Balkan

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

Bosnia Council of Ministers blocked due to motion to review Serbia's genocide acquittal

A meeting of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina that was to be held on Tuesday has been cancelled at the request of the Serb ministers, further deepening the political crisis in that country following announcements that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement of Bosnia's suit against Serbia for genocide.

Croatia remains Bosnia's biggest trade partner in 2016

Croatia is still the most important foreign trade partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to figures released by the BiH Chamber of Foreign Trade which show that in 2016 the two countries' trade had gone up.

Serbian President pulls out of presidential race

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Monday decided not to rerun for the presidency and he and his former party colleague Aleksandar Vucic, who is the incumbent Prime Minister, patched up their conflict, according to local media.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

Residents in northern Greece oppose refugee children attending school

There were renewed clashes between angry residents and police in the northern Greek town of Oreokastro on Monday, where some locals have for months opposed children from a nearby refugee centre being taught at the local school.

Wigemark says election legislation amendments of utmost importance for Bosnia

Wigemark said that amending the election legislation and continuing the process for joining the EU were the most important political processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Strike shuts museums and archaeological sites in Greece

The majority of archaeological sites and museums in Greece will remain closed on Monday.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

Serbians wouldn't go to war for Kosovo - poll

A majority of citizens in Serbia wouldn't go to war to claim back Kosovo, shows a survey conducted by the Serbian nongovernmental organisation "Belgrade Centre for Security Policy".

Grabar-Kitarovic, Lavrov find solution to air pollution caused by Bosanski Brod oil refinery

Croatia and Russia have found a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by a Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been poisoning residents of Slavonski Brod, a town across the Sava River in Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Sunday.

Bosnian Serb officials slam request for review of ICJ's decision against Serbia

The Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina collective Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, said on Saturday there was no chance for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to accept the request to review the 2007 ruling against Serbia for aggression and genocide, warning however that the decision to submit such a request had resulted in a dangerous situations and a crisis with immeasurable consequences.

Bosnian Serb politicians slam review of ICJ ruling against Serbia

Bosnian Serb politicians on Friday strongly responded to the announcement by Bosnian Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic that proceedings would be launched before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to review a ruling against Serbia, accusing him of undermining the Dayton peace agreement and unlawful behaviour.

Stolac to repeat local election Sunday, Bosniaks set to boycott voting

Preparations for the repeating of elections for local government in Bosnia and Herzegovina's southern municipality of Stolac have been finished, and the voting will be held on Sunday  as planned.

Bosnia Islamic community leader says no people in Bosnia should be a minority

The head of the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Reis Husein Kavazovic, has said that nobody can be happy with the unstable situation in the country, adding however that Bosnia remains the homeland of all peoples living there, including the Croats whom politicians must not treat as a minority, the Sarajevo-based Oslobodjenje daily wrote on Friday.

Croatia and Albania ask NATO to revise Kosovo peacekeeping plan

Albania and Croatia have asked NATO to revise plans for its peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, arguing that nationalist rhetoric by Serb politicians threatens to destabilise the region scarred by the 1990s wars, Reuters news agency said on Thursday, quoting the Office of the Albanian Defence Minister.

Bosnia parliament blocked over possible review of ICJ ruling against Serbia

Serb deputies at the House of Representatives of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Parliament on Thursday failed to show up for a previously scheduled session in line with their previous announcement that they would block decision-making in the state parliament until the issue of a request for a review of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in Bosnia and Herzegovina's genocide and aggression lawsuit against Serbia was resolved.

Saudi ambassador wants Bosnia to enable foreigners to buy property

Saudi Arabian Ambassador Hani bin Abdullah Muminah has called on Bosnian authorities to amend legislation to enable foreigners to buy real estate in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Dnevni Avaz daily said on Thursday.

Vucic without comment on Nikolic's decision to rerun for presidency

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic's announcement that he would run again for presidency elicited numerous reactions on the Serbian political scene on Thursday, but Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, whom the leadership of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) on Tuesday nominated as a presidential candidate, refused to comment on Nikolic's decision.

Serbia's Nikolic to rerun for presidency --media

Serbia's current head of state Tomislav Nikolic will rerun for the presidency, according to the Russian web portal "Sputnik".

