International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Slovenia logs 1,772 new coronavirus cases, 45 deaths

December 3, 2020

Slovenia confirmed 1,772 new coronavirus cases after 6,604 tests conducted and 45 related deaths in the last 24 hours, the government said on Thursday.

The share of positive tests in the total number of tests was 26.8%, which is better than on Wednesday when 2,429 new infections were reported, with every third test returning positive, and as many as 57 deaths.

Currently, 1,289 infected people are being treated in hospitals, including 198 who are in intensive care.

Since the start of the epidemic in the country in early March, a total of 81,338 infections have been confirmed, of which 20,277 are currently active, the Health Ministry said on Thursday morning.

The 14-day incidence is 967 per 100,000 people, and the latest number of deaths has brought the total death toll to 1,592.

The government is meeting in the afternoon to discuss the epidemiological measures that have been in force for five weeks now and a possible easing of some of the restrictions. Epidemiologists and Health Minister Tomaz Gantar said on Wednesday that they would not recommend any wider easing of measures given the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679514/Slovenia-logs-1-772-new-coronavirus-cases-45-deaths.html

Coronavirus: Croatia reports 4,534 new cases, 48 deaths

December 3, 2020

A record number of 4,534 new coronavirus cases and 48 infection-related deaths have been registered in Croatia in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team said on Thursday morning.

The number of active cases currently stands at 23,942, and 2,501 of them are being treated in hospitals, including 258 who are on ventilators.

Since February 25, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, a total of 139,415 people have been infected with the novel virus, of whom 1,964 have died and 113,509 have recovered, including 3,154 in the last 24 hours.

Currently, 57,894 people are in self-isolation.

A total of 780,257 people have been tested to date, including 11,166 in the last 24 hours.

The latest number of 4,534 infections is a new single-day record. Only twice have more than 4,000 cases been recorded in a single day to date - on November 26 (4,009 cases) and November 27 (4,080).

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679508/Coronavirus-Croatia-reports-4-534-new-cases-48-deaths.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 61 patients died, 7,802 newly infected in Serbia

December 3, 2020

Serbia's Health Ministry said on Thursday, that over the last 24 hours, 61 patients died of coronavirus-related ailments, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,765 while out of 22,243 tested people 7,802 were confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

A mortality rate stood at 0,89 percent.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, 1,844,731 people have been tested, and 199,158 samples have come back positive.

The Ministry said 7,726 patients were hospitalized, and 288 of them on ventilators on Thursday.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679490/Coronavirus-UPDATE-61-patients-died-7-802-newly-infected-in-Serbia.html

Bosnia records 1,161 new coronavirus cases and 39 deaths

December 3, 2020

Bosnian health officials reported 1,161 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, along with 39 virus-related fatalities.

The country's Federation (FBiH) entity reported 760 new cases after testing 2,717 samples for the new coronavirus. The entity's Public Health Institute said they recorded 19 deaths caused by the virus.

The Republika Srpska (RS) region said they registered 388 new cases of the disease after testing 1,003 suspected samples. This entity also reported having 19 fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Brcko District health officials said they recorded 35 new coronavirus case along with one fatality.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679516/Bosnia-records-1-161-new-coronavirus-cases-and-39-deaths.html

Kosovo reports 22 deaths and 627 new cases of coronavirus

December 3, 2020

Over the last 24 hours, 22 patients died in Kosovo, the highest daily fatalities since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, bringing a total number of deaths to 1,062, the Public Health Institute said on Thursday.

Since Wednesday, 1,510 people were tested, and 627 samples came back positive for the new virus.

There were 13,784 active cases on Thursday, while the total number of infected in Kosovo reached 41,299 people.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679542/Kosovo-reports-22-deaths-and-627-new-cases-of-coronavirus.html

Twenty-two deaths, 1,342 new coronavirus cases in North Macedonia

December 3, 2020

North Macedonia’s Health Ministry reported on Thursday 22 deaths from COVID-19-related complications, and 1,342 new cases of the coronavirus infection among 3,399 tested people over the last 24 hours.

The death toll stood at 1,847, while 41,656 patients have recovered since the outbreak of the epidemic.

At the same time, out of 341,261 tested people, the infection was confirmed in 65,231 of them.

