Albanian Language Media:
- Swedish Academy defends awarding Handke Nobel Prize (Prishtina Insight)
- One year since 100% tariff, Serbia loses 99 percent of Kosovo’s market (Telegrafi)
- Kurti meets Italy’s Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini (RTK)
Serbian Language Media:
- Trend Analysis: General trends not in favour of Serbs (KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio, RTV Puls, Kosovo Online)
- Politika on Visoki Decani Monastery: Attacks, walls, endurance and life (Politika, Radio KIM, Kosovo-online)
- Jevtic: Nothing disputable in fact that we go to Belgrade, we are ready to talk to everyone (Kosovo-online)
- Comic book ‘Welcome to Kosovo’ published in France (B92)
- PM of North Macedonia Zaev: “I am frightened, I am breaking inside…’ (B92, NY Times)
- Motion submitted on reviewing Maldives’ recognition of Kosovo independence (AVAS)
- Kurti: Children’s education is a constitutional right (media)
- Calls for greater mobilisation to implement Law on Child Protection (media)
- Let children be children! (KoSSev)
- No solution in sight for the Gracanka river: “Sometimes protests and roadblocks are needed” (KIM radio, KoSSev, RTV Puls)
Albanian Language Media
Swedish Academy defends awarding Handke Nobel Prize (Prishtina Insight)
The Swedish Academy have defended their decision to award Austrian author Peter Handke the Nobel Prize for Literature in a letter to Mehmet Kraja, the Head of Kosovo’s Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Kraja wrote to the Nobel Committee in October, expressing discontent concerning the decision and demanding that the award be annulled due to Handke’s sympathies towards former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was indicted by the former Yugoslav Tribunal in the Hague for committing crimes against humanity in Kosovo and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Deeply disappointed with this year’s award of the Nobel Prize,” Kraja’s letter stated. “The Academy of Science and Arts of Kosovo demands that the decision of the Swedish Academy be annulled, as an act of understanding and solidarity with the people of the world who fight for freedom and democracy.”
Kosovo’s ambassador to the United States, Vlora Citaku, previously described the decision to award Handke as “preposterous and shameful,” while Kraja also wrote an editorial for the Washington Post condemning the award “to a man who celebrated a war criminal.”
In their response to Kraja, the Swedish Academy wrote: “When Handke was awarded the prize, the ambition is to celebrate his extraordinary literary work, not the person,” adding that they believe there must be “room for different opinions” about authors in an open society.
“There must be room for different reasonable interpretations of their literary work. We should strive to respect each other notwithstanding sharply diverging views on important matters,” the Academy concluded in their response.
One year since 100% tariff, Serbia loses 99 percent of Kosovo’s market (Telegrafi)
The news website quotes Kosovo Customs Director, Bahri Berisha, as saying that since the introduction of the 100 percent import tariff, Serbia has exported €430 million less to Kosovo. Berisha said the imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were replaced with products from countries of the region and European Union member states.
“We were obliged to implement the decision on the 100 percent import tariff … In the last year, there are 99 percent less imports from Serbia. The same goes for Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Berisha said.
Representatives of local businesses believe that the import tariff had a positive effect but that it now needs to be replaced with full reciprocity with Serbia.
Skender Krasniqi, chairman of the Kosovo Business Chamber Board, said Kosovo would gain even more with reciprocity in the international arena. “We think this should be replaced with reciprocity now, because the tariff is damaging Kosovo on the international arena. Kosovo would benefit much more through reciprocity. We would set a long-term blockade to Serbia because it does not recognise our products,” he said.
Krasniqi also said that based on their analysis the import tariff had a positive effect and people realised that they can live without Serbian products. “Serbian products were replaced with the best possible products from the European Union and the region. This led to a better quality, because according to our analysis, Serbian products were always dangerous.”
Kurti meets Italy’s Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini (RTK)
Albin Kurti, leader of Vetevendosje Movement together with members of the leadership of this political party, Albulena Haxhiu and Xhelal Svecla, met with Italy’s Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini and Italian Ambassador to Kosovo Piero Cristoforo Sardi.
