Albanian Language Media:
- Kurti meets Borrell and Lajcak, talks about future of dialogue with Serbia (media)
- Kurti: We have fulfilled all criteria for visa liberalization (media)
- Meeting between Kurti and Vucic, not expected this year (Koha)
- Sir Stuart Peach’s appointment as special envoy to Western Balkans, important step (RTK)
- Perparim Rama sworn in as mayor of Pristina (media)
- KOSTT’s request for allocation of 33 million euros for electricity in the north, rejected (media)
- Kurti represents Kosovo with a footnote in Stabilization and Association Council (Zeri)
- COVID-19: Eight new cases, no deaths (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Covid-19: 42 new cases, two deaths registered in Serbian areas in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
- Vucic: We are ready to sign agreement on missing persons, but it is Pristina blocking dialogue (KoSSev)
- Office for KiM: Flags of Albania and KLA displayed in Bosniak Mahala (KoSSev)
- NATO senior official says Serbia valued, long-term partner (N1, BETA)
- RCC’s Bregu: Challenges facing EU linked to those W. Balkans experiences (FoNet, N1)
- Von Cramon met SOC Bishop Grigorije (N1, media)
- The White House announced a plan to fight corruption on a global level (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
- OSCE Mission condemned repeated vandalism of memorial plaque dedicated to missing Serb journalists (social media)
- Vucic and Hasanpur: Iran respects territorial integrity of Serbia (Kosovo-online, Tanjug)
- The global fight for democracy begins at home (Politico)
- Serbia Strengthening ‘Parallel Structures’, Kosovo Deputy PM Says (Balkan Insight)
- For Serbia’s Stevan Dojcinovic, journalism brings the Balkans’ corruption to light by ‘touching the untouchables’ (theglobeandmail.com)
- More than 100 cases of sexual violence this year (Koha, KoSSev, RTK2)
Albanian Language Media
Kurti meets Borrell and Lajcak, talks about the future of dialogue with Serbia (media)
During his visit to Brussels, for the fourth meeting of the Stabilization and Association Council, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti met with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the Special Representative of the European Union for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and other regional issues of the Western Balkans Miroslav Lajcak.
A communique from the Office of the Prime Minister states that in this joint meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo for European Integration, Development and Dialogue Besnik Bislimi, Prime Minister Kurti reconfirmed the readiness and commitment of the government of Kosovo for the European agenda. The dialogue process between Kosovo and Serbia and its future were discussed.
They also talked about the deepening of bilateral cooperation between Kosovo and the European Union and Kosovo’s path towards European integration, the statement said.
Kurti: We have fulfilled all criteria for visa liberalization (media)
The Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met in Brussels with the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood of the European Union Oliver Varhelyi.
They discussed the relationship between Kosovo and the European Union in the context of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, as part of the process of integration of Kosovo in the European Union, with emphasis on the ongoing commitment and progress that Kosovo has made on justice reform and the fight against organized crime.
Kurti praised the continued support of the European Commission for reforms and reiterated the request that member states within the EU Council should make a positive decision on visa liberalization for the people of Kosovo.
“Appreciated today’s discussion with Oliver Varhelyi on Kosova’s progress in SAA. We’ve fulfilled all requirements for visa liberalization and trust the EU will deliver. EU integration has no alternative. We’re motivated to continue our transformative reforms in close cooperation with the EU,” Kurti tweeted.
Kurti-Vucic meeting not expected this year (Koha)
The High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell has expressed skepticism that an upcoming meeting in dialogue between the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti and the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic will to be held in December.
After the fourth meeting of the Stabilization and Association Council in Brussels, Borrell said that he did not see the readiness of the parties for a future meeting.
“We always organize meetings and gather when appropriate. We have not announced yet. We have made it clear that after two meetings this year, the precondition is the readiness of both parties to agree on concrete results. It would be pointless to meet if the conditions are not met and meet again for nothing. Based on the information I received from the special envoy and his tireless work, there is no readiness at this point. But it is not over yet and we will do everything we can to have such meetings,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kurti has said that if the facilitator calls the meeting, he will go.
The last meeting between Kurti and Vucic was in July.
Sir Stuart Peach’s appointment as special envoy to Western Balkans, an important step (RTK)
Kosovo’s Defense Minister Armend Mehaj said the appointment of Sir Stuart Peach as special envoy to the Western Balkans is an important step of the United Kingdom for regional peace, stability and prosperity.
