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Belgrade Media Report 17 May 2024



Vucic: I guarantee to the people that I will do everything to preserve the honor and image of our Serbia (RTS/B92)


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was a guest on the show "Thursday at 9" on RTS, where he spoke about all current topics. At the beginning of his guest appearance, Vucic commented on the assassination of Robert Fico and said that it was simply unimaginable that this would happen in this day and age. "He is a great friend of Serbia, a sincere friend, you can't put pressure on him. Part of it is, apart from traditional friendship, also due to the fact that the two of us are personal friends," said Vucic. He added that Fico is a great leader with an indomitable will. "I believe in his mental strength. I believe that when a person is mentally strong, he can overcome physical injuries," he pointed out.


About the upcoming elections

"I'm begging the people from SNS, whom I love very much, I have to apologize to them because I have to do a big and national job. I'll be in Novi Sad for a big meeting on Sunday and I won't be there anymore. People think that it doesn't matter who they vote for. The elections are not game, not a toy. We have EXPO, we have goals, the average salary is 1,400 euros, in Belgrade we will be at the level of today's EU average or above, for that we need to work hard, not to make experiments," he said. He called on citizens to go to the polls. "I invite people to go to the polls on 2 June and vote according to their conscience," he added. He added that he cannot choose opponents, that sometimes opponents are chosen by foreigners, sometimes by people here, and sometimes by situations in the country.


On Resolution on Srebrenica

"Why did I choose this path? In seven days you will be talking to someone here in the studio, and I will be in New York. They will formally win, but I think every Serb will feel proud. And tonight we fought and received confirmation that some will abstain. So all those who do not enter the hall or, as it is colloquially said, "will be in the toilet" are those who did not want to vote for the Resolution", he said. "We will confront each other. I insisted that we fight because we have learned to be constantly hit, to lose, and at the same time to pretend that it didn't happen. If an 18-year-old schoolboy comes and beats him, what's the point of shame on a 12-year-old boy, why would he hide it from his friends and parents, that's the least I'll say to their faces'', he added. "What I will tell them will go down in history. They lie all the time," Vucic points out. He added that Serbia delivered everything. "Who Serbia did not extradite, it extradited everyone. Everything you could do, you did. Why are you lying about individual responsibility? I am not seething with anger, but with honor and pride. That is the difference between us. I entered in the ring against someone tougher, knowing I'm going to lose but I'm going to fight," he said. He pointed out that they are looking for revision of history and war reparations. "They are looking for revision of history and war reparations. They have no other goal, they are not interested in anything else. Because I didn't bow my head enough in 2015? You didn't want regret, for someone to show remorse and the greatest possible piety? And what do you want, punishment for the entire nation, what are you lying about in Berlin, in Washington, everywhere that it is individual guilt?" asked Vucic. He states that our resistance will be very strong. "It's not that they didn't achieve unity, but they divided the world. They always provoke this. It's interesting how people from the region think they can make decisions about Serbia, only we are not allowed to do that," he said. "Science was never their argument. According to what kind of science can you have two living witnesses and several statements of several witnesses for the eye gouging and murder of Judge Slobodan Ilic and that the judges in the Hague Tribunal overrule the judges by 3 to 2 and acquit the criminal? So, where is the justice there? It's gone," he added. He pointed out that a difficult period is ahead of us. "In the coming period, it will be difficult for us, we will fight. And after that, let's start working even harder, to make a difference," he said. "There is no more delay, there is too much nervousness about this, the German representative travelled to Kenya, he lobbied there, he called the heads of several countries to explain to them how to vote. They think they have finished all and provided over 100 countries in favor of the resolution, we will do our best to thwart their plans," says Vucic. He emphasized that the Resolution on Srebrenica is very important and that he knows what serious consequences it can cause. "My political sense tells me that the Resolution on Srebrenica is extremely important, perhaps more important than anything else. I know what serious consequences it will cause, not perhaps for us, but for future generations, if they see that it was easy for them, how If they wanted something nice, they would come to an agreement with us, and not with the Germans. The goals of the resolution are: 1. the abolition of the Republika Srpska, 2. the review of the verdict for the responsibility of the Republic of Serbia, 3. to sue us for compensation war damage, and 4. additional burdening Serbia and putting a burden on its back, and their goal is not to build closer relations, but to destroy any kind of resistance to their centralist state contrary to the Dayton Agreement," he pointed out. He said that relations with Sarajevo are getting worse. "Relations with Sarajevo are constantly going downhill. The only kind of progress was made in those moments when we sent the people we arrested to the Hague Tribunal in black bags. We arrested some from the other side of the Drina, so we transferred them secretly to central Serbia to be extradited We sent the president of our country on Vidovdan, it's the biggest shame. We invest more money in those municipalities where Bosniaks are the majority trampling on one's own people," he added. "Their main protagonist, Becirovic, wrote a book about the four genocides that the Serbs carried out against them since the First Serbian Uprising. What should I talk about with him? When I can't talk about roads, factories... They are not interested. They were in front of regarding salaries and pensions. Now we have salaries 150 Euros higher than them, a difference of only 10 years," he pointed out. He added that next Wednesday will witness the birth of a new order. "Next Thursday you will be able to see a new order being born. There is a significant part of the countries that can stand up to their terror, that no longer hesitates to speak freely. Nobody can deny me that. Threaten me? You can try. "Hungary is certainly a free country, but so are many others. Macedonians are our brothers and friends, and how it works for them is another matter," he pointed out. He also referred to Montenegro and its position. "When you lead a country and when you know that you have a brotherly people, you have to continue to work in the closest way. What do you want me to say about Montenegro? If one Mexico abstains or Nicaragua is against, I can tell you about that because they are strong people, and Montenegro to be for? But that also tells you how much the order in the world is changing. Their apologetic reasons for the public are the funniest," he added. "I have come to terms with my political fate. I am an ordinary little man, the elected president of a small but libertarian country. I will never forget the fact that they did not and will not run over Serbia. For me, the future is in the books. I guarantee the people that I will do everything to "save the honor and image of our one and only Serbia. We don't have a spare homeland, we don't have another country. Our country has been attacked in a disgusting way and we have no choice," said Vucic. "We are the only country whose land is being stolen. They are talking about Ukraine, and who is stealing a piece of land from this country. According to which resolution? They don't care. The resolution is called "we are much stronger and stronger than you". Do you want us to bow our heads? "When those from the region start courting each other from the region, it's so disgusting and you don't believe it's possible. I told them to stop doing that even today, because they won't enter the EU before Ukraine. Even the sparrows on the branch know that," Vucic said. Vucic said that Hungary will definitely vote against the Resolution on Srebrenica at the UN General Assembly, adding he was certain that neither Slovakia nor Cyprus would vote in favor. “I hope and I believe that my personal and this country’s friends from the Emirates and Bahrain will not vote for it,” said Vucic, reported RTS. He added that he is almost sure “our Chinese friends will be against it”. “And for the first time, and that is of immense importance. I personally talked to (Chinese President) Xi about this, and he told me how disgusted he was with everything they are doing against Serbia, and I am infinitely grateful to him for that,” said Vucic, adding that the Chinese president is a responsible and serious man. He underlined that Serbia is doing all it can, but that it is a small country that cannot compare with the Berlin-London-Washington group, which advocates for the adoption of the Resolution. Vucic said that countries are under tremendous pressure ahead of the UN General Assembly session. “In seven days, precisely at this time, I presume, the session of the United Nations General Assembly will end. They will formally win. I think every citizen of Serbia, regardless of nationality, will feel proud,” said the Serbian President. Commenting on how the countries in the region will vote, Vucic said the people of North Macedonia “are our brothers and friends,” despite the fact that they are one of the co-sponsors of the Resolution, RTS reported. “When you lead a state and you know you have a brotherly people, you must not be a cynic, but continue to work in the best way possible. What can I say about Montenegro, Mexico will abstain, Nicaragua will be against, and Montenegro will vote in favor. China will be against, and Montenegro for. But that tells you how the world order is changing,” said Vucic. “The vote they will give says enough about the region,” he said, emphasizing, however, that those most responsible are the ones who started the whole thing. “Blaming Podgorica and Skopje, rather than those who did this – it would be hypocritical and cowardly to do that. Will we be happy with the decisions of Skopje and Podgorica? Of course not. And is that fair to Serbia? Of course not,” said the Serbian President.


