Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  UNMIK Media Reports - Morning Edition  >  Current Article

UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, December 3, 2021

By   /  03/12/2021  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, December 3, 2021

• Kurti meets Quint ambassadors and head of EU office (media)
• Kurti: Any initiative aimed at replacing EU integration is deviation from genuine democratic reforms (media)
• Politicians react to appointment of UK special envoy to Western Balkans (media)
• Mustafa: Association to either be formed or Assembly to invalidate 2013 agreement (Koha)
• Analysts discuss implementation of Constitutional Court rulings (Klan)
• Kosovo rejects entrance permission to Petkovic (RTK)
• Svecla meets Johansson, discuss fight against crime and corruption (media)
• EC 2021 Reports on Western Balkans: Corruption is widespread and remains an issue of concern (EWB)
• Arrested development: the unfinished church dividing Kosovo (AFP/France 24)
• Kosovo to Simplify Path to Citizenship for Albanians from Presevo Valley (Exit)
• Kosovo Confirms Jailing of Serb Ex-Policemen for War Crimes (BIRN)
• ‘Art Without Limit’ Film Festival Opens in Capital (BIRN)
• COVID-19: 16 new cases, no deaths (media)

    Print       Email
  • Kurti meets Quint ambassadors and head of EU office (media)
  • Kurti: Any initiative aimed at replacing EU integration is deviation from genuine democratic reforms (media)
  • Politicians react to appointment of UK special envoy to Western Balkans (media)
  • Mustafa: Association to either be formed or Assembly to invalidate 2013 agreement (Koha)
  • Analysts discuss implementation of Constitutional Court rulings (Klan)
  • Kosovo rejects entrance permission to Petkovic (RTK)
  • Svecla meets Johansson, discuss fight against crime and corruption (media)
  • EC 2021 Reports on Western Balkans: Corruption is widespread and remains an issue of concern (EWB)
  • Arrested development: the unfinished church dividing Kosovo (AFP/France 24)
  • Kosovo to Simplify Path to Citizenship for Albanians from Presevo Valley (Exit)
  • Kosovo Confirms Jailing of Serb Ex-Policemen for War Crimes (BIRN)
  • ‘Art Without Limit’ Film Festival Opens in Capital (BIRN)
  • COVID-19: 16 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kurti meets Quint ambassadors and head of EU office (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met ambassadors of Quint countries and the head of the EU office in Kosovo and discussed with them the recent developments and the decisions of the Government towards fulfilling priorities of its governing programme, a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office states.

Kurti also informed the diplomats about the most recent measures taken to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and the vaccination process.

“The Prime Minister also spoke about the commitment of the Government for reforms in the country and European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the country and the importance for the cooperation with Quint to achieve these objectives. He thanked them for the continued support that they as partner and ally countries provided to the state and the people of Kosovo,” the communique adds.

At the end of the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Government of Kosovo and the EU regarding the occupation and use by the EU of immovable property in the territory of Kosovo. 

Kurti: Any initiative aimed at replacing EU integration is deviation from genuine democratic reforms (media)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti spoke Thursday in front of SEESOX students at the University of Oxford, and other participants in this virtual discussion. Speaking of the convincing victory in February, the prime minister singled out two key promises: work and justice.

“We showed that when you have a movement that promotes democracy, equality, development and social justice, ordinary people with common dreams can come together and change the fate of the country,” he said.

Prime Minister Kurti reiterated his full support for regional cooperation within the agenda and umbrella of the European Union, while emphasizing that we must also be careful.

“We fully support regional cooperation and know that we all win when we remove barriers to trade and lift restrictions on travel, work and business. But any initiative must be within the EU’s agenda and umbrella, function within EU rules and bring us closer to EU membership, not further away,” he said.

He singled out the Berlin Process as the only comprehensive framework in which there are many initiatives, including the Common Regional Market Initiative. He reiterated support for the Berlin Process as a platform where all six Western Balkan countries are equally represented and as a complementary EU integration process, not as an alternative or substitute for it.

“In this regard, we have proposed the establishment of a new regional cooperation called the South East Europe Free Trade Agreement – SEFTA. Our proposal aims to strengthen the Common Regional Market by removing obstacles and disagreements in terminology that hinder progress and by introducing independent institutions that can resolve disputes between the parties impartially and professionally,” said Prime Minister Kurti.

