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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 30, 2020

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID – 19: 234 new cases, seven deaths (media)
• Kosovo requests from Italy help to ensure anti-COVID-19 vaccines (media)
• Osmani and Kurti discussed political situation with Viola Von Cramon (media)
• Osmani: Time has come for our soldiers to contribute to foreign peacekeeping forces (media)
• Hoxhaj: I am certain PDK will lead with future government (RTK)
• Musliu: PDK does not have any red lines even for LVV (media)
• AAK will run on its own in the elections (media)
• Ramadani expects anti-COVID vaccines to arrive in Kosovo by March (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• In Serbian communities in Kosovo 26 newly infected (KoSSev)
• Jevtic not satisfied with the return process, 273 people returned this year (KoSSev)
• KLI report: There is a culture of impunity in Kosovo, most of the accused politicians belong to PDK (KoSSev)
• Ambassador Djuric: We want the United States to be a part of Serbia’s recovery (B92, Politika)
• Office for KiM: Pristina is creating a climate in which attacks on Serbs are permissible (Kosovo-online)
• Russian Ambassador says vaccine to arrive in Serbia soon (N1, B92)
• Vucic offers help to Croatia following earthquake (BETA, N1)
• Arts, entertainment, and recreation industry suffer the most damage during the pandemic, the IT sector the least (KoSSev)
• Trajkovic: Veton Surroi, Kosovo’s new leader (Kosovo Online)

International:

• Kosovo Is Losing Its Biggest Supporter In Congress; But It May Be Too Early For Serbia To Celebrate (RFE)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Two police officers suspended after video of an assault (Prishtina Insight)
• Unequal Damage, Fair Recovery? (Kosovo 2.0)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID – 19: 234 new cases, seven deaths (media)
  • Kosovo requests from Italy help to ensure anti-COVID-19 vaccines (media)
  • Osmani and Kurti discussed political situation with Viola Von Cramon (media)
  • Osmani: Time has come for our soldiers to contribute to foreign peacekeeping forces (media)
  • Hoxhaj: I am certain PDK will lead with future government (RTK)
  • Musliu: PDK does not have any red lines even for LVV (media)
  • AAK will run on its own in the elections (media)
  • Ramadani expects anti-COVID vaccines to arrive in Kosovo by March (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • In Serbian communities in Kosovo 26 newly infected (KoSSev)
  • Jevtic not satisfied with the return process, 273 people returned this year (KoSSev)
  • KLI report: There is a culture of impunity in Kosovo, most of the accused politicians belong to PDK (KoSSev)
  • Ambassador Djuric: We want the United States to be a part of Serbia’s recovery (B92, Politika)
  • Office for KiM: Pristina is creating a climate in which attacks on Serbs are permissible (Kosovo-online)
  • Russian Ambassador says vaccine to arrive in Serbia soon (N1, B92)
  • Vucic offers help to Croatia following earthquake (BETA, N1)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation industry suffer the most damage during the pandemic, the IT sector the least (KoSSev)
  • Trajkovic: Veton Surroi, Kosovo’s new leader (Kosovo Online)

International:

  • Kosovo Is Losing Its Biggest Supporter In Congress; But It May Be Too Early For Serbia To Celebrate (RFE)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Two police officers suspended after video of an assault (Prishtina Insight)
  • Unequal Damage, Fair Recovery? (Kosovo 2.0)

 

 

 

Albanian Language Media 

 

COVID – 19: 234 new cases, seven deaths (media)

234 new cases of COVID – 19 and seven deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 564 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. There are 8,825 active cases of COVID – 19 in Kosovo.

Kosovo requests from Italy help to ensure anti-COVID-19 vaccines (media)

Kosovo’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla hosted today a meeting with Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

“Great meeting with Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio. Continuing to deepen our excellent bilateral relations. Discussed COVID-19 and vaccine access. Military cooperation with Italy is of strategic importance to Kosovo and we stand strongly committed to enhance it. Agreed to strengthen support for youth,” Haradinaj-Stublla wrote on her Twitter account.

