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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, 26 March 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, March 26, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Govt spokesman: PM won’t dismiss LDK ministers (media)
• Kurti: We will continue as a government in duty (RTK)
• Pisonero: Kosovo in a difficult political situation (media)
• Bieber: EU – US alliance damaged (media)
• Mustafa: LDK Ministers to remain in duty until new govt. is elected (media)
• Viola von Cramon: Totally irresponsible political class (media)
• Pack critices LDK for no-confidence motion (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

• Empirica public statement: Equal treatment of all communities in combating Covid19 (Radio Mitrovica Sever, KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio, RTV Mir)
• “Respect measures of Serbian Government, Albanians deal with politics not health” (B92)
• Fajon: Coronavirus is not an excuse for locking democracy (Danas, N1, Beta)
• Djuric: Serbian List not to interfere in ”Albanian-Albanian” conflict (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
• Trajkovic: Ousting of government irresponsible (RTV KIM)
• EC: Kosovo is in difficult political situation (Tanjug, RTV Puls)
• Three more returnees’ houses in Novake village burglarized (RTV KIM)
• Roma in Gracanica face supply difficulties in period of coronavirus pandemic (RTK2)
• Total of 384 coronavirus cases confirmed in Serbia (N1, covid19.rs)

International:

• No-Confidence Vote Topples Kurti Govt in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)
• EU and US in opposite camps as Kosovo government toppled (Euractiv)
• Coronavirus row helps topple Kosovo government (BBC)
• Coronavirus Helps Bring Down Kosovo’s Government, With Nudge From U.S. (The New York Times)
• Germany’s cautious support to Kosovo’s visa liberalization (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

• The virus in Italy is finally slowing down, the coming days are crucial in the fight (B92, Tanjug)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Govt spokesman: PM won’t dismiss LDK ministers (media)
  • Kurti: We will continue as a government in duty (RTK)
  • Pisonero: Kosovo in a difficult political situation (media)
  • Bieber: EU – US alliance damaged (media)
  • Mustafa: LDK Ministers to remain in duty until new govt. is elected (media)
  • Viola von Cramon: Totally irresponsible political class (media)
  • Pack critices LDK for no-confidence motion (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Empirica public statement: Equal treatment of all communities in combating Covid19 (Radio Mitrovica Sever, KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio, RTV Mir)
  • “Respect measures of Serbian Government, Albanians deal with politics not health” (B92)
  • Fajon: Coronavirus is not an excuse for locking democracy (Danas, N1, Beta)
  • Djuric: Serbian List not to interfere in ”Albanian-Albanian” conflict (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
  • Trajkovic: Ousting of government irresponsible (RTV KIM)
  • EC: Kosovo is in difficult political situation (Tanjug, RTV Puls)
  • Three more returnees’ houses in Novake village burglarized (RTV KIM)
  • Roma in Gracanica face supply difficulties in period of coronavirus pandemic (RTK2)
  • Total of 384 coronavirus cases confirmed in Serbia (N1, covid19.rs)

International:

  • No-Confidence Vote Topples Kurti Govt in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)
  • EU and US in opposite camps as Kosovo government toppled (Euractiv)
  • Coronavirus row helps topple Kosovo government (BBC)
  • Coronavirus Helps Bring Down Kosovo’s Government, With Nudge From U.S. (The New York Times)
  • Germany’s cautious support to Kosovo’s visa liberalization (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • The virus in Italy is finally slowing down, the coming days are crucial in the fight (B92, Tanjug)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Govt spokesman: PM won’t dismiss LDK ministers (media)

A spokesman for the Kosovo Government told Ekonomia Online today that Prime Minister Albin Kurti does not intend to dismiss ministers from the junior partner in the coalition, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

“There was good cooperation between Prime Minister Kurti and the government ministers. The ministers will continue their work. The Prime Minister does not intend to dismiss them,” the spokesman said.

Kurti: We will continue as a government in duty (RTK)

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti announced that the government will continue its work because they are a government with duties and not a forced government. In a Facebook post, Kurti said it was a necessary fall for the necessary uplift.

For Kurti, the purpose of no-confidence motion was not to overthrow the government but to weaken the governing.

“And the sense of distrust was the message from Ambassador Grenell: there are over 80 lawmakers in Kosovo ready to risk the lives of citizens just so that a presidential exchange can pass,” Kurti wrote.

