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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 8, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 8, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• Kosovo takes anti-dumping measures towards certain Serb products (media)
• Police in the north have begun distribution of license plates stickers (RFE)
• Same day elections in Kosovo and North Macedonia raise dilemma for voters with dual citizenship (Koha)
• Campaign gatherings not allowed to take place inside schools’ premises (media)
• COVID-19: One death, 25 new cases (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Lavrov in Belgrade for Non-Aligned conference (N1)
• Mitrovica North residents with different views on sticker regime (KoSSev)
• UNS at the EFJ’s Assembly to seek the International Commission for investigation of the murders of journalist in Kosovo (media)
• Selakovic: Important that UNMIK continues working in undiminished scope and unchanged mandate (media)
• KEDS denied higher electricity bills following media reports on the price increase; State of emergency in Albania (Kosovo Online)
• UN Security Council on October 15 on Kosovo (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)
• ‘Mirëdita – Dobar dan’ festival in Pristina (RTK2, KiM radio, Kontakt plus radio)

Opinion:

• Battle Over Headlines (Kosovo 2.0)

International:

• Is the EU losing the Western Balkans? (Emerging Europe)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kosovo takes anti-dumping measures towards certain Serb products (media)
  • Police in the north have begun distribution of license plates stickers (RFE)
  • Same day elections in Kosovo and North Macedonia raise dilemma for voters with dual citizenship (Koha)
  • Campaign gatherings not allowed to take place inside schools’ premises (media)
  • COVID-19: One death, 25 new cases (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Lavrov in Belgrade for Non-Aligned conference (N1)
  • Mitrovica North residents with different views on sticker regime (KoSSev)
  • UNS at the EFJ’s Assembly to seek the International Commission for investigation of the murders of journalist in Kosovo (media)
  • Selakovic: Important that UNMIK continues working in undiminished scope and unchanged mandate (media)
  • KEDS denied higher electricity bills following media reports on the price increase; State of emergency in Albania (Kosovo Online)
  • UN Security Council on October 15 on Kosovo (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)
  • ‘Mirëdita – Dobar dan’ festival in Pristina (RTK2, KiM radio, Kontakt plus radio)

Opinion:

  • Battle Over Headlines (Kosovo 2.0)

International:

  • Is the EU losing the Western Balkans? (Emerging Europe)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

Kosovo takes anti-dumping measures towards certain Serb products (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Entrepreneurship Rozeta Hajdari said that today the Ministry has taken two anti-dumping measures towards certain products imported from Serbia. 

At a press conference, Hajdari said the measures concern the import of concentrate for poultry and animals from Serbia and bricks. “Both decisions were taken in accordance with the Constitution, anti-dumping measures”, she said.

Hajdari also said that on 24 September 2021 they sent a letter to CEFTA regarding Kosovo’s representation without UNMIK’s mediation. “On 30 September through the CEFTA Secretariat we made it clear to member states that we will oppose further work of CEFTA mechanisms until our request is not addressed regarding adequate and equal representation and participation,” she added. 

Police in the north have begun distribution of license plates stickers (RFE)

Kosovo Police in Mitrovica North has begun distributing license plates stickers for vehicles from Serbia whose drivers have to cover the state symbols. 

On 6 October, Jeta Tela, chief of staff to the Minister of Internal Affairs, told Radio Free Europe that in accordance with the law, all persons that have failed to put stickers on the state symbols of Serbian vehicles’ license plates will be fined. 

RFE adds that the stickers were supposed to have been distributed by the registration centres but that the Municipality of Mitrovica North, in whose building is the registration office, is not open to work with parties due to one of its staff members being infected with COVID-19. Deputy Mayor Adrijana Hodzic said the registration centre would open on Monday, 11 October. 

However, Besim Hoti spokesperson for the Kosovo Police in the north said that fines will not be issued at this time. “The vehicle registration centre did not work so we are trying to give the citizens more time to get supplied with the stickers and thus respect the agreement. Sanctions are the last resort,” he said. 

