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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, March 16

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Four more affected with COVID-19, 13 patients in total (RTK)
Government new measures against coronavirus (media)
Health Minister calls on PM to declare state of emergency (media)
Kosovo govt declares state of emergency for public health (media)
Kurti to people: Once I called you to protest, now it is brave to stay home (media)
PM Kurti thanks MPs for adopting budget (Koha)
Osmani: We passed budget, avoiding govt shutdown (media)
EU Special Representative welcomes budget adoption (media)
PDK’s Krasniqi replies to Apostolova on budget (media)
Kosovo Assembly adopts resolution on dialogue (media)
Opposition leader criticizes resolution on dialogue (media)
Hoti: Tariff must be lifted fully and immediately (media)

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  • Four more affected with COVID-19, 13 patients in total (RTK)
  • Government new measures against coronavirus (media)
  • Health Minister calls on PM to declare state of emergency (media)
  • Kosovo govt declares state of emergency for public health (media)
  • Kurti to people: Once I called you to protest, now it is brave to stay home (media)
  • PM Kurti thanks MPs for adopting budget (Koha)
  • Osmani: We passed budget, avoiding govt shutdown (media)
  • EU Special Representative welcomes budget adoption (media)
  • PDK’s Krasniqi replies to Apostolova on budget (media)
  • Kosovo Assembly adopts resolution on dialogue (media)
  • Opposition leader criticizes resolution on dialogue (media)
  • Hoti: Tariff must be lifted fully and immediately (media)

Four more affected with COVID-19, 13 patients in total (RTK)

Health Minister Arben Vitia informed that the number of the affected with COVID-19 has increased. According to him, the four new cases are from village Stublla, Vitia municipality.

“Late last night, based on the results of the tests, four additional cases resulted positive with COVID-19 . All four cases are from village Subell of Vitia, close relatives to the diagnosed positive with COVID-19, on 13.03.2020. The entire family was self-quarantined and National Public Health Institute has tested the other family members as well,” Vitia wrote. The Minister called for increased caution.

“In this situation, your awareness and help is indispensable. Keep distance from the other. Reduce exits only in emergencies. Follow the recommendations from the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health,” Vitia wrote.

In less than four days, number of the affected from the virus has reached 13. The affected zones are Vitia with seven patients, Malisheva with four, Podujeva with one patient and Klina with one as well. 

Government new measures against coronavirus (media)

  • Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said on Sunday that the Kosovo Government has introduced additional measures after the situation created by the coronavirus.

Below is the list of measures:

  1. To facilitate the transport of goods coming to Kosovo, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and that of the Administration will issue clear guidelines on how trucks are allowed to enter Kosovo that have national drivers of other countries.
  1. The Ministry of Economy and Agriculture, in consultation with businesses, inventorise all state reserves of strategic importance products and prepares a plan for these state reserves for the next three months and proposes this plan to the Government for approval, which specifies inter alia the measures to be taken and the relevant budget, including the amount that can be purchased by citizens.
  1. The Ministry of Finance, Economy and Agriculture in consultation with businesses shall adopt an approval plan to support businesses. 
  1. The deadline for filing tax liabilities and financial reporting of other businesses and organizations under the legislation in force is extended until April 30, 2020.
  1. Central Bank of Kosovo in consultation with banks are instructed to prepare an operational plan for the proper functioning of the financial system to cope with the situation we are in. Including in particular the prolongation of their clients’ credit obligations by April 30 and reviewing their reprogramming.
  1. The Ministry of Economy together with their utilities providing public services such as heating, water services and waste collection should set up a public services management committee and prepare an action plan according to the situation created.
  1. The ME will oversee the work of KEK, KED, and KOSTT to ensure a stable power supply.
  1. Internet and mobile telephony services companies should ensure regular functioning for the purpose of fully informing citizens, ensuring that services are not interrupted until 30 April 2020 due to non-payment.

Minister asks PM to declare state of emergency for public health (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Health, Arben Vitija, has called on the Government to declare a state of emergency for public health after another four coronavirus cases were confirmed today.

Vitija wrote in a Facebook post: ” … we now have nine confirmed cases of COVID – 19 in Kosovo. Given the situation that we are facing and in order to protect the health of the people, I have just asked Prime Minister Albin Kurti to suggest to the Government to declare a state of emergency for public health”.

“Dear citizens we call on you to cooperate in managing the situation. Follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and the National Institute for Public Health and stay in your homes so that we can take care of each other’s health. Do not go out unless in cases of emergency,” Vitija said.

