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NATO and EU mustn’t allow Balkans to be Europe’s “soft underbelly”

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DPS leader Milo Djukanovic said in an interview with the Austrian national television ORF That Montenegro’s entry into NATO and the admissions procedures in the European Union are steps to be done with fairness and prudence, accompanying these important changes by introducing new reforms. With respect to NATO, he said he was happy that there could be place in the world for the promotion of European values; In the matter of European Union, he believes that EU membership can contribute to and strengthen stability in the Balkans. He also said that the European Union supports the governments in the Balkans that are in favor of the EU itself. This can give legitimacy to these governments and avoid the emergence of centrifugal forces.

Vucic responded to Thaci's "provocation"

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After the Kosovo president addressed the gathering and said, among other things, that Serbia is “not ready for the EU because it does not recognize Kosovo”. Thaci also repeated a statement he made in during an interview last week – namely, that he “cannot imaging the EU accepting Serbia as a member before Kosovo.” But “You got your independence after NATO’s aggression, without a referendum, and not everyone has recognized you”, Vucic told Thaci according to the report, and continued: “Five EU countries have still not recognized you. You are not an independent state to us. And you are not listening what Serbia is saying, and say that we don’t have a European approach because we won’t recognize Kosovo. Unlike you who are making that person a candidate for prime minister… I said it in the assembly that Serbia must give up on its myths, for the sake of the future of not only Serbs, but also Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija”. “Your problem is that you don’t even know how to accept an extended hand. I see a coordinated campaign of people from the US Congress and your extremists. If you had 30 percent of Albanians, one stone upon another would not be left in Montenegro, while we never asked anything from them. Find me someone in the region who wills talk to Haradinaj without a lump in their throat. So much for democracy”, concluded Vucic.

EU Urges Azerbaijan To Release Detained Opposition Figures

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The European Union has urged Azerbaijan to release detained opposition figures, in an apparent reference to the alleged abduction and arrest of a journalist critical of Baku and the detention of an opposition politician. The statement on June 4 did not mention names but came after journalist Afqan Muxtarli was kidnapped in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on May 29 and the arrest of opposition politician Gozal Bayramli. The EU statement said “a review by Azerbaijan of any and all cases of incarceration related to the exercise of fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression, and immediate release [of] all of those concerned is urgent. “We expect that the due process of law is respected, as well as the civil and political rights of citizens and those residing legally in states other than their own”, it added. The EU also said it welcomed the Georgian government’s announcement that it would investigate the alleged kidnapping. Tbilisi denies it was involved in the case

"I can't even imagine Serbia joining EU before Kosovo"

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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci says he cannot even imagine the EU accepting Serbia as its member before Kosovo. Thaci said that  the biggest concern in southeastern Europe was caused by “the fact that the EU is too slow in bringing countries of the region closer, which opens the door to all kinds of radicalisms, as well as strengthening of the Russian influence”. He thinks that the EU should therefore make decisions faster, and adds that he cannot imagine Serbia in the EU before Kosovo. “I cannot imagine something like this happening. I am confident that this will not be the case because Serbia would then certainly block Kosovo, and for an indefinite period of time. The EU knows very well what the attitude and behavior of Serbia is towards Kosovo. But, Serbia too cannot continue on the path of European while not behaving in a European way toward Kosovo”, stressed Thaci. According to him, Greater Albania is “a concept talked about by Belgrade to cover their ambition of creating a ‘Greater Serbia’”. Thaci claims that “the Kosovo army” will be established by the end of this year, after this has been suspended under international pressure.

EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes and on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union

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Meeting in Strasbourg, today the College of Commissioners will adopt two reports on the EU’s emergency relocation and resettlement schemes and on progress made towards an effective and genuine Security Union. The first report will take stock of actions taken by Member States over the last month to fulfil their commitments under the relocation and resettlement schemes. On the European Agenda on Security, today’s report will provide an update on the state-of-play with regards to the important work being carried out to improve security in the EU, and at its borders through better data management and the interoperability of information systems.

 

Italy will continue to support intensifying ties between Azerbaijan, EU

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Italy will continue to firmly support intensifying relations between Azerbaijan and the EU, Foreign Minister of Italy Angelino Alfano said in his letter addressed to his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said. Angelino Alfano underlined that during the past 25 years the two countries have established important cooperation especially in the economic field and that Italy gradually becoming the main trade partner of Azerbaijan. Mammadyarov instead, expressed his hope that Italy as member of the OSCE Troika starting from 2017, will make efforts for the soonest and just settlement of Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the norms and principles of international law.

 

Germany, Italy to set up mission on Libyan borders to stem migrants flow

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Italy and Germany are reportedly seeking an EU mission to stabilise Libya’s 5,000km southern border with neighbouring countries and curb migration, EUobserver reported. German interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, and his Italian counterpart, Marco Minniti, want the mission set up between Libya and Niger. Both minister, in a letter to European Commission, asked EU to act as soon as possible. Also France told the necessity to increase living conditions in the area. According to local authorities, maintain south Libya border is a solution to resolve the global migrant crisis in the country. The exodus from the coast has increased by over 44 percent – when compared to the same period last year – with some 45,000 people having disembarked between January and mid-May so far, EUobserver wrote.

Montenegro met some criteria for EU membership

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The Croatian ambassador in Podgorica, Veselko Grubisic, said that through the entry into NATO, Montenegro has met many democratic criteria that will be useful for joining the European Union. He also said that relations between Croatia and Montenegro are good and are very optimistic about their development. He also hopes that Montenegro will be able to join the European Union within the deadlines set.

Socialist group in European Parliament cites ‘three conditions’ for Turkey’s EU membership

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The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament have cited “three conditions” for their continued support for Turkey’s membership of the EU, after the head of the group, Gianni Pitella, met with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and CHP members in Ankara. One of the conditions is the demand that the president give up his authority to annul parliament. The second condition demands a restriction in the scope of the decree laws, on the ground that excessive usage of decree laws narrows the jurisdiction of parliament. Thirdly, they state that the death penalty should not be reinstated”, Yılmaz added.

DW: “Greater Albania” – bogeyman or a pipe dream?

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The idea of Greater Albania – uniting all Albanians in one state – is once again a hot topic in the Balkans, DW reports. While leaders in Pristina and Tirana deny pan-Albanian ambitions, their recent statements have caused alarm. Serbian Foreign Minister Dacic also said that the EU, the US, and Britain “will be directly responsible” if the Albanians push ahead with their territorial ambitions. According to Erdoan Shipoli, Associate Dean of School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia International University, the Albanian leaders, with their statements, want to get more votes from the more nationalist groups, because they know that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to even choose the leader of the Great Albania, let alone making it function. Even so, the talk of Greater Albania can be dangerous, according to the expert. People across the region are tired of corruption and unemployment, pro-western Albanians feel like the EU has failed to defend their interests in Macedonia and Serbia, and Kosovo citizens are angry at the EU for not letting them travel without visas. In such circumstances, it is natural for nationalist sentiment to rise. “Right now there is no support but if the EU continues to fail the Albanians in general and Kosovo in particular, then this thought will gain more momentum and have more acceptance”, Shipoli said.

 

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