Albanian Language Media:
- COVID-19 report: Three deaths, 205 new cases (media)
- KSC doesn’t comment if indictment against Thaci, Veseli is confirmed (KP)
- Specialist Chambers’ mandate: KLA associations meet parliamentary parties (Telegrafi)
- Selimi: We are not afraid of justice but concerned when it tries to act politically (Klan)
- “Outcome of U.S. elections decisive for continuation of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue” (RFE)
- Albania’s Assembly Speaker Ruci urges Cuba to recognise Kosovo (media)
- Suspect in the €2 million illegal transaction case surrenders to police (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- 20 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serb areas in Kosovo on Saturday (Radio KIM)
- New ministers in Serbian government (media)
- Vucic: Vote on new government not unanimous, Covid-19 vaccine in March (N1)
- “Numerous attempts to change and revise centuries-long history” (Radio KIM, KoSSev)
- Petkovic: Serbia is UN member, Kosovo can’t be that (Danas)
- Serbs For Trump Initiative: Grenell visits Serbian Orthodox Church in Milwaukee (N1)
- Vucic: In 10 days, PCR laboratory in Mitrovica North (Radio Mitrovica sever)
- Spahiu: Americans have power in Kosovo; only the agreements they implement are valid (Kosovo Online)
- Petkovic with Braathu on dialogue and situation in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
- Kommersant: Lavrov visit intended to maintain influence in region (Beta, N1)
- Next Serb Government Among Most Gender-Balanced In the World (Bloomberg)
- Mudde: Trump’s re-election would mean continuing support for populists around the world (EWB)
- Why the Balkan region should be on investors’ radar screens (intellinews.com)
- Kosovo joins global call to action on women’s economic empowerment (Koha/RTK)
- The limits in the checks and balances system enable informal governance to be effective in the WB (EWB)
- “Serbia needs to consider introducing new measures relating to Covid-19” (B92)
- Western Balkans suffocating from air pollution as heating season starts (balkangreenenergynews.com)
Albanian Language Media
COVID-19 report: Three deaths, 205 new cases (media)
Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement today that three deaths and 205 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours.
62 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (111).
KSC doesn’t comment if indictment against Thaci, Veseli is confirmed (KP)
Kosovapress reports that the Kosovo Specialist Chambers have not commented on whether the proposed indictment against President Hashim Thaci and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli has been confirmed.
In a reply to the news website, the Specialist Chambers reiterated that indictments remain confidential as do the procedures relating to their review. “Based on the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, if an indictment is confirmed it will be made public no later than the Accused’s initial appearance before the Court.”
Specialist Chambers’ mandate: KLA associations meet parliamentary parties (Telegrafi)
Representatives of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) war veterans’ associations have begun meeting officials from political parties represented at the Kosovo Assembly to discuss the mandate of Specialist Chambers.
Acting head of KLA associations, Faton Klinaku, confirmed to Telegrafi a meeting they had today with the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). “The topic of discussion was sending the expired mandate of the Specialist Chambers for interpretation to the Constitutional Court,” he said.
Klinaku said last week they already met to this end representatives of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA). He said all political parties received invitations for such meetings, including President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, and Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani.
Selimi: We are not afraid of justice but concerned when it tries to act politically (Klan)
Kosovo’s Justice Minister Selim Selimi commented on the indictment against President Hashim Thaci and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli saying that if confirmed by a pre-trial judge it could lead to flaring up of tensions but said these will be ‘manageable’.
“Tensions will be manageable because we believe in justice and we know our fight was pure and this has been proven times over in The Hague. We should not be afraid of justice but normally whenever this justice tries to act politically then we should be concerned,” Selimi said.
He noted that the statements issued by the Specialist Prosecutors on the proposed indictment against Thaci and Veseli are political and noted that the judicial mechanisms should instead be focusing on conducting investigations and filing indictments. “When the president of a country, former Assembly speaker are struck, this is a cause for concern,” he said.
“The justice system has a job to do – that court is of Kosovo as it was voted at the Assembly through a Constitutional amendment and should therefore do its job as the rest of courts in Kosovo.”
“Outcome of U.S. elections decisive for continuation of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue” (RFE)
Radio Free Europe quotes political analysts saying that the outcome of November presidential elections in the U.S. will have a decisive role in the continuation of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia after the process has stalled over disagreements on the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities.
Engjellushe Morina from the Berlin-based European Council on Foreign Relations believes the dialogue cannot continue without learning who wins presidential elections in the U.S. “I don’t think there will be movement in the process until mid November, at earliest.”
