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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 1, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 1, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Thaci: We’ll act based on previous practices (Indeksonline)
• Kurti: Kosovo to head to fresh elections following no-confidence motion (media)
• Mustafa: This is not the time for new elections (media)
• Veseli: Hypocrisy to speak of extraordinary elections at this time (media)
• Kurti sends letter to Thaci, after their meeting (RTK)
• US Embassy statement on the tariffs (media)
• Fields in which Kosovo is considering to introduce reciprocity measures (RTK)
• Judah: Tariff lifted to be replaced with what equalizes Kosovo-Serbia relationship (RTK)
• Vitia, Abbott discuss measures to contain coronavirus spread in Kosovo (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Borell: The complete abolition of taxes is an important decision in these times of crisis (KoSSev)
• Djuric: Fees have not been lifted; Pristina continues to play games (Beta, B92)
• Gerxhaliu: Kosovo more damaged by tariffs than Serbia (KIM radio)
• Stefanovic: Fake news that 24-hour curfew starts on Wednesday (N1, Nova S)
• The first death in the Serbian Government of a coronavirus: State Secretary deceased (media)
• Doctors: The worst day in Serbia: Seven more dead, 115 new cases of coronavirus (N1)
• Five persons infected with Covid-19 in Mitrovica North, 7 in total in Serb-populated areas (Radio kontakt plus)
• Taxi associations in Zvecan and Mitrovica suspended work until April 15 (Radio kontakt plus)
• Spiric: Contact epidemiologist if you were in contact with infected individuals (Radio Mitrovica sever)

Opinion:

• Surroi: Constitutional coup is being prepared (media)
• Coronavius is Not the Only Disease Afflicting the Balkans (Balkan Insight)

International:

• Kosovo Lifts 100 Percent Tariff On Serbia; Belgrade Calls It ‘Fake News’ (RFE)
• Party leaders divided over steps to form Kosovo’s next government (Prishtina Insight)
• New enlargement strategy of the EU: a new chance for the Balkans (neweasterneurope.eu)
• COVID-19 pandemic as a threat to the rule of law in the Western Balkans (EWB)
• Serbian Govt Takes Control of Information Flow About Pandemic (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Roma: Europe’s Neglected Coronavirus Victims (Balkan Insight)
• Balkan Tech Enthusiasts Deploy 3D Printers against COVID-19 (Balkan Insight)
• Center for Peace and Tolerance launches new cycle for graduates from non-majority communities (TV Most)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Thaci: We’ll act based on previous practices (Indeksonline)
  • Kurti: Kosovo to head to fresh elections following no-confidence motion (media)
  • Mustafa: This is not the time for new elections (media)
  • Veseli: Hypocrisy to speak of extraordinary elections at this time (media)
  • Kurti sends letter to Thaci, after their meeting (RTK)
  • US Embassy statement on the tariffs (media)
  • Fields in which Kosovo is considering to introduce reciprocity measures (RTK)
  • Judah: Tariff lifted to be replaced with what equalizes Kosovo-Serbia relationship (RTK)
  • Vitia, Abbott discuss measures to contain coronavirus spread in Kosovo (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Borell: The complete abolition of taxes is an important decision in these times of crisis (KoSSev)
  • Djuric: Fees have not been lifted; Pristina continues to play games (Beta, B92)
  • Gerxhaliu: Kosovo more damaged by tariffs than Serbia (KIM radio)
  • Stefanovic: Fake news that 24-hour curfew starts on Wednesday (N1, Nova S)
  • The first death in the Serbian Government of a coronavirus: State Secretary deceased (media)
  • Doctors: The worst day in Serbia: Seven more dead, 115 new cases of coronavirus (N1)
  • Five persons infected with Covid-19 in Mitrovica North, 7 in total in Serb-populated areas (Radio kontakt plus)
  • Taxi associations in Zvecan and Mitrovica suspended work until April 15 (Radio kontakt plus)
  • Spiric: Contact epidemiologist if you were in contact with infected individuals (Radio Mitrovica sever)

Opinion:

  • Surroi: Constitutional coup is being prepared (media)
  • Coronavius is Not the Only Disease Afflicting the Balkans (Balkan Insight)

International:

  • Kosovo Lifts 100 Percent Tariff On Serbia; Belgrade Calls It ‘Fake News’ (RFE)
  • Party leaders divided over steps to form Kosovo’s next government (Prishtina Insight)
  • New enlargement strategy of the EU: a new chance for the Balkans (neweasterneurope.eu)
  • COVID-19 pandemic as a threat to the rule of law in the Western Balkans (EWB)
  • Serbian Govt Takes Control of Information Flow About Pandemic (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Roma: Europe’s Neglected Coronavirus Victims (Balkan Insight) 
  • Balkan Tech Enthusiasts Deploy 3D Printers against COVID-19 (Balkan Insight)
  • Center for Peace and Tolerance launches new cycle for graduates from non-majority communities (TV Most)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Thaci: We’ll act based on previous practices (Indeksonline)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci told a press conference today after meeting party leaders that, all further actions will be in line with the Constitution and based on previous experiences.

