Several hundred worshippers pack into the Holy Heart of Jesus catholic church in the town of Rakovski in southern Bulgaria, with thousands more outside, for a service in which Pope Francis gave 245 local children their first holy communion, the first time he has done this on a foreign trip. The pope is on the 2nd of a three-day visit in the Balkans.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin for a Balkan summit aimed at bringing bitter foes Serbia and Kosovo back to the negotiating table, hoping to reboot a dialogue over one of the Balkans’ thorniest disputes. IMAGES of Emmanuel Macron’s arrival
For Reda Zerrouki, a 36-year-old Algerian who is among thousands of migrants crossing the Balkans in hopes of reaching Europe, his smartphone is more than just a way to message family and friends, it is a crucial tool to map his route through the region and avoid police patrolling the borders.
A growing number of migrants from the Middle East are seeking asylum in Albania, a phenomenon unseen so far in the small and poor Balkan country known more for its massive emigration. Hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Europe in 2015 and 2016 using the so-called Balkans route. The route was closed in March 2016 but migrants seeking alternative ways still cross the region to reach the EU.
The Arcturos sanctuary in Greece shelters bears and wolves rescued from poachers, animal collectors and restaurant owners across the Balkans. The centre aims to increase environmental awareness, as well as assisting the animals with veterinary care and reintegration.
In Serbia, like in the rest of the Balkans, Roma are exposed to discrimination in almost all areas of life. Most of them live in one of the country’s 500 to 600 unofficial camps where, they say, life is “impossible.”
It was not their war, but the Kosovo conflict in the 1990s forced tens of thousands of Roma — the Balkans’ eternal scapegoats — into exile. So for the 2,000 or so living in a Roma camp in the capital of neighbouring Montenegro, the 10th anniversary of Kosovo’s independence on Saturday is little cause for celebration.
Lit candles and flags are placed in tribute to General Slobodan Praljak in Zagreb as Dutch prosecutors begin an autopsy on the Bosnian Croat war criminal who took his own life in front of United Nations war crimes judges, apparently drinking poison just after they upheld his 20-year jail term for atrocities committed during the Balkans conflict. IMAGES
UN judges sentence former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide and war crimes in the brutal Balkans conflicts over two decades ago.
Bosnian Serb veterans watch a live broadcast of UN judges sentencing former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide and war crimes in the brutal Balkans conflicts over two decades ago. IMAGES