Guerini congratulated Vetevendosje Movement on the result and victory of the 6 October elections. Kurti informed the Minister about the priorities of the upcoming government on building a state of rule of law, equal on welfare and financially sustainable.
“We express our gratitude and appreciation for Italy’s support and help for Kosovo’s peace, development, democratization and security. Italy is also the biggest neighbor of western Balkans. Our cooperation will be close and sincere, both as bilateral and for EU and NATO. Therefore, our meetings will as frequent and as constructive as possible,” is written in a press communique issued by Vetevendosje Movement.
Serbian Language Media
Trend Analysis: General trends not in favour of Serbs (KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio, RTV Puls, Kosovo Online)
An analysis of trends conducted for the fifth year by NGO Aktiv, aimed at identifying the most important views of the Serbian community in Kosovo regarding major social, economic, political and other processes, was presented yesterday in North Mitrovica, with results showing that 92 percent of respondents believed that the general trends are not in favour and are not encouraging for the Serbian community.
A panel held yesterday concludes that this year’s comprehensive research, resulting from the responses of 540 respondents from the Serb community, both south and north of the Ibar River, provides insight into the effects such processes have on the Serb community in Kosovo and thus is a valuable source of information for creating civic initiatives and strategies at all levels of authority, in order to respond to the real needs of the population.
According to these surveys, 50 percent of respondents say that the effects of current political processes are the greatest threat to both their own and their families’ safety, and 41.6 percent say that unemployment and the poor economic situation are the biggest problems they face.
As the results show, 73.3 percent of those polled do not support the idea of demarcation, that is 80 percent south of Ibar, and 66 percent of those living in northern Kosovo.
Something more than 60 percent said they did not trust any politician, while 55.3 percent “do not see themselves in Kosovo in the next five years or will leave if the opportunity arises’’.
Executive director of the NGO Aktiv Miodrag Milicevic told Kosovo Online that for the first time a trend analysis was also conducted in Serb-majority municipalities south of Ibar.
“To a considerable extent, the report contains all the elements that were recorded in previous years and there were no major deviations, and what we emphasize almost every year is the trend of migration of young people, but also people in general, with this trend taking on an alarming character this year,” said Milicevic.
He announced that the report will be presented in Pristina next week, and in Belgrade next month, to inform as many people as possible, as well as key government officials, in Belgrade and Pristina.
Also, there are international factors that, according to Milicevic, should be more actively involved in finding key answers to some of the questions they raised.
Milicevic emphasized the importance of the media, which, he believes, should convey the message of the report and thus give the necessary impetus to the authorities, what should change, and emphasized that, in addition to the migration process, there was a high percentage of distrust of the Serbian community towards Albanian politicians.
Bodo Weber, from the Political Democratization Council in Berlin, said at the panel that the idea of demarcation and division was “harmful and that it became a major issue of contention”.
“If you look at the results of this poll conducted by Aktiv you will see that it is striking that most Serbs, both in the south and in the north, do not support the idea (of division) which is very dangerous and brings us back to the political logic of the 1990s where the key focus is who controls the territory, not how it is governed in a particular territory and how the needs of citizens, which are the same everywhere, are met, which is a stable social and economic status and security. These are, according to public opinion polls, the main concerns of residents,” Weber said.
He added that the research shows that “the political tensions caused by the territory-exchange story further intensify the feeling of Kosovo Serbs both in the south and in the north, that no one represents their political interests from political structures, and this has led to a fall in trust in the European Union”.
Journalist Zeljko Tvrdisic and RTV Mir director Nenad Radosavljevic were also part of the panel. The Kosovo Open Society Foundation (KFOS) supported the panel.
