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Belgrade Media Report 15 May



Vucic: US should step up engagement to help preserve regional stability (Tanjug/RTV)


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Elizabeth Allen on Wednesday to discuss the pressure facing Serbia and the Serbs and asked the US to step up its engagement and use its leverage to help preserve stability in the region. "I pointed out the pressures facing Serbia and the Serbs and asked the US to step up its engagement and use its leverage so that stability in the region is preserved and preconditions are created for sincere cooperation and concrete progress of the region and all our citizens towards a better and more prosperous future," Vucic wrote in an Instagram post. Vucic and Allen also discussed regional and geopolitical affairs and strengthening of Serbia-US bilateral ties. "A good and useful discussion with Under Secretary of State Allen about regional and geopolitical affairs as well as strengthening of Serbia-US bilateral ties, We reviewed opportunities for expanding Serbia-US cooperation in culture and education, especially, various types of scholarship programmes and exchanges of students, culture and knowledge," Vucic wrote in the post. Vucic added that they had also discussed US support for Serbia's progress on the path to full EU membership.


EU membership remains strategic goal (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)


Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic said yesterday in a conversation with the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi that membership in the EU remains a strategic goal in the new mandate of the government of Serbia, which he leads.

Vucevic pointed out that Serbia is facing a serious process whose ultimate goal is an orderly and stable state and a better standard for our citizens, adding that he expects concrete progress in the process of accession and further reforms. He pointed out that Serbia has continuously worked on the opening of Cluster 3, which is fully ready, adding that he expects a positive signal from the EU for its opening. Our goal, as stated by the Prime Minister, is the continuation of further modernization of the country and the implementation of the necessary reforms, first of all, in the area of the rule of law. The European Commissioner for Enlargement emphasized that Serbia has made progress in terms of reforming the judiciary and media laws and that the new government has an important task of further structural reforms. He emphasized that he expects progress for Serbia in the field of European integration over the next five years, which is the duration of the mandate of the new European Commission. Varhelyi congratulated Vucevic on his new mandate and wished him success in performing his professional duties. He expressed firm support to the Serbian government for the continuation of reforms. Vucevic expressed his gratitude to the European Commissioner for his support to Serbia in the process of joining the EU and assessed that the new government faces important tasks and great challenges, for which Serbia is fully prepared.


EU membership remains Serbia’s foreign policy priority (RTV/Tanjug)


Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric met yesterday with European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi. On this occasion, Djuric said that full membership in the EU is a strategic commitment and priority of the Republic of Serbia's foreign policy, and that the new government will work with renewed energy to achieve that goal. He noted that since 2014, Serbia has opened 22 out of 35 negotiation chapters with the EU and temporarily closed two, and that in the coming period, he hopes that at least one of the clusters will be opened. According to him, our country is committed to cooperation with the EU in the field of foreign and security policy, to the extent in which its vital national, political and economic interests would not be endangered. Djuric once again emphasised Belgrade's commitment to solving the problems in Kosovo and Metohija through dialogue, but also warned about the increasingly difficult position of the Serbian people in the province. Belgrade's readiness for dialogue and the implementation of assumed obligations is unquestionable and unequivocal, while, on the other hand, such a readiness in Pristina evidently does not exist, and this is best seen in the issue of the Community of Serb Municipalities, the Minister pointed out. The interlocutors also exchanged opinions on migration trends and the challenges that this brings to the EU and the countries in its environment, according to a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Serbia remains committed to European path (Tanjug/RTV)


Serbian Minister of European Integration Tanja Miscevic said yesterday in a meeting with European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, that the reform processes of our country will continue in the direction of reaching the criteria for membership in the EU. At the meeting, which was attended by Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali, Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Goran Vesic, Miscevic emphasized the necessity of speeding up the European integration process. She informed the Commissioner that the government is working intensively on the preparation of the reform agenda that will soon be adopted, and at the same time expressed her gratitude for the support and assistance that Serbia continuously receives from the EU and its members for the implementation of important infrastructure projects. Mali pointed out that through all previous reforms and commitment to further reforming every segment of society, Serbia has shown its determination to stay on the European path and join the single European market. Djedovic Handanovic pointed out that Serbia has a clear plan for the necessary investments in the energy sector, which are also defined in strategic documents, first of all, the starting points for the development of energy infrastructure and energy efficiency measures until 2028 with projections until 2030. Vesic expressed his gratitude to Várhelyi for his commitment to the European integration of Serbia and the region during his four-year mandate, stressing that the EU is Serbia’s most important partner, given the enormous financial support for the transport sector. Varhelyi congratulated the ministers on their appointment and expressed the hope that Serbia remains committed to its European path, encouraging the new government to take advantage of the current momentum of enlargement and implement the necessary reforms, with the support of the EU.