Vucic: Pristina's announcement another trick by Kurti, lobbyists (Tanjug)


Commenting on Pristina's announcement it would submit its own statute of a Community of Serb Municipalities to the so-called Kosovo constitutional court by end-May, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday it was another trick by Albin Kurti and his helpers and lobbyists. "It is another trick played together by Albin Kurti and his helpers, including Gerald Knaus and all of their other lobbyists," Vucic said in Kotor, Montenegro. "Who are they to submit their own text? The Brussels agreement states quite clearly it should be done by a Serbian management or, if we agree - as we have agreed, contextually, conceptually and in principle - it should be a text submitted by the EU. What do they have to do with that and how are they supposed to submit anything?" Vucic said in response to questions from reporters. "Of course, it is a trick because the English are now pressuring everyone else to accept Council of Europe membership for Kosovo and Metohija," Vucic said. "So, it is another attempt, but I do not know whether they will do that or not. But, of course, it is a trick, rather than a serious attempt to do anything towards implementing the 2013 and 2015 Brussels agreements or even the draft statute recently submitted by the EU," Vucic said.


Vucic, O'Brien discuss situation in region, Kosovo and Metohija (Politika/Tanjug/RTV)


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien in Kotor, Montenegro, on Thursday to discuss the current regional and geopolitical situations, progress in the Western Balkans' EU accession process and opportunities for further strengthening of relations and expanding Serbia-EU cooperation. They met on the sidelines of a Western Balkans-EU summit in Kotor, Montenegro. "Even though we disagreed on most issues concerning Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia appreciates US engagement when it comes to insistence on implementation of agreements reached in the dialogue, including, above all, on establishment of a Community of Serb Municipalities," Vucic wrote on Instagram. He said he had taken the opportunity to point out the challenges and pressure facing Serbia, reiterating that Serbia was, sincerely and without reservations, advocating preservation of peace, stability and cooperation but that it would never give up fighting for the truth, justice and defence of its state and national interests. Vucic added that he had thanked the US for supporting the pro-reform and European path of the entire region, which he said would, above all, be reflected in new opportunities and better life for all citizens.


Vucic speaks by phone with Kobahidze (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke by phone with Georgian PM Irakli Kobahidze about all challenges facing Serbia in the regional and international arenas, matters of significance for Serbia-Georgia relations as well as further development of political and economic relations and introducing direct flights between Belgrade and Tbilisi. "I informed PM Kobahidze of developments in Kosovo-Metohija and thanked him for Georgia's principled position of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia and not recognising the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called Kosovo," Vucic wrote on Instagram after the discussion with Kobahidze. He added that he had exchanged views with Kobahidze on all complex global and regional issues, noting that Serbia was firmly advocating preservation of peace and stability in the region. "I also informed PM Kobahidze of Serbia's position on adoption of a Srebrenica resolution and reiterated our country's principled position on the issue, noting the significance of a fair and balanced approach to historic events. I asked him for Georgia's support and thanked him for understanding the positions of Serbia, which is fighting for its country and its people and law and justice," Vucic wrote in the post.


Improving bilateral relations with United States in all areas of mutual interest (Tanjug)


Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric met today with US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Elizabeth Allen. After welcoming his guest to Serbia, Djuric referred to the 143-year long tradition of bilateral relations. Your first official visit to our country comes at an important moment and greatly contributes, not only to the dynamic and versatile political dialogue at the high and highest level, but also to a new era of Serbian-American relations that we have witnessed in the last decade, Djuric stated. The head of Serbian diplomacy, in addition to the political and economic aspects of cooperation between the two countries, also mentioned military and defence cooperation as one of the strongholds in our relations in recent decades. We are proud of the partnership of the Serbian Armed Forces and the Ohio National Guard, which, with its diversity, joint commitment and effort, both in the military and in the civilian segment, has in a special way strengthened the ties between our armed forces, governments and institutions, and which has, most importantly, contributed to greater closeness between our peoples, Djuric pointed out. Recalling Operation Halliard, Serbian scientists in the famous Apollo mission, but also big names like Nikola Tesla and Mihajlo Pupin, who built bridges between Serbia and the United States of America in the old days of our partnership, Djuric expressed his belief that in the future we will continue to improve bilateral relations in all areas of mutual interest, according to a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Petkovic: CoE must not fall for Kurti's trick (Tanjug/Politika)


The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic said on Thursday Albin Kurti and his mentors were trying to deceive the Council of Europe (CoE) ahead of a meeting of the organisation's Committee of Ministers. In a last-minute letter to the CoE, they said they would allegedly meet a commitment to submit a statute of a Community of Serb Municipalities to Pristina's constitutional court, Petkovic said in a statement released by the Office. The CoE must not fall for that trick as all Kurti is doing now has nothing to do with dialogue but with his violent unilateral moves aimed against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, Petkovic said. The letter says the statute was being drawn up by Kurti in coordination with local Serbs who are loyal to him, based on a document prepared by Germany's Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the statement said. Petkovic said the letter was made up of purely false claims aimed at helping Kurti to avoid his commitments from the dialogue with Belgrade. "Under agreements reached in Brussels, a final Statute is to be agreed and adopted in high-level dialogue, so the possibility of it being a unilateral act by Pristina is out of the question," he said, noting that drafting a statute was a competence of a steering team that had presented its statute in Brussels on 2 May. "The Steering Team is comprised of Kosovo Serbs and officially represents the interests of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija on this matter," Petkovic said. A "big five" of Western powers and the EU special envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajcak presented in Belgrade on 23 October last year a draft statute prepared by the EU, Petkovic noted, adding that this was another proof claims in the letter were false. "Belgrade expressed readiness to work on that (EU) document as a good starting point for drawing up a final statute. Our positive attitude towards that document was expressed clearly in the section relating to respect of 2013 and 2015 agreements, without going into status-related issues," Petkovic said, adding that Kurti had publicly rejected the EU's draft statute, declining to discuss it. "It is impossible for NGOs to write a statute of a Community of Serb Municipalities, let alone for such a document to be purported as some kind of an official proposal," Petkovic added. "A small company of people who have gathered around illegitimate ethnic Albanian mayors cannot be a legitimate representative of the Serbs with which Kurti could discuss a statute, especially in view of the fact those individuals have won 3.5 per cent of ethnic Albanian votes in the north (of Kosovo and Metohija) while the Serbs boycotted those elections," Petkovic also said.


