Albanian Language Media:
- COVID-19: 170 new cases, four deaths (media)
- Athens mayor gives Kurti support on visa liberalization (media)
- Kurti: Preventing and combating violence against women is a government priority (media)
- Gervalla: I am a Kosovo citizen, I travel with Kosovo documents (Reporteri, media)
- Haxhiu: Treating domestic violence is a government plan (RTK)
- KDI: Transparency in local government decreased due to the pandemic (Koha)
- Police intervenes in PSD activity, arrests four members (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Vucic, Dacic on Croatia and military camp in Kosovo (media)
- Serbian List, Office for KiM, react against Croatian military base in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
- Simic: Serbs feel more threatened due to Croatian announcements on opening military camp (Kosovo-online)
- Croatian FA Ministry: Inaccurate and incorrect speculations of Serbia regarding military camp (Kosovo-online)
- Varhelyi: EU approves revised enlargement methodology for Serbia, Montenegro (N1)
- “Balkan states will resist border change scenario” (B92)
- Serbia eases pandemic measures for cafes, restaurants (N1)
- Nedeljko Spasojevic transferred to Mitrovica North prison (Kosovo-online)
- Odalovic: Pristina no longer can ignore requests, search on locations soon, Kosare to be first one (Kosovo-online)
- “Serbia-Kosovo dialogue unnecessary prolonged” (B92)
Albanian Language Media
COVID-19: 170 new cases, four deaths (media)
Kosovo recorded 170 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 389 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 6,933 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.
Athens mayor gives Kurti support on visa liberalization (media)
The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, together with the Minister of Health, Arben Vitia, received the President of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, who congratulated him on his election as Prime Minister and on the stability that the victory in the elections has brought to Kosovo.
‘Prime Minister Kurti praised the current level of relations with Greece, especially with Athens, and expressed interest in further expanding this cooperation.
President Bakoyannis expressed confidence that the implementation of the necessary reforms in Kosovo, in line with EU recommendations, will strengthen Kosovo’s European perspective. He reiterated Greece’s support in the visa liberalization process for Kosovo citizens.
They discussed the situation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibilities of deepening cooperation in various fields of mutual interest for both countries and peoples,” reads a press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Kurti: Preventing and combating violence against women is a government priority (media)
“We have defined the prevention and fight against domestic violence, violence against women and gender-based violence as a government priority,” said the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, at a roundtable organized to mark the 10th anniversary of the Council of Europe for Prevention. and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.
Prime Minister Kurti said that the government will do its utmost to implement all the steps and measures required by it and that it will take over the obligations provided by the Convention.
“The range of oppression that falls on women weighs a lot, it takes on different shades depending on other identities, in addition to gender. And, a kind of violence, any kind of violence, that is not problematized at first, grows and expands over time, making solution and justice difficult. But our task as a society and especially for us as the government is to intervene where it is most needed,” Kurti said.
The roundtable organized by the Agency for Gender Equality / Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the Council of Europe in Prishtina was also attended by: President Vjosa Osmani, Frank Power, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Prishtina, Joern Rohde, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kosovo, Michael Davenport, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Edi Gusia, Head of the Agency for Gender Equality, in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Opened for signature in May 2011, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) is the most advanced international treaty to address this serious human rights violation. This convention was included last year in the Constitution of Kosovo.
Gervalla: I am a Kosovo citizen, I travel with Kosovo documents (Reporteri, media)
The statement of the German Ambassador in Pristina, Jorn Rohde, to the attacks against the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Donika Gervalla, provoked the reaction of the opposition MPs.
It was the PDK MP, Ariana Musliu-Shoshi, who wrote on Facebook that it is normal for the German ambassador to protect Gërvalla, since the latter, according to Shoshi, has German citizenship.
But in a response, Minister Gervalla has indicated that she does not hold German citizenship.
“For the reasons you have stated, namely because obtaining German citizenship means renunciation of citizenship of the Republic of Kosovo, I have never applied for German citizenship. I am a citizen of Kosovo from the beginning, but with a passport provided since the beginning of UNMIK,” Gervalla said.
She added that she makes all her travels with Kosovo travel documents.
“At the same time, I have been a citizen of the Republic of Albania since the 80s. I have never renewed my Albanian passport since the formal Independence of Kosovo. In short, I am a citizen of the Republic of Kosovo and I travel with the travel documents of this Republic and with a German residence permit. It is not the first time that I am making all these facts known,” Gervalla told Reporteri news portal.
