luka Milos Vujic also participated in the march of the Immortal Regiment in Banja Luka.


Dodik said: “B&H is an unsuccessful country.” In his opinion, the Serb people are about to face another fight to free itself from B&H. Addressing attendees, Dodik stated: “It was imposed to us, and it brings no results. It brings no results to Serbs, to Croats, to Bosniaks and the international community (IC) is very impatient about it. The 30 year-long-attempt to make a sustainable model has failed. This means that B&H has failed, regardless of hypocritical attempts to give us some status in Europe, they know it very-well and this is why these are unfinished processes.” Dodik added that after many killings of Serbs throughout the history, now, someone wants to impose Serbs that they are genocidal people with assistance of Germany, and a minister who is a descendent of SS officer is part of the German Government. The reporter noted that the resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica was the dominant topic during the event.


Addressing the press conference, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Zeljka Cvijanovic stated: “They abused victims, because today, they cannot reach consent, no consent on an important issue and that important issue is called Gaza (…) What they – those who sponsor it - are doing is actually a way to ‘clean up’ their bios, now trying to find the connection between what is the US and the West world and all those out there and those who are gathered on the other side of the world, around others in this conflict”.


Addressing the press conference, Speaker of the RSNA Nenad Stevandic stated that the resolution on Srebrenica was already dismantled, and this is why its adoption was postponed. FTV noted that addressing the press conference, Kalabukhov said that there was the victory in 1945 just as it will be in the context of today’s events. Kalabukhov said that there is no doubt that Russia and its sincere friends from all over the globe will manage to win establishment of a system of relations among peoples, that will be based on respect of the international law and not some rules, mutual respect of national interests, good-neighborly relations and cooperation, sovereignty.


Dodik also stated: “We will never accept narratives that the Serb people is genocidal.” Dodik noted that this is the path to complete misunderstanding in B&H, rather than to reconciliation. “I was not elected to be naive”, said Dodik and added that there is “a conscious intention of Germany, as the sponsor of the resolution to take revenge on the Serbs for their defeats in two world wars”. According to Dodik, the Resolution on Srebrenica is exclusively a political act and has nothing to do with law. The RS President further said that the goal is to produce legal effects. “Srebrenica was not genocide, but it was a serious crime, which I wish had never happened, but war has no logic. Individuals were responsible for those events in Srebrenica, and then they tell us that this resolution has nothing against the Serb people. They are framing us, believe me, we are not that illiterate. It reads that this will reconcile us. How? They say we are genocidal. The Serb people are not genocidal. We will determine our policies at the ‘All-Serb Parliament’, after the decision in the UN”, stated the RS President.


Cvijanovic said that, ignoring the procedures and without internal consent, the Resolution on Srebrenica is an instrument of Bosniak policies to implement anti-Serb measures around the world. Cvijanovic noted that it is clear that the sponsors and co-sponsors of the resolution throughout history have had their hands “heavily bloodied”. Cvijanovic added: “I do not want, nor have I ever belittled, any victim, but I will point out that there are political games in which even the victims of Srebrenica are manipulated.”

Dodik stressed that the RS will have clear response to possible adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica in the UNGA, i.e. to shameful attempt to qualify Serbs as genocidal nation and to introduce a story on genocidal Serbs in school curriculums. He added that Serbs will never allow themselves to accept such qualifications. According to Dodik, it is questionable if Serbs in joint institutions at the level of B&H will participate in the decision-making anymore. He announced that important decisions will be passed at a convention of Serb people that will be held right after debate on the Resolution on Srebrenica. Dodik also noted that Serbs were one of the peoples that sacrificed the most in the defense of other peoples in World War Two, and their reward was the general demonization and condemnation of the Serb people 80 years later. "Serbs lived here in these areas for ages, and they created the RS as an anti-fascist creation,” said Dodik. Dodik further stated that freedom is what unties the Serb people, stressing that victory over fascism is permanent and cannot be replaced by some other name. He reminded that Serbs were on the side of allies in the WWII and against fascism, noting that the RS marks the Victory over Fascism Day at the same time with all libertarian countries in the world, primarily Russia that has lost between 22 million-28 million people in the battles led for final defeat of Hitler’s Germany.


OHR: Obligation of the authorities in B&H is the unhindered implementation of the election process (Dnevni list)

Regarding this year’s local elections, the OHR stressed that on October 6 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) will be able to vote in free and fair elections, as the integrity of elections process was improved in line with international democratic standards. The OHR stressed that choice of citizens will be respected, and that political representatives have to implement the will of the people, the only sovereign in a democratic society. The OHR also stated that the obligation of the authorities in B&H is the unhindered implementation of the election process.