Kosovo announces draft ZSO statute, Stano says it should be presented in dialogue (N1/Radio KiM)


EU spokesperson Peter Stano said that the content of the statute for the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (ZSO) that Pristina has announced is unknown to EU institutions and that therefore Brussels cannot comment on it. “The content of the statute announced to be drafted by the Kosovo government is unknown and not discussed with Serbia and the EU Facilitator. Therefore, it is impossible to assess its compatibility with the Agreements of 2013 and 2015 at this stage,” Stano wrote in response to media questions. “We welcome Kosovo’s readiness to finally engage now as since 2013, regrettably, Kosovo has not undertaken any steps towards the establishment of A/CSM and thereby towards increased protection of rights of people belonging to minorities, despite ample opportunities to do so,” wrote Stano. He recalled that “the EU-facilitated Dialogue and Kosovo’s membership application for the Council of Europe (CoE) are separate processes”. “However, both the EU and the CoE are organizations based on the respect for rule of law, human rights and protection of the rights of people belonging to national minorities,” said the spokesperson. He said it is important to recall that establishing the ZSO is Kosovo’s longstanding unfulfilled obligation stemming from the 2013 Dialogue agreement – the only dialogue agreement ratified by the Kosovo parliament with a 2/3 majority. “It is therefore a clear legal obligation for Kosovo under international law and thus a rule of law issue important to both organizations,” emphasized Stano. At the same time, he said, according to the relevant dialogue agreements, the statute establishing the ZSO should be presented and discussed in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Stano noted that, in October last year, the EU – supported by its Member States and partners – presented a draft statute for the establishment of the ZSO based on “the best European models and practices, as well as the Kosovo legal framework”. In its conclusions of December 2023, the European Council welcomed Serbia’s and Kosovo’s readiness to accept the draft statute presented to the parties by the EU Facilitator, he added. This is a formal acknowledgement of the document by all 27 EU Member States,” said Peter Stano.


No CoE Committee of Ministers debate on Pristina's membership bid (Tanjug/RTV)


The Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers did not debate the so-called Kosovo's CoE membership bid on Friday after it was not included in the final agenda adopted before the committee met in Strasbourg, Tanjug learns. Prior to the meeting, Hungarian FM Peter Szijjarto told Tanjug his country did not support Pristina's membership bid and that its principled position was that it wanted to see a successful finalisation of the Belgrade and Pristina dialogue. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, German FM Annalena Baerbock called on Pristina to meet the required conditions as soon as possible to enable Germany to encourage a majority of CoE member states to back its admission to the organisation. French Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Noel Barrot said his country believed the issue of Pristina's CoE membership could cause divisions within the organisation at this stage and that it should be discussed later, once Pristina completed the necessary path. Previously, in a letter to Pristina's PM Albin Kurti, France, Germany and Italy noted that Pristina had not met the conditions set by the international community for its CoE admission after taking no steps towards establishing a Community of Serb Municipalities, and called on the Pristina government to reconsider a decision to send its own statute of the Community to the so-called Kosovo's constitutional court.


Go-Change movement confirms participation in Belgrade elections (N1)


Savo Manojlovic, candidate for mayor and leader of the Kreni-Promeni (Go-Change) list in the Belgrade elections, announced that the movement will participate in the elections as opposition lists have been accepted. Manojlovic stated that the latest electoral list for Vracar under the Go-Change banner has been approved, fulfilling the conditions outlined in the request they presented. He mentioned they received an invitation from RTS yesterday for an appearance with Milenko Jovanovic, which they declined. However, he stated they are now prepared to accept the invitation but insist that Aleksandar Sapic be present in the debate. “If Jovanovic, with all due respect, is the best that this list can offer to Belgrade, then indeed he should not lead this city,” Manojlovic remarked.




Dodik: Necessary measures will be adopted at Assembly of all Serbs as response to Srebrenica resolution (RTRS)


Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik stated on Thursday that representatives of the RS and Serbia will adopt necessary measures at the Assembly of all Serbs in Belgrade on 8 June, as a response to the announced adoption of the resolution on Srebrenica in the UN General Assembly (UN GA). In this regard, Dodik mentioned “general measures related to our behaviour in the RS and in Serbia, our bodies and peoples no matter where they live.” In his opinion, they should be grateful to the countries that announced they will not support adoption of the resolution. Dodik argued that the resolution is an attempt - in a treacherous way - to morally disqualify the Serb people adding that they cannot accept any talks on this issue. Dodik reiterated that “the act was not agreed, and its adoption will have immense consequences for internal agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H).” The UN GA is set to vote on the resolution on 23 May 2024. Speaking about this topic, RS Prime Minister (PM) Radovan Viskovic argued that this will bring nothing good to people in B&H. Viskovic stated that Bosniaks will not benefit out of this adding that Bosniaks count to some benefit out of that. In this regard, Viskovic said that Bosniaks were advised to sue Serbia demanding compensation of damage for aggression and abolition of the RS because it is a genocidal creation, adding that they have already lost.


Dodik: Schmidt, Becirovic’s addressing UN SC shows how much UN SC is derogated (RTRS)


RS President Milorad Dodik stated that the fact that illegitimate High Representative (HR) Christian Schmidt and Chairman of the B&H Presidency Denis Becirovic addressed the UN Security Council (UN SC) proves how much the world organization is actually derogated. Dodik reiterated that Becirovic did not harmonize his speech with the RS. In his opinion, this also shows that the UN SC became a destabilizing factor of B&H. According to Dodik, all this speaks about a confusion in B&H and the inability of the Bosniak policy. Dodik underlined that the UN SC did not appoint Schmidt and the US, the UK and France ignore that. Dodik said that the UN SC did not vote on anything underlining the importance that the Russian Permanent Representative to the UN informed the UN SC about the report of the RS Government. Dodik stated that Becirovic presented lies about the RS and assessed that the lies that the RS authorities threaten peace represent a part of the continuity of Becirovic’s and the overall Bosniak policies that focus on fabricating lies about the RS and Serbs. Dodik said that “the non-appointed Christian Schmidt” was not supposed to be in the UN SC but he still addressed the session. Dodik accused Becirovic of falsely presenting himself at the highest world level. According to Dodik, all this shows how far the UN SC has come, but it is important that Russia made sure that the voice of the RS was heard. The reasonable approach of China and Russia is absolutely ignored by those who use force in these areas. What is visible is that the Security Council is not there to vote on anything", noted the RS President. Commenting on the Schmidt’s report, Dodik said in Banja Luka on Thursday they hear the stances presented before the UN SC on a daily basis. Dodik said that now, they obviously headed into a direction of a systemic personalization of culprit.