Osmani and Kurti discussed political situation with Viola Von Cramon (media)

Acting President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani, Western Balkans Rapporteur for the European Parliament Viola von Cramon, Vetevendosje Movement leader Albin Kurti and Greens MP in the German Bundestang Manuel Sarrazin discussed the political situation in Kosovo. According to the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement, Albin Kurti, the discussion took place last night through Zoom.

Kurti said that in addition to the political situation, the “socio-economic and legal reform vision of our future government after the elections, our agenda for rescuing the state from the multiple crisis, as well as European integration and the role of the diaspora” were also discussed.

“Last night, together with the Acting President, Mrs. Vjosa Osmani, Rapporteur for the Western Balkans in the European Parliament, Mrs. Viola von Cramon and the member of the Greens in the German Bundestag, Mr. Manuel Sarrazin, we discussed for an hour and a half in Zoom about the political situation in Kosovo, the socio-economic and legal reform vision of our future government after the elections, our agenda for the recovery of the state from the multiple crisis, as well as the European integration and the role of the diaspora. Albanian activists, Muhamet Idrizi in Hamburg, originally from Mitrovica, and Emiljo Jazxhi, in Berlin, originally from Korca, organized and moderated this debate. With such friends, hope and opportunities for our country increase,” Kurti wrote.

Osmani: Time has come for our soldiers to contribute to foreign peacekeepers (media)

In the last address for this year, the acting president, Vjosa Osmani, said in front of the soldiers of the Kosovo Security Force that it is time for the latter to become part of NATO and part of peace.

She added that in the year we are leaving behind, the KSF has marked success.

“Currently, although the Force is in the capacity building phase, we can say that this year has been successful. During the pandemic, the KSF has supported the institutions as requested and has shown that it can provide its assistance. Two weeks ago, through an address, we defined the basic orientations in the field of defense. The force should become part of NATO and part of the peace in partnership with our allies. Kosovo today has professional forces in line with the mission. The time has come for our military to give our contribution to foreign peacekeeping forces,” Osmani said at the Adem Jashari barracks.

Congratulating the work of the Force, Osmani said that their readiness to serve the country is evidenced by “the help they gave to Albania and the readiness to help Croatia”.

Hoxhaj: I am certain PDK will lead with future government (RTK)

Acting leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Enver Hoxhaj met during his visit to Albania with the Parliament Speaker Gramoz Ruci, President of Albania, Ilir Meta, and leader of the opposition Lulezim Basha.

Ruci told Hoxhaj that Albania’s Parliament will give its contribution to protect the values of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“We discussed a concrete challenge that is facing the Special Court. It should not be allowed for this process to transform into violation of the KLA war. This requires complete and comprehensive  coordination between Albania and Kosovo. All political forces in both countries should give their contribution and be unanimous on its support. This is a challenge for Kosovo’s advancing on its integration road, Basha said.  

During a press conference, Hoxhaj expressed conviction that the next government of Kosovo will be led by his political party.

“I am nominated by PDK to lead the future government of Kosovo and I am certain that PDK will lead with the next government of Kosovo. I have been in different positions in Kosovo for a long time. My intention is to have an opinion and a new plan in relation with Albania, when political cooperation is concerned, as we cannot act based on 2008 parameters on what we are going to do in 2020. In this respect, we will make efforts to come up with a political platform and a meaningful economic integration between Kosovo and Albania, in order to remove all the barriers,” Hoxhaj said.

Musliu: PDK does not have any red lines even for LVV (media)

Ganimete Musliu, MP of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), said that her party does not have red lines for any other party, including the Vetëvendosje Movement, with which they have constantly clashed.

In a statement to the Kosova Press, Musliu said that the PDK has not discussed pre-election coalitions for the elections that are expected to be held soon.

“The Democratic Party has never set red lines. PDK has a lifelong coalition with the citizens of Kosovo. We will always be a guarantee for a state with integrity, a state with full sovereignty, and a state where every citizen of the Republic of Kosovo will feel dignified. We will never set red lines for anyone, and if the Vetevendosje Movement is a Kosovo Albanian party, then this means that the same rules apply to the Vetevendosje Movement and we are no exception. So far, as a political party and as a decision-making organizational structure, we do not have on the table the topic or discussion of coalitions, either pre-election, or even after the election, for the formation of the government of the Republic of Kosovo”, she said.

