Tsipras: I ask for a vote of confidence for the future of the country
The election results next Sunday may open the door for national elections, as the Greek prime minister said in his last interview before the crucial battle, this morning on public television. "On Sunday we do not vote for a government, but it is not an unimportant vote," said Alexis Tsipras, pointing out that in these European elections, just before the national elections, the citizens are voting for a political plan for the next few years. "I can not say “it makes no difference, no matter what you vote”," he said in conclusion, "I asked for a vote of confidence. If I get it, it is...
Increase in Health and Education expenditure
Increasingly improved appears to be the picture of the expenditure given by the Greek government, both for Education and Health, compared to the early years of the crisis. The total funding for Health expenditure, like other social expenditure, fell significantly over the period 2010-2014 (a cumulative decrease of € 7.4 billion) as a result of the horizontal cuts imposed in the first two Financial Adjustment Programs. In 2015 this downward trend slowly stopped, when an increase of 1.7% was recorded, while one of 1.9% was recorded in 2016. Thus, total Health expenditure as a percentage of GDP for the year 2015 stood at 8.19% and...
Wigemark: “There is still a lot to be done for an EU membership”
The Office of the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) in BiH has launched the ‘Take initative’ (‘prEUzmi inicijativu’) project, within which public debates on the challenges and opportunities offered by the EU accession process will be held in nine local communities across BiH. The first debate was held in Sarajevo, hosted by the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark. ”I believe that the European Commission will soon publish its Opinion on BiH’s membership application, which will confirm that BiH can become an EU member someday. Of course, there is a lot that will need to be harmonised with EU...
Zaev in Montenegro, a joint session of two governments
The Prime Ministers of Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia, Duško Marković and Zoran Zaev respectively, agreed on the press conference after the joint session of the two governments, that the two countries are an example in the region as countries that continually keep the relations of genuine friendship and mutual help. "I believe that my colleague Zaev will agree when I say that the joint session was successful. Not only because of the mutual friendship and close relationship, but also because of concrete talks and proposals that will be the basis of further cooperation. ... As a country that is at the forefront...
EastMed Act has been brought to the House of Representatives
The EastMed Act, which is now in place in both Congressional legislatures, has been submitted to the House of Representatives in the United States and enjoys the inter-party support of some of the most prominent leaders in the respective Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees. The version of the bill submitted to the House of Representatives is almost identical to that brought to the Senate. The draft law on security and energy cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean of 2019, which was submitted to the Senate, provided for the first time that the State Secretary must submit a report to the House on the number...
Opinion/Justice reform and vetting: for the citizens, with the citizens
By Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for the Western Balkans at the European Commission and Chair of the International Monitoring Operation (IMO). The EU and the US are fully committed to continue supporting the reform of the judiciary in Albania, to guarantee the right of the citizens to a democratic society where nobody is above the law. The vetting of the judiciary is an essential step in this direction. A little over one year has passed since the Independent Qualification Commission held the first hearing in the framework of the vetting process. Since then, the first instance vetting institution has adopted more than 140 decisions. These...
Political crisis in Albania, president willing to postpone election date
President of Albania, Ilir Meta has issued a rather surprising statement today saying that he is ready to postpone the date of local elections. “I would like to express my institutional readiness to set another date for the elections, in accordance to the will of the political sides”, Mr. Meta says. According to the Albanian head of the state, “constitutional order, public security, stability of the country and democratic, free and fair elections are principles that prevail over every formal aspect, including the change of election date”. Mr. Meta also launches an appeal for the two main political parties in the country: “I call on...
Opposition in Kosovo demands resignation of parliamentary speaker
During a press conference delivered on Thursday, Kosovo’s parliamentary speaker, Kadri Veseli has declared that he was willing to resign if there’s any truth to allegations for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme. Veseli’s name has been mentioned in a video which shows several people who are involved in such scheme. Meanwhile, opposition party, Self Determination has reacted today by saying that “everyone knows that Veseli is involved in this criminal matter and that his place is behind bars. Resignation is a moral act which gives way to investigations”, this party declared. Democratic League of Kosovo has also demanded Veseli’s resignation and a full investigation...
Businesses in North Macedonia demand more concessions by government
Businesses in North Macedonia have put forward a series of demands to the government with the aim of improving business climate in the country. Measures against informal economy, creating sustainable conditions for doing business and speeding up the digitalization process are just part of the 78 measures that the Union of Chambers of Commerce has requested to the government. “We demand a solution by the end of the year for some of these measures ”, said the chair of this Union, Daniela Arsovska. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has proposed VAT refund as a measure to fight informal economy. According to him, this measure will be...
US senate confirms Kate Marie Byrnes as ambassador to North Macedonia
US senate has confirmed diplomat Kate Marie Byrnes as the new ambassador to North Macedonia. The decision has been published on the senate’s official page. Byrnes is a career diplomat, who, up until now has served as deputy ambassador to Athens. Byrnes has previously served as representative of the US mission to the OSCE in Vienna. In her address before senate, she said that she will be committed to strengthen cooperation with North Macedonia as a strategic partner. She also underlined that the Prespes agreement managed to overcome a historic hurdle and that its implementation is important for the region. Byrnes replaces former ambassador Jess...