Dodik: RS ruling parties will wait to see what happens before deciding whether to participate in elections or not; EU should explain why did it move on as if nothing happened after it initially condemned Schmidt’s decision to impose changes to Election Law (Nova BH)

Nova BH carried a brief interview with Republika Srpska (RS) President and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik. Asked about the adoption of the RS election law, in particular whether the 2024 local elections in the RS will be held in line with this law or the Law on Elections of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), Dodik said that the RS authorities have made themselves clear about this, but the whole procedure with the RS election law will probably be delayed because the Bosniak Caucus in the RS Council of Peoples already announced it will invoke mechanism for protection of vital national interest. He claims that it is important to have implementable law in effect in the RS and there is not much time left if the RS authorities want to organize the 2024 local authorities in line with the RS election law but the ruling parties in the RS will wait to see what happens before deciding whether to participate in the elections or not. He stressed that the issue is not as delicate as it seems, but it has to be discussed within the ruling coalition in the RS. He noted that the ruling coalition will adjust to the circumstances, but the RS election law will be put into effect without violation of regular procedure and with full respect for the right of Bosniak representatives to invoke mechanism for protection of vital national interest, no matter how long the procedure will be delayed.


Commenting on plans to hold an all-Serb assembly in near future, Dodik confirmed that he and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic agreed to hold the assembly after voting on the resolution to designate July 11 as the International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide in the UN General Assembly. He explained that the atmosphere will be completely different after voting, irrespective of its outcome, and it is tough to make any predictions are this point. Nevertheless, he stated that the RS rejects such resolutions and there can be no reconciliation if the events in Srebrenica are qualified as genocide. He argued that it is unclear why Bosniaks want schools to teach about the events in Srebrenica and if they are setting up a fraud. He reminded that those suspected of war crimes in Srebrenica are convicted, adding that the RS finds this quite unfair because wartime political and military leaders of Bosniaks, such as Alija Izetbegovic and Naser Oric, were never prosecuted for war crimes against Serbs. “That resolution is very much unnecessary, and it will bring about plenty of problems in B&H. I think B&H after it will not be the same as before it”, Dodik stressed. He pointed out that there is nothing left for the RS “to consume” within B&H and the assembly will be an opportunity to decide about the orientation of the Serb people for the next century in terms of many issues, including the status of the RS. He clarified that the RS continues to advocate return to the original Dayton Peace Accords although it is clear this is impossible and the RS will have to resort to its backup plan, which is to push for peaceful dissolution and separation of the RS and Federation of B&H (FB&H) at some point in the future and redefining of their relations on basis of their new positions.


Commenting on the relations between the ruling parties at B&H level, Dodik said that the ruling parties were never in a coalition, and it would be more appropriate to describe their relations as a partnership. He criticized ‘The Troika’ for falling under the influence of foreign official, as well as abandoning and cherry-picking agreements with SNSD and HDZ B&H, saying that the ruling parties had to work quickly and efficiently, and he sees no reason to waste his time when leaders of the parties from The Troika’ are changing their mind on a whim. He also criticized the EU for its stance over changes to the B&H Election Law imposed by Christian Schmidt and said that the EU should explain why it moved on as if nothing happened after it initially condemned Schmidt’s decision but also why it did not force Schmidt to rescind the decision if it is not in line with democratic practices. Dodik noted that the EU wants everyone to forget what happened and move on, but it remains to be seen what happens next. Dodik announced on Thusrday that the ruling coalition in the RS is yet to decide how to act when it comes to the local elections. “We will meet up and decide what to do as a coalition. We will not leave the political field to anyone, given that the ruling coalition has a dramatic majority. We will adapt to some things. However, the election law of the RS will be passed”, he added. When it comes to the dialogue within the B&H-level ruling coalition, Dodik said that he does not know what they would talk about, bearing in mind that –as he claims – the partners did not respect the previous agreements. “When they fulfil what we agreed on, such as the distribution of funds from the excise duties, then we can also talk about the budget”, stressed Dodik.


Sattler speaks about political crisis in B&H, B&H’s European path, Dodik’s policy, Election Law of B&H and Konakovic’s pressures on media (

Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Ambassador Johann Sattler was the guest of Klix on Thursday, on which occasion he spoke about Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H)’s European path, policy of (Republika Srpska (RS) President and SNSD leader) Milorad Dodik, current political crisis in B&H, Election Law and pressures on media.