EP adopts resolution on Bosnia's progress which calls for federalism

The European Parliament on Wednesday passed a resolution on the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016, which calls for respect for the principles of federalism, decentralisation and full equality of the country's constituent peoples and all citizens.

Montenegrin parliament strips two opposition leaders of immunity from prosecution

Montenegro's parliament on Wednesday stripped leaders of the pro-Serbian opposition Democratic Front (DF) Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic of immunity from prosecution to face charges of a conspiracy to attack the institutions of the state at last year's elections.

Jeremic: Vucic's candidacy for president "total personalisation of authorities"

A former Serbian Foreign Minister and candidate for the country's President, Vuk Jeremic, said on Wednesday that the presidential candidacy of the current Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic "represents an accelerated and total personalisation of the authorities and the state".

Harsher penalties for traffic offences go into force in Bosnia and Herzegovina

An amended traffic safety law entered into force in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday envisaging draconian fines for offenders who drive under the influence or at excessive speed.

Most MEPs endorse draft report on Bosnia

A majority of members of the European Parliament, who on Tuesday evening participated in a discussion on a draft progress report on Bosnia and Herzegovina prepared by EP rapporteur Cristian Dan Preda, described the document as a well-balanced report that points out the changes which that EU aspirant should make while abiding by the principles of federalism, decentralisation and full equality of the three constituent peoples.

Aleksandar Vucic to run in Serbia's presidential election

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic will be the ruling Serbian Progressive Party's (SNS) candidate in the country's presidential election, scheduled for April.

Izetbegovic lobbying against federalisation in EP resolution on Bosnia

The Bosniak member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bakir Izetbegovic, held talks in Strasbourg on Tuesday with European People's Party (EPP) officials, saying he was against mentioning federalisation in a resolution on BiH's progress because it might encourage demands for dividing the country on the ethnic principle.

Athens: Agreement with international creditors could be imminent

The Greek government and its international creditors could soon come to an agreement on the implementation of further financial reforms, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

HDZ: Croatia won't allow intimidation of Croats in Bosnia

The deputy leader of Croatia's ruling HDZ party, Milijan Brkic, and the leader of Bosnia and Herzegovina's HDZ, Dragan Covic, visited the southern Bosnian town of Stolac on Monday ahead of a repeat of municipal elections next Sunday.

Croatian Interior minister says Balkan migration route doesn't exist

The so-called Balkan route does not exist and the number of migrants arriving along it, is negligible, Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said in Zupa Dubrovacka on Monday.

Serbia wants dialogue with Croatia, but can't tolerate rehabilitation of Ustasha ideology

Serbia is open to dialogue with Croatia, but will not applaud the installation of monuments to Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and rehabilitation of the Ustasha ideology in Croatia, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Sunday.

Bosnian courts deliver over 300 guilty verdicts in war crimes cases

Since the end of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country's courts have delivered over 300 guilty verdicts for war crimes, and many reported cases still await processing as at least 6,000 people are under investigation, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) says, citing data gathered by the country's High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council.

WWII bomb found near petrol station is defused in Thessaloniki

An unexploded World War II bomb discovered in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki was defused on Sunday after a delicate operation that triggered the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

SDA calls on EPP not to support Bosnia's federalisation

The Party of Democratic Action (SDA), a member of the ruling coalition in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has called on the European Parliament to throw out of its draft resolution parts calling for the federalisation of the country, incorporated at the request of Croatian MEPs.

Bosnian Serb jailed for life for Srebrenica atrocities dies in Germany

Bosnian Serb Ljubisa Beara, who was serving a life sentence for atrocities against Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, died in a prison in Berlin on Friday, media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina reported.

Bosnia to decide next week on possible motion for review of ICJ ruling against Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina will decide next week on whether it will file a motion with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for review of the ruling on its suit against Serbia for military aggression and genocide.

Serbian minister says unveiling of monument to Stepinac "regrettable", calls him war criminal

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Thursday that the unveiling of a monument to the Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac in the eastern Croatian city of Osijek was "regrettable", describing Stepinac as a war criminal and noting that the act was a clear message to Serbs that crimes against them were allowed and were not punished.