The Ministry said that on Thursday there were 21,728 active cases in the county.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679618/Twenty-two-deaths-1-342-new-coronavirus-cases-in-North-Macedonia.html

Bosnia's top judicial body asks its president to "consider resigning"

December 3, 2020

Bosnia’s top judicial institution concluded on Thursday that its president "should consider resigning" after local media published a recording that allegedly appears to prove his involvement in influence-peddling, as the allegations have "damaged relations with all international partners."

The Istraga.ba investigative journalism portal released an audio recording last week which allegedly features the head of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HCP), Milan Tegeltija, discussing the possibility of naming the sister of former HJCP member, Miljana Buha, as a judge in a Banja Luka court.

The HJPC is the institution that appoints judicial officials in Bosnia.

According to Istraga.ba, Buha insisted on the appointment of her sister, Sanja Cegar, and Tegeltija can allegedly be heard saying that the "tactic" should be left to him.

Both Tegeltija and Buha denied the allegations in statements for N1, arguing that the recording proves the opposite - that they agreed such an appointment would be a conflict of interest.

The HJCP discussed during its session on Thursday only one topic - the current situation in light of the allegations.

"The HJPC notes that illegal recording violates the security and the environment for independent decision-making. The HJPC requests from all bodies, especially the Prosecutor's Office, to react promptly. At this time, the HJPC cannot comment on the responsibility of the President based on the content published in the media,” the institution said.

However, "given that all this has damaged relations with all international partners, which significantly complicates the work of the HJPC, we call on the President to consider resigning," it concluded.

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB), an international organisation composed of foreign ambassadors who monitor Bosnia’s peace, called on Bosnian authorities to implement reforms related to rule of law and the fight against corruption.

Meanwhile, an ad-hoc parliamentary commission asked the Council of Ministers to take steps to fix the shortcomings outlined in an OSCE report about the country’s response to corruption.

Bosnia’s international administrator, tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, also called on the head of the HJPC to resign.

Among those who voted for Tegeltija to consider resigning was HJCP member Slavo Lukic.

“Please, accept your part of the responsibility as president,” he said, adding that by doing so, he would “contribute to the stability of the institution.”

HJCP member Monika Mijic did not want to discuss the recording but said she was concerned about the statements from the European Union, the United States, and the Office of the High Representative.

“I’m afraid that it is clear from their views that our president has lost their confidence for various reasons, they have expressed a desire for a new president,” she said.

However, she also expressed concern about the illegal recording of judicial officials and repeated the position of the Association of Judges of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, who said that such practices could jeopardize the independence of the judiciary.

Judge Kees van der Weide, an EU advisor to the HJCP, also said that the most logical thing would be for Tegeltija to resign in order to protect the interests of the institution.

According to HJCP member Lejla Hadzic, the affair has made it impossible for the institution to perform its duties.

“Our international partners have always helped us. I believe that in order to maintain efficiency and restore the trust of the citizens, the president of the HJPC must resign," she said.

Tegeltija repeated his earlier claims that Bosnia Intelligence Security Agency and people connected to it were spying on him and that the recording was edited and published as a result of long-term illegal monitoring. He called the allegations against him “lies” and accused other members of the HJCP of influence peddling.

After the session, however, he said that he was also among those who voted for the request for him to consider resigning.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a492275/Bosnia-s-top-judicial-body-asks-its-president-to-consider-resigning.html

EU’s sources: Serbia stands no chance of opening accession chapter in 2020

December 3, 2020

The European Union won’t open any chapter in the accession negotiations with Serbia because some EU member states say the Belgrade authorities haven’t progressed in reforms of the rule of law, judiciary independence and freedom of expression, despite promises given, the sources from the bloc told the Beta news agency in Brussels on Thursday.

The sources from the European Commission and the Council of Ministers told Beta that the latest discussions ahead of the Ministerial meeting and the EU leader’s conference showed “there was no chance for a decision to open a single new chapter, despite that looked possible earlier.”

Olivér Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, has recently said, the EU could open chapter 8 on competitiveness with Serbia. Still, the new analysis, according to some EU countries, showed it was difficult because the reforms in Serbia were at a halt.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679566/EU-s-sources-Serbia-stands-no-chance-of-opening-accession-chapter-in-2020.html

Merkel to Vucic: Kosovo dialogue, rule of law of crucial importance

December 3, 2020

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held an online conference on Thursday focused on Belgrade's European path, dialogue on the normalization of relations with Pristina, the economy, and the rule of law.

