Albanian Language Media:
- CEC officially informed President Thaci on 6 October elections (Kosovapress)
- Thousands of people from Albania arrive in Kosovo (media)
- Haradinaj arrives in Durres Albania: Kosovo will do the utmost; we will be together (Klan)
Serbian Language Media:
- Experience of Visegrad Group – Never enough of the regional cooperation (RTS)
- Serbs from Kosovo protest in front of Hungarian Embassy in Belgrade over decision to extradite Manitasevic to Pristina (KoSSev, Kosovo-online)
- One of the Deputy Assembly Speakers from the Serbian List (Vecernje Novosti)
- Safe House in northern Kosovo to be constructed soon (Kontakt plus radio)
- A spoiler in the Balkans? Russia and the final resolution of the Kosovo conflict (Carnegie Moscow Center)
- The New Geography of Global Diplomacy – China Advances as the United States Retreats (Foreign Affairs)
- Ahead of NATO summit, Serbia buffeted between West and Russia (Reuters)
- Turkey Urged to Send Special Envoy to the Balkans (Balkan Insight)
- Prince Filip: Construction of MHPP on the Sar Mountain must be stopped without delay (KoSSev, KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio)
- Environmental Crusaders: Green Faces in Southeast Europe (Balkan Insight)
Albanian Language Media
CEC officially informed President Thaci on 6 October elections (Kosovapress)
Central Election Commission (CEC) Spokesperson Valmir Elezi said they submitted today to the President of Kosovo a notice of election results.
“The Central Election Commission has informed the President of the Republic of Kosovo Thaçi about the certification of the final results of the early elections for the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo held on October 6,” he said.
“Along with the notice, the Central Election Commission has attached a copy of the certified results about all political entities and candidates who participated in these elections,” he said.
The Central Election Commission on Wednesday has certified the results of the October 6 election.
Thousands of people from Albania arrive in Kosovo (media)
Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj informed that the Kosovo-German Innovation Training Camp in Prizren has welcomed people from Albania affected by the earthquake and it has filled all the capacities. He added that they are in the process of identifying people who offered shelter.
Haradinaj wrote on his Facebook account that thousands of people have arrived from Albania to Kosovo, they are being identified and housed both on individual bases and institutionally organized ones.
He appealed for aid to be sent at KSF barracks in Prizren where they will be carefully delegated and checked prior to reaching those in need.
Haradinaj arrives in Durres Albania: Kosovo will do the utmost; we will be together (Klan)
Kosovo’s Acting Prime Minister has traveled to Durres, Albania together with some members of his cabinet. He was received by the President of Albania, Ilir Meta in the area affected by the earthquake.
“We are here to give further support on overcoming the situation. We feel with the victims and Albania’s difficulties. We will continue to be together,” Haradinaj said.
“Kosovo has all mechanisms available, of course, coordination is required. Kosovo will not save anything, we will be together,” he added.
He said several citizens of Albania found shelter in Kosovo. “We have a certain number, a part of them are at private families and hotels and we have a military camp that we have opened for sheltering. There are 500 people sheltered there. It is a former camp of German forces,” he said.
Serbian Language Media
Experience of Visegrad Group – Never enough of the regional cooperation (RTS)
In expectation of enlargement becoming Brussels’ top topic, we change our habits – instead of always waiting for guidance, inherited and new problems are pushing us and our neighbours towards a closer cooperation. Those well-versed say – we should learn from the Visegrad Group about how the power strengthen when countries come together for a common goal.
From an informal, to a very influential grouping within the Union. That was evident in the vote for the new European Commission. The voice of the Visegrad Group has been decisive – it has been almost three decades since Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland saw on time how the Brussels institutions function.
Misa Djurkovic from the Institute for European Studies says that the forum itself is very important and interesting at the regional level.
“They were the first to begin the transition in the 1990s, realizing that no matter what Slovakia and the Czech Republic had split up, simply the countries that were geographically close and shared some cultural and political and economic issues and had to find a way to cooperate and resolve their issues. They held that forum at some formal level for a start, but over time it gained political significance,’’ said Djurkovic.
Will that be the case with “little Schengen” or with the quadrilateral of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. There are more connections than just a worrying issue of migrants to the outflows of population, gas …
“All Balkan countries, whether they are EU members or not, guest countries plus Cyprus, in this format, cooperation is very good because it promotes multilateralism. Of course, the most active part of our diplomacy is the Prespa Agreement, which sent the message that it is possible to resolve conflicts in the region through dialogue and diplomacy,” says Georgios Katrougalos, Greece’s former foreign minister.