Croatia and Albania reaffirm strategic partnership

Croatia and Albania reaffirmed their strategic partnership at a meeting in Zagreb on Thursday, saying that their goal would be to strengthen stability and security in Southeast Europe.

Exhibition on int. community's failure to prevent Srebrenica atrocities staged

A new museum with artefacts and material about the conduct and the role of the UN-led Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the summer of 1995 when the Srebrenica enclave fell into the hands of Serb forces was opened on Thursday within the Potocari Memorial Centre, which is dedicated to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim victims killed by troops led by Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic.

Hungary setting up military camps on border with Serbia

Hungary has set up a new military camp near the Kelebia border crossing with Serbia and has announced that it would set up another three camps in Bacsalmas, Madaras and Hercegszanto, with authorities announcing that a second line of fences will be erected, Vojvodina media reported on Thursday.

EU's Hahn urges Macedonia's feuding leaders to form government

European Union Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn visited Skopje on Thursday and urged feuding Macedonian leaders to form a new government two months after snap elections.

OSCE: Revision of ruling against Serbia for genocide, aggression in Bosnia would cause new crisis

The head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jonathan Moore, has told a Sarajevo daily that Bosnia and Herzegovina's filing a new lawsuit against Serbia for aggression and genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would only worsen the situation in the country and the rest of the region and that it was unlikely to change a 2007 verdict that acquitted Serbia of the charges.

Balkan route countries look to plug last gaps in borders

Countries along the Balkan migration route agreed on Wednesday to seal the already hard borders and prevent a possible new surge of people trying to reach wealthy EU countries.

Bosnian PM says unpleasantly surprised by Petrov's denial, Petrov responds

Bosnia and Herzegovina Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said on Wednesday that he was "unpleasantly surprised" by Croatian Parliament Speaker Bozo Petrov's denying that at his talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina's top officials on Tuesday, he explicitly opposed the establishment of new entities in that country, Zvizdic's office said.

Petrov says Bosnia priority of Croatia's foreign policy

Croatian Parliament Speaker Bozo Petrov announced in Sarajevo on Tuesday the continuation of Croatia's full support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's efforts to preserve its stability and territorial integrity as well as its aspirations to joint Euro-Atlantic associations.

47 pct of Serbian citizens in favour of EU entry, 29 pct against

Euro-optimism is on a descending line in Serbia, show the latest opinion polls according to which 47% of Serbian citizens are in favour of the country's EU entry, 29% are against.

Bosnian given 4 yrs for joining Islamic State

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday sentenced Bosnian national Mehmed Tutmic to four years in prison after he was found guilty of joining the Islamic State terrorist organisation, the court confirmed.

Pahor: Razor-fence seemed necessary half a year ago, not so any more

Slovenian President Borut Pahor said on Monday that he believed that there was no longer any need for the razor fence on the border with Croatia.

Trial for Srebrenica war crimes starts in Belgrade

A trial of eight members of the Special Brigade of the Bosnian Serb entity Interior Ministry, indicted for war crimes against Bosniak civilians in Srebrenica, started before the Special War Crimes Court in Belgrade on Monday.

Croatian MEP: Federalism solution for BiH, unclear concept of third entity damaging

Multi-ethnic countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina can be successfully built on federal principles, but forcing the establishment of a third entity makes no sense without a clearly defined idea of what a third entity would mean in territorial terms and without the support of all political stakeholders in the country, Croatian MEP Jozo Rados told the Sarajevo-based Oslobodjenje daily on Monday.

Reis Kavazovic: Terrorists will be defeated, but what after that

The defeat of those who are carrying out terror in the name of Islam is definitely certain, however, there are reasons to fear, in the current world imbued with hatred and prejudices, of what will fill the space that has been so far occupied by terrorist groups, the head of the Islamic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Reis Husein Kavazovic, has said in an interview for the FENA news agency of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Agreement reached on Kosovska Mitrovica bridge wall

North Mitrovica mayor Goran Rakic and Kosovo Physical Planning Minister Ferat Salja reached agreement early on Saturday on a wall symbolically dividing the Serb-populated north part of Kosovska Mitrovica from the Albanian-populated south part of the city.