That will probably be their last meeting in Germany's presidency of the Council of the EU, which ends this year, with Portugal taking over.

Merkel, who welcomed Serbia's progress in the economy, and efforts in the European integration, but added the dialogue with Pristina and the rule of law was crucial, according to a statement from Vucic's cabinet.

Vucic thanked her for what he said was Germany's continuous support for Serbia's European integration. He also said the reforms in the rule of law were essential for Serbia's aim to join the bloc, adding the cooperation with Germany and EU institutions was the right way for the improvement in that area.

Serbia's President reiterated the need for a clear plan for EU enlargement and a time framework for the membership. Vucic added the process of Western Balkans European integration was essential for peace and stability in the region.

Regarding the continuation of the Kosovo talks, the two agreed the dialogue was, as well as that the preservation of peace was equally important for both sides.

Vucic said that he would take all necessary steps to successfully continue the dialogue and create a constructive and open atmosphere for negotiations.

Merkel welcomed Serbia's readiness for further work on keeping the region safe and reiterated Germany would remain Serbia's reliable partner in the European integration.

"The economy is a strong link between our two countries," she said.

Vucic recalled that German companies operating in Serbia employed over 67,000 workers and that they significantly contributed to the country's economic development, as well as to Serbia's reputation as a good place for investments.

"We are grateful for Germany's support of Serbia's economy. Germany is our largest trading partner, even during the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. There is a growing interest of German companies to invest in our country, and I am proud to say that Serbia will have the highest growth in Europe this year, despite all the current challenges," Vucic said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679604/Merkel-to-Vucic-Kosovo-dialogue-rule-of-law-of-crucial-importance.html

Bosnian Serb leader insults and challenges international administrator to dismiss him

December 3, 2020

I challenge him to show me what he's got, go on, tough guy, dismiss me, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik defiantly said at a press conference Thursday, talking about the deadline given to him by international community's Valentin Inzko to change the plaque from a student dormitory named after convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, in Pale neighborhood, near the country's capital.

“Who else believes Inzko? Whom can he give a deadline to? He can't even give his own... Where is his support for something like that? That's the story from Sarajevo because a new US administration is coming, so Inzko is trying to do something. Where does he get the authority from to change policies? Where does it say in the Dayton? Where did he read that he could do that? These are serious discussions, and he is frivolous. He's nothing but a scoundrel. Who's he going to punish? What kind of punishment will he impose? Inzko is a funny figure from whom Sarajevo expects to punish and sanction someone,” Bosnian Serb presidency member Milorad Dodik said.

“I challenge him to show me what he's got, go on, tough guy, dismiss me,” Dodik said defiantly.

Valentin Inzko, the Austrian diplomat tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the Bosnian war, told local media last month he would ask the EU to ban all politicians who deny genocide and glorify war criminals when he presents his next report to the UN Security Council in May 2021.

The student dormitory named after Karadzic is located in Pale, near the Bosnian capital, and in Bosnia's Serb-majority semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity. Karadzic was sentenced to life in prison for genocide and other war crimes he had committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia by a UN court.

Dodik, who is the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency and the leader of the ruling party in Bosnia's Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity, was the one to ceremonially open the student dormitory.

"They [Western countries] keep telling us that the Convention on Rights and Freedoms is an integral part of Bosnia's Constitution. When they need something, they use it, and when they don't need it, they abuse it. They are trying to sell that story that the Convention is an integral part of the Constitution. We Serbs will lead the policy we want, we asked them to give us back the Bosnia envisaged by the Dayton Peace Agreement and we have no problem with such a Bosnia. We have a problem with every other Bosnia," Dodik said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679504/Bosnian-Serb-leader-insults-and-challenges-intl-administrator-to-dismiss-him.html

Serbian Minister: A threat to Bosnia's RS entity is a threat to Serbia

December 3, 2020

Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said during a visit to Banja Luka on Thursday that his government is willing to continue and boost cooperation with authorities in Bosnia's Serb-majority entity because anything that happens in Serbia affects Republika Srpska (RS) and vice versa.

“Every threat to security and peace in Republika Srpska is also a threat to the security and peace in Serbia. Every misfortune that happens to Serbia is equally a misfortune for the citizens of Republika Srpska,” he said.