Slobodan Zecevic from the Institute for European Studies says that there are not so many political differences between Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.
“We could possibly have stronger political cooperation here, and as far as this part is concerned with the Albanians, this is more or less problematic,” Zecevic said.
There is never enough of regional cooperation, when we look at the experience of the Nordic and Benelux countries, especially in the area of opening borders for the flow of goods and people.
Suzana Grubjesic of the Center for Foreign Policy says that we should focus on what is called the Western Balkans and that is where the leading role is on Serbia now as a major country in the Western Balkans.
“This little Schengen should be extended to two more countries and one territory, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and, in perspective, Kosovo,” she says.
Regional cooperation is one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities, to which we have also committed ourselves by the Stabilization and Association Agreement.
Serbs from Kosovo protest in front of Hungarian Embassy in Belgrade over decision to extradite Manitasevic to Pristina (KoSSev, Kosovo-online)
Several dozens of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija, mainly from the towns of Orahovac, Velika Hoca, Pec, Djakovica, Klina and Prizren protested yesterday in front of the Hungarian Embassy in Belgrade, over the decision of the Hungarian authorities to extradite to Kosovo, citizen of Serbia, Ljubisa Manitasevic, KoSSev portal reports.
Participants in the protest said they gathered to support the brother of the arrested Ljubisa, Nikola Manitasevic who for the five days is on hunger strike in front of the embassy. The Manitasevic brothers are from Velika Hoca village.
Nikola said he only wants justice for his brother Ljubisa. He urged authorities in Serbia and Hungary to resolve the problem so he and his brother could go back to their families and continue their normal lives. He also urged the state of Serbia, “to wake up, and at least once officially do something and protect its citizens from Kosovo and Metohija.” Nikola also said that “all responsible institutions” were informed about the case of his brother, but so far, he only got empty promises that he would be informed about their eventual steps.
“I am here with one aim only – justice for my brother Ljubisa. My brother is not a criminal. He defended his life. Since when the self-defence is a crime? They can write anything, but the truth is only one,” Nikola Manitasevic said.
KoSSev portal reported that nobody from the Hungarian Embassy spoke to the protestors or made announcements over the protest. Embassy officials, as KoSSev added, did not contact Nikola either who is on hunger strike in front of their building for the fifth day.
Number of reputable Serbs and Serbian Orthodox Church priests from Orahovac and Velika Hoca sent a letter to the Hungarian Ambassador in Pristina, László Márkusz, stating the reasons why Manitasevic should not be extradited to Kosovo.
They explained that “KFOR had conducted proceeding against Ljubisa Manitasevic over wounding of the two members of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army. Mantiasevic surrendered to KFOR personally and spent 67 days in prison in Prizren, after which he was released to defend in freedom, and passed all security checks by KFOR.”
The letter also said that Manitasevic acted in self-defence, when members of the KLA in June 1999 attempted to kidnap him in Orahovac, adding “that one of the wounded persons, Dritan Hamza from Orahovac, later became a member of the Kosovo police and was dismissed because of weapons smuggling, no longer accuses Manitasevic,” KoSSev portal reports.
Kosovo-online also reported that Manitasevic was acquitted of criminal responsibility by UNMIK administration in Kosovo, since it was a self-defence.
One of the Deputy Assembly Speakers from the Serbian List (Vecernje Novosti)
Belgrade based Vecernje Novosti reports that following the confirmation of final election results, according to the regulations in force, the Assembly in Pristina would have to be constituted within the next 30 days, followed by a voting for a new government.
Out of a total of five Deputy Speakers of the Assembly, one should be from the Serbian List, which has won ten seats reserved for the Serbian community, but this party has not yet revealed who will be their candidate for the post.
According to Novosti, as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, the representative of Serbian MPs is also a member of the Presidency of the Assembly of Kosovo, which consists of Assembly Speaker and five Deputy Speakers.
Safe House in northern Kosovo to be constructed soon (Kontakt plus radio)
Kosovo Minister of Local Government Administration Adrijana Hodzic told Kontakt plus radio that the planned shelter for the victims of domestic violence in north Kosovo will also provide to the victims and adequate health care and psychological and legal help.
Hodzic points out that it would be ensured that the shelter functions properly, in accordance with the law and competencies of municipal institutions, and in fully compliance with international conventions and instruments for the protection and treatment of victims of domestic violence.
