Balkan Insight (81)

Croatia Journalist Accuses MP of Bribery Attempt

Veteran Croatian journalist Drago Hedl alleges that ruling party MP Franjo Lucic tried to bribe him not to report on his business difficulties, which the politician has denied.

Chinese Seal Major Romanian Energy Acquisition

A Chinese company will acquire Romania's main Black Sea refinery after Bucharest approved its purchase of a majority stake in Kazakh-based KMG International, which owns 48.1 per cent of Rompetrol Rafinare.

Moldova President Gives Tour of Summer Residence

Igor Dodon gave journalists a tour of his country residence on Wednesday night, before holding a press conference in the salon. 

Poison Gas: The Bosnian War's Forgotten Weapon

Poison gas and other toxic chemicals were used dozens of times during the Bosnian conflict to torture and murder prisoners, but almost no one has been held directly responsible in court.

Accidents Highlight Safety Worries at Croatia's New Airport

Another accident at Zagreb's new 'Franjo Tudjman Airport' on Wednesday highlights a series of mishaps that have dogged the airport since it opened in March.

Bosnian Hostel Tells Story of Assassination that Changed World

A stay at an unusual hostel in Sarajevo takes visitors back to the event in 1914 that put the city on the map and unleashed the First World War.

Busting Myths About Russia's Balkan Designs

A new book takes a searching look at what Russia is up to – and what it is not – in Southeast Europe.

Eight Signs of Hope From Kosovo's Election

Kosovo's general election result may have been muddle – but it also saw a number of trends that give cause for optimism about the country's democratic future.

Albanian Exhibits Sculptures in Florence's Galleries and Squares

A series of stainless steel abstract sculptures by the Albanian-born artist Helidon Xhixha entitled 'In Random Order' is being displayed in the main galleries and squares of Florence in Italy until October 29.

Bosnia Mulls Election Ban on War Crimes Convicts

A proposed amendment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral legislation would ban people who have served sentences for war crimes or other violations of humanitarian law from standing for office at elections.

Croatia's Agrokor Starts Repaying Indebted Suppliers

The state-appointed management of Croatia's biggest company, Agrokor, said the company will now start repaying its small suppliers with a first tranche of 18 million euros.

Gallery: Photos Recall Quake That Flattened Macedonia's Capital

The Macedonian capital on Wednesday commemorates the 54th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that transformed the face of the city forever.

Tom Hardy Set to Star in Bosnia War Film

The British actor Tom Hardy will produce and act in a movie about UK journalist Anthony Lloyd's experiences during the Bosnian war and his battle with drug abuse.

Bosnian Politicians Snub Trust-Building Get-Together

A meeting of Bosnian political leaders intended to address the in-fighting that has stalled the country's European progress was cancelled because most of them refused to come.

Croatia Broke EU Refugees Rules, ECJ Rules

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that Croatia broke the EU's Dublin regulations by allowing migrants to cross over to Slovenia and Austria without first examining their asylum claims.

Serbian Court Rejects Restart of Srebrenica Trial

A Belgrade court rejected the war crimes prosecutor's motion to continue a landmark trial of eight former Serb policemen for the Srebrenica massacres, saying the request was based on charges already dismissed.

Macedonian Police Crack Down on Street Racers

Macedonia's police have boosted patrols in the capital Skopje in hope of stopping noisy and potentially dangerous night-time motorcycle and car races that upset city residents.

Krunic: The Serbian Artist in Search of Conversation

Belgrade-born painter Slavko Krunic describes his portraits as 'satiriconography' but insists his caricature-style in no way mocks his subjects.

New Movement Pledges to Tackle Bosnia's Old Problems

A new political movement is promising a fresher, younger approach to tackle the corruption and political self-interest that dominates the country's politics – but many disillusioned voters remain sceptical.

Honours for Russian Troops Spark Anger in Moldova

Moldova's pro-Russian President Igor Dodon sparked yet more controversy by announcing he intends to give state honours to Russian and separatist troops in breakaway Transnistria.

Bosnia Slammed for Failure to Sign Transport Treaty

The EU and local politicians criticised Bosnia for not signing a treaty to join a south-east Europe transportation community – a move that also caused the EU Transport Commissioner to cancel a planned visit.

Serbia 'Staged Unfair Trials of Kosovo Albanians': Report

Serbian courts staged almost 2,000 unfair trials of Kosovo Albanians from 1998 to 2000, violating their rights and using discredited techniques to convict them, claimed a report by the Humanitarian Law Centre.

Sweden Scandal Highlights Cheap Romanian, Serbian IT Market

The growth of the low-cost IT subcontracting market in Eastern Europe has been highlighted by a scandal over Romanian, Czech and Serbian programmers potentially having access to Swedish citizens' data.

Ukraine Threatens Kusturica with Ban over Crimea Visit

Ukraine threatened to prosecute and ban famous Serbian film-maker Emir Kusturica from its territory after he visited Crimea and praised the Russian takeover of the peninsula.

