Connect with us

Region

Palmer: US is focused on Western Balkans

Published

on

The new U.S. special envoy to the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, has said during a visit to Montenegro that the US has proved that it has once again shifted its focus on the Western Balkan region.

Palmer, who was named to the envoy’s post in an effort to encourage Balkan integration into European institutions, held a meeting Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic during his visit to Podgorica.

Palmer praised Montenegro, calling it the most successful country in the region and noting it was no coincidence that Montenegro is the first country he visits after being appointed to a new post.

“Montenegro is a leader and the most successful multi ethnic-country in the region and it is no coincidence that I visit it first after taking over this position”, Palmer is quoted by local media as saying. According to Palmer, the new post shows the United States is again focused on the region.

In a statement on August 30, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer as the special representative for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.

The State Department said Palmer will lead U.S. efforts to strengthen “diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.

Palmer will continue to serve as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, a position he has held since 2018. Previously, he was director of the Office of South Central Europe.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Region

V4 leaders call on EU to speed up Western Balkans’ accession

Published

on

By

The Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary urged the European Union on Thursday to accelerate the Western Balkans’ integration into the bloc.

Leaders from the so-called Visegrad Four (V4) group pressed ahead for the EU’s Western Balkan enlargement following a summit with their counterparts from five Western Balkan countries.

In a joint statement, issued on Thursday, the V4 are demanding accession talks open this year with North Macedonia and Albania.

“We welcome the possibility in October to open negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, while we hope to accelerate negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro so that all these countries could become EU members before the end of 2027,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said.

“The Visegrad Four group wants to welcome new EU members and it fully endorses the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania this year,” Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini told reporters at the V4+Western Balkan summit in Prague.

Similar statements were made by Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban, but who then framed the need for Western Balkan accession as way to prevent migrants from entering the EU.

The V4 is also seeking an acceleration of negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro under the incoming European Commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen.

Continue Reading

Region

Kosovo skips V4+Western Balkan Prague summit over Zeman remarks

Published

on

By

Kosovo has cancelled its planned participation in the Visegrad Four and Western Balkans summit in Prague September 12, the Czech News Agency quotes diplomats as saying.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has skipped out on his attendance in the meeting of Prime Ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) members (The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and partners from the Western Balkan in reaction to Czech President Milos Zeman’s remarks in Serbia earlier this week, hinting at the possibility to reverse Czech recognition of Kosovo independence at his next meeting with Czech top officials. He said Kosovo was ruled by “war criminals”.

Czech News Agency sources say that there are currently no confirmed guests from Kosovo for the Thursday meeting of prime ministers. However, discussions are still ongoing about whether the country will be represented on some level at least.

The Czech Republic has maintained diplomatic relations with Kosovo since 2008.

According to AFP, Kosovo’s Ramush Haradinaj cancelled his participation in the regional summit in Prague following the statement by Czech President Milos Zeman, calling the leaders of the former Serbian province “war criminals”.

“Kosovo forwarded a diplomatic note, apologizing for the absence after previously confirming attendance,” Jana Adamcova, a spokesperson for Czech government, has told AFP.

Continue Reading

Region

Bulgaria charges former MP with spying for Russia

Published

on

By

Nikolai Malinov, a former parliamentary deputy from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) who now heads a pro-Russian nongovernmental organization, has been formally charged in Sofia with spying and laundering money for Russian organizations.

Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov announced the charges against Malinov on September 10, saying Malinov could face a prison sentence of five to 15 years if convicted.

Malinov was released from custody on September 10 after posting bail of 25,000 euros ($27,600). He has been banned from leaving Bulgaria, Tsatsarov said.

Malinov is accused of accepting payments for transferring Bulgarian state secrets to two Russian organizations — the Double-Headed Eagle Society and the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies.

Tsatsarov said the information Malinov was accused of delivering to the Russian groups directly affected Bulgaria’s national security and was part of an attempt to exert influence on the Bulgarian government’s foreign policy toward Russia and the West.

Continue Reading

Files