According to Musliu, all parties have learned from the PDK’s stance that there should be no red lines towards other parties.

Musliu said that the offers for possible coalitions will be based on ideas and visions, while inviting the electorate not to vote with resentment, but to focus on the parties that have given results and created stability in the country. According to her, the new elections find Kosovo more destabilized and insecure than ever before.

AAK will run on its own in the elections (media)

Deputy leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Xhafer Gashi said AAK will not make a pre-election coalition with any of the political parties and that the AAK’s steering committee has decided it will run on its own in the elections.

“However now, it remains to see the verdict of the Court, the final verdict, and I believe that entities are prepared to run for elections. Currently, the position of the AAK’s steering committee is to take this journey on its own. After the elections, we will see how things develop,” Gashi said.

He added that the leadership of the steering committee of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo proposed Ramush Haradinaj as candidate for the President of Kosovo.

Ramadani expects anti-COVID vaccines to arrive in Kosovo by March (media)

The director of the National Institute for Health, Naser Ramadani, said that he expects vaccines against COVID-19 to arrive in Kosovo by March.

“It is a procedure that the Ministry of Health has performed and we are waiting, it depends on the relations with the internationals”, said Ramadani who was seen near the tent located in “Zahir Pajaziti” square where citizens are being tested for coronavirus.

He said that this form of setting up a tent in the square for testing, is done to provide a more accessible service to citizens.

“This form is to provide services to citizens in a random place and this place is a square, where you will see the epidemiological overview of where is the biggest coverage with COVID-19 in Kosovo,” Ramadani told KTV.

He added that such services will be provided during 2021 in other municipalities.

“We will continue because we are entering 2021 and the service must be covered for every citizen. Our teams are constantly on duty,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

In Serbian communities in Kosovo 26 newly infected (KoSSev)

The North Mitrovica Crisis Staff announced today that in the municipalities in Kosovo with a majority Serb population, 26 cases of coronavirus were registered, reported portal KoSSev. 

Of the total number of new cases, 20 are from the North, while 6 are from central Kosovo.

The new patients are from North Mitrovica and Leposavic 7 each, Zvecan – 5, Gnjilane – 4, Zubin Potok -1, Lipljan – 1 and Priluzje- 1. 

58 people came out of the fourteen-day isolation.

The total number of deaths since the beginning of the epidemic is 86.

The number of active cases in Serbian communities in Kosovo is now 623.

So far, a total of 3,515 coronavirus-positive people have been registered in Serb areas in Kosovo, out of 12,176 tested samples.

Jevtic not satisfied with the return process, 273 people returned this year (KoSSev)

During 2020, 273 people returned to Kosovo, which is a devastating figure, said the Minister of Communities and Returns in the Kosovo government, Dalibor Jevtic, at the annual online press conference, reported portal KoSSev.

Jevtic pointed out that 2020 was specific, the pandemic dictated the work but added that the ministry acted in accordance with what was possible.

“Our obligation was, in addition to all the new circumstances, to be present,” he stated.

“Together with partners from the EU and the IOM, but also other international organizations, we have continued to work on the process of return and reintegration of displaced persons. We have started with the construction of 128 houses, of which 109 have been completed to date, and 19 will be completed during January,” said Jevtic, adding that these houses were built in 12 municipalities in Kosovo.

The largest number of these homes, 93 of them, were built for Serbian families (a total of 426 users from this ethnic community). Other houses were built for the needs of Roma families (7 of them), then for Ashkali families (4), Egyptian families (3) and one each for one Bosniak and one Gorani family.

This year, 273 people returned to Kosovo – 133 Serbs, 42 Gorani, 36 Roma, 33 Egyptians, 23 Ashkali, 5 Albanians.