“It is impressive that by respecting the instructions of the National Institute for Public Health, Kosovo citizens are showing discipline and are making sacrifices for the sake of public health. By following the recommendations and by staying at home we will overcome the coronavirus challenge. Respect the instructions, stay at home and we wish a speedy recovery to all those infected by the virus. Meanwhile, despite the difficulties from the coronavirus, the institutional life goes on. As President and with respect for the Constitution, following the no-confidence motion on March 25, I have to initiate consultations with political parties on further steps for the functioning of institutions. Today I have met Kurti, Mustafa and Veseli. Tomorrow I will meet Haradinaj, Limaj, the Serbian List and 6+ to create a basis of opinions on what I should undertake as President following the dismissal of the government. All further actions that I will undertake after the consultations will be transparent and in line with the Constitution and based on previous practices. This will be a consultative, constitutional and legal process,” Thaci said.

Kurti: Kosovo to head to fresh elections following no-confidence motion (media)

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said after meeting President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci that following the vote of no confidence against the government, Kosovo needs to prepare for fresh elections.

Kurti said the meeting with Thaci initially tackled the measures the government has taken to fight the spread of coronavirus and then moved to steps needed to be taken to address the current political situation.

“To the efforts of the president for us to talk about a new government, new candidacies, we responded with our position that we cannot jump somewhere else by disregarding article 82.2 of the Constitution stipulating that what needs to be done after a no-confidence motion is to head to fresh elections,” Kurti told reporters after the meeting.

“We stressed our position that the president should not be dealing with names of people and parties but with the date for new elections in this year’s calendar. I know we are in the midst of an intensive battle against the coronavirus and this may perhaps postpone slightly the election date but the Constitution of Kosovo does not offer other alternatives.”

Kurti also said that Thaci vowed to respect the Constitution of Kosovo, applicable legislation and previous practice “and we all know what previous practices are.”

He recalled that in 2010 and 2017 when then Kosovo governments experienced motions of no confidence, the steps that followed included dissolving of the Assembly and announcing new elections.

Mustafa: This is not the time for new elections (media)

Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) said Kosovo President Hashim Thaci did not ask him about the name of the PM candidate to form the new government.

“We discussed exit from this situation, and the President informed us about constitutional options. We as LDK consider that this is not the right time for new elections due to the situation with coronavirus. And we are also convinced that elections at this period would not lead to a new situation from the one we are in right now. Considering the political will of the political parties and no-confidence motion voted by 82 MPS, a majority which has the right even to change the Constitution, we are for creation of a new government  as foreseen on the 2014 verdict. This government would pledge to work in full capacity against Coronavirus, to work on economic development, as we are going to face a very difficult situation, being an undeveloped country. We should especially pay attention to the need for the dialogue with Serbia, for which we should prepare and we also should have a majority at the Assembly.”

Mustafa said the PM candidate name was not discussed at this meeting, however he added that the President will respect the procedures.  “We as LDK will not join a process that is not constitutional,” he said. 

Veseli: Hypocrisy to speak of extraordinary elections at this time (media)

Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli spoke to reporters following a meeting with President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci saying that now is not the time to discuss extraordinary elections. 

“All we are asking is for the Constitution to be upheld. The will of the people is the most legitimate but at a time of a pandemic and when not even the WHO knows how long it can last, it is a hypocrisy to speak of extraordinary elections,” he said.

Kurti sends letter to Thaci, after their meeting (RTK)

Kosovo’s Incumbent Prime Minister Albin Kurti, sent a letter to the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci, after their meeting this morning.

“Honorable President of the Republic of Kosovo, 

I am pleased that we met today,

I would like to express my appreciation for your several times reiterated position during the meeting, with regards to the respecting of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and constitutional practice.

