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Mladen Lakić

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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About Mladen
Mladen Lakić is a journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Balkan Oscars Hopefuls Start to Dream of Hollywood

11 Sep 2019  |  Balkan Insight
With the October 1 deadline approaching for film institutions worldwide to submit their entries for the 92nd Academy Awards, five Balkan states have announced their candidates. Bosnia and Herzegovina has selected 'The Son' by Ines Tanovic, Croatia has chosen 'Mali' by Antonio Nuic, North Macedonia has picked 'Honeyland' by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, Romania has nominated 'The Whistlers' by Corneliu Porumboiu, and Serbia has put forward 'King Peter of Serbia' by Petar Ristovski. The final list of Oscar nominees will be announced in January, with the awards ceremony scheduled for February 9.

Sarajevo Prepares to Shine for Film Festival Jubilee

15 Aug 2019  |  Balkan Insight
Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, is set to host the 25th Sarajevo Film Festival, featuring 270 films from 56 countries, including 68 world premieres. The festival, which begins with a street parade on August 16, will see notable guests like Gael Garcia Bernal and Alejandro G Inarritu. The event, supported by UNESCO, aims to promote dialogue and tolerance through the arts. The festival has grown significantly since its inception in 1995 during the Bosnian Serb siege, becoming a major cultural event in the region.

Aluminium Giant’s Collapse Threatens Bosnia with Political Meltdown

25 Jul 2019  |  Balkan Insight
Bosnia's Aluminij company in Mostar faces potential bankruptcy within six months unless it can resolve its financial issues. The company's trade union demands immediate action on unpaid salaries and severance pay, threatening protests if ignored. The Federation government is under pressure to save the company, with political blame games exacerbating Bosnia's political and economic instability, also impacting neighboring Croatia.

Bosnian Federation Grants New Benefits to War Veterans

19 Jul 2019  |  Balkan Insight
Lawmakers in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina have adopted a new law granting 16 rights to war veterans, including subsistence payments for those in social need and aged 57 or older. Disabled veterans with a monthly income below 85 euros can apply for regular benefits. The law allocates 2.5 euros for each month spent in the armed forces, with funding secured through a rebalanced budget. The law will take effect once signed by the Federation's president and published in the Official Gazette.

Balkan Eco-Activists Protest Against Hydro-Power Plants

Bosnia Ponders Where to Hold Former Syria Fighters

05 Jul 2019  |  Balkan Insight
The Bosnian Minister for Human Rights and Refugees announced that families of former Islamic State fighters in Syria might be accommodated at the Selakovac reception centre near Mostar. Bosnia has verified the data of 91 individuals still in Syria who wish to return home. The Security Ministry is working on these cases and others held in camps across Syria. A special coordination body under the Foreign Ministry will handle the sensitive issue of returning ISIS fighters and recruits. The Bosnian Security Minister emphasized that all returnees will be properly checked and processed. Bosnian courts have sentenced 23 people for traveling to Syria to fight or recruiting others, with more trials ongoing.

Balkan Activists Plan Week of Protests Against Hydro-Power

04 Jul 2019  |  balkaninsight.com
Environmental activists in the Balkans are organizing a series of protests called Action Weeks for Balkan Rivers from July 6 to July 16, 2019, to highlight the environmental damage caused by hydro-power plants. Protests will take place in the capitals of Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Greece. Ulrich Eichelmann, one of the organizers, emphasized the unique biodiversity of Balkan rivers and the presence of 113 endangered fish species. The protests aim to address the lack of communication between environmentalists and political leaders. Despite the widespread use of hydro-power and plans for thousands of new projects, NGOs like Bankwatch have raised concerns about the environmental impact, even from small plants, and have called for increased monitoring and restoration measures.

Bosnian Croat Veterans’ March Alarms Bosniak War Victims

07 Jun 2019  |  Balkan Insight
The Croatian Defence Council veterans' march in Stolac, organized by the Croatian Democratic Union, has alarmed Bosniak war victims and former prisoners. The event commemorated the founding of the Ludvig Pavlovic special unit and was seen as a demonstration of force, raising concerns among post-war returnees. Dragan Covic, a prominent advocate for Bosnian Croat autonomy, attended the event. The march has been criticized for exacerbating ethnic tensions and hindering reconciliation efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia Court Cancels Permit for Drina Power Plant

30 May 2019  |  balkaninsight.com
The District Court in Banja Luka has annulled the environmental permit for the Buk Bijela hydropower plant on the Drina River in Bosnia after a successful complaint by the Aarhus Resource Center. The permit, renewed in May 2018, was cancelled due to Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske's failure to request a renewal within the legal deadline and because construction had not started within four years of the initial permit. The project faced opposition due to its potential impact on the protected Tara Canyon in Montenegro, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Montenegrin officials, including then Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, have been against the project to protect the Tara River Canyon.