At the beginning of the interview, Sattler congratulated the Victory Day which was marked on May 9 and he said: “This is a big day, we are celebrating two things. One is the victory over fascism and the other is the Europe Day. Those are two sides of the same coin. The Europe Day represents unification of the European continent and rejection of extremist ideologies, fascism and, perhaps the most important, ‘might makes right’, which essentially means that someone can do whatever they want just because they are stronger. This is essentially the beauty of the Europe Day.” Sattler went on to say that this is visible in Sarajevo as well, knowing that there is the House of Europe as a symbol of Europe and there is also the Eternal Flame not far from it as a symbol of fight and victory over fascism.


Asked whether fascism was indeed defeated in Europe, Sattler replied by saying that the fight against extremist ideologies is an ongoing process. Sattler commented on the problem of extremist ideologies in B&H as well, which are reflected in constant denial of war crimes and genocide, as well as in glorification of war criminals and he said that this represents putting of salt on victims’ wounds: “There is no room for this in the European Union. I repeat, this is really problematic. We must fight against this. Glorification of war criminals – there is no room for this in the EU. As my boss (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) Josep Borrell said – what happened in Srebrenica in July 1995 is the fact. There is no room for an interpretation. This was genocide and that is it. Genocide denial is in fact the final stage of genocide.”


As for the latest moves of Dodik, Sattler said that those cannot be path to the future and he added that bringing of the constitutional-legal order of B&H in question is the red line which, of course, cause reactions “so two important projects in the RS were stopped so that we can show that this cannot be done in this way. Therefore, it is clear that the leadership of the RS entity and President Dodik are responsible for the current escalation of the crisis in B&H.” Sattler added that the EU’s stances have been harmonized with US’ stances and he added that the EU is often resented for being too mild. “Here, the two halted projects in the RS are BAM 1.2 billion worth and this cannot be neglected.


As for other matters, we need consent of all 27 members. We agree with USA on all strategic matters. The EU continuously provides support to the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and High Representative Christian Schmidt in his mandate. Keep in mind that one half of the budget of OHR comes from the EU,” Sattler pointed out. As for the changes to the Election Law of B&H and Schmidt’s decision to impose technical changes, Sattler assessed that the issue of election of B&H Presidency members is something no agreement can be reached on: “We clearly suggested to (HDZ B&H leader Dragan) Covic to give it up. Speaking about the Election Law, we believe that the priority is the implementation of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. We suggested to them that their demands related to the Presidency are unrealistic. The proposal of changes to the Election Law which was presented by HDZ B&H does not seem convincing to me. They did not even ask us to forward the law to the Venice Commission. This needs more consideration; I do not see any chance of solving this before October elections.”


Finally, Sattler also commented on pressures on media exerted by Minister of Foreign Affairs of B&H Elmedin Konakovic with regard to the latest video in which he targeted editor-in-chief of ‘’ portal Avdo Avdic. Sattler said that allegations presented in public are very serious and he noted that Konakovic argued those allegations are far from the truth. “I understand that he is trying to protect his position. Those at the highest positions must serve as an example for everyone else. I expect the Minister of Foreign Affairs to treat representatives of media in his media relations in a way that is fair, and we communicated this to him. We pointed out this to him,” Sattler said. Asked whether he condemns Konakovic’s behaviour, Sattler replied by saying: “Yes, and we will continue to do that.”


In his reaction, Dodik stated that Sattler was responsible for the escalation of the crisis in B&H. Dodik noted that “Sattler chose to be a French maid instead of a European ambassador”. Dodik added: “Sattler is a witness to the destructive policy of the US in B&H, which destroys every agreement of local politicians. Sattler supports the unelected German, who is being encouraged by the outrageous (US Ambassador to B&H) Michael Murphy.” In her reaction, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Zeljka Cvijanovic said that Sattler’s statements are hypocritical. Cvijanovic stated that Sattler knows very well that everything that was managed to be done in fulfilling the conditions that led to the EU's decisions - both the one on granting candidate status to B&H and the one on the start of negotiations - would not have been possible without participation of the RS.




