Balkan Story (Balkan Story Part One)

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But I do believe that proper journalists should be curious, truthful, educated, knowledgeable and well informed about current affairs.


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Not everyone posses all these qualities, but being informed is a starting point, because you cannot report about something if you do not know what is going on. At the same time, those same journalist from the region do not know who the PM is in the neighbouring country they are reporting on, or rather, copying about. On top of that, they rarely see the consequences.

We have seen a couple of completely invented interviews in Serbia in recent years, but the journalists and the media that published them remained almost untouched. It is indeed a paradox that a profession that is constantly and by its nature exposed to the public does not see the consequences of its amateurism. I am not arguing that mistakes are not possible. But mistakes should come at a price. Can we expect those people who make such mistakes and do not even care to correct them to hold our politicians to account? Imagine a plumber who said he had fixed your problem while he did not, or who instead installed a three-year-old pipe in your bathroom and said it was new.

Would you trust him? The answer is obvious. Why trust journalists who sell us old pipes? That is the question. Milka Domanovic. As a post-graduate student of European studies at the University of Graz, I had a one-year Schengen visa that expired on 1 September The invitation from our partner in Prague was for the period of 18 to 22 October However, I applied for a longer period, until January , based on a possibility provided for in Art.

Diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Member States shall issue multiple-entry visas with a term of validity of up to one year to the following categories of persons, provided that during the previous year they have obtained at least one visa, have made use of it in accordance with the laws on entry and stay of the visited State and that there are reasons for requesting a multiple-entry visa: … e Representatives of civil society organisations, travelling regularly to Member States for the purposes of educational training, seminars, conferences, including in the framework of exchange programmes.

When I showed up, they told me that my application was inconsistent.

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They said I had to change the period for which I needed a visa to the four days mentioned in the invitation letter. Invoking the visa facilitation agreement, I refused to change my application — regardless of their warning that I might be refused the visa. I was completely shocked by the fact that one of the new provisions that should make life easier for visa applicants was seen as a threat in my case.

The organisers of the event in Prague were even phoned by the consular staff of the Czech Embassy, who expressed their concern that I was trying to find a way to enter the Czech Republic for the purpose of moving and finding work!? They believed that, because of my 1-year stay as a student in the Schengen area, I would now have an interest in remaining in the Czech Republic. I was shocked again and upset by the humiliating and suspicious attitude of the consular staff.

Dejan Anastasijevic, 47, journalist Belgrade, Serbia.

The Balkan spirit having a revolution

Solana's invitation arose again…". When I applied for a visa to the Belgian Embassy, they first doubted the authenticity of Solana's invitation letter, it was faxed. Solana's invitation was invalid, since he was not a citizen of Belgium, and the EU 'is not a Belgian company'. Only after I asked them to put this in writing, so I could publish it in the newspapers, they agreed to grant me a visa.

I got a one-entry Schengen visa valid for three days, it was a two-day conference. Unbelievably, the question of Mr. Solana's invitation arose again: this time, the problem was that he was not a Spanish resident. And again, I eventually got the visa after threatening to write a newspaper article about the issue.

What’s this all about?

It has been easier for me than for our customers to get a visa since I know which documents the different embassies request and how they operate. But each time I applied for a visa there was an obstacle, which has made me wary. In total I have 5 to 6 Schengen visas in my passport, including a six-month visa for Italy. I asked for a slightly longer period, but I only got a four-day visa, which was really disappointing. I almost missed my return flight, and I was really scared.

If I had not caught it, I would have run the risk of not getting a Schengen visa again. I knew that I had to fix an appointment well in advance to hand in my visa application since the waiting times at the Italian Embassy are very long. So it was. I called the Italian Embassy in July and got an appointment in October, two-and-a-half months later! The documentation included the application form, my passport plus a photocopy, my birth certificate, my employment contract, various documents regarding our business such as the court registration and a fiscal declaration, a letter from our director, and bank account statements.

However, I had to organise my trip three months in advance and spent a considerable amount of money on the application. All that for a single sticker: a Schengen visa. Stanislavka Radulovic, 33, marketing director at Jastreb Podgorica, Montenegro. At the end, all participants had to take a test; those who were successful would be invited to Austria to visit companies active in the same line of work and to meet with Austrian businesspeople. I, along with twelve other participants, passed the test. Such letters are needed for visa applications.

I called the JAC on 10 April and asked for an appointment as early as possible to hand over my application, explaining that I would need to leave in ten days; the study visit was scheduled for 20 to 24 April. However, they said the earliest possible date to receive me was 14 April.

BBC - Travel - The Balkan spirit having a revolution

Fortunately, I had had the letter translated into Montenegrin. But I did not have the original — I only had the scanned copy. The employee also remarked that I was too late, anyway, since the visa could not be issued before 23 April, while I needed it for 20 April. First, I found that the JAC had already received the original invitation letter: the Austrian Chamber of Commerce had sent it to them long ago. Second, I learnt that all the visas — except that of a colleague who faced problems similar to mine — were being processed.

The agency told us that the Slovenian consul — Slovenia runs the JAC — had been informed of our case and that everything would be resolved. However, when my colleague and I arrived at the JAC, an employee simply gave us the original invitation letter which we never asked for , stating that this was all that she had been instructed to do.

We went back, therefore, and waited several hours — to no avail. At one point, an employee told us that discussions between those who tried to intervene on our behalf and the consul did not go well. Our eleven colleagues who had presented the same documentation to the JAC got their visas and went on the trip.

I had already bought an airplane ticket for EUR because I thought this would help my application. The travel agency normally refunds tickets if one brings documentation of their visa application having been rejected.

I had raised the issue with the JAC on 15 April, but had not come very far. I asked whether I could file another application, just to get the piece of paper, but they refused: the invitation letter, they argued, referred to the period of 20 to 24 April, and it was already 22 April.

The Story of Sevdalinke, Part I: The Saz

I not only missed out on an interesting trip, therefore, but also lost EUR. Lejla Cakic, 28, student of social work Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has been there since , and she was naturalised in I visit her occasionally, but you never know how difficult it will be to get a visa. I went to see her in for the first time, right after I had finished school. The Austrian Embassy told me that they considered me a risk case since I no longer had a reason to return to Bosnia — no school, no job, etc.

I got the visa after a friend of my aunt, who worked for the Austrian government, called the Embassy. My second visit was in and went well.

The Balkan Century

Albanians, originally settled in the northwestern Balkans, migrate to Byzantine territories and seize control of parts of central Greece Epirus and Thessaly. Albanians living in central and southern Greece increasingly are assimilated into Byzantine society. Ottoman-Turkish armies occupy the Byzantine fortress of Gallipoli and begin expansion into the Balkans. In circa , the Ottoman capital is transferred from Prousa in Anatolia to the former Byzantine city of Adrianople now Edirne, Turkey , just miles northwest of Constantinople.

Following the conquest, Ottoman expansion continues throughout the Balkans and eastern Europe.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Balkan Peninsula, — A. Byzantine empire , — Serbian kingdom, — Second Bulgarian Kingdom, ca. Despotate of Epirus, —