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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, December 28

By   /  28/12/2020  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, December 28

COVID – 19: 215 new cases, 4 deaths (media)
No Kosovo-Serbia agreement without status discussion, Lajcak tells Klan Kosova
Assembly expected to vote on 2021 budget today (media)
PDK to support 2021 budget bill (media)
PDK: Governments allowed Serbia undermining Kosovo’s sovereignty (media)
Kosovo Government: No information vaccines entered by legal channels (media)
Haradinaj-Stublla: Serbia threatening Kosovo’s national security (media)
Selimi calls on judiciary to investigate vaccine delivery in the north (media)
Reshitaj questions vaccines being used in the north (media)
Kurti: Vetevendosje aims to have over 65 seats after new elections (Koha)
Police stop Serbian official from entering Kosovo (media)
Kosovo: Top politicians sent to Hague to face war charges (Balkan Insight)
2020 showed that Kosovo’s social contract needs rethinking (Prishtina Insight)

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  • COVID – 19: 215 new cases, 4 deaths (media)
  • No Kosovo-Serbia agreement without status discussion, Lajcak tells Klan Kosova
  • Assembly expected to vote on 2021 budget today (media)
  • PDK to support 2021 budget bill (media)
  • PDK: Governments allowed Serbia undermining Kosovo’s sovereignty (media)
  • Kosovo Government: No information vaccines entered by legal channels (media)
  • Haradinaj-Stublla: Serbia threatening Kosovo’s national security (media)
  • Selimi calls on judiciary to investigate vaccine delivery in the north (media)
  • Reshitaj questions vaccines being used in the north (media)
  • Kurti: Vetevendosje aims to have over 65 seats after new elections (Koha)
  • Police stop Serbian official from entering Kosovo (media)
  • Kosovo: Top politicians sent to Hague to face war charges (Balkan Insight)
  • 2020 showed that Kosovo’s social contract needs rethinking (Prishtina Insight)

COVID – 19: 215 new cases, 4 deaths (media)

215 new cases of COVID – 19 and 4 deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 428 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. there are 10,604 active cases of COVID – 19 in Kosovo.

No Kosovo-Serbia agreement without status discussion, Lajcak tells Klan Kosova

The EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, said in an interview with the news website that a comprehensive agreement cannot be expected without the parties discussing the status issue. He also said that the fact the parties returned to the negotiating table is a major achievement and that the EU expects to see crucial progress in 2021.

“For the first time, the parties have managed to agree on the parameters of this complex and delicate negotiation process – namely the comprehensive, legally binding agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, which deals with all unresolved issues once and for all. With the resumption of the Dialogue, the parties have also agreed on the elements of the final agreement, which we are negotiating.”

Lajcak said that both Pristina and Belgrade understand that they need Dialogue in order to move forward towards European Union integration and that they have shown in the past that they can reach agreement. “However, the issues we are currently discussing are extremely sensitive, complex and difficult, but equally important. Of course, the positions are distant, but each issue will be addressed to find common ground. This means giving a little of yourself on some issues, which are of key importance to the other party to win over others.”

Asked on whether he views that constitutional changes will be necessary for an agreement to be reached, Lajcak said: “I do not say that I see the change of constitutions as a solution. As a facilitator, it is not up to me to tell Kosovo and Serbia to do this.”

He pointed out however that an international agreement entails legal arrangements that may need to be incorporated in respective constitutions. “This applies to both Kosovo and Serbia.”

On the possible timeline for the conclusion of the Dialogue process, Lajcak did not give a specific date but said that the EU has made it very clear there is no reason to delay the process. “The EU, as a facilitator, is ready to move forward as long as the parties are willing to do so, and we expect crucial progress in 2021.”

To the question of how the EU can convince five of its member states as well as Serbia to recognise independence of Kosovo, Lajcak replied: “A comprehensive agreement cannot be reached without discussing the status issue. Both parties are aware of this and have expressed their positions on this. However, we need to build a joint agreement on other elements of the agreement in order to be willing to discuss it. Both parties need to have a clear picture about what the Comprehensive Agreement will look like in entirety in order to have meaningful discussions about it. We are not there yet.”

He said that the EU member states share a huge interest in Dialogue and the Western Balkans but that it is up to each of them to decide what position to hold on recognition of Kosovo’s independence. At the same time, noted Lajcak, the five EU member states have confirmed they are following the process closely, also in the context of their respective national positions. “In my experience as a politician, a strong reason is needed to change a position at the national level. Comprehensive agreement on normalisation of relations may provide such a reason.”