Mehaj stressed that the United Kingdom, alongside the United States of America, remains the only and strongest guarantee for a sustainable and permanent solution to the region’s challenges.
“The appointment of the great British military leader, Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, as Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, is a very important step of the United Kingdom for regional peace, stability and prosperity. As one of the main actors of NATO in the post-conflict management operation for Kosovo, Sir Stuart Peach is a much-needed personality in this mission. The United Kingdom, along with the United States, remains the only and strongest guarantee for a lasting and permanent solution to the challenges of our region,” Mehaj wrote on Facebook.
Perparim Rama sworn in as mayor of Pristina (media)
The Municipal Assembly of Prishtina held its inaugural meeting today, where the elected mayor, Perparim Rama and the new assembly members were sworn in.
In the solemn ceremony, Mayor Perparim Rama swore that he would perform all duties as the leader of the capital with honesty and impartiality.
Before shaking their hands, a “warm” embrace was seen between the former mayor of Pristina, Shpend Ahmeti and Perparim Rama.
All municipal councilors from all political parties were seen at the new legislature of the municipal assembly except the former Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) candidate for mayor, Arben Vitia.
The LVV assembly members also swore in front of the national flag, which they had placed in front of their tables.
KOSTT’s request for allocation of 33 million euros for electricity in the north, rejected (media)
The Parliamentary Committee on Budget, during the review of the second reading of the Draft Budget 2022, rejected by the majority vote the request of the Transmission System and Market Operator (KOSTT) for the allocation of 33 million euros for electricity in the north,.
The Commission is examining one by one the requests of the institutions for additional budget funds. However, most of them have been rejected so far, media report. Also, this commission by majority of votes has rejected the request of the People’s Advocate Institution for the creation of eight new positions, the increase of the fund for salaries and wages.
The commission also rejected the request of the Judicial Council to increase the budget for this institution.
The LDK MP Avdullah Hoti, reacted to these rejections of the requests for the Judicial Council and the People’s Advocate, saying that these rejections are contrary to the principle of institutions. Hoti said that with this trend of rejecting the requests, the Assembly and the Budget Committee will come to the situation of the third reading of this budget.
While, the chairman of the Working Group, Eman Rrahmani, said that the reason for rejecting these requests is due to budget limits.
The Commission has also rejected two requests from RAEPC to increase the budget for salaries and wages.
During the review of the requests, Rrahmani stated that the Working Group has decided not to support the Kosovo Intelligence Agency’s request for additional staff and salaries.
The Commission also has decided not to approve 31 requests of municipalities in Kosovo.
Kurti represents Kosovo with a footnote in the Stabilization and Association Council (Zeri)
Prime Minister Kurti is representing Kosovo with a footnote at the Stabilization and Association Council meeting between the EU and Kosovo in Brussels.
This is the fourth meeting held between Kosovo and the EU regarding the progress of the SAA.
Besides Prime Minister Kurti, Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Donika Gervalla, Minister of Finance Labor and Transfers Hekuran Murati, Minister of Interior, Xhelal Svecla, Minister of Environment, and Spatial Planning Liburn Aliu and Deputy Minister of Justice Nita Shala, also traveled to Brussels.
The Stabilization and Association Council was established on the basis of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between Kosovo and the European Union and analyzes the implementation of this agreement by both parties.
The Stabilization and Association Agreement is the first and only contractual agreement between Kosovo and the European Union, which entered into force on April 1 2016, and which aims to support Kosovo’s efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.
COVID-19: Eight new cases, no deaths (media)
Eight new cases with COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. Twelve persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 314 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.
Serbian Language Media
Covid-19: 42 new cases, two deaths registered in Serbian areas in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
Out of 126 tested samples in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo, 42 tested positive for Covid-19, Crisis Committee of Mitrovica North announced, Kosovo-online portal reports.
At the same time, two people passed away.
The new cases were registered as follows: 11 in Mitrovica North, ten in Zubin Potok, nine in Zvecan, eight in Leposavic, two each in Strpce and Priluzje, and one each in Pec and Prizren.
Deceased persons were from Mitrovica North and Zubin Potok.
Currently there are 533 active cases of Covid-19 in the Serbian areas in Kosovo.
