Albanian Language Media:
- Kosovo leaders mark 21st anniversary of NATO troops’ deployment (media)
- Ambassadors to Kosovo commemorate anniversary of NATO deployment (media)
- LVV sends to Constitutional Court MP mandate case (media)
- 20 mobile ventilators donated to Kosovo through UNDP (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Another attack on a returnee in Istok municipality (Kontakt plus radio)
- Tanjug: ”The destiny of Kosovo and Metohija is in the hands of one European country?” (B92)
- Brnabic: Not even millimeter closer to compromise, Pristina captured in past (Blic)
- Smajlovic: Quick solution to Kosovo issue – a complete fiction (RTS)
- Trajkovic: Lajcak is more serious than many think (Radio KIM)
- Pending the harmonization of certificates, Serbian meat and dairy products still cannot legally enter Kosovo (KoSSev)
- European Commission says Serbia needs to step up reforms in key areas (N1)
- New Kosovar PM Sees ‘Complementary’ Role For EU, U.S. In Deal With Serbia (RFE)
- Thaci to Quit Kosovo Politics Once Presidential Term Ends (Balkan Insight)
- OpisMEDIJavanje: To whom should you report the media if they violate your rights (KoSSev)
- With measures lifted, Balkans hit by coronavirus case spike (AP)
Albanian Language Media
Kosovo leaders mark 21st anniversary of NATO troops’ deployment (media)
Kosovo leaders have congratulated the 21st anniversary of NATO troops entering Kosovo which is celebrated as the Liberation Day.
Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said the arrival of NATO troops is something that will forever be remembered fondly. “A special day because each of us remember the enthusiasm and emotions the citizens felt in those June days when KFOR troops entered Kosovo,” he said.
President Hashim Thaci congratulated the citizens of Kosovo. “Today, the North Atlantic Alliance marks 21 years of presence in Kosovo. Freedom of Kosovo is above all the result of the exceptional heroic fight and sacrifice of men and women of our country,” he wrote adding: “Forever grateful to NATO, U.S. and all international partners.”
Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani said Kosovo will be forever thankful to the support of its international allies. “Our journey would never have been concluded without the commitment of our allies,” she said at a special session of the Assembly today.
Albulena Haxhiu from Vetevendosje said that “on the 21st anniversary of liberation, Kosovo is not where our martyrs wanted it to be.” “It is up to us, the living, to work for the country to bring development and progress and not allow bargainings with our country,” she wrote. Haxhiu also paid respect to all those that contributed for the freedom of Kosovo.
Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj said 12 June 1999 marked the beginning of NATO ground troops entering Kosovo and the victory of the Kosovo Liberation Army. “We remember today bloodied battles throughout Kosovo where thousands of brave fighters gave their lives for the freedom of the Homeland. We bow to the fallen and we give eternal thanks to the United States of America and NATO allied countries,” Haradinaj wrote.
Leader of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA), Fatmir Limaj, said: “21 years ago, the era of freedom began and our generation is blessed to have crowned the century-long dream to have its own country.” He expressed appreciation to international allies who were alongside Kosovo.
Ambassadors to Kosovo commemorate anniversary of NATO deployment (media)
German Ambassador to Kosovo, Christian Heldt, commemorated the 21st anniversary of NATO troops’ deployment to Kosovo which ended the conflict.
“On this day 21 years ago, @NATO_KFOR ended a terrible conflict. Grateful to over 50.000 @bundeswehrInfo soldiers who served here since. I bow to – all- victims. They remind us of what was accomplished since, but also of the obligations to be fulfilled.
“We stood and stand for a democratic, multi ethnic state, independent rule of law, an uncorrupted public service for all it’s citizens, free economy, politics serving country and people, independent critical media, elementary freedoms, and not the state as bounty for a few,” Heldt wrote in two consecutive tweets.
His Italian colleague, Nicola Orlando, meanwhile wrote on Twitter: “As biggest security provider in #Kosovo, #Italy joins celebrating 21y from #Liberation. Path to reconciliation not complete & requires justice for all victims. We stand by our partners every day through @NATO_KFOR & #EU-led dialogue for our shared vision of peace and democracy.”
