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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 31, 2021

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• COVID-19: 23 new cases, no deaths (media)
• New COVID-19 measures enter into force on Monday (Prishtina Insight)
• Kosovo buys first coronavirus vaccines as it speeds up rollout (Reuters)
• Final agreement in 2021, during Slovenian EU Presidency, EU report (Express)
• EU denies writing document that circulated in Kosovo media (media)
• Behrami: The EU document is authentic (RTK)
• Lajcak and Palmer to visit Kosovo on 31 May, 1 June (media)
• Western diplomats support dialogue, analysts don’t rule out surprises (Koha)
• LDK nominates award-winning architect to run for Pristina mayor (Express)
• Kosovo Police detain police officer suspected of inciting hatred (media)
• Kosovo feminists aim to climb rural town’s ‘patriarchal’ walls (BIRN)

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  • COVID-19: 23 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • New COVID-19 measures enter into force on Monday (Prishtina Insight)
  • Kosovo buys first coronavirus vaccines as it speeds up rollout (Reuters)
  • Final agreement in 2021, during Slovenian EU Presidency, EU report (Express)
  • EU denies writing document that circulated in Kosovo media (media)
  • Behrami: The EU document is authentic (RTK)
  • Lajcak and Palmer to visit Kosovo on 31 May, 1 June (media)
  • Western diplomats support dialogue, analysts don’t rule out surprises (Koha)
  • LDK nominates award-winning architect to run for Pristina mayor (Express)
  • Kosovo Police detain police officer suspected of inciting hatred (media)
  • Kosovo feminists aim to climb rural town’s ‘patriarchal’ walls (BIRN)

COVID-19: 23 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo has recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 130 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. There are 2,380 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

New COVID-19 measures enter into force on Monday (Prishtina Insight)

The Kosovo Government has relaxed a number of restrictions on public activity designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while the night-time curfew has been scrapped entirely.

Updated measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will come into force on Monday May 31, following the approval of a proposal by the Ministry of Health at a meeting of the Kosovo Government on Friday evening.

The night-time curfew has been scrapped, with no restrictions on movement of people now being applied anywhere in the country.

Restrictions on gatherings have also been relaxed, with up to 50 people now permitted to gather indoors and up to 100 outdoors, on the condition that a physical distance of 1.5 metres is maintained.

However, a new measure limiting gatherings to up to 10 people between the hours of 00:00 and 05:00 has now been introduced

Organised celebrations, including weddings, remain banned until June 15, when the policy will be reviewed depending on the epidemiological situation.

The wearing of masks covering the nose and mouth remains mandatory. However, more exceptions to this rule have been added. Those walking alone outdoors are now exempted, as are those driving alone or with close family members, as well as people running, cycling, or doing other physical exercise.

Meanwhile, restrictions applied to gastronomic businesses have been slightly relaxed. Bars and restaurants will now be allowed to operate until 23:00, with a permitted capacity of 50 customers per 100 square metres. A maximum of four persons are permitted per table in indoor spaces, with six permitted per table outdoors.

Cultural institutions, including libraries, cinemas, theatres, and galleries are now permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity, up from 30 percent.

Border restrictions remain largely unchanged, with citizens from countries designated as high risk by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control requiring a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old to enter the country. Exemptions apply to those passing through the country in less than three hours, as well as those who have evidence of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, or with a positive serological antibody test less than 30 days old.

Citizens of India, Brazil and South Africa have all been banned from entering the country, while Kosovo citizens returning from these countries will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days.

The number of active coronavirus cases in Kosovo has declined steadily throughout the month of May. According to data from Kosovo’s National Institute of Public Health, NIPH, there were 2,593 active coronavirus cases in Kosovo on Friday May 28, compared to over 8,500 on May 1.

The number of newly recorded cases has also dropped in recent weeks. The NIPH recorded 176 new cases this week (May 22-28) compared to over 1,000 cases recorded in the first week of May (1-7).

The situation in Kosovo’s public health system has also improved. According to the University Hospital and Clinical Service of Kosovo, 160 patients were being treated in clinics designated for COVID-19 patients at the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo and Kosovo’s regional hospitals on Friday May 28. Of this number, 66 are confirmed as infected.

