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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 28, 2020

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19 report: Four deaths, 281 new cases (media)
• Trump says he stopped 400 years long war between Kosovo and Serbia (media)
• Kosovo Government confirms tomorrow’s meeting in Brussels (media)
• Selimi: Brussels dialogue should not take on technical character (KP/Telegrafi)
• Weber: Lajcak trapped into blaming Kosovo for lack of dialogue progress (Express/RTK)
• Hoti: European integration, priority for Kosovo Government (media)
• GAP publishes report on pandemic’s impact on Kosovo economy (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Brnabic: Unity regarding Kosovo issue priority, we won’t give up on ZSO (Tanjug)
• Lavrov is not coming to Serbia: Russian minister in self-isolation due to coronavirus (Tanjug, B92)
• Vucic to meet directors of COVID hospitals, address public (B92, N1)
• EU: CSM won’t be parallel authority; Belgrade: no progress without CSM (N1, BETA)
• Pompeo: Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria join Clean Network (KoSSev)
• Botsan-Kharchenko: ZSO key for future of Serbs in Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
• NGO Aktiv presented publication on treatment of non-majority communities in Kosovo during Covid-19 (social media)
• Rakic with Abbott on attacks against Serbian population (Kosovo-online)
• Kosovo Serb politician says Biden helped protect monastery (N1)

Opinion:

• The unbearable lightness of stealing public money (Prishtina Insight)
• Twin crises: Political dysfunction in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (ecfr.eu)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Serbian epidemiologist says more restrictive measures could come (N1)
• Developing a Long-Term and Holistic Approach to Strengthen Water Security in Kosovo (marketscreener.com)
• BSF: Nordic model of security cooperation an example for the Western Balkans (EWB)
• The importance of ‘unlearning’ the past: Interview with Balkans expert Keith Brown (globalvoices.org)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19 report: Four deaths, 281 new cases (media)
  • Trump says he stopped 400 years long war between Kosovo and Serbia (media)
  • Kosovo Government confirms tomorrow’s meeting in Brussels (media)
  • Selimi: Brussels dialogue should not take on technical character (KP/Telegrafi)
  • Weber: Lajcak trapped into blaming Kosovo for lack of dialogue progress (Express/RTK)
  • Hoti: European integration, priority for Kosovo Government (media)
  • GAP publishes report on pandemic’s impact on Kosovo economy (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Brnabic: Unity regarding Kosovo issue priority, we won’t give up on ZSO (Tanjug)
  • Lavrov is not coming to Serbia: Russian minister in self-isolation due to coronavirus (Tanjug, B92)
  • Vucic to meet directors of COVID hospitals, address public (B92, N1)
  • EU: CSM won’t be parallel authority; Belgrade: no progress without CSM (N1, BETA)
  • Pompeo: Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria join Clean Network (KoSSev)
  • Botsan-Kharchenko: ZSO key for future of Serbs in Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
  • NGO Aktiv presented publication on treatment of non-majority communities in Kosovo during Covid-19 (social media)
  • Rakic with Abbott on attacks against Serbian population (Kosovo-online)
  • Kosovo Serb politician says Biden helped protect monastery (N1)

Opinion:

  • The unbearable lightness of stealing public money (Prishtina Insight)
  • Twin crises: Political dysfunction in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (ecfr.eu)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Serbian epidemiologist says more restrictive measures could come (N1)
  • Developing a Long-Term and Holistic Approach to Strengthen Water Security in Kosovo (marketscreener.com)
  • BSF: Nordic model of security cooperation an example for the Western Balkans (EWB)
  • The importance of ‘unlearning’ the past: Interview with Balkans expert Keith Brown (globalvoices.org)

 

 

 

Albanian Language Media 

 

COVID-19 report: Four deaths, 281 new cases (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement today that four deaths and 281 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

97 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (150).

Media also reported today that the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement and former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has tested positive for COVID-19. Kurti said via social media that he was experiencing mild symptoms and would self-isolate during a two-week period.