Spajic confirmed: Montenegro will vote in favor of the resolution on Srebrenica (CDM)


The Government of Montenegro will vote for the Resolution on Srebrenica in the United Nations (UN) but is ready to support other resolutions concerning the condemnation of crimes and genocide in these areas. "We will join the condemnation of every genocide," the government announced. Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milojko Spajic, said at the prime minister's hour that the country will vote for the Resolution on the Srebrenica genocide, and then declared that he is a pro-Western man. "I have always advocated a pro-Western course, that is no secret. I am a pro-Western man, I have spent my whole life in the ideological West. There are no dilemmas here, and as far as our position in the future is concerned," Spajic said. "That resolution will be adopted, because the big powers are behind that resolution," Spajic said. Spajic said that the entire region should support this and all other resolutions.

"Precisely this resolution that we have in front of us - Srebrenica. It is not a problem at all. We will vote for it, we have said many times. I have spoken about it publicly, we have condemned genocide. We have no problem doing it. The government will discuss it, but I think it is unnecessary to mention it because we agreed to conduct a pro-European policy," Spajic said.


Serbs are not a genocidal nation


“For us, Serbs are not and cannot be a genocidal nation. That doesn’t exist. No nation is genocidal”, said PM Milojko Spajic in a post on the X social network. Spajic points out that based on the proposed amendments to the UN Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica, no one can say that Montenegro condemns the Serbian people, Serbia or the Serb Republic. “Serbs in Montenegro make up a significant percentage of our population and we must never ignore that. For us, Serbs are not and cannot be a genocidal nation. That doesn’t exist. No nation is genocidal”, he has stated. The Prime Minister concludes that only with work and results like ours – we prove to the European Union that it is worth fighting for Montenegro, for the Western Balkans and a better tomorrow for all the peoples living in these areas.


Zivkovic: Mandic enters Government which he calls anti-Serbian because of position; PES and ZBCG get to DPS policy (CDM)


DPS leader Danijel Zivkovic said that the For the Future of Montenegro (ZBCG) coalition, which Parliament Speaker Andrija Mandic belongs to, would join the Government, which he calls anti-Serbian. Zivkovic spoke at the PMQ about foreign policy and said that Milojko Spajic’s government was composed exclusively of political forces that did not vote in favour of the membership in NATO. However, he added, (Europe Now Movement) PES and ZBCG got to the DPS policy. “The question is whether you have the majority among your partners to keep Montenegro on the existing foreign policy course”, said Zivkovic to Spajic. He claims that there are many different views when it comes to the part of the majority.


He added that those views referred to Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe and the Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica. “If we hear that there is strong opposition, the question is whether you even have the majority to stay on the foreign policy course set by the DPS government”, he asked. Spajic replied that since 2014, every government had been on the background of 100% compliance with the European foreign, defense and security policy.


Mandic: Montenegro's accession to the EU would be a good signal for all countries of the Western Balkans (CDM)


It is extremely important that as a society we implement key reforms that ultimately mean a better quality of life for all citizens of Montenegro, said the President of the Assembly Andrija Mandic during the meeting with Keti Bugenhout, Ambassador of Belgium. He added that the accession of Montenegro to the EU would be a good signal for all countries of the Western Balkans. As it was reported, Mandic welcomed the ambassador to the Assembly of Montenegro, expressing satisfaction at their first meeting. Madic, as stated in the press release, informed Ambassador Bugenhout that he had met several times with the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Belgium, Eliane Tillie, and that together they discussed numerous topics of key importance for the two countries, and that this is "the best evidence friendly relations between them". Mandic expressed his gratitude to Belgium, because it was during its presidency of the Council of Europe that Montenegro, led by the new parliamentary majority, took the biggest steps on its European path.


"It is extremely important that as a society we implement key reforms that ultimately mean a better quality of life for all citizens of Montenegro", concluded Mandic and added that our country's accession to the EU would be a good signal for all the countries of the Western Balkans. It is reported that Ambassador Bugenhout thanked Mandic for his time, adding that Belgium is very committed to Montenegro's progress on the European path. "It is the right moment for all countries that inherit European values to become part of the EU," the ambassador stressed. Bugenhout concluded that Belgium will continue to strongly support Montenegro and expressed her belief that Hungary, which will take over the presidency of the Council of Europe after Belgium, will do the same.


North Macedonia


SEC publishes preliminary official results of double elections (MIA)


At a session Thursday, the State Election Commission published the preliminary and official results of the presidential and parliamentary elections with 100% of votes counted. At the presidential elections, VMRO-DPMNE's candidate Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova won 561.001 votes, while SDSM’s candidate Stevo Pendarovski won 251.881. According to the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections, VMRO-DPMNE's “Your Macedonia” coalition won the most seats at the elections – 58, followed by DUI’s “European Front” coalition with 19 seats, SDSM’s “Coalition for European Future” won 18, “Worth It” coalition – 13, Levica – 6, ZNAM Movement – 6. The other participants in the election did not win any seats in Parliament. The deadlines for complaints regarding the presidential and parliamentary elections expire at 7 pm and 11:30 pm on Friday. By 7 pm on Friday, SEC is expected to deliver a report on the results of the presidential elections to Parliament, after which Speaker Jovan Mitreski is expected to schedule for Sunday the inauguration of the country’s newly elected President, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova.