Full post by Albin Kurti:

It was a necessary fall for the necessary uplift. Without the falling of the government as a constitution, governance cannot be constituted as a content. Not that we knew it, we got it anyway.

It would be good to remember yesterday’s meeting of the Assembly for a long time. However, this will not be the case because we will win. So, the future is ours, while we will lose a tragedy.

This assembly does not trust this government because it is subject to the government as such. Our government does not trust this assembly because it loves the assembly as such.

Professor Enver Hasani said it correctly last night: distrust was conjunctural. When democratic representation falls into political conjuncture, alienation becomes the norm.

The purpose of mistrust was not to overthrow the government but to weaken the governing. And the meaning of distrust was ambassador Grenell’s message: There are over 80 lawmakers in Kosovo ready to risk the lives of citizens only if the presidential exchange passes.

We will continue as an acting government. We are a government with duties and not a forced government.

First of all, we have to fight the Covid-19 pandemic together. Above all, let’s keep close to the people because Kosovo is our home,” Kurti wrote.

Pisonero: Kosovo in a difficult political situation (media)

European Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero comments on political developments in Prishtina saying the no-confidence motion puts Kosovo in a difficult political situation.

“Vote on no confidence motion for the government puts Kosovo in a difficult political situation at a time of an unprecedented crisis caused by #coronavirus What #Kosovo needs is stability and to direct all efforts to tackle the coronavirus crisis and protect the health of people,” Pisonero tweeted today. “All political leaders have now to act responsibly and in the interest of the people of #Kosovo. The next steps after yesterday´s vote should be taken in accordance with Kosovo’s Constitution.”

Bieber: EU – US alliance damaged (media)

Balkans expert Florian Bieber commented in a Twitter post on the no-confidence motion against the Kurti-led government, several news websites report.

“Irresponsible move with many responsible: Grenell, Thaci, most of LDK. It will be a phyric victory. EU-US alliance irreparably damaged and doubt any deal will pass. Time for EU to step up,” Bieber tweeted.

Mustafa: LDK Ministers to remain in duty until new govt. is elected (media)

Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), said he would not unilaterally withdraw LDK ministers or deputy Prime Ministers from their duties in the resigning government.

“At the time when we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as the leader of the LDK, I will not unilaterally withdraw LDK ministers and deputy prime ministers from their duties in the resigning government.  

 As LVV-LDK coalition went down last night through the no-confidence motion with votes of 2/3 of the MPs, it remains in the will of the Acting Prime Minister , Mr. Kurti on whether he to continue to work with them during this emergency situation, until another government is elected, or to act differently, just as he dismissed Mr. Avdullah Hoti from the position of the principal deputy prime minister last night before midnight,” Mustafa wrote.

Viola von Cramon: Totally irresponsible political class (media)

Viola von Cramon, Rapporteur for Kosovo at the European Parliament, called last night’s events at the Assembly of Kosovo, tragical.

She reacted to the post of Ambassador Boris Ruge, vice president of the Munich Conference, who wrote that “those who brought down the government of #Kosovo in the midst of a pandemic will have to answer questions of responsibility & legitimacy. #EU #France & #Germany are to be commended for their strong support of PM @albinkurti Sad to see the #US pursue a separate & dangerous agenda.”

“I do not know what to say. Totally irresponsible political class. Putting party and their own careers before the country. Poor people in Kosovo who hoped for #reforms #RuleOfLaw #justice and better #future. Now the votes are stolen by the old guys once  again. Tragic,” was von Cramon’s response. 

Pack critices LDK for no-confidence motion (Telegrafi)

Doris Pack, former member of the European Parliament, took to Twitter today to criticise the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) for its no-confidence motion against the government.

“It is unforgiving how the LDK joined the perfidious game of Hashim Thaci and former Ambassador Richard Grenell,” Pack tweeted.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Empirica public statement: Equal treatment of all communities in combating Covid19 (Radio Mitrovica Sever, KIM radio, Kontakt plus radio, RTV Mir)

The Empirica advocacy platform, made up of several Serbian non-governmental organizations and the media, pointed to the numerous failures of Kosovo institutions towards non-majority communities, especially in the days when Kosovo is facing the coronavirus.

Empirica says to Kosovo institutions that the spread of the virus is becoming a more dangerous threat every day and that instead of division, it requires a joint approach and cooperation in combating the epidemic, reported Kosovo based Serbian media.  