Vulin said that his visit was the result of an agreement between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, adding that every Serbian Minister must visit “his people and his Banja Luka.”

“I have the honor to be in Banja Luka now as the Minister of Internal Affairs and I emphasize my readiness for continuing and improving the cooperation between the Interior Ministries of Serbia and Republika Srpska,” he said.

He said that the first joint connection between the special police units of Serbia and Bosnia’s RS entity police will be organized in 2021 and joint training of police forces, as well as the exchange of information on organized crime groups, will continue.

"When any kind of training is needed that Serbia can provide, all security capacities of Serbia are available to the RS. The RS is our priority, the safety of citizens is just as important to us as the safety of Serbian citizens," said Vulin.

He also commented on the migrant crisis, saying that the problem should be approached jointly, especially since the EU does not have a unified stance on the issue.

"We are here and we have to fight this evil and troubles together. The threats of terrorism are never small, the modern world is a global village where any evil can happen," Vulin said.

The minister said that the RS and Serbia have many areas in which they have to work together and that Serbia will do anything it can for Republika Srpska, stressing that Vucic has done a lot during his terms as Prime Minister and President to make RS more economically developed and protected, and politically more secure.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679494/Serbian-Minister-A-threat-to-Bosnia-s-RS-entity-is-a-threat-to-Serbia.html

Slovenia logs 2,428 coronavirus cases, 57 deaths; 1 in 3 tests positive

December 2, 2020

In the past 24 hours 2,428 coronavirus infections have been registered in Slovenia and 57 COVID-19 patients have died, the government said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 1,292 new infections were confirmed. The number of positive tests has jumped to 33.83%, which was last recorded a month ago, before the strictest measures were introduced.

The head of the government's COVID-19 team, Bojana Beovic, told Slovenian Television last night that experts would propose that the government accept their plan for a criteria chart for a gradual relaxation of the restrictions. She said they would not propose new restrictions but insist on keeping the current ones and consistently applying them.

As of today, 1,285 COVID patients are hospitalized, including 199 in intensive care. The death toll has reached 1,547.

The mortality rate for COVID patients in the past week is the highest in Europe, Slovenian media said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a678936/Slovenia-logs-2-428-coronavirus-cases-57-deaths-1-in-3-tests-positive.html

Croatia logs 3,539 new COVID cases and 55 deaths

December 2, 2020

Croatia registered 3,539 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 55 people have died as a consequence of COVID, the national COVID response team said on Wednesday.

The number of active cases is 22,610, including 2,408 hospitalized patients, 252 of whom are on ventilators.

Since 25 February, when the first case was registered in Croatia, a total of 134,881 people have been infected with the virus and 1,916 have died.

A total of 110,355 have recovered, of whom 2,124 in the past 24 hours.

There are currently 52,079 people in self-isolation.

To date a total of 769,091 people have been tested for coronavirus, with 10,077 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a678938/Croatia-logs-3-539-new-COVID-cases-and-55-deaths.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 52 patients died, 7,919 newly infected in Serbia

December 2, 2020

Serbia's Health Ministry said on Wednesday, that over the last 24 hours, 52 patients died of coronavirus-related ailments, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,704 while out of 22,069 tested people 7,919 were confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

A mortality rate stood at 0,89 percent.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, 1,822,488 people have been tested, and 191,356 samples have come back positive.

The Ministry said that on Tuesday, 7,611 patients were hospitalized, and 270 of them on ventilators.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a679030/Coronavirus-UPDATE-52-patients-died-7-919-newly-infected-in-Serbia.html

Bosnia reports 1,293 new coronavirus cases and 46 fatalities

December 2, 2020

Bosnian health officials reported 1,293 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, along with 46 virus-related fatalities.

The country's Federation (FBiH) entity reported 896 new cases after testing 2,338 samples for the new coronavirus. The entity's Public Health Institute said they recorded 23 deaths caused by the virus.

The Republika Srpska (RS) region said they registered 349 new cases of the disease after testing 1,058 suspected samples. This entity also reported having 21 fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Brcko District health officials said they recorded 48 new coronavirus case along with two fatalities.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a678968/Bosnia-reports-1-293-new-coronavirus-cases-and-46-fatalities.html

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