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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, September 30, 2022

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• Kurti thanks Lipavsky for Czech Republic’s visa liberalisation support (RTK)
• Von Cramon: France, Netherlands will not block visa liberalisation (T7)
• Osmani to attend inaugural meeting of European Political Community (media)
• Osmani meets Abbott and Knox, discuss political developments (RTK)
• Kurti calls on Serbs to register Kosovo license plates, gives Incentive (Exit)
• Lajcak meets Chancellor Scholz’s advisor, discuss next steps in dialogue (Koha)
• SBASHK to announce vote results on strike suspension during weekend (Koha)
• Abdixhiku accuses government of arrogance and undemocratic behavior (media)
• Albania and Russia clash over Kosovo, PM welcomes fleeing Russians (Exit)
• How One Gesture Curbed Ethnic Discrimination (Prishtina Insight)

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  • Kurti thanks Lipavsky for Czech Republic’s visa liberalisation support (RTK)
  • Von Cramon: France, Netherlands will not block visa liberalisation (T7)
  • Osmani to attend inaugural meeting of European Political Community (media)
  • Osmani meets Abbott and Knox, discuss political developments (RTK)
  • Kurti calls on Serbs to register Kosovo license plates, gives Incentive (Exit)
  • Lajcak meets Chancellor Scholz’s advisor, discuss next steps in dialogue (Koha)
  • SBASHK to announce vote results on strike suspension during weekend (Koha)
  • Abdixhiku accuses government of arrogance and undemocratic behavior (media)
  • Albania and Russia clash over Kosovo, PM welcomes fleeing Russians (Exit)
  • How One Gesture Curbed Ethnic Discrimination (Prishtina Insight)

Kurti thanks Lipavsky for Czech Republic’s visa liberalisation support (RTK)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met on Thursday with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Lipavsky. Minister Lipavsky emphasized full support and solidarity for the aspirations of Kosovo for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, while he said that he supports the joint commitment towards visa liberalization. Kurti emphasized the importance of implementing the recommendation of the European Commission for the liberalization of visas for the citizens of Kosovo. He thanked Minister Lipavsky for the Czech Republic’s support for Kosovo and treating this issue as a priority during the Czech Presidency of the EU Council.

They discussed the importance of the integration of the six Western Balkans countries into the European Union, as well as the summit of the Berlin Process that will be held in November.

Minister Lipavsky expressed gratitude for the coordination of the foreign policy of Kosovo with the European Union and the clear positioning in relation to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. He thanked Kurti for taking a firm stand in line with EU positions. He also reiterated the importance of cooperation between Kosovo and the European Union against hybrid warfare.

They agreed to increase cooperation in the economy, commercial exchanges, culture, security as well as information and communication technology.

Von Cramon: France, Netherlands will not block visa liberalisation (T7)

European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, said on Thursday that France and the Netherlands are not expected to block visa liberalisation for Kosovo. In an interview with T7, she argued that it is not in their interest to bloc the process.

“Some countries have elections, and some don’t even have a government at the moment. So, will this be enough to push the issue forward? I don’t know. But the people I have talked to are very optimistic,” she said.

Osmani to attend inaugural meeting of European Political Community (media)

Blerim Vela, Chief of Staff to President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani said in a Twitter post that Osmani will attend the inaugural meeting of the European Political Community on October 6 in Prague. Vela tweeted: “Kosovo participating on equal footing in the preparatory meeting for the new initiative European Political Community that includes 44 countries in Europe. President Vjosa Osmani will represent Kosovo in EPC’s inaugural meeting on October 6th in Prague.”

Osmani meets Abbott and Knox, discuss political developments (RTK)

President Osmani hosted on Thursday the incoming UK Director for the Western Balkans Madeline Knox, and UK Ambassador to Kosovo Nicholas Abbott. They discussed the latest political and security developments in Kosovo, the region and the Europe.

“President Osmani informed Mrs. Knox on the democratic development of Kosovo, regional challenges, as well as the commitment of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo to deepen the