“Instead of supranational, COVID-19 often acts as a mono-national virus, because due to the lack of official translation, the Kosovo Government official announcements reach the Kosovo Serb community with a significant delay. Likewise, important information about the coronavirus is sent to Albanian-language subscribers via mobile operators,” the Empirica members recalled.

They also state that additional confusion is created by the lack of clear decisions regarding entry and exit from Kosovo, recognition of personal documents, stay in quarantine conditions of persons entering Kosovo, including movement within Kosovo itself, about which the public in Serbian communities is not familiar enough.

The statement emphasized that the supply of health centers and pharmacies with protective equipment, such as protective masks, gloves, disinfectants, which are almost absent in the free sale and without which the level of threat to the population is multiplied, is endangered in Kosovo.

“In the context of minimal, and in many cases non-existent, cooperation between the Ministry of Public Health of Kosovo and health centers in Serb-majority communities, it has become questionable how much we are actually prepared to respond adequately to fight the pandemic.”

In a state of “emergency”, direct communication of officials and equal treatment of all media is vital for informing all ethnic communities in Kosovo, the statement said, adding that such an approach reduces the risk of dissemination of panic through social networks, to which the public is exposed these days constantly.

Members of the advocacy platform Empirica are: Aktiv, Center for Democratic Culture Advocacy – ACDC, Center for Minority Communities Rights, EMEG, Forum for Development and Multiethnic Cooperation – FDMC, Gracanica Online, Human Center Mitrovica, Communication for Social Development – CSD, New Press, Radio Kontakt Plus, RTV Kim , RTV Mir, Synergy.

See the full statement with recommendations in three languages: https://bit.ly/2UQaEfp

“Respect measures of Serbian Government, Albanians deal with politics not health” (B92)

Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric said this morning that 430 beds are available at the Clinical Center in Mitrovica North in case of spread of coronavirus, B92 reports. He also said that the arrival of several doctors and nurses to the north of Kosovo had been organized.

“There are 1.677 beds available at the students’ center” Djuric noted, adding there is a precise plan where those infected by coronavirus will be treated, such as hospitals in Gracanica and Pasjane.

He appealed to Serbs in the north to respect the decision of the Serbian Government and the curfew it imposed, respectively the ban of movement from 17.00 to 5 a.m.

“In Albanian areas people deal with politics, parties’ debates, and ephemeral matters. That is why I am very concerned that Albanian areas could become hot spots,” Djuric warned.

He advised political representatives of the Serbs in Kosovo not to get involved in Albanian conflicts there. “I think it is important that Serbian List does not get involved in inter-Albanian relations,” Djuric said. 

Fajon: Coronavirus is not an excuse for locking democracy (Danas, N1, Beta)

Tanja Fajon, a member of the European Parliament (EP) says the coronavirus pandemic must not be an excuse for ‘locking’ democracy and that governments must not be allowed to impose unlimited powers, adding the European Union has been the greatest donor to Serbia’s health care system with 200 million Euros in the last two decades, the Beta news agency has reported on Thursday.

“Since many governments declared the state of emergency to fight a real threat from coronavirus efficiently it is necessary to monitor if that move is balanced and proportional,” Fajon, the chairwoman of the EP Delegation for relations with Serbia, told the Belgrade based daily Danas. 

She added it was clear that China was successful in limiting, even stopping the virus from spreading and “that’s why we’re warmly grateful for their (reciprocal) help, not only to Serbia but also to some EU member states.”

Having in mind the current relations between Serbia and China, that aid is not surprising, Fajon says.

“Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the EU and its member states are still the biggest donors to Serbia and that Belgrade receives the most donations in the Western Balkans, Nearly 200 million Euro has been donated to Serbia to improve the health care system in the last two decades, while the amount of loans is even higher,” Fajon said.    

See at: https://bit.ly/2vQNnBt

Djuric: Serbian List not to interfere in ”Albanian-Albanian” conflict (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric told the Serbian List to stay away and not to interfere in “Albanian-Albanian” conflict, stating that the party’s duty is to take care of Serb interests, Belgrade based news agency Tanjug reported. 

Djuric said that by not showing no-confidence to the government, which did a lot against the dialogue and abolishment of tariffs, then introducing mandatory military service, the Serbian List did not close the door for cooperation with those people who want normal relations and dialogue.