US Ambassador to UN Robert Wood says stability of B&H is key for peace in Europe (Dnevni avaz)


The daily reminds that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood stated during the regular session of the UN Security Council dedicated to the situation in B&H that the stability of B&H is key for peace in Europe. According to the daily, with only one sentence, the US diplomat cooled the heated heads in the region, and he said that peace, territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H are at the top of the priorities of the US and that the US will not allow dangerous political rhetoric to become more than that. During the debate on B&H, Ambassador Wood reminded that the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in B&H almost 30 years ago, but also that the OHR is still key in ensuring the implementation of civil aspect of the agreement and functioning of B&H institutions. Wood added that RS President Milorad Dodik’s rhetoric is a threat to peace in the region and that the genocide in Srebrenica is a historical fact.


US Ambassador to B&H Murphy openly criticized Komsic, SDA’s Izetbegovic and HDZ B&H’s Covic (FTV/N1)


In his interview to N1 on Wednesday, US Ambassador to B&H Michael Murphy spoke about irresponsible conduct of some of the politicians in B&H and accusations that the U.S. is to blame for the election defeat of some of the political parties. He openly criticized DF leader Zeljko Komsic and SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic for deciding to attack the US as their friends after they lost the elections. Murphy reminded political leaders of the crucial importance of reaching compromise in problem solving and moving the country forward. He again marked HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic as a factor who blocks agreement on the project of Southern Interconnection Gas Pipeline that would move B&H away from the current total dependence on Russian energy sources. Murphy assessed that Southern Interconnection is a very important project and the US wants B&H not to rely on energy sources from Russia, as it is well-known that Russia uses its full control of energy sources to blackmail. He added that the project is also important for practical reasons, as it will open new jobs and help companies develop and grow. Murphy warned that Covic blocks this project and although he says that he tries to help Croats, he does not do so in this case at all. He stressed that as a consequence of Covic's obstructions, Croats do not have access to gas or a reliable and cost-effective source. Murphy also stressed that Covic has not done anything to at least address a “number of mistakes” in RS President and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik’s actions. “For the Federation of B&H (FB&H) to function effectively, you need an effective Bosniak-Croat partnership. It was something that fell apart and needs to be rebuilt. We would like to see Dragan Covic speak more clearly and directly about some anti-Dayton problems, such as Dodik's rhetoric and other actions. We told him that. It's disappointing that he has not done so. We won't throw in the towel on what has been done so far in B&H”, Murphy emphasized.


RS CoP in session: No consent in regards to Election Law and Law on Referendum and Civic Initiative of RS (Hayat)


At its session held on Thursday, the RS Council of Peoples (CoP) rejected a demand of Bosniak Caucus in the RS CoP to impose mechanism of protection of Vital National Interest (VNI) to the RS Election Law and the RS Law on Referendum. Hayat reports that the RS Election Law enables the RS to claim state-level competences in area of elections. The RS Law on Referendum stipulates that successful referendum will require majority of citizens who voted in it and not majority of total number of voters. Since demand of Bosniak Caucus did not get support in the RS CoP, a joint commission of the RS CoP and the RS parliament should discuss it. Later, it might be discussed by the RS Constitutional Court. Hayat reports that until this procedure is completed, abovementioned laws cannot enter into force. RS CoP speaker Srebrenka Golic (SNSD) told reporters that the vital national interest is still in effect as there was no agreement on the issue, explaining that the Joint Commission of the RS CoP and the RS parliament is now expected to consider it. Head of the Bosniak Caucus in the RS CoP Alija Tabakovic (SDA) said that in case that the Joint Commission of the RS CoP and the RS parliament also rejects the veto – the issue will be forwarded to the RS Constitutional Court (CC), but that previous cases indicate that the RS CC would reject the Bosniak Caucus’ veto again.


SNSD Presidency discusses current situation in RS; Dodik: SNSD proposes other parties in RS not to participate in local elections in line with Schmidt’s imposed decisions (ATV)


The Presidency of SNSD held a session in Banja Luka on Thursday. On this occasion, the SNSD Presidency discussed the current political and economic situation in RS. The focus was set on the issue of participation in this year’s local elections. After the session, SNSD leader and RS President Milorad Dodik addressed media and said that SNSD proposes other parties in the RS not to participate in the local elections, if it will be carried out according to Christian Schmidt’s imposed decisions. According to Dodik, SNSD will participate in the local elections exclusively in line with the RS Election Law and not based on laws imposed by Schmidt. “That is the only way the RS can prove its subjectivity, noted Dodik. The SNSD leader added: “SNSD urges all parliamentary parties in the RS to show political subjectivity and the willingness not to allow Schmidt to impose laws.” The SNSD leader announced that SNSD will propose this to coalition partners in the RS as well as the parties from the opposition, given that SNSD’s stance is that the RS has the right to conduct its elections according to its law. In addition, Dodik stressed that the Election Law was not endorsed by the RS Council of Peoples (CoP), due to which the law is still in procedure. After the SNSD Presidency’s session, parties from the ruling coalition in the RS held a meeting at which they all supported SNSD’s stances to invite opposition parties to a meeting in order to discuss participation in the elections exclusively according to the RS Election Law. The meeting has been scheduled for Monday, starting at 14:00 hours, and all parties from the RS – including the opposition – are invited to attend. If the agreement is not reached at that meeting, the ruling coalition will hold another meeting on Tuesday to reach their stance. United Srpska leader and Speaker of the RS National Assembly (RSNA) Nenad Stevandic said that the Bosniak delegates in the RS CoP invoked the Vital National Interest (VNI) protection mechanism with regard to the RS Election Law, so the law cannot enter force yet.


SDS rejects Dodik’s call for boycotting local elections (


SDS leader Milan Milicevic answered the invitation of RS ruling coalition calling for united stance on boycotting of the local elections in B&H, which would be carried out in line with B&H Election Law, which was recently changed by the OHR. “We have nothing to agree and negotiate with SNSD whose leadership, only couple of days ago, loudly and hypocritically accused the opposition and SDS of national treason, presenting false construction about handing over of towns in RS to Bosniak parties,” said Milicevic. Milicevic concluded that the goal of the invitation issued by RS ruling coalition and SNSD, is “hypocritical creating of the alibi for participation in the elections in lien with rules of Central Election Commission, i.e. earlier announced swallowing of frogs”. He stressed that they (RS ruling coalition) undermine RS institutions with their behaviour for the umpteenth time and decisions adopted in the RS parliament regarding the election law, “according to which they never had intention to carry out the elections, at the same time adopting the financing of joint institutions, including B&H CEC”. “As they understood that the public did not fall for their false patriotic story about organization of elections in line with RS election law, now they are trying to drag the opposition into the new trap of national unity, which SNSD is destroying years back”. Milicevic concluded: “SDS will take no part in that show, and SNSD and their satellites are to swallow their frogs alone”.