She explained that for this purpose, municipality of Zubin Potok has allocated a plot of land, with an unfinished building in the village of Zupce, since the other three northern municipalities did not have adequate space for an establishment of this type. She pointed out that in a way, this was the most convenient location.
“The distance from the North Mitrovica municipality, from the Regional Health Centre, and it also takes only about 15 minutes to reach the Safe House from the regional police. On the other hand, the facility is very close to the kindergarten, Health House and primary school and is in a relatively populated area. The assessment of all the people who checked the area was positive. After all, we had nothing better to offer, and we were, to say the least, desperate to create a shelter that would be a refuge for the most serious cases of domestic violence,” she said.
Hodzic explained that UNMIK administration has allocated about $110,000 for the reconstruction of the facility and the completion of all construction works, to ensure that the construction of the safe house was done in an adequate manner and in line with the European standards.
According to her, construction works are in the final stages and a solution was currently being sought to accommodate the people who would guard the building. At the same time, the process of the selection of the right staff who would work in the shelter is ongoing.
“The staff who will work in the safe house is a contribution, first and foremost, by the municipality of North Mitrovica, and we are talking about medical staff, pedagogues, legal and economic services. The existing staff, who is otherwise hired within the local governments in northern Kosovo, will be redeployed and use all their capacities for the needs of the shelter” she explained.
Hodzic points out that the most important thing was the adequate training of staff who would work in the Safe House and that there were some potential donors which promised their support, such as OSCE.
Minister Hodzic says that the Safe House will have the capacity to accommodate about twenty adults and there would be a section for children. She stressed that the second phase of the Safe House projects foresaw also an economic component.
A spoiler in the Balkans? Russia and the final resolution of the Kosovo conflict (Carnegie Moscow Center)
The biggest point of contention in the Balkans is back on Europe’s front burner. For decades, Serbia was mired in a conflict with Kosovo, its breakaway province that unilaterally declared independence in 2008 after violent ethnic clashes and international intervention in the late 1990s. Last year, a protracted diplomatic effort to end the conflict was unexpectedly boosted when then U.S. national security adviser John Bolton announced that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was ready to consider changes to the Serbia-Kosovo border as part of a settlement.1 The Serbian government welcomed the idea, giving rise to hopes that a negotiated solution to the Balkan conflict is now potentially within reach.
Still, any final settlement is very much an uphill battle. Many Kosovar leaders are not enthusiastic about the proposed border correction, which would entail swapping areas in northern Kosovo populated mainly by ethnic Serbs for Serbian municipalities dominated by ethnic Albanians. Germany and other members of the European Union (EU) have disapproved strongly, arguing that redrawing boundaries may open a Pandora’s box, with unpredictable ripple effects.2 On top of all that, it is increasingly clear that Russia, which has long held great sway over the region, may not actually want the conflict resolved at all.
So long as Serbia does not formally recognize Kosovo’s independence, it must rely on Russia’s veto power in the United Nations (UN) Security Council to prevent full international recognition of what it regards as a breakaway province. That dependency gives Russia a nontrivial degree of influence, both in the region and within Serbia itself. The Kremlin fears that ending the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo will diminish Russia’s stature in Serbia and severely undermine its clout in the Balkans.
Moscow is well-positioned to derail the resolution process. Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoys unchecked popularity across most of Serbian society, and the Russian political and national security establishment maintains close ties with its counterparts among Serbia’s political and security elites, who tend to strongly oppose any compromise with Kosovo. From all appearances, Moscow also hopes to use its influence over the Kosovo issue as leverage in its acrimonious relationship with the West.
More at: https://bit.ly/2Ozfgod
The New Geography of Global Diplomacy – China Advances as the United States Retreats (Foreign Affairs)
As China’s rise has become a central force in global politics, analysts and policymakers have tracked its path to potential preeminence on a number of fronts: the size of its economy, the scale and reach of its investment and commercial relationships, the budget and capabilities of its military forces. But as of 2019, China has surpassed the United States in an underappreciated but crucial measure of global influence: the size of its diplomatic network.
For decades, Washington had the largest diplomatic network in the world. Now China does, boasting 276 diplomatic posts—including embassies, consulates, and permanent missions to international organizations. The United States’ network, meanwhile, stands at 273, down one post since 2017.