The safety of returnees should be taken care of by security institutions

In addition to the economic situation, the return process is also affected by the security situation, he assessed. As he specified, this ministry has recorded 62 incidents against returnees in the previous period – 15 cases of theft, 18 physical attacks on persons, 4 arson, 7 cases of destruction of religious buildings, 13 cases of destruction of immovable property and 1 case of destruction of public buildings.

“We are not the ones who should provide protection for those people, the institutional system should do that,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that today in the 21st century, these people remain unprotected, especially in cases when the perpetrators are known, but apart from apprehension and informative conversation, there is no further reaction,” he said, adding that such examples are an incentive to others.  

On the other hand, he states that the priority of the ministry is the staying in Kosovo, “because for us staying is just as important as return”, which is why, as he stated, the ministry also worked on supporting returnee families to start a business.

“We responded where we had the opportunity, we did not exclude any community,” Jevtic said.

This year, this Ministry also worked on closing the collective center in Brezovica, which is a process that has encountered difficulties this year. Also, infrastructure projects were implemented in Gracanica, Novo Brdo, Strpce, Istok and Pec, which were related to road infrastructure, sewerage and water supply. The value of the investment in infrastructure is 188,604 euros.

Political instability in Kosovo is another factor influencing the return process, he noted.

After the Washington agreement, the initiative was launched, but everything was suspended after the elections in the USA.

The return process was the topic of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, in two parallel processes, the one in Brussels and the one in Washington. However, there are no concrete results for now.

“After the agreement in Washington, the Government of Kosovo initiated certain things, but after the elections in the United States, there were no initiatives to realize this issue,” Jevtic said.

On the other hand, when it comes to the dialogue in Brussels, he emphasized that despite the fact that return was a topic, the Ministry of Communities and Returns did not participate in any way in these negotiations led by the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti. 

Nevertheless, the ministry intends to launch return initiatives outside of these processes.

“Through the Skoplje process, we want to launch an initiative where we will offer more options to every displaced person to help those who are homeless and in displacement, but this issue requires broad political support.”

“When we talk about return, we have to be realistic, the usurped property is, in addition to the problems we talked about, a special problem,” he added.

The media reporting in the Albanian language, despite the invitation and the fact that the translation was provided, did not respond to the invitation to attend the conference, the organizer stated, reported the portal.

The Minister raised another objection to the media that report in Albanian, saying that they do not transmit the statements of this ministry, especially those related to attacks on returnees.

KLI report: There is a culture of impunity in Kosovo, most of the accused politicians belong to PDK (KoSSev)

Political parties in Kosovo have successfully established a culture of impunity, promoted to such an extent that people accused of corruption and serious crimes are considered the standard of governance – reads one of the conclusions of the Kosovo Law Institute report on the level of criminalization of political parties in Kosovo presented on December 26th. The report, entitled ”Criminalized Politics”, addresses indictments and convictions of politicians in Kosovo and covers a twelve-year period – from Kosovo’s self-declared independence to May 31, 2020.

During this period, 298 indictments were filed against 216 politicians, 210 of which were filed while they held official positions.

Most of the accused belong to PDK, followed by LDK

The highest number of politicians against whom an indictment has been filed comes from the opposition PDK party. A total of 89 indictments were filed against 67 members of this party.

LDK took second place as 37 members from this party were included in 48 indictments, followed by Ramush Haradinaj’s AAK with 32 indictments and 22 accused members.

Also, a total of 26 indictments were filed against 19 NISMA members, as well as three indictments against three AKR officials.

Twenty-six indictments were filed against 19 members of the Self-Determination and 17 against 10 members of the PSD.

A total of 47 indictments were filed against 32 politicians belonging to smaller parties from the Albanian and minority communities and 10 indictments against seven persons from unidentified parties.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2WUocYr

Ambassador Djuric: We want the United States to be a part of Serbia’s recovery (B92, Politika)

Serbia is sincerely committed to opening an entirely new chapter in the relations with the United States, newly-appointed Serbian Ambassador to the US Marko Djuric said, B92 reports.