Stanivukovic: Banja Luka was ready to hold elections according to new RS election law, but those who passed it were not ready (


Banja Luka Mayor Drasko Stanivukovic posted on X on Thursday that Banja Luka was ready to hold elections according to a new RS election law. He added: “However, obviously, those who passed the law are not ready and that is why we do not have another choice. It is unnecessary to heighten additional tensions and compare elections in the RS with those in Kosovo. Unlike in the RS, our people there does not have police and bodies, which can protect the election process.” Stanivukovic concluded that the RS has all conditions and a right to hold elections based on its own law. He added: “However, it is obvious now that people in power lacked a sincere intention or a concrete plan since it was clear from the beginning that Bosniak representatives will submit a veto and we from the opposition warned about this.”


“One region – common vision” taking place in Kotor, to discuss Growth Plan for the Western Balkans (RTRS)


A summit titled “One region – common vision”, which is taking place in Kotor, Montenegro, has gathered leaders from the Western Balkans, representatives of the EU and the U.S., to discuss, among other issues, the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans. The summit was opened by Montenegrin Prime Minister (PM) Milojko Spajic, who said the Montenegrin Government is dedicated to European reforms and implementation of reforms necessary for achieving the Growth Plan. He added by saying that Montenegro’s reform agenda has been prepared with a clear goal to use incentives offered by the EU’s mechanism for reform and growth for the Western Balkans. He stressed that Montenegro is committed to accelerating key infrastructure, especially traffic and energy infrastructure, in short and medium term, in order to stimulate growth. Chairwoman of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) of B&H Borjana Kristo said that all peoples in B&H are united on a joint European path. “I hope we all together will be able, in context of regional cooperation, to achieve our common goals”, said Kristo, adding that B&H is ready when it comes to implementation of the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans. European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said that the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans is already being achieved and that the summit will discuss how to implement the region’s priorities for this year. According to Varhelyi, the most important priority of them all is the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), which would benefit citizens and companies in the region as early as first day of the next year. Assistant Secretary of State James O’Brien said the U.S. strongly support the Growth Plan because it means better future for the citizens and the countries in the Western Balkans. According to O’Brien, countries that meet the reform conditions will be able to join SEPA, which will decrease costs by about 7% each time somebody sends money, which will decrease costs of loans and allow companies to expand. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he believes that membership in the EU can achieve important results and that “no easy tasks” are present there.


HDZ and Homeland Movement sign a post-election coalition agreement (HRT)


One month after the parliamentary elections, the 11th convocation of Croatian parliament was sworn in on Thursday, after which the heads of the HDZ and the Homeland Movement signed a post-election coalition agreement. HDZ party president and the incumbent prime minister and prime minister-designate, Andrej Plenkovic, and the president of the Homeland Movement, Ivan Penava, signed a coalition agreement in parliament on Thursday, which defines the cooperation between these two parties in the future government. Arriving with Plenkovic for the signing were the Government spokesman Marko Milic and Deputy Prime Minister and Veterans’ Affairs Minister Tomo Medved. Joining Penava were Homeland Movement Party officials Josip Dabro and Igor Peternel. They signed the agreement a month after the parliamentary elections, without the presence of the media, and left without making a statement. "We will tell you everything tomorrow," Plenkovic said briefly after leaving the premises of the HDZ Club in parliament. A debate on the Law on the Organization and Scope of State Administration Bodies, which defines the names and number of ministries, is currently underway. In the new, 3rd government led by Plenkovic and the HDZ, there will be two more ministries than in the previous two Plenkovic government’s, bringing the total to 18. The two new ministries to be established are the Ministry of Demography and Immigration and the Ministry of Sustainable Development, which up until now was a department within the Economy Ministry. According to the coalition agreement the Ministry of Economy will be led by the Homeland Movement’s Ante Susnjara. The Homeland Movement will also lead the Agriculture Ministry, with Josip Dabro slated to replace the HDZ’s Marija Vuckovic in the post. The ministry will now also handle the forestry and fisheries departments. For her part Vuckovic is slated to assume the reigns of the newly founded Sustainable Development Ministry. Finally, the Homeland Movement’s Ivan Sipic will head up the new Ministry of Demography and Immigration.


Croatia’s new parliament is constituted (HRT)


Nearly a month after the general election, the 11th Sabor was constituted on Thursday with 151 members taking their oath of office. Gordan Jandrokovic has been re-elected Speaker for the third time, making him the longest-serving speaker in the modern Sabor's 34-year history. He wished all of his colleagues a successful term and underscored that these were turbulent and dangerous times, referring to the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East. "We are seeing a rise in populism, in extremist and radical policies, and yesterday's shocking assassination attempt on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, illustrates just how close the line is between verbal and physical confrontation or even armed violence,” Jandrokovic added in his address. This parliament will have five deputy speakers. On the majority side they are: Zeljko Rainer, Furio Radin and Ivan Penava. Two opposition deputy speakers will be chosen later since their side has not nominated any candidates year. Several senior lawmakers expressed hope that MPs would be able to curb their worst instincts and engage in productive and respectful debate. "In the 9th and 10th Sabor I witnessed an incredible surge in crudeness and disrespect," said HDZ MP Andro Krstulovic Opara. The idea of constructive debate was echoed by long-time SDP MP Zeljko Jovanovic, who said, "I hope to see a true clash of arguments rather than just voting along party lines." Armin Hodzic is the youngest MP serving in this parliament at age 28. He we was elected as the Bosniak national minority representative in the Sabor. "Since I represent five national minorities, it is going to be challenging. I will also gladly be the voice of young people in the Sabor,” said Hodzic. Dusica Radojcic of Mozemo is also a freshman MP from Pula. "Istria will now have a strong proponent of antifascist values because our leaders have taken a sharp turn toward the right,” said Radojcic. President Zoran Milanovic was absent from the proceedings as he was for the opening session for the 10th parliament, breaking from the tradition set by his predecessors.