This shift could mark a turning point in great-power competition. As Beijing becomes more and more willing to deploy its global power, seemingly no longer interested in former leader Deng Xiaoping’s instruction to “hide your strength, bide your time,” it has invested in active and far-reaching diplomacy. Washington, meanwhile, has seen both a turn inward and a privileging of other tools. Where once the United States enjoyed global diplomatic primacy, the playing field is now leveling.
More at: https://fam.ag/2XYw5vV
Ahead of NATO summit, Serbia buffeted between West and Russia (Reuters)
LONDON/BELGRADE (Reuters) – Since October, French President Emmanuel Macron has questioned the effectiveness of NATO, hit pause on EU enlargement and called for a new ‘strategic relationship’ with Russia.
Plenty of countries have reason to pay close attention to his “shake it up” style of diplomacy, but few places will feel his words more keenly than Serbia.
For Belgrade, any pullback by Europe or NATO could allow space for Russia to fill the void, given the close political, military and economic ties Moscow has with its Balkans cousin – a fellow Slavic and Orthodox Christian state.
That is likely to be of concern for NATO leaders, who gather in Britain next week to discuss the future of their military alliance, since the Balkans, much like the Baltics, can be seen as a bulkhead against Moscow’s influence.
“NATO works to promote stability, security and cooperation in the Western Balkans,” said a NATO official. “Any outside interference in domestic democratic processes is unacceptable. We urge Russia to do the same.”
See at: https://reut.rs/2DvvEPW
Turkey Urged to Send Special Envoy to the Balkans (Balkan Insight)
An influential pro-government NGO has called on the Ankara government to appoint a special envoy to the Balkans to coordinate Turkish policy in a strategically important region.
More at: https://bit.ly/33sFvRf
New policy paper on regional cooperation in the Western Balkans released (EWB)
A new policy paper “Regional cooperation in the Western Balkans – is there a civil society pillar?” written by Jelica Minic, Zoran Nechev and Ivan Nikolovski has been released by the SEE Think Net.
The Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” Skopje hosted a presentation of the policy paper in cooperation with the Regional Cooperation Council and the SEE Think net in Sarajevo this Wednesday.
The event was opened by Deputy Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council and Serbia’s former chief negotiator with the EU Tanja Miscevic and Zoran Nechev, Head of the Centre for European Integrations at the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” – Skopje (IDSCS) and Coordinator of the SEE Think Net.
Miscevic stressed the openness and readiness of RCC to support the regional cooperation of the civil society at the highest level and even deeper, while Nechev presented the work of the SEE Think Net to the Bosnian public and announced the plans for the Tanja upcoming North Macedonia – Bulgaria co-presidency with the Berlin Process in regards to the 2020 Think Tank and Civil Society fora.
The publication available at: https://bit.ly/2L5ws2y
Prince Filip: Construction of MHPP on the Sar Mountain must be stopped without delay (KoSSev, KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio)
Local authorities of the Municipality of Strpce, the competent Kosovo institutions and the authorities of the Republic of Serbia must stop the construction and destruction of one of the most beautiful mountains in the Balkans – the devastation of the Sara National Park – without delay, Prince Filip Karadjordjevic said today.
”We have faced the destruction of river flows and the construction of mini hydroelectric power plants in the Balkans in the past, and this process has reached catastrophic proportions. The latest news we receive from the Sar Mountains is that an MHPP is being built in the national park and that one of the most beautiful mountains in the Balkans is being destroyed,” Karadjordjevic wrote on Facebook.
The size of construction work, which is destroying the springs, streams, rivers and the Lepenac River, threatens to ”turn this area into a place where an ecological catastrophe occurred” – he stressed.
Karadjordjevic also added that the population of Sirinicka Zupa region, both Serbs and Albanians, ”have been sharing the same troubles for five years and are jointly and unanimously fighting against the construction of the MHPP” .
”That fact alone is an additional motive and message, which preserves common life and shared values,” he said.
See at: https://bit.ly/37Q0Ozs
Environmental Crusaders: Green Faces in Southeast Europe (Balkan Insight)
From Moldova to Kosovo, environmental activists across the Balkans are mobilising to tackle issues from air and river pollution to illegal logging, fossil fuel use and hydropower.
Environmental activists are waging a battle to combat environmental destruction in Southeast Europe, engaging in “flash mob” campaigns, orchestrating mass protests and starting film festivals to promote conservation – all the while rattling and challenging local authorities.
Who’s at the forefront of these crusades?
BIRN has selected six activists from across Southeast Europe to highlight some of the key issues they’re campaigning against and their battles to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
Meet them below.
See at: https://bit.ly/35HIc2U