Trump says he stopped 400 years long war between Kosovo and Serbia (media)

All news websites report that U.S. President Donald Trump said during a campaign rally in Nebraska that he helped stop a 400 years long war between Kosovo and Serbia. “I got nominated for three Nobel Peace Prizes and for all different regions. Like Kosovo and Serbia, we’re doing deals, you know trade deals, just normally, we’re doing trade deals.  Wait a minute, aren’t they always fighting each other, aren’t they always killing each other, yes for many decades. I said yes, I know they fight each other all the time. Tell them we’re not going to do any business with them. They want our business, right? We’re not going to do any business unless we make a deal where they stop killing each other. And you know what it took about 20 minutes. They have been fighting for 40 years, I think they have been fighting for 400 years, but they have been fighting for a long time. They want to make a deal. All of a sudden, two months ago, they’re in the Oval Office, hugging and kissing the two prime ministers. That was easy,” Trump said. 

Kosovo Government confirms tomorrow’s meeting in Brussels (media)

The Government of Kosovo confirmed in a statement that it will meet Serbian representatives at the expert level in Brussels tomorrow.

According to the statement, the meeting has been called by the EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajcak and Kosovo’s delegation will be led by Skender Hyseni, state coordinator. 

The topics of discussion will be resolving financial claims and property issues.

Selimi: Brussels dialogue should not take on technical character (KP/Telegrafi)

Minister of Justice, Selim Selimi, told members of the Kosovo Assembly’s committee that he will not be taking part in tomorrow’s meeting in Brussels at the expert level and that Kosovo will be represented by its national coordinator, Skender Hyseni. 

“The topics that are now being tackled in dialogue have to do with reparation and the issue of war damages and succession. These are issues that are of interest to us because Serbia has a responsibility in all these damages and the succession process of former Yugoslavia which Kosovo was excluded from,” Selimi said. 

He also said he has no information that the Association of Serb-majority municipalities will be discussed tomorrow. 

Weber: Lajcak trapped into blaming Kosovo for lack of dialogue progress (Express/RTK)

Bodo Weber from the Democratization Policy Council said that the EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajcak fell into the trap of Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic by blaming Kosovo for the lack of progress in the process.

“I think that by allowing Vucic to bring up the issue of the Association, Lajcak fell into the trap of Serbia’s presidents of leading negotiations into a crisis and increasingly making himself be seen as partial, namely pro-Serb even if he was not as such,” Weber said.

He noted that the issue of the Association of Serb-majority municipality should not have been allowed to be introduced at the table of talks.

“The disputed issue of the Association can only be resolved through the truly comprehensive negotiations framework, one that makes it clear from the outset that Kosovo’s territorial integrity is nonegotiable,” Weber said. 

He argued that a third option needs to be sought out, one that addressed the “common fear of Kosovo Serbs and Albanians in the state and society of Kosovo without undermining the functionality of the state of Kosovo.”

Hoti: European integration, priority for Kosovo Government (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said that European integration is a priority for his government.

Speaking today in a meeting with representatives of civil society organisations about the priorities of the European Reform Agenda (ERA 2), Hoti said they have a clear understanding of what are the challenges Kosovo faces which have been identified in the latest progress report and that they are working in addressing them. 

“We have moved European integration within the office of the prime minister with the only objective of being able to oversee all other ministries in managing European integration. We have recently well structured and made operational all departments that were part of integrations,” Hoti is quoted.

Koha meanwhile reports that Deputy Prime Minister Driton Selmanaj has been appointed in charge of Kosovo’s European integration process.

Head of the EU Office for Kosovo and Special Representative Tomas Szunyog noted that the priorities of ERA 2 include implementation of legislative reforms and good governance. He said the document also covers management of the pandemic and economic recovery measures.