NGO Aktiv analyses 2019 at: https://bit.ly/2KGLz2a
Politika on Visoki Decani Monastery: Attacks, walls, endurance and life (Politika, Radio KIM, Kosovo-online)
Belgrade-based daily Politika writes that Kosovo police conceals details related to the latest allegations on plans to attack the Serbian Orthodox Church Visoki Decani Monastery.
The daily said that a person A.I. two days ago hijacked a purse and a phone of H.H and J.H in Pristina and requested them to attack Visoki Decani Monastery. Kosovo police and anti-terrorist unit, according to the Kosovo-online portal, swiftly initiated the investigation and placed A.I. under 48-hour detention. In an internal report of the Kosovo police this person was linked with a possible connection with a terrorist attack against Visoki Decani Monastery. However, this information was afterwards refuted by the Kosovo police spokesperson.
“This latest and very much unclear case indicates that the security of cultural and historic sites particularly the Christian ones, must be given additional attention, having in mind that during the last two decades of internationally guaranteed peace more than 150 Christian shrines have been destroyed. Raska-Prizren Eparchy will request from KFOR a stronger degree of protection of the both, the monastery and its visitors. Despite everything, the Monastery regularly receives visitors, numerous pilgrims and tourists. We do hope, it would remain as such,” Raska-Prizren Eparchy said in a statement.
The daily further recalled the number of incidents targeting the Visoki Decani Monastery over last two decades. 20 mortar shells fell around this monument placed on the UNESCO world heritage list during this time. A decade ago, one hit the wall around the monastery. The impression created in the Albanian public regarding the monastery places it under double sort of pressure: armed and physical attacks and usurpation of the property on one side, and on the other there are continues claims that this historic site was taken over by the Serbs from its genuine founders.
The daily also recalled that despite KFOR protection, walls and barbed wire inscriptions “Caliphate is coming” “ISIS” and “UQK” were written on the monastery’s property and the walls of adjacent objects in October 2014. Two years later, four armed persons alleged to be members of ISIS were arrested in front of the monastery’s gate and handed over to the Kosovo investigative bodies and police. The daily said the case was covered up and forgotten.
It is a paradox that despite growing external pressure, the openness of the monastery’s brotherhood is getting stronger, along with internal development, economy and the size of the brotherhood, the article concluded.
Jevtic: Nothing disputable in fact that we go to Belgrade, we are ready to talk to everyone (Kosovo-online)
Serbian List Vice President Dalibor Jevtic told KTV broadcast “Rubicon” last night he sees nothing disputable about having the representatives of Serbian List going to the Serbian capital, Kosovo-online portal reports.
“When I was in SLS (Independent Liberal Party) and the Serbian List did not exist, we were told it was okay that we take part in elections, both by representatives of the international community and Albanian parties, it was good we were participating in the institutions, but also it was important to establish contacts with Belgrade, because problems have to be solved and without Belgrade it is impossible”, Jevtic said. “We have a stance and we are not merely nodding our heads, and because we have a stance, we may not be suitable, but we are here to protect the interests of Serbian people”, Jevtic added. “In the past, they had some other (representatives of Serbs) who just nodded their heads, who never had a stance or raised their voice”.
He also noted that Serbs do not want to block the processes but intended to push them forward.
“If we wanted to block the processes and cause a new political crisis, we would say Mr Kurti will not talk to us and we won’t talk to him either, and we’ll see how he would form the government. Crisis is not our interest-we’re interested in solving problems. And we’ll do everything possible to avoid a situation where we would make life even more difficult for citizens”.
Jevtic further said he had no problem talking to any political representative. “We have no problem talking to anyone, because in politics, if you want to be a leader, you have to be willing to listen to different voices and views, even when you talk to those you disagree with, it’s a democracy. If you want to run the government tomorrow, then you must be prepared to listen to different opinions”, Jevtic underlined.
He also announced that the Serbian List parliamentary group will have 10 Serbs and one Gorani MPs.