Preservation of regional stability of strategic interest of Serbia (RTS/RTV)


Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic spoke today with Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko about relations between the two countries, joint projects and economic cooperation. Vucevic expressed his gratitude to the Russian Federation for its firm stance regarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, as well as for respecting international law. The Prime Minister said that it is of strategic interest for Serbia to preserve the stability of the region, adding that the UN General Assembly's draft resolution on Srebrenica is a sensitive issue, which does not contribute to deepening cooperation and building good neighborly relations in the region. He pointed out that the position of the Serbs is threatened by the decision of the Pristina authorities to ban the use of dinars in Kosovo and Metohija, which greatly complicates the life of our citizens in the southern Serbian province and distances them from the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Botsan-Kharchenko conveyed that Serbia can count on Russia's firm support in preserving its territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as unequivocal support on the international level on matters of vital interest to our country. He handed Vucevic a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, and wished him much success in the work of the new government.


Strengthening cooperation with European institutions to combat irregular migration (Tanjug)


Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic met yesterday with European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi. Dacic emphasised that among Serbia’s priorities are the suppression of irregular migration and the protection of the state border, as well as the fight against smuggling and human trafficking, pointing out the role of the Ministry of the Interior in this field, as well as the good cooperation with European institutions in the past period. He stressed that the Serbian side is ready to elevate cooperation with European partners to a higher level, as well as work on the plan of illegal migration and gradually aligning its visa policy with the EU policy. The European Commissioner stated that it is important to continue aligning Serbia’s visa policy with that of the Union. The interlocutors exchanged opinions on cooperation in the area of the Negotiation Chapter 24 on justice, freedom and security, especially in the fight against organised crime, terrorism and drug abuse.


Continuation of successful cooperation between Serbia, US (Tanjug/RTV)


Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic yesterday received US Ambassador Christopher Hill who congratulated him on his election as Prime Minister and wished him a successful mandate. The Ambassador emphasized that he hopes for successful cooperation between the two countries in various fields. Vucevic expressed his belief that successful cooperation will continue, as well as that relations will be further improved in the fields of economy and energy, noting that Serbia takes the Green Agenda seriously and will invest more in it. The officials agreed that the situation in Kosovo and Metohija is problematic, especially due to the abolition of the Dinar as currency, and the Prime Minister pointed out that the big problem for our people in the southern province is how to survive. Hill said that he was worried about the decision of the so-called Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, as well as the general situation in our southern province, apostrophising that he is satisfied with Serbia's reaction and fight for its citizens in Kosovo and Metohija. The Ambassador congratulated Vucevic on the visit of President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping to Serbia, evaluating it as very important. The meeting also touched upon the situation in the region and the world, considering the crisis caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


Djuric: Srebrenica resolution diplomatic ambush for Serbia (Tanjug)


Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric said on Tuesday a draft UN General Assembly resolution on Srebrenica was a "diplomatic ambush" for Serbia and that its likely adoption would be a precedent, but that it would not be adopted unanimously as many countries would oppose it. In an interview with Tanjug, Djuric said a Serbian team led by President Aleksandar Vucic had worked day and night to keep the resolution from being adopted and to, at least, ensure all 192 UN member states heard Serbia's arguments. "Indeed, they have heard about a part of our trouble, a part of our history, as well as legal arguments. Because this (the draft resolution) violates Article 12 of the UN Charter, which stipulates that, for example, the General Assembly should not decide on affairs that are still before the Security Council, and the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina is still before the Security Council. A session on Bosnia and Herzegovina will be held tomorrow. So how can, then, the General Assembly decide on the topic?" Djuric said. He said Serbia had taken diplomatic action as soon as the resolution had been tabled. "We started dispatching our special envoys to some of our traditional friends, who are Serbia's comparative advantage relative to many other European countries, because we maintain really excellent relations with many African, Latin American and Asian countries that we helped during their struggles for independence, their anticolonial struggles," Djuric said. Many of them still remember that support, he said. "They know Serbia is a country that stands by the positions of international law in a principled manner, not just for its own sake or because of its Kosovo-Metohija issue, for example. It equally opposes political abuse and instrumentalisation of sensitive issues such as the issue of war crimes," Djuric said. He noted that, even within Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was no consensus on the draft resolution and that there had been no regional consultations or consultations with Serbia before it had been proposed. "We will not let the Serbs and Serbia be stigmatised as genocidal. That is absolutely unacceptable. This (the Serbs) is a much-suffering nation that lost a third of its population fighting for the Allied cause in WWI and over one million lives in WWII as the pillar of the fight against Nazism and Fascism in this part of the world," Djuric noted.