Haxhiu: Treating domestic violence is a government plan (RTK)
Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, met with the victims’ advocates on the occasion of the anniversary of the approval of the Istanbul Convention.
Haxhiu confirmed that the Government in Friday’s meeting will approve the work plan.
“As you are aware, the Kurti Government has a priority to address domestic violence and the Ministry of Justice is committed to this.”
“We have planned several visits in order to raise awareness because the cases of domestic violence are constantly increasing. During this time, we will be committed to addressing domestic violence. It remains a concern for us and today we plan to approve the governing program.”
“Domestic violence is not private, so an institutional coordination is needed to address it.”
Manager of the Office for Assistance and Protection of Victims Basri Kastrati said that all cases will be treated without neglect.
“This shows the commitment and we as an Office from the beginning offer services for this category. What we addressed will be a priority and will be treated without negligence and hesitation.”
Haxhiu will further visit the Center for the Protection of Women and Children and will meet with the Kosovo Police Anti-Domestic Violence Unit.
KDI: Transparency in local government decreased due to the pandemic (Koha)
The Democratic Institute of Kosovo (KDI) within the USAID project for transparent, effective and accountable municipalities, launched the Transparency Index for Municipal Governance for 2020. The report showed that Kosovo experienced a decline in transparency in local government.
Diana Metushi-Krasniqi, project manager at KDI, during the presentation of the main findings of the Report said that, “in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kosovo experienced a decrease in transparency in local government of 1% compared to the previous year. Overall transparency in the six pillars measured in 2020 is 69% compared to 70% in 2019. This is a clear indication that in addition to the challenges of facing a major force, municipalities need to focus on publishing more information for their citizens.”
She said that the publication of documents on the websites of municipalities is the first line of accountability to their citizens. According to information received from the Ministry of Local Government, the websites of municipalities in 2020 were visited 4,167,112 times, by 1,248,850 visitors.
While the average points of transparency in public procurement have remained the same as in 2019 (57%), 2020 showed a change of -12% in the pillar of budget transparency, from 73% in 2019 to 61% in 2020. A change of -3% of transparency in municipalities was also observed in promoting professional ethics and combating conflict of interest from 76% in 2019 to 73% in 2020, he added.
Metushi-Krasniqi said that the use of social networks was a contributor to the increase of public participation.
“A positive trend was observed in the pillar of information and public participation. According to data obtained from 32 municipalities, during 2020, these municipalities organized 169 budget hearings with 16,718 participants. One of the main contributors to increasing public participation was the use of social networks as digital means of communicating with citizens. Also, compared to 2019, although the number of requests for access to public documents had decreased (from 1,039 in 2019 to 843 requests in 2020), the index shows that municipalities were more willing to respond to them (84% in 2020 compared to 78% in 2019) “, announced KDI.
The Transparency Index in Municipal Governance for 2020 lists the Municipality of Prishtina as the most transparent with 100 points in the measured indicators, followed by the municipalities of Lipjan (98.75 points), the Municipality of Gjakova (94.50 points), the Municipality of Vushtrri (92.88 points), the municipality of Rahovec (91.63 points) and the municipality of Junik (91.38 points).
Police intervenes in PSD activity, arrests four members (media)
Kosovo Police has intervened in an action of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) after the activists of this party threw red paint in the direction of the government building, to oppose the approval of the recommendations of the Committee on Economy, for the allocation of 11 million euros to KOSTT, reports the news portal.
The police threw tear gas in their direction, and arrested four PSD members. Meanwhile, PSD chairman Dardan Molliqaj, before the action started, said that the government is supporting organized crime in the north of the country, by allocating funds for KOSTT where electricity costs will be covered for Serbs.
“For large financial losses what we have demonstrated here is that all that dramatic campaign for their populist needs has fallen because with a decision of the Assembly and the government we have paid 11 million euros from the Kosovo budget to the north. Firstly, the standard pf those who live in the north is twice as high of those in the south, and the second point is organized crime is being committed in the north.”
The moment Kurti accepted to work on resuming the dialogue, everything will flow in the same manner as with previous governments because it has chosen the same path. Even that bloodshed no longer makes sense. Vetevendosje has changed before coming to power and this has been the point that divided us. We have considered Donika Gërvalla’s statements unacceptable and we have constantly talked about her being intolerant of the KLA,” Molliqaj said.
Serbian Language Media
Vucic, Dacic on Croatia and military camp in Kosovo (media)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he understood the message of Croatia which wants to build a military camp in Kosovo, adding Croatia wanted to humiliate Serbia by such an act, and stressed there would be no new “Oluja” (military operation) happening, Serbian media report today.