United Kingdom’s ambassador Nicholas Abbott wrote on Facebook: “Today, on the 21st anniversary of NATO troops entering Kosovo in 1999, I had the great honour, together with Lt. Col. Martin Browning, to lay flowers at the Memorial plaque for NATO soldiers who fell in Kosovo in 1999. Martin was among the first British troops to enter Kosovo 21 years ago, so this was a special moment for him, bringing back memories of those decisive days. 21 years later, the UK and Kosovo remain close friends and partners. I am proud that British soldiers continue to support the peace in Kosovo, and the growth of the Kosovo Security Force, including Martin’s role today as adviser to the KSF Commander.”
LVV sends to Constitutional Court MP mandate case (media)
The Vetevendosje Movement has requested the Constitutional Court to rule on the case involving the mandate of MP Etem Arifi saying it has sufficient evidence to support that Arifi has lost the mandate following a final court conviction.
LVV said that Arifi’s participation and his vote at the Assembly session when the new government of Kosovo was formed is invalid and unconstitutional.
“This request is the next test which will determine whether the rule of law will further decline by justifying this violation or will conclude what the Constitution states which is that an MP convicted with more than a year imprisonment loses mandate and the decision based on their vote is in violation to the Constitution,” LVV said in a statement.
20 mobile ventilators donated to Kosovo through UNDP (media)
The UNDP delivered 20 mobile ventilators to the University Clinical Center of Kosovo purchased with Norwegian, Swiss, and Luxembourg funds.
Minister of Health Armend Zemaj who received the donation underlined the importance of this cooperation. “It is an honor for me to accept this donation on behalf of the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo. I want to thank the governments of Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg for funding and UNDP for procuring the lifesaving mobile ventilators. Your contribution and support to the health system in Kosovo in managing the COVID-19 pandemic is highly appreciated. The Ministry of Health is committed to continue with joint projects in the future as well, after we defeat the crisis,” he said.
At the same time, Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative, said that UNDP stands with the people and institutions of Kosovo in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are committed to supporting Kosovo to strengthen its health care capacity – in coping with the pandemic and beyond.”
Serbian Language Media
Another attack on a returnee in Istok municipality (Kontakt plus radio)
A Serb returnee from the village of Opraske, in the municipality of Istok, was beaten this morning, said the Kosovo Minister for Communities and Returns and the vice president of the Serbian List – Dalibor Jevtic, quotes Kontakt plus radio.
According to the photos that Jevtic posted on Twitter, the person suffered injuries in the area of the head and extremities, reports Kontakt plus radio.
“Petko is currently in the ambulance, where he is being treated,” Jevtic said in a Twitter post.
The incident was reported to the Kosovo Police, Jevtic wrote.
Tanjug: ”The destiny of Kosovo and Metohija is in the hands of one European country?” (B92)
EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak is expected to agree on a Belgrade-Pristina dialogue framework by the end of the month
It is expected to harmonize the principles, the topics of negotiations on the normalization of relations between the two sides, in order to reach a final solution which, as it is estimated, will largely depend on Germany.
What can be expected in the next period, which the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic assessed as “a difficult six months to a year of hard struggle” for the interests of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, and which coincides with the German EU presidency on July 1 this year, should be perceived in accordance with the public knowledge that without the “green light” from Berlin no issue in the framework of all European policies can be resolved, including the issue of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Thus, although they emphasize in Brussels that Belgrade and Pristina should agree on what will be discussed at the table in Brussels, Lajcak has already ruled out the possibility of talks on the border, which is interpreted in diplomatic circles as logical, given that He sees Lajcak as a person “close to Berlin” and the German position on the solution to the “Kosovo knot”. European diplomats point out that “no solution will be possible without the consensus of Berlin, Paris and Washington”, but the latest developments indicate a visible divergence between the policies of Berlin and Washington, not only when it comes to Kosovo, but also in many globally strategic areas.
Tense relations on the line of Merkel – Trump, but also Trump – Brussels, are most visible in the attitude of the former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, when German political circles openly criticized and accused him of “aggressive and almost hostile attitude towards the German government and official Brussels.”
“A European solution to the European problem”
The German Bundestag called Grenell, even before he took over the issue of Kosovo on behalf of President Trump with the goal to resolve it, as it is interpreted, at any cost (even at the cost of changing borders), called “persona non grata” and “complete diplomatic failure”.