Room for economic improvement of cooperation with France (Tanjug)


Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic spoke yesterday with Ambassador of France to Serbia Pierre Cochard about current topics, bilateral relations and new French investments in our country. Ambassador Cochard congratulated Vucevic on his appointment as prime minister.

The Prime Minister said that he hopes to improve cooperation in business and economic areas, especially when it comes to renewable energy sources, industry, but also the arrival of numerous French companies at the specialised World Exhibition Project EXPO 2027. He expressed his gratitude to French President Emmanuel Macron for understanding the situation in the Western Balkans and Serbia's position, especially when it comes to Kosovo and Metohija. The Ambassador confirmed that the implementation of agreed agreements, especially when it comes to the administration in Pristina, is crucial for Paris.


More than 12,000 people won’t be able to vote at their new residence addresses (Beta/TV Kurir)


Recent amendments to the Law on the Unified Electoral Roll had been to the detriment of voters and according to some estimates, 12,500 citizens would not be able to exercise their voting right in the elections scheduled for 2 June, Serbian parliament speaker Ana Brnabic said on 14 May. In a statement to TV Kurir, Brnabic said that according to the law, all who had changed their permanent addresses after 3 July 2023, would not be able to cast ballots at their new addresses, but in their previous polling stations, which, she said, would cause numerous problems and costs to those people. The law had been changed at the request of the opposition, which had in the previous period registered many cases of organized voter migration. Namely, the regime would bring voters from across Serbia and have them registered at addresses in Serbia’s capital and other major cities to increase their body of votes and thereby influence the final election results. Brnabic, who previously held several terms as Serbian prime minister, said that Belgrade and other local elections, called for 2 June, were extremely important.


UN peacekeeping instructors program being held in Jug base near Bujanovac (Beta)


A two-week international program for UN peacekeeping mission instructors is being held at the Serbian army's Jug (South) base near Bujanovac, for the purpose of training military personnel in charge of interacting with locals in peacekeeping mission zones, the Serbian Ministry of Defense announced on 14 May. The organizer of the program is the UN's Integrated Training Service in association with the Serbian army's center for peacekeeping operations, while the trainees are members of the Serbian army and 12 other foreign armies. The realization of the program is a continuation of the support that Serbia extends to the UN's specialized services in the interest of building and maintaining peace around the world, and represents a confirmation of the quality of training and preparations that the Serbian army carries out with regard to peacekeeping operations, the Ministry said.


Kosovo’s admission to CoE not on agenda of Committee of Ministers session (FoNet)


Kosovo’s admission to the Council of Europe (CoE) is not on the agenda of the session of this pan-European organization’s Committee of Ministers scheduled for 16-17 May in Strasbourg, diplomatic sources told FoNet. The agency was told that this is the outcome of a Committee meeting held at the level of ambassadors. According to unofficial information in Strasbourg, this topic could be placed on the agenda of the CoE Committee of Ministers November session.




HR to present report on situation in B&H before UN SC on Wednesday; Schmidt praises efforts of Troika, harshly criticizes RS authorities and Dodik in his new report to UN SC (


