Albanian Language Media:
- Kurti: No individual or group will be more powerful than the state (media)
- U.S. and EU support Kosovo’s commitment to fight corruption (RTK)
- Enlargement Package 2021 delivered to Konjufca (RTK)
- Stano speaks about meeting tomorrow between technical teams of Kosovo and Serbia (RFE Albanian)
- Rohde: Germany is Kosovo’s steadfast partner (media)
- Public debt increases to 1.5 billion euros during the COVID-19 pandemic (media)
- COVID-19: 14 new cases, no deaths (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Borrell and Blinken called for a “sustainable reduction of tensions” in Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
- Stano: The Working Group goal is to find a permanent solution for license plates (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
- Petkovic: Tomorrow in Brussels on freedom of movement and license plates (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
- Bilcik: Western Balkans should focus on reforms (N1)
- Elections should have been postponed until demilitarization is carried out, security marketing is dangerous (KoSSev)
- Serbian List: Winning the local elections was not very pleasant for those who worked against the interests of our people (Radio Mitrovica sever)
- Momcilo Trajkovic: Ever since I wrote an open letter to Vucic, I have been “on measures” (N1, KoSSev)
- America’s new instrument in the Balkans (Euractive)
- Kremlin says Putin-Biden meeting this year is possible (Reuters)
- Kosovo* Supreme Court: Kelag’s three small hydropower plants must be shut down (balkangreenenergynews.com)
Albanian Language Media
Kurti: No individual or group will be more powerful than the state (media)
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti condemned today the attack against the acting chief executive officer of the Trepca mining complex, Enis Abdurrahmani, and the administration director, Besim Haxhiu, by some employees of the enterprise. Kurti visited the complex today and said that no individual or group will be more powerful than the state.
“I was informed in detail about the situation and the latest developments in Trepca. This is regrettable. An organised attack against the management. We strongly condemn this attack which is aimed against Trepca and does not serve Kosovo’s good. I pledge as Prime Minister that there will be no individuals or groups more powerful than the state. Those that want to be more powerful will be in opposition with the law and the constitutionality. We are a good governance. The acting chief executive officer has my full support,” Kurti said.
The Minister of Economy, Artane Rizvanolli, who accompanied Kurti on the visit, said the government will support a better performance of the mining complex and that in cooperation with the management they will improve the working conditions for the employees.
U.S. and EU support Kosovo’s commitment to fight corruption (RTK)
The European Union and the United States “have agreed to strengthen joint engagement in the Western Balkans, in support of the region ‘s progress on the European path”.
This is stated in a joint statement of the U.S. and the EU, published on October 20.
Joint Statement on the Western Balkans
Following the recent meeting between Secretary Blinken and High Representative Borrell, the United States and the EU agreed to further strengthen their joint engagement in the Western Balkans in support of the region’s progress on its European path. We underscore our full support for the EU’s enlargement process. EU accession, a stated priority for the whole Western Balkans, helps consolidate democratic institutions, protect fundamental rights, and advance the rule of law. This region belongs in the European Union. Closer integration will enhance stability and contribute to prosperity for the people of the region. In this context, we stress that accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should start without delay.
“The United States and the European Union are united in their firm support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in their joint work to promote electoral and constitutional reform and maintain the functionality of its state institutions. We have serious concerns about increasingly divisive rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We call on all parties to respect and protect state institutions, resume constructive dialogue, and take steps to advance progress on the EU integration path – including on relevant reforms. The EU and the United States stand ready to facilitate these steps.
We stress the importance of the EU-facilitated Dialogue, which is the key mechanism to address the comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. After the recent weeks of tension in the north of Kosovo, we encourage both parties to engage in continued and sustained de-escalation and avoid actions that threaten stability. We welcome and support Kosovo’s engagement to fight corruption and organized crime, and we reiterate that violence against civilians, journalists, police, or other authorities is unacceptable.
We call on all political forces in Montenegro to work together to maintain a strategic orientation that reflects the desire of the people of Montenegro to achieve the reforms necessary to make their hopes for a future in the EU a reality,” reads the statement.
Enlargement Package 2021 delivered to Konjufca (RTK)
The Ambassador of the European Union in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, today handed over the 2021 Enlargement Package to the President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca.
“EU Ambassador Tomash Sunjog today handed over to the Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo Glauk Konjufca the 2021 Enlargement Package, including the Kosovo Report”, reads the announcement of the EU Office in Kosovo.
