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Protesters in Albania hurl Molotov cocktails at police despite calls for restraint

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Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Albania’s capital Tirana to demand their government’s resignation over claims of corruption and election fraud.

Anti-government protesters hurled Molotov cocktails and flares at riot police despite the call by the US and EU to restrain from violence.

Thousands of demonstrators, many holding umbrellas, marched on May 13 in rain that at times mixed with clouds of white smoke from flares. Police officers did not respond.

The United States and EU lawmakers have called for calm after weekend protests turned violent. A U.S. Embassy statement in Tirana on May 13 called on opposition leaders to condemn violence and “ensure that all future public protests are orderly and peaceful.”

European parliamentarians also called on Albanians “to restrain from all forms of violence.”

Albania expects to hear in June whether the EU will grant its request to launch full membership negotiations.

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We are pleased with successful endeavors of our neighbors, says Zaev at Corridor-10 south leg opening ceremony

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North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Saturday attended the formal opening of the final section of the south leg of Corridor-10 in Serbia.

The final section of the highway on the south leg of Corridor 10 through Serbia, the 26.3-km section in the Grdelica Gorge, opened for traffic on Saturday, May 18.

PM Zaev addressed the inauguration ceremony attendees, thanked Serbian officials for inviting him to witness such an important event in Serbia, “which is also important to our country and to the entire region”.

“We are pleased with successful undertakings of our neighbors. Now, when we look at this magnificent highway, the congratulations on the successful endeavor gain even a higher significance. The two countries’ citizens as well as the European citizens have a highway from north to the south gate of the European Union, PM Zaev said, adding that Skopje-Belgrade travel will take just three-and-a-half to four hours.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic opened the highway at a ceremony at the Vrla bridge. With the opening of this section, Serbia now has a highway stretching from the north to the south, along the entire main route of Corridor 10, from Batrovci on the Croatian border to Presevo on the Macedonian border, as well as the north leg from Horgos to the south.

Corridor X, one of the pan-European transport corridors. It runs between Salzburg in Austria and Thessaloniki in Greece. The corridor passes through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Serbia, North Macedonia and Greece.

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Greek opposition leader slams government as worst since fall of 1974 dictatorship

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The leader of Greece’s largest opposition party, New Democracy (ND), slammed the ruling SYRIZA-led coalition, branding it the worst government the country has seen since the fall of military dictatorship in 1974.

“On May 26, at local government and European Parliament elections, all Greeks will send a message that they had enough with the country’s worst government since the end of the dictatorship in 1974,” New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told supporters at a rally in Larissa on Wednesday.

“It is not my intention to spark divisions. I came here to tell you that either we will get rid of the government or they will get rid of us,” ND leader said.

“It is our job to convince the citizens that they don’t deserve this misery. We are the sole force that can provide a solution to problems in Greece,” he added.

Commenting the country’s economy, Mitsotakis said his party will cut real estate tax by 30 percent and also reduce business company tax to 20% from 29% if it wins elections

Mitsotakis said he wants to appeal to all the Greeks who voted for SYRIZA in previous elections, to seize the opportunity and undo the mistake.

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Bulgarian agriculture minister resigns amid guest houses probe

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Bulgarian Agriculture Minister Rumen Porozhanov has resigned, the latest senior official to step down amid scandals involving purchases of luxury properties and the building of guest houses with EU aid for private use.

Several senior officials have resigned amid scandals about the purchase of upscale apartments at below-market prices and the construction with EU funds of guest houses for private use.

The Bulgarian government said the country’s agriculture minister has resigned amid allegations about the misuse of European Union funds. A government statement Wednesday says that while Rumen Porozhanov denies wrongdoing, he has stepped down to avoid attacks against him affecting the government’s work.

Porozhanov resigned two weeks after prosecutors launched a large-scale probe into possible fraud with EU rural development aid at over 700 guest houses.

Local media reported that Porozhanov bought a spacious apartment in 2004 at well-below market price. Other reports said he had failed to properly declare real estate deals carried out by his wife in 2017.

Porozhanov has denied any wrongdoing and told Prime Minister Boyko Borissov he did not want the attacks against him to influence the work of the center-right government, the government press office said in a statement

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