These figures represent a significant decrease from the start of the month. On May 1, the number of patients being treated stood at 516, with 410 confirmed as being infected.

Kosovo buys first coronavirus vaccines as it speeds up rollout (Reuters)

Kosovo said on Friday it agreed to buy 1.2 million Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) coronavirus vaccines, the first shots bought by the government as it works to speed up inoculations.

Kosovo so far has received around 180,000 vaccines, mostly from an EU-funded programme.

“Kosovo has secured 1.2 million vaccines in a deal with Pfizer,” Health Minister Arben Vitia told a news conference.

“We are determined to continue with a much faster process to vaccinate 60% of the population by the end of 2021.”

See more at: https://reut.rs/3uzX2Vh

Final agreement in 2021, during Slovenian EU Presidency, EU report (Express)

Kosovo media published Saturday an official report of the Council of the European Union which refers to reaching the potential legally binding agreement on normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. This report has been published after the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, hosted an informal dinner with the leaders of the Six Western Balkan countries, Gazeta Express reports.

According to this document, following the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union (July-December 2021), there is a high-time to frame the potential legally binding agreement on Normalization of Relations between Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.

The document refers also to “non-papers” recently published by media, stating that publication of these documents was aimed at damaging the political legacy of Slovenia before assuming the EU’s Presidency, writing that Slovenian legacy in the Western Balkans “is overall positive.”

The EU deems necessary that Member States support the work and the agenda of Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak and encourage Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti to be more committed to the negotiation process avoiding delays, which might come as a result of local elections in Kosovo, expected to be held in autumn 2021.

“The upcoming Local Elections in Kosovo to be held in Autumn 2021, might derail the fouc of Mr. Kurti for the Dialogue Process. This development could shift the agenda and commitment into avoiding further High-Level Dialogue meetings. It is very important the EU Member States to support on the ground EUSR Lajcak’s agenda and urge Mr. Kurti to remain engaged without delays,” it is written in the report.

Additionally, the report notes that the High Representative should keep pressuring specific opposition political circles in Pristina, in order to facilitate upcoming agreements and to persuade the need for a historical compromise between Belgrade and Pristina. In this report is stated that Albin Kurti’s serious commitment to continue cooperation constructively with the Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s office shall be highly praised within the EU. “His readiness to support the extension of the EULEX mandate is welcomed and important step that will help the Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office to fulfill their mandate in Kosovo,” it is written in the report.

In the report is written that the EU High representative Borrell shall urge the Government in Pristina against any provocative actions in the northern municipalities adding that PM Kurti shall be specifically advised not to undertake any police operation aimed at collecting electricity bills in the northern municipalities that might provoke further tensions with the local population, according to the report published by news portal Demokracia.com.

EU denies writing document that circulated in Kosovo media (media)

The European Union has denied writing a document circulating in Kosovo media on Saturday which said that EU High Representative Josep Borrell would tell Prime Minister Albin Kurti not to send police to northern Kosovo.

EU spokesman Peter Stano told Klan Kosova that such a document had not been written by them. “Usually, we do not comment on media reports regarding alleged EU documents. In this particular case the ‘document’ is a complete forgery and something like this was never produced by the EU,” Stano said.

The document also stated that Kurti had supported the extension of the EULEX Mission in Pristina and that the document had been drafted by the European Commission following an informal meeting of Balkan leaders.

The document further stated that Borrell welcomed Kurti’s relationship with the Special Court.

Behrami: The EU document is authentic (RTK)

Artan Behrami from Demokracia.com news portal, reacted to the European Union, as the latter denied being behind the published document, which mentions various topics, starting from the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Kurti’s relations with the Special Court, visa liberalization and the issue of Mini-Schengen.

Through a reaction on Facebook, Behrami stressed that whenever the real face of the EU is revealed in public, it either keeps silent or tries to deny the evidence.

In this regard, Behrami said that the authenticity of the document has been verified by sources within the European Union, including its member states.

“Whenever the EU reveals its true face in public, it either keeps silent or tries to deny the evidence, in the hope that it will not provoke further debate. Such appears to be this unprofessional and very amateurish distancing from their own document, in an attempt to maintain the lacking “credibility” among the parties. The document, verified with our sources, without a doubt, is authentic and we have nothing to do with any falsification in the meantime, except the falsity of the European Union, which plays multiple games with all the leaders of the Western Balkan countries,” Behrami wrote.