Szunyog also handed over this report to Prime Minister Albin Kurti and President Vjosa Osmani yesterday.
Stano speaks about meeting tomorrow between technical teams of Kosovo and Serbia (RFE Albanian)
The European Union has confirmed that the first meeting of the working group on the issue of vehicle license plates between Kosovo and Serbia will take place on Thursday, October 21.
“The first meeting of the working group for license plates with experts from both sides will take place on October 21. The aim of the working group is to find a permanent solution to this issue, ” saidt EU spokesman, Peter Stano.
In a response to Radio Free Europe, Stano added that the expert working group is expected to meet regularly.
On September 20, the Government of Kosovo imposed a reciprocity measure on license plates from Serbia. This decision was followed by protests and the erection of barricades near the two border crossings that connect Kosovo with Serbia: Jarinje and Brnjak.
On September 30, with the mediation of the European Union, the parties reached an interim settlement and on October 4, both countries began affixing stickers on state symbols on license plates.
According to this agreement, Kosovo and Serbia will form a working group to reach a lasting solution to the issue of freedom of movement within six months.
Meanwhile, Stano told RFE that the meetings of the negotiating and high-level teams will take place independently of the meetings of this working group.
However, Stano said that “there is not yet a date” for negotiators’ meetings or high-level meetings, in the framework of the EU-mediated dialogue, but they are working in that direction.
EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell spoke with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic following rising tensions in northern Kosovo and called on them to return to the table of dialogue as soon as possible.
Tensions in the municipalities in northern Kosovo increased even after an action against smuggling carried out by the Kosovo Police and Customs on October 13, in which, as a result of protests and barricades in North Mitrovica and Zvecan, dozens of protesters and police were injured.
The European Commission, through the Progress Report, published on October 19, also invited Kosovo and Serbia to have a constructive engagement in dialogue and to urgently reach a comprehensive, legally binding agreement, for the normalization of relations.
The dialogue for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, under the mediation of the EU, started in 2011.
Rohde: Germany is Kosovo’s steadfast partner (media)
The European Commission released its annual reports on prospective EU membership candidates, including Kosovo. Chief of the EU Office to Kosovo Thomas Szenyog submitted the report to the President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti.
German Ambassador to Kosovo Jorn Rohde reacted on his Twitter account saying that Germany continues to be Kosovo’s partner.
“Germany continues to be a steadfast partner on Kosovo’s path towards the EU integration,” Rohde wrote.
Public debt increases to 1.5 billion euros during the COVID-19 pandemic (media)
Kosovo’s economy during 2020 has decreased by 5.5 percent, while public debt has increased to 1.5 billion euros.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo, Fehmi Mehmeti, presenting the financial report for 2020 to the Budget Committee, said that the COVID 19 pandemic has caused economic decline and increased public debt.
However, Mehmeti said that economic activity in the first half of 2021 was 10.1 percent higher than the previous year.
Asked by Kosovo Assembly MPs about the issue of insurance companies, Mehmeti said that they have implemented the law for each of them.
Eman Rrahamani, a member of this commission from the ranks of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV), called this report of the governor generalized and without any concrete accountability.
COVID-19: 14 new cases, no deaths (media)
14 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 61 persons recovered from the virus during this time.
There are 515 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.
Serbian Language Media
Borrell and Blinken called for a “sustainable reduction of tensions” in Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
In a joint statement, EU Foreign Minister Giuseppe Borrell and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for a “sustainable reduction of tensions” in Kosovo, reported Kosovo Online, citing agency Tanjug.
Also, as stated in the statement, they welcome “Kosovo’s fight against corruption and crime”, but also condemn “violence against civilians, journalists and police”.
“After the last weeks of tensions in northern Kosovo, we encourage both sides to engage in continuous and sustainable de-escalation and avoid actions that threaten stability. We welcome and support Kosovo’s engagement in the fight against corruption and organized crime and reiterate, violence against civilians, journalists and police or other authorities is unacceptable,” the two officials said in a written statement.
In a joint written statement published today and after last week’s meeting in Washington, Borrell and Blinken called for a continuation of the EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
“We emphasize the importance of EU-mediated dialogue, which is a key mechanism for resolving the comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo,” the statement said.
The EU foreign minister and the US secretary of state added that during the meeting in Washington, they agreed to further strengthen the joint engagement of the EU and the USA in the Western Balkans, in order to “support the region’s progress on the European path”.