He also said Serbia wishes to have correct relations with all countries in the region, in particular with Croatia.
“(…) To put it mildly, those statements were not an expression of respect towards Serbia. When you say something like that, you can’t pretend as if you didn’t know that we consider it part of our territory, that there are Serbs living there who still remember tragic sufferings”, Vucic said.
“All those who think there would be a new “Oluja” (military operation), pogrom, expulsion of the Serbian population happening – my message to them is that is not going to happen. And when I say so it means a guarantee”, Vucic said.
Meanwhile, Serbian Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic also reacted to the statement of building a military base in Kosovo by saying security in the region would certainly be increased if Russia would build a military camp in Kosovo, or if Serbia would also open such a camp in Republic of Srpska.
Dacic added this announcement from Croatia should be met with firmer condemnation of the international organizations and expressed hope this topic would be discussed at the UN Security Council, if there is “a single piece of truth in that statement”.
“The announcement that Croatia will build a military camp in Kosovo and Metohija is something that borders science fiction. Neither is Croatia a great military power, nor are there any legal possibilities for that if Resolution 1244 were considered”, Dacic said.
Serbian List, Office for KiM, react against Croatian military base in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
“We oppose in the strongest terms the announcement of Croatia to build military bases in Kosovo which the most directly endangers the peace and tranquility of the citizens”, reads the joint statement of the mayors of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo, Radio KIM reports.
“Announcement that a military base of Croatian army would be built in Kosovo evokes the memories of pogrom, but also of ethnic cleansing actions ”Bljesak” and ”Oluja”, in which the Serbia people were expelled and murdered”, the statement added.
Office for KIM: Croatian military camp threat to security
Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija sharply reacted to the announcement of Croatian Foreign Minister that a military base would be built in Kosovo. The Office for Kosovo and Metohija said “the military camp represents the most flagrant threat to peace and stability in the Western Balkans region, but also to the Serbs who remained living in the territory of our southern province”.
The Office also stressed this would be the most flagrant violation of the UN SC Resolution 1244, as deployment of the soldiers in the territory of Kosovo is possible only in line with this document, and no one’s dreams about military occupation can undo that.
The Office said they expect a clear and unambiguous reaction of the EU and Brussels officials, who must put an end to such weapons rattling coming from a country which is an EU member.
Simic: Serbs feel more threatened due to Croatian announcements on opening military camp (Kosovo-online)
“Kosovo Serbs feel more threatened than before after the announcement from Zagreb that they will open a military camp in Kosovo”, Serbian List member Igor Simic said today and emphasized that, if it came true, it would be the most direct threat to peace from 1999 until today and a violation of the Resolution 1244, Kosovo-online portal reports.
“The announcement of the opening of the military base makes the Serbian people feel more threatened than it was two days ago”, Simic said, emphasizing that he could not call the news a provocation but a direct threat to peace, among other things because it was about the arrival of forces due to which the Serbian people suffered.
Simic also told TV Pink that yesterday as many as ten mayors of Serbian-majority municipalities in Kosovo expressed their opposition to the militarization of Kosovo, the arrival of some Croatian military forces and the opening of military camps.
He reiterated that the opening of the military camp was not something that Serbs would like and something that Serbs would just accept.
He added that Serbian List (SL) opposes the arrival of 1,000 Croatian soldiers and SL representatives have already held consultations with representatives of the international community in Kosovo and drew their attention to the fact that it would be a gesture that does not contribute to peace, stability and was contrary to Serbian interests.
Croatian FA Ministry: Inaccurate and incorrect speculations of Serbia regarding military camp (Kosovo-online)
Croatian Foreign Affairs Ministry said today that reactions of officials from Serbia regarding the visit of Croatian Foreign Minister in Pristina and his announcement of building a military camp in Kosovo were “absurd and ridiculous speculations”, Kosovo-online portal reports.
The Ministry also said the Minister visited the 34th Croatian contingent which is part of KFOR, adding “its soldiers were praised by international partners, while their participation confirms that Croatia was a reliable NATO member, contributing to the strengthening of peace and stability (…)”. Therefore, as the Ministry further said, speculations from Serbia, alluding to different military and similar activities “we find utterly ridiculous and absurd”.
Varhelyi: EU approves revised enlargement methodology for Serbia, Montenegro (N1)
European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said Thursday the European Union approved the revised enlargement methodology for Serbia and Montenegro, N1 reports.