By citing some who were attacking the Serbian List, because they failed to show confidence in the Kurti’s government, Djuric says the opposite may be asked – does a reasonable man can expect of the Serbian List to support a government whose first move was to introduce military service for all citizens in the co called Kosovo Army.

Trajkovic: Ousting of government irresponsible (RTV KIM)

“Nothing more senseless could have happened than ousting the government in the middle of pandemic crises. It was unexpected and irresponsible,” President of the Serb European Movement Rada Trajkovic told RTV KIM.

Trajkovic, former member of the Kosovo Assembly believes an urge to speed up the process of reaching the final solution to the Kosovo issue was behind it, and it became “a strategic battlefield” between the EU and US.

She is also convinced, RTV KIM continues, that Kosovo and Serbian presidents have already made an agreement on division of Kosovo, following a letter of the US President Donald Trump.

“Neither the public nor any of the institutions in Serbia, except Vucic himself, know what this document contains. It was normal that Thaci also worked behind the back of his public, and it is normal that Mister Trump now, counting on the seriousness of these people, thinks that they have succeeded to ensure support for these projects, and wants to implement them,” Trajkovic said.

She opined that both Vucic and Thaci had personal motives to do so.

“Mister Thaci was supposed to be at the Hague Tribunal for Kosovo as the first suspect for organ harvesting. In order to prevent it and prolong his political life, he has signed that project. It was normal that Vucic knew Serbian opposition would boycott the elections in Serbia, and in order to ensure legality of these elections and their acceptance by the US, he has also joined that project of signing the document that would essentially lead to the lasting destabilization of the region,” she added.

Trajkovic also said she is very concerned that division of Kosovo could provoke new conflicts between Serbs and Albanians.  

EC: Kosovo is in difficult political situation (Tanjug, RTV Puls)

The European Union estimated today that the Kosovo Assembly’s vote of confidence in the Government had put Kosovo in a difficult political situation at the time of the unprecedented crisis caused by the outbreak of the virus corona.

“Kosovo needs stability and directing all efforts to combat the coronavirus crisis and protect human health,” says European Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero.

Pisonero said in a statement to Belgrade based news agency Tanjug, that all political leaders in Kosovo must act responsibly and in the interest of the people of Kosovo in this situation.

“This includes taking all necessary measures to manage the pandemic and its impact on people’s lives, society and economy,” she said. 

The European Commission noted that the steps that follow yesterday’s vote in the Kosovo Parliament must comply with the Kosovo constitution.

Three more returnees’ houses in Novake village burglarized (RTV KIM)

Three more houses have been burglarized in the returnees village of Novake, near Prizren, Radio KIM reports yesterday. The Kosovo Minister for Communities and Return Dalibor Jevtic appealed to Kosovo police to find and punish the perpetrators.

Following earlier announcement that 10 returnees’ houses in this village have been burglarized, the burglaries did not end, and three more houses were affected a night after.

“Three more houses were targets of burglars last night. In the strongest terms I condemn this anti-civilization act. I am publicly appealing to the Kosovo police to find and punish the perpetrators. The private property must be protected,” Jevtic wrote on his Facebook profile.

Roma in Gracanica face supply difficulties in period of coronavirus pandemic (RTK2)

Inhabitants of Roma settlement in Gracanica are facing serious problems in the period of coronavirus pandemic. There is no flour and medicine, and due to their poverty they barely manage to secure basic foodstuffs, RTK 2 reports. 

Being aware of the severity of the situation due to coronavirus, inhabitants of Roma settlement strictly respect the advice to stay at home, so the streets in this part of Gracnica were deserted at the times of movement ban. They also said that no one is visiting them and they have issues with supply of the basic foodstuffs and medicine. 

“Nobody is coming to visit us, we live as we know. Not only me, but the entire street. When someone needs us, we are there, and now when we are in need, there is no one. We struggle alone, we respect the law and stay at home,” Albert said.

Another inhabitant complained that she lacked medicine for heart and pressure problems. “(…), we have no income. My son works privately but now stays at home because of this situation (…).”

“I do not have enough medicine; I have diabetes and stay at home. We need foodstuffs, there are few of them left now, but we survive somehow. No one came to visit us, neither municipality nor social care,” another female inhabitant said.

What represents an additional problem for Roma community in this part of Gracanica is that they mainly live on social aid, which often is not sufficient to meet their basic life demands, and they make additional incomes by working private jobs, which in this period of coronavirus pandemic is not possible, RTK 2 reported. 