With regards to your information that you are commencing “consultations” with the leaders of the other political parties, I do neither have the competency nor will to instruct you on how you organize your daily agenda. However, I want to stress my position that such consultations do not have any grounds on any legal provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

I would also like to reiterate my readiness to keep in touch with regards to our battle against virus COVID-19, as well as with your duty to dissolve the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo after the no-confidence motion. Whereas for any other issue out of these two subjects, I reiterate my position expressed at today’s meeting, that inter-institutional communication between the Office of the President and the Office of the Prime Minister will continue to be in a written form.

With respect,

Albin Kurti

Incumbent Prime Minister,” the letter reads. 

US Embassy statement on the tariffs (media)

The United States Embassy in Prishtina issued today the following statement on the tariffs:

“The United States has been clear that Kosovo should drop all tariffs and not create new barriers because these policies hurt the people of Kosovo and strangle Kosovo’s own economy. We remain opposed to the latest move to implement reciprocal measures on the movement of goods from Serbia. These measures create more problems at a time when the U.S. believes the airline, railway and motor agreements agreed upon by both sides, when implemented, will increase economic development and create the conditions needed for a successful dialogue.”

Fields in which Kosovo is considering to introduce reciprocity measures (RTK)

Considering that bilateral dialogue, CEFTA mechanisms and EU’s mediation were not successful, Kosovo has its last possibility, although an unpleasant one, to establish reciprocity measures in a strictly balanced manner with regards to its trade relations with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Within this context, the government of Kosovo is considering reciprocity measures on the below mentioned fields:

Reciprocity measures on all document and practices which concern trade issues;

Reciprocity measures on recognition of all professional qualifications (such as diplomas, certificates, licenses, permits etc. issued by Kosovo authorities);

Reciprocity measures on vehicle license plates (busses, trucks, cars etc.);

Reciprocity measures on the free movement of individuals, including recognition of documents issued by Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as passports, identification documents and drivers licenses. 

Judah: Tariff lifted to be replaced with what equalizes Kosovo-Serbia relationship (RTK)

British analyst and expert on Balkan issues Tim Judah reacted after the decision of the Kosovo government to lift the 100 percent tariff on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and replace it with reciprocity measures.  

“What exactly does reciprocity mean? It seems to mean applying the non-tariff barriers Serbia uses to effectively ban Kosovo goods against Serbia. So the tariff goes, only to be replaced with something else which equalises the relationship. #kosovo #serbia” Judah wrote on Twitter.

Vitia , Abbott discuss measures to contain coronavirus spread in Kosovo (media)

Acting Minister of Health Arben Vitia met today the British Ambassador Nicholas Abbott and discussed the measures taken by Kosovo institutions to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections. 

Ambassador Abbott is reported to have commended the response of the Ministry of Health and other relevant institutions to the threat of coronavirus pandemic and expressed appreciation for including all communities, especially the Serb community, in these measures, a statement issued by the Ministry of Health says.

Abbott meanwhile underlined the need for cooperation and sidestepping political differences in management of the Covid-19 situation in Kosovo.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Borell: The complete abolition of taxes is an important decision in these times of crisis (KoSSev)

The High Representative for EU Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borell welcomed the decision of the Kosovo government to completely abolish taxes on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This is an important decision and regional cooperation is key, Borell said. 

“Happy to see the decision on the full lifting of tariffs by #Kosovo caretaker government for goods coming from Serbia and BiH. This is an important decision. Regional cooperation is key as is maintaining flow of goods, in particular in times of crisis #COVID19,” Borell wrote in a message on Twitter.

Djuric: Tariffs have not been lifted; Pristina continues to play games (Beta, B92)

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric, said that Albin Kurti did not abolish tariffs on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Djuric urged the public not to fall for the fake news.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced tonight that the Government of Kosovo has decided to abolish tariffs on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and introduce reciprocity measures only in relation to Serbia.

“The Prime Minister of the Interim Institutions of Self-Government in Pristina (Kurti) has announced, to be precise, only a partial suspension of taxes, and this is conditional, while introducing new punitive measures for our citizens and the economy, which he calls reciprocity,” Djuric said in a written statement.

Djuric said that Pristina continues to “play” with this issue and the economic perspective of 

Kosovo’s society, and that the decision presents a “performance” for the international community. He said that the decision did not “de-escalate” the situation between Serbia and Kosovo and did not return to the situation prior to the introduction of “anti-civilization tariffs” on goods from central Serbia, but that, in the “perfidious way”, the barriers that hadn’t existed so far have now been introduced, such as limiting trade and movement of people and goods. 

