Saturday, September 6, 2014

Greece due to secure EC job it targeted

Greece is confident that its representative on the new European Commission, Dimitris Avramopoulos, will take over a newly created post that will include the immigration, human rights and interior portfolios.

The new president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is due to announce the new lineup this week after naming the 27 commissioners, including the minimum of nine women that he wanted, on Friday. Avramopoulos met Juncker on Wednesday in Brussels and Kathimerini understands that it was agreed at the meeting that the outgoing Greek defense minister would take over the amalgamated portfolio.

Athens is very pleased by this development as it is keen to see the European Union revise the Dublin II Regulation, which requires asylum applications to be examined by the country where the applicants entered the EU. Greece feels this places an unfair burden on southern European countries. The government also wants Brussels to step up its efforts to deal with irregular immigration.

The only job announced so far, that of EU diplomatic chief, went to Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. Former French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici and Finland’s ex-Premier Jyrki Katainen are favorites for the post of economic affairs commissioner.

Juncker’s team includes four former heads of government in addition to himself: Katainen, former Estonian Premier Andrus Ansip, ex-Lithuanian Premier Valdis Dombrovskis and one-time Slovenian PM Alenka Bratusek.

There are also 13 ministers or former ministers and six European commissioners from the outgoing setup. Juncker’s appointments will also have to be approved by the European Parliament next month.

"Recognition of Kosovo not subject of talks"

BELGRADE -- Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić has said that Belgrade and Priština are not conducting negotiations on a recognition of Kosovo and Metohija.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
He pointed out that "such a possibility has not even been hinted at, in any way."
"We have made it clear that the dialogue is status-neutral, and we have not made it known with any act nor have we taken any formal action that would lead to a recognition of independence," Dačić said.

Noting that Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj both in Berlin and during a recent meeting of the UN Security Council in New York spoke about "signing of a peace agreement, recognition of Kosovo's independence and its membership in various international organizations," Dačić said that these statements were "an attempt to abuse the good will of Belgrade."

He expressed hope that Serbia will open chapters 32 and 35 in its negotiations on EU membership by the end of the year, while chapters 23 and 24 are planned for the spring.

Germany, according to him, wanted those opened first, "but there is hope that this position could be changed."

Dačić pointed out that Serbia "should not pay the price because of the instability in Priština," where a government has not been formed yet, which delayed the continuation of the dialogue, and recalled that the previous Serbian government took part in the talks even during its caretaker mandate.

Informal discussions are in progress in Brussels on chapter 35 today, and although the chapter marked as "miscellaneous" it generally refers to normalization of relations between Belgrade and Priština.

Previously, a regular meeting of delegations produced an agreement on administrative crossings between Kosovo and central Serbia.

Dačić also said on Friday said that a meeting of Balkan ministers of economy and foreign affairs with EU representatives should be held in October in Belgrade.

He said that representatives of Priština authorities would take part in accordance with the manner agreed previously - referring to the asymmetrical representation of Kosovo not as a state, "but with an asterisk and a footnote" next to its name.

Speaking about the report of American prosecutor Clint Williamson on the trafficking in human organs of kidnapped Serbs in Kosovo, Dačić said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia welcomed it.

"An objective report of the prosecutor gives us reason to believe that an investigation into the murders and organ trafficking will not be stopped. We hope that the report will contribute to serious crimes being transferred from political to the legal arena, and that there will be no delays in establishing of a tribunal, which will deal with the statements from the report and raise indictments based on those," said Dačić.


Ivica Dačić said on Friday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received former president of the UN General Assembly and former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić to discuss his candidacy for secretary-general of the organization.

Dačić said that Jeremić had expressed his willingness to accept the nomination, but that the government had still not discussed the issue.

This means that Serbia is still not officially participating in the bid for the position of UN secretary-general, Dačić said at a regular monthly press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He pointed out that many other countries had still not put forward their candidates, as the election for the successor to Ban Ki-moon was due to take place in a year and a half from now.

Tirana prepares for the visit of Pope Francis on September 21.
Albania prepares for Pope Francis visit
World Bulletin / News Desk

Albania is in hectic preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to its capital, Tirana, on September 21.

The Culture Ministry announced that work had begun for the restoration of the Mother Teresa Square where Pope Francis will hold a mass on the day of his visit.

The ministry listed the removal of the fountain on the square and the cleanup of the neighborhood among the first tasks to handle.

Earlier, Pope Francis said that his visit to Albania would be an opportunity to express his support to the country.

He said his brief visit to the country which had long suffered consequences of the problems of the past, would be an opportunity to encourage its people.

Fifteen percent of Albania's population are Catholic, while another 15 percent are Orthodox and more than 60 percent Muslim.

Albanian authorities arrest central bank governor

Arrest linked to alleged theft of 713m leks ($6.6 m) from a reserve storage building


Tirana, Albania: Prosecutors in Albania says that central bank governor Ardian Fullani has been arrested for alleged abuse of office in connection with a multimillion dollar theft from the bank’s reserves.

Albi Serani, spokesman for the Prosecutor-General’s office, says the Bank of Albania chief was taken into police custody following a court order late Friday. Serani said the arrest is linked to the alleged theft of 713 million leks (Dh24.29 million, 5 million euros, $6.6 million) from a reserve storage building which was discovered in July, but provided no further details.

The money was allegedly stolen over the past four years, and Albanian authorities have already arrested 16 central bank employees in the case.

Fullani, 59, was appointed governor in 2004, and is serving his second seven-year term.
Greek PM expresses his concerns to Rama about the “nationalist Tcham trumpeting”
rama samaras ibna

By Albanian Correspondent  /   05/09/2014  /

Tirana, September 5, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

Prime Minister Edi Rama met in Wales with the Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras, upon the request of the latter. The meeting has been held in the framework of the NATO summit, which started on Thursday in Wales (Great Britain). Delegations of both countries are participating in the NATO summit.

Prime minister Samaras was accompanied in this meeting by the foreign Minister, Evangelos Venizelos and the Defense minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos. Meanwhile, Rama was accompanied by the Foreign minister, Ditmir Buashti and the Prime Minister’s advisor, Endri Fuga.

The Prime Minister’s office officially informs that the meeting discussed respective issues that relate to the relations between the two countries, underlining the readiness to further develop them.

The meetings has also discussed the administrative territorial reform, which was not accepted by the Greek minority and  PBDNJ, which defends its rights, although his party is part of the governing coalition.

Samaras has demanded the personal intervention of Mr. Rama “to address issues that emerged in Himara following the administrative reform” and also address “the nationalist Tcham trumpeting”. This request comes a few days after PDIU (Party for Justice, Integration and Unity), which defends the rights of the Tcham community, has approached the majority, as it’s expected to leave the opposition front.

The Greek Prime Minister said in the meeting with Rama, that respect toward human rights is part of the process of EU accession.

The second issue relates to the abrogated pact for the sea border. Prime Minister Samaras has expressed the stand of the Greek side that this issue must be solved based on international law.

On his part, Mr. Rama has declared that he’s aware of “the sensitivity of the Greek Prime Minister on the issue of the minority”. Rama said that “he personally guarantees the respect of human rights”. Mr. Rama also told to his Greek counterpart that “there has never existed any intention to harm the Greek minority”.

Rama emphasized the will of the Albanian government to offer a new dynamic to the bilateral cooperation in the spirit of partnership and good neighboring relations and in the framework of regional incentives, in line with the new reality in the region.

In this meeting, the Albanian Prime Minister referred to the dangers coming from the outbreak of religious fundamentalism in the region. He also underlined the cooperation between the two police forces in tackling crime. /ibna/
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