Campaign Urges Croatia to Apologise to 'Storm' Victims

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights NGO has launched a poster campaign in Zagreb urging the government to say sorry to Serb victims of Croatia's victorious Operation Storm in August 1995.

Serbian Unions Clash Over Deal With Fiat

The Samostalni union has signed a new collective bargaining agreement with Serbia's Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but has come under fire from another union which claims the deal harms workers' interests.

Hague Tribunal Frees Stanisic, Simatovic from Custody

The UN court granted temporary release for the summer recess to former Serbian security chiefs Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, who are being retried for war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbian Seniors Toil for Survival After Retirement

A pensioner's union estimates more than 250,000 Serbian seniors work low-paid seasonal jobs like street vending to make a living, while young people would rather quit the country than endure dismal conditions.

Europe Must Respond to Threats to Liberal Values

As the crisis over the judiciary in Poland has shown, the EU must be more vigilant in defending values that both member states and candidate countries seem determined to test.

Hate Crimes Spike Alarms Macedonia Rights Committee

Hate crimes, especially politically motivated ones, rose sharply last year and in the first half of this year, Macedonia's Helsinki Committee for Human Rights said, presenting a new report.

Kosovo FM Welcomes Vucic's Plan to Resolve Relations with Pristina

Kosovo's Foreign Minister, a former president and others have welcomed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's call for a new spirit of 'realism' on the issue of Kosovo.

Serbia Prosecutor Files Motion to Restart Srebrenica Trial

Serbia's war crimes prosecutor filed a motion to restart a landmark trial of eight former Serb policemen for the Srebrenica massacres after it was halted when an appeals court threw out the charges.

Thaci Sets Date for Kosovo Parliament to Meet

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has set August 3 as the date for the constituent session of the new parliament - but it still unclear which coalition or party will form the new government. 

Serbia Urged to Sue NATO, UN over Kosovo Deaths

The families of Serb farmers killed in Kosovo 18 years ago urged Belgrade to sue the NATO peacekeeping force and the UN Mission in Kosovo for not preventing the murders - although experts warned this would be difficult.

Macedonia Court Rejects Detention for Ex-PM Gruevski

Macedonia's Appeal Court has rejected a plea to detain former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and top officials of his VMRO DPMNE party ahead of their trial on election fraud charges.

Sarajevo Film Festival to Award Oliver Stone

Filmmaker Oliver Stone will receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award for his extraordinary contribution to the art of film at the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival.

The Balkans Today: 24th - 28th July 2017

Our team brings you live updates of the most important events and developments in the Balkans as they happen.

Montenegro Continues Selling Arms to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia continues to be one of the main export destinations for weapons from Montenegro, despite fears that arms sold to them could well end up elsewhere.

The Many Charms of Serbia's Valjevo

Whether you are into hiking or history, summer or winter activities, Valjevo has it all.

The Srebrenica Refugee Camp that Never Closed

A hundred kilometres from Srebrenica, 400 female relatives and survivors of the 1995 genocide still live in the rundown temporary camp where they found shelter, and say they will never return home.

Private Stock Exchange Aims to Fill Gap in Albania

The first private initiative stock exchange in the country is due to open in October - and hopefully fill an important gap in the country's economic and financial architcture.

Macedonia Court To Rule on Gruevski's Detention

Macedonia's Appeal Court is to decide within the next two days whether to detain former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and top officials of his VMRO DPMNE party on election fraud charges.

Bronze Age Tomb Finds Thrill Romanian Historians

Romanian archaeologists say nine Bronze Age tombs discovered recently in the east may shed new light on the trade conducted in ancient times between Eastern and Western Europe. 

Infighting Brings Down Bosnia's Ruling Coalition

After months of bickering and blockades, the coalition ruling at Bosnia's state level and in the Federation entity has broken up.

Moldova Asks Russian Troops to Quit Transnistria

Moldova's parliament has passed a declaration asking Russian troops to leave Transnistria, a day before Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin's planned visit to the breakaway region.  

Croatia Quashes WWII Pro-Fascist Academic's Conviction

A Zagreb court overturned the 1945 verdict that convicted academic Filip Lukas of supporting Nazi occupation forces because of his connections with Croatia's WWII-era fascist government

Montenegro Urged to Challenge Killer's Statue in Croatia

Activists in Montenegro accused the government of not doing enough to pressurise Croatia to remove a monument to a Croat who killed a Montenegrin ambassador in 1971.

UEFA Fines Croatia's Hajduk for 'Kill Serb' Chants

UEFA has fined and penalised the Croatian football club Hajduk after its fans chanted anti-Serbian slogans at a match against Levski of Bulgaria.

Serbia May Give Youngsters Land To Revive Countryside

Serbia is considering giving away land to young couples to counter the rural depopulation afflicting most Balkan countries - which a Serbian minister has called 'a threat to national security'.

Kosovars Warned About Using First Bitcoin ATM

Kosovo is about to get the first virtual currency ATM in the Balkans - but the central bank has warned potential users that they cannot expect much protection from the law.