In its recognizable “diplomatic way”, the EU assessed the role of Grenell and the USA in resolving the Kosovo issue as “partner’s help”, but also made it increasingly clear that “it is in the hands of the EU to conduct a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina” because a European solution is needed for the European problem”.
The foreign ministers of Germany and France, Heiko Maas and Jean-Yves le Drian, recently sent a joint message to Belgrade and Pristina that the dialogue must continue “under the leadership of the EU”, emphasizing that it is about “stability and security of the entire region and the EU.”
Macron also got involved
These days, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is writing to the new Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, that he is ready to organize a summit in Paris on the topic of the Kosovo dialogue, as a continuation of the Berlin Summit of leaders from April 2019.
But the joint initiative of Germany and France to initiate and return the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina into the hands of Europe “where it belongs geographically, interestingly and according to the UN mandate” does not mean that Paris unreservedly supports Berlin’s position on the final solution of the dialogue.
Diplomatic sources in Brussels state that France was not among the group of countries that, behind the meeting with Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak, stood behind the idea of “keeping borders intact at any cost”.
“France wants to support the continuation of the dialogue, but does not comment specifically on the final solution,” said sources from the meeting between the EU ambassador and the special representative.
Germany regards Western Balkans a priority
Berlin, whose initial plan for the EU presidency was to focus on the sexual and political issue of the Western Balkans, now says that Germany’s goal is the socio-economic renewal of the EU and lifting the Union from the biggest crisis since its inception”.
But in circles close to the Brussels dialogue, they agree that Germany, as they say, has the capacity to maintain focus and, more importantly, to provide political support for finalizing the dialogue on more comprehensive normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina in the coming months, as the interest in the Western Balkans is not subject to “shakes and changes”.
During Tadic’s reign, EU membership was conditioned by Kosovo and Metohija for the first time
The original framework and goals of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina were set back in 2011, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in talks with then-Serbian President Boris Tadic, set four criteria that define the framework and future outcome of the dialogue.
Thus, for the first time, Serbia’s membership in the EU is conditioned by the acceptance of Kosovo’s independence and the transformation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo into bilateral ones.
Shortly before Merkel’s visit to Belgrade, the then head of German diplomacy Guido Westerwelle said that “Germany will not negotiate on the territorial integrity of the countries in the region” and thus hinted that the division of Kosovo could not be a topic. Germany, as undoubtedly the most important EU member state when it comes to enlargement and the Western Balkans, has never changed its position on the Kosovo issue.
See at: https://bit.ly/3dUZoGT
Brnabic: Not even millimeter closer to compromise, Pristina captured in past (Blic)
As long as Pristina remains a hostage of the past and refuses to accept reality as it is, we would not be able to make a step ahead and do something good for the future, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in an interview to Belgrade-based daily Blic. She added Belgrade is a stable and predictable partner, however this is not enough to reach a solution.
Asked when a solution of the Kosovo issue could be expected Brnabic responded that so far there were many deadlines and different dates speculated about and asked – where we are now?
Asked about her expectations from the new Pristina government, Brnabic said that in general she has no expectations from the current politicians in Pristina, and she would have some if they would implement and honor earlier undertaken obligations.
However, she pointed out that we need to continue the dialogue and continue pursuit for a compromise because “this is important for the people who live, or would live in these areas. It is also important for our future,” Brnabic said.
She also thanked representatives of the international community for their efforts invested to resolve the Kosovo issue, adding she believes that only Serbs and Albanians could resolve the problems they have in their relations.
Smajlovic: Quick solution to Kosovo issue – a complete fiction (RTS)
Journalist Ljiljana Smajlovic says that the announced visit of the EU mediator for dialogue Miroslav Lajcak to Pristina is not protocol and added that the drama is added by the fact that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci stated that he would not meet with him.
“I think that Thaci is trying to say, by belittling Lajcak, ‘you owe me visa liberalization’, I will say that you are useless until you make a concession to me later. It is important for Thaci to achieve some victory,” Smajlovic explains as a guest in the RTS morning news.
She believes that at this moment, Belgrade must show that it is constructive.
“If America, still supported by the European Union, broke Pristina’s resistance, that is, abolished taxes and the principle of reciprocity, then it’s time for Belgrade to say – we are ready for negotiations, and I think that’s what Aleksandar Vucic is saying,” says Smajlovic.
