Aska Global News - Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

Bumpy Roads: North Macedonia’s Fast-Tracked Controversial Highway Construction Bid

The costly project to build North Macedonia’s unfinished corridors 8 and 10 D began as a side story in the media, but now faces widespread controversy, graft allegations and accusations of ‘hysteria’.

In Remote Albanian Regions, Migration Becomes Almost Inevitable

Unemployment, poverty, and disillusionment with the political elite is emptying small Albanian towns and villages of people; the young are moving abroad, taking with them the hopes of their families for a financial lifeline.

Romanians Long for a Return to Their ‘Golden Era’ of Football

The glory days of Romanian football are now a distant memory as a combination of a lack of investment in the domestic game, interference in team affairs by ‘patrons’ who know little about the game, and a poor mindset in young players takes its toll.

Serbia, Kosovo Mark Anniversary of NATO Air Strikes

Serbian officials honoured the civilian victims killed during NATO’s bombing campaign in 1999, while Kosovo’s president hailed the air strikes as an intervention against ethnic cleansing by Slobodan Milosevic’s regime.

Montenegro Urged to Probe Photos of Police Brutality, Gang Links

Human Rights Action, an NGO, on Friday called on the Special State Prosecution to investigate cases of police brutality, after photos of police torturing suspects, apparently sent to gang leaders, were published.

Italy’s Govt is Attacking Media Freedom – But we Can Stop it

The police raid on my ‘Domani’ newspaper for an article about a member of her government has revealed the right-wing Meloni government’s true face – and its hostility to an independent media.

South Korea Seeks Extradition of Detained Crypto Fraudster From Montenegro

South Korean authorities said they will ask Montenegro to extradite Do Kwon, founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency Terra, who was arrested in Podgorica on Thursday trying to board a flight with falsified ID.

Albanian, UK, Leaders Patch up Row over Migration, Pledge Cooperation

After weeks of verbal spats between the two countries over illegal migration, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared that they will work together to tackle the issue.

Bosnian Serb Govt ‘Ends Cooperation’ With UK, US Embassies

Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity said it has cut all ties with Bosnia's UK and US embassies following the US decision to add a leading RS official to its list of sanctioned individuals.

This Week in Central Europe / 24 March 2023

This week’s podcast focuses on the fallout from the ICC’s arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, especially with regards to Hungary, while the TWiCE team talk to Petr Pojman, a renowned Czech criminologist who is helping investigate and catalogue war crimes in Ukraine.

Democracy Digest: Hungary Denies It Vetoed EU Text on Putin’s Arrest Warrant

Elsewhere, Polish prime minister lays out his government’s vision for Europe; Zeman twice tried but failed to get pardon for key aide; and 18 years after the murder of student Daniel Tupy in Bratislava 10 arrests are made.

As NATO Bombed Yugoslavia, Fear Gripped Serbs in Kosovo

The launch of NATO’s air campaign against Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia in March 1999 brought fear and uncertainty to Serbs living in Kosovo and forced many to flee their homes.

Middlemen: The Croatian ‘Aggregators’ Failing Digital Platform Workers

While the European Union seeks a solution to the labour woes of digital platform workers, those in Croatia face extra exploitation via intermediary ‘employers’.

Montenegro Arrests Fugitive Crypto Fraudster Do Kwon at Airport

The wanted South Korean founder of the failed cryptocurrency Terra, Do Kwon, was arrested on Thursday at Montenegro's main airport with falsified identity documents, the country's Interior Minister announced.

Bosnian Aid Organisation Prepares Thousands of Ramadan Meals for Believers

The Bosnian humanitarian organisation has started to distribute 45,000 prepared meals for Muslim believers observing Ramadan – the month when they fast all day and can only eat after sunset.

Bosnian Serbs Adopt Much Criticised Draft Law Criminalising Defamation

Ignoring the pleas of rights groups, media, the EU and US, the Bosnian Serb Assembly has voted for draft amendments criminalising defamation – which critics call a blatant move to muzzle the media.

Serbia Urged to Prosecute Arkan’s Paramilitaries for War Crimes

The Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Centre urged Serbia to start prosecuting surviving members of notorious criminal Zeljko ‘Arkan’ Raznatovic’s Serbian Volunteer Guard for their role in wartime crimes in Bosnia and Croatia.

Bosnia Seeks Wartime Army Commander’s Extradition from Turkey

The Bosnian state court has asked Turkey for the extradition of Sakib Mahmuljin, wartime commander of the Bosnian Army’s Third Corps, after he failed to appear to serve his eight-year war crimes sentence.

Macedonia’s Church Accused of ‘Interfering’ in Gender Equality, Sex Education Debate

Macedonian Orthodox Church's criticism of plan for comprehensive sexual education in schools and a new gender equality law have drawn a sharp response from equality activists who accuse it of promoting misogyny.

Romanians Hosting Ukrainian Refugees Complain of Delay in Payments

Romanians housing and feeding tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have not received their government subsidies for months – amid reports that some hosts are profiting handsomely from the expensive scheme.

Bulgaria Lays Claim to Mystery Pollock Artwork Found in Raid

Minister says unnamed Jackson Pollock painting, seemingly dedicated to Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall and once owned by Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, should remain in Bulgaria after being found in a police raid.

Montenegro Senior Police Official Arrested for Alleged Crime Ties

As the government crackdown on organised crime continues, police assistant director Dejan Knezevic has been arrested on suspicion of having ties to a notorious criminal gang.

Turkey Urged to Ensure Quake Survivors Can Vote in Elections

Rights Foundation says government must make sure millions of displaced quake survivors can take part in May elections, or risk effectively 'depriving them of citizenship'.

In Serbia, Cooperation with Kosovo Scientists Can Bring Threats of Violence

A Serbian academic says she won’t be intimidated after being branded a “traitor” for conducting academic research with counterparts in Kosovo.

Montenegro President Courts Minorities to Stave off Election Defeat

Montenegro’s everlasting-seeming leader Milo Djukanovic will try to mobilize the important minority vote to prevent his likely loss in the second round of presidential elections.

Desperate to Earn, Moldovans Risk Exploitation in Western Europe

More and more Moldovans are seeking opportunities abroad, but many risk being exploited.

Kosovo and Serbia Must Keep Their Promise on Missing Persons

Kosovo and Serbia’s leaders must act urgently on their verbal agreement last weekend to address the issue of finding the remaining missing persons from the 1998-99 war while their ageing relatives are still alive.

Bosnian Ministry Funds Museum at War Prison Camp, Angering Ex-Inmates

Part of the former Heliodrom detention camp in the city of Mostar will be turned into a military museum with 270,000 euros of financial support from the Bosnian Defence Ministry, despite opposition from former prisoners.

Turkey Punishes TV Channels for Critical Coverage Ahead of Elections

Heavy fines imposed on four TV stations for their critical coverage of the government have been condemned as 'absurd' – and as a deliberate attempt to intimidate them in the run-up to general and presidential elections.

Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish Party Hints at Backing Erdogan’s Main Rival

Alliance led by the pro-Kurdish HDP party has announced it will not nominate its own candidate for the May 14 presidential elections, hinting at support for Erdogan’s chief rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.