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European Union is about to reach an agreement on Covid travel passports

As the EU members are adjusting to join the common COVID passport system, other countries will have to comply with the EU and WHO principles. Officials in the region say it will not be easy to set up a single system of Covid passports. The tens of thousands of citizens from the region who have been vaccinated in Serbia can get the green certificate, proof of vaccination, through the service for foreigners on the website of the e-government or via e-mail. The interlocutors in the Res publica video podcast recommend the citizens to verify the restrictions in the countries before traveling.

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Prime Minister Plenković’s war against journalists: Prelude to physical violence?

Bojana Guberac

Bojana Guberac 400x500If the verbal attacks on journalists and on media, made by the most powerful people (including the President) in the country as well as the pressures from the Prime Minister do not stop, I am afraid that Croatia is moving in the direction of Hungary, Poland and Slovenia regarding media lack of freedom. This certainly is not the path of Europe, but the path of autocracy.

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"Big Brother" is in full swing in Albania

Jona Koprencka

Vangelov RisteskiThe thought that someone has been looking into, investigating, and monitoring peoples’ lives on social media for years is frightening. It is even more frightening when the "observers" are members of the largest political parties.

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The road from Skopje to Brussels is not via Sofia

Ida Manton

Ida MantonBoth sides will benefit from a mediation process led by an international expert team, which would be an integral part of the EU SAA process and enriched with dialogue facilitation experts who are well versed in the work and documents of the UN, CoE and OSCE. Both the Bulgarian and Macedonian sides have shown a deep lack of diplomatic sentiment and skill and they would additionally benefit from intensive training on negotiation skills, negotiation preparation, strategic planning, effective communication, conflict analysis, reconciliation methodologies and other topics that need to be identified in the needs assessment.

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"Hate Slavs" - Hate speech in the Balkans

Dubravka Valić Nedeljković, PhD

Dubravka Valic NedeljkovicHate speech is commonplace in public discourse in the Balkans.

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Unifying around "historical truths" or around differences? (II)

The text is a response to the blog "On unifying around our common history - Tsar Samuil erga omnes (II)" by Naum Kajchev, published on May 21, 2021.

 

Ognen Vangelov and Ljupco Risteski

Vangelov RisteskiWe consider that the theses represented by Mr. N. Kajchev contribute precisely to the increase and strengthening of the conflict between the two peoples and states. The theses and the approach of Mr. N. Kajchev contribute to new difficult-to-bridge misunderstandings between future generations of Bulgarians and Macedonians.

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On unifying around our common history – Tzar Samuil erga omnes (II)

Naum Kajchev

Sabin Selimi 400x500The European idea is based on overcoming the contradictions of the past, on emphasizing things that are common and unifying. No one today has exclusivity over the state of Prince Boris the Baptizer and St. Clement of Ohrid; of Tsar Simeon and St. Naum of Ohrid; of Tsar Samuil and John of Debar and their traditions that are partly preserved by the Byzantine emperor Basil II.

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Vaccine Nationalism Strikes Back

Sabin Selimi

Sabin Selimi 400x500Governments around the world tend to follow their own national interests instead of pursuing a more globally coordinated approach.

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Corruption in the Balkans remains a stubborn thing, it’s not helped by difficult counting

Jason Deegan and Felix Amelung

Deegan Amelung With corruption we should worry less on how we fare against the neighbours and focus instead on how to ensure the necessary infrastructure by way of institutions is put in place to actually investigate incidents of corruption.

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Journalists demand that their work be properly valued

These days when courts are rejecting the lawsuits of the journalists who managed to escape alive from the Parliament building on 27 April 2017, they (journalists) demand systemic changes that will protect their safety, ensure better working conditions and proper evaluation of the working hours. The pandemic had very profound impact on this profession. They lost five of their colleagues and dozens of them lost their jobs. The assistance from the authorities was partial and insufficient. On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, Dragan Sekulovski, Executive Director of Association of Journalists of Macedonia, the journalist Natasha Stojanovska and President of the Trade Union of Independent Journalists and Media Workers (SSNRM), Pavle Belovski, speak in this podcast of Res Publica.