A total of 188 persons have died in Serb-populated areas due to Covid-19 related complications since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Vucic: We are ready to sign agreement on missing persons, but it is Pristina blocking dialogue (KoSSev)
“I believe in tranquility and patience of our people, but at the same time I am certain that they will not try, at least not at this moment, to undertake some more serious actions against our people”, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said speaking about Pristina authorities, KoSSev portal reports.
He made these remarks answering the question of a TV Most reporter who asked him to comment on placing the KLA flag in the northern part of Mitrovica. The Office for Kosovo and Metohija already reacted to it.
Recalling the recent statement of EU spokesperson Peter Stano, Vucic said Serbia was ready to even sign the agreement on missing persons.
“And I am telling you now officially, Pristina is the one wishing no dialogue”, Vucic underlined.
He pointed out that, as he said, even when Pristina agrees on something in Brussels, as it was the case with the visits of high officials, it doesn’t respect it on the ground, referring to the fact that Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic was banned from entering Kosovo, second time in less then a month.
“Whoever did not enter the territory of central Serbia from Pristina, we did not create any problem. They promise, and say everything is ok for the entry of Petar Petkovic, and then they do not let him enter the territory controlled by Pristina. This, I guess, is to try to show how powerful and almighty they are, and how anything is allowed to them”, Vucic said.
On the other hand, KoSSev portal writes Pristina complained that Belgrade denied entry to the Kosovo boxing representation that was supposed to participate in a recent world championship taking place in Belgrade, and in the meantime four Kosovo ministers planning to visit Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja municipalities in southern Serbia ahead of the Albanian flag day were not allowed to enter that part of Serbia.
Office for KiM: Flags of Albania and KLA displayed in Bosniak Mahala (KoSSev)
Along with the flags of Albania that have been on display for years, the KLA flag has also been posted in an ethnically mixed settlement of Bosniak Mahala in Mitrovica North, KoSSev portal reports.
Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija protested last night over display of those flags, the portal added.
The Office for KiM said this was “a deliberate and dangerous provocation“ aiming at provoking a “rash reaction” of Serbian people in the north. The Office also said that although the perpetrator is hidden, the celebration of KLA has its recognizable signature and points to the authorities in Pristina, alleging that the Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti is hiding behind the act, the portal said.
KoSSev portal recalled that Albanian flags have actually been on display in this part of the town for years. Moreover, for years now, the flags of the so-called “Greater Albania“ could also be seen in North Mitrovica.
As the KoSSev portal reported this summer, “Greater Albania” flags, along with the Albanian flags, were displayed on the bridge connecting the southern and northern part of Mitrovica in Suvi Do village, and the part of the road that leads to the north.
See at: https://cutt.ly/ZYxIPvG
NATO senior official says Serbia valued, long-term partner (N1, BETA)
A senior NATO official told Belgrade-based BetA news agency that the Alliance considers Serbia to be a valued, long-term partner.
Javier Colomina, the Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, said in an interview prior to a visit to Belgrade that more should be done to make sure the public in Serbia is informed about cooperation between NATO and Serbia. He recalled that the Alliance and Serbia have developed their partnership since it began 15 years ago but added that the public does not know the full extent of that cooperation. According to him, a lot remains to be done in public diplomacy for the benefit of both sides.
Colomina starts a two-day visit to Serbia on Tuesday.
He said that the Serbia-NATO partnership is strong and stable at political, military and science levels. Serbia has been part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program since 2006. Colomina said that cooperation with NATO benefits the citizens of Serbia and the Western Balkans and that message should be repeated regularly. Colomina added that the cooperation is a permanent process at the highest political level with well-established communication between President Aleksandar Vucic and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Read more at: https://cutt.ly/cYxSFxt
RCC’s Bregu: Challenges facing EU linked to those W. Balkans experiences (FoNet, N1)
Majlinda Bregu, the Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), said on Monday that the security challenges the European Union was facing were increasingly linked to those the Western Balkans was experiencing.
Addressing the sixth Security Conference in Paris, she said “we may soon face a crisis which will seek a joint reaction.”
Bregu said that the SecuriMeter 2021 study on the Western Balkans showed only 37 percent of the population was happy with the security situation. At the same time, the two-thirds “or more” believed it was essential to fight terrorism, violent extremism, solve the migrant crisis, serious organised and financial crime, and cyber safety.
