Western Balkans Overview July 08, 2024 – CWBS

Western Balkans Overview July 08, 2024 – CWBS
  • The Republic of Srpska approved new holidays and new symbols

The National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska (NSRS) adopted the Declaration on the Protection of National and Political Rights and the Common Future of the Serbian People and the Resolution to this document by a majority of two-thirds of votes.

The draft Declaration was adopted on June 8 at the All-Serbian Assembly in Belgrade. The document must be approved by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska within 90 days.

The Declaration on the Protection of National and Political Rights and the Common Future of the Serbian People, which contains 49 paragraphs, stated that “the Serbian people are a unique entity.”

In accordance with the decision of the National Council of Serbia, the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska jointly celebrate February 15 as the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia and the Statehood Day of the Republic of Srpska. January 9th is the Day Republika Srpska and the Patron Saint’s Day.

By its other decisions, the NSRS declared the national Anthem of Serbia “God of Truth” and the Coat of Arms of Serbia, the double-headed eagle of the Nemanjićs, the Anthem and Coat of Arms of the Republic of Srpska, in addition to an existing symbol of the RS – the flag of the Serbian people and the song “My Republic”. Previously, the All-Serbian Assembly considered the Anthem and Coat of Arms of Serbia as symbols of all Serbs.

The decisions of the Republic of Serbia, aimed at implementing the idea of the All-Serbian Assembly, can be assessed as an active development of the so-called “Serbian world” beyond the state borders of Serbia.

  • Serbia claims about increased aerial reconnaissance of foreign countries

Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces and President of the Republic Aleksandar Vučić, accompanied by Prime Minister Miloš Vučević and Minister of Defense Bratislav Gašić, has attended the meeting of extended Collegium of the Chief of the General Staff, chaired by Chief of the General Staff General Milan Mojsilović.

The Collegium analyzed the current security situation in and around the country.

According to Vučić, there has been increased activity of aircraft and drones observed in the surrounding area, with the intention of performing reconnaissance of Serbia, but without crossing the borders. “We have noticed the flight of Albanian Bayraktars from Djakovica on 5 and 20 June, up to 5,800 meters, in order to perform reconnaissance of positions of the Serbian Armed Forces. Also, the Swedish-German planes make so-called LiDAR recordings, not from the territory controlled by the Serbian Armed Forces,” he said.

According to Vučić, a clearer message of deterring any potential aggressor against Serbia must be sent. “We will have to work harder, our specialized industry factories will also have to work better, we will have to increase the composition of the Armed Forces of Serbia even more,” he said.

The statements of the Serbian President indicate the intention to continue strengthening the army and the defense industry. According to the official Belgrade, it is about increasing the defense capability of the country. At the same time, according to experts from the region, general tensions in the region, which can escalate in the future, are the result of the Serbian militarization.

  • The Central Electoral Commission of Albania revoked the mandate of the Mayor of Himare Fredi Beleri

Immediately after the CEC’s decision, Albani President Bajram Begaj issued a decree to hold new elections in Himare on August 4.

The ethnic Greek Fredi Beleri was elected the mayor of Himare on May 14, 2023, but just two days before the election, he was arrested on charges of vote-buying and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison.

In the last European elections, Fredi Beleri was elected as a member of the European Parliament from the ruling New Democracy Party in Greece.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry condemned Albania’s decision to declare invalid the mandate of Fredi Beleri as mayor of Himare. In its statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized this decision as a violation of the rule of law. The ministry called on the Albanian authorities to ensure that Beleri, who is currently a MEP, is allowed to attend EP meetings.

Thus, the conflict between Tirana and Athens over the “Beleri case” is gradually becoming the main obstacle for Albania’s European integration.

  • The EU: North Macedonia should include the Bulgarian minority in the Constitution

The EU Ambassador in Skopje, David Geer, called on the government of North Macedonia to fulfill the previously reached agreements regarding the Bulgarian minority and unlock the European integration process.

“We want North Macedonia to join the EU as soon as possible. The new Macedonian government claims to be committed to this goal. The EU expects reforms to be carried out, existing treaties implemented, and the commitment to include Bulgarians in the Constitution honored,” Geer said in an interview with journalists.

“Our position on constitutional changes remains unchanged. Before and after the elections, we expect North Macedonia to make these changes,” he emphasized.

Commenting on North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Hristijan Mickoski’s request to change the framework of the EU membership negotiations, Geer dismissed the possibility.

Thus, if Skopje does not fulfill the previously reached agreements with Sofia regarding the inclusion of the Bulgarian minority in the Constitution, the European integration of the country will remain “on pause”.