No major migrations along Adriatic route, Slovenian FM says

Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec has tried to shed light on Slovenian PM Miro Cerar's statement on Friday about the opening of an Adriatic route whereby migrants might reach Croatia and Slovenia which surprised Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic.

Trump administration upholds sanctions against Dodik

The new US administration has upheld the sanctions against Bosnian Serb entity President Milorad Dodik, imposed in January for obstructing the Dayton Peace Agreement and organising an illegal referendum last September, according to an updated list which the US Department of the Treasury published on Tuesday.

Frontex officers begin patrolling Greek-Macedonian border

Officers from European border agency Frontex have begun patrolling the border between Greece and Macedonia, Frontex said Friday.

Serbian, Montenegrin PMs hold talks

Serbia and Montenegro have good and friendly relations which will continue to improve and today's talks on that were substantial, open and mutually beneficial, the two countries' prime ministers said in Belgrade on Friday.

Slovenian PM demands his associate's resignation over Aliens Act vote

Controversies about the passage of disputable amendments to the Aliens Act in Slovenia have continued this week with Prime Minister Miro Cerar demanding the resignation of Milan Brglez from the post of vice

Catholic dignitary says Church, HDZ BiH can't agree on basic issues

To illustrate his claim, he said that the last census showed that around 220,000 Croats live in Herzegovina, while 320,000 live in the area geographically termed Bosnia. The latter received only 15% of last year's government funding intended for various cultural projects, worth around 380,000 euros, while the rest was allocated to communities in Herzegovina, he said.

EU calls on Belgrade, Pristina to avoid inflammatory rhetoric

The European Union has called on Belgrade and Pristina to defuse tensions and stick to their agreement on avoiding inflammatory rhetoric as well as to focus on the job that lies ahead, the Belgrade electronic media reported on Thursday evening, quoting a statement from Brussels.

Bosnian FM says no referendum on Serb entity's separation

Bosnian Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak said on Thursday there would be no referendum on Republika Srpska's secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but stressed that speculation that it could happen worried the international community, including the UN.

Serbia's top officials convening urgent meetings after Kosovo talks

Serbia's top officials have convened a series of urgent meetings for Thursday after a second round of Serbia-Kosovo talks in Brussels which, according to the media, yielded no results.

NATO secretary general: Strong institutions best protection from Russia's influence in Balkans

NATO is aware of Russia's attempts to spread its strategic influence to the Balkans and the best protection from meddling in interior affairs of countries in the region is to advance their democratic institutions and capacities for coping with security challenges, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Sarajevo on Thursday.

Croatia, Bosnia lay new foundations for security cooperation

Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic and Bosnia and Herzegovina Security Minister Dragan Mektic announced in Sarajevo on Thursday the strengthening of cooperation in the fight against organised crime, terrorism and illegal migration prevention, saying that the time had come to lay new foundations for the two countries' relations on the security front.

EU encouraged by Belgrade-Pristina dialogue

Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is important for the region and the European Union, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said late on Wednesday after a new round of talks between Serbian and Kosovo delegations in Brussels.

Wigemark: Plans about new entities or seccession in Bosnia impossible to implement

All those talking about the creation of new entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the secession of parts of its territory pose a threat to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that must stop because such plans are impossible to implement and talking about it directly harms ordinary people, the head of the Delegation of the European Union in the country, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said in an interview with the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine daily.

Greece extends detention of Turkish pilots pending asylum decision

Eight Turkish soldiers who applied for asylum in Greece after fleeing Turkey following a coup attempt in July must remain under temporary police custody, an Athens court ruled Wednesday.

Exports of Croatian food products to Bosnia possible again

A protocol to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) enabling the duty-free export of Croatian food and agricultural products to BiH is applied as of February 1, and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) expects this to increase trade between the two countries.

Draft resolution on Bosnia calls for respecting principles of federalism

The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday adopted a draft resolution on the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) which calls for implementing the changes necessary for the creation of a functional state by respecting the principles of federalism, decentralisation and full equality of the constituent peoples and citizens.

