Aska Global News - Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

Croatia Poised to Join Schengen Zone and Eurozone

Membership of Europe’s Schengen area will end long waits at Croatia’s borders with Slovenia and Hungary during the summer tourist season. Bulgaria and Romania face a fresh delay to accession.

The Scorpions: Paramilitaries or Serbian State-Controlled Unit?

Witnesses told the Hague Tribunal that the notorious Scorpions unit was controlled by the Serbian Interior Ministry during the Yugoslav wars. Can an in-depth analysis of the court’s archives establish the truth?

Study Reports 25,000 Violent Pushbacks at EU Borders

A new study from the Border Violence Monitoring Network, published on Thursday, documents 25.000 violent pushbacks at EU borders, saying the real number of pushbacks is likely even higher.

The Bailiffs Are Back: Czechs Face Fresh Consumer Debt Crisis

Debt relief legislation introduced since 2021 has lifted thousands of Czechs out of insolvency proceedings. Yet the cost-of-living crisis and failure to make further reforms threatens a return to the dark days of enforced debt collection.

Montenegro Govt Urged to Back Law to End ‘Period Poverty’

Parliament's Finance and Budget Committee voted to support a proposed Period Poverty Law, calling on the Montenegrin Finance Ministry to reduce VAT rates on women's sanitary products and baby diapers.

Bulgaria Denies Border Police Opened Fire on Migrants

Interior minister says border patrols can only open fire if they come under attack – as the issue emerges as possible sticking point ahead of EU vote on Bulgaria's admission to passport-free Schengen zone.

UK Parliament Debates Causes of Mass Influx of Albanians

Parliamentary committee grills experts and Albanian Ambassador in London on root causes of upsurge in asylum seekers, after Albanians reportedly numbered over a third of those crossing Channel illegally this year.

Bosnia Charges Serb Ex-Soldiers with Killings of 20 Civilians

Two former Bosnian Serb Army soldiers, Marinko Vidovic and Pero Vujovic, were charged with committing a crime against humanity over the execution of 20 civilians in the village of Ljesevo, near Ilijas, in 1992.

Greek Police Clash Violently With Protesters Marking Teen’s Death

Police accused of excessive brutality in clashes with protesters in Athens and Thessaloniki marking teen's killing by police in 2008 – with a 16-year-old Roma put in hospital.

Journalists Increasingly Targeted by Courts in Turkey: Report

New report covering 210 trials from September 2021 to July this year notes 'radical increase in prison sentences' for journalists who are routinely targeted with terror charges.

Montenegro Opposition MPs to be Investigated for Abuse of Office

Special State Prosecutors Office has opened an investigation into the former government's commission over the loans it handed out to MPs and state officials to solve their housing issues.

Kosovo Activist Threatened After Criticising Football Player’s ‘Thuggish’ Gestures

Kosovo human rights activist received threats after she called famous Kosovo football player a "thug" for gestures against Serbian football players during the Qatar World Cup match between Switzerland and Serbia.

Kosovo PM Announces More Police in North Following Attacks

After a series of violent attacks on election premises in the North, aimed at preventing elections from taking place there on December 18, PM Albin Kurti vowed to increase police numbers in the area.

Solidarity Stories #6: Serb Monastery Shelters Kosovo Albanians

In June 1999, when paramilitaries were marauding in the town of Decan/Decani as the Kosovo war came to an end, the abbot of the local Serbian Orthodox monastery sheltered ethnic Albanians inside the 14th-century building’s walls.

Balkan-Azerbaijan Friendship is Transforming Europe’s Energy Prospects

Ever-closer cooperation with Baku has the potential to relieve the Balkan states’ worryingly high levels of energy dependence on Moscow.

Heritage Heist: Kosovo, Serbia Fight over ‘Loaned’ Museum Exhibits

In 1998, when war was raging in Kosovo, some 1,200 priceless artefacts were moved from Pristina to Belgrade. Kosovo wants them back, but Serbia is refusing.

Bosnia Files Organised Crime Charges After Encrypted App Cracked

The Bosnian prosecution charged eight people with involvement in organised crime, its first indictment based on information gained from the cracking of the Sky ECC messaging application that was used by drug gangs.

Fist Fight in Turkish Parliament Leaves Opposition MP in Hospital

High tensions in a parliamentary debate on the country's 2023 budget led to a fist fight between ruling and opposition party members, leaving one opposition MP in intensive care.

North Macedonia Revokes Fugitive Ukrainian’s Citizenship

North Macedonia’s government scrapped its decision granting citizenship to Oleksandr Onyshchenko, who is wanted in Ukraine and on a US blacklist, after BIRN reported that he was given a passport in unclear circumstances.

Wartime Propaganda ‘Primed Montenegro for Siege of Dubrovnik’

Militaristic propaganda played a major role in priming Montenegrins for the Yugoslav People’s Army’s attacks on the Croatian town of Dubrovnik in 1991, a conference in Podgorica was told on the anniversary of the most intensive shelling.

Bus Blockades Paralyse North Macedonia’s Capital

For a second day in a row, North Macedonia’s capital has been paralysed by an all-day protest by drivers who provide private bus services in Skopje, demanding payments for fuel they claim to be owed by the city.

Serbian TV Stations Halt Broadcasts, Claiming Media Freedom Stifled

Two TV channels owned by United Media, which were denied a national broadcasting frequency in Serbia, stopped broadcasting regular programmes and replaced them with the message "Darkness in Serbia without free media".

Bosnian Human Rights Minister Arrested for Alleged Corruption

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s state-level Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, Milos Lucic, was arrested for allegedly spending public money for his own private purposes.

Bosnian Exile Tells Child’s-Eye Tale of Fleeing to America

Author Kenan Trebincevic’s book about a boy refugee and his family escaping from Bosnia to the United States, based on his own story, explains war crimes and life as a refugee exile to young readers.

Access Denied: What Now After ECJ Restricts Access to Companies’ Ownership Data?

EU court decision to invalidate a provision that gives public access to info on companies’ real owners is a blow to the uncovery of tax evasion and money laundering – but could open the way to a better system.

Bosnia Court Rejects Challenge to Envoy’s Electoral Intervention

Arguments rumble on over the legitimacy of electoral changes imposed by Bosnia’s High Representative, and the legitimacy of the OHR itself.

Media Awards Honour Bosnian War Hero, Promote Tolerance

The Srdjan Aleksic awards, established in memory of a Bosnian Serb who died saving his Bosniak friend’s life during wartime in 1993, were presented on a regional level for the first time.

Serbian Security Officers Contest Convictions for Journalist’s Murder

Four former Serbian State Security Service officers are appealing after being convicted for a second time, after a retrial, of involvement in the murder of opposition journalist and editor Slavko Curuvija.

Montenegro Minister Backs Continued ‘Golden Passports’ Scheme Despite EU Calls

Defying EU pressure to cancel the scheme, Finance Minister Aleksandar Damjanovic said on Monday that closing down the economic citizenship program would damage Montenegro.

Serbian President Will Attend EU-Balkan Summit in Tirana

After angrily refusing to attend the EU-Balkan summit in Tirana owing to his dispute with Kosovo, President Vucic has done a u-turn, and announced he will participate after all.