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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 16

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Health Institute: 10 new cases of coronavirus (media)
Kurti: Second phase of reopening begins on May 18 (media)
Borrell: Kosovo and Serbia need more agreements (media)
PDK’s Hoxhaj on possible cooperation with Vetevendosje (media)
Haxhiu: 30 percent increase in cases of domestic violence in Kosovo (media)
President Thaci challenges government, seen walking out of restaurant (Kallxo)
EU is negotiating extension of EULEX mandate (Radio Free Europe)
North Macedonia President against border changes in the Balkans (media)

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  • Health Institute: 10 new cases of coronavirus (media)
  • Kurti: Second phase of reopening begins on May 18 (media)
  • Borrell: Kosovo and Serbia need more agreements (media)
  • PDK’s Hoxhaj on possible cooperation with Vetevendosje (media)
  • Haxhiu: 30 percent increase in cases of domestic violence in Kosovo (media)
  • President Thaci challenges government, seen walking out of restaurant (Kallxo)
  • EU is negotiating extension of EULEX mandate (Radio Free Europe)
  • North Macedonia President against border changes in the Balkans (media)

Health Institute: 10 new cases of coronavirus (media)

All news outlets reported on Friday that Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health confirmed ten new cases of coronavirus in Kosovo. The new cases are from the municipalities of Vushtrri, Ferizaj, Prishtina and Prizren.

Kurti: Second phase of reopening begins on May 18 (media)

Kosovo’s acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti told a press conference on Friday that the second phase of reopening will begin on May 18, all news outlets report. He said the decision is being made following a recommendation by the National Institute for Public Health as the number of infected cases has decreased.

“We will move to the second phase depending on the epidemiological situation. We have seen that as a result of the measures we have implemented and an outstanding work by healthcare workers and the police, the number of cases has dropped significantly. But we have also seen increased cases in the last week. Despite this, the official recommendation by the National Institute for Public Health is that based on the current situation the second phase of reopening can start on May 18 according to plan,” Kurti was quoted as saying.

Borrell: Kosovo and Serbia need more agreements (media)

European Union High Representative Josep Borrell said in a written address to members of the European Parliament that Kosovo and Serbia need more agreements to achieve the normalisation of relations. Borrell also welcomed the US engagement in the process of dialogue.

“In principle, the European Union welcomes all measures and actions that contribute to the facilitation of movement and communication of people. This is one of the ways that leads to the normalisation of relations and progress in regional cooperation. Serbia and Kosovo need more agreements, more normalisation,” Borrell said. He added that the EU has a lead role in the process of dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtina and that it cooperates closely with the US in the process. Borrell said the EU and US have a common agenda for the region.

PDK’s Hoxhaj on possible cooperation with Vetevendosje (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) senior member Enver Hoxhaj, in an interview with RTV21 on Friday, commented on eventual cooperation between his party and the Kurti-led Vetevendosje Movement. “So far there has been no such cooperation. Will there be cooperation in the future, we will have to see. Cooperation between the VV and PDK would be unusual because we are different and because we had clashing positions,” Hoxhaj said.

Hoxhaj also argued that acting Prime Minister Kurti “acted more like the Prime Minister of his party than the Prime Minister of Kosovo”. According to Hoxhaj, Kurti failed in his approach toward the US and “he cooperated more with Serbia than with Albania”.

Haxhiu: 30 percent increase in cases of domestic violence in Kosovo (media)

Kosovo’s acting Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said on Friday that cases of domestic violence in Kosovo this year have increased by 30 percent compared to last year.

“During the pandemic, compared to last year, domestic violence has increased by 30 percent, according to the database of the Ministry of Justice. This is concerning and it requires greater awareness by the institutions, especially the security and judicial authorities,” Haxhiu wrote in a Facebook post. She also said physical, mental, material and sexual violence is a criminal act therefore every perpetrator must be condemned in the line with the legislation in force.

Radio Free Europe notes that acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Assembly President Vjosa Osmani have joined a campaign calling on citizens to report on cases of domestic violence.

President Thaci challenges government, seen walking out of restaurant (Kallxo)

The news website reported on Friday that President Hashim Thaci is not respecting the decisions of the acting government as a video is circulating in the media showing him walking out of a restaurant in downtown Prishtina last week. Asked by Kallxo, Thaci did not deny he was in the restaurant and added that he respects only the decisions of the National Institute for Public Health. “You know that the government’s decisions concerning the pandemic have been ruled anti-constitutional and I have nothing more to add to the decisions of the Constitutional Court which ruled that the actions of Kurti’s group are anti-constitutional and a serious violation of the Constitution. This is why I respect the recommendations of the National Health Institute and not the anti-constitutional decisions of Kurti’s group,” Thaci was quoted as saying.

EU is negotiating extension of EULEX mandate (Radio Free Europe)

The European Union is considering extending the mandate of its rule of law mission in Kosovo – EULEX – for another two years. The EULEX Press Office told the news website in a written reply that based on a decision by the European Council in 2018, the mandate of EULEX Kosova is until June 14, 2020. “There are ongoing discussions between EU member states for another eventual mandate. After a decision is made, it will be made official,” the reply noted.

North Macedonia President against border changes in the Balkans (media)

Several news outlets reported on Friday that North Macedonia President, Stevo Pendarovski, has reiterated his position against possible border changes in the Balkans, saying it is a dangerous idea. “In the context of regional security, the position of our state is that border changes in the Balkans is a dangerous idea,” Pendarovski said in a meeting of the Defense and Security Committee of North Macedonia’s Parliament.

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