Total of 384 coronavirus cases confirmed in Serbia (N1, covid19.rs)

The Serbian Health Ministry reported 81 new coronavirus cases in its daily bulletin at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, bringing the total to 384.

The bulletin said that 245 people had been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.

The Torlak Institute laboratory has tested a total of 1,161 people by 3:00 pm on Wednesday, March 24, the bulletin said.

See at: https://bit.ly/2QN59ww

 

 

International

 

No-Confidence Vote Topples Kurti Govt in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Defying international calls to act more responsibly at a time of crisis, MPs in Kosovo successfully overthrew the government in a no-confidence motion on Wednesday, leaving the country rudderless.

The Kosovo government led by Albin Kurti was overthrown on Wednesday by a no-confidence motion initiated by the junior party in the governing coalition, the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK.

With 82 votes in favour, 32 against, and 1 abstention, the government was bought down following a series of disputes over important decisions between the main governing Vetevendosje party, to which Kurti belongs, and the LDK.

The speaker of parliament, Vjosa Osmani, herself a member of LDK, declared her opposition to the motion.

See at: https://bit.ly/2JhHGQ4

EU and US in opposite camps as Kosovo government toppled (Euractiv)

Kosovo’s government was toppled by a no-confidence vote Wednesday (25 March) less than two months after coming to power, plunging the unstable democracy into political uncertainty as it tries to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The vote ends a brief and bumpy alliance between two former opposition parties who took power last month with a mandate to loosen the grip of an old guard that has held sway over Kosovo for more than a decade.

The partnership quickly broke down with the junior partner in the coalition, the centre-right LDK, initiating the motion after weeks of tension with Prime Minister Albin Kurti, leader of the left-wing Vetevendosje party.

After nearly 12 hours of debate, 82 MPs in the 120-member assembly voted in favour of the motion of no confidence.

See at: https://bit.ly/3bsXtYl

Coronavirus row helps topple Kosovo government (BBC)

The government of Kosovo has collapsed after a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Albin Kurti was backed by a majority of MPs.

The vote was brought by a junior coalition partner angered by Mr Kurti’s approach to tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes only two months after the government was sworn in.

It is not clear how the political impasse will be resolved as elections cannot be held because of the pandemic.

Doctors have warned that without clear direction, the disease could overwhelm Kosovo’s underfunded health system.

See at: https://bbc.in/2UkNnTN

Coronavirus Helps Bring Down Kosovo’s Government, With Nudge From U.S. (The New York Times)

Kosovo’s prime minister lost a no-confidence vote on Wednesday, partly because of disputes over how to respond to the pandemic. Critics say American diplomacy also played a role.

BERLIN — The coronavirus crisis contributed for the first time to the collapse of a national government on Wednesday after a majority of lawmakers in Kosovo voted to bring down the country’s ruling coalition, following a political dispute related in part to the pandemic.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s administration collapsed after his main coalition partners sided with opposition parties in a no-confidence vote against their own government, defeating Mr. Kurti by a vote of 82 to 32.

Mr. Kurti remains caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed. But his government’s collapse leaves Kosovo without strong leadership, at a time when most other national governments are seeking to extend their powers to battle the pandemic.

See at: https://nyti.ms/2wGMiwe

Germany’s cautious support to Kosovo’s visa liberalization (EWB)

As the last country in the Western Balkans to be subjected to visa liberalization, Kosovo became the first country subject of the lessons learned of this region-wide process. This entailed the adoption of a more nuanced set of benchmarks and strengthened monitoring by the European Commission, and recently also some politicization efforts of the matter by given member states.

Since June 2019, visa liberalisation process remains stuck at the EU Council’s conclusions, which suggest that Commission’s recommendation may not be sufficient, and “corruption and organised crime need to be resolutely addressed” in Kosovo.

See at: https://bit.ly/2WLV7zQ

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

The virus in Italy is finally slowing down, the coming days are crucial in the fight (B92, Tanjug)

The slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 in Italy is a good indicator and experts expect the peak of the epidemic in the country to be reached this week

They warned that the coming days were crucial in the fight against coronavirus in that country.

Italy, the first country in Europe to introduce drastic quarantine measures across the territory to prevent the spread of coronavirus, has stepped up control on the streets, with increasing restrictions and penalties for offenders.

See at: https://bit.ly/2wHeD5A

 

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