Conference Invitation

Bulgarian Hub for United Balkans and Dr.Andrey Kovatchev, MEP and Vice-Chair of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, are organizing a conference “Western Balkans after Sofia Summit 2018”, that will be held on 8th of November 2019 from 09:30 am to 15:30 pm. Venue of the event is the European Parliament Liaison Office in Sofia. The panelists will be leading experts from Bulgaria, Croatia and the Western Balkan countries. Working language is English. Those wishing to attend should pre-register at office@bhub-ngo.org no later than 05.11.2019.

BHUB team


Results of a Poll Conducted by the Bureau for Social Research in Serbia

A study by the Bureau for Social Research (BIRODI), conducted in the periods April 22-25 and May 2-5, 2019, showed that 45.5% of Serbian citizens see Serbia’s EU membership as the country’s most acceptable foreign policy, while 17.6% believe Serbia should join the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

Data released as late as October 21, 2019 shows that only 2% of citizens support Serbia’s NATO and EU membership, at the same time.

Serbia’s EU membership is a priority for most high school graduates, while the majority of citizens with higher education have stated that Serbia should stay away from any kind of “Eastern” or “Western” integration.

The results also showed that citizens living in Eastern and Southern Serbia, especially in the areas bordering Bulgaria and Romania, are most supportive of EU membership. At the same time, the support for Serbia’s government neutrality policy in these areas is significantly less than in other areas.

Belgrade citizens overwhelmingly support neutrality policy, but do not support Serbia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

Those citizens, who mainly watch the national RTS television, are more supportive of EU membership. The same result was obtained among viewers of Happy and Prva TVs (both nationally broadcast), while viewers of pro-government Pink TV, to a much lesser extent, support Serbia’s EU membership, but are also against membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

Supporters of the ruling coalition between the Serbian Progressive Party and the Socialist Party of Serbia have given the following support: 45.1% are for Serbia’s EU membership, 29% are for neutrality and 25% are for the country’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Supporters of the opposition Alliance for Serbia have given the following support: 53.5% are in favor of Serbia’s EU membership, while 38.6% are in favor of neutrality.

European Council Meeting on 17-18 October 2019

The event, which has generated widespread resonance among Western Balkan countries and the EU, was the failure of the EU summit to agree on a date for the start of accession talks with Republic of North Macedonia and Albania.

France and the Netherlands have urged Skopje and Tirana to meet almost all conditions for opening negotiations, although most member states have declared themselves in favor of starting talks with both sides.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has warned that postponing the start of negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania risks further expanding the influence of Russia, China and Turkey in the Western Balkans.

The inability to reach consensus met the sharp but understandable statement of the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, who also underlined that he was ready to even resign. Zaev insists on holding snap parliamentary elections in the Republic of North Macedonia as a matter of urgency, with the aim of finding support among the broad part of the electorate for the country’s current SDSM policy.

Senior representatives of the outgoing EC issued clear warnings against delaying the start of negotiations, which would slow the pace of integration processes in the Western Balkans.

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker called the EU decision “a serious historical mistake”, while MEP Tanja Fajon accused Paris of “playing a dirty game”. EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said he was disappointed with the decision to postpone negotiations with the two Balkan countries. The President of the European Council Donald Tusk also thinks it is a mistake to postpone the start of accession talks, as most EU countries were in favor of such a step. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also gave strong support for the start of EU-North Macedonia-Albania talks, calling the settlement of the 27-year-old dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav republic, a historic move.

Results of the Kosovo Snap Elections

Kosovo Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on Tuesday October 8th  the preliminary results of the snap parliamentary elections after counting 100% of the votes cast on the territory of Kosovo.

Two opposition parties received the most support from Albanian voters. Albin Kurti’s Self-Determination Party is leading among the political forces with 25.48% (202968 votes), followed by Isa Mustafa’s Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) with 24.82% (197702 votes).

Kurti perceives Isa Mustafa as his coalition partner and if the two parties reach a coalition agreement, they have the potential to form an independent government, without seeking support from other political forces. Isa Mustafa, the leader of the oldest Kosovo party – LDK, underlined that his party has no intention of re-entering coalition relations with the Democratic Party of Kosovo. He extrapolates that the priority of the new government should be to improve the economic situation, which he believes is the main reason for the massive emigration of young Albanians to Western Europe.

Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), which has ruled during the last 12 years, remained in third place with 21.24%, while the coalition between the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) of the former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and Shpend Ahmeti’s Social Democratic Party of Kosovo (PSD) occupies the fourth position with 11.57% (92149 votes).

The election results show a significant decline in the electoral support for Ramush Haradinaj’s AAK, although prior to the elections he entered in a coalition with PSD of Shpend Ahmeti, a former member of the leadership of Self-Determination Party. This coalition was backed by the businessman Florin Krasniqi, a former Self-Determination MP who returned from the United States specifically to participate in the election campaign.

Serb List receives 6.61% support (52620 votes), mainly from Northern Kosovo voters, which will allow them to have 10 seats in the future Kosovo parliament.

Self-Determination Party leader Albin Kurti, who could be nominated for Prime Minister, said after the election that his party would not be coalitioned with the Serb List, and underlined his firm position that tariffs on Serbian goods in Kosovo would not be abolished. Kurti has repeatedly stated that his party supports a unification between Kosovo and Albania even before full membership in the EU is achieved.

 The turnout was 43.2%, which represents 796380 out of the 1937868 voters. In the context of the increased turnout in Northern Kosovo, the rest of the electorate, especially the Kosovo Albanians, have demonstrated their disappointment with the current political reality in the country.

Advisory board assembly

In accordance with the growing obligations of the international projects implementation, on the 5th  September 2019 was held a meeting of the “Bulgarian hub for united Balkans” advisory board, on which new members were admitted to membership in order to optimize its functionality.