October Hot Topics: Bosnia’s election results unlikely to ease crisis; Migrants and police clush at border crossing in Bosnia; China plans to invest EUR 13bn in Croatia; Royal Bled golf course is one of Europe’s best; Croatia’s and Serbia’s cities on Lonely Planet’s list of places to visit in 2019Adriatic Journal 25 October 2018
Bosnia’s election results unlikely to ease crisis
The elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina last month have produced both expected and unexpected results. The highest number of votes was given to SDA, SDP and SNSD parties in the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH, while in the House of Representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina parliament most seats were won by the SDA, SDP and HDZ BiH. The results of the elections are unlikely to ease the country’s political crisis. Milorad Dodik, a Bosnian Serb hardliner, has won a seat in the three-member presidency alongside Sefik Dzaferović from the Bsoniak SDA party and Željko Komšić. Dodik has already said his priority will be Serbs and Republika Srpska and that he will also push for the abolition of a High Representative in BiH.
In addition, representatives of Serb parties that won seats in the parliamentary assembly of BiH began negotiations on forming a majority Serbian coalition, reports Serbian daily Novosti. By forming a coalition, the parties want to have a chance to block all decisions on a state level that could be unfavourable for Republika Srpska, according to Novosti. While Dodik is working to protect Serb interests, Croatia is attemptng to do the same for the Croats in the Federation. Komšić was a surprise winner for the Croatian seat in the presidency, winning more votes than Dragan Čović, the leader of the main Croat party in Bosnia, HDZ BiH, who also had the support of Andrej Plenković, Croatia’s prime minister. Plenković, who was accused of meddling in BiH’s politics, said the election result was regrettable and bad news for Croats (in Bosnia) and for the country as a whole, reported klix.ba. Criticising Croatia’s response to the elections in Bosnia, Germany’s Spiegel warned the country’s ruling party currently threatens peace in the Balkans.
Migrants and police clush at border crossing in Bosnia
During the last week of October hundreds of migrants and refugees have gathered at Serbia’s and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border crossing with Croatia. Croatian police reports it was the spread of false information that Croatia would open its borders which led migrants to head to the crossings. At one point, some 200 migrants who stayed at Maljevac border crossing in Bosnia clashed with police and managed to break through a cordon of Bosnia’s border patrol. Sarajevo media reports that some migrants and police have been injured. The crossing is currently closed and will remain so until all migrants go back to the allocated centres. There was also a tense situation in Bihać, where around 100 migrants arrived from Sarajevo on a train and were not allowed to disembark. They were returned to Sarajevo by buses. The Bosnian police have been instructed to halt all migrants’ arrivals to the Una-Sana Canton (USC), close to Velika Kladuša and Bihać, the country’s security minister, Dragan Metkić said, Balkan Insight reports. UN refugee agency estimates the number of refugees and migrants in Serbia in October was about 3,900, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina the registered number for this year up until 17 October is just over 18,000 migrants.
China plans to invest EUR 13bn in Croatia
The UN Industrial Development Organization and the International Centre for the Transmission and Promotion of Solar Technology (UNIDO ISEC) is organising an investment forum in Beijing on November 3, where the focus will be on Croatia. It was confirmed the Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang will attend, while on the Croatian side the minister for regional development and EU funds Gabrijela Žalac will participate. UNIDO ISEC has allocated EUR 13bn for investment with some projects already prepared for signing at the forum. This includes the approval of a grant to Croatia for the reconstruction of the war-torn areas in the amount of USD 1.2bn. Others include establishment of the European Centre for UNIDO ISEC in Croatia; Zadar container terminal; Zadar airport; restructure of the shipbuilding industry and the first national stadium with solar energy in cooperation with HNS. The participants in the realisation of these projects include the United Nations; the World Bank; the Chinese Development bank; China’s Export-Import bank and the newly established Chinese Agency for International Development and Cooperation.
Royal Bled golf course is one of Europe’s best
Royal Bled, the oldest and biggest golf course in Slovenia, was added to the list of best and most beautiful golf courses in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East region. The golf course joins the club of 63 courses on the prestigious World of Leading Golf list. The criteria to be added to the list includes continuous testing of the course’s quality and visitor satisfaction, Slovenian news agency STA reports. Speaking at the International Golf Travel Market convention in Ljubljana, Claus Feldt, the CEO of the World of Leading Golf, said the Royal Bled was rewarded for the high quality of service, excellent golf course and the fact that golfers rated it as worth a revisit. Other golf courses on the list include this year’s Ryder Cup venue, the Le Golf National near Paris, and the Celtic Manor Resort in Scotland, the host of the Cup in 2010. Germany as a country has most golf courses on the list with nine listed, while Spain is second with eight courses and the UK comes third with six courses.
Croatia’s and Serbia’s cities on Lonely Planet’s list of places to visit in 2019
The world’s most famous travel website Lonely Planet has published a guidebook “Best in Travel 2019”, which contains recommendations on destinations to visit in 2019. In a selected group, two cities from the region have been included – Zadar in Croatia and Novi Sad in Serbia. The process of selecting the best destinations and trips involves a team of experts and members of the Lonely Planet community, who through a number of strict criteria select the best of the best in different categories. Zadar and Novi Sad were selected on the list of 10 most desirable cities to visit in 2019, alongside Copenhagen, Shēnzhèn, Miami, Kathmandu, Mexico City, Dakar, Seattle and McKinsey. This is Lonely Planet’s largest annual campaign in which, besides cities, countries and regions are also recommended, as well as the places with best value for money. In the latter category, Slovenia is recognised as one of the countries where travellers get the best value for money.