Seven independent Bosnian mayors to form "Movement for Europe" platform

The heads of seven municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina who won the October 2016 elections in their respective communities as independent candidates will form a new political platform called "A Movement for Europe" in an effort to offer an alternative to current political parties.

Tsipras warns of rightist surge ahead of "key" European elections

Europe is at an "important crossroads" with the strengthening of rightists ahead of polls in several "key" countries, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday in Belgrade.

Bosnian court upholds indictment against ten Bosnian Croat soldiers

The Court of Bosnia in Herzegovina on Tuesday upheld an indictment against retired Croat general Djuro Matuzovic and nine other officers and soldiers of the Croat Defence Council (HVO) forces charged with war crimes in the northern Posavina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Greek, Serbian PMs talk cooperation, bilateral relations

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic told a joint news conference in Belgrade on Tuesday that a new "road map" has been drawn up with the help of which the two countries will strengthen their bilateral relations.

Fire breaks out in Bulgaria's largest refugee camp

A fire erupted in Bulgaria's largest camp for refugees and migrants, forcing the evacuation of 500 people, private broadcaster bTV reported Tuesday.

Three migrants injured in knife brawl in Serbia

Three migrants were injured in a knife brawl in the northwestern Serbian town of Sid on Monday evening, while around the same time groups of migrants hiding in truck trailers failed in their attempts to cross the Croatian border illegally, the Serbian broadcaster RTV said on Tuesday.

Slovenian media: Maric and Pocivalsek reach agreement on Cimos debt

Slovenia's Economy and Technology Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek and Croatia's State Property Management Minister Goran Maric reached an agreement on Monday on a solution to the problem of the Koper-based Cimos company's debt to the defunct Rijecka Banka, Slovenian media reported.

Cerar comments on border arbitration with Croatia at diplomatic reception

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar on Monday commented on relations with the neighbours, mentioning his expectations regarding the resolution of a border dispute with Croatia, and underscored that Ljubljana would honour a ruling of the arbitration on the border row.

It is uncertain if Bosnia will ask for review of ICJ ruling in genocide suit against Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina's legal representative before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Sakib Softic, has said that he does not intend to initiate, on how own, a review of the court's 2007 ruling in the case of Sarajevo's lawsuit against the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that is its successor Serbia, for aggression and genocide, stressing that such a decision needs to be made by relevant authorities.

Croat parents in Brcko District want their children to attend classes in Croatian

Parents of children attending a school in Gornja Skakava in Bosnia and Herzegovina's northeastern Brcko District have asked for reinstating a Croat teacher whose place was taken at the start of the second semester by a Bosniak teacher who does not teach children in the Croatian language.

New round of Serbia-Kosovo talks set for Feb 1

Serbia and Kosovo will hold a new round of talks on the relaxation of bilateral relations in Brussels on Wednesday under the European Union's mediation, and Serbia's top officials -- President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic -- are expected to attend the talks, according to the RTS public broadcaster.

Ruling Serb party says Covic's proposal impracticable in Serb entity

The biggest Bosnian Serb party that is a member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's ruling coalition on Saturday dismissed a proposal by Dragan Covic, leader of the Croat HDZ BiH party, for a new territorial make-up of the country, saying that the proposal was impracticable in the Serb entity and calling for compliance with the Dayton peace agreement, which ended the war in the country in 1995.

Bosnian Croat leader hails federalisation, says current make-up hampers integration with EU

Covic said local politicians would have to resolve the issue of the country's territorial make-up in 2017 because it impeded the country's development and integration with the EU.

Turkey warns Greece, files second extradition request for soldiers

Turkey on Friday filed a second extradition request with Greece for eight soldiers who allegedly took part in a coup attempt last year, state-run Anadolu news agency reported a day after the Greek Supreme Court denied a previous demand for their handover.

Serbian citizens admit involvement in terrorism attack in Montenegro

Three Serbian citizens, suspected of having taken part in an attempted coup d'etat in Montenegro on 16 October 2016 and arrested on a Montenegrin warrant, have been released after striking a deal with the prosecution, pleading guilty and agreeing to a five-month prison sentence, the media in Podgorica reported Friday.