“Ten Serbs and one Gorani, so our parliamentary group will have 11 MPs in the Kosovo Assembly. This means, I repeat, we have never had blackmailing behaviour, we have always talked for the sake of stability and peace. The fact that we want to talk, that we want to be partners, does not mean that someone can put us at a table like flowers and say -here they are. Those before us were like that”.
Jevtic opined that whoever was losing had the right to be angry, responding to accusations by political opponents that Serbs in northern Kosovo municipalities won because of the pressure exerted on voters. He also spoke about other Serbian politicians in Kosovo, noting that they were only saying so because they were not in the positions they wanted and even when they had the opportunity to do something, they were unable to do anything.
“When Nenad Rasic was MP, he joined the Serbian List in the government during the time when Isa Mustafa was the prime minister. Back then he was not bothered by that, and we know what kind of statements he made, like when he said there was a need for Serbs in Kosovo to have close cooperation with Belgrade, because only Belgrade can protect the interests of the Serbs in Kosovo and, we who know Rasic and others I mentioned are not surprised when they occasionally change their views and statements, they do so in comparison to their personal interests at a given moment. They are neither leaders nor politicians”, Jevtic said.
At the end he spoke about the visit of Serbian List to Washington and Brussels, where he was only congratulated on the victory, adding that no one has asked SL there how they accomplished that victory.
Comic book ‘Welcome to Kosovo’ published in France (B92)
Founder of the French humanitarian organization “Solidarité Kosovo”, Arnaud Gouillon announced on Instagram that the comic book “Welcome to Kosovo” has been published in France.
“The story follows the life of young Dimitrije returning as refugee to Kosovo shortly before the anti-Serb riots in 2004. This romanticized drama is made up of real events and will show French audiences the recent history of the Balkans from another, less biased angle”, Gouillon wrote.
He added that “after books and magazines, documentaries and lectures, this is another step forward, with the aim of the voice of Serbian victims being heard everywhere in the West”.
Gouillon also said that “as soon as it was published, ‘Welcome to Kosovo’ was among the best-selling historical comics in France”.
See at: https://bit.ly/2D2H7Gy
PM of North Macedonia Zaev: “I am frightened, I am breaking inside…’ (B92, NY Times)
Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, fears that dramatic events will follow in the region after the EU snub, Plus Info reports
“I am breaking inside”, Macedonian Prime Minister says in an interview with US paper New York Times.
This magazine reminds of the fact that only two months ago, the leader of the small Balkan nation of North Macedonia was riding high, feted by world leaders, praised by the head of United Nations for offering a rare bright spot in an otherwise troubled global landscape and on the shortlist for a Nobel Peace Prize.
“Prime Minister Zaev had staked his political career and his country’s politics on resolving a three-decade-old dispute with neighboring Greece over his country’s name. And through often tortuous diplomacy, and against great odds, he had succeeded,” NYT says.
As New York Times states, the change of name was expected to clear the way towards joining the EU, but last month France vetoed those discussions, arguing that the process of enlargement needs to be rethought.
That abrupt decision turned the Macedonian government into turmoil, and more ominously, it is shaking up the status quo in a region where an uneasy peace has existed since the end of the wars in former Yugoslavia, NYT concluded.
“That destroyed me personally, psychologically … I am broken inside,” Zaev stressed, adding in an interview that he is concerned “not only for himself but for the stability of the entire Western Balkans”.
“Nationalism and radicalism can rise again. There is a risk to open conflicts inside of the countries again. Also, to open conflicts between countries again,” Zaev said. When asked why he decided to call early elections, Zaev said that he had no choice.
“If we do not go on early elections, nationalism will rise. I am devastated,” Zaev concluded in the interview for “New York Times”.
Motion submitted on reviewing Maldives’ recognition of Kosovo independence (AVAS)
A motion has been filed at the Maldives Parliament calling for the parliament to investigate allegations that corruption was involved in the Maldives recognizing Kosovo as an independent nation in February 2008.
See at: https://avas.mv/en/73512
Kurti: Children’s education is a constitutional right (media)
Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said on the anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that Kosovo should respect the provisions of this document in that the governments must do all they can to ensure that children survive and develop.