“Climate change is a new challenge that has appeared in the region, and we must be aware of that. The race for the reduction of climate changes, i.e., implementing the green plan, will be between the EU, US and third parties already present in the region. That is why the EU, and the Western Balkans must rely on each other,” Bregu said.
See at: https://cutt.ly/OYxJrbE
Von Cramon met SOC Bishop Grigorije (N1, media)
Viola von Cramon European Parliament Member said Monday she talked to the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC), Bishop of Dusseldorf and Entire Germany Grigorije about common challenges and inter-religious dialogue in the Western Balkans and Germany, while the Bishop asked her help for the SOC monastery in Kosovo and Metohija, N1 reports.
“Constructive and open discussion with Bishop #Grigorije, #Serbian #Orthodox #Church diocese of Düsseldorf and all of Germany, on common challenges and inter-religious dialogue in the #WesternBalkans and #Germany. Let’s use what unites us for the betterment of all”, von Cramon wrote on Twitter.
Later on Monday, the Diocese of Düsseldorf and Germany issued a statement saying that Bishop Grigorije “informed Ms von Cramon about the functioning of the Diocese of Dusseldorf and Germany and its numerous communities, challenges in achieving a better legal position of the Diocese, and engaging in interreligious dialogue within German society“.
The statement added that “during the meeting, Bishop Grigorije asked Ms von Cramon to work with fellow MEPs to get the interim authorities in Pristina to implement the 2016 ruling of its own Constitutional Court, bringing Visoki Decani back nearly 24 hectares of monastery land“.
The White House announced a plan to fight corruption on a global level (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
The administration of US President Joseph Biden published yesterday a document that represents a new plan for the fight against corruption on a global level, reported Kosovo Online, citing Tanjug.
The first U.S. anti-corruption strategy outlines a government-wide approach, with a special emphasis on better understanding and responding to “transnational threats, including taking further steps to reduce the ability of corrupt actors to use US and international financial systems for concealing property and laundering proceeds of corruption”, it is written on the White House website.
To implement the plan, the strategy directs the efforts of the US government in the fight against corruption within five mutually reinforcing pillars.
“While the United States has long been a leader in the global fight against corruption, tackling the threat as a national security imperative requires a modified approach,” the website said.
The fight against corruption at the global level will include the introduction of sanctions against officials of other countries and those accused of corruption and human rights violations.
The full White House statement available at: https://cutt.ly/4YxBCGq
OSCE Mission condemned repeated vandalism of memorial plaque dedicated to missing Serb journalists (social media)
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemned repeated vandalism of the memorial plaque dedicated to the two abducted Serb journalists, members of Radio Pristina, Djuro Slavuj and Ranko Perenic. Slavuj and Perenic went missing in the area of Orahovac, in 1998 and their whereabouts still remain unknown.
“The OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemns the repeated vandalism of the memorial plaque in Velika Hoa/Hoce e Madhe dedicated to two Kosovo Serb journalists who went missing in the area on 21 August 1998”.
“Our Mission is committed to keeping alive the memory of Ranko Perenic and Djuro Slavuj, and of all the murdered and missing journalists. We call for renewed efforts by all relevant institutions to look into these cases and to not allow impunity for such crimes”, the Mission wrote on its official Twitter account.
Vucic and Hasanpur: Iran respects territorial integrity of Serbia (Kosovo-online, Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met today Iranian Ambassador to Serbia, Rashid Hasanpur and thanked him for the principled stance of Iran to respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, Kosovo-online portal reports.
Ambassador Hasanpur said this stance shall remain firm as well as support to Serbia’s commitment to resolve all open issues through the dialogue.
Vucic also said it was interest of Serbia to advance cooperation with Iran in the areas that have realistic possibilities, since two countries are bound with truly friendly relations.
Ambassador Hasanpur conveyed to Vucic greetings from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, invitation to visit Iran as well as congratulations for successful organization of conference marking 60th anniversary of Non-Aligned Movement, which as he said, demonstrated independent foreign policy of Serbia.
The two interlocutors also discussed progress achieved in economic cooperation between Serbia and Iran, as well as proposals for new steps ahead, given possibilities, for example in the field of agriculture. They also expressed hope that earlier planned interstate contacts will be materialized soon.
The global fight for democracy begins at home (Politico)
By Nathalie Tocci
In order to promote liberal values, we must be able to protect our own.
