Central European Midday Report: "Political Turmoil and Power Deals: Developments Across the Balkans"

Central European Midday Report: "Political Turmoil and Power Deals: Developments Across the Balkans"

Politics

Political Turmoil Erupts in Kosovo Parliament Over Infrastructure Contracts: Today's extraordinary session in the Kosovo Parliament descended into chaos as the ruling party, Vetëvendosje Movement, clashed with opposition parties over the signing of long-term infrastructure contracts by the Kurti government. Tensions escalated particularly between members of Vetëvendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), prompting the majority party to adjourn the plenary session. Amid criticisms from the opposition, Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure, Liburn Aliu, expressed confusion over his invitation to the session, stating it was unrelated to the contracts. However, the head of the LDK Parliamentary Group, Arben Gashi, disputed this, emphasizing that the invitation encompassed discussions on all infrastructure contracts. In response, the head of the LVV Parliamentary Group, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, dismissed the debate as futile. Meanwhile, opposition figures like Ramush Haradinaj of the AAK criticized the government's handling of the contracts, with LDK's Hykmete Bajrami condemning them as indicative of government corruption.

Bulgarian Parliament Ratifies Agreement with U.S. on Nuclear Power Project: The Bulgarian Parliament has ratified, in its first reading, the agreement between the Bulgarian and U.S. governments regarding the construction of nuclear power capacity at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. The agreement, signed in Sofia on February 12, 2024, garnered 149 votes in favor, with 50 against and three abstentions. This decision follows earlier mandates for the Minister of Energy to pursue the construction of new nuclear power capacity using AR1000 technology. The agreement outlines cooperation in designing, constructing, and commissioning a new reactor with an installed capacity of at least 1000 megawatts at the Kozloduy plant. Despite objections from parties like "Vazrazhdane" and "BSP for Bulgaria," citing concerns over dependence on U.S. energy and alleged procedural irregularities, the agreement proceeded, with the U.S. signatory identified as Andrew Light, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Energy.

Moldovan Prime Minister Delivers Report Highlighting Economic Progress and EU Integration: Prime Minister Dorin Recean presented the Government's annual report for 2023 in the Moldovan Parliament, emphasizing advancements in economic development, peace, security, anti-corruption efforts, and European integration. Recean highlighted the country's economic recovery following the crises of 2022, attributing much of the progress to EU support and increased exports, particularly to European markets. Notable achievements include record exports of cherries, grapes, and plums, alongside a 12% growth in service exports. Recean also outlined initiatives to boost employment, including significant raises in the minimum wage and social benefits, as well as reforms in the social assistance system. The report underscores Moldova's commitment to European standards of living and continued collaboration with EU partners to foster economic growth and stability.

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