“However, I believe it is by no means time for measures like those adopted by Pristina tonight, but this is a time when even deep and substantial differences with Pristina need to be put aside, as we all need to work forcefully and directly to fight to overcome the epidemic which does not recognize the difference between borders, political commitment, religion and nation”, he said.

See at: https://bit.ly/39xN6Ry

Gerxhaliu: Kosovo more damaged by tariffs than Serbia (KIM radio)

Former President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Safet Gerxhaliu said in a telephone statement to RTV Kim that there was never a need to introduce tariffs on goods from Serbia and BiH, “because nothing has been achieved economically or politically by this”.

“The important thing about all this is that we simply have to give the opportunity to the dialogue. Perhaps the decision to abolish the tariffs might be the reason to open the issue of CEFTA. I am pleased that this act has taken place, I think we must be prepared to look towards the future and towards economic development, and not compete in who will create more barriers,” he said. 

Gerxhaliu emphasized that the tariffs “caused more damage to Kosovo than to Serbia” because all those who, under difficult conditions, supported Kosovo were against the tariffs and such a measure. 

“First of all, our Kosovo products were not competitive due to the expensive procurement of raw materials, and everyone knows that raw materials were mostly bought in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. Secondly, we do not have any foreign investors. Third, we have inflation and expensive food.”

He thinks that the decision to impose tariffs should be a thing of the past and an example of “that economic development cannot be maintained through barriers and the introduction of tariffs”.

Stefanovic: Fake news that 24-hour curfew starts on Wednesday (N1, Nova S)

Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic denied late on Tuesday news circulating on social networks that the government would introduce the 24-hour curfew on Wednesday evening in an effort to prevent the coronavirus spreading and that people would receive a text message with eventual approval of movement, N1 reported.

During the evening, some users of the public-owned MTS mobile provider received a text message asking them to stay at home because “we are getting close to the Italian and Spanish scenario,” Nova S reported.

Commenting on the reactions on social networks, Stefanovic tweeted that the police were intensively looking for a person who spread that fake news.

“Information which is circulating on social networks about the 24-hour ban of movement as of tomorrow night and a text message is fake news,” Stefanovic said.

Earlier, the Serbian Government told the public broadcaster RTS that the news was not accurate and if something like that was decided, people would be informed 48 hours ahead, the FoNet news agency reported. 

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

The first death in the Serbian Government of a coronavirus: State Secretary deceased (media)

State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Branislav Blazic, has died of coronavirus, it was unofficially confirmed for B92.net

Branislav Blazic was born on this day in 1957 in Kikinda.

He was the founder of the Serbian Progressive Party and a member of the Presidency.

He graduated from the Belgrade University School of Medicine and was a specialist in general surgery.

An official biography of the Ministry of Ecology states that from 1986 to 1988 he was Chief of the Emergency Service in Kikinda. He also worked as a surgeon at Kikinda General Hospital.

As an official of the Serbian Radical Party, he was elected three times as a federal MP, twice as a republic MP, and from 1996 to 2000, he was a deputy in the Assembly of the AP of Vojvodina. From 1998 to 2000, he was appointed Minister for the Environment.

He was the Mayor of Kikinda from 2004 to 2008.

See at: https://bit.ly/3dLZO2w

Doctors: The worst day in Serbia: Seven more dead, 115 new cases of coronavirus (N1)

After reporting on seven new deaths and 115 new confirmed infections with coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the members of Serbia’s medical experts’ team left the regular news conference, obviously disappointed and without taking any question, N1 reported on Tuesday.

The increase put a total of fatal outcomes to 23 and infected to 900.

The only one who addressed reporters was the head of the Belgrade Infectious Clinic, Goran Stevanovic, who said that the last 24 hours were the worst day in Serbia since the outbreak of the pandemic, blaming people for disrespecting the measures introduced to prevent the spreading of the infection.

“If this continues, we will have an Italian and Spanish case. We took the danger unseriously,” Stevanovic said, adding that there was no health care system which could withstand such pressure.

Then he said he had to go back to his colleagues “who are wearing protective gear every day,” while, he added, “the epidemiologists had to try to find the contacts of those infected.”

See at: https://bit.ly/39CnKlA

Five persons infected with Covid-19 in Mitrovica North, 7 in total in Serb-populated areas (Radio kontakt plus)

Until today 5 persons from Mitrovica North tested positive with Covid-19, out of which 3 are prison employees in Mitrovica that function within the Kosovo system. This makes the total number of infected persons in Serb-populated areas in Kosovo at 7, Radio kontakt plus reports.