GAP publishes report on pandemic’s impact on Kosovo economy (media)

Most news websites report that the Prishtina-based GAP Institute for Advanced Institute published today a report on the impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic on Kosovo’s economy. The report notes that prevention measures against the pandemic caused the highest fall in domestic production since the end of the war in Kosovo, “causing the GDP to fall by 9.28 percent in the second quarter of the year”. The report says that economic activities that marked an increase during the second quarter were the extraction industry, processing, electricity and water supply with 19.8 percent and information and communication with 29.6 percent. “All other industries had a drop of revenues. The highest decline was recorded in the construction industry with -47.08 percent, and trade, transport, accommodation and gastronomy with -24.4 percent,” the report says. “During the first half of the year, the industries declared around €584 million or 11 percent less turnover in the Kosovo Tax Administration compared to the same period from the previous year”.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Brnabic: Unity regarding Kosovo issue priority, we won’t give up on ZSO (Tanjug)

Serbian Prime Minister designate Ana Brnabic talking about Belgrade-Pristina dialogue said today Serbian Government will not give up on forming the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities, Tanjug news agency reports.

“The new government would continue pursuing the policy of protecting the vital national interests, peace and cooperation, aiming at protecting our people, cultural heritage, but also peace and stability in the region”. Brnabic said.

She added it is the greatest challenge for the stability of the region, saying that the government would coordinate all its moves in detail with the President Aleksandar Vucic and representatives of the Serbian people in Kosovo given that “national unity is absolutely our priority”.

Presenting her exposé before the members of the Assembly of Serbia, Brnabic said the new Serbian Government would have six priorities. The priorities include continuation of fight against Covid-19, preservation of the interests of Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, fight against criminal and mafia, preserving independence and independent decision making of Serbia, rule of law and economic empowerment of the country. 

She also said that Serbia “stopped being a country that is recording historical defeats and we have become a country that is winning. We have started working, we have stopped whining”, she pointed out.

She added that our state is respected in the international framework.

“At the international level, Serbia has become a country that is highly respected and esteemed. A country that pursues an independent and autonomous foreign policy, a reliable partner for talks, and not a country that is subject to conditions and ultimatums”, she underlined.

Lavrov is not coming to Serbia: Russian minister in self-isolation due to coronavirus (Tanjug, B92)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in self-isolation due to contact with a person infected with the coronavirus, B92 reports.

All previously planned visits and meetings are postponed, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia announced, Russian media report.

Let us remind you, Lavrov was supposed to start a two-day visit to Serbia tomorrow, during which he was supposed to meet with the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the state leadership. A spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marija Zaharova, took to Facebook and said that the minister was feeling well.

See at: https://bit.ly/3mnGFY6

Vucic to meet directors of COVID hospitals, address public (B92, N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is set to meet heads of all COVID hospitals in Serbia today, Serbian media reported, adding he could talk about new measures.

The meeting will be held at 12.15 in the Palace of Serbia, after which statements for the media were planned,  Vucic’s press service announced.

Given that the largest number of coronavirus cases has been recorded in Serbia yesterday since the outbreak of the pandemic, 1.053,  it is expected that Vucic during address to the public would talk about introducing new, stricter measures, the media reported.

However, following the meeting Vucic said despite an increased number of Covid-19 cases, there would be no new, rigorous epidemiological measures, but rather a strict control whether existing ones have been respected, N1 reports.

He also announced a financial bonus of 10.000 RSD (85 EUR) to be paid to health workers by the end of the year as a token of gratitude for their efforts. 

EU: CSM won’t be parallel authority; Belgrade: no progress without CSM (N1, BETA)

The European Union said on Tuesday the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM) “won’t be a parallel authority (in Kosovo), nor will it pass its laws, as former EU High Representative Federica Mogherini had already said”, N1 reports.

Belgrade-based Beta news agency asked Peter Stano, a spokesperson for Mogherini’s successor Joseph Barrell, to clarify what was in a letter that Mogherini sent only to Pristina and not to Belgrade in August 2015.

Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa has recently shown the letter to the EU special envoy for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations Miroslav Lajcak.

