Albanian Language Media:
- Czech Foreign Minister: I have high expectations for visa liberalisation (media)
- Osmani: Crucial for visa liberalisation to conclude during Czech EU Presidency (media)
- FES: It’s not true EU engaged us to draft Association statute (Albanian Post)
- Assembly lacks quorum to extend energy emergency measures (media)
- Central Bank Governor refuses invitation to summit because of footnote (RTK)
Serbian Language Media:
- USA: Serbia’s agreement with Russia surprising and a step in the wrong direction (VoA)
- Vucic and Hill on the details of cooperation between Serbia and the USA (Kosovo Online)
- Djuric met Escobar (Tanjug)
- Bilcik in Belgrade today, tomorrow with Vucic (Politika, Tanjug)
- Dendias talked to Lajcak, Borrell (Kosovo Online)
- Vucic: Serbia, China maintains steely friendship (Tanjug)
- Ziadeh with Von Cramon in Brussels on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo Online)
- EP to request suspension of EU accession negotiations with Serbia (FoNet, N1)
- Ruling party ally calls for referendum on Russia sanctions (Danas, N1)
- Tadic: Vucic’s disastrous failure at the UN regarding Kosovo’s membership (KiM radio, N1, NIN, Kosovo Online)
- Petkovic: Tadic hurt by the successes of the Serbian government (Kosovo Online)
- Zubin Potok: A lawyer was hired because of the usurpation of land owned by Serbs (Kosovo Online, Radio Mitrovica sever)
- Gracanica municipality exchanges 17 hectares of municipal land for 18 acres of private land (medijacentar.info, Kontakt plus radio, KoSSev, KiM radio, N1)
- Croatia’s Ethnic Homogenisation Continues as Serb Minority Dwindles (Balkan Insight)
- Belgrade’s Russian Émigrés Grapple With New Lives In Serbia, The Ukraine War, And What Comes Next (RFE)
- Opening a window on audiovisual archives in the Western Balkans (tech.ebu.ch)
Albanian Language Media
Czech Foreign Minister: I have high expectations for visa liberalisation (media)
Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavsky, said during his stay in Prishtina today that he has high expectations that EU member states will decide in favour of visa liberalisation for Kosovo.
“The process consists of technical and political aspects. The EU will review the technical part and the Czech Presidency of the EU hopes that there will be a positive decision on the political aspect. I have high expectations for the political decisions. I have asked the Dutch Foreign Minister about his position, but he said that they will look into the technical aspect and then decide about the political aspect,” he said.
Lipavsky said that the Czech Republic will support Kosovo in the rule of law area and for membership in international organisations. “Our message is clear, the citizens of Kosovo can count on the Czech support in the rule of law area and also for membership in international organisations, including the EU and NATO. My first visit to Kosovo comes at a time when the Czech Republic has the presidency of the EU. I want to stress that the Western Balkans, including Kosovo, is among our regional priorities. Our efforts are focused on achieving progress in the integration process, including visa liberalisation. There are technical meetings that are expected to result in a positive decision for Kosovo and the Czech Presidency is working on this and we support this,” he said.
Lipavsky said that an agreement is needed between Kosovo and Serbia before they can integrate in the EU and called for the implementation of all agreements reached in the dialogue. “I want to say that the normalisation of relations is a crucial aspect in the European integration process. Without success in this area, it is impossible to have success in approximation with the EU. Both parties must respect and implement the agreements reached through the dialogue,” he added.
Osmani: Crucial for visa liberalisation to conclude during Czech EU Presidency (media)
President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, said after meeting the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavsky, today that it is crucial for the visa liberalisation process for Kosovo to conclude during the Czech EU Presidency “and to eliminate the great injustice against the people of Kosovo”. “The Czech Republic is an important ally with whom we share a commitment for peace, security and a common future in the Euro-Atlantic family,” Osmani said.
FES: It’s not true EU engaged us to draft Association statute (Albanian Post)
The German foundation, “Friedrich Ebert Stiftung”, in a statement to the news website today denied a report by Serbian newspaper Novosti according to which the European Union engaged FES and the European Institute of Peace to draft the statute of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo. “This is not true,” Rene Schlee from FES said. “Later we will issue a joint statement with the European Institute of Peace on this matter.”
Assembly lacks quorum to extend energy emergency measures (media)
Kosovo Assembly lacked a quorum today to extend the emergency measures for electricity supply as foreseen by a decision of the government. Assembly President Glauk Konjufca said that 58 out of 78 MPs present in the session voted in favour. “There is no quorum to make a decision,” Konjufca said.