High Representative Christian Schmidt will submit his sixth regular report on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) to the United Nations Security Council (UN SC) on Wednesday. The report is for the period from 16 October 2023, to 15 April 2024. Buka had access to the entire report and published parts of it. In the report, Schmidt points out that during the reporting period, on one hand, B&H recorded progress on the European path, but also - at the same time, "unprecedented attacks on the Dayton Peace Agreement". Regarding the European Council's decision on opening of accession negotiations with B&H, Schmidt points out that the opening of the negotiations itself is conditional on implementing the recommendations of the European Commission from October 12, 2022. Schmidt emphasized that the implementation of the Dayton Agreement goes hand in hand with the European path of B&H. "The decision of the European Council is a welcome contribution to the efforts to preserve the stability of B&H in the light of geopolitical and internal challenges," reads the report. Schmidt notes that Brussels' decision is a recognition for ‘The Troika’ parties, which worked responsibly and constructively on progress on the EU Integration path in the best interest of all citizens. However, Schmidt also warned that although the decision of the EU is strategic, it is not sufficient in itself to oppose threats to the stability of B&H. Schmidt harshly criticized the authorities of Republika Srpska (RS), and especially President Milorad Dodik. He "actively degrades the state of B&H, its jurisdiction and institutions, and thus the Dayton Agreement," emphasizes Schmidt. "Their threat to paralyze state bodies by blocking their work and decision-making is a threat to the functionality of the state and its ability to fulfill its responsibilities. His threat to continue with the unilateral withdrawal of the RS from the constitutional, legal and institutional framework of the state of B&H - including the Armed Forces of B&H and the state's tax, judicial and electoral systems - represents a threat of establishment of a parallel framework for the RS. All political actors must express their unconditional commitment to the Dayton Agreement, to B&H and its statehood and territorial integrity," Schmidt underlines in the report. Schmidt reminds that parties of the ruling coalition in the RS continued to organize protests on the inter-entity line between the two entities under the name ‘The border exists’. Those gatherings, he adds, apart from promoting the idea of secessionism, create a divisive environment prone to security incidents. "Unprecedented pressure on judicial institutions continued. In addition to promoting the abolition of the Court of B&H and the Prosecutor's Office of B&H, the ruling coalition of the RS is undermining the Constitutional Court of B&H as the guardian of the constitutional and legal order of B&H," the report states. Schmidt also mentions the trial of Dodik and Acting Director of the RS Official Gazette Milos Lukic, for the criminal offense of not implementing decisions of the High Representative. He states that Dodik accused the Court of B&H and the Prosecutor's Office of B&H of serving political interests encouraged by foreigners and threatens them with non-recognition of their decisions in the RS in case he is convicted. According to Schmidt, all this is part of the secessionist agenda carried out by Dodik's regime, and it is reflected in the entire series of steps taken in the period October 2023 - April 2024, including "a set of conclusions in which, among other things, the annulment of all the decisions of the High Representative, and the prohibition of their application and publication in the Official Gazette". Schmidt also points out that on March 25, 2024, the European Council extended the legal basis of the regime of sanctions for B&H for another year. "The RS National Assembly announced that the RS will withdraw from all previous agreements, including those on the establishment of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of B&H, the system of indirect taxation of B&H and the Armed Forces of B&H," Schmidt's report states. Schmidt further notes that there is no dialogue on any topic within B&H, nor are solutions sought for some of the problems in the functioning of the government. Instead, they resort to threats and blackmail, and this is a constant. "The Constitutional Court of B&H is a special target of the ruling coalition of the RS. Actions against the Court include denying the legitimacy of the Court and ignoring its final and binding decision on the territory of the RS, persistent calls for the dismissal of international judges from the Court, and persistent failure to fulfill the constitutional obligation to appoint two judges from the RS, which hinders the normal functioning of the Constitutional Court of B&H as the guardian of the constitutional and legal order of B&H," notes Schmidt in his report. Commenting the amendments to the RS Criminal Code which introduce new crimes from the category of crimes against the freedom and rights of citizens. "In an environment that does not guarantee an independent judiciary, the application of this law can have far-reaching and serious consequences, further limiting civil space and silencing, discouraging, threatening and punishing political dissent, independence of journalists and the media. It can be used against all citizens of RS. This is a setback since defamation was decriminalized nationwide in 2002. Furthermore, there is concern that the RS authorities will not implement the decision of the Constitutional Court of B&H from 18 January 2024, which annulled the provision of the Criminal Code of the RS that foresees a prison sentence for ‘damaging the reputation of RS and its people’", reads the report. Schmidt also refers to the Draft Law on the Special Register of Non-Profit Organizations of the RS, also known as the law on foreign agents. He warns that in RS there are activities "that limit civil space in order to silence, discourage, threaten and ultimately punish different political opinions". "If they continue, these actions could lead to the de facto if not de jure disintegration of the state of B&H, for which the President of RS Milorad Dodik is continuously advocating. This would be a scenario with serious consequences," his report states. Schmidt further warns of activities aimed at revising history and denying genocide and other war crimes, as well as glorifying war criminals, all of which increase mistrust and polarization within society. "This is best seen by the constant deterioration of relations between the ethnic communities in Srebrenica, and the increase in the number of attacks on returnees." Commenting his decision of 26 March 2024, when he imposed amendments to the B&H Election Law, Schmidt explains that he had to react in this way because of the "persistent failure of the competent authorities in B&H to reach an agreement on amendments to the Election Law of B&H in accordance with international norms and standards." Explaining briefly which changes he imposed, Schmidt points out that he imposed a legal ban on people convicted by any international or domestic court of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes to be candidates in elections or to hold any elective or appointed office. Schmidt particularly warns about increasingly alarming data on the outflow of the population of B&H. "The number of those who left B&H in the period 2013-2023 is estimated at 600,000. It is expected that the number of inhabitants will decrease by approximately 45,000 people every year, of which more than 20,000 are young, professional people who emigrate abroad due to political instability, poverty, living standards and corruption. In addition, the fertility rate is very low and, according to an estimate of 1.35%, the national demographic decline may be up to 20,000 persons per year," warns Schmidt.