One patient is staying at the infectious ward of the hospital in Nis, another one is placed at a pulmonology ward in Belgrade, while three others are at home. They are all from Mitrovica North, Crisis Committee announced.

In Leposavic one case was registered, and in central Kosovo one more in the village of Dobrotin, Lipljan municipality. 

Taxi associations in Zvecan and Mitrovica suspended work until April 15 (Radio kontakt plus)

The taxi associations operating in Zvecan and Mitrovica North announced they would suspend their activities until April 15, aiming at preventing the spread of coronavirus, Radio kontakt plus reported.

“Due to current situation related to Covid-19, we are informing our clients that all taxi associations (Proffi Taxi, Maxi Taxi, Tim Taxi, Novi Taxi, Red Taxi and 3D Taxi) made a unanimous decision to suspend the work until April 15, aiming at preventing spread of coronavirus. Let’s preserve the lives and stay at home”, the announcement posted on Facebook profiles of “Proffi” and “Maxi” taxi associations reads. 

Spiric: Contact epidemiologist if you were in contact with infected individuals (Radio Mitrovica sever)

President of Mitrovica North Interim Municipal Council Aleksandar Spiric appealed once again to all citizens of Mitrovica North and all places in northern Kosovo and Metohija who were in contact with persons confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, to report urgently and without delay to epidemiologists, so that all contacts could be recorded and for the sake of monitoring of the situation, Radio Mitrovica sever reports.

“The situation is extremely serious and worrying, since we are a small environment that is very densely populated and many contacts are being made on a daily basis, which is why rapid spread of virus is possible. In order to act preventively, suppress and eradicate the virus, it is necessary that we’re all on the same task, responsible and dedicated,” Spiric underlined.

“Records of all persons who have been in any way in contact with those infected are needed so that further steps of all those involved could be defined, which are aimed at solving this problem and fighting the epidemic,” Spiric added. 

 

 

Opinion

 

Surroi: Constitutional coup is being prepared (media)

Publicist Veton Surroi took to Facebook to argue that following the no-confidence motion, the President is constitutionally obliged to ask the winning party/coalition to present the name of a candidate for forming a new government. Surroi notes that if this procedure fails to secure a majority support in Parliament, the President has the discretional right to nominate another candidate from another party. “The President has initiated consultations with political parties and is expressing his personal preferences on what kind of government the country needs before meeting his constitutional obligation to ask the Vetevendosje Movement to present the name of another candidate,” he wrote. According to Surroi if the first obligation is not met and the President moves directly to the second step and his discretional right, “this is preparing a constitutional coup which provides for installing a government outside the country’s constitutional norms”.

Coronavius is Not the Only Disease Afflicting the Balkans (Balkan Insight)

Finding a cure to the current pandemic sweeping the Western Balkans – and the world – may well be easier than purifying the region of the malign influence of its political class.

The fall of Albin Kurti’s government in Kosovo was not the product of the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to a spate of Western media reports.

In fact, little of what has occurred within the past few weeks in Western Balkan politics has been caused by the pandemic.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3ayQRYv

 

 

International

 

Kosovo Lifts 100 Percent Tariff On Serbia; Belgrade Calls It ‘Fake News’ (RFE)

Kosovo says it is lifting a 100 percent tariff on goods from neighboring Serbia, but Belgrade called it “fake news” and claims Pristina has actually increased punitive measures.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti told a news conference on March 31 that, starting on April 1, all goods imported from Serbia will need only documentation that “must comply with the constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and the applicable legislation.”

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

Party leaders divided over steps to form Kosovo’s next government (Prishtina Insight)

The leaders of Vetevendosje, LDK and PDK offered differing solutions for the formation of Kosovo’s next government following meetings with President Hashim Thaci on Wednesday.

President Hashim Thaci held consultative meetings with the leaders of the three largest political parties represented in the Kosovo Assembly on Wednesday to discuss the formation of Kosovo’s next government, following the dismissal of the incumbent government on March 25.

Following previous votes of no confidence in 2010 and 2017, the president has dissolved the Kosovo Assembly, as per article 82 of the Kosovo Constitution, triggering snap elections within 45 days. However, with Kosovo in the midst of an outbreak of coronavirus, leaders are divided over the best course of action.

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

New enlargement strategy of the EU: a new chance for the Balkans (neweasterneurope.eu)

With a new enlargement strategy, the European Union gives itself more time while candidates and potential candidates claim a new chance to focus more seriously on upcoming reforms.