Central Bank Governor refuses invitation to summit because of footnote (RTK)
Governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo, Fehmi Mehmeti, turned down an invitation to attend the Summit of Governors of the Region in Becic, Montenegro, as organisers of the event referred to the Republic of Kosovo with a footnote, sources told the news website.
Serbian Language Media
USA: Serbia’s agreement with Russia surprising and a step in the wrong direction (VoA)
The United States believes that no country should expand cooperation with Russia while it continues its war of aggression against Ukraine, the US State Department announced on Wednesday regarding the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia to sign a consultation plan with the Russian Ministry for the next two years.
The document was signed last week on the sidelines of the UNGA, by Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs in technical mandate Nikola Selakovic and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Selakovic said that it was a technical document that has been signed since 1996, and that it contains statements related to Kosovo and foreign policy, and that there are no elements of security policy in it, recalled VoA.
The spokesperson of the State Department, in response to the VoA’s request for comment, said that “the news about the agreement is surprising and in complete contrast to other constructive meetings held with Serbian officials in New York”.
The response did not specify which meetings were in question, reported VoA, recalling that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, spoke in New York with, among others, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland.
“Further alignment with Russia is a step in the wrong direction and contradicts Serbia’s expressed European aspirations… Serbia should accelerate steps to advance on the European path, including diversification of energy sources to reduce energy dependence on Russia and harmonization of foreign and security policy with the European Union,” emphasized the spokesperson.
Brussels also insisted on alignment with the EU’s foreign and security policy. According to the draft report on the EU’s new strategy in the enlargement process, which Radio Free Europe (RSE) had access to, the European Parliament (EP) will ask the European Union to suspend accession negotiations with Serbia until Belgrade imposes sanctions on Russia.
The State Department announced that the United States “continues to strongly support Serbia’s goal of becoming a member of the EU”.
“It is clear that Russia does not support the accession of the countries of the Western Balkans to the European Union and is only trying to cause divisions in the region. The future of the Western Balkans is unequivocally in the EU; enlargement promotes long-term peace, stability, and prosperity throughout the region,” the reaction of the State Department concluded.
Vucic and Hill on the details of cooperation between Serbia and the USA (Kosovo Online)
The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, spoke today with the Ambassador of the United States of America, Christopher Hill, in Belgrade about the details of bilateral cooperation.
“I spoke with Ambassador Hill about the details of bilateral cooperation, especially in light of the series of successful meetings we had in New York with US officials during the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly,” the official Instagram account of “buducnostsrbijeav” stated.
Djuric met Escobar (Tanjug)
Serbian Ambassador to Washington Marko Djuric met with the US special envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar on Thursday, reported Tanjug agency.
In a Twitter post after the meeting, Djuric said Serbia and the US kept taking steps towards boosting bilateral cooperation.
“Cordial meeting and open exchange with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Escobar in Serbia’s new home on 16th St. The official opening is coming next month,” Djuric wrote.
“We keep taking tangible steps and exploring new paths towards boosting Serbian-US cooperation in all areas,” he added.
Bilcik in Belgrade today, tomorrow with Vucic (Politika, Tanjug)
The rapporteur of the European Parliament for Serbia, Vladimir Bilcik, will be on a two-day working visit to Belgrade, tomorrow a meeting with President Aleksandar Vucic is planned, the Presidency of Serbia confirmed to Tanjug agency.
Bilcik will be in Belgrade today with Matjaz Nemec, a member of the Delegation of the EP Committee for Stabilization and Association of EU-Serbia, announced the EP Group for Democracy Support and Election Coordination on Twitter.
As deputies responsible for the Western Balkans and Serbia, Bilcik and Nemec will also meet with representatives of parliamentary groups in the National Assembly.
This working visit is organized as part of the dialogue between the European Parliament and the National Assembly, and the aim of the visit is to discuss the prospects for cooperation with the Assembly in the new convocation, stated the EP Group for Democracy Support and Election Coordination, cited Serbian media.
Dendias talked to Lajcak, Borrell (Kosovo Online)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Nikos Dendias, discussed the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with the EU’s special representative for dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, reported portal Kosovo Online.
“In a telephone conversation, I exchanged opinions with the EU special representative Miroslav Lajcak about the state of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and about the broader developments in the Western Balkans,” Dendias said on Twitter.
Dendias also spoke with the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell, about the events in the Western Balkans and the role of the EU, it was said in another Twitter post.
Dendias emphasized Greece’s readiness to actively contribute to the stabilization of the region.
