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vienna

Vienna has dislodged Melbourne for the first time at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Index, strengthening the Austrian capital's claim to being the world's most pleasant city to live in.    

Merkel: No change of borders in the Balkans

Several papers carry the statement of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel following meeting with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdic, that there can be no border changes in the Western Balkans. "Territorial integrity of Western Balkan countries is settled and inviolable," Merkel said at a joint press conference with Zvizdic. Merkel added that this view needs to be continuously reaffirmed because of tendencies to discuss borders. "There is a European perspective for all countries of the Western Balkans," Merkel added.    

portugal

Eight locations in Portugal have hit their highest-ever temperatures amid a heat wave across Europe. Two people are reported to have died in neighboring Spain of heat-related causes.    

Thaci: Agreements are reached through dialogue, and never by war

The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, held today a press conference where he talked about recent developments with regards to the dialogue with Serbia. He said that he will make maximal efforts to reach a final and historic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that would result with mutual recognition. He added that despite misinformation and different announcements, scenarios etc. he considers that a public and institutional debate at this very important process for Kosovo is beneficial. 'Only by debating openly, by analyzing carefully all the possible options and by finding the courage to discuss openly the issues which were considered a taboo, we will probably find a solution that would be in accordance with our interests," Thaci said. According to him, Kosovo has its institutions which should fulfil its obligations when it comes to dialogue. "The Parliament is the key institution that will have the final word on ratification or non-ratification of an agreement that will result at the end of this process. I have reiterated it several times that there are very minor chances for the dialogue process with Serbia to result with reciprocal recognition, however we should make tremendous efforts to reach a historic and peaceful agreement at the end of the dialogue." He said the dialogue has only one aim, reach of an agreement for normalization of the relations and reciprocal recognition between the two countries. "I call, and I say to all actors involved in this process that the agreement will be possible only through dialogue, and never and under any circumstances with war threats. Kosovo Parliament closed its session with a long debate on dialogue, but unfortunately, all those speeches did not come up with anything concrete, at the end, the debate concluded without any platform or resolution on this process," he stressed. According to him, differences among the political parties and incapability to build a wide consensus are to be regretted. "I still hope on the wisdom and courage of the leaders to unite, because we do not have time to lose. Those who think that time is on our side, are completely wrong and do not even have the slightest idea about the dynamic developments that are happening in the international arena. The next dialogue meeting will be held in September and work dynamics will increase," Thaci said. He assessed that each party that for any kind of reason refuses the dialogue or pretends to withdraw, will be facing consequences in the process of European integration. "It is a wrong theory that Kosovo can impede Serbia's membership at EU. A case of unthought actions would be identified by the U.S. and the European Union as incapability and blamed for leaving the dialogue ore delaying final agreement. As consequence, everybody knows that EU would not hesitate at all to due to the lack of Kosovo's readiness, enable Serbia's membership in the EU, while Kosovo would risk losing support of the European partners remaining isolated and without hope for NATO and UN membership," Thaci stressed. According to him, Kosovo can gain EU's and international factor's support only through constructive approach. He added that whoever refused dialogue during the last three decades, became a looser. "Individuals from political leadership proved that they have sufficient negative potential to impede Kosovo in its integrating processes. Be that as it may, the parliament remains the only institution to represent interests of the citizens of the country, but the question is: is it always completing successfully its duties, and the answer can be given by citizens. I think the time has come to strengthen our voice on the decision-making role of the citizens."   He stressed that there will never be an agreement through threats and calls for war, and that the agreement can be reached in a peaceful manner and in accordance with Kosovo's state interests, reciprocal recognition. "In case of the reach of final agreement, I see organizing of a referendum of Kosovo's citizens to be a necessity," Thaci said.    

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