Spajic: Montenegro is the true center of the Western Balkans; Varhelyi: At the end of the mandate of the current composition of the EC, the European Union will be ready to receive new members (CdM)


I congratulate everyone who worked on the Growth Plan, Montenegrin ambitions are great, because Montenegro is the true center of the region, so I believe that together with everyone we will facilitate the resolution of bilateral issues, even the painful ones, announced Prime Minister Milojko Spajic after the Summit of the leaders of the Western Balkans and of the European Union under the slogan "One region, common vision", which was held in Kotor, during which the leaders of the countries of the region, representatives of the EU and the US discussed the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, it was announced by the government of Montenegro. European Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi announced that at the end of the mandate of the current composition of the European Commission, the EU will be ready for enlargement. "Our region will be economically advanced, and this is an irreversible process," said Spajic. He said that it is the future that must define the past, so it is important for the Western Balkans to be a common market, as part of a large and rich market. Varhelyi announced at the press conference that at the end of the mandate of the current composition of the European Commission, the EU will be ready for enlargement. "The growth plan is no longer in the draft phase but has entered the final phase - the implementation phase. The market of Montenegro, which is very small, may not be so attractive to investors. However, if it becomes part of SEPA, then the issue is viewed significantly differently from the perspective of serious investors", explains Varhelyi. Answering the question of how Montenegro will treat the received protest notes from the neighboring countries, B&H and Croatia, the Montenegrin Prime Minister said that bilateral issues will be resolved more easily if the region becomes a common market. Commenting on the potential resolution on the genocide in Jasenovac, Varhelyi emphasized that he does not want to interfere too much in the internal issues and painful points of the past of the Western Balkans. "We know what happened and in what way, who committed the act, however, the decision is up to Montenegro," Varhelyi pointed out. Spajic repeated that the amendments submitted by Montenegro to the text of the UN Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica reduce tensions in the region. "I believe that the first amendment, which was said to be part of the basic text, will eventually be included in the Resolution," he concluded.


Bregu: One region, common vision (CdM)


The Secretary General of the Council for Regional Cooperation Majlinda Bregu participated in the summit of the leaders of the Western Balkans entitled "One region, common vision" which was held today in Kotor, where they discussed the region's approach to the EU through the implementation of the European Growth Plan and the Action Plan for the common regional market. The leaders of the Western Balkans expressed satisfaction with the concrete results of the Action Plan for a common regional market as a driver of interregional trade and deeper economic integration in the Western Balkans, the implementation of which was coordinated by the Council for Regional Cooperation. "The common regional market represents a ticket for gradual integration into the single European market as well as socio-economic rapprochement with the EU, given that the path to greater economic consolidation with the Union market leads through a common regional market unencumbered by any obstacles." The results of the implementation of the common regional market are indicative and show real, concrete and transformative socio-economic results and developments in the domain of numerous regional programs and policies, but at the same time they also point to the still untapped potential of economic integration that could bring our economies a 10% growth" said to Brag at the meeting. The leaders of the Western Balkans have expressed their readiness to support the Action Plan for a common regional market for the period 2025-2028 at the leaders' summit within the framework of the Berlin Process in 2024. years and called on the Council for Regional Cooperation to, in cooperation with relevant regional partners, coordinate the new phase of the common regional market as well as to continue supporting and facilitating the inclusion of parliaments in the Berlin process, but also in other regional integration programs. "Considering the various scenarios according to which the path of the region's approach to the EU is long between 24 and 72 years, not a single potential percentage of growth should be missed." We cannot establish a common regional market in the Western Balkans if human resources are left aside. By encouraging labour force mobility within the region, a significant 1.3% can potentially be added to the GDP by 2025, and 80,000 new jobs can also be created. A favourable and competitive environment can bring an increase in annual growth of 2%, attract 6.5% more investments and increase the growth rate of the number of jobs by up to 1% per year, and at the same time bring an increase in the productivity of small and medium enterprises by 5 to 10%. The new action plan for the common regional market will therefore be aimed at strengthening human capital and developing skills, but also at encouraging digital transformation, enabling a favourable environment for businessmen, as well as increasing competitiveness," added Bregu. The leaders also welcomed the Growth Plan adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU and reiterated their commitment to take advantage of the opportunities the Plan offers, including greater engagement to follow up previous commitments within the Berlin Process, and in particular the full implementation of the Mobility Agreement. The General Secretary of the Council for Regional Cooperation emphasized that the Council, together with all the main government institutions and partners, will work in the coming period to complete the future Action Plan for the common regional market with applicable measures, expected results and realistic deadlines so that it is ready for approval at the upcoming summit within the Berlin Process. The next meeting of the leaders of the six economies of the Western Balkans on the subject of the Growth Plan will be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Spajic - O'Brien: Montenegro is a cohesive factor of the Western Balkans (CdM)


Montenegro is a factor of stability and a reliable ally of the US in the Western Balkans, this is the message of the meeting between Prime Minister Milojko Spajic and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, James O'Brien. One of the topics of the meeting, as announced by the prime minister's office, was the Growth Plan, which is why the leaders of the Western Balkans and the EU gathered in Montenegro to discuss a support package worth six billion euros in grants and soft loans. In the press release, it is stated that on that line, Spajic pointed out that Montenegro has prepared a very ambitious plan of reforms that it will implement in the plan of approaching the Single European Market. Therefore, as he said, the Growth Plan is one of the most important things for Montenegro, which will go from a market of half a million to a market of half a billion people. "Each day, Montenegro further confirms its international credibility, and with each reform, it is getting closer to a certain European perspective," said Spajic. O'Brien expressed satisfaction with the dynamics of contacts with Spajic. "Montenegro is undoubtedly progressing towards the EU. In this sense, he has the full support of the USA. "Montenegro is a reliable member of NATO, and I'm sure it will also be a future member of the EUnion, which is a strong support for everyone in the region," said O'Brien. It is stated that during the meeting they discussed the current situation and pointed out the importance of dialogue between the leaders of the Western Balkans in the direction of achieving common interests. The summit, which was held in Kotor, was a good opportunity to strengthen cooperation between neighbors, the interlocutors agreed.


Milatovic with Carpenter: to raise the relations between Montenegro and the USA to the level of a strategic partnership (CdM)


The President of Montenegro Jakov Milatovic met in Washington with the special adviser of the American President Biden - Michael Carpenter, and during the conversation it was stated that Montenegro has made significant strides in democratic development and that improving ties with the US is a strategic priority. Milatovic pointed out that Montenegro is the only NATO member in the Western Balkans that does not have a strategic partnership agreement with the US. "In this sense, the establishment of a strategic partnership between Montenegro and the US would represent an important signal of support in strengthening democratic processes, economic stability and regional security", the announcement of the Cabinet of the President of Montenegro states. As it was added, the interlocutors agreed that the relations between the two countries should be raised to the level of a strategic partnership, especially bearing in mind that the cooperation is strengthened through the NATO alliance, but also that the improvement of cooperation through the strategic partnership would contribute to the further acceleration of reform processes, and therefore better and faster integration into the EU. Milatovic emphasized that the strategic partnership should be built on several bases, through the improvement of military cooperation, economic dialogue, cooperation in the areas of critical infrastructure, as well as in the part of cultural and scientific exchange. Special adviser Carpenter, who, the statement added, is a great connoisseur of the situation in our region, reiterated the focus of American foreign policy on the Western Balkans region, as an area of strategic importance for the US. "Also, he pointed out the importance of continuing to implement quality reforms, so that the country could join the EU as soon as possible," the statement concluded.