Beta reminded Stano that Lajcak did not want to comment, deny, or confirm the letter either.

Earlier on Tuesday, sources from Brussels told Radio Free Europe the dialogue would resume on Thursday. Later, Serbiain Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic said Belgrade would insist on the implementation of all signed agreements, including the formation of the CSM, “that should have been formed seven and a half years ago.”

“Without establishment of the CSM with all jurisdictions envisaged by the Brussels agreement, there are no possibilities for a progress in the dialogue”, Petkovic said during the meeting with Simon Geissbühler, Head of the Human Security Division of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, and Urs Schmid, the Swiss Ambassador to Serbia.

Petkovic added that Belgrade, despite everything, remained committed to the dialogue as the only possible means for a peaceful solution of disputes and creation of pre-conditions for the economic growth and stability in the Western Balkans.

But Stano told Beta that “we will like to address you to the former EU High Representative Mogherini’s statement before Kosovo deputies on May 6, 2016, when she clearly explained the EU stand – the Community with a Serb majority won’t be a parallel authority within Kosovo and will not bring own laws”.

Mogherini then also said, Stano recalled, the CSM “will be established within the framework of Kosovo laws, will follow the Constitutional Court recent opinion as a guideline for the CSM statute, and when it’s drafted, it will guarantee that Community will reflect Kosovo’s legislative”.

See at: https://bit.ly/3jBXj4D

Pompeo: Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria join Clean Network (KoSSev)

“With the triple signing of 5G security MOUs, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Kosovo have joined the Clean Network”, the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo confirmed on Tuesday. He also published photographs from the signing ceremony held in North Macedonia, KoSSev portal reports.

“This growing coalition of Clean Countries and Clean Companies also includes 27 NATO, 25 EU, and 11 Three Seas states, as well as many top companies in the world”, Pompeo tweeted. The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti signed a memorandum of understanding with the representatives of the US on the creation of “secure networks“ of fifth-generation communications (5G) last week in North Macedonia.

See at: https://bit.ly/3jB6AKj

Botsan-Kharchenko: ZSO key for future of Serbs in Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)

Without a change of attitude and a more flexible and constructive approach of Pristina, there will be no progress in the dialogue, nor a final solution to the Kosovo issue, said Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandar Botsan-Kharchenko and noted that the dialogue was “hampered” again on the issue of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO), which, as he said, was of essential importance for the future of Serbs in Kosovo, reported news agency Tanjug.

He pointed out that, if an agreement was reached on the ZSO and other issues, which were discussed in the past two months at the highest and technical level, it was necessary to implement it immediately without, as he said, waiting for the final result of the dialogue, quoted portal Kosovo Online.

Botsan-Kharchenko also rejected, as he said, media speculations that Moscow was not in good relations with Miroslav Lajcak, emphasizing that they were in “the best relations” and that the EU special envoy for dialogue on Kosovo has regular meetings with the Russian ambassador in Brussels.

“We had a meeting with Lajcak when he was in Serbia recently, and every time we have a good and meaningful exchange of opinions,” Botsan-Kharchenko stated.

Botsan-Kharchenko saw the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina as “very difficult” and added that Moscow did not have expectations “out of reality” from the continuation of negotiations.

“There is a stalemate, the same story is repeated because of Pristina’s position, and again everything is hampered by the issue, which has always been on the agenda of the Brussels dialogue, and which is now the most important. I mean, the ZSO that would defend and realize the interests of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, and not just be the name of something without content,” Botsan-Kharchenko told Tanjug.

As he said, Pristina refused to realize what had already been agreed, as well as the additional conversation on the issue which, the ambassador pointed out, was essentially the most important for Belgrade since the beginning of the dialogue.

“It is premature and difficult to talk about the result and positive development of the dialogue at this moment, but without changes in the attitude in Pristina, there will be no progress or a final solution,” Botsan-Kharchenko believes.