Same day elections in Kosovo and North Macedonia raise dilemma for voters with dual citizenship (Koha)

Kosovo’s Central Election Commission (CEC) does not have a clear idea on how Kosovo citizens, who also have a citizenship of North Macedonia, will be able to vote in local elections which will take place on the same date both in Kosovo and in North Macedonia, Koha reports.

Sami Kurteshi, representative of the Vetevendosje Movement at CEC, said this may present a problem when it comes to the ink applied to voters’ fingers. “If they vote in [North] Macedonia beforehand and they have the ink applied and then come to Kosovo, even though they may be on the voters’ lists, they do not meet the requirements to vote. It is important to allow these people to vote,” he said. 

Chief Executive Officer of the CEC Secretariat, Burim Ahmeti, said that no solution has been found at present. “For voters with dual citizenship, which is practically not only a concern of the Municipality of Hani i Elezit, but also the Municipality of Kaçanik, the Municipality of Vitia and the Municipality of Gjilan, where there are a number of voters with dual citizenship, the Secretariat is analyzing the whole situation,” he said adding that it was important to stress that the voting procedures in Kosovo and North Macedonia are very similar. 

Campaign gatherings not allowed to take place inside schools’ premises (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation has issued a decision banning election campaign gatherings from taking place in school buildings.

The decision states that the political entities running for local elections 2021 should not hold political gatherings inside the school building or any other facilities where a teaching process takes place. As for outside space of education institutions, the Ministry said these can be used by political parties if prior permission is issued by relevant municipal and law enforcement authorities.

COVID-19: One death, 25 new cases (media)

One death from COVID-19 and 25 new cases with the virus have been confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 362 persons recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 1,335 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Lavrov in Belgrade for Non-Aligned conference (N1)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the 60th anniversary meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade on October 11, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“Russia will take part in the Non-Aligned Movement as an observer for the first time,” she said, adding that the observer status was granted at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “That is confirmation of the similar approach to global problems by Russia and the movement and provides an opportunity to expand the partnership,” Zakharova said. She said that Lavrov will read a letter from President Putin at the meeting.

The Non-Aligned Movement was formed in Belgrade in 1961 at the initiative of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah and Indonesian President Sukarno. The first Conference of Heads of State or Governments of Non-Aligned Countries was held in what was then the Yugoslav federal parliament and is now the Serbian parliament.

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

Mitrovica North residents with different views on sticker regime (KoSSev)

Based on the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina when entering Kosovo, owners of vehicles with Serbian license plates are obliged to cover the state symbols on the plates with stickers, while those who have “RKS“ license plates must do the same when heading to Serbia proper, KoSSev portal reports.

The owners of cars with Serbian license plates, including those with marks of cities in Kosovo, must also use these stickers if they are operating their vehicles within Kosovo.

The opinions of North Mitrovica locals on the sticker regime are divided. While some of them are wondering “what was Vucic thinking?” and directly showing their disapproval of covering state symbols, others say that “everything is better than a complete ban on movement,“ and some citizens have underscored that the agreement must be respected.

Several citizens were unaware that the agreement on the license plates also applies to cars that are already in the north of Kosovo, as well as that the deadline to procure the stickers ends on Friday. They state that they were not informed about it.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3oJ7ryD

UNS at the EFJ’s Assembly to seek the International Commission for investigation of the murders of journalist in Kosovo (media)

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) regular annual assembly dedicated to better protection of journalists will be held today and tomorrow in Zagreb, the Association of Serbia’s Journalists (UNS) said on Friday, media reported.

It will gather some 70 delegates and observers as direct participants, with a much larger number of journalists and their unions from all over Europe.

UNS added that this year’s assembly would also insist on the adoption of regular annual work reports.

The participants will hold two round tables – on the first day, it will discuss the pressures to which journalists are exposed, especially in the Balkans and Belarus; on the second day, the agenda includes the trend of polarisation of journalism and audience at a time of growing illiberal movements.