Danilovic: I think that Srebrenica is not genocide, I admit that one of the biggest crimes in B&H happened (Pobjeda)


I think that Srebrenica is not genocide, I admit that one of the biggest crimes happened in B&H - announced the leader of United Montenegro and director of the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education Goran Danilovic. He stated that he perceives the proposal for a resolution on Srebrenica as something that "needs to cover up the shameful suffering with the silence of the international community of the Palestinian people in Gaza." "I really don't understand how anyone wants to reconcile the region almost 30 years after the great crime in Srebrenica, declaring an international day for what they call genocide in Srebrenica, forgetting those who happened next to it, in the Balkans and in the world, and even dared to make Rwanda one of the co-sponsors and key proponents", said Danilovic, reports the Pobjeda portal. He stated that Rwanda today and in the last 30 years has a government that has never won less than 75 percent in elections, and that the last president of Rwanda has been president four times in a row. "In the last elections in 2018, the current president of Rwanda won 98 percent of the vote. It is certain that Rwanda cannot keep up with any European country", stated Danilovic. He said that he is "ashamed" of people who forget that the only crime on the territory of the former Yugoslavia that should be remembered was committed 29 years ago in Srebrenica, adding that "he is ashamed of those who do not mention other crimes". He added that Rwanda "is not a democratic state". Former minister of the interior Sergej Sekulovic said that the moment of proposing a resolution on Srebrenica "is not a surprise" because a similar initiative was tried before through the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) and was then met with Russia's veto. "The region did not face itself; we are witnessing in all societies that war criminals are celebrated and put on a pedestal," Sekulovic said. SD official Milos Djurickovic emphasizes that the centers that base their politics on the denial of the genocide in Srebrenica have increased their pace. "The need of the world was to initiate this resolution and to hit future generations with the foundation and the factual situation of what happened," said Djurickovic. He reminded that Milorad Dodik claimed ten years ago that genocide took place in Srebrenica. "When his bosses, principals and interests ordered him to change his rhetoric and the geopolitical situation, of course he changed the board," Djurickovic said.


Stojovic: There is no genocidal nation; Janovic: Judgments of international courts show everything (RTCG)


Gordan Stojovic, MP of the Europe Now Movement, pointed out on TVCG that his position on the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica is the same as the position of the Europe Now Movement. He emphasized that the entire region should turn to the economy. "I'm not in favour of living in history, we should learn things from history so that they never happen again," said Stojovic. He said that he is for economic topics and for new technologies and what awaits us, as well as the entire region. Stojovic said that it is important that Montenegro votes in accordance with the interests of its citizens, and that it is early to prejudge the amendments. SNP deputy Sladjana Kaludjerovic pointed out that the SNP will vote against the resolution on Srebrenica, but that they are not exclusive. "We said that we will vote against the resolution, either in the assembly or in the government, our position is clear, but we are in favour of a compromise solution, we also accept that the government abstains when the vote is taken at the UN General Session", she pointed out. The compromise, says Kaludjerovic, is for the government to exercise restraint. "The SNP is against it, but it would understand that Montenegro's position should be restraint," she pointed out. She said that she believes that Montenegro should show its backbone and defend the sovereignty of the state that should take a stand. Commenting on the statements of the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic that he does not know the meaning of the proposed resolution, and that he believes that it imposes collective responsibility on the Serbian people, Kaludjerovic points out that it certainly imposes collective responsibility on the Serbian people. "If the point is not to collectivize and call the Serbian people genocidal, why not personalize the guilt and name specific names that have been condemned by the International Court of Justice", said Kaludjerovic. Kaludjerovic pointed out that opposition parties use topics about resolutions in order to profit. DPS MP Nikola Janovic pointed out that it is not clear to him what is being corrected with the amendments and what is being achieved. He emphasized that the resolution on Srebrenica does not mention collective responsibility anywhere. Janovic said that the judgments of the International Courts show all the facts. He pointed out that there are strategic and irreconcilable ideological differences in the government. Stojovic pointed out that there is no genocidal nation, there are only individuals who commit crimes. "Amendments are for other things, we have to be sensitive towards our citizens and towards relations with countries in the region", pointed out Stojovic. Kaludjerovic emphasized that the SNP will not allow the DPS to return to power. Stojovic pointed out that he was not informed that there were negotiations with Milan Knezevic regarding further support to the government. Kaludjerovic pointed out that she hopes that all parties will make efforts to reach an agreement between the parties. Janovic mentioned that the resolution on Jasenovac was removed from the agenda twice, and that if that resolution comes on the agenda, DPS will have a position on that issue. Stojovic said that we should wait to see the resolution and only then talk. "She still hasn't entered the procedures and I have no information on when she will be, only then can we talk about her," Stojovic said. Kaludjerovic said that it would be best if the government proposed it and then vote in the assembly.


Djeljosaj to Bislimi: Kosovo has the full support of Montenegro on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration (CdM)


For Montenegro, the Euro-Atlantic direction has no alternative. In this respect, Kosovo has the full support of Montenegro, said the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy Nik Djeljosaj during the meeting with the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Besnik Bislimi. The press release states that Bislimi welcomed Djeljosaj and emphasized the good neighborly relations between the two countries. During the meeting, as stated, Euro-Atlantic integration and the need for regional cooperation were discussed. "For Montenegro, the Euro-Atlantic direction has no alternative. In this regard, Kosovo has the full support of Montenegro. We continue good neighborly relations, especially we want to improve cooperation in the economy and infrastructure", said Djeljosaj. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed to continue communication, as well as to continue cooperation in areas of mutual interest.


VMRO-DPMNE and Worth It working groups conclude first meeting in coalition talks (MIA)


VMRO-DPMNE and the Worth It coalition working groups tasked with discussing the creation of the new government concluded their first meeting Thursday at VMRO-DPMNE's headquarters. Participants unofficially assessed the meeting positively, with the parties expected to issue a press release over the conclusions from the meeting. In a brief statement before the beginning of the meeting, Azir Aliu, a member of Arben Taravari’s wing of the Alliance for Albanians, said the meeting would focus on the methodology and dynamics of the working groups. Aliu told media that the groups are likely to have more concrete discussions, including over personnel decisions, at the next meeting. He dismissed media reports that the Worth It coalition could increase the number of seats it holds in Parliament as speculation. According to reports from VMRO-DPMNE, their working group consists of the party’s vice presidents – Vlado Misajlovski, Aleksandar Nikolovski, TImcho Mucunski and Gordana Dimitrovska-Kochovska. VMRO-DPMNE leader Hrisitjan Mickoski alongside the party’s vice presidents, met with the leaders of the Worth It coalition – Izet Mexhiti, Afrim Gashi, Bilall Kasami and Arben Taravari – on 14 May, when they officially launched negotiations for the creation of a government coalition.