Kosovo govt declares state of emergency for public health (media)

All media report that following a proposal by the Minister of Health, the Kosovo Government declared on Sunday evening the state of emergency for public health.

Kurti to people: Once I called you to protest, now it is brave to stay home (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti took to Facebook on Sunday to call on the people to stay at home because of the situation created by the coronavirus.

“In the past I have called on you many times to go out and protest. Now it is brave to stay at home,” Kurti said.

PM Kurti thanks MPs for adopting budget (Koha)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti thanked on Sunday evening the members of the Kosovo Assembly for adopting the law on the budget for 2020.

Kurti wrote in a Facebook post that “MPs stayed for over 10 hours in the Assembly to adopt the law on the 2020 budget and showed a high level of responsibility in face of the pandemic that has now engulfed our continent”.

“I thank MPs from the LDK, minority communities and the Vetevendosje for their commitment and support … Adopting the annual budget is one of the most important steps to address the current challenges and to implement the program of the government of change,” Kurti wrote.

Osmani: We passed budget, avoiding govt shutdown (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani took to Twitter on Sunday to say “Just after midnight we passed the 2020 budget, thus averting gov’t shutdown & ensuring financial readiness to cope w/ #covid19. As per our election promise, this is a budget with a human face, having education, health, econ.develop. & investment in human capital at the forefront.”

EU Special Representative welcomes budget adoption (media)

The European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova, welcomed the adoption of the 2020 budget by Kosovo MPs.

“I welcome last night’s adoption of the 2020 Kosovo budget as an important step in making institutions operational, especially in these challenging times of the #coronavirus outbreak. I encourage political leaders to overcome partisanship in matters of national interest,” Apostolova tweeted.

PDK’s Krasniqi replies to Apostolova on budget (media)

Kosovo Assembly Vice President and Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) senior official, Memli Krasniqi, reacted to a tweet by EU Special Representative Nataliya Apostolova who welcomed the adoption of the 2020 budget.

“Good for you @ApostolovaEU for publicly supporting a clandestine, even illegal passing of the budget, behind the backs of the oppositon. Are these the EU values that you’re supposed to represent in #Kosovo?” Krasniqi tweeted.

Kosovo Assembly adopts resolution on dialogue (media) 

All media report that the Kosovo Assembly adopted on Friday a resolution, proposed by VV and LDK parliamentary groups, which empowers the government to lead the dialogue with Serbia.

The text of the resolution reads:

  1. Kosovo is commitmed to political talks between Kosovo and Serbia, which will result with mutual recognition, 
  2. Assembly of Kosovo reiterates that the Constitution, state sovereignty, territorial integrity and unitary character of Kosovo is one and indivisible and none has the mandate to dialogue or negotiate on Kosovo’s territory, sovereignty, constitutional order and unitary character and
  3. Reconfirms the mandate of the government to lead the dialogue in compliance with the Constitution and the Constitutional Court ruling of June 2019., and make necessary preparations on the negotiations and to negotiate a possible final agreement, which shall result with mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia, within the constitutional order of Kosovo.

Opposition leader criticizes resolution on dialogue (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) head and opposition leader Kadri Veseli criticised the resolution on dialogue adopted by the Assembly.

Veseli said in a Facebook post that Prime Minister Albin Kurti took advantage of the situation created with the coronavirus to sit at the table with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

“They tricked the opposition out of the decision-making on a very important law for the people, the law on the budget. They deceived the people with promises and did not include in the budget the raises for the health and public sector. And at the time of isolation and sanctions by the US against the state of Kosovo, they did not address the most fundamental problem – the tariff, but only thought about meeting with Serbian representatives in dialogue and this is why they passed the resolution after midnight,” Veseli said.

Hoti: Tariff must be lifted fully and immediately (media)

Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister and senior LDK official Avdullah Hoti reacted to a statement by PM Albin Kurti who apologised to the people for failing to convince the LDK to fully lift the import tariff on Serbia. Hoti said the tariff should be lifted immediately and fully. 

Hoti wrote in a Facebook post: “there is no room for political tactics with our partnership with the United States. Playing political games of whether we are with the EU or the US do not serve strengthening the statehood of Kosovo and our ties with our partners … We must focus on managing the situation created by COVID – 19 and not play political games that will distance the US from Kosovo as we have seen with the blocking of the MCC funds for Kosovo”.

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