“We emphasize our full support for the EU enlargement process. EU accession, a priority for the entire Western Balkans, helps consolidate democratic institutions, protect fundamental rights and promote the rule of law. This region belongs to the EU,” state Borrell and Blinken.
They conclude that closer integration of the Western Balkans will improve stability and contribute to the prosperity of the people in the region.
Borrell and Blinken also call for the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia “without delay”
The statement also gives “strong support” to the EU and the United States for the territorial integrity of BiH and emphasizes “serious concern over the growing rhetoric of divisions in BiH”.
“We call on all parties to respect and protect state institutions, continue a constructive dialogue and take steps to make progress towards EU integration – including relevant reforms,” Borrell and Blinken said.
Senior EU and US officials also call on all political forces in Montenegro to work together to preserve the strategic orientation of the country and its citizens and to achieve “the reforms necessary to make their hopes for the future of the EU a reality”.
Stano: The Working Group goal is to find a permanent solution for license plates (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
The first meeting of the Working Group, which should deal with resolving the dispute between Belgrade and Pristina over license plates, will be held tomorrow in Brussels, EU spokesman Peter Stano confirmed for Tanjug.
“The goal of the working group is to find a lasting solution to this issue,” says Stano.
He stated that the Working Group, composed of experts from the EU, Belgrade and Pristina, will meet regularly, as agreed in the agreement from September 30.
The agreement ended the crisis at the crossings between central Serbia and Kosovo and restored freedom of movement, with the beginning of the use of license plate stickers.
It was then agreed to form a Working Group, which should reach an agreement in the next six months on a permanent solution to the issue of application or recognition of license plates between Belgrade and Pristina.
The findings of the Working Group should be discussed at a high-level dialogue meeting between Belgrade and Pristina, reports Tanjug
In Brussels, they note that the meetings within the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, at the level of the main negotiators and leaders, will take place independently of the work of the Working Group.
Petkovic: Tomorrow in Brussels on freedom of movement and license plates (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
The first meeting of the Working Group of the delegations of Belgrade and Pristina is being held in Brussels tomorrow, and the topics of conversation are the issues of freedom of movement and license plates, announced today the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, reports Tanjug.
He explained that it will not be a meeting of the main negotiators at the technical level, but, he says, it is about the experts, as agreed in the agreement signed on September 30, portal Kosovo Online cited.
“And that is to form a working group headed by the European Union and where both sides, Belgrade and Pristina, are present,” Petkovic said after visiting Srecko Sofronijevic, a man wounded last week during Kosovo’s police special units ROSU action in the North of Kosovo.
Petkovic said that both sides will have four members in the working group, especially for freedom of movement issues, registration license plates issues and others.
“We are starting with the first meeting at which everything necessary for the functioning of the Working Group will be discussed, which is necessary in order to reach a proposal for a solution that should be adopted at a high level later,” Petkovic said.
The director of the Emergency Center, Marko Ercegovac, says that Sofronijevic is stable and feels good.
“He is recovering successfully. He will go home soon,” Ercegovac said.
Petkovic said that “Srecko Sofronijevic was wounded on the doorstep of his house because of his name and surname. He is a brave man who could have been killed because of the dirty game of Albin Kurti. The act because of which he could have been killed is an act of heroism,” said Petkovic.
Bilcik: Western Balkans should focus on reforms (N1)
European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilcik MEP said on Tuesday that the latest European Commission report on Serbia’s progress towards European Union membership reflects the important message that the EU is trying to convey to the Western Balkans: focus on the reform process.
“The marathon towards EU membership is lined with reforms but the pace of running – as in every marathon – must be constant and predictable,” he said in written remarks on the publication of the report.
Bilcik said that it is also time to look carefully at the EU’s role in supporting the enlargement process. “We need to be bold in our vision for the region and we need to be engaged on the ground. We across the EU must show genuine interest in the European perspective for the countries in the Western Balkans. While we declare our enlargement goals over and over again, it is imperative that we demonstrate these words through deeds, for example by including our partners actively in the Conference on the Future of Europe. Our European commitment is all the more important as we are witnessing inflammatory rhetoric in a number of countries across the Western Balkans,” he said.
He said that Serbia has to dedicate itself to opening up the political landscape to ensure free, competitive and fair elections next year. “This means, on the one hand, that implementation of the Inter-Party Dialogue agreements is crucial, and on the other hand, that all political forces compete in the elections,” said.