However, Jeta Krasniqi from the Kosovo Democratic Institute doesn’t expect the resumption of dialogue will entirely depend on the outcome of the U.S. elections but does think that the U.S.-EU coordination on the matter is ‘unavoidable’.
Albania’s Assembly Speaker Ruci urges Cuba to recognise Kosovo (media)
Speaker of the Assembly of Albania, Gramoz Ruci, met Cuba’s new ambassador Caidad Yaira Cueto Milian, and apart from discussing the deepening of relations between the two countries, vhe also sought Cuba’s support for Albania’s candidacy for UN Security Council in 2022-2023.
Ruci also urged Cuba to review its position on Kosovo and decide to recognise its independence. He also sought out Cuba’s support for Kosovo joining international organisations.
Suspect in the €2 million illegal transaction case surrenders to police (media)
One of the suspects wanted in connection to the illegal transfer of more than 2 million euros from the Kosovo budget to a private company has handed himself over to the police.
The Kosovo Police said the male suspect was in the process of being interviewed.
Several online media outlets report that the suspect is the owner of the company to whose account the money was transferred by an official working in the Ministry of Finance.
Serbian Language Media
20 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serb areas in Kosovo on Saturday (Radio KIM)
20 new cases of Covid-19 infection were registered in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo on Saturday, Crisis Committee of Mitrovica North announced, Radio KIM reports. A total of 82 samples have been tested, while the result for one sample is being awaited.
New cases were registered as follows: seven in Mitrovica North, four in Zvecan, three in Zubin Potok, three in Gracanica, and one case each in Strpce and Gnjilane.
At the same time six people have recovered, three in Zvecan and three in central Kosovo, one each in Strpce, Gracanica and Kamenica.
The total number of recovered people is 970.
At the moment there are 82 active cases of Covid-19 in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo. One person is hospitalized at the Clinical Hospital Center in Mitrovica North while 81 people are staying in house isolation Radio KIM reports.
New ministers in Serbian government (media)
Prime Minister-designate Ana Brnabic presented last night at a press conference proposal for future ministers.
Ministry of Finance: Siniša Mali, Ministry of Economy: Andjelka Atanaskovic, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management: Branislav Nedimović, Ministry of Environmental Protection: Irena Vujović, Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure: Tomislav Momirović, Ministry of Mining and Energy: Zorana Mihajlović, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications: Tatjana Matić, Ministry of Justice: Maja Popović, Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government: Marija Obradović, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue: Gordana Comic, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs: Darija Kisić Tepavčević, Ministry of Internal Affairs: Aleksandar Vulin, Ministry of Defense: Nebojsa Stefanovic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Nikola Selaković, Ministry of European Integration: Jadranka Joksimović, Ministry of Health: Zlatibor Lončar, Ministry of Family Care and Demography: Ratko Dmitrović, Ministry of Youth and Sports: Vanja Udovicic, Ministry of Culture and Information: Maja Gojković, Ministry of Village Care: Milan Krkobabic.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development: Branko Ruzic? The name is not officially confirmed, the department belongs to the SPS.
Vucic: Vote on new government not unanimous, Covid-19 vaccine in March (N1)
Serbian President and leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Aleksandar Vucic, said the decision on the new ministers was not unanimously adopted at the party’s session, adding two votes were against and one abstained, N1 reports.
Asked about the attacks on the new Minister for Human and Minority Rights Gordana Comic (former Democratic Party official, excluded from the party because she violated the opposition’s decision to boycott the Parliament), Vucic said that he never agreed with her.
“I respect the way she acts politically, even though she and her family were the most prominent in the protest against me, it was not an obstacle to ask if she could use her experience to help solve the problem”, he said.
He also said that at the end of 2021, the results of the government’s work will be measured and they will then assess the ministers’ work.
Vucic stated that by March next year, Serbia would receive 350,000 doses of the American-German “Pfizer and Birth” vaccine against Covid-19, which will be enough to cover the health system and most of the police and army.
“I will receive the first vaccine that comes to Serbia, Ana (Brnabic – the Prime Minister) will receive the second, someone else will receive the third”, said Vucic explaining that they will receive the vaccine to show the citizens that it is important to receive the vaccine and that it is good. He added the vaccine would be free of charge.