Behrami also said that if the EU calls it a forgery, then it should deny the topics written in this report!

“The authenticity of the document has been verified by several sources within the European Union, including its member states. We received this document from representatives of an EU member state and verified it with other European diplomats before publishing it. If the EU calls it falsification, then let it deny the topics written in this report.”

According to him, the EU does not want the public to become opposed to the current discussions within the EEAS on Kosovo

“The question is what is the EEAS position on issues such as the extension of the EULEX mandate, the Mini-Schengen with a footnote, the situation in northern Kosovo on electricity bills and the intention to finalize the dialogue during the Slovenian Presidency? These are questions that the EU does not want to address. They do not want the public to become opposed to the current discussions within the EEAS on Kosovo. Transparency is something the EU never wants for itself. But we will continue our work, with more reports and documents that will keep the public informed of what is the agenda of Brussels in Kosovo. If they do not want to be transparent, we will do our job to keep the public informed,” Behrami wrote at the end.

Lajcak and Palmer to visit Kosovo on 31 May, 1 June (media)

EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues, Miroslav Lajcak, will visit Kosovo on 31 May and 1 June 2021, the EU Office in Kosovo has confirmed.

During his two-day working visit, he will meet with President Osmani, Prime Minister Kurti, First Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Development and Dialogue Bislimi, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Gervalla-Schwarz. Mr. Lajcak will also meet with the international community in Kosovo and address the EU Heads of Missions.

For the visit, EU Special Representative Lajcak will be joined by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibility for the Western Balkans and the Aegean and Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew A. Palmer. They will jointly address media on Tuesday, 1 June, at 10:45 am at the EU office.

Western diplomats support dialogue, analysts don’t rule out surprises (Koha)

The daily reports in its front page that two senior Western officials – Miroslav Lajcak and Matthew Palmer – are expected to give a strong push to the resumption of the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue during their visit to Prishtina on Monday and Tuesday. The framework of the dialogue and the date of the next meeting between Kosovo and Serbia delegations are expected to be decided after Lajcak and Palmer’s meetings with Kosovo leaders. Political commentators in Prishtina meanwhile argue that conditions have now been created to resume the negotiations and they also don’t rule out surprises in the process toward a final settlement between the two countries.

LDK nominates award-winning architect to run for Pristina mayor (Express)

Kosovo born award-winning architect based in London, Perparim Rama, will run for mayor of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. Rama has been officially proposed on Saturday to run for mayoral post by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) in opposition, Gazeta Express reports.

LDK leader Lumir Abdixhiku posted a photo with Rama confirming that the world-known architect is their candidate for Pristina mayor, and pledged that jointly with Rama they will work to solve crucial problems that Prishtina is facing.

“Perparim Rama is the most known Albanian urban planning architect – awarded internationally. His extraordinary experience in London for some years now makes Perparim an national asset; a representative of the professional community and society as well,” Abdixhiku wrote on Facebook.

Abdixhiku said he met Rama several times to discuss the problems that Pristina is facing today and plans to solve these problems.

Rama, born in Pristina went to the U.K. as an asylum seeker in 1992, becoming one of the most respected architects in the world and won prestigious architecture awards for his work.

Kosovo Police detain police officer suspected of inciting hatred (media)

All media report that Kosovo Police detained one of its officers, Safet Civovic, in Peja on Saturday evening, after he posted in social networks inciting hatred against Albanians. “Kosovo Police Inspectorate investigators, in full cooperation with the State Prosecutor’s Office in Peja, will conduct further investigations into the matter,” a police statement noted.

Civovic had namely posted a picture with a friend with the following caption: “I was honoured to visit this great friend – the Chief in Dobrusa, who resisted Albanian terrors. May God bless him.”

Kosovo feminists aim to climb rural town’s ‘patriarchal’ walls (BIRN)

The high walls surrounding houses in towns like Decan – built to ‘protect’ women from men’s prying eyes – face scrutiny from activists who see them as symbols of still rampant gender inequality.

Read full story at: https://bit.ly/3fUdf2h

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