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Latest News from the Balkans

albanian-servicemen-charged-for-desertion-for-apparently-staying-as-illegal-immigrants-in-uk-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Albania Red-Faced Over Soldiers Deserting in UK

Defence Ministry acknowledges embarrassing reports that four of the highest trained soldiers failed to return home from a training mission in UK, again exposing the problem of low salaries and hopelessness in Albania.

vetevendosje-activists-found-guilt-for-attacking-kosovo-assembly-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Kosovo Jails Vetevendosje Activists For Attacking Assembly

A Pristina court jailed four Vetevendosje activists, including an MP, for a total of 21 years and six months for firing a grenade at the Kosovo parliament building in 2016.

bulgarian-parliament-speaker-resigns-over-row-with-opposition-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Bulgaria's Speaker Quits Over Row With Opposition

Bulgarian MPs have appointed Tsveta Karayancheva from the leading GERB party to replace Dimitar Glavchev as speaker, after the latter resigned on Friday over a dispute with the main opposition party.

transnistria-orders-mobilizations-ahead-of-vienna-peace-talks-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Transnistria Orders Mobilizations Ahead of Vienna Talks

Transnistrian leader Vadim Krasnoselsky has alarmed Moldova by ordering a general mobilization, just 10 days before new peace negotiations are due to start in Vienna.

romania-s-biggest-christmas-fair-opens-in-sibiu-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Romania’s Biggest Christmas Fair Opens in Sibiu

Romania’s best-known Christmas market opens on Friday in the city of Sibiu, Transylvania, and will remain in business until the beginning of January.

un-mediator-revives-macedonia-name-talks-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

UN Mediator Schedules New Macedonia ‘Name’ Talks

The long-expected re-boot of the UN-sponsored name talks between Macedonia and Greece will take place on December 11-12 in Brussels.

serbia-spent-millions-of-euros-on-early-elections-ngo-says-11-16-2017
17 Nov 17

Serbia Wasting Millions on Early Elections, NGO Says

Ahead of a meeting of Serbia's ruling party, when a decision on potential new early elections is to be announced, a watchdog has warned that the country has already spent millions of euros unnecessarily on early polls.

uk-fears-romanian-s-killing-could-spark-gang-war-11-16-2017
17 Nov 17

UK Fears Romanian’s Killing Could Spark Gang War

The brutal murder of a Romanian alleged gangster could be a sign that a ‘turf war’ between rival Balkan crime gangs in the UK capital is hotting up, media reports say.

serb-general-s-defense-blames-terrorists-for-massacring-bosniaks-11-16-2017
17 Nov 17

Serb General Blames ‘Terrorists’ for Massacring Bosniaks

The defence team for Bosnian Serb general Novak Djukic, who was convicted of the 1995 Tuzla massacre, have blamed the attack on unknown “terrorists” - a claim that was sharply criticised by human rights campaigners.

serbian-security-service-deployed-arkan-s-paramilitaries--11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Serbian Security Service ‘Deployed Arkan’s Paramilitaries’

An expert witness told the Hague trial of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic that the Serbian State Security Service, which they ran, was able to deploy paramilitary boss Arkan’s forces - a claim rejected by the defence.

eulex-claims-its-resigned-judge-was-under-investigated-11-16-2017
16 Nov 17

EULEX Claims Resigned Judge 'Was Under Investigation'

After Malcolm Simmons quit as president of the judges of the EU's rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, saying it had become too politicised, EULEX has said the judge himself was the subject of serious investigations.

mladic-wanted-to-use-trial-to-defend-the-serbs--11-15-2017
16 Nov 17

Mladic Wanted to Use Trial to ‘Defend the Serbs’

After his arrest, Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic told his lawyers not to waste time defending him, but instead to defend the “Serb army and people”, defence team member Miodrag Stojanovic told BIRN.

eu-letter-highlights-failings-in-bulgaria-s-asylum-policy-11-16-2017
16 Nov 17

EU Letter Highlights Failings in Bulgaria’s Asylum Policy

Alleged letter to Bulgarian authorities, leaked to BIRN, expresses European Commission’s concerns about the Balkan country’s treatment of refugees, Afghan nationals in particular.

romanian-sheepfold-haunts-us-missile-shield-11-15-2017
16 Nov 17

Romanian Shepherd Creates Quandary for US Missile Shield

The case of an obstinate Romanian shepherd – who refuses to demolish a sheepfold that keeps triggering the alarms at a US military base – is creating a headache for the Romanian government.

returning-foreign-fighters-kosovo-s-new-terror-threat-11-14-2017
16 Nov 17

Kosovo Braces for Security Challenge of Returning Fighters

A draft strategy developed by the government says fighters coming back from the Middle East, as Islamic State collapses, pose the next major challenge to the country's security.

bosnian-serbs-to-stay-in-federal-institutions-11-15-2017
15 Nov 17

Bosnian Serbs Won't Quit Govt Over Kosovo Row

The Bosnian Serb bloc in the state government has dismissed calls to quit both the government and other state institutions over suggestions that Bosnia may recognise the independence of Kosovo.

eu-criticizes-bulgaria-romania-s-efforts-in-judicial-reform-11-15-2017
15 Nov 17

Commission Challenges Bulgaria, Romania on Judicial Reform

While Bulgaria and Romania have chosen to welcome the latest European Commission reports on their judicial reforms and moves to combat corruption, the reports contain much criticisms of the results the two countries achieved in 2017. 

albania-officials-arrested-over-land-appropriation-scheme-11-15-2017
15 Nov 17

Albania Police Crack Scam to Grab Public Beaches

Ten current and former officials from the property registry office and local government have been arrested after Albanian police uncovered a devious scam to appropriate public land along the coast.

Premium Selection

serbia-fostered-culture-of-denial-by-hiding-mladic-11-16-2017
18 Nov 17

Serbia ‘Fostered Culture of Denial’ by Hiding Mladic

Author and journalist Julian Borger argues that because Serbia was not penalised for shielding Ratko Mladic while he was on the run, it helped foster a culture of denial of war crimes and genocide.

russia-lures-turkey-from-nato-with-missile-deal-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Russia Lures Turkey From NATO With Missile Deal

Turkey’s plans to buy Russian S-400 missile systems alarm its Western allies but form part of an ever-closer partnership with Russia that will have an obvious impact on the Balkans.