The rapporteur warned that recent tensions between Belgrade and Pristina point to the fragility of the status-quo. “While I welcome the efforts of both sides to scale down the tension, the situation on the ground demonstrates that we need serious and continued engagement from both Belgrade and especially Pristina towards work on a comprehensive and legally binding agreement,” he added.
See at: https://bit.ly/3vGFngZ
Elections should have been postponed until demilitarization is carried out, security marketing is dangerous (KoSSev)
What’s special about these elections and has the potential to become a Western Balkan brand, is that votes are obtained through barricades and incidents, including armed incidents, the president of the Forum for Ethnic Relations, Dusan Janjic, said in an interview for KoSSev. The upcoming year is an election year for many countries in the Balkans. If this form of security marketing – and it is obviously an attractive one – takes root throughout the Balkans, then the issue arises as to who can control it so that it does not turn into armed conflicts and place elections in the background, Janjic underlined.
Local elections were held in Kosovo on Sunday. According to preliminary data, Srpska Lista came out on top in 10 municipalities. In nine out of ten, SL candidates were elected as mayors in the first round. In the other 28 Albanian-majority municipalities, 8 mayors were elected in the first round, none from Self-Determination. The majority of the newly elected mayors come from the ranks of the PDK. The other 21 municipalities will have a second ballot in a month. The highest turnout was recorded in the north, over 80%, almost twice as high when compared to the entire territory of Kosovo (around 43%).
In the northern municipalities, two security and political crises took place during the election campaign. The first one came to be following the deployment of special police units near Jarinje and Brnjak and roadblocks set up by local Serbs. The second crisis occurred just four days before the elections – an anti-smuggling action during which special units were once again deployed, this time in North Mitrovica and Zvecan. The special units clashed with Serbs. This time, live ammunition was also used, resulting in the wounding of a local ethnic Serb Srecko Sofronijevic.
As it can already be determined based on the preliminary election results, two different results were obtained – reads Janjic’s analysis of the election outcome.
See more at:https://bit.ly/3vtFRqi
Serbian List: Winning the local elections was not very pleasant for those who worked against the interests of our people (Radio Mitrovica sever)
Serbian List reacted to Momcilo Trajkovic statement for broadcaster N1, issuing the statement.
”The victory of the Serbian people, that is, the candidate of the Serbian List in the recent local elections, was not very pleasant for those who worked against the interests of our people,” reads the statement.
The statement added that ”respecting the public space and our citizens, we cannot but emphasize that this is one of the biggest nonsense uttered at least in this decade. Such a statement is not a surprise, because Momcilo Trajkovic never shared the fate of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, always putting himself above everyone, as the smartest, without basis for that self-proclamation”.
”Serbian List has repeatedly called on all of them, including Mr. Trajkovic, whose political authority in this area equals to zero, not to share lessons with those of us who live here with our families, that his words would have more weight if at the time he had an the opportunity to show it in action he had shown on how he fights for the Serbian people, and if he had not moved his family out of Kosmet a long time ago.”
”However, we use the opportunity to ask Trajkovic, how would he have been creative if he had been in the place of Srecko Sofronijevic who was shot in his own yard by a member of Pristina special units, what is the appropriate behaviour, Mr. Trajkovic, when bullets hit your windows behind which there are children and women? Without waiting for your answer, because it will not be smarter than the nonsense you said, we urge you not to share lessons because long time ago Serbian people became indifferent to your stories and rejected you as a politician, precisely because of your creativity with which you once enriched yourself and impoverished Serbs,” the statement reads.
Momcilo Trajkovic: Ever since I wrote an open letter to Vucic, I have been “on measures” (N1, KoSSev)
President of the Serbian National Forum, Momcilo Trajkovic told N1 that he had been “on measures” for three years, since when he sent an open letter to the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic in which he stated that the President did not fulfill anything promised in the conversation after the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.
Trajkovic said that Serbia should have given a clearer, more creative and wiser answer to the recent events in Mitrovica and added that unfortunately something else was seen. As he said it was seen that Belgrade’s policy wanted to use Kosovo and the misfortune of people for the consolidation of power. According to Trajkovic, ”what has happened in Raska is the most obvious imitation of Milosevic in April 1987 in Kosovo Polje”.
Trajkovic said that ”it is obvious that Kurti had to give some answer after the moves he made in September, when he sent the police and long guns to the North of Kosovo”.