He says that the political situation in Pristina, where “political struggles are flaring up”, was also worrying, and such a situation disrupts any dialogue, Botsan-Kharchenko pointed out. 

“Representatives of the temporary institutions in Pristina think more about their position, about political battles, and less about their obligations towards the non-Albanian population. One of those obligations is the protection of the cultural and religious heritage of Serbs,” he states. 

Asked if he was more familiar with what happened at the session of the UN Security Council, which discussed the UNMIK report on the situation in Kosovo, and the remarks of the German ambassador that the chairman, the Russian ambassador, did not allow Lajcak to address that session, Botsan-Kharchenko said that the issue was related to the procedure and the agenda of the UN Security Council.

“This agenda is being prepared very carefully, in line with the main theme, which was the UNMIK report as the leading international presence, based on the valid and fundamental for the settlement of the Kosovo issue, Resolution 1244. It is Russia’s obligation, not its desire, to concentrate on the issue for which the meeting is being held,”  stated Botsan-Kharchenko.

He reminded that the Russian ambassador supported Lajcak at the SC session and expressed hope that his expertise and determination would help the dialogue to start in an acceptable and best way.

NGO Aktiv presented publication on treatment of non-majority communities in Kosovo during Covid-19 (social media)

Non-governmental organization based in Mitrovica North Aktiv presented a publication titled Lessons Learned: The Treatment of Non-majority Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As it was said on their official Twitter account the main goal of this publication is to analyse the relationship between the government, its institutions and non-majority communities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and to assess institutions’ readiness to ensure equal treatment of all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity.

The conclusions, or ‘lessons learned’ are grounded in research and monitoring conducted by NGO Aktiv between March and August of 2020.  The research involved interviews with various actors, contacts with residents of municipalities north and south of the river Ibar and careful monitoring of press releases and other public statements issued by public institutions.

What are those lessons that we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that relate to the treatment of non-majority communities in Kosovo?

  1. Public information campaigns must be effective and comprehensive

The government of Kosovo did not communicate effectively with members of the Kosovo-Serb community and did not provide access to relevant information in the Serbian language.  This kind of ineffective and limited public information campaign contributed to the spread of disinformation and fake news due to the fact that Serbian-language media often experienced difficulties in informing the general public.

  1. Security is essential: The pandemic had a negative effect on public safety and exposed shortcomings in the authorities’ response to questions of personal and public security

Whether or not we’re talking about inter-ethnic or ethnically-motivated incidents or crimes that take place within the community, the feeling that crime and delinquency are on the rise has been widespread for a number of years now. That feeling stems from a sense of a lack of trust in institutions due to slow investigations and there is a common perception that there is a general sense of impunity for perpetrators.

  1. The government did not ensure equal access to services for all of Kosovo communities.

The Kosovo Government did not work to ensure that non-majority communities in Kosovo were informed of the technical procedures related to the receipt of financial assistance.  The unequal and uneven access to support measures resulted in a situation where many Kosovo Serb communities were overly dependent on the assistance and support of international organisations and the Republic of Serbia.

It is recommended that the Kosovo government adopt clear strategies for communicating with non-majority communities and to respect constitutional and legal norms regarding the use of the Serbian as an official language and to establish clear and sustainable channels of communication with Serbian-language media outlets. Furthermore, it is also necessary to take questions of public safety seriously and to respond effectively to incidents by ensuring swift investigations and prosecution against those responsible for criminal acts.

The conclusion of this research is that the emergency situation did not create but rather accentuated a range of already-existent problems in the relationship between non-majority communities and governing institutions and authorities at the central level.  In that sense, Kosovo Serbs were exposed to a form of de-facto discrimination because their media did not receive information in the Serbian language, assistance was distributed unevenly, and the legal system and institutions charged with implementing the law did not invest sufficient efforts into addressing questions of public safety. If this is not addressed in a comprehensive, structural and holistic manner there is potential for long-term damage to be done to the overall future of Serbs in Kosovo, Aktiv wrote on Twitter.