North Macedonia’s elections were competitive and voters well informed, although the process remains insufficiently regulated: international observers (MIA)


North Macedonia’s presidential run-off and parliamentary elections were competitive and an extensive and pluralistic campaign helped voters to make an informed choice, but marred by negative rhetoric with nationalistic slogans, as well as shortcomings in the legislation and insufficient oversight of campaign finances, international observers said in a statement today.


The elections took place against a background of voter dissatisfaction with the political establishment, and a general sense that both the government and opposition lacked the will to address long-standing calls for comprehensive reforms. The joint observation mission from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and the European Parliament (EP) found that while the legal framework creates the basis for democratic elections, many gaps and inconsistencies remain, making further reform essential.


“Election day was calm and peaceful, proceeding in a constructive atmosphere, despite the strong political polarization and fragmentation in North Macedonia,” said Nikoloz Samkharadze, Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term observer mission. “It is my sincere hope for the people of this country that the newly elected leadership will effectively tackle the key challenges facing the nation and bring North Macedonia ever closer to its declared goal of EU membership.”


The tone of campaigning, including online, became progressively negative ahead of the first round of the presidential election and did not improve during the presidential run-off and parliamentary campaigns. Allegations of vote buying increased before election day, involving all major political parties, which highlights the need for greater efforts to address these concerns.


The method for distributing state funds for campaigning and media time disadvantaged smaller parties and those without any representation in parliament. At the same time, the transparency and accountability of campaign finances were weakened by the minimal campaign finance reporting requirements, as well as the limited resources and capacities given to oversight bodies.


“North Macedonia has failed to implement a number of important recommendations made by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and ODIHR,” said Alfred Heer, who headed the PACE delegation. “Many voters who live abroad were unable to vote for an MP to represent them in parliament, and the 40 per cent voter turnout requirement for the second round of presidential elections also needs urgent reform to avoid the risk of cycles of failed elections.”


With the notable exception of one presidential candidate in the second round, observers noted that political parties featured few women speakers at campaign events, and parties appeared to make little effort to engage women voters. All registered candidate lists were in line with the law to have a minimum of 40 per cent representation of women. However, they were often placed in the lowest possible positions.


“North Macedonia has made progress in advancing gender equality in political and public life, as demonstrated in these elections in which women comprised 43 per cent of parliamentary candidates,” stressed Carina Ödebrink, who headed the OSCE PA delegation. “Nonetheless, continued political engagement and reforms are imperative to increase representation of women in elected and appointed positions, and to address the concerns and needs of women voters.”


Some 1.8 million citizens were registered to vote in yesterday’s elections. Public confidence in the election administration was generally high, and training for election officials was comprehensive, although voter education remained limited. Election day was generally calm and observers assessed it positively overall. Voting procedures were largely respected, but in a number of cases election boards did not fully keep to procedures during the vote count.


“We would like to praise the job done by the very dedicated women and men of the electoral boards, who demonstrated how well trained they were,” said Leopoldo Lopez Gil, head of the EP delegation. “They contributed to the orderly and calm running of the electoral process and set an example of civic engagement.”


North Macedonia’s media landscape is diverse and media freedom is largely respected. Throughout the campaign period, media generally covered all candidates, with some channels favouring specific candidate lists. Televised debates helped inform voters ahead of election day. At the same time, the need for further reforms in the media sector was noted.


“These elections were competitive and well run, particularly given the challenge of organizing two different elections at the same time,” said Jillian Stirk, who headed ODIHR’s election observation mission. “But the negative rhetoric and increasingly nationalistic undertones of some parties and candidates were extremely worrying, and the campaign would have benefited from more detailed oversight. We hope that going forward, North Macedonia will continue to strengthen its democracy, and ODIHR remains ready to provide support for these efforts.”


The international election observation to the first round of the presidential election in North Macedonia totalled 344 observers from 42 countries, made up of 238 ODIHR-deployed experts, long-term, and short-term observers, 72 from the OSCE PA, 23 from PACE, and 11 from the EP.