There must be a renewed commitment to EU membership for the region with a clear goal that sets in motion reforms. SEFTA is our modest contribution, but also very concrete in this regard.

Speaking about the Common Regional Market, which was supported last year at the Sofia Summit, he reiterated the Government’s full support for it and the goal of implementing the four EU freedoms: people, goods, capital and services.

“Any other initiative aimed at replicating the Common Regional Market or replacing EU integration is not only superfluous, but also malicious and, of course, a deviation from genuine democratic reforms and EU integration; that creates space and opportunity for malevolent actors,” Kurti said.

Read more from his speech here: https://bit.ly/3Dwg9El

Politicians react to appointment of UK special envoy to Western Balkans (media)

Yesterday, UK’s Prime Minister announced the appointment of Sir Stuart Peach as a special envoy to the Western Balkans, noting that the region was “experiencing the biggest threat to their stability and security in over two decades.”

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti welcomed the move. “I welcome the appointment of the British Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach as Special Envoy for the Western Balkans and I look forward to working closely with him in defending and promoting freedom and democracy in the Western Balkans,” he wrote on Twitter.

Director for the Western Balkans at the German German Federal Foreign Office Susanne Schutz hailed the decision of the Great Britain to appoint Stuart Peach as Special Envoy for Western Balkans. “The appointment of Sir Stuart Peach as Great Britain’s Special Envoy underlines the importance of the Western Balkans for Europe as a whole. Germany looks forward to working together with Sir Stuart to maintain stability and foster prosperity in the region,” Schutz wrote on Twitter.

Deputy Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Enver Hoxhaj expressed concern regarding the statement of the Great Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that Western Balkans is facing biggest threat to stability over two decades. “Great news the appointment of Sir Stuart Peach by PM Boris Johnson as Special Envoy for Western Balkans! If UK reads our situation “as the biggest threat to their stability over two decades” than everybody should really be worried! We look forward to stronger relations between Kosovo and UK,” he wrote.

Mustafa: Association to either be formed or Assembly to invalidate 2013 agreement (Koha)

Former leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo and former prime minister Isa Mustafa said in an interview with KTV that the formation of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities is an obligation for Kosovo which cannot be bypassed. He said this is because the Assembly has already ratified the agreement and that the demands now focus on the establishment of the Association based on the agreement of 2013 and not that of 2015 which the Constitutional Court found has provisions that violate the constitutional order of Kosovo.

“I hear leaders saying that the Constitutional Court has declared that it is in violation to the Constitution. The Constitution said that the Association should be established in accordance with the first agreement, because the establishment has become part of the legal order of Kosovo. This is written in the ruling, but not on the basis of the second agreement. And if it has to be done on the basis of the first agreement, as the Constitutional Court says, the country has two choices: Either the Assembly must convene and abrogate or annul the Law on ratification of the first agreement with over 80 votes, with two thirds of votes, and then we have no legal obligation to do form it, or work must be done to implement the law on the first agreement,” he said.

Analysts discuss implementation of Constitutional Court rulings (Klan)

A group of analysts discussed in a Klan Kosova TV debate the non-implementation of Constitutional Court rulings, namely those relating to the Decan Monastery and the Association of Serb-majority municipalities.

Arber Vllahiu, Kosovo’s former ambassador to Prague, said that the non-implementation of Constitutional Court rulings “directly attacks” all Kosovo institutions. “First, Kosovo gets considered as an irresponsible country in the international scene. Second, as a country that does not respect decisions of its constitutional and legal institutions,” Vllahiu said.

Former justice minister, Selim Selimi, said the decision of the Constitutional Court giving the Decan Monastery right to ownership of a nearby land is “problematic”. “Something is not right. I think it is necessary to take a look at the process, whether legal or political, of this decision. I think that first, the political narrative on the transfer of property of the Monastery of Decan and the transfer of social property is completely unfounded. The political argument is that if it had been a democratic system, every socially-owned property, including ‘Apiko’ and ‘Iliria’, would be the property of those workers. There were also Serb workers in ‘Apiko’ and ‘Iliria’. This means that the right of Serbian workers to be compensated for a socially owned property, which they had, has also been denied.” Selimi argued that the best option would be to address the issue before the International Court on Human Rights but where Kosovo is not a member. “I think all embassies, all interested parties, should help Kosovo become member of Council of Europe so that we can be a party in that court.”