The full publication is available at: https://bit.ly/3kBlEsH

Rakic with Abbott on attacks against Serbian population (Kosovo-online)

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Governance Administration Goran Rakic met today British Ambassador in Pristina Nicholas Abbott and discussed the political and security situation in Kosovo, economic recovery, issues and priorities of the local self-governments.

In a press statement issued by Rakic’s Ministry, Rakic first expressed concern over frequent attacks against the Serbian population and their properties in Kosovo, and requested reactions of all relevant institutions to both condemn and find perpetrators of these acts.

Speaking about the Washington agreement, the interlocutors noted that continuation of what has been agreed is priority.

Rakic also informed Abbott on activities and municipal projects that the Ministry undertook in the period since their last meeting.

They also touched upon forthcoming mayoral elections in Mitrovica North and Podujevo, adding the joint stance was that municipal elections there should be held with strict adherence to all recommended measures relating to the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and in democratic environment.

Kosovo Serb politician says Biden helped protect monastery (N1)

Kosovo Serb politician Rada Trajkovic said on Wednesday that the Democratic Party nominee for US President Joe Biden personally intervened to protect one of the most important Serbian Orthodox Church Monastery.

“Mr Biden indeed personally intervened to protect Decani Monastery and we remain grateful to him. However, the safety of the Kosovo Serbs and their churches shouldn’t depend on the will and the word of strongmen who control extremists. Instead, consistent application and respect for the law is needed”, Trajkovic wrote on the Twitter account. 

She added that the Kosovo Serbs need rule of law not “informal assurances of good will”. 

“The continuous failure of the KS government to implement the decision by Kosovo’s own Constitutional Court regarding Decani Monastery’s ownership of the surrounding land demonstrates this all too well”, she Tweeted.

See at: https://bit.ly/35FBSL4

 

 

Opinion

 

The unbearable lightness of stealing public money (Prishtina Insight)

The theft of two million euros from the Treasury is not an isolated case, but a practice within public institutions that has been established over two decades through impunity and incompetence, writes Agron Demi.

“Last Thursday I had deja vu. The sensational news of the theft of more than two million euros from the State Treasury was quickly followed by the theft of a 300-kilogram safe from the offices of the Food and Veterinary Agency. The stories were surprising, but not entirely new.

On February 10, 2000, the media reported that three unknown perpetrators had stolen the safe from the Dardania Bank. It was initially believed that the safe contained between 400,000 and 600,000 Deutschmarks, but by April Koha Ditore was reporting that two million marks had in fact been stolen.

The Dardania Bank was established through the donations of Albanians in the diaspora that provided funds to finance the parallel system created by Kosovo Albanians during the 1990s. At the end of the 1999 war, the Fund was left with over 50 million marks remaining, which are still unaccounted for.

Responsibility is not only for those that commit a crime but also those who fail to act to prevent it. There have been a number of recommendations to improve security around financial transactions, and, as a former finance minister, Prime Minister Hoti must be aware of this.

In this light, the theft of two million euros from the Treasury is not, as Hoti describes it, “an isolated case.” In fact, it is a crime two decades in the making, through incompetence, impunity and irresponsibility from public institutions.”

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/31RgAsK

Twin crises: Political dysfunction in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (ecfr.eu)

Regardless of the result of the US election, it is up to the EU to show robust leadership and gain credibility in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia

In early October, the European Union’s special representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, visited the two cities to negotiate on the normalisation of relations between the sides. This came after a spate of internal political crises in both Kosovo and Serbia, and a controversial agreement forged in Washington the previous month. The fragmented internal politics of both states provides ample ground for misunderstandings, making the road toward a final, legally binding agreement very rocky indeed. The prospects for resuming the process soon and reaching a mutually acceptable agreement depend mainly on internal political cohesion in both Kosovo and Serbia, as well as on who wins the US presidential election on 3 November.