Serbia is sincerely committed to opening an entirely new chapter in the relations with the United States and that commitment of ours is not determined by specific appointments in the White House or political composition of the key U.S. institutions, the newly-appointed Serbian Ambassador to the United States Marko Djuric said in an interview for Politika.

  1. What kind of cooperation do you expect with the new administration?

Djuric: We are open to friendly cooperation and building bilateral relations with all democratically elected officials in the United States. When it comes to President-elect Biden, he is a man who is very well informed about the situation in our region and is aware of the broader context of relations in the Balkans. I will also remind you that President Biden was our guest in Belgrade not so long ago, which is the only such case in the recent history of Serbia-U.S. relations. In the previous years, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic maintained excellent personal relations with members of the Congress and politicians from both parties. He has known President-elect Biden for a long time and every meeting they had that I attended was excellent. I expect that on the U.S. side we will find equal interest in further improving relations between Serbia and the United States through the existing and possibly some new frameworks of cooperation.

Q: What will be your priorities as Serbian Ambassador to the United States?

Djuric: I am in the United States, among other things, to convey that Serbia today is a story of success, recovery and rising from the ashes because we want America with its companies, innovations, scientific community and even certain values, to be part of that recovery. Next year, Serbia and the United States will mark 140 years of diplomatic relations. During that period, we mostly had relations that can be described as friendly. We were allies in two world wars, and our countries have been based on the same or very similar core values since the beginning of their modern statehood. America as we know it today was built by so many famous Serbs, and a large number of our compatriots still live there today, so that we can also talk about the Serbian contribution to building the American dream.

Q: How would you describe our relations with the United States?

Djuric: Our relations are deep and emotional, and as with any emotional relationship, we have had our ups and downs. I want to say that it is natural for our relations to be very good and friendly, and I will work on that with dedication, as I will do everything to make ordinary American people better acquainted with Serbia and Serbs, so that we can, I hope, once and for all close all dark pages of our still relatively fresh history. After all, everyone here respects the economic results of our country, which holds the top position in terms of gross domestic product growth at the time of the pandemic. Even the lobbyists of other sides are counting on the fact that they cannot push Serbia today as they did in the past.

Q: It has been speculated that Madeleine Albright could get involved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue?

Djuric: Serbia is not in a position to choose who to talk to. Our commitment to dialogue is sincere and consistent, and is not based on emotions, but on a rational understanding of our state and national interests. From the question of who will specifically take part in the dialogue on the U.S. side, the far more important question is whether Serbia and the United States today have a greater capacity to identify common interests and build a partnership than they did two decades ago. The world has changed substantially in the past twenty years, and I hope that in the new geopolitical context, our two countries will be ready and able to rearrange their mutual relations in a way that will open prospects for a safer and better future for the citizens of Serbia and our entire region. We will certainly insist on cooperation and mutual respect at the same time.

Q: As the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue continues, can we expect the United States’ pressure on Serbia to increase?

Djuric: International mediation in resolving frozen conflicts is a euphemism for pressure. Pressures have always been part of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. If international pressures are exerted in order to increase the dynamic of the process of normalization of relations, this coincides with Serbia’s interest in permanently eliminating the sources of instability in our region so that we can generate joint economic and social development with even higher intensity and accelerate the European integration process.

However, if the pressures are there to impose some solutions that are not a result of compromise and true reconciliation, this cannot make anyone happy in the long run. I believe that there is an interest at the international level to resolve the problems between Belgrade and Pristina, and we are the constructive side here, because in order to achieve regional stability, which is important also for the perspective of future generations in Serbia and the economic progress, it is our interest to have a stable and secure Balkans.

The Community of Serb Municipalities is just a precondition for the process to continue, not a concept that will permanently satisfy Serbia

Q: The Community of Serb Municipalities has been one of the key issues in the dialogue with Pristina so far. As someone who played an essential role in these negotiations, do you expect that it will finally be formed in the foreseeable future?