Bosnian PM says call for federalisation would prompt new ethnic divisions

A European Parliament resolution insisting on the federalisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is unacceptable because it would prompt new ethnic divisions in the country, Bosnia and Herzegovina Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said in Sarajevo on Friday after meeting with the European Parliament's rapporteur on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dan Preda.

Slovenian parliament endorses new anti-migration law

The Slovenian Parliament on Thursday endorsed the government-sponsored bill of amendments to the Aliens Act with restrictive regulations for potential migrants and asylum seekers, criticised by international nongovernmental organisations and the Council of Europe.

BAT taking over Sarajevo tobacco factory

British American Tobacco (BAT) will take over Bosnia and Herzegovina's Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo (FDS) and will continue producing local and regional cigarette brands, representatives of BAT and Austria's CID Adriatic Investments fund announced in Sarajevo on Thursday. 

Greek Supreme Court blocks extradition of Turkish soldiers

Eight Turkish soldiers who sought asylum in Greece after a failed coup in the summer may not be extradited back to Turkey, the Greek Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, with Ankara quickly protesting the decision.

Bosnia Serb and Croat leaders seek to change Const. Court setup

Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, and Milorad Dodik, the president of the country's Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS), said on Thursday they would continue their close cooperation and would encourage amendments to the law on the Constitutional Court.

NATO expects Montenegro to become a member "in the very near future"

Montenegro is on track to become a NATO member "in the very near future," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

Dodik, Krajisnik glorify creation of Bosnian Serb entity

Convicted war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik and Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik unveiled in Banja Luka on Wednesday a memorial plaque honouring Nikola Koljevic, the wartime vice president of RS, the Bosnian Serb entity.

Ivanic: Situation in Bosnia "very grave", ruling coalition not functioning

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Mladen Ivanic, who is the Serb representative in the tripartite body, on Wednesday warned that the situation in his country is "very grave," underscoring the need for the multi-party ruling coalition to undertake more resolute measures to change the situation and embark on vital reforms.

Croatia, Montenegro sign underwater cultural heritage protection memorandum

Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek and her Montenegrin counterpart Janko Ljumovic held a working meeting in Zagreb on Wednesday at which they signed a memorandum on cooperation in the protection of the underwater cultural heritage.

Croatian MEPs submit amendments to EP report on Serbia

Croatian members of the European Parliament (MEP) have submitted a number of amendments to a draft report on Serbia, of which most refer to Serbia's law on universal jurisdiction in the prosecution of war crimes, the treatment of the Croat minority in that country, Serbia's relations with neighbouring countries, the media situation, and the country's relations with Russia.

Nikolic says any Serb would go to war for his country

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in Brussels on Tuesday that he did not know if there was any Serb who would not go to war for his country if necessary, thus repeating his belligerent statements directed at Kosovo Albanians some ten days ago.

Belgrade and Pristina agree to continue high-level dialogue

Belgrade and Pristina will continue dialogue on the highest level with the support of the European Union, but officials on both sides should tone down their rhetoric, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told media in Belgrade late on Tuesday after high-level talks with a Kosovo delegation in Brussels.

Bulgaria snap polls set for March 26

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on Tuesday appointed former parliament speaker Ognjan Gerdzhikov as caretaker prime minister, dissolved the blocked legislature and scheduled early elections for March 26.

EP Foreign Affairs Committee warns of rising tensions in W. Balkans

Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday expressed concern over rising tensions and incendiary rhetoric in southeast Europe and appealed for measures to prevent the situation from turning into something worse.

Bosnia Presidency chair suspected of disrepecting Cons. Court ruling

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Chairman Mladen Ivanic, who is the Serb representative in the tripartite body, was questioned on Tuesday by prosecutorial authorities as part of a probe into events commemorating the controversial Republika Srpska (RS) Day on January 9.

Croatian officials pledge support for Croats to return to Bosnian Serb entity

State-Secretary in the State Office for Croats Abroad and State-Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Zvonko Milas and Zdravka Busic respectively visited Banja Luka on Monday and met with local Croat representatives and of the Catholic church in Republika Srpska (RS) and announced the continuation of support for displaced Croats to return to their pre-war homes in that Serb entity, a press statement issued on Tuesday said.