Mickoski says VMRO-DPMNE successfully consolidated 61 MPs (MIA)


In addition to the coalition’s 58 MPs, we have consolidated precisely 61 MPs, VMRO-DPMNE leader and future Prime Minister-designate Hristijan Mickoski told reporters on Thursday.  Responding to media questions before the closing of the Macedonia2025 Summit, Mickoski said talks with Worth It are on the right track. “We successfully consolidated 61 MPs, I can’t give you any details,” Mickoski said. According to State Election Commission's preliminary results of the May 8 parliamentary elections, VMRO-DPMNE's Your Macedonia coalition won 58 seats in parliament, DUI’s European Front coalition won 19 seats, SDSM’s Coalition for European Future won 18, the Worth It coalition won 13, and ZNAM and Levica won 6 seats each.


Xhaferi: Electoral engineering in process, aims to alter parliament composition (MIA)


Caretaker Prime Minister Talat Xhaferi claimed Thursday there had been an agreement in the State Election Commission (SEC) to accept certain complaints regarding the election results that would lead to a revote, saying this is an attempt of electoral engineering and changing the parliament numbers, thus cheating on the people's will. PM Xhaferi told a press conference that the electoral process, which was assessed as credible and democratic, is now in the hands of the Administrative Court, while urging all institutions to proceed in line with the law and ignore partisan directives. "As PM and the person responsible for the successful administering of the presidential and parliamentary elections, I have received a report from participants in the electoral process over attempts for election engineering through an out-of-institution agreement among parties for outvoting in the SEC in order to accept the symptomatic complaints," said Xhaferi. According to him, these attempts constitute an election engineering and aim to alter numbers in the Parliament. "The credibility of the elections and the democratic process, accepted and saluted by all parties and the international community, is now in the hands of the Administrative Court. I call on all institutions to proceed in line with the law, ignore partisan and political directives, and protect the credibility of the electoral process without casting a shadow on the citizens' will," said Xhaferi. The SEC has accepted complaints in seven polling stations, which opened the path for a revote. The Administrative Court is set to decide on the appeals against these decisions by midnight on Friday.


Expect roadmaps on accelerated advancement towards common internal market to be implemented, says Xhaferi (MIA)


Despite the fact North Macedonia was in an election period, we worked intensively to finalize our 2024-2027 reform agenda. The latest draft version of the agenda approved by the Government was shared with the European Commission at the beginning of May. I expect the latest roadmaps, which refer to an accelerated advancement towards the common internal market, as well as the reform agenda, to be implemented, said Prime Minister Talat Xhaferi at Thursday’s Regional Leaders' Summit held in Kotor under the theme One Region, Common Vision. “At the same time, I would like to emphasize two other important moments that happened after the meeting in Tirana. The first one was at the end of April, when North Macedonia submitted its pre-application for membership in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). And the second one, which refers to the initiative of the European Digital Innovation Hubs – in March, we announced a public call to which several digital innovation hubs applied. These are small yet significant steps that affirm the direction the country is moving in,” Xhaferi said. Xhaferi said he expects the latest roadmaps that refer to an accelerated advancement towards the common internal market and the reform agenda to be implemented with the same enthusiasm and commitment. In terms of regional cooperation, Xhaferi said the country will support the established foundations in the new action plan for a common regional market. “Since we are in a period before the creation of a new government, the detailed activities that the relevant institutions will oversee are to be established in the period to come. Here I would like to highlight the fact that for the new action plan for a common regional market to succeed, the work of CEFTA should be unblocked, and I think that the time has come for North Macedonia to have its own representative at the highest level,” Xhaferi said. In his address, Xhaferi voiced hope that “this traced path will continue to act as a guide for the future government of North Macedonia, as well”.


WB-EU Summit in Montenegro, Rama calls on EU: Grant us access to your market; Let's create a common customs union (Radio Tirana)


Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama stated at the summit held in Montenegro that the Western Balkan countries and the EU need to devise a joint strategy in several areas. Rama proposed several points to be coordinated between the EU and the Western Balkans. He emphasized the need to establish an opportunity for Western Balkan countries to gain access to the common European market. "Firstly, we need to establish an opportunity through the Growth Plan to prepare for access to the common market. It is time for the region to become part of the European digital portfolio. We have included the objectives for this in our reform plans and believe we will implement them by 2027. I would suggest that we move together towards the EU. We have limited cooperation in the healthcare sector. There are 8 border points where the region's products can enter the EU. We can become the EU's main trading partner. In the same spirit, immigration and human trafficking can also be addressed," said Rama, referring to the EU's planned €6 billion package for the Western Balkan countries. Staying within the EU's Western Balkans plan, Rama also proposed the creation of a Common Customs Union. "The Balkans should be included in the EU's comprehensive strategy. We need to develop the same strategic policies as both the EU and the Balkans. The EU should prepare for a common customs union in the near future. We will make all legal changes to achieve this," emphasized Rama. The two-day regional summit held under the slogan "One Region, Common Vision" follows previous meetings at this level among leaders in Tirana and Skopje, where extensive discussions were held on the Plan, aiming at the economic growth of the region, accelerating necessary reforms, and making investments that can advance the EU enlargement process with the Western Balkan countries. The Summit is conceptualized in two panels, namely: "Engagement and Future Plans" and "Contribution to Strengthening Regional Cooperation," with the participation of regional leaders as well as the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood, Oliver Varhelyi, and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, James O’Brien. Present at the summit are leaders and representatives of partner organizations such as the Regional Cooperation Council, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, senior representatives of the European Commission, etc. The Western Balkans Expansion Plan is based on 4 main pillars: Increasing economic integration with the European Single Market; Increasing economic integration within the Western Balkans through the Common Regional Market; Accelerating fundamental reforms; Increasing financial assistance.


€6 billion plan for the Western Balkans, Varhelyi: EU to move forward before summer (Radio Tirana)


EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi stated at the summit held in Montenegro that the EU will set in motion a €6 billion plan for the Western Balkans countries starting this summer. However, the Commissioner emphasized that the Western Balkans countries need to move beyond old disagreements. "If the cost of sending money from Belgrade to Tirana is the same as sending it from Berlin to another city, this will give you incentives to compete and integrate as a whole. So, this is the same for everyone to join the common European market. It takes time to overcome traditional disagreements like those for CEFTA agreements. The region cannot benefit if we continue with old disagreements," said Varhelyi. He highlighted that before the summer period, the EU will proceed with the plan for the Western Balkan countries. "The good news is that the Growth Plan will leave a mark and show that reforms and a common agenda are possible. If you see the level of commitment flowing from the previous agendas, I have been informed by key officials that the commitment to implementing reforms is a commitment to the region's development. This means that these plans will be implemented within a few weeks, and before the summer period, we can make the first moves," emphasized Varhelyi.


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Media summaries are produced for the internal use of the United Nations Office in Belgrade, UNMIK and UNHQ.  The contents do not represent anything other than a selection of articles likely to be of interest to a United Nations readership.