“Children need shelter, care from the family, the country, and community. No child deserves to be without a roof over their head, without quality education. The state needs to guarantee development, welfare and education,” Kurti wrote on social media.
He said that not even 5 percent of children in Kosovo under the age of 5 are included in preschool education and every ten child in Kosovo works.
Kurti underlined that education is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of Kosovo. “Kindergartens are not a luxury but a necessity,” he said, adding that the priority of the new government will be early education.
Calls for greater mobilisation to implement Law on Child Protection (media)
On the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Pristina-based Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo (KOMF) has called on all relevant institutions to take necessary measures to implement the Law on Child Protection.
“In June this year, Kosovo first adopted the Law on Child Protection, aimed at protecting children from all forms of violence, abuse, misuse, use, negligence or any other form that threatens their life, security, health, education and development.”
The KOMF said in a press release that the situation of children in Kosovo is grave. “The latest data show there is a poverty rate among children at 20.7 percent. 10.7 percent of children in Kosovo are included in labour, while 6.8 percent of them work in dangerous conditions. 61.4 percent of children in Kosovo say they were subject to physical or psychological violence during the months of the research. Only 10 percent of children with disabilities have access to qualitative health services, social and education services. Reports from government and non-government organisations show that there is a growing rate of children being involved in illegal activities, including violence, and that in some cases there were fatal consequences for children involved”.
KOMF said it remains committed to supporting reforms for the social protection of children, which guarantees child protection, with special focus on vulnerable children: children without parental care, children that were victims of abuse, children included in hard labour and children with disabilities.
“KOMF will continue to support early childhood development and to advocate for improved quality and integration of social welfare services, healthcare and education. The KOMF, as a coalition of 29 non-governmental organisations, will continue to support local organisations in the area of child protection,” the press release notes.
Let children be children! (KoSSev)
“We bore witness to the mutual disputes of the political elites in Belgrade and Pristina which have once again leaked beyond politics into things that should be untouchable in the 21st century – sports and culture” Igor Dasic from Zvecan wrote for KoSSev.
“While political delegations play war from their comfortable armchairs, the sports halls in the north of Kosovo are once again staying empty during scheduled matches. This may seem harmless and irrelevant to you, but I will ask you all to be part of the following story.
Let us make one thing clear right away, we are not talking about professional sports, but amateurs whose only pay and profit is their love of sports.
Imagine that your twelve-year-old child is playing sports five days a week (happily attending and leaving practice, even though the conditions are not even close to being ideal), looking forward to the day when he will play a sports game against his peers. To play a match in front of his parents, friends from school, his crush, a neighbour or a teacher. And then, a few hours before the scheduled match, in all that euphoria fuelled by pure love for the sport he plays, he receives a message from the coach that the game has been cancelled because someone simply decided to ban his peers from the rival team to cross the border. Imagine someone deciding to keep your child away from that sort of experience for which (in those years especially) he has been pouring sweat five days a week, looking forward to it along with his teammates as eagerly as he looks forward to his birthday. Please ask yourself whether the child understands that these are (so-called) political decisions and that this is something he cannot control. Feel the disappointment, sadness, feel that anger of a twelve-year-old child who cares about nothing else but about those few hours of socializing and competing with his peers.
It would be humane if this topic is no longer so harmless and irrelevant for you.
I appeal to the parent, brother, neighbour, and relative in you to help solve this problem – as if it affects your own child. While the idea of peace in the Balkans and the reconciliation between all nations is constantly being touted in the media, this example directly undermines such an idea. By depriving children, the right to sport and competition, hatred and intolerance are being directly sowed and developed.”
Prince Albert II of Monaco said “Sport has a unique and irreplaceable capacity to unite people, going far beyond ethnic, religious or social differences. I am convinced that sport can be at the long-term service of peace.” I hope you have the same respect for sports.