The UNS resolution calls for an urgent establishment of the International Commission for the investigation into the Killings and Kidnappings of Journalists in Kosovo from 1998 to 2005.

It reminds about  ”the tragic fact that for more than two decades no one has been held accountable for 19 of the 20 killings, kidnappings and disappearances of Serbian and Albanian journalists and media workers and the German magazine Stern team, between 1998 and 2005 in Kosovo (one murder was solved before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY)”.

It recalled the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1738 (2006) and 2222 (2015), which condemn violence and abuses committed against journalists and media workers in situations of armed conflict, emphasising international obligations to end impunity and prosecute those responsible for such severe violations of international humanitarian law.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3AlNi3W

Selakovic: Important that UNMIK continues working in undiminished scope and unchanged mandate (media)

Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic met today the Special Representative of the Secretary General  (SRSG) and Head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin, as part of SRSG Tanin’s regular consultations ahead of the UN SC session on Kosovo, Serbian media report.   

In a statement issued by Foreign Ministry following the meeting, Selakovic said Serbia insists on consistent respect of the UN SC Resolution 1244, adding it was important for Serbia that engagement of UNMIK continues in undiminished scope and with unchanged mandate.

Selakovic also touched upon the recent situation at the crossing points between Kosovo and central Serbia. He emphasized that unilateral acts were the worst way to resolve the disputes, as they create problems and not solutions. According to him, there is no reasonable alternative to the dialogue.

Selakovic added he was concerned over the increased number of attacks against the Serbs, their properties and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, adding that 106 such ethnically motivated incidents have been recorded since the beginning of the year.

KEDS denied higher electricity bills following media reports on the price increase; State of emergency in Albania (Kosovo Online)

Kosovo Electricity Distribution (KEDS) spokesman Viktor Buzhala warns that electricity bills will be increased, due to increased electricity imports, which have reached astronomical prices, reported Kosovo Online, citing Koha. 

“We can’t guess, there are a number of factors – what will be the demand for consumption, what will be the temperature, how many citizens will be heated by electricity, what will be the prices of imports, which are four times more expensive. That is an extremely bad signal for what could happen in a few months. We will discuss all possibilities with key actors,” Buzhala said on KTV.

He pointed out that many mistakes have been made in the past 20 years, instead of increasing exports, imports have increased, and that “Kosovo has failed”.

“We have 14 billion tons of coal, and we have not even managed to meet domestic electricity needs. We have a demand that at the peak of winter reaches 1200, 1300 megawatts and we have a shortage of 400, 500 megawatts. The situation is alarming, and world prices have risen astronomically. The price of 200 megawatt hours is around 100,000 euros. We are talking about dizzying amounts,” said Buzhala.

Among other things, Buzala said that Kosovo should build a new power plant and show that it can produce electricity without increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

The portal also reported that a state of emergency had been declared in Albania due to energy prices.

After declaring a state of emergency in Albania over electricity supplies, Prime Minister Edi Rama said the situation was as difficult and shocking as the coronavirus pandemic, Kosovo Online reported, citing Reporteri.

“The general situation with rising energy prices gives the government the opportunity to intervene with financial instruments. Today, with this decision, we are paving the way for further implementation of a special plan to deal with this situation and we will announce the plan tomorrow. This situation is very similar to, regarding the shock, to the pandemic, and in this sense, everyone is affected,” Rama said.

Rama stated that the situation is not the same in all countries and added that experts believe that the crisis will reach its peak by the middle of next year.

The Albanian Prime Minister assessed that the most important thing, from the Government’s point of view, is to protect customers, reported Kosovo Online.

Buzhala later denied that the price of electricity would increase and pointed out that Koha‘s journalists misunderstood his statement, reports Reporteri, cited Kosovo Online. 

“Today, the media, KTV and Koha misunderstood me. As for the use of electricity, we said we could not guess what would happen, because it depends on many factors, which will be decided by energy actors. Neither KEDS nor I said that the price of electricity would increase. Please understand this as an official statement,” Buzhala said.

