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Kosovo: Serb List is against the government’s initiative for the creation of the Association of Serb Municipalities

The Serb List, the main political party representing Serbs in Kosovo, does not agree with the government of Kosovo’s initiative to launch procedures for the creation of the Association of Serb Municipalities, while stressing that this association should be established based on the agreements reached in the talks between Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels.

“Pristina does not have a genuine will to implement these agreements in full or to form the Association of Serb Municipalities. These activities are a clear attempt to decrease international pressure, without a will to implement the agreements”, this party declared in a press release.

The head of the Office for Kosovo at the Serbian government, Marko Djuric has declared that Serbia supports the efforts being made to form the Association of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, but he added that this association will not be established based on the ruling of the Kosovo Constitutional Court, which had stricken 22 out of 23 elements making up the process for the establishment of this association.

The European Union welcomed the decision of President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and PM Ramush Haradinaj to appoint a team which would draft the association’s statute.

The spokesperson of the EU head of diplomacy, Maja Kocijancic said that the drafting of the statute will be finalized within a period of four months and that this step enables the implementation of the agreement which is an obligation for Kosovo.

The agreement for the establishment of the Association of Serb Municipalities is part of the agreements reached in April 2013 in the talks for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, brokered by the European Union.

The issue of the association was one of the hardest part of the talks, due to the different positions of the sides. Authorities in Pristina said that the municipalities will help each other in areas such as healthcare, education, economic development and so on, while Belgrade says that “the Association of Serb Municipalities will have a chairman, vice chairman, assembly, council, logo, flag and a wide range of responsibilities. This association will decide on issues concerning healthcare, education, urban planning and economic development, while Serbia is entitled to fund it without claiming taxes from it”.

In December 2015, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled that parts of the agreement for the Association of Serb Municipalities are in contravention with the Constitution of Kosovo. /balkaneu.com/

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Kosovo rules out the option of the “status quo” and exchange of territories

Three are the scenarios of the “Grand Finale” between Kosovo and Serbia, according to a study published by the Research Institute for Development and European Affairs (RIDEA) and the Balkan Policy Research Group (BPRG).

This study is based on interviews with policymakers, experts, activist of civic society and diplomats.

The first scenario which has been suggested is the continuation of the “status quo”, which is not seen as a viable solution by the majority of respondents.

The second scenario includes the signing of an agreement which aims at fully normalizing the relations between the two countries, leading to a mutual recognition.

The majority of respondents opted for the scenario, however, a more realistic version of this scenario is the one where countries sign a legally binding agreement, in which Serbia accepts the state of Kosovo, including its right to join international organizations, but without formally recognizing its independence.

The third scenario includes full normalization of relations, including mutual recognition through border adjustments.

Given that this alternative is supported by Belgrade and not by Pristina, it contains several dangers, including the possibility for the destabilization of the region.

Such agreement for border adjustment (exchange of territories) is only possible once the two states recognize each other.

However, this option has been rejected by the majority of respondents. /balkaneu.com/

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Over 1 million counterfeit goods enter FYROM every year

Around 1 million counterfeit goods enter FYROM each year. These data have been provided by the country’s Customs Directorate.

“Each year, customs seize around 1 million forged goods. China and Turkey are on the list of the states where these goods come from”, says Semir Musa, official at the Customs Directorate.

The most encountered types of counterfeit goods are textile products, shoes, cosmetics, car parts, mobile phones and different electronic parts.

Authorities in the country have taken measures to prevent the entry of counterfeit goods in the country, as a part of them also harm consumers’ health. /ibna/

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FYROM fears the Balkan route is still active

Refugee camps in FYROM’s southern border with Greece are almost empty now, say activists of the Red Cross, but they still fear a possible new wave of refugees.

FYROM is on the so called Balkan route, which two years ago was used by many illegal refugees from Syria, Iraq and countries of Middle East.

FYROM’s Interior minister, Oliver Spasovski says that although the intensity of refugees on this rout has fallen, it is still active.

According to him, although this route has been officially closed, there are many smugglers who exploit victims of trafficking.

Tamara Pogusev, regional head of the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), sdays that measures will be taken for a possible new wave of refugees.

“I truly believe that the EU has long term objectives to stop a possible new wave of refugees, like the one we saw in 2015, because this is not a problem for Europe, but for the entire world”, Pogusev said.

During 2015 and first half of 2016, the number of refugees who went through FYROM was between 800 thousand to 1 million and according to the ministry of Interior, only 200 of them have applied for asylum in the country. /balkaneu.com/

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11 million euros in the national agricultural scheme for agritourism

Albania has all the potential to benefit a significant amount of EU funds which need to be used for the development of agritourism, because although it is a small country, it has a rich culinary and many myths and legends, which could be attractive for many foreign tourists

The Albanian minister of Agriculture, Niko Peleshi declared today that Europe has 88 thousand agritourism outlets, 5 million beds, while employing 500 thousand people.

Stressing that the government is working to develop this new sector of the Albanian tourism, Peleshi said that the national scheme for the support of agriculture has 11 million euros which will be spent for the development of agritourism.

According to Peleshi, the aim of the Albanian government is to attract tourists 365 days a year, as this would increase the contribution to GDP by several times. /ibna/

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The challenge of tourism in Albania

The main challenge of Albania in the sector of tourism is to respond to the growing demand.

This was declared on Friday by the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, at the opening of the 2nd Edition of Tirana 2018 Mediterranean Fair with tour operators from the entire Mediterranean region ahead of the tourist season.

Rama said that there’s an increase in the revenues in the country thanks to the growth of the number of foreign tourists, while last year, this growth was 10%.

But, according to the PM, this growth is conditioned by restrictions in meeting demands, as demand is higher than what can be offered by accommodation outlets in the country.

“This is the main challenge for us: we should offer more in order to be able to cope with a growing demand”, Rama said.

The PM said that Albania is located in a region which is one of the main tourist destinations in the world, the Mediterranean, which receives 25% of revenues from global tourism and 80% of tourists coming from Europe. /ibna/

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