See at: https://bit.ly/37JkZ4O
“Numerous attempts to change and revise centuries-long history” (Radio KIM, KoSSev)
“Regarding the opening of the topic “Kosovo cultural heritage” at the festival “Mirdita, Dobar Dan” and series of reactions the event caused, I deem it necessary to recall the basic principles we adhere for years, based on which the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) delegation took part in Ahtisaari’s dialogue which then resulted in some of the existing laws”, Abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery Sava Janjic wrote on social media, Radio KIM reports.
The laws which, however, Kosovo does not respect, he pointed out. He also shared what he believes were some of the oversights of the festival organizers, KoSSev portal reports.
“With this comment, I do not intend to discourage cultural cooperation between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs. It is important and necessary, but I would like to emphasize that in addition to pretty declarations in Belgrade, it is crucial to show respect to Serb culture and Serb heritage in Kosovo. Practically no Kosovo Albanian organization has distanced itself from the systematic discrimination of the heritage of the SOC and the Serb people, which has been carried out for years in front of everyone in Kosovo, particularly through some media reporting in Albanian. The international institutions and the ambassadors of the Quint countries are the only ones who officially react”, Father Sava underlined.
He also pointed out that the Kosovo laws define a special attitude towards the sites that are SOC property in Kosovo, adding that “there are numerous attempts to change that and revise the centuries-old history“.
While recalling the fact that Serbian Orthodox sacral buildings and monasteries were targeted even after the war, while many still lie in ruins as well, the Abbot underlined that stronger measures of institutional protection and physical security of SOC shrines are needed.
“Of course, all cultural and especially religious buildings in Kosovo, Serbian, Albanian, Ottoman (Turkish), etc. are primarily important for the communities that use them and to which they belong, but they are also important for all citizens of Kosovo, regardless of origin. Those UNESCO-listed buildings (currently there are four religious buildings of the SOC on the UNESCO list) are also part of the world cultural heritage. These facts do not exclude each other“, reads the second principle highlighted by Father Sava.
Attempts to deny the SOC heritage as Serbian and declare it Kosovan are a direct consequence of the strategy of “Albanizing the entire heritage in Kosovo, which is contrary to Ahtisaari’s principles, EU and US standards, which respect cultural and religious uniqueness of different ethnic communities in their territories”, Sava Janjic pointed out in the third principle.
The connection of cultural and religious buildings of different communities in democratic secular countries and their ownership over these properties must not be brought into question.
“Broaching this topic in the way it has been done at the Mirëdita festival in Belgrade substantially damages interethnic and interfaith relations in Kosovo and, unfortunately, does not contribute to reconciliation because Kosovo Serbs and representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which has valuable heritage in this area, are excluded from dialogue, as if only Albanians live in Kosovo, while Serbs only live in central Serbia“, Father Sava underlined.
Although the politicization of heritage is being publicly criticized at this festival, according to the Abbot, the promotion of the idea of “Kosovo heritage“ creates an even greater division and promotes a new political concept of heritage, which “Essentially relativizes its identity and history, which has been extensively documented in historical and archival material from the Middle Ages onwards“.
We can only talk about the “heritage in Kosovo“, because there are Serbian, Albanian, Ottoman (Turkish) heritages and others, as well as the traditions of different communities living in Kosovo, the Abbot explained.
All of them should be respected by all citizens and the entire society as something that is a general cultural heritage.
See at: https://bit.ly/2Tr2p9a
Petkovic: Serbia is UN member, Kosovo can’t be that (Danas)
On the occasion of UN Day, 24 October, Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic said that Serbia “including Kosovo and Metohija as its autonomous province” is a fully fledged member of the United Nations Danas daily reports.
He added that “autonomous provinces can’t be members of the UN and it is a reality that should face Hashim Thaci and all others in Prstina who think statehood was possible to receive as a gift”. Petkovic also assessed that “the vast majority of mankind do not recognize unilaterally declared independence of our southern province”.
Petkovic further noted that “Pristina by consistent ignoring of UNMIK and its role in preserving the peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija demonstrated in practice it despises international order based on the system of United Nations”, while for Serbia UN Day “is a solemn day because this is the place where our country, firmly on the foundations of international law, defends its state and national interests in Kosovo and Metohija”.
Serbs For Trump Initiative: Grenell visits Serbian Orthodox Church in Milwaukee (N1)
The US President’s Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina talks Richard Grenell attended a church service at the St Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Milwaukee, the Serbs For Trump 2020 Initiative said on its Facebook page, N1 reports.
The liturgy was served by head priest Father Dragan Veleusic who gave Grenell a book on the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North America. He was also given a bottle of traditionally-made Serbian plum brandy by Initiative officials.
