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Mutual recognition of identity cards, diplomas and professional qualifications: three agreements were signed in Berlin between the six Western Balkan countries, to facilitate the free movement of citizens and boost regional integration.
A positive step forward for the region at a time when tensions between Kosovo and Serbia are rising around the problem of Serbian license plates, which Pristina wants to eliminate. ” It is high time to overcome the regional conflicts which have lasted for far too long, which divide you and hold your countries back on the path of European integration. “, insisted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who confirmed the existence ofa Franco-German proposal to settle disputes between Kosovo and Serbia.
Germany seems to have put particular pressure on Serbia, particularly on the issue of migrants, Serbia exempting visas from nationals of countries which have not recognized Kosovo’s independence. These exiles therefore flock to Belgrade before then attempting to cross into the Schengen area. But Aleksandar Vučić is not the only one play with European rules : Edi Rama’s Albania has relaunched its program of golden passports. At the risk of seeing the Schengen visa regime reintroduced for their two countries.
Radio Slobodna Evropa a discovered that advertisements published on the Booking.com and Airbnb platforms, offering rooms or apartments in Serbia, in particular in the towns of Sombor and Subotica, near the Hungarian border, bore the mention “No migrants”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a billion-euro aid package for “ protect the most vulnerable groups in the face of the energy crisis and boost energy diversification in the Western Balkans, including 500 million available from January.
North Macedonia is particularly vulnerable to rising electricity and gas prices. The country imports a third of the electricity it consumes and risks having to lay off its industries. Skopje seeks help from its neighbors but faces several obstacles. Decryption.
Rehabilitation of fascist and anti-Semitic figures of the Second World War, entry into Parliament of the neo-fascist party AUR [l’Alliance pour l’unité des Roumains, NDLR] : the extreme right is on the rise in Romania, capitalizing on the tense socio-economic context, the absence of a left-wing party in Parliament and the powerful anti-communist heritage. In front, what can the left ?
Neofascist and neo-Nazi groups are present in all the Balkan countries, sometimes enjoying the tolerance, even the covert support of conservative parties in power. Overview new faces of the brown plague.
In Greece, police violence increases with impunity. A young woman was raped in an Athens police station, the police officers who assaulted her are suspected ” abuse of power “. The Conservative government had promised security, increasing the number of police officers, but reducing their training time. Result: recorded cases of police violence increased by 17% in 2021.
Halloumi is neither Greek nor Turkish: this cheese is the symbol of Cyprus’ identity. The European Union has just recognized a protected designation of origin (PDO) common to the two parts of the divided island, a first step towards strengthening relations between trust between the Greek and Turkish communities.
The Russian community takes root in Montenegro. 14,000 Russian nationals have obtained a residence permit there and thousands of others reside there with a simple tourist visa. These exiles have already opened several thousand businesses, and all of them rule out a return to Russia. Reportage.
► A press review presented in partnership with The Balkan Courier
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In the spotlight: in the Balkans, the Berlin process revitalizes regional integration