RS’ politicians criticize HR’s report to UN SC (ATV)


ATV carried that (High Representative) Christian Schmidt submitted his latest report to the UN Security Council (UNSC) prior to a regular session dedicated to the situation in B&H. According to the presenter, despite Schmidt being the generator of all major problems in B&H in recent months, he again blamed RS for everything but at least Schmidt was not wrong about possible dissolution of B&H. The reporter stressed that Schmidt essentially slammed the RS leadership and accused RS President Milorad Dodik and other top RS officials of undermining the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). The reporter pointed out that Schmidt claims to be concerned about B&H’s constitutional order, but the RS officials unanimously respond that it is Schmidt who is ruining existing constitutional order and acting to the detriment of peoples in B&H. RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic said that all ongoing crises in B&H are directly related to strong ties between the embassies of the U.S., the UK and the so-called High Representative (HR). Speaker of the RS parliament Nenad Stevandic argued that by submitting his report to the UN SC, Schmidt has actually undermined his own position, as well as proved he is the one undermining the DPA, because the UN SC never confirmed Schmidt’s appointment as the HR. The reporter explained that Schmidt also complained about rallies under the name ‘Border Exists’, secession and pressure on the work of the judiciary, all of which he blamed on the RS authorities, but the RS is united in its response that everything Schmidt is doing a swindle. Dodik’s advisor Ognjen Tadic stated that “Schmidt’s notice” is nothing more than a cheap swindle where Schmidt is trying to accuse the RS of violating the DPA although the RS is defending the DPA, itself and B&H while portraying himself not as an obstacle to the European integration, which he is, but as someone who gave significant contribution. The reporter reminded that Schmidt was paddling the same narrative against the RS during his recent address to the UN SC despite not being confirmed as the HR by the UNSC or being acknowledged as the HR by the RS authorities but the RS’ stance about Schmidt being illegally appointed as the HR and being the main generator of problems in B&H was presented when Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Zeljka Cvijanovic addressed the UNSC too. The UNSC’s upcoming regular session about B&H will be held on Wednesday.


Srebrenica Resolution to be discussed by UN GA on May 23rd ( reported that Resolution on Srebrenica Genocide will be discussed by UN General Assembly on 23 May. The UN General Assembly will discuss the Resolution in the period from 10:00 to 13:00, after which it will be adopted. Besides the date of the session, the agenda carried the Draft Resolution dated 2 May and the Draft shows that no Amendments to the Resolution have been accepted, including those from Montenegro. Commenting claims of some media outlets and politicians from Serbia that a session at which voting on the resolution should occur has been postponed, B&H Ambassador to the UN Zlatko Lagumdzija said this session was not postponed, because it was not scheduled in first place.


RS government delivers conclusions of International Commission for Investigation of Sufferings of All People in Srebrenica Region from 1992 to 1995 to UN SC along with its 31st Report (RTRS)


The RS government delivered annexes along with its 31st Report to the UN Security Council (UN SC), including conclusions of the International Commission for Investigation of Sufferings of All People in Srebrenica Region from 1992 to 1995 which established that murders in Srebrenica in 1995 were war crimes but there was no genocide. The report also argued that crimes in Srebrenica in 1995 were committed following “ethnic cleansing of this region by Muslim-Bosniak Army, in which hundreds of Serb children, women and elderly people were deliberately tortured and murdered.” The report also noted that sufferings of Serb people in this area were completely neglected and there are intentions to present Bosniak victims in Srebrenica as the only victims. The daily went on to describe conflicts in Srebrenica area starting with 1992 and listed examples of individual attacks on Serb villages. As for the Agreement on Demilitarization of Srebrenica and Zepa, which was signed by “representatives of the RS Army, so-called Army of the Republic of B&H and UN, which guaranteed implementation of this agreement”, the report noted that “Muslim forces in Srebrenica with their leadership in Sarajevo at the helm” did not allow to be disarmed at any point, but they perceived the demilitarized zone as a refuge for reorganization of their military potentials. The report went on to say that even soldiers who were killed in combat were buried in Potocari Memorial Center and it also claimed that there were manipulations with names of victims as well. “Although the Commission does not deem that murders that were committed in Srebrenica area were genocide, it appreciates the fact that thousands of people (mostly prisoners of war) were murdered and that those responsible for those crimes must be punished,” the report concluded.


US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Allen visits B&H: This visit is another indicator that the U.S. is committed to Western Balkan region and its future (O Kanal)