In an age of great power rivalry, the protection and promotion of democratic values are increasingly becoming two sides of the same coin. And as world democracies gather virtually at United States President Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy this week, the invitees — including 26 member countries of the European Union — should view them as such.
Two of the summit’s main aims are to protect democracies from authoritarianism and maladies like corruption, and to promote democracy in the non-democratic world. Biden thus understandably opted for a wide tent approach to his list of participants: More than 100 countries will be present at the summit, several of which stand out as weak democracies or visibly display authoritarian traits.
Read more at: https://cutt.ly/KYxUOlh
Serbia Strengthening ‘Parallel Structures’, Kosovo Deputy PM Says (Balkan Insight)
Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi tells BIRN that Serbia is still boosting Belgrade-run structures in Kosovo – and the EU-led dialogue won’t make progress until they are dissolved.
As the European Union-facilitated dialogue on normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo languishes in a stalemate, Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, Besnik Bislimi, says the conditions are not ripe for another high-level meeting between Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic.
Since taking the helm of Kosovo’s government in March, Kurti has met Vucic twice to try to kick-start the stalled dialogue, but meetings have produced more question marks than answers, as the international community pushes the leaders towards a final agreement that ends decades of hostilities between the sides.
“A meeting between leaders is held when it has substance. We have concluded that for the moment there is not enough substance, because the Serbian side is not feeling any pressure to be more constructive and discuss elements that contain a final agreement,” Bislimi told BIRN in an interview on Monday.
“The final agreement should be centred on mutual recognition,” Bislimi, who is Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s person in charge of the dialogue, added.
‘Nothing is happening’
For years, Kosovo and Serbia leaders have traded accusations over the failure of implementation of agreements reached in Brussels since the process started in 2011, first on technical issues and then involving top political leaders.
The so-called Brussels Agreement in 2013 envisaged the establishment of an Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities in Kosovo. But eight years on, the idea remains stuck on paper, a casualty of continuing political tensions between Pristina and Belgrade.
In 2015, Prime Ministers Isa Mustafa of Kosovo and Ivica Dacic of Serbia signed an agreement on establishing the Association, but Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled the agreement anti-constitutional, although it gave the green light for another try.
“Nothing is happening about the Association,” Bislimi said in the interview.
“Serbia says we are ‘violating all the agreements but for us they are not important’. Our position is that Serbia has no credibility to ask anything from Kosovo unless it fulfils its own obligations,” Bislimi said.
Read more at: https://cutt.ly/ZYxPrtO
For Serbia’s Stevan Dojcinovic, journalism brings the Balkans’ corruption to light by ‘touching the untouchables’ (theglobeandmail.com)
Covering organized crime and its ties to Belgrade’s most powerful people has brought this investigative reporter many enemies – but also satisfaction in seeing the truth revealed
For the past 15 years, Serbian investigative journalist Stevan Dojcinovic has worked relentlessly to expose corruption, money laundering and government links to crime syndicates at home and in the Balkans. As a result, Mr. Dojcinovic, 38, has been ruthlessly targeted by a coterie of gangsters, crooked politicians and villainous government officials. Such is the intensity of threat, slander and harassment directed at him that almost half his life has been spent under siege, fending off a deluge of fake news designed to break his spirit and silence his voice.
Read more at: https://cutt.ly/0YxSdz8
More than 100 cases of sexual violence this year (Koha, KoSSev, RTK2)
More than 100 cases of sexual violence have been reported in Kosovo so far this year. This was announced by the Institute of Forensic Medicine at a round table with the European Union Mission in Kosovo for the rule of law, reported media.
Forensic pathologist from this Institute, Bergita Curri, said that the figure shows the commitment of victims to report such cases, more than in previous years.
“70 percent of the victims are minors and that shows that sexual violence affects our children, which is unacceptable. If we have figures like this, none of us can be comfortable. As a state, as institutions, as parents, as fellow citizens, we have an obligation to protect our children,” she said.
At this round table, it was stated that in most cases of sexual violence, the perpetrator is known to the victim.
“Two factors are crucial in punishing the perpetrator: the victim must report the case immediately and the victim should be examined as soon as possible after the crime has been committed, in order to gather biological evidence in a timely manner.”
Judge Agron Maxhuni said at the meeting that the evidence and its quality are crucial for the court proceedings.