UN Security Council on October 15 on Kosovo (Kosovo Online, RTV Puls)

On October 15, the United Nations Security Council will consider the regular six-month report of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the situation in Kosovo, reported Kosovo Online.

The previous session of the UN Security Council, which discussed the report on the work of UNMIK and the situation in Kosovo, was held in April this year in video format, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Media recalls that the session was remembered for the fact that it was soon interrupted at the beginning. The interruption was due to the discussion that followed Russia‘s reaction to visible Kosovo‘s symbols during the speech of the Pristina representative, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Donika Gervalla. Russia’s representative, Dmitry Polanski demanded that the flag of Kosovo be removed because, as he said, “the so-called Kosovo is not a generally recognized state and the display of the flag of an unrecognized entity is not acceptable”.

The discussion of the SC members on this issue followed, so the broadcast of the session was interrupted. The session continued after the consultations that were closed for the public. 

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of Serbia, also protested Pristina’s “abuse of the video format of the session to promote the symbols of the false state of Kosovo”.

As in previous sessions of the UN Security Council, in April, the United States advocated for the UNMIK mission to be brought to an end, while Russia was against it and emphasized the importance of forming the Community of Serbian Municipalities.

Serbia will be represented at the session on October 15 by Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic.

‘Mirëdita – Dobar dan’ festival in Pristina (RTK2, KiM radio, Kontakt plus radio)

The eighth art festival ‘Mirëdita – Dobar dan’, to be held in Pristina for the first time, will gather about sixty participants from Serbia and Kosovo, including actors, musicians and numerous representatives of the civil and non-governmental sector of Kosovo and Serbia, said coordinator of the Integra project, Illiria Kajdoncaj as a guest on the RTK2 morning program.

“Everything is ready for the beginning of the festival, and we here in Pristina are looking forward to being able to gather people in one place not only from the world of art, but also beyond, to socialize and exchange opinions. The festival program is very rich, starting from the promotion of books to various concerts, and due to the epidemic situation, we will have to follow all the measures in place. Everyone is welcome to the festival, which takes place from October 14 to 16,” Kajdoncaj told RTK2.

 

 

Opinion

 

Battle Over Headlines (Kosovo 2.0)

By Idro Seferi

Another “war” between Kosovo and Serbia has ended. This one was over license plates and brought the north of Kosovo back into the spotlight beyond Prishtina and Belgrade. The scenario of this “war” was similar to others in the north. Kosovo used its most serious police force, the Kosovo Police Special Unit, while Kosovo Serbs again erected barricades in the north, in opposition to the government’s decision to enforce reciprocity on license plates. 

Eventually, after almost two weeks of tensions, both sides saw the need to reduce tensions, and they reached an agreement in Brussels that was more or less similar to one signed in 2016. Of course, both governments present the final result as a victory for their own side.

With the end of this “war,” the media war between publications in Kosovo and Serbia also came to a cease fire. The uneven way the media reports on the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, as in the case of the license plates, is a tradition of the dialogue that has lasted over ten years. Most media in Serbia follow the official state policy, and those in Kosovo largely conform to public opinion. Conflicting public statements about the agreements and the lack of transparency in the dialogue leads to a conducive atmosphere for tensions.

Since the beginning, the dialogue has been derailed by the deliberate misinterpretation of the agreements reached between both sides. Both parties to the dialogue use these interpretations to present certain agreements as historic victories and to hide aspects of agreements at moments when they must compromise.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3Bv9nhW

 

 

International 

 

Is the EU losing the Western Balkans? (Emerging Europe)

An underwhelming summit has left the Western Balkans further from EU membership than ever.

An ’emergency’ EU-Western Balkans summit, convened by Slovenia, which currently holds the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, this week failed to offer the six countries of the region any kind of roadmap towards EU membership.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/2Yqi0vo

 

 

 

 

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