Azem Vllasi, lawyer, said that the Constitutional Court ruling is not against the establishment of the Association but noted that it needs to be formed in line with the Constitution of Kosovo while Kadri Kastrati, former Constitutional Court judge, said all decisions of this court need to be respected and implemented. Ilir Ibrahimi, analyst, said that the non-implementation of the Constitutional Court decision on the Decan Monastery by local institutions could lead to the case going to arbitration.

Kosovo rejects entrance permission to Petkovic (RTK)

Kosovo’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs informed that it rejected permission for entrance to the Director of the Office for Kosovo at Serbian government.

According to the Ministry, Petkovic requested to visit Kosovo on the 2 and 3 December.

The rejection comes a few days after the Serbian government decided not to allow Kosovo Ministers to visit Presevo Valley, and after another rejection of Petkovic’s request by the Kosovo government.

On Wednesday, EU Spokesperson Peter Stano said there was no reason to ban Kosovo ministers from visiting Presevo Valley.

“We invite Serbia to reconsider its decision not to allow the visit of Kosovo ministers,” Stano had said. He made the same reaction when Petkovic was not allowed to visit Kosovo.

Svecla meets Johansson, discuss fight against crime and corruption (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs Xhelal Svecla met yesterday the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. They discussed the work of the Government of Kosovo in the fight against organised crime and corruption and concrete challenges in this field.

According to a press release of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Svecla also underlined the importance of continued concrete cooperation in the fight against different types of trafficking, including that of migrants.

EC 2021 Reports on Western Balkans: Corruption is widespread and remains an issue of concern (EWB)

Corruption in the Western Balkans continues to be widespread – this is a conclusion that can be found in the European Commission 2021 Enlargement Package.

With progress in some areas and a clear slowdown in others, the success of enlargement countries in the fight against corruption varies. Countries that have not even started their accession negotiation achieved better results in this field than those that are considered frontrunners of the enlargement process. However, corruption in the whole region remains an issue of concern influencing many spheres of everyday life.

Thus, conclusions of the 2021 European Commission reports on Western Balkan countries remain similar as last year and most of the last year’s recommendations remain valid. Corruption remains present and further and robust efforts are needed in combating corruption.

Kosovo – The need for robust criminal justice response to high-level corruption

As EC stated, Kosovo is at an early stage / has some level of preparation. Limited progress was made, corruption is still an issue of concern and most of the last year’s recommendations remained valid.

“Despite efforts made, there is a need for strong and continual political will to effectively address systemic corruption risks, as well as a robust criminal justice response to high-level corruption.”

According to the report, lack of the implementation of existing legislation is the main problem. As explained, a key to effective implementation represents inter-institutional coordination and cooperation between preventive anti-corruption institutions and law enforcement entities, whose responsibilities continued to overlap.

Furthermore, a new law on the Anti-Corruption Agency aimed at better defining the scope of the Agency’s competencies remains to be adopted, stated the Commission. It added that the capacity of the Agency needs to be strengthened considering the new competencies of the Agency and effective implementation of the applicable legislation.

Since limited progress was made on the investigation and prosecution of high-level cases in the track record, sustained efforts are needed in this field as well.

Finally, the report draws attention to the fact that since 2018, Kosovo does not have an Anti-Corruption Strategy in force. There is a Rule of Law Strategy and Action Plan that include specific measures aiming to improve the institutional framework against corruption, as well as the assets declaration system and regulations on acceptance of gifts. Yet, the Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2022 that were finalised and approved by the government, failed to be adopted by the Assembly and the Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2023, adopted by the government, were not sent to the Assembly for approval, notes the report.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3Ifas0U

Arrested development: the unfinished church dividing Kosovo (AFP/France 24)

At first glance, the half-built Orthodox church in the heart of Kosovo’s capital seems little more than a napping spot for stray dogs splayed out in a patch of unkempt weeds near the padlocked entrance.

