Leaders of major political parties in North Macedonia, including those in the ruling coalition, agreed to hold a snap parliamentary election on 12 April after the EU failed to give the country a date to start talks on joining the bloc, news wires reported.
North Macedonia's prime minister on Saturday called for an early election after the EU decided against membership talks for the Balkan state, denying his administration a key policy success. After hours of heated wrangling, European Union leaders on Friday could not agree on starting Skopje's accession negotiations, chiefly because of opposition from France. The issue is now on hold until next spring.
Leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia signed a so-called “mini-Schengen” deal on Thursday, which envisages free movement of people, goods, capital, and services between the three Western Balkan countries, news wires reported.
Turkey wants to deepen and diversify bilateral relations with Serbia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkey-Serbia Business Forum in Belgrade on Monday. He announced that Ankara and Belgrade have signed nine agreements on defence, social security, industry and technology cooperation after the two countries High-Level Cooperation Council meeting.
Opposition parties on Sunday snap election in Kosovo took the lead over former guerrillas who have dominated politics for the past decade, news wires reported. The leftist-nationalist Vetevendosje (Self-determination party) of Albin Kurti was in first place with 26% of the vote, followed by the centre-right LDK who had 25.2 % after more than three quarters of the ballots were counted, the electoral commission said. The victory of the two opposition parties was a heavy rebuke to parties led by former guerrillas who battled Serbia in the 1990s, paving the way for Kosovo's independence.
The former guerilla commanders who have dominated Kosovo since its independence will fight for political survival in elections on Sunday, with opposition parties threatening to boot them from power, AFP comments. The poll is the fourth since tiny Kosovo formally broke away from Serbia in 2008. But the optimism generated by that split has been flattened by frustration with a political class blamed for corruption and widespread poverty.
Bosnian authorities were ordered on Tuesday to remove from a Muslim Bosniak woman’s courtyard an Orthodox church built after she was driven out by Bosnian Serb forces who killed 22 of her relatives in nearby Srebrenica, news wires reported.
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 and an aftershock only slightly weaker shook the Albanian port town of Durres on Saturday, rocking buildings there and in the capital Tirana and sending residents rushing into the streets and parks for safety. The Defence Ministry said it was the most powerful quake in Albania in the last 30 years.
The delivery of a second battery of Russian S-400 missiles to Turkey was completed on Sunday with the controversial defence system expected to become fully active by April 2020. Efforts to mount the missile system and train military personnel to use it were continuing, a Turkish defence ministry statement said, despite repeated warnings from the US.