Mickoski: VMRO-DPMNE's coalition could ‘consolidate’ 61 MPs by May 28 (MIA)


VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski told a Kanal 5 TV interview on Thursday he expects the new Parliament to be constituted by May 28, adding that there is a possibility that VMRO-DPMNE and its coalition could “consolidate” 61 MPs by then. “There are already hints from the new MPs who are planning to support the new government. As the party’s leader, I expect to consolidate 61 MPs by May 28,” Mickoski said, adding that it would be difficult to have a repeat of VMRO-DPMNE's “historic” result in future elections. He reiterated that the “Worth It” coalition would be their main coalition partner. The VMRO-DPMNE leader described the coalition as a “true representative of the Albanian community” in the country, adding that all who respect VMRO-DPMNE's election manifesto will be welcome in the future government. “By winning 107.000 votes, the ‘Worth It’ coalition confirmed it has the credibility to act as a credible partner of the future government that will be led by VMRO-DPMNE and the ‘Your Macedonia’ coalition. We will give everyone a chance, though I don’t expect DUI to accept the government’s new policies. [DUI leader Ali] Ahmeti surrounded himself with the wrong people, that’s why he has to go to the opposition. However, we need 80 MPs in Parliament for systemic reforms and that’s why we will give everyone a chance,” Mickoski said.


He stressed that the country’s demography and fertility rate will represent a great challenge for the new government. Mickoski also noted that they aim to reform the ministries by shifting some of their authorizations and eliminating the posts of minister without portfolio.

The VMRO-DPMNE leader said he would hold a meeting Friday with their partners from the “Your Macedonia” coalition, during which they will hear their positions and proposals regarding the future government. “Informal communication already exists with ‘Worth It’ as a potential coalition partner, but first we need to have meetings with the ‘Your Macedonia’ coalition, and select people that will negotiate, who will then also have to be approved by the party’s bodies,” Mickoski said and added he wouldn’t like to lead the negotiations for a government coalition “under pressure and with ultimatums, but through dialogue and arguments”. Mickoski stressed he is the first who would like to see the country in the EU, but added he doesn’t accept “ultimatums through which the Macedonian people will be paying for the mistakes of certain irrational politicians”. “We must show character and not be subservient if we want to be respected,” he said.




“Charlemagne Prize”/ Rama: Proud that religious tolerance is part of Albanian identity (Radio Tirana)


From Germany, Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that the world and humanity need tolerance towards the diversity of others and the preservation of human unity. During the award ceremony of the "Charlemagne Prize" in Germany, Rama expressed pride in coming from a country where religious tolerance was part of the Albanian identity, adding that the world should not be tolerant towards evil in the world.


"There are now not only philosophical tensions but issues we must confront politically. It is manifested in the streets, parliaments, among governments. I believe we must resist the temptation that for us to address an issue is too complex. If you tolerate evil, you risk its proliferation. Tolerance has been based on the superiority of civilization. Charlemagne played a key role in shaping history. He was not only a strategist but also proposed cultural exchange. His name is linked to humanistic values. Charlemagne, the father of modern Europe, his stance on tolerance went hand in hand with a worldview. Europe has been self-critical, which is not a bad thing. I am fortunate to come from a country proud of religious tolerance. Albania, a predominantly Muslim country, was the only country in the world that had more Jews after World War II than before the war," Rama said. The "Charlemagne Prize" is one of Europe's prestigious awards given to personalities and institutions that have played a role in strengthening unity in Europe. For the year 2024, the prize is awarded to Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt for his significant role in promoting dialogue and tolerance in Europe.


Country’s European integration is a moral obligation to future generations (Radio Tirana)


Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Igli Hasani, emphasized that Europe's completeness hinges on integrating the Western Balkans. During the Europe Day event "Europe at Home," attended also by EU Ambassador Silvio Gonzato and Albanian Chief Negotiator with the EU Majlinda Dhuka, Hasani underscored the urgency of accelerating integration process. He stated that beyond geopolitical borders, there is a shared interest. Highlighting the conflict in Ukraine as a threat facing Europe, Hasani noted that Putin's aggression extends beyond Ukraine's borders, targeting the EU system itself. He stressed that speeding up the integration process is crucial for Europe's security and completeness. Additionally, Hasani stated that European integration is a moral obligation to future generations, aligning with Albanian foreign policy's primary thesis: "We want Albania like the rest of Europe".  Finally, Hasani emphasized the importance of maintaining focus on accelerating the integration process in the context of the European Parliament elections.