- Poll: Kosovo citizens do not want border changes (Koha)
- “Germany supports visa liberalisation for Kosovo” (Zeri)
- Haradinaj: If we lift the tariff, we will not have mutual recognition (RTK)
- U.S. House of Representatives Speaker confirms support for Kosovo (Epoka)
- Hoxha: Disappointing if visa liberalisation linked to dialogue with Serbia (media)
- Kosovo official accuses Serbian media of censoring Macron statements (Bota Sot)
- Hoxhaj: Dialogue needs clarity and timeframe (media)
- NATO SACEUR to visit Kosovo today (media)
- Vulin: Kosovo army, biggest threat to security in the Balkans (RFE/Kallxo)
- Germany to build embassy in Pristina (media)
Poll: Kosovo citizens do not want border changes (Koha)
A public opinion research conducted by the National Democratic Institute in late March this year showed that Kosovo’s citizens want dialogue with Serbia to be concluded but not at the cost of changing Kosovo’s borders, the paper reports on its front page. The poll showed that the majority of respondents believe that safeguarding Kosovo’s territorial integrity is the top priority in the Brussels dialogue. 46 percent of respondents said Kosovo’s territorial integrity should not be sacrificed in reaching a final settlement with Serbia. Only 20.6 percent of respondents said they agreed that it is worth considering giving up one part of the territory if this means recognition from Serbia and membership in the United Nations. 49.6 percent of respondents said a potential land swap would translate into minority communities leaving and it would damage Kosovo’s multi-ethnic character. 74 percent of respondents said the U.S. and the European Union must remain determined in safeguarding Kosovo’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. 79 percent said the U.S. and the EU should play a greater role in reaching a settlement between Kosovo and Serbia, and 37 percent said the U.S. and EU should allow Kosovo and Serbia to reach an agreement on their own. The poll also showed that the Brussels dialogue is overshadowed by unemployment, corruption and visa liberalisation. Visa liberalisation and healthcare stand out as top issues in voter decision-making. The poll also shows that there is decreasing public trust in the work of government institutions.
“Germany supports visa liberalisation for Kosovo” (Zeri)
The paper quotes on the front page sources within the German government saying that the country recognises efforts Kosovo has made in implementing visa liberalisation criteria and added that the recommendation of the European Commission has to be now approved by the Council of Ministers as the main decision-making authority in the EU.
“European Commission proposal, dated 4 May 2016, on visa liberalisation for the citizens of Kosovo should be approved by the European Union Council. In this context, Germany supports Kosovo in its path towards achieving visa liberalisation,” an unnamed senior German government official told the paper.
Haradinaj: If we lift the tariff, we will not have mutual recognition (RTK)
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said on Wednesday that if Pristina “lifts the import tariff on Serbian goods, we will not have mutual recognition”. At a convention of his political party – the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo – in Vushtrri, Haradinaj said: “the formation of the Kosovo Army was a courageous step. It was also courageous to say stop when they mobilized to divide Kosovo. It was courageous to pass the Law on Trepca in government and parliament. It is courageous to say to Serbia today that you cannot threaten our existence. The tariff means state, if you cannot keep the tariff until recognition, we will not gain mutual recognition among both countries. It is a state-building component, it is not a vote,” Haradinaj said.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker confirms support for Kosovo (Epoka)
The paper covers Kosovo Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli’s meeting on Wednesday with the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Veseli asked Pelosi for a greater role of the U.S. in the processes that Kosovo is going through. He also requested support of the Congress and other U.S. institutions on the army of Kosovo as well as “on the initiative to punish the Serbian genocide, crimes and rapes during the war in Kosovo”. Pelosi on the other hand confirmed to Veseli the unshakable support of the U.S. for Kosovo and pledged that Kosovo can count on her and U.S. Congress’s support.
Hoxha: Disappointing if visa liberalisation is linked to dialogue with Serbia (media)
Kosovo’s Minister of European Integration, Dhurata Hoxha, said in an interview to Radio Free Europe on Wednesday that it would be disappointing if the visa liberalisation process for Kosovo is linked to the political dialogue with Serbia. “It would be disappointing to see such tendencies, although we must admit that we had requests, to suspend the tariff [on Serbian goods] or for the resumption of dialogue, related to one another. So, there was a request to suspend the tariff and then resume dialogue. I don’t think these two should be related because this is a process [visa liberalisation] that has so far been purely technical and now it has been politicised in Kosovo’s case … We have earlier seen a clear process, but lately this process has become very unclear for the Republic of Kosovo. I hope these two do not become related because since the beginning we have paid double the price compared to other countries in the region. We had to meet 95 requirements, whereas other countries had 40 – 45 requirements,” she said. Hoxha said it is in Kosovo’s interest to reach a comprehensive agreement on mutual recognition with Serbia, as this would pave the way to a quicker European integration process. “But at the same time, it is not fair for the European Union not to keep its word. We all know that this process has been very clear for all countries of the region: meet the requirements and the decision on visa liberalisation is made. I hope there won’t be such tendencies. We have made this clear and I have said in many of my meetings that Kosovo should not pay another price for visa liberalisation and we should not be asked to do something that has no relation to the visa liberalisation process,” Hoxha said.
Kosovo official accuses Serbian media of censoring Macron’s statements (Bota Sot)
Jetlir Zyberaj, advisor to the Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli, accused Serbian media of censoring statements of the French President Emmanuel Macron on Kosovo. In a Facebook post, Zyberaj said Serbia has shown yet again it is an “autocracy that controls the media and the way a society should think.”
He said that by removing the statements of President Macron on Kosovo as a country from main headlines, Serbia has proved it has not changed the way it functions since the time it was led by Slobodan Milosevic. “The Serbian state continues to this day to prevent reconciliation in the region,” he wrote.
Hoxhaj: Dialogue needs clarity and timeframe (media)
Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, met on Wednesday in Pristina with a delegation from the British Foreign Office, and discussed political developments in Kosovo and the region, with special emphasis on the political dialogue with Serbia. Hoxhaj said the process of dialogue is very important for the Kosovo Government and that it needs clarity and a timeframe. Hoxhaj and the British officials agreed that the support of the Quint countries to the dialogue with Serbia is very important for Kosovo and its future.
NATO SACEUR to visit Kosovo today (media)
Most news websites report that General Tod D. Wolters, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), will visit Kosovo today and meet Defence Minister Rrustem Berisha and Kosovo Security Force (KSF) Commander Rrahman Rama.
Vulin: Kosovo army, biggest threat to security in the Balkans (RFE/Kallxo)
Serbian Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin, said in a meeting with NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod Wolters, that the biggest threat for the security in the Balkans is the creation of a Kosovo army as well as efforts “to form Great Albania”.
“For Serbs the only lawful armed formation in Kosovo is KFOR and the Serb population sees it as the only guarantor of security. Therefore, it is very concerning for Serbia when the capacity or the role of KFOR is reduced,” Vulin is quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Serbian Ministry of Defence.
Germany to build embassy in Pristina (media)
The German Ambassador to Kosovo, Christian Heldt, signed an agreement with Pristina Mayor, Shpend Ahmeti, for using a land parcel to construct an embassy building, media report. Heldt said at the signing ceremony that this was an indicator of deepening of relations between Kosovo and Germany and noted that the new building will meet all European standards regarding environment protection.