“In a telephone conversation with EU High Representative Borrell about the events in the Western Balkans and the role of the EU, I emphasized Greece’s readiness to actively contribute to the stabilization of the region. The EU must contribute to respecting the principle of inclusiveness of everyone in the EU,” Dendias said.
Vucic: Serbia, China maintains steely friendship (Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday Serbia and China maintained a steely friendship and that China had demonstrated it was a friend of Serbia even in difficult times.
Vucic was speaking at a reception hosted by the Chinese embassy in Belgrade to mark the National Day of the People’s Republic of China.
“I am endlessly grateful to the Chinese leadership for supporting Kosovo-Metohija as a part of Serbia and our territorial integrity, and for the fact that has never been put in question, despite all the pressure,” Vucic noted.
Just like our relationship with China, our support for maintaining the territorial integrity of China and the One China policy have never been put into question, Vucic added.
“We can be proud of our friendship. I sincerely believe it is a steely friendship,” Vucic said.
Ziadeh with Von Cramon in Brussels on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo Online)
The head of UNMIK, Caroline Ziadeh, spoke in Brussels with the rapporteur of the European Parliament for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, about the developments in Kosovo and the region, as well as the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, reported Kosovo Online.
“The special representative of the UN Secretary General, Caroline Ziadeh, met with the member of the European Parliament, Viola von Cramon, in Brussels and had a detailed discussion about the current events in Kosovo and the region, the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with the mediation of the EU,” UNMIK announced on Twitter, reported portal Kosovo Online.
EP to request suspension of EU accession negotiations with Serbia (FoNet, N1, Beta, RFE)
The European Parliament (EP) will ask the European Union (EU) to suspend accession negotiation with Serbia until it imposes sanctions on Russia, reads the draft of the new EU enlargement strategy that Radio Free Europe (RFE) had access to, reported FoNet agency.
“Prioritize the alignment of accession countries with the EU’s common foreign and security policy and continue accession negotiations with Serbia only if the country aligns with EU sanctions against Russia,” reads the draft report.
The document will be discussed by MEPs on October 13 at the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, while the final version of the report will take the form of a European Parliament resolution which is expected in November.
EP resolutions are not legally binding for member countries or for other European institutions.
The Socialists and Democrats Group, the second largest political group in the EP, has already said that the EU cannot continue accession talks with Serbia if Belgrade fails to align with EU sanctions against Russia, and has announced its plans to incorporate this in the coming EP report on enlargement.
RFE noted that, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the EU has repeatedly asked Serbia to impose sanctions on Russia, in line with EU decisions.
EU candidate countries should progressively align their foreign policies with that of the EU, including the sanctions, say sources in Brussels.
Serbia is the only country in the region that has not introduced sanctions against Russia, while all other Western Balkans countries have aligned with EU’s policy.
According to the European Commission, the institution tasked with assessing a country’s readiness for integration, Serbia is ready to open cluster three as well, which is to happen in December this year.
However, diplomatic sources now say that there will be no progress in accession negotiations in 2022 precisely because of Serbia’s relationship with Russia.
Leader of the Serbian opposition Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) Dragan Djilas said that a suspension of negotiations on Serbia’s EU membership over the signing of a plan on consultations with Russia would be a wrong move.
“We believe that this would not be an adequate measure, but that quite the opposite should be done,” Djilas told the N1 Studio Live show.
A plan on consultations for 2023-2024 was signed last week between Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.
Ruling party ally calls for referendum on Russia sanctions (Danas, N1)
A party close to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) called for a referendum on sanctions against Russia, N1 reported, citing Danas daily.
The Healthy Serbia (Zdrava Srbija or ZS) party said that the decision should be taken by popular vote “bearing in mind the immediate and far-reaching consequences of the decision on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Serbia.”
ZS leader and Mayor of the town of Cajetina Milan Stamatovic said that the European Union sanctions on Russia were inflicting damage on EU member states and recalled that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been saying they are counterproductive. According to him, Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council insists on protecting Serbia’s sovereignty and integrity in line with UN SC Resolution 1244.
Tadic: Vucic’s disastrous failure at the UN regarding Kosovo’s membership (KiM radio, N1, NIN, Kosovo Online)
The former President of Serbia, Boris Tadic, assessed that it was a “catastrophic” failure that the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, in his address at the UNGA, did not clearly emphasize that Kosovo’s membership in the UN was unacceptable for Serbia, reported Serbian media.