Ljiljana Smajlovic does not believe in a quick solution to the Kosovo problem.
She believes that it is a complete fiction that Trump needs a quick solution and that it would be a great foreign policy success that would help him in the elections.
“I think in the whole region they see what can be seen and from Belgrade, and that is that nothing special will happen and that the Americans are using this opportunity because they are in conflict with Germany and Angela Merkel. These relations are bad, and all the region’s countries are looking at what can be useful for them,” Smajlovic believes.
As for Russia’s role, Smajlovic believes that Moscow must look forward to the conflict and the lack of coordination between Europeans and Americans.
Commenting on the announced visit of the head of Russian diplomacy to Belgrade, Smajlovic says that the visit three days before the elections is very unusual.
“I can’t remember in the last two decades that it happened, it was always avoided, and visits were two days after the election. This is a very safe performance of Lavrov, who knows that he will have a very good reception,” Smajlovic believes.
She is surprised, as she pointed out, that the opposition does not protest because someone’s foreign minister is coming before the elections.
“Of course, Lavrov’s visit is a strong support not only for the position of Belgrade, but also for the current government in Belgrade,” Smajlovic said.
Trajkovic: Lajcak is more serious than many think (Radio KIM)
“Attitude to ignore Mr. Lajcak would go to the detriment of Pristina and Belgrade people, if he is not seriously accepted or ignored as EU negotiator,” President of the European Serb Movement from Kosovo, Rada Trajkovic told Radio KIM.
Trajkovic opined that Miroslav Lajcak “is a more powerful negotiator than what citizens of Serbia and Kosovo may think”.
However, she pointed out it does not mean that what he offers should be accepted, but rather to offer a serious project of talks about reconciliation and stabilization of the population, primarily Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.
Pending the harmonization of certificates, Serbian meat and dairy products still cannot legally enter Kosovo (KoSSev)
In the last two days, over 50 trucks carrying Serbian goods entered Kosovo. After the new Kosovo government decided on Saturday to repeal two measures introduced by the previous government based on the reciprocity principle with Serbia, the movement of commercial goods in both directions has been functioning without major problems, although much smaller quantities of Kosovan goods are entering central Serbia than the other way around. Trade, however, is still hampered by the lack of harmonization of veterinary certificates, which mostly affects the meat and dairy industry. In practice, this means that Serbian meat and dairy products cannot be legally imported into Kosovo.
”In the last two days, more than 50 trucks with Serbian goods entered Kosovo. Food items are also coming in. Goods are also exported from Kosovo to the Serbian market, but in a smaller quantity – mostly fruits and vegetables. We have not had any problems in the last few days, not even with the export of Kosovan goods,” the Kosovo Customs spokesman, Adriatic Stavileci told KoSSev.
15 of the 52 required certificates have been harmonized
While trucks with Serbian goods are entering Kosovo, a long process of harmonization of the necessary certificates that accompany the goods on both sides has been ongoing for many years, such as phytosanitary and veterinary certificates, is also taking place. This process, however, has been deadlocked ever since the taxes on Serbian goods were introduced. The taxes were removed in April this year.
The head of the Center for Regional Cooperation of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Aleksandar Radovanovic has been involved in the Brussels process of bringing the two business communities closer since 2013. Radovanovic told KoSSev that the harmonization of 52 veterinary certificates – of which only about 15 have been harmonized so far – has been on the agenda of the technical dialogue conducted between the two chambers under the auspices of the Eurochambres from Brussels.
”For example, we have made an agreement regarding animal feed – for live cattle. The harmonization was carried out by November 2018, practically just before the introduction of taxes on Serbian goods by the Kosovo side. The key certificates that have not been harmonized and they refer to 80% of meat and meat products, as well as for milk and dairy products and eggs,” Radovanovic said.
According to him, the certificates in question had already been agreed in Brussels before November, and the only thing left was for them to be translated into Albanian and for the Kosovo side to verify them.
”However, to this day, the reply confirming the entire deal that was made when the certificates we are talking about were formatted has still not arrived,” he emphasized.
See more at:https://bit.ly/30uTvw6
European Commission says Serbia needs to step up reforms in key areas (N1)
Serbia needs to accelerate reforms in the key areas of judicial independence, the fight against corruption, media freedom, the domestic handling of war crimes and the fight against organized crime, The European Commission said in a non-paper that N1 had access to.