I also appeal to all institutions in Belgrade, Pristina, and the international community to recognize the importance of this issue and resolve it as soon as possible. Immediate revocation of this decision is possible because it is a simple agreement and, after all, a sound solution.
We are responsible for what our children will become in the future! Because tomorrow we will not have the right to say that they (from the above-mentioned institutions) are to blame for the lives of our children, but rather we are the ones who have been silent and have done nothing to change this situation.”
No solution in sight for the Gracanka river: “Sometimes protests and roadblocks are needed” (KIM radio, KoSSev, RTV Puls)
The residents of Laplje Selo are dissatisfied with yesterday’s debate on the pollution of the Gracanka River, held with representatives of the municipalities of Pristina and Gracanica, the Ministry of the Environment, the OSCE and USAID in the village House of Culture. In addition to the day-to-day engagement of inspection from both local governments to determine who the polluter is, there are no solutions in sight, reported KIM radio.
A discussion on the pollution of the Gracanka River was held in the renovated but cold room of the Cultural Center, with a snack and a recital, reported the radio.
While it was expected that this debate would lead to some more serious proposal or solution, it did not happen.
Authorities said the long-term solution to the wastewater problem was the construction of a regional Water Treatment Plant, which was signed two years ago. A minimum of three to five years and 80 million euros is needed.
“It will be in Kosovo Polje, where wastewater should be treated, but the plan was always to release that treated water, which will be 99% pure, into the Gracanka River,” says Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti.
“The wastewater treatment plant is much needed in the municipality, however, as a municipality, we do not have the resources to build that plant. We have taken this most seriously, and I hope that next year, on our own, or with the help of relevant institutions and I expect the assistance of international organizations, to raise this issue,” said Gracanica Mayor Srdjan Popovic.
Although it was announced, Environment Minister Fatmir Matoshi did not respond to the call of the organizer, so his deputy, otherwise, a resident of Laplje Selo, Milena Zdravkovic, addressed the audience. She said that the ministry was aware of the problem but that there was no political will to solve it.
“The ministry has made two proposals. One is a sewage treatment plant, but not for the industrial wastewater, but wastewater only. And the proposal to create a separate sewerage network that will bridge this problem that is happening in Laplje Selo to Dobrevo, certainly is not the solution,” says Zdravkovic.
Environmental expert prof. Dr Jelena Djokic does not agree that the construction of a collector would be a solution because both industrial and municipal wastewater flows into Gracanka river.
“In fact, the collector is just a place where sewage pipes are collected and where only the first primary processing is carried out, that is, the deposition of solid material. In this case, because of the small amount of water in the Gracanka River, it would not finish the job, it would not make the river itself curable on its own,” says the professor.
What currently concerns the residents of Laplje Selo and Preoce villages is that the two municipalities and the police finally determine who the polluter is. It is known that it is a factory in Ajvalija, but it has not yet been determined which, reported KIM radio.
“I cannot understand that the inspection services cannot find the pollutant within 24 hours. It is impossible that villagers who live in Ajvalija, or any of the inspectors who may be living in Ajvalija, do not know where the facility is,” said Ljubinko Karadzic.
“I guarantee that in 24 hours this problem would be solved if in my house, for example, lived the Ambassador of America or the Prime Minister of Kosovo.
The mayors, Popovic and Ahmeti say they are willing to solve the problem, and the first concrete proposal is to engage both inspection services, for a night duty, to finally determine who releases heavy metals into the river. Unless the problem is resolved, KIM radio reported that some other more radical proposals could be heard.
“I, as a politician and a representative of the government, maybe I’m saying nonsense, but sometimes it takes some protests, some roadblocks so that people think more about it. I am not giving you an example of what we should do, but I would want to work together to solve this problem.”
“Believe me, if we do not come up with a solution that will be in the interest of our citizens, we will have to do something on our own. I hope that the radical measures proposed by the locals…and I understand them, because there is no place for this kind of life, we as a municipality will have to do something.