Balkan states desperate for EU funds, will receive nothing

Summary

Balkan states are desperate for the money guaranteed by joining the EU. The EU has promised to give membership to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro by 2025, but there will be no extra EU funds available for the countries in the meantime. 

Disproof

The European Union is and will remain the most reliable partner of the entire Western Balkans. “The integration with the Western Balkans is a top priority for the EU and I don’t see any other future for the Western Balkans than the EU”, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said most recently, following the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia. “There is no alternative, there is no plan B. The Western Balkans are an integral part of Europe and they belong to our community”.

The Summit reconfirmed the EU's determination to strengthen its engagement at all levels to support the region’s political, economic and social transformation, including through increased assistance based on tangible progress in the rule of law as well as in socio-economic reforms.

To support the implementation of the Sofia Declaration and drawing on the Commission's Western Balkans Strategy and its six flagship initiatives, the European Commission announced a new package of measures to boost connectivity within the region and with the EU. The EU will provide grants for additional 11 high-priority transport projects (road, rail, ports) worth €190 million. This investment can leverage up to €1 billion in loans from international financing institutions. This includes funding for the first two sections of the ‘Peace Highway' (Nis-Pristina-Durres) and the ‘Blue Highway' along the Adriatic coast. In order to develop the new Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans, the EU has earmarked €30 million for investments in broadband rollouts across the region. Moreover, the EU will support the region's energy transition through promoting renewable energy sources, including a sustainable use of hydropower. The Commission will increase its support for youth and education, in particular by doubling the funding for Erasmus+ for the region.

Separately, the Commission proposed for the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027 an increase of funds for the Western Balkans in support of reforms in view of the EU membership. This would amount to 1.84 billion Euro which is 1.2 times superior to the previous budget period.

Already now the EU is the biggest investor, the biggest donor and the biggest trading partner for the Western Balkans. Trade with the EU represents 72.8% of the total trade flows of the region. More than 60% of Serbia's trade is with the EU, and more than 60% of foreign direct investment in Serbia comes from the EU. EU companies are the biggest investors in the Western Balkans; they invested over €10 billion in the past five years.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 108
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/05/2018
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia
  • Keywords: EU/NATO enlargement, EU, Trade, Economic difficulties
  • Outlet: NTV, Itogi nedeli (49:00)
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Sensational investigation of German journalists radically changes the Skripal case

A new sensational turn in the case of the Skripals. German journalists managed to find out: the formula of the poisonous substance Novichok could be found around the world almost 20 years ago.

London from the very beginning insisted that in the poisoning of the former colonel of the GRU and his daughter, Moscow was to blame, and the poison could only have been manufactured in Russia. If the data of the reporters from Germany are correct, then London’s position is dealt a crushing blow.

“The German Federal Intelligence Service cooperated in the 1990s with a Russian scientist who was used as an informant. The scientist offered to transport to the West a sample of the chemical combat weapon of the new class “Novichok”, which he subsequently did, “noted journalist Georg Mascolo.

Further, as German journalists found out, the German authorities did not want to create the feeling that they were interested in chemical weapons, so the sample was sent for analysis to a laboratory in Sweden. From there they later received the formula of the poisonous substance. A whole working group was created, which included representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, the Netherlands and Canada.

Thus, information about the substance became known to at least seven countries. In some, the poison was synthesized to create protective equipment. And the list of states, apparently, is not final. It is exactly known that they worked with a similar poisonous substance in the Czech Republic, President of the country Milos Zeman announced this in early May.

Disproof

No evidence given. The German investigation does not suggest that the poison used in Salisbury was made in any other country than Russia.

The Russian MFA Spokesperson Zacharova previously stated that Novichok could have come from Great Britain, Slovakia, Czech Republic or Sweden. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden forcefully rejected her statements, and so did the competent authority on the topic in Sweden (the Swedish Defence Research Agency). https://www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/ryssland-giftet-som-anvandes-mot-skripal-kan-ha-kommit-fran-sverige Later on, the Russian ambassador to Sweden stated that it was "a guess" without any facts supporting it https://www.svt.se/nyheter/utrikes/ambassadoren-backar-efter-giftutspel

Ukraine has built houses with the remains of Soviet prisoners of war

In the Volyn region of Ukraine, near Kovel, sand mixed with the remains of Nazi-shot Soviet prisoners of war was used for construction and finishing works.

Throughout 2017, this mixture was used for the construction of residential buildings, as well as, according to the chairman of the Volyn regional organization of veterans of Ukraine Alexander Bulavin, for plastering in the high school.

Activists called police to the construction sites, law enforcers recorded the presence of bones, but they did not act on it. Repeated appeals to the authorities did not lead to anything.

Those who tried to open the eyes of the public to this business, began to be harassed by the local media.

Disproof

No evidence given. Ukraina.ru is a pro-Kremlin site, affiliated with Russia Today, that regularly spread disinformation. According to sources not affiliated with Ukraina.ru, it is not difficult to restore the course of events. In the vicinity of Kovel, local entrepreneurs have long been illegally working on sand for construction. In April 2017, during the digging of a quarry, a mass grave was discovered. The work was immediately stopped. Specialists established that more than twenty thousand shot POWs and Jews from the Kovel ghetto were buried there. The remains were reburied. A criminal case was opened against the entrepreneurs who illegally mined sand.

Further debunking by the Insider

The West will always consider Russia to be medieval

The West will always consider Russia to be medieval as the West has different interests and the West will never let Russia be alongside it and gain the moral right to conversation.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Western policies towards Russia. euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=&disinfo_issue=&disinfo_keywords%5B%5D=77319&date=,

Foreign ministers of the EU have unanimously reconfirmed the relevance of the five guiding principles agreed in March 2016 for the EU's policy towards Russia. They provide a flexible framework for EU relations with Russia, allowing firmness on EU values and  selective engagement where there is a clear EU interest. www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2018/04/16/, The EU is Russia's main trading and investment partner, while Russia as the EU's fourth is also its largest oil, gas, uranium and coal exporter.
https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/russia/720/russian-federation-and-european-union-eu_en