But for nearly three decades the hulking structure has cast a long shadow over Pristina, serving as a potent symbol of the unresolved dispute between Kosovo and Serbia.

“This church must be destroyed,” Jahir Islami, a 77-year-old retiree, tells AFP, citing painful memories of Kosovo’s bloody past when the land was divided along ethnic lines during years of violent unrest.

Disputes over religious sites remain simmering flashpoints between the bitter rivals since Kosovo declared independence in 2008 — with Serbia still refusing to acknowledge the breakaway province’s sovereignty.

Kosovo is home to some of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s most revered monasteries, with many of the centuries-old churches now residing in largely ethnic Albanian towns where Islam predominates.

The fate of those churches and Kosovo’s shrinking Serb minority has continued to thwart efforts to reach a deal between the two sides that have achieved little progress in recent years.

Unlike the storied Orthodox monasteries in the countryside, the unfinished church in Pristina belongs to a more recent and brutal history.

Former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic facilitated its construction in the mainly Albanian city during a bloody crackdown on the community in Kosovo, which led to a brief but vicious war in the late 1990s that only ended after NATO intervention.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3ojQ6M5

Kosovo to Simplify Path to Citizenship for Albanians from Presevo Valley (Exit)

The Kosovo government has presented legislation that will make it easier for ethnic Albanians from Serbia to become Kosovo citizens.

The law would benefit ethnic Albanians from the Presevo Valley, Medvegja, and Bujanoc who have lived in Kosovo for at least five years since June 12, 1999.

According to local organization “Levizja Qytetare Vatra,” some 20,000 ethnic Albanians have moved from Serbia to Kosovo in the past 20 years for economic and safety reasons.

However, for many, Kosovo citizenship or even residency permits have been impossible. This is due to Serbia’s ongoing passivization of residential addresses of those who live abroad, in what the Serbian Helsinki Committee has called “ethnic cleansing through administrative means.”

Kosovo Confirms Jailing of Serb Ex-Policemen for War Crimes (BIRN)

The Court of Appeals in Pristina on Thursday upheld the verdict sentencing former police officer Zlatan Krstic to 14-and-a-half years in prison and former police inspector Destan Shabanaj to seven years for their roles in a deadly attack on Kosovo Albanian civilians during the war.

The court rejected the prosecution’s appeal for higher sentences and the defence’s appeal for a retrial on the grounds of procedural violations.

Krstic was found guilty of being directly involved the attack in the village of Nerodime e Eperme/Gornje Nerodimlje in the Ferizaj/Urosevac municipality on March 26, 1999.

The court found that he took part in the destruction of houses and other property and was involved in expelling 15 members of a family and taking four others hostage, and later killing them.

Krstic also contributed to the mistreatment, torture and mutilation of the victims and in dumping their corpses by the side of a road in an attempt to conceal the crime.

The court found that Shabanaj ordered that the bodies of the victims be buried without dignity and in violation of the rules of war.

The bodies were taken from the morgue in Pristina before an autopsy was to a location near the cemetery in the town of Ferizaj/Urosevac, where Shabanaj was waiting for them.

Shabanaj was found to have ordered a man to dig a pit with an excavator in order to dump the bodies into it.

After the bodies were thrown into the pit, without respect for religious traditions and rituals, he ordered that they should be covered with earth and that no record of their identities should be left.

‘Art Without Limit’ Film Festival Opens in Capital (BIRN)

Prishtina is hosting the second edition of the “Art without Limit International Film Festival”, which runs from December 1-3, showing 50 themed films about and for people with special needs.

The screening program started at 11am on Wednesday, while the official opening ceremony took place at the Kino Armata cinema in Pristina. Entry to the films is free.

Fifty local and international short films will be screened, with themes for people with special needs.

“We will try to bring films about the story of what disability and their world really are, both in terms of problems, integration, values ​​and many issues that they are concerned with throughout their lives, delivering positive messages!” the festival website explains.

COVID-19: 16 new cases, no deaths (media)

16 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Kosovo in the last 24 hours. 10 persons recovered during this time.

There are 320 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

    Print       Email

You might also like...

UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, January 20, 2022

Read More →