“Very pleased that Member States gave green light to application of our revised EU enlargement methodology to Serbia and Montenegro after both accepted it”, Varhelyi wrote on Twitter.
He added that the goal is to make the enlargement process more credible, predictable and dynamic with “stronger political steer”.
The European Western Balkans portal said that the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives – Coreper II met to discuss a number of issues, including enlargement and added that ministers will be informed of developments related to the enlargement and stabilization and association process at a General Affairs Council meeting on May 11.
“Balkan states will resist border change scenario” (B92)
Democratic Congressman from North Carolina David Price believes that the Balkan states will resist the situation in which borders could become uncertain again.
“I’m not sure who could be the source of something like that. I am aware that it is distributed diplomatically. I think that the states, as we know them, will resist that and we will support them”, he said when asked about unofficial documents from an unknown and unclear source, which suggest possibilities for changing the borders between the countries of the Western Balkans.
Price, one of the congressmen with extensive foreign policy experience, who has represented North Carolina’s 4th district in the House of Representatives since 1987 (with a two-year hiatus between 1995 and 1997), said it “evokes memories of past hostilities and threatens to raise tensions in the Balkans”, as he called it “a politically fragmented area with a multitude of ongoing disagreements”.
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Serbia eases pandemic measures for cafes, restaurants (N1)
The Serbian Government pandemic response team decided to allow cafes and restaurants to open indoors as of Friday, May 7, N1 reports.
Response team member Dr Branislav Tiodorovic said that the hospitality industry would be allowed to serve customers indoors but would have to abide by the recommended measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic which includes no more than 50 percent of capacities filled and at least 1.5 meters distance between customers with no music.
At present, cafes and restaurants are allowed to serve customers outdoors.
Earlier on Thursday, epidemiologist Dr Predrag Kon said that the medical experts on the response team recommended keeping the ban on opening indoor facilities after May 15. He said that the economic pressure was huge to lift the ban.
Nedeljko Spasojevic transferred to Mitrovica North prison (Kosovo-online)
After almost 30 months since he was arrested Nedeljko Spasojevic has been transferred from Gnjilane to Mitrovica North prison, his wife Jelena told Kosovo-online portal.
Spasojevic is charged with involvement in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, leader of Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP) who was assassinated in front of his party premises in Mitrovica North on January 16, 2018.
As per indictment of the Kosovo Special Prosecution, Spasojevic was accused of transporting assassins in the official vehicle of the Kosovo police to the Opel Astra vehicle, from which they later shot Ivanovic.
Odalovic: Pristina no longer can ignore requests, search on locations soon, Kosare to be first one (Kosovo-online)
Potential gravesite of missing (Yugoslav Army) soldiers in Kosare could be one of the first locations, Serbian side insists upon, that would be searched in Kosovo, Chairman of the Serbian Government Missing Persons Commission Veljko Odalovic said, Kosovo-online portal reports.
He added priority to the Pristina delegation was the location at Kizevak, where excavations resumed two days ago.
“Pristina no longer can ignore our requests, we didn’t want to play a reciprocity game as this was about the victims, we didn’t want to say we won’t do it unless you do the same. However, the time has come they no longer can ignore our requests, and I expect in May or June to start searching priority locations, do excavations where it is possible and get answers to our requests”, Odalovic said.
He also said members of the working groups and experts’ teams visited Kosare twice. First time in 2010 when demining was done and second time in November last year, after recordings showing members of a terrorist group digging graves and the bodies of murdered soldiers were obtained.
“We have obtained recordings showing how those terrorist groups dig graves and corpses of murdered soldiers could be seen. We have located an approximate spot and who they could be among the missing soldiers we are looking for, and we have repeated requests to go there and search that location”, Odalovic added.
In addition to Kosare, Serbian side insists on a number of other locations in Kosovo, including Dojnice village, location near Suva Reka Javor, Baljevac village, Budisavci, and Lapusnik where (KLA) prison camp was located.
“Serbia-Kosovo dialogue unnecessary prolonged” (B92)
Dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo has been going on for a long time, it has not been given the necessary importance, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said, B92 reports citing Pristina-based Ekonomija online.
Rama made these remarks at the annual conference “State of the Union” in Florence. He added that participation of France and Germany in this process is very significant.
Rama also said everything must be done in order to reach the Schengen area in which European freedoms, free movement of goods, people, capital and services are applied.
Speaking of dialogue Rama said he believes dialogue has been left at a low level, rather than being treated as a top priority.