NEWS AND EVENTS

Montenegro opens a tender for the management of the international airports of Podgorica and Tivat. The signing of the concession agreement is expected for March 2020. Prospective bidders must operate at least one airport handling at least 5 million international passengers over the last 3 years and an airport handling at least 2 million travelers. Alternatively, applicants must operate an international airport handling 10 million passengers or more over the aforementioned timeframe.

After hours of tight negotiations, the Council of the European Union has finally found an agreement on the new faces of the Union. The appointments to the main EU offices, rather than reflecting an effective adjustment of the post-election equilibrium, seem nevertheless to be an expression of a strengthening of the Franco-German axis, no longer only informally at the helm of Europe. As evidence of this there is the total exclusion of the Greens/EFA, the moral winners of the elections, who have been entrusted simply with two vice presidents out of fourteen.

But let's not focus on what could have been: who are the nominees?

Ursula von der Leyen - European Commission

Source: Reuters.

 

After her studies in Brussels and London, Ursula von der Leyen, a member of the CDU since 1990, was chosen to lead the European Commission. First woman to become Minister of Defense, former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (2009-2013) and Family (2005-2009) she has been indicated several times as a potential heir to Angela Merkel, without succeeding in fully convincing the party's base.

Christine Lagarde - European Central Bank

Source: Getty Images/AFP.

 

Lawyer specialised in economics and finance, in 1999 Christine Lagarde was appointed president of the board of administration of the law firm Baker & McKenzie. In 2005 she was the French Minister of Foreign Trade and in 2007 the first female Minister of the Economy. Lagarde is also the current director of the International Monetary Fund.

David Sassoli - European Parliament

Source: Lapresse.

 

Member of S&D and former deputy director of TG1, David Sassoli joined the presidency of the European Parliament, crowning a long political  career in the ranks of the center-left. Sassoli started his journalistic life working for the newspaper "Il Tempo", then moving to the Asca agency and playing the role of contributor for “Il Giorno di Milano". Sassoli's election is surprising above all for his numbers. In fact, if the Socialists voted compactly for him, among the populars and the Liberals there have been many defections: of the more than 442 expected preferences - given by the European majority formed by the coalition between Socialists, Liberals and the People’s party - the Italian obtained only 345, making evident the existence of 97 marksmen.

The final results of the elections to the European Parliament saw the Czech Conservative Jan Zahradil - supported by the League - collect 160 votes, the green Ska Keller 119 and the Spanish of the left Sira Rego 43.

Josep Borrell - High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Source: EFE/Archivo.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and the Spanish Cooperation of the Sanchez government, Borrell began his career as a parliamentarian in 1986. After having held the position of Minister of Public Works, Transport and the Environment, in  2002 he participated in the European Convention on the Future of Europe. In 2004 he became president of the European Parliament, a position he held until 2007.

Charles Michel - European Council

Prime Minister of Belgium elected in 2014, Charles Michel resigned in 2018, remaining in office to accompany the country until the new elections. Michel will be the second Belgian to take office - held by Herman Van Rompuy from 2009 to 2014 - since it was created by the Lisbon Treaty (2007).

Elected to the Federal Parliament at the age of 23, Michel had a rapid political rise, so much so as to become Minister of the regional government of Wallonia only two years later. At 32, he was in charge of the development department, a role he held for three years, that is until he became the leader of the Reformist Movement, a French-speaking liberal party.

 

Sassoli will soon be joined by Michel and Lagarde at the helm of European institutions. Ursula von der Leyen, on the other hand, seems to be still in the balance - the European Parliament is expected to ratify the Presidency of the Commission. To say so are the votes cast by the Strasbourg Chamber on the occasion of the election of David Sassoli.

The real risk is that, when in the mid-July session, the candidate for the presidency of the Commission will have to go to the Chamber to ask for confidence, many of the socialists will not vote for her. Surely they will not do those of the SPD, which have already announced their abstention, making it seem that 376 votes needed a peak not easy to reach.

 

Hosted by the European Union delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the presence of Ambassador Lars Gunnar Wigemark, (head of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina) a meeting was held on August 5th between leaders of electoral political parties of the 2018 general elections.

Bakir Izetbegovic, Dragan Covic and Milorad Dodik, leader of the SDH, SNSD and HDZ of Bosnia and Herzegovina, reached an agreement on the formation of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and signed the Principles for the formation of the central government.

The agreement will last 30 days and will be considered invalid if until then the Council of Ministers, which is equivalent to the national government in the complex political system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will not be formed. The prime minister will be a member of Dodik's SNSD, as well as foreign trade, communications and transport ministers.

On the other hand, Izetbegović's SDA will obtain portfolios of foreign affairs, defense and security, while HDZ BiH will receive finance, justice and civil affairs ministries.

The news was also welcomed by Brussels as stated by various sources within the Commission.

On June 18th, taking into account the assessments made by the Commission, in line with the principles that guide the European enlargement and integration policy, the Council of the European Union has decided to temporarily freeze the dossiers of Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Northern Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo.

Albania and Macedonia, which together with Serbia, Turkey and Montenegro hold the status of candidate countries, see the opening of the 35 thematic chapters forming the acquis communautaire postponed once again. The decision, the Council states, has been taken considering the relevance of the issue which has to be discussed properly when the new Commission will be formed, in October.

To Montenegro, which is about to close the last three chapters, the Council recommends taking a pro-active attitude that allows the effective implementation of the rule of law and rapid application of reforms. The same point was raised with regard to Serbia which, with 18 chapters at stake, must nevertheless ensure that freedom of the press and expression is guaranteed. At the same time, the Serbian authorities must facilitate the debate between political forces, without neglecting the delicate issue related to war crimes and the public debate related to them.

Turkey, a partner of fundamental importance for the Union, was invited to avoid political drifts that go to the detriment of the fundamental rights of its citizens.

Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, which hold the status of potential candidate countries, need to be analyzed separately. Bosnia, after almost ten months of internal negotiations, should exit the political stalemate and form a new government as soon as possible, in order to be able to continue the good that has already begun. Kosovo, on the other hand, has been notified about the senselessness of the increase in customs tariffs operated in recent months in open violation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA). Pristina should give priority to identifying effective means of combating radicalization and terrorism, as well as strengthening the electoral process.

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