It was said there has been no progress in the constitutional reform process which is on hold until after the June 21 parliamentary elections. “The constitutional reform process needs to be continued in a transparent and inclusive manner as soon as possible, including by preparing the required implementing legislation,” the document said.
It added that the Law on the financing of political activities needs to be further amended to fully comply with all recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The document added that the introduction of special anti-corruption sections in the Higher Prosecutors Office is starting to yield results but has not had a tangible impact on high-level corruption cases.
It expressed concern over threats and violence against journalists as well as for the overall environment for the exercise of freedom of expression without hindrance which, it added, needs to be further strengthened, including in practice. “Transparency of media ownership and of allocation of public funds, especially at local level, also needs to improve,” it said.
See at: https://bit.ly/2AXKm4z
New Kosovar PM Sees ‘Complementary’ Role For EU, U.S. In Deal With Serbia (RFE)
Newly elected Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti says the European Union and the United States have complementary roles in helping the country meet its top priority: successful dialogue with Serbia.
Hoti told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service in an exclusive interview on June 11 that Kosovo is ready for talks with Serbia, has a clear platform and strategy, and expects them to be resumed “very fast.”
“We need the full support of the EU as well as a strong U.S. engagement in this process — both in reaching and implementing an agreement [with Serbia],” Hoti said, adding, “one doesn’t go without the other.”
Thaci to Quit Kosovo Politics Once Presidential Term Ends (Balkan Insight)
In a surprise announcement, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci on Thursday said that he will not be seeking a second term when his mandate expires next April, drawing a line under a political career that has lasted over two decades.
After more than 20 years spent in Kosovo’s political arena, President Hashim Thaci on Thursday announced that he will no longer be involved in politics once his mandate ends in April next year.
“I will not be a candidate for president in the upcoming elections,” Thaci assured Albanian TV station Syri TV on Thursday evening, adding that he would quit politics at a time when the “country is in the right path”.
OpisMEDIJavanje: To whom should you report the media if they violate your rights (KoSSev)
Part of the media is increasingly violating its code of ethics and the rights of citizens, primarily the right to privacy. If you believe that your right has been violated by the reporting of the Kosovo media, you should complain – a member of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), Violeta Hyseni Kelmendi said.
In the latest episode of the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje,” Hyseni Kelmendi spoke about the work of Kosovo media regulatory bodies, the means of media sanctioning available to those bodies and how to file a complaint.
”If a media outlet violates the privacy of a citizen while reporting or commits other ethical violations, including giving false information, using hate speech or inappropriate language or violates the ethical code in any other way, citizens should react and file complaints with the competent authorities,” she stressed.
When it comes to Kosovo, these institutions are the IMC, which is an administrative body, or the Press Council of Kosovo, which is a self-regulatory body. The IMC monitors and sanctions the work of television and radio, while the Press Council of Kosovo monitors the work of the print media.
The IMC has several sanction measures at its disposal – a reprimand and a request to the media that violated the code to correct the news, a request to publish the reaction of the injured party, a fine, suspension of part of the program and a revocation of the license.
The IMC monitors the work of television and radio and can initiate proceedings ex officio, however, Hyseni Kelmendi still urged citizens to personally contact the IMC.
”All those who believe that they are victims of violations of the code of ethics in the media are encouraged to contact the IMC, either online – through the website kpm-ks.org, where there are instructions on how to file a complaint, or send an e-mail at email@example.com or visit the IMC offices in Gradic Pejton,” she underlined.
See more at: https://bit.ly/2AsWfPV
With measures lifted, Balkans hit by coronavirus case spike (AP)
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia’s president has canceled his party’s campaign rallies and officials in Bosnia, North Macedonia and Albania are appealing on citizens to respect anti-infection measures due to a spike in new coronavirus cases after the Balkan countries relaxed their restrictions.
President Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party will not hold rallies ahead of Serbia’s June 21 parliamentary election to avoid further spread of the virus, state broadcaster RTS reported on Thursday.
Serbia went from having very strict lockdown measures to a near-total lifting of the government’s emergency rules. Vucic’s political opponents peg the move to the president’s desire to hold the election, which originally was scheduled for April and canceled because of the pandemic, and to cement his grip on power.
See more at:https://bit.ly/3hlpqFm