A post on the “serbsfortrump2020.org” portal said that “Grenell was very pleased with the events that have taken place over the weekend, and especially crowning it with his visit to this magnificent church”. “We thank the Ambassador and President Trump for the kindness, friendship, and devotion to our Serbian-American community. We will do all we can to elect our great President,” the Initiative said.
See at: https://bit.ly/37DUvBH
Vucic: In 10 days, PCR laboratory in Mitrovica North (Radio Mitrovica sever)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said today that a PCR laboratory will be opened in Mitrovica North in the next 10 days, Radio Mitrovica sever reports.
“Another good news, we bought and will soon open a PCR laboratory in Mitrovica North, which will mean a lot to our people”, Vucic said.
He added the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija will no longer have to go to Belgrade or Nis because they will have a PCR laboratory in Mitrovica North.
Spahiu: Americans have power in Kosovo; only the agreements they implement are valid (Kosovo Online)
Political analyst Nexhmedin Spahiu told portal Kosovo Online that the Washington Agreement would be implemented in record time because the US has more influence over Kosovo than the EU.
Spahiu stated that the dialogue process in Brussels has been going on since 2011 with over 20 agreements reached but that only a few have been fully implemented on the ground.
“I believe that the Washington Agreement will be implemented quickly, since the Americans have power in Kosovo, so it is normal to expect that what was agreed in Washington will be implemented faster than what was agreed in Brussels, at least by the Kosovo side,” said Spahiu.
The final agreement between Belgrade and Pristina cannot be reached within the EU-facilitated dialogue, unless the US supported it, Spahiu believes.
He also told the portal that ”the public in Kosovo is burdened with the feeling that it is always paying the price for recognition and is not receiving it. This means that the public does not respect the agreements signed with Belgrade in Brussels, and that is a kind of blackmail or justification before the public that if the dialogue does not move forward, the situation can be even worse. The position of Kosovo institutions is that the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO) will not be established without recognition of Kosovo by Serbia, and any future agreement in that sense will be that the ZSO will enter into force only when Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina recognize Kosovo,” Spahiu concluded.
Petkovic with Braathu on dialogue and situation in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
“Non-compliance with the obligation to establish Community of Serb-majority Municipalities is a major obstacle and a challenge in the process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina”, Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic said, Radio KIM reports.
Petkovic met today Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Jan Braathu and informed him about the course of the Brussels dialogue.
As it was announced, the two officials also discussed the political and security situation in Kosovo, with particular focus on the issues affecting the Serb community.
“In a meeting there was discussion on a series of incidents in the Serb areas over the last month, and Petkovic underlined that international organizations and institutions on the ground have important task to create a social environment in which attacks against the Serbs and other non-Albanians will not be tolerated”, the Office said in a statement.
Petkovic also assessed that the OSCE has a significant role in establishing the rule of law and safe environment for all citizens in Kosovo and expressed expectation it would continue acting in line with that.
Kommersant: Lavrov visit intended to maintain influence in region (Beta, N1)
Moscow daily Kommersant said on Monday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov;s visit to the Balkans shows that the Kremlin is trying to maintain its influence in the region, the Beta news agency reported.
It said that Moscow was using its special relations with Serbia and the Republika Srpska to exert its influence in the region. The daily recalled that Lavrov’s visit comes right after the European Union announced what it called ambitious plans to invest 20 billion Euro in the region with the European Commission earmarking nine billion Euro for projects in the Balkans by 2024. “Those ambitious plans are realistic confirmation of EU intentions to strengthen its influence in the region following several years in which it distanced itself from the Balkans,” it said.
According to Kommersant, Lavrov will have a number of issues to discuss in Belgrade. “The main issues is whether President Aleksandar Vucic is prepared to remain Russia’s strategic partner in the region,” it said, adding that the agreement that Vucic signed in Washington could have serious geo-political consequences by lowering Serbia’s dependence on Russian natural gas and by bringing Belgrade and Pristina into the security system controlled by the US. The daily said that Belgrade made what it called an unambiguous gesture to Moscow when it announced the opening of a Russian Defense Ministry office.
Next Serb Government Among Most Gender-Balanced In the World (Bloomberg)
Serbia’s proposed new-look government is among the world’s most gender balanced, with women named to half of ministerial posts.
The lineup, announced Sunday, propels the Balkan country to the brink of the global top 10 for gender equality — an issue that has typically been higher on the agenda of western European countries. Still, critics say that even with the appointments, President Aleksandar Vucic will call all the shots and women remain under-represented in local politics.