American Creates Bosnia Mini-Museum at His US Home

28 May 2019  |  Balkan Insight
Mathieu, a journalist and researcher, has created a mini-museum in his Wisconsin home showcasing items from Bosnia, including memorabilia from the 1984 Winter Olympics and the 1990s war. His collection, partly acquired from the late actor Christopher Lee, aims to highlight Bosnia's multi-ethnic history. Mathieu's deep connection to Bosnia stems from his efforts to help during the 1992-95 war and his admiration for the Bosnian people's resilience and sense of humor.

Balkan Organised Crime Hotspots Pinpointed in Report

20 May 2019  |  Balkan Insight
A report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime identifies hotspots of organised crime in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. These areas are characterized by weak governance and economic vulnerability, facilitating a range of illegal activities including smuggling of people, drugs, and goods. The report highlights the role of the European Union in disrupting these criminal markets and reducing the region's vulnerability to organised crime.

Bosniak Parties Hatch Coalition Agreement in Bosnia

16 May 2019  |  Balkan Insight
Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the process of forming new governments after elections, with the Alliance for the Better Future of Bosnia and the Party of Democratic Action announcing a coalition agreement. The SDA has support from two parties, SBB and DF. An agreement was made for the new Council of Ministers to be led by a Bosnian Serb, with ministries divided among Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats. The formation of a new government is stalled over the activation of Bosnia's NATO Membership Action Plan, which is supported by Bosniak and Croat politicians but opposed by Bosnian Serb leaders.

Bosnia Prosecution Announces Probe Into Security Minister

05 Apr 2019  |  balkaninsight.com
The Bosnian Prosecutors Office has initiated an investigation into Dragan Mektic, the Bosnian Security Minister, for allegedly abusing his authority, disclosing confidential information, and providing false testimony. Mektic has dismissed the allegations as nonsense and criticized the prosecution for being corrupt and not focusing on serious organized crime. The conflict between Mektic and Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic dates back to 2017, with Mektic denying Tadic's claim of being monitored and accusing her office of corruption. The article also references Mektic's previous criticisms of the state prosecution's ability to investigate claims of Croatian intelligence activities and the formation of a paramilitary group in Bosnia.

Bosnia Capital to Host First Pride Parade

01 Apr 2019  |  balkaninsight.com
Bosnia's first-ever Pride Parade is set to take place on September 8 in Sarajevo, with activists announcing the event at a press conference. Dragan Covic, head of the Croatian Democratic Union in Bosnia, expressed his support for the parade and diversity. The country, which decriminalized being gay in 1998, has previously experienced violence during attempts to organize public LGBT events. However, attitudes are changing in the region, with Pride events in neighbouring countries and Kosovo's first Pride march in 2017, attended by President Hashim Thaci.

Bosnia’s Nationalist Leaders Move Closer to Forming Government

19 Mar 2019  |  balkaninsight.com
Nationalist leaders Milorad Dodik, Bakir Izetbegovic, and Dragan Covic in Bosnia have agreed to initiate negotiations for establishing a new Council of Ministers, following a five-month post-election deadlock. They have decided on the distribution of ministries and are working on a programme based on ten principles. The EU is urging Bosnia to expedite government formation to continue essential reforms for EU membership. The Central Election Commission resolved a legal issue regarding the election of the Federation entity's parliament, which was challenged by the SDA party but not ruled on by the Constitutional Court. The Federation formed a new parliament in February. The HDZ BiH party is insisting on a new electoral law as a precondition for government formation. The three leaders have been dominant figures in their respective ethnic political spheres for years.

Erdogan’s Bosnia Rally May Be Key Game-Changer

16 May 2018  |  Balkan Insight
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to draw tens of thousands to a rally in Sarajevo ahead of Turkey's elections on May 20. Supporters are arriving in Sarajevo, boosting local businesses such as hotels and car rental agencies. Hotel Boutique Saraybosna and other accommodations are fully booked, and car rental prices have surged due to high demand. Erdogan's visit coincides with the sixth assembly meeting of the Union of European Turkish Democrats and its sister organization in Bosnia, the Union of European Balkan Democrats. The rally is seen as a strategic move by Erdogan, as some European countries have banned his party's demonstrations. The event is expected to attract Turks from Europe, local Muslim communities, and ethnic Turks from the region, with significant participation anticipated from Macedonia.

Milorad Dodik – from Albright’s Pet to Putin’s Friend

06 Apr 2018  |  Balkan Insight
Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity, has shifted from being a pro-Western figure to a staunch ally of Russia, frequently meeting with Vladimir Putin. Initially entering politics in 1990 with the Union of Reform Forces of Yugoslavia, Dodik's political stance has evolved significantly, reflecting broader geopolitical influences and changing alliances within Bosnia's Republika Srpska.

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