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Balkan news from the week of 10th – 16th of March.

The Economist drew a parallel between Bosnia’s battles over exporting produce to Croatia and wider political problems in the country. When Croatia becomes part of the EU in just a few short months, Bosnian exporters will require a regulator to approve the standards of the food. But no one can agree on who that regulator will be.

“The quarrel about the certification of farm produce is typical of Bosnia’s problems. Under the terms of the peace deal that ended Bosnia’s war in 1995 many elected posts are specifically reserved for Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats. This is like having a law that only ethnic English, Scots, Welsh or Irish can be elected to senior positions in Britain.”

If the deadlock continues, Bosnia risks being unable to apply for EU membership, falling behind Montenegro, which is starting to make progress in its application, and Serbia which is hoping to start EU talks this summer.

Macedonia’s two main parties, usually at odds with one another, have allied themselves against Albanians for upcoming local elections. Elections will be taking place in Kicevo and Struga, two towns where ethnic Macedonians and Albanians represent roughly equal proportions of the populations.

“This tells a good deal about the anxiety between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians, which has become so great that it can even unite bitter political rivals.”

The elections will be held on the 24th of March.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djoković beat his opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in California. He won by a huge margin of 6-3, 6-1 in under an hour. Read more about Djoković’s overwhelming victory here.

Bosnia and Macdeonia have been ranked amongst the friendliest countries in the world for foreign tourists. The World Economic Forum recently compiled the Travel and Tourism Competitive Report of 2013, which ranked countries by a number of factors, including how welcome tourists are. Bolivia ranked the lowest of the 140 countries assessed. Macedonia came fourth and Bosnia and Herzegovina eighth.
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