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The Unwanted Tag of Being the (Western) Balkans

Vladimir Djordjevic

Vanja Stokic 400x500Let’s face it: the region is in many ways still largely (mis)understood, treated, and referred to internationally as the ‘powder keg of Europe’.

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At the Bottom of the Balkans: Kosovo’s Bumpy Road in Securing Vaccines

Arber Fetahu

Arber Fetahu 400x500The pandemic marked its first anniversary a few weeks ago. Covid-19 exposed systemic problems in the health system of Kosovo and other institutional branches. While the high number of positive cases and deaths made the headlines, the government declarations that they have secured hundreds of thousands dozes of vaccines were full of hope, if it were to be true.

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Uniting around "historical truths" or around differences?

Ognen Vangelov and Ljupcho Risteski

Vangelov RisteskiNowhere in the world have Commissions such as this existed to establish "historical truths", especially not "truths" about the medieval history, because that would turn them into censorship bodies.

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Political wrangling instead of vaccines

Vanja Stokić

Vanja Stokic 400x500Apart from a few isolated attempts, most people are not filing complaints to institutions and are not asking for accountability. They do not even accept the opportunities for inoculation they are offered, as rare as they may be. It's as if they want to hold on and see who is right, anti-vaxxers or doctors, and how the whole procurement drama will play out. In all likelihood, it will be too late then.

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Bulgaria’s COVID-19 vaccination fiasco: excessive risks, mediocre results

Vladimir Atanasov

Naum Kajcev 400x500Bulgaria’s vaccination program can only be deemed a fiasco. It can be attributed to a number of factors — poor organization, incompetence, and potential conflict of interest. In turn, the drama, which unravels now, is not surprising. Bulgaria is second in the EU in deaths per capita on a seven-day rolling basis and last in the EU by number of administered vaccines per capita.

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The unbearably slow vaccination process in Croatia

Vedrana Simičević

Naum Kajcev 400x500Favoritism, weak strategy and poor communication with the public were the features of the first months of vaccination and they are the reasons that Croatia is currently at the bottom of the EU scale in terms of percentage of vaccinated population. As the third wave of the pandemic rages, the citizens are frustrated to see healthy middle-aged people already vaccinated in some cities, while elsewhere those over 70 are still waiting for a call.

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On Unifying Around Our Common History - Tsar Samuil Erga Omnes

Naoum Kaytchev

Naum Kajcev 400x500Objectively unifying our common history, from the time of Tsar Samuil, from the Middle Ages in general, and from later eras, will make us all, the citizens of both countries, more united and more enriched in a European way.

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It will happen when it happens! – The vaccination entanglement in North Macedonia

Stefan Ristovski, Angel Mojsovski

Ristovski MojsovskiThe number of people who are infected and have passed has increased significantly in the past period, while the epidemiological situation in the country is critical. The way the authorities are handling the crisis raises the dilemma of whether the health of citizens is truly the number one priority in this pandemic.

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Greece hopes that beaches won’t be empty again this summer, but vaccination numbers say otherwise

Georgia Nakou

Georgia Nakou 400x500The hope in government circles is that increased vaccination rates and warmer weather will bring infections down to manageable levels and make it safe to welcome visitors for the sake of the economy. The numbers suggest that this will be a higher-risk strategy than is publicly acknowledged.

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Parliamentary Elections in Bulgaria: High Stakes, Uncertain Future

Radosveta Vassileva

Radosveta vasileva 400x500Borissov’s obsession with preventing early elections at all costs and the media manipulations with the help of servile sociologists we are witnessing only evidence fear. However, fear is a bad advisor. The more GERB clings to power like a hungry dog protects a bone, the more citizens become vigilant and motivated to take the bone away from them.

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