The US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Elizabeth Allen visited B&H on Tuesday. In an interview with the daily Oslobodjenje, she commented on the situation in B&H, relations in the region and the US support to B&H. Allen stated that this visit is another indicator that the US is committed to the Western Balkan region and its future, adding that progress that should be made is partially conditioned with problems that exist in the region. Allen pointed out: “The rhetoric that we hear, threats with secession here in B&H, pressure on organizations of civil society in the entire region limit possible progress. The US is committed to further work on the road to the Euro-Atlantic integration. We are committed to progress of the entire region. You see, there is no bigger threat than escalating rhetoric and threats with secession. We are ready to call for responsibility those who show anti-Dayton intentions, who deal with such activities and cause danger. When it comes to (RS President Milorad) Dodik’s support to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. was very clear about this the whole time. The fact that he awarded him, the fact that he supports this rhetoric…this is unacceptable, and we remain firm to this stance.” Asked to comment on the fact that the entire Balkans, but also Europe are waiting on the decision of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic as to whether Serbia wants integration with the West or Russia, Allen said that she does not speak on behalf of Vucic, but that she will notice that partnership with Russia cannot exist if at the same time you claim to be a partner of the EU. “Serbia is a partner of the United States. We will encourage them to go their own way towards European integration,” Allen said. Asked how much and in what way the events in the Western Balkans are connected to the war in Ukraine and whether one should pay more attention to certain tendencies that could influence the region, Allen said that they are connected because one is witnessing an increasingly aggressive Russia that wants to destabilize the region as it destabilized Ukraine and then attacked it. “We must be clear regarding that threat and we must follow what Dodik is doing and whether it fits into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals. That is why our partnership here in B&H and in the Western Balkans is unwavering. We have been B&H’s friends and partners for 30 years and we will continue to be, because we believe that the future of this country is in the Euro Atlantic community, not Russia,” Allen underlined. She pointed out that the US is absolutely ready, willing and capable of opposing those that act Anti-Dayton when they hear anti-Dayton rhetoric and threats from Dodik and others. “We consider that to be the biggest threat to B&H. We will continue to hold people accountable, as we did with the sanctions. There are means, there is readiness, and we are closely monitoring the situation. In our opinion, the future of B&H is turned to Brussels, not Moscow,” Allen pointed out. Asked to comment on the fact that the RS authorities criminalized defamation with a law and how the US can help in eliminating the negative consequences, Allen said that the US clearly said that the law on defamation and the draft law on foreign agents and organizations are some kind of model, instruction from Russia. “It is very similar to what Russia did to influence and weaken the media, civil society and their activities. It is necessary to speak against such laws, because they often lead in the wrong direction, saying that they are protecting them, but in fact it is about destroying the truth and opposing the goals that we and the citizens believe in… We will continue to invest in independent media and encourage their work,” Allen underlined.


Croatia moves closer to a new Sabor and a new government (HRT1/N1)


As we wait for Andrej Plenkovic to announce the make-up of his new cabinet, HDZ Vice President Ivan Anusic said that the jigsaw puzzle of putting it all together was more or less finished and that HDZ and the Homeland Movement have already agreed on all of the key issues they needed to work out as they set out to govern together as a coalition. Anusic said there were no ultimatums. "When it comes to the coalition agreement, it will be presented in a joint statement by the PM and HDZ President Andrej Plenkovic and the President of the Homeland Movement Ivan Penava. There is no ultimatum contained within,” said Anusic.

The Homeland Movement's Josip Dabro backed this up in an interview on N1 television. "Extortion never does anyone any good. There is no extortion here, I agree with my colleague Anusic. What Mr. Bartulica insisted on in the talks and all that is in line with our policy framework, I support. But insisting on conditions is too harsh of a characterization,” said Dabro. Some of the Homeland Movement's terms were the creation of a museum honoring the victims of communist crimes and a review of the handling of the Covid crisis. Anusic said the museum was not an issue for the HDZ, but he did push back on the pandemic review saying it was something that could be discussed further. "Ok, we can sit down and talk about it and come to an agreement on everything that is within the mainstream of government policy that Croatian needs,” said Anusic. Another policy that the Homeland Movement wants is a stronger position against what they describe as gender ideology. "I'm pleased that my colleagues on the other side of the table during the talks were also against gender ideology, so I'm glad we're on the same page and that gender ideology cannot be a barrier to our cooperation,” said Dabro. As far as who will sit in the cabinet, what we do know is that Justice Minister Ivan Malenica is leaving. He will be serving as an MP. The President has called the opening session of the new Sabor for Thursday. If MPs manage to approve all of the key roles, speaker and the deputy speakers, committee chairs, and so on, then they can move on to passing a law on the organization of the future government, which will have two additional ministries. Once that is done and the law is signed by the President, then the new government can be named and approved. If things go quickly, it could all be over on Friday, if not, the new government will be approved early next week.


Parliamentary majority meeting: Preparation of Jasenovac Resolution text agreed (CdM)


At yesterday’s meeting of the parliamentary majority leaders held at the parliament of Montenegro, it was agreed to prepare the text of the Resolution on Jasenovac and submit it for harmonization. CdM learns that the Resolution should be prepared by the For the Future of Montenegro (ZBCG) coalition and the Europe Now Movement (PES). The meeting was attended by the parliamentary majority leaders, Parliament Speaker and NSD leader Andrija Mandic, PES leader and PM Milojko Spajic, leaders of DNP, Democrats, SNP, Albanian Forum and FORCA Milan Knezevic, Aleksa Becic, Vladimir Jokovic, Nik Gjeloshaj and Genzi Nimanbegu, respectively. Mandic previously announced that the political representatives of the Serbian people would propose a Resolution on Jasenovac, which would be proposed to the parliament of Montenegro. That initiative followed after PM Spajic announced that the government would vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations for the Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica.


