- Five non-recognizing countries agree to Kosovo’s participation at summit (media)
- Tusk: EU, most trusted partner of the Balkans (media)
- Independent MPs: “If 49 votes in favor, we will support no-confidence vote” (Zeri)
- US State Department: Kosovo faced with corruption and interference in judiciary (media)
- Hoxhaj: Hahn told me about firm determination for visa liberalization (RTK)
- Police officer in north in critical condition after beaten up (media)
Five non-recognizing countries agree to Kosovo’s participation at summit (media)
European Union member states have agreed on a draft statement on the eve of the EU – Western Balkans Summit, which will be held on May 17 in Sofia, Bulgaria, overcoming in this way, internal differences mainly related to Kosovo’s participation at the summit. Radio Free Europe claims to has seen the draft which was agreed among EU ambassadors and will now be sent to the six Balkans countries. Unnamed diplomats told the news agency that some of the five non-recognizing member states were not content that the document was called “a declaration” and would prefer calling it “the conclusion of the Bulgarian presidency”. The document does not refer to the six Balkans countries with their names but only as “partners” instead of “states” or “countries” in order to avoid complications related to Kosovo’s status.
Tusk: EU, most trusted partner of the Balkans (media)
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will visit the Western Balkans countries on April 24 – 27, online media report. “The message to our friends is clear: the European Union is and will remain the most trusted partner for the whole region,” Tusk said on the eve of his visit. Tusk is scheduled to visit Pristina, Tirana, Podgorica, Belgrade, Sarajevo and Skopje. According to information from Brussels, the main purpose of his visit are preparations for the EU Summit on the Western Balkans, which will be held on May 17 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the regional summit of the Brdo-Brioni process in Skopje. Epoka e Re reports that Tusk will meet Kosovo President Hashim Thaci on Thursday.
“If 49 votes in favor, we will support no-confidence vote” (Zeri)
The paper reports that political parties in Kosovo are expected to meet next Wednesday at a roundtable. Representatives of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) said on Friday all parties will be invited to the meeting. They also said if parties fail to reach an agreement on early parliamentary elections, then the LDK would initiate procedures for a no-confidence vote against the government. Shqipe Pantina, from the Group of Independent MPs, told the paper: “We will discuss the invitation the moment we received it. We never turned down invitations for discussions”. Asked on the likelihood of early general elections, Pantina said her group would support a no-confidence vote if the opposition manages to secure 49 votes. “61 votes are needed to bring down the government and I am not certain that the opposition has 61 votes. We have said it before, whoever takes the initiative and secures 49 Albanian votes, they will have our 12 votes too,” she added.
US State Department: Kosovo faced with corruption and interference in judiciary (media)
The U.S. State Department notes in its latest report that the most significant human rights issues in Kosovo in 2017 included assaults on journalists; violence against displaced persons; endemic government corruption; lack of judicial independence, including failures of due process and selective implementation of decisions; and violence against members of ethnic minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community. “The government took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses in the security services or elsewhere in the government. Many in the opposition, civil society, and the media believed that senior officials engaged in corruption with impunity,” the report notes. Link to the full report: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2017&dlid=277181#wrapper
Hoxhaj: Hahn told me about firm determination for visa liberalization (RTK)
Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, said on Friday that in a conversation he had with Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the latter told him that there is firm determination to grant visa liberalization to Kosovo soon. According to Hoxhaj, Hahn said EU institutions are unanimous to support Kosovo in getting visa liberalization. “From my official communication with Commissioner Hahn, I can tell you that all EU institutions are unanimous in supporting Kosovo on visa liberalization,” Hoxhaj told the Kosovo Assembly on Friday.
Police officer in north in critical condition after beaten up (media)
Predrag Vukosavljevic, a Kosovo Police officer, is in critical condition after he was beaten up in Mitrovica North, several online media report. Sources told Kosovapress news agency that the incident happened around 3 AM in a bar in Mitrovica North. Telegrafi however quotes sources as saying that Vukosavljevic was beaten up by one of his colleagues in the police force. A Kosovo Police senior officer confirmed the incident.