Perpetual political crisis in Kosovo

The political landscape in Kosovo has fundamentally changed. In the last few years, there has been rising public demand for a new generation to take over politics and governance. Yet the composition of the current parliament reflects a political class characterised by incompetent and corrupt governance, a lack of any vision for the future, and a failure to fulfil voters’ ambitions of prosperity.

The political situation in Kosovo may have never been so tangled. Since the parliamentary election on 6 October 2019, the government has been led by Avdullah Hoti, a politician who received almost seven times fewer votes than Vjosa Osmani, his party’s candidate for prime minister. Hoti acquired this position through political engineering – some of it supported by external actors – in everything from a motion of no-confidence in the middle of a pandemic to a dubious Constitutional Court ruling allegedly backed by President Hashim Thaci. Making matters even more complicated, the Special Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague announced that Thaci could be indicted for war crimes in the near future.

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

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Serbian epidemiologist says more restrictive measures could come (N1)

Serbian epidemiologist Predrag Kon said on Wednesday that more restrictive measures could be introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic, N1 reports.

He told public broadcaster RTS that limiting movement is a final option which could be considered after making sure that people do not come into contact with infected patients. “The introduction of those measures has to be in line with the situation. We are seeing hospitals being filled along with the increase in the number of new cases… The most important thing now is to tell the public, especially in Belgrade, to avoid gatherings and wear masks”, Kon said. 

He said community awareness could slow down the pandemic and could provide protection until a vaccine comes. Kon also said that testing everyone is not viable. “We test people who have symptoms or are contacts”.

See at: https://bit.ly/3oC2Xar

Developing a Long-Term and Holistic Approach to Strengthen Water Security in Kosovo (marketscreener.com)

The Water Security Outlook report outlined numerous challenges facing the state of water security in Kosovo. Among them are the following:

-Kosovo’s water basins are expected to experience increased water stress over the next twenty years due to population growth, resource constraints and increased demands to strengthen the irrigation, mining and energy sectors. Moreover, many of these basins are transboundary and vulnerable to risks such as floods, droughts, and pollution.

-The country’s agricultural sector is heavily water dependent (with 140 million m3/year of withdrawal) – though poor infrastructure and a lack of investments limit its availability.

-Furthermore, Kosovo has dilapidated and outdated infrastructure, as well as low energy generating capacity (0.8 kilowatts per habitant, which is less than half of that in Slovenia and roughly one-fourth of that in Austria), and low installed hydropower capacity (52 megawatts compared to 3,122 megawatts in Serbia).

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

BSF: Nordic model of security cooperation an example for the Western Balkans (EWB)

BELGRADE – National interest and political will are the key factors that could determine the success of Western Balkans defense cooperation, while the countries of the region could learn a lot from the Nordic model, were some of the conclusions of the Belgrade Security Forum’s panel titled “Defence cooperation beyond the Alliance borders: What can the Balkans learn from Nordic countries?”

See at: https://bit.ly/31QHhOb

The importance of ‘unlearning’ the past: Interview with Balkans expert Keith Brown (globalvoices.org)

‘Critical thinking demands, as an early step, recognition of one’s own blinkers, prejudices and areas of ignorance’

This story was originally published by Meta.mk, which also added the additional links to English-language sources explaining some of the terms menntioned. An edited version is republished here via a content-sharing agreement between Global Voices and Metamorphosis Foundation.

Keith Brown is a professor at Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies. He is also director of The Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian & Eastern European Studies. With a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago, Brown works primarily in the domain of culture, politics, and identity, focused on the Balkans.

Part of his extensive research on ethnonationalism and the role of national history in the region has been available to the public in North Macedonia via the translations of his books “The past in question: Modern Macedonia and the Uncertainties of Nation” (2003) and “Loyal unto Death, Trust and Terror in Revolutionary Macedonia” (2013).

In an interview with portal CriThink.mk, Brown explains the importance of critical thinking when learning history.

See at:https://bit.ly/34D2b5j

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