Knezevic: Questionable support for the government if Montenegro supports the resolution on Srebrenica (Portal Adria/Kurir)


The President of the Democratic People's Party (DNP) Milan Knezevic told Kurir that together with the leader of the NSD Andrija Mandic and other leaders of the Serbian parties, they are working intensively to talk to Prime Minister Milojko Spajic and to additionally explain to him the consequences of Montenegro's vote for possible support for the Resolution on Srebrenica in the United Nations. "You know that this current government is also supported by Serbian parties, those from the former block for a common state, and that the government cannot survive without their support. We have already announced that we are questioning the support of his government and that we will make a decision at the party bodies after the vote in the United Nations. "Yesterday, I told the prime minister that it is difficult for us to continue supporting his government if Montenegro supports the Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica," Knezevic told Kurir. He also revealed that the resolution on the genocide in Jasenovac will be submitted in a few days, and that the European Movement "will now be the one to submit the proposal for the resolution". "It will be filed in a few days. "If the resolution on the genocide in Jasenovac is adopted, Montenegro will be the first country in Europe to pass a resolution on the genocide in Jasenovac and express reverence for over 700,000 murdered Jews, Serbs and Roma," concluded Knezevic. "The decision on the Resolution in Srebrenica, i.e. the Resolution itself, is based on the Resolution of the Security Council from 1993 of April 16, which clearly introduces temporary measures to the then FRY and individually states Serbia and Montenegro to undertake all activities to prevent the commission of genocide on the territory of B&H. This is precisely the proof that by voting for the Resolution, Montenegro would have declared itself genocidal because we were then in a common state," said Knezevic. According to him, it must not be forgotten that the first president of RS Radovan Karadzic was a Montenegrin citizen and that many Montenegrin citizens participated in that war and that, as he says, "the very top of Montenegro helped the Army of RS on Drina". "They also helped the state leadership. If it were not for the support of Milo Djukanovic and Momir Bulatovic, RS probably would not have been part of B&H in this form. Spajic should be aware of the fact that according to the latest census, 30 percent of Serbs live in Montenegro. According to this new census, the results of which are not published as if it were done in Beijing or Shanghai, the results will be significantly higher, closer to 40 percent. If this is the case, almost half of the citizens of Montenegro will be labeled genocidal. If we add to that the significant number of people who are Montenegrins who oppose this resolution, then that number goes to 70-75 percent of the Orthodox population," Knezevic said. As he states, the Resolution does not aim at reconciliation in the region or good neighborly relations, and, he says, will "disrupt" relations with Serbia and RS. "The very fact that that Resolution was written under the auspices of Germany and Rwanda, and it was co-sponsored by all the countries of the former SFRY in secret for eight months, speaks volumes for the Serbian people, wherever they live, to declare themselves genocidal." No one can explain to us that this is being done for our good. It's like a few neighbors breaking into your apartment, taking your furniture and announcing that we're going to lie on the floor because it's for our own good. This is a direct intrusion into the national interests not only of Serbia and RS, but of the entire Serbian people, and I am convinced that in the coming period, if this resolution is passed, relations between Serbia and Montenegro will be completely disrupted," Knezevic said. He states that it is obvious that Montenegro is sliding into "instability" and the support of the Serbian parties to the Spajic government is questionable. Knezevic is of the opinion that the USA also has influence in this regard, but of course they washed their hands. "Now we have amendments that are like mint tea, i.e. the martyr's last wish before death to first cut off his head and then his hands, not as it was originally intended." That story about the amendments seems unconvincing, and it is clear to everyone in Montenegro that Montenegro will enter a serious type of instability. I am not sure that Prime Minister Spajic will not consider everything that we communicated to him yesterday. "I expect that during the voting on the Resolution, even though I think it will be postponed, we will still vote differently than Prime Minister Spajic," said Knezevic.


North Macedonia joined NATO under constitutional name (MIA)


North Macedonia joined NATO under its constitutional name and is represented by that name, a NATO official told Greek news agency ANA-MPA, MIA reports from Athens. The statement comes after President Gordana Siljanovska Davkova failed to use the constitutional name during her swearing-in ceremony. The NATO official says North Macedonia is a valued ally that significantly contributes to the Alliance's collective security, noting its troops' deployment in Kosovo, Iraq, multinational battlegroups in Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania. "The Prespa Agreement paved the way for North Macedonia’s accession to NATO and contributed to good neighborly relations, which are important to maintain between allies. North Macedonia joined the Alliance under its constitutional name, and is represented in NATO by that name," he said.