Assembly expected to vote on 2021 budget today (media)

Kosovo Assembly is expected to convene today and vote on the next year’s budget ahead of the decision to dissolve the legislature and call extraordinary elections as per the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

Outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said the approval of the budget bill ensures financial stability. “The voting of this law secures support for jobless workers and businesses facing financial hardship due to the pandemic,” Hoti wrote on Facebook.

PDK to support 2021 budget bill (media)

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) will vote in favour of the next year’s budget, said its acting leader Enver Hoxhaj at a press conference.

“The PDK’s vote will be in favour of the budget as we don’t want all categories in Kosovo that rely on the state budget – KSF soldiers, the police, doctors – to remain without salaries early spring and to have the country in the half of 2021 be threatened by the lack of budget,” Hoxhaj said.

Hoxhaj also commented on the COVID-19 pandemic saying that the recent developments in Kosovo are well above one’s imagination: “The Kurti government received tests from Serbia, Hoti government receives the vaccines and there is no better way to show the citizens of Kosovo how the sovereignty of Kosovo has been violated in the north at the start of the year and at the end of it. Both governments could have prevented the pandemic better and both could have managed its consequences in a better way.”

PDK: Governments allowed Serbia undermining Kosovo’s sovereignty (media)

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has accused the last two government of Kosovo of being submissive to Serbia and permitting the violation of Kosovo’s sovereignty.

PDK’s secretary Uran Ismaili said at a press conference on Saturday that the government of Albin Kurti and the following one led by Avdullah Hoti allowed Serbia to infiltrate into Kosovo first through COVID-19 tests and finally with COVID-19 vaccines. He said the delivery of vaccines in the north of Kosovo reveals Serbia’s strategy to undermine Kosovo’s sovereignty and further its anti-Kosovo state agenda.

“With the tolerance and silence of the two previous governments, step by step, Aleksandar Vucic is depicting Serbia as humanist – while trying to cover up before the world its genocidal past in Kosovo,” he said. “It is irritating for our citizens to see how a hostile Government enters Kosovo, vaccinates against Covid-19, while the rest of citizens of the Republic of Kosovo not only have not started to be vaccinated, but do not have even the slightest information on when vaccination by the state of Kosovo will start”, Ismaili added.

Kosovo Government: No information vaccines entered by legal channels (media)

The Government of Kosovo issued a statement on Saturday following reports that Serbian authorities have delivered vaccines against Covid-19 in the north saying that there is no data suggesting that the vaccines entered the territory of Kosovo through official and legal channels.

“If these vaccines have entered Kosovo through illegal channels, then Kosovo institutions will take the necessary legal measures against persons involved in this illegal activity such as drug smuggling. Otherwise, the institutions of Kosovo have not had any official communication with the institutions of Serbia regarding this issue, neither directly through the Liaison Offices of both countries nor with the mediation of the international community,” the statement said.

The Government underlined that any medical product that enters Kosovo must be subject to import rules. “If a product does not follow this regular procedure, it is considered an illegal.”

Haradinaj-Stublla: Serbia threatening Kosovo’s national security (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, called Serbia’s delivery of Covid-19 vaccine in the north of Kosovo a ‘clandestine intervention’ and a flagrant violation of the Brussels Agreement of 2015 on recognition of pharmaceutical certificates.

“Serbia and its senior officials, with their actions in recent months, as well as with the continuous violations, have endangered the state security of Kosovo, and as a result have undermined the whole process and the achievements of the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia both in Washington and also in Brussels,” she commented on a Facebook post.

Haradinaj-Stublla said the urgent cooperation of relevant Kosovo authorities is paramount for the protection of sovereignty and borders. “I also expect from Brussels and Washington, as mediators of the dialogue, respectively guarantors of peace, security, and stability in the region, an adequate response to the violations and destabilizing threats that Serbia is making to the agreements and the spirit of normalization.”

Selimi calls on judiciary to investigate vaccine delivery in the north (media)

Kosovo’ Minister of Justice Selim Selimi made a public call to the prosecution and the police to launch an investigation into how a delivery of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in the north of Kosovo.

Selimi said that Kosovo has in place a vaccine delivery system through the Ministry of Health and the National Institute for Public Health. “Any vaccine or drug that enters outside this system may be illegal and undermine the national security of the Republic,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Smuggling routes must be investigated and territorial integrity protected,” he noted further. “Humanitarian issues are our roadmap, but they need to be done through official ways as two states. We do not have citizens of the first or second category. We are all Kosovars and as such we are subject to only one Constitution and one law.”