Djuric: You are right. The Community of Serb Municipalities is the key element of the First Brussels Agreement. Everything that was agreed in that document should be seen in the context of the Community of Serb Municipalities, because the agreement was conceived as a compromise in which both Belgrade and Pristina would make a gesture of good will and a step forward that could lead us to some new agreements at some point in the future. In that context, Pristina has expressed its readiness to compromise but only declaratory. However, in practice it has shown for years now that it does not care about compromise.

It would be irresponsible on our part if, despite all our readiness to seek solutions in Kosovo and Metohija by peaceful and political means, we make some significant new steps before Pristina confirms that it is a credible interlocutor and fulfills what it has committed to. I have to emphasize that the Community of Serb Municipalities is currently a necessity and a precondition for the continuation of the normalization process, but not a concept that will permanently satisfy Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija if there is an opportunity to discuss a more permanent and comprehensive solution.

See at: https://bit.ly/3pDn7jY

Office for KiM: Pristina is creating a climate in which attacks on Serbs are permissible (Kosovo-online)

Kosovo-online portal reported on Tuesday that the house of returnee family Repanovic, in Osojane settlement, Istok municipality, was broken into and robbed for the seventh time this year. Meanwhile, the Office for Kosovo and Metohija in a statement expressed concern over a new attack targeting the property of Serbs living in Metohija. 

Earlier, in June this year, two homes of returnee family Repanović from Osojane were robbed, one house was broken into, and an agricultural machine was stolen from the other. No one was held accountable for any of these attacks.

The Office for Kosovo and Metohija stated that it was obvious that the policy of impunity for the crimes against Serbs sent a clear message to perpetrators that Serbs and their property were permissible targets.

“While Pristina declaratively, verbally advocates the safe return of the displaced families, in practice it does nothing to enable and make that return safe. On the contrary, its inaction even encourages such behavior and creates a climate in which attacks on Serbs are allowed”, the Office for KiM added.

The Office also demanded “that perpetrators of both this and numerous previous attacks be uncovered and brought to justice without delay, because that is the only way for Pristina institutions to prove their commitment to peaceful coexistence”.

Russian Ambassador says vaccine to arrive in Serbia soon (N1, B92)

Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko told Internal Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin that a shipment of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine would arrive in Serbia soon.

A press release from the minister’s cabinet quoted the ambassador as saying that the shipment would be delivered to Serbia by the end of this year. 

It also quoted Vulin as saying that the Serbian Internal Affairs Ministry will continue its cooperation with Russian Federation security services including training and other joint activities as soon as the epidemiological situation normalizes.

Meanwhile, B92 reported that Russian vaccine against the coronavirus “Sputnik V” has arrived in Serbia. The first contingent was delivered to the Torlak Institute.

The Minister of Health, Zlatibor Loncar, said yesterday that the testing of the Russian vaccine in the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia is nearing the end and that it is expected to be completed in the first days of the new year.

Vaccination against coronavirus with the vaccine of the companies Pfizer and BioNTech started in Serbia on December 24.

About 5.000 doses of the Russian vaccine are arriving in Serbia, and as soon as the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia gives permission, it will be in use. Until then, additional amounts of Pfizer vaccine are expected.

Vucic offers help to Croatia following earthquake (BETA, N1, B92)

President Aleksandar Vucic said Tuesday that Serbia stands ready to provide all kinds of aid to Croatia following the earthquake which hit that country earlier in the day, BETA news agency reports.

“If we can help we will provide every kind of aid. I am very sorry, we will do everything to help”, Vucic said. 

He also expressed hope that Croatia will recover quickly from the earthquake and that the number of victims will be at a minimum.

Vucic sent a letter to the Serbian Government with a request to send EUR one million of aid to Croatia, it’s confirmed for B92 net. He asked the Government to earmark the money from the budget ‘free funds.’

Arts, entertainment, and recreation industry suffer the most damage during the pandemic, the IT sector the least (KoSSev)

The data of the Tax Administration of Kosovo show a correlation between the restrictive measures introduced to combat the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the economic performance of certain industries. The damage inflicted on different industries, however, is disproportionate, warns the Kosovo GAP Institute. They thus called on the Kosovo government to consider which industries have experienced the highest decline in turnover and distribute funds proportional to the damage suffered by these industries.