”In that way, he wanted, in fact, to intimidate those people. …what kind of answer did he get, is the answer right…I see a problem there. The problem is that the situation is being abused here. Instead of coming up with an essential response and a creative policy, using the chance because Kurti’s policy was presented unscrupulously, those who were supposed to solve the problem – they tried to profit politically. That conversation in Raska reminded me of April 1987, when Milosevic talked to Kosovo Serbs who complained to him,” Trajkovic said.
In Trajkovic’s opinion an answer could not be sought now of the crisis, but a complete strategy had to be made, in which Serbs from Kosovo were included.
”Serbia should have given a clearer, wiser and more creative answer, an action as a response to action should not have happened, because that was the moment for Serbia to show the strength of its policy and the strength of creativity and sincerity in the fight for Kosovo. Unfortunately, something else was seen, it was seen that the policy of Belgrade wants to use Kosovo and the misfortune of people for the sake of preserving power, for the sake of strengthening the position here. That is not necessary, Vucic is so strong in Serbia. If I were him, I would use my strength in Serbia to make the most creative policy in Kosovo…” Trajkovic said, among other things.
Commenting on the results of the Vetevendosje, Trajkovic said that Kurti was exposed by fierce politics and moves, because they were not in the function of solving problems, but in the function of gaining political points.
”No one worked so obviously in an arrogant and rude manner on winning political points as LVV and Kurti, and they had to pay for it, because it was not normal,” he said. He opined that in that way, Kurti showed that he was immature to lead politics.
Trajkovic said that these local elections have shown that the potential of the Albanian electorate was quite strong – just as they managed to remove the war option from the political scene, that political force managed to stop Kurti and tell him to stop.
If the defeat would be confirmed in the second round, he would obviously have to offer new parliamentary elections Trajkovic pointed out and added that the Democratic League of Kosovo and the Democratic Party of Kosovo profited.
America’s new instrument in the Balkans (Euractive)
The ‘European way’ in the Balkans has led to an excessive waste of time in achieving the strategic goals of bringing the region into the Western structures, and consequently, the new US administration will now try to make up for it, writes Orhan Dragaš.
Dr Orhan Dragaš from the International Security Institute is the author of the book “Two faces of globalisation – truth and deceptions”.
“America will do everything, and it will help you, in every way, in your efforts to become part of Europe. There is no limit to the amount of that assistance”.
These were the words of Colin Powell addressed to Serbia and Montenegro on 2 April 2003, three weeks after the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić, when the then Secretary of State suddenly visited Belgrade.
It is a timely tribute to Colin Powell to look back, and forward, at the American policy towards the Balkans. But there is also interesting news.
Major personnel reset of the American diplomatic team in charge of the Balkans is underway.
New ambassadors are arriving in Belgrade, Pristina, Sarajevo, and possibly in Podgorica, and they are being sent from Washington by the newly appointed “boss” for the Balkans at the State Department, Gabriel Escobar. These few people have more than a hundred years of joint experience in the Balkans.
We should not say that America is “returning to the Balkans”, not only because the wording is worn out, but also because it is incorrect.
If America had not really been in the region in recent years, Croatia would not have become a member of the EU, nor would the entire Western Balkans, except Serbia and BiH, be in NATO today.
North Macedonia would have its old, shorter name, but would still be isolated and blocked for any integration. Montenegro would be shaken by internal conflicts, not for one year but for at least a decade, and Serbia and Kosovo would be very far from any dialogue, and literally pitted against each other.
The new US team for the Balkans will no doubt have the task of speeding up the completion of some unfinished business.
See more at:https://bit.ly/3vvFUCk
Kremlin says Putin-Biden meeting this year is possible (Reuters)
MOSCOW, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Wednesday said a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden before the end of the year was a realistic possibility, as Moscow-Washington relations languish at post-Cold War lows.
“In one form or another (a meeting) is quite realistic,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said when asked whether the meeting could take place this year.
Kosovo* Supreme Court: Kelag’s three small hydropower plants must be shut down (balkangreenenergynews.com)
Kosovo’s Supreme Court has ruled that three hydropower plants near the village of Deçan must be shut down pending a final court decision. The facilities are owned by KelKos, a subsidiary of Austria-based Kelag-Kärntner Elektrizitäts and Kelag International.
Environmentalists and locals have been protesting for years now against KelKos Energy and its controversial small hydropower plants. They claim the government failed to assess the environmental risk and to consult the communities living in the villages where the units operate – which is required by law.
See more at:https://bit.ly/3aTVb6d