Reshitaj questions vaccines being used in the north (media)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) MP Albena Reshitaj, who chairs the Kosovo Assembly’s Committee on Healthcare, took to Facebook to react to the vaccination of Serb citizens in the northern part of Kosovo by Serbia. She said that every medical product that is not verified by state authorities and that enters illegally in Kosovo is considered a suspicious product and violates the code of ethics

“Serbia for the second time is using public health to violate and threaten the sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo. This once again shows the inhumanity of Serbian policies vis-à-vis Kosovo,” Reshitaj argued.

Kurti: Vetevendosje aims to have over 65 seats after new elections (Koha)

Vetevendosje Movement (VV) leader Albin Kurti said on Sunday that this party aims to have over 65 seats in the Assembly after the early parliamentary elections. “After the recent decision of the Constitutional Court, elections are very near. Chances are that over 65 candidates from our list will become MPs,” Kurti said at the meeting of his party’s general assembly.

“We will not remove anyone from their jobs unjustly only because they are members of a certain political party. No one will be employed only because they are members of the Vetevendosje Movement and no one will remain in a position that they don’t deserve,” Kurti said.

Police stop Serbian official from entering Kosovo (media)

Citing a report by Kosovo Online, several news outlets report that Kosovo Police have stopped Mirolad Arlov, an official of the Serbian Government’s office for Kosovo, from entering Kosovo at the Jarinje border crossing. The office reacted to the ban calling it a political decision.

Kosovo: Top politicians sent to Hague to face war charges (Balkan Insight)

Kosovo experienced a watershed moment in 2020 when four guerrilla leaders who became political heavyweights in the post-war years, including President Hashim Thaci, were sent to stand trial for wartime and post-war crimes.

A decade after explosive allegations were made against Kosovo Liberation Army fighters in a report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, the Hague-based court whose existence grew out of Marty’s report, made a decisive step this year towards trying former guerrillas for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

After over 120 KLA ex-fighters were questioned by Hague-based prosecutors, and then in April, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office filed a ten-count indictment charging four prominent guerrillas-turned-politicians – President Hashim Thaci, Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader Kadri Veseli, the chairman of the national council of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) party, Jakup Krasniqi, and the head of the parliamentary group of the biggest opposition party, the Vetevendosje Movement, Rexhep Selimi.

On June 24, a day before Thaci was due to arrive in Washington for a high-profile meeting with US President Donald Trump with Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, the prosecutors made the indictment public, even though it hadn’t yet been confirmed by a judge.

The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office said it was necessary to publicise the charges because of repeated efforts by Thaci and Veseli to obstruct and undermine the work of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, which has a mandate to try ex-KLA fighters for alleged war crimes and political killings committed during and just after the war from 1998 to 2000.

“By taking these actions, Thaci and Veseli have put their personal interests ahead of the victims of their crimes, the rule of law, and all people of Kosovo,” the prosecution said in a statement.

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/2M8SS69

2020 showed that Kosovo’s social contract needs rethinking (Prishtina Insight)

The economic emergency created by the pandemic revealed the state’s inability to provide support to those who need it most, with measures taken by the Hoti Government only exacerbating inequality.

Since its inception, Kosovo’s social policy has been designed to supply only minimal protection for citizens unable to be provided for via the free market or the family.

This low level of protection is mainly issued through benefit payments for poor families, disabled persons, the elderly and children that are either disabled, abandoned or in foster care – all tied to a poverty threshold calculated based on minimum food consumption.

Maternity leave compensation for working mothers is also provided, as well as a very small public infrastructure for pre-school child care, which is again targeted at so-called vulnerable groups. Meanwhile a low level of residual social work and monitoring is also delivered, including to children in violent homes and survivors of human trafficking.

Outside of this protection, the state foresees citizens gaining any further income and support from employment in the market, pension savings, private health insurance, and private or third sector services.

This policy was designed during the administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), under the strong influence of other international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which were themselves influenced by radical pro-market ideological paradigms.

Of course, various layers of social policy (typically those benefiting groups close to governing parties, such as compensations for war veterans and teachers in the Kosovo Albanian parallel education system during 1990s) were added following independence, but the foundations of the system remain the same.

Over the last 20 years, this setup has produced one of the most unequal societies in Europe in terms of income. Kosovo’s Gini coefficient, which measures inequality of income, has been as high as 43 percent, considerably above the EU average of around 30 percent.

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/34Oi9ZO

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