President Siljanovska-Davkova meets EU Ambassador Geer (MIA)


President Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova met Tuesday with the Head of the EU Delegation to the country, Ambassador David Geer, the President’s Office said in a press release. At the meeting, President Siljanovska-Davkova voiced gratitude over the congratulatory messages she received from the heads of the European Union over her inauguration, and voiced readiness for complete cooperation with the EU Delegation in Skopje over the country’s accession process, highlighting the importance of the Delegation as a coordinator of the EU’s activities in the country. “President Siljanovska-Davkova noted the need for progress in the process for EU membership, as the country’s strategic goal and the desire of the majority of Macedonian citizens. Our future, according to President Siljanovska-Davkova, is doubtlessly within the European Union, while the country’s place is on the same table with the European countries which we are united with because of historic, cultural and moral traditions and values,” the press release said. Siljanovska-Davkova highlighted her readiness to contribute to the building of unity in the country over issues of national and state interest, as well as to contribute to securing political and social consensus over the reform agenda and the adoption of laws marked with the EU flag, in order, she stressed, to avoid its misuse. “The President stated that despite the high level of readiness of the Macedonian administration and its experience, the process of fulfilling the criteria is suffering due to the political circumstances and moves that certain EU member states are also responsible for. In that context, she pointed to the need of restoring trust in the merit-based process of integration, with a focus on fulfilling the Copenhagen Criteria,” the press release said.


Rama announces creation of new autonomous force, independent from Ministries (Radio Tirana)


Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced the establishment of a new, autonomous inspection force, independent of ministries, during a meeting with business representatives at the Business House. The meeting outlined the primary steps to be undertaken in the inspection reform. This reform aims to build a system based on cooperation, transparency, self-declaration, facilitation of business operations, and the guarantee of free competition, rather than on penalization. Rama noted that current inspections remain a weak point despite improvements. He emphasized that the pressure of corruption persists and is unjustifiable, as the current stage presents an opportunity for significant advancements. "A reform of the inspectorates and a significant reduction in their number, combining several functions that are currently separated, and merging each function-specific inspectorate into a group of inspectorates is essential. Separating inspectorates from ministries to establish a new and autonomous force under the umbrella of the Chief State Inspector will pave the way for a new phase in this field. This approach changes both the attitude and the content of the entire state framework, redefining the role of inspectors and elevating their status to a new level, similar to customs, parts of the tax system, or the civil service," the Prime Minister stated. He added that this new body will not hold both the "stone and the nut", implying that it will not both impose fines and review complaints. Complaint handling will involve appeal commissions with business representatives in a transparent and collegial manner, creating a barrier that cannot be easily breached. This aims to prevent the common practice of appeal commissions upholding prior inspector decisions. Rama’s initiative seeks to eliminate inefficiencies and corruption in the inspection process, fostering a more business-friendly environment that supports free and fair competition.


Hasani meets Tomlinson: Positive Political Dialogue with the UK (Radio Tirana)


Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Igli Hasani received the UK's Minister of State for Countering Illegal Migration Michael Tomlinson. Hasani highlighted on social media that their discussion focused on the strong bilateral ties and the very good political dialogue between the two countries, emphasizing strategies to enhance joint efforts in addressing illegal migration and organized crime. "The bilateral legal framework supporting cooperation between Albania and the United Kingdom plays a crucial role in effectively addressing these challenges," Hasani stated. Tomlinson was in Tirana as part of the Inter-ministerial Conference of Western Balkan countries, titled "Cooperation for Security and Migration Flows through the Western Balkans".


Rama: Albania ready for EU in 2030, trend of emigration from the country will be stabilized (Radio Tirana)


Prime Minister Edi Rama spoke in a television interview about the emigration of young people from the country. "The narrative that young people leave because they are dissatisfied, leave due to corruption, is another myth. A young person who is now in a periphery of Albania, is in a certain area of Albania, has every right in the world to say I do not want to wait for the change, and I will leave because change is there. That's where it starts," Rama said. "Of course, Albania does not have the internal strength today to say why should I leave, I'm fine here. But that's changing too. This is the hardest part and it's the part that will determine the success of my entire mission and Albania in 2030 will be a place where this trend will be balanced," Prime Minister Edi Rama said. Asked about integration into the EU, Rama added, "Today we are at a historic moment, and we are very close to joining the EU." "In 2030, Albania will be ready, which means we will carry out all those reforms not for them, but for ourselves and then it is a matter of decision-making. But the fact that Albania will be ready does not mean it is ready to receive a diploma there, but to act as a state of EU," Rama said.