“This was especially important now that the topic of the so-called two-Germany model, as a solution for Kosovo, is being raised again in the international community. Whenever that model is mentioned, it must be borne in mind that at that time both Germanys were members of the UN,” said Tadic in his text for the weekly NIN.
According to him, “it is hard to believe that this is an amateur mistake, unfortunately, such a mistake looks more like an intentionally open door to many people in the world today”.
Tadic also stated that the citizens of Serbia “in the noise of everyday lies” cannot hear that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) “never made a decision that the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence is in accordance with international law but used a play of words to avoid an answer to the question”.
As he stated, the court “mysteriously asserted that the declaration of independence does not constitute a violation of international law simply because it was enacted by those who were not a factor in international law”.
“In accordance with their interests, the Albanians insist all the time on the part of the answer that states that ‘it is not a violation of international law’, and since the arrival of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) in power, Serbia has failed to insist that at the same time it is not said that it is in accordance with international law,” Tadic pointed out.
He stated that “Vucic and his regime all the time support the Albanian interpretation by attacking the former government for the issue of the ICJ”.
“It is incomprehensible that no country that did not recognize Kosovo’s independence interprets the ICJ’s answer this way; and those that withdraw recognition are doing so with just such an argument, while Serbia does the opposite. Only for the sake of internal propaganda directed against the former government, Vucic renounces this key argument that protects the highest national interest of Serbia,” Tadic said.
Petkovic: Tadic hurt by the successes of the Serbian government (Kosovo Online)
Member of the SNS Presidency, and Director of Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic said that Boris Tadic does not know what ”shame is” because he would not dare to tell anyone, let alone the President Aleksandar Vucic, how to defend national interests, reported portal Kosovo Online.
“It is the height of hypocrisy that Tadic is trying to belittle the president’s speech at the UN, from where he once moved the fight for Kosovo and Metohija, on the orders of foreign embassies, to the territory of the European Union, which is significantly less favourable for us. During Tadic’s time, more than 100 countries of the world recognized the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo and Metohija, while today, thanks to the merciless fight of President Vucic, we have 18 withdrawn recognitions, with another nine ready,” said Petkovic in a statement, thus reacting to the statement of the former President of Serbia, Boris Tadic on Vucic speech at the UNGA.
According to Petkovic, ”these successes hurt Tadic, which is why he attacks and slanders the president’s pure fight for Serbia and the interests of the Serbian people in Kosovo, because if there is something the former regime does not forgive – it is the successes and tangible results of the current government”.
Zubin Potok: A lawyer was hired because of the usurpation of land owned by Serbs (Kosovo Online, Radio Mitrovica sever)
A few days ago, the leadership of the municipality of Zubin Potok hired lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic, who will use all legal means to help the residents whose land was illegally usurped ”by the so-called Kosovo special police units”, for the construction of a base in this municipality, reported Radio Mitrovica sever, citing Kosovo online.
The municipality told the portal that since July, when they received information from citizens about illegal construction and land seizure, they have taken ”a series of steps to protect the rights and interests of the local settlements that are under attack”.
In the meantime, Pristina continued the work on the construction of the base, and the municipality of Zubin Potok receives calls from upset citizens every day.
Mayor Srdjan Vulovic and the municipality officially appealed to KFOR to protect the injured citizens and fully fulfill its mission, while they asked the US Embassy in Pristina and the EU mission in Kosovo to prevent “terrorizing the Serbian population” in this municipality.
According to the municipality of Zubin Potok, provocations, and demonstrations of force by police units from Pristina in the north of Kosovo, more precisely in Zubin Potok, intensified at the beginning of 2022, and all international factors remain silent on their appeals, reported media.
Gracanica municipality exchanges 17 hectares of municipal land for 18 acres of private land (medijacentar.info, Kontakt plus radio, KoSSev, KiM radio, N1)
The councilors of the Municipal Assembly of Gracanica decided to exchange the municipal immovable property of 17 hectares for 18 acres of private road owned by Albanian Rexho Shosha in the atar of the village of Caglavica, reported Serbian media.
“The decision on the exchange of municipal immovable property” with private property was made yesterday at the session of the local assembly, and the former mayor of Gracanica, Branimir Stojanovic, published the first page of the decision on his Facebook account, and in the meantime, a Facebook event calling for a protest and demanding the resignation of Ljiljana Subaric, scheduled for October 3, at 12 noon, in Gracanica.
Stojanovic also published copies of the plan of the exchanged plots.
The decision was made at the assembly session on the proposal of the mayor Gracanica Ljiljana Subaric. The decision does not specify the details, as well as the purpose of the land exchange, reported the media.