See at: https://bloom.bg/3otskew
Mudde: Trump’s re-election would mean continuing support for populists around the world (EWB)
BELGRADE – Populism did not start with Trump, and it will not die with Trump either, said Cas Mudde, Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor (School of Public and International Affairs SPIA at the University of Georgia, USA), at the beginning of his presentation entitled “Populism in the 2020s: Beyond the populist Zeitgeist”, during the fifth day of the 2020 Belgrade Security Forum (BSF).
Populism, as Mudde defines it, is a thin-centred ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ and ‘the corrupt elite’.
See at: https://bit.ly/2HExMdS
Why the Balkan region should be on investors’ radar screens (intellinews.com)
By Tim Umberger deputy head of Eastern Europe investments at East Capital
Despite short-term volatility caused by the pandemic in 1H 2020, the Balkan region could be one of the relative winners globally in the post-COVID era.
Equity investors should acknowledge that the region is on course to receive one of the largest stimulus packages globally (equivalent to 17% to 35% of GDP) through the facilities of the EU Recovery Fund and budget, while it is also set to benefit from the key post-COVID economic and business trends. At the same time, regional markets offer some of the most attractive valuations globally, trading at only 6-10x P/E for 2021e, significantly lower than the 13x for MSCI Emerging Markets and 15x for Euro Stoxx 50.
See at: https://bit.ly/3mnLvoq
Kosovo joins global call to action on women’s economic empowerment (Koha/RTK)
Kosovo has joined the U.S.-led initiative in support of advancing the full and free participation of women in the economy, with Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla signing the official declaration of the Global Call to Action on Women’s Economic Empowerment.
“The statement strongly emphasizes the importance of removing barriers to full and free participation of women in the economy and affirms the role of the Republic of Kosovo in building international consensus in advancing the women’s economic empowerment.
“By supporting and joining this call, the Republic of Kosovo undertakes to identify and develop internal plans to advance with legal, regulatory and policy-making reforms in key areas that promote the full and free participation of women in the economy,ensuring property rights and promoting opportunities to work in the same jobs and sectors as men,” the Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora said in a press release.
The limits in the checks and balances system enable informal governance to be effective in the WB (EWB)
Informal practices which play significant roles in the governance all around the globe are unwritten rules that people use to “get things done” and acquire goods and services more efficiently by circumventing written rules. These practices underpin corruption in the societies with the weak rule of law system, but they exist in the prosperous countries as well. What is the correlation between informal practices and corruption, how to recognize the informalization of the governance and create policies to address these issues are some of the topics we have discussed with Alena Ledeneva, Professor of Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of University College London in the United Kingdom.
See at: https://bit.ly/3mfo14K
“Serbia needs to consider introducing new measures relating to Covid-19” (B92)
Director of the World Health Organization office in Serbia, Marijan Ivanua said today that new measures should be considered against the spread of coronavirus, B92 reports.
He added the number of new patients is high and that the situation is rather serious.
Such an epidemiological situation is in line with the trend in Europe and the northern hemisphere, which is generally worrying, Ivanusa told RTS.
“Deteriorations should be stopped as soon as possible, because we see that countries that haven’t done so are now facing great challenges”, Ivanusa said.
He stated that Serbia has done a lot, it has quickly switched its health system from normal to COVID, as well as that many measures are in force, but that they are not performed in the most optimal way and there is a room for improvement.
“We need to think about new measures, we need to limit the gathering of people, enable people who go to work to be safe, maintain physical distance everywhere, masks, hand hygiene, testing of those who have symptoms, quarantine for the sick, as well as timely treatment”, Ivanusa underlined.
He says that PCR testing of people entering Serbia is not a decisive measure, but that the most important thing is to respect public health measures.
He also says that the new COVID hospitals are of exceptional importance, because people will need hospital treatment, adding the hospitals cannot prevent the epidemic, but adherence to the public health measures can.
See at: https://bit.ly/3jvM0uL
Western Balkans suffocating from air pollution as heating season starts (balkangreenenergynews.com)
The beginning of the heating season in the Western Balkans brought a rise in air pollution once again. In recent days, cities in the region returned to the top of the lists measuring the most polluted air.
The spike in air pollution in the Balkans is repeating at the same time as a year ago, so nothing seems to have changed despite protests from citizens, and appeals from nongovernmental organizations and experts to authorities to act. The main polluters continue their business as usual.
Citizens, especially those in sensitive groups, are advised to avoid spending time outdoors