It has been almost eighteen years since the Western Balkans became a priority of European Union expansion. These turned out to be eighteen years of ups and downs, marked by decades of uncertainty, delay, and various, sometimes meaningless, negotiations. Croatia’s entry into the European Union in July 2013 has given momentum to other countries in the region to start looking more realistically at the accession process. Kosovo is, as the youngest “candidate” on this road, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina, among the Western Balkan countries that still has the status of a potential candidate, while Montenegro and Serbia are negotiating accession to the Union, and Albania and North Macedonia are official candidates. Additionally, Kosovo, as well as other Western Balkan countries, is part of a diplomatic initiative called the Berlin process that is related to the future enlargement of the European Union.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2UzwXXJ

COVID-19 pandemic as a threat to the rule of law in the Western Balkans (EWB)

In order to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and lower the burden on healthcare systems, governments of the Western Balkans have imposed restrictive measures, including the declaration of the state of emergency in Serbia, North Macedonia and in the entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska.

COVID-19 is, without a doubt, a threat to human lives, so protecting people should be the utmost priority of the governments. Unfortunately, it also may pose a significant threat to the rule of law – the basic principle of the liberal democracy and the valuable cornerstone of fighting against pandemic.

Numerous restrictions and fast-track procedures which aim to provide the efficient answer of the system to the crisis, and suspension of the checks-and-balances principle, leaves major space for corruption.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2wTUj0X

Serbian Govt Takes Control of Information Flow About Pandemic (Balkan Insight)

Under new rules on the flow of information about the coronavirus, local crisis headquarters or health institutions can no longer talk directly to the public but must send all their data to the national crisis staff – which will then transmit it to the public.

All local crisis headquarters and medical institutions in Serbia must send any information about the coronavirus pandemic to the central Crisis Staff led by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic – which will then inform the public about anything regarding COVID-19, the government in Belgrade has decided.

“Mayors and municipal presidents and emergency staffs of local government units are obliged to direct all information regarding the condition and consequences of COVID-19 … exclusively to the [national] Crisis Staff, which will carry out the necessary checks and take appropriate measures to inform the public in a timely and accurate manner,” the decision taken on Sunday says.

See at: https://bit.ly/342lh2T

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Roma: Europe’s Neglected Coronavirus Victims (Balkan Insight) 

Squeezed into settlements and cut off from healthcare and sanitation, Roma communities are especially vulnerable in the face of COVID-19. Helping them is in everyone’s interests.

Countries across Europe have gone into lockdown to try to halt the spread of COVID-19, restricting movement, closing schools and businesses and enforcing social distancing.

But not all people live in conditions allowing them to follow such rules. For hundreds of thousands of Roma people in Central and Southeast Europe, it is all but impossible.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2WZd1il

Balkan Tech Enthusiasts Deploy 3D Printers against COVID-19 (Balkan Insight)

Like much of the rest of Europe, Balkan states face an acute shortage of protective medical equipment in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Tech enthusiasts are stepping up.

Responding to an acute shortage of protective medical equipment, a group of tech enthusiasts, innovators and health workers joined the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in North Macedonia last week armed with dozens of 3D printers.

Via Facebook, in a matter of days, they produced more than 500 medical visors that were distributed for free to hospitals and clinics around the country. 

“We needed help to quickly make enough visors, this was our main mission,” said GP Nenad Lazarov, one of the initiators of the Facebook group ‘3D Print Medical Equipment’. “People are doing this wholeheartedly.”

See at: https://bit.ly/2UYi2p4

Center for Peace and Tolerance launches new cycle for graduates from non-majority communities (TV Most)

Non-governmental organization Center for Peace and Tolerance (CPT) from Gracanica announced today a call for proposals for a new cycle of the program “Improving Inclusion of Graduates from Non-majority Communities in Central and Local Level Administration in Kosovo” for graduates from non-majority communities from the territory of Gracanica, Ranilug, Partes, Novo Brdo, Klokot, Strpce, North Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic aiming at supporting professional development of the members of these communities in Kosovo.

According to the CPT announcement the goal of the project is to improve skills of graduates from Serbian and other non-majority communities, enabling them to function as public servants professionally and effectively in local self-government units and/or central government institutions.

The program is based on professional practice (internship) and is designed to respond to the real needs of local government institutions in Kosovo, which in this case particularly applies to ten Serbian-majority municipalities.

The application form can be found on the municipal websites as well as on the website www.ngocpt.org. The application deadline begins today and will last 28 days, until 28.04. 2020 at 4 pm, TV Most reported.

 

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