A study which evaluated the effects of the Economic Recovery program of the Kosovo government shows the data of the Tax Administration of Kosovo, according to which economic activities with the highest decline in turnover are the arts, entertainment and recreation industry (79%), real estate (44%), transport and storage (43%) and accommodation and food service (37%).

On the other hand, information and communication increased by 12%, water, waste management by 23% while other industries had relatively slight declines such as the processing industry 6%, agriculture 3% and trade 9%.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2MfQgDz

Trajkovic: Veton Surroi, Kosovo’s new leader (Kosovo Online)

The president of the European Movement of Serbs from Kosovo Rada Trajkovic stated that the first job of the Biden administration and EU partners in Kosovo will be institutional stabilization, reported portal Kosovo Online. 

Their task, as she wrote on Twitter, will also be to fill the vacuum created with the end of the “war coalition” domination. 

“Veton Surroi, who was mentioned in Biden’s vision for Kosovo, may emerge as a new leader in this process,” Trajkovic said.

 

 

 

International

 

Kosovo Is Losing Its Biggest Supporter In Congress; But It May Be Too Early For Serbia To Celebrate (RFE)

WASHINGTON — Kosovo will lose its biggest supporter in the U.S. Congress when Representative Eliot Engel leaves Capitol Hill in January after more than three decades in office.

Engel, a Democrat, has represented parts of the Bronx — a New York City borough with a large and politically active ethnic Albanian population — since 1989 and was a leader in Congress gathering support for recognition of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008.

His unwavering support for Kosovo through the decades has made him a celebrity in the predominantly ethnic Albanian republic, which has been recognized by some 115 countries.

Kosovo has named a street and a highway in honor of Engel and even issued a stamp with his image. Conversely, all of this has made him a controversial figure in Serbia, which still refuses to accept the loss of its former province and lobbies against its recognition by the international community.

But Engel’s departure from the House of Representatives — where he most recently chaired the lower chamber’s Foreign Affairs Committee, using his formidable position to chastise Belgrade and defend Kosovo — might not be an occasion for Serbia to rejoice.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3rHRk3h

 

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Two police officers suspended after video of an assault (Prishtina Insight)

The Kosovo Police Inspectorate has launched an investigation after the publication of a video showing a police officer physically assaulting a young woman.

Two police officers have been suspended from duty at the recommendation of the Kosovo Police Inspectorate, KPI, following the publication of a video in which an officer is shown physically assaulting a young woman.

The incident took place close to a school in the Municipality of Vushtrri, while it has been reported that the victim of the assault may be a minor. The officer slaps and kicks the young woman a number of times, while repeatedly shouting “am I a cow to you?”

In a statement, the Kosovo Police said that the officers were investigating a car blocking traffic.

“A male and a female Kosovar police officer while patrolling had noticed a car that had stopped, and due to it blocking the road asked the car to move,” the statement reads. “Two Kosovar females violently reacted to the police officers and refused to be identified.”

The KPI told BIRN that it immediately began investigating the case following the publication of the video, adding that other actions will follow in line with the KPI’s mandate.

See at: https://bit.ly/34V4ccx

Unequal Damage, Fair Recovery? (Kosovo 2.0)

In recent months, Jeton Latifi has mainly been working on the renovation of his hostel in central Prishtina. He has had plenty of time to do so since his hostel has had barely any guests this year.

Since 2016 when it opened, Hostel Oda has played host to hundreds of international guests visiting Kosovo. But, due to the pandemic and measures preventing the spread of COVID-19, it has remained closed for most of the year.

Among the first measures to be taken by Kosovo’s government to prevent the spread of the virus, was closing the borders and the airport; the vast majority of flights were temporarily suspended, while borders were closed for non-Kosovo citizens. Measures were gradually eased, but the number of visitors remained low, leaving accommodation one of the most affected sectors of the economy.

“The pandemic has affected us the most,” Latifi says. “Initially, the government decided to close the borders, then the same measures were taken in Europe, which practically made tourism impossible.”

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

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