In the meantime, the media center in Caglavica announced that at yesterday’s session of the assembly, it was said that the decision on the exchange of municipal immovable property was previously adopted on June 15, 2021, at the suggestion of the former president of the municipality of Gracanica, Srdjan Popovic.
That decision, however, was sent back for a re-decision, because the convocation of the local assembly at that time was under a technical mandate.
Media reported that the municipality of Gracanica has not yet explained the decision on the land exchange, conducted in a ratio of almost 100 to one.
While there is still no reaction from the decision makers, opposition initiatives in the north of Kosovo reacted with accusations against the Serbian List.
CI ‘Serbian Survival’ (Srpski opstanak) and CI for Zubin Potok demand an immediate withdrawal of the decision of the Gracanica Municipal Assembly, stating that such a decision “is reminiscent of changing the demographic picture in the municipality of Strpce directed by the well-known duo, Bratislav Nikolic and Dalibor Jevtic”.
“Given the reaction of the prosecution in that municipality, the leadership of the Gracanica municipality used a banal-sophisticated method of handing over the land on which a new Marigona (an elite Albanian settlement) will probably be found” – claim from the civil initiatives and add that if the citizens do not pressure the Serbian List to withdraw that decision, they can “freely pack their bags, because their survival will be questionable”.
Moreover, they claim that “this kind of malfeasance” happened in the past.
“In the municipality North Mitrovica in 2018, where land in the third zone was exchanged with Mr. Rados Petrovic – a high-ranking member of the Serbian List – exchanging the land located in the third zone. He was then given the first zone land with an additional 55,000 euro. The locations are known as the building of the Serbian List and Caffe ‘Knez’,” said these Civil Initiatives.
“Whichever municipality you go to, you will see the desolation and misdeeds of the Serbian List that threaten the survival of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,” concluded CI Serbian Survival and CI for Zubin Potok, reported the media.
Croatia’s Ethnic Homogenisation Continues as Serb Minority Dwindles (Balkan Insight)
Recently-published census data shows that the number of Serbs and other ethnic groups living in Croatia has fallen – another sign that the country’s minorities need stronger legal protection amid continuing attacks on their rights.
A long-awaited batch of data from last year’s population census in Croatia was finally released on September 22. Such was the anticipation that most daily newspapers decided to report it on their front pages.
Jutarnji list, one of the most popular dailies in the country, ran its front page story with the headline “Fewer than 30% Serbs in Vukovar”. Its main competitor, Vecernji list, ran a front-page story the next day dedicated to the proportion of Serbs living in other counties and towns.
To outside observers, all this could seem strange. The figures made available last week were not the first batch of data on last year’s census. In January, the country was already shocked to find that it lost almost ten per cent of its population in the last ten years, mostly due to work-related emigration to other EU countries.
However, the exact data on the ethnic composition of the population, only published now, caused as much if not more interest. Particularly because the percentage of citizens with an ethnic identity other than Croatian dropped significantly, causing political changes in many localities.
Ever since its independence and international recognition in 1992, Croatia has had special rules on the rights of traditional minority ethnic groups, most notably Serbs, but also Italians, Czechs, Hungarians, Roma and others.
Read more at:https://bit.ly/3y1hGCe
Belgrade’s Russian Émigrés Grapple With New Lives In Serbia, The Ukraine War, And What Comes Next (RFE)
Polina Prokofeva had only been back in Russia from holiday for one day when President Vladimir Putin sent Russian tanks rolling into neighboring Ukraine and launched the largest war in Europe since World War II, but she knew she needed to push back somehow.
Like many other young Russians from her social circle in St. Petersburg, the 25-year-old Prokofeva took to the streets to protest the Kremlin’s February 24 invasion, joining other Russians in opposition to their country’s aggression. Like most of the demonstrators against the war, she soon found herself arrested and sentenced to 12 days in jail.
Read more at:https://bit.ly/3LP0DsR
Opening a window on audiovisual archives in the Western Balkans (tech.ebu.ch)
A unique regional platform for the exchange of metadata related to audiovisual archives was launched in July. It was developed within an EU project to provide technical assistance to public service media (PSM) organizations in the Western Balkans (see below).
The Archive Metadata Exchange Platform, built by the EBU as one of the project’s consortium partners, is flexible, scalable and easy to use. It leverages the full capabilities of graphical databases and knowledge graphs. It is hosted in the cloud for easy access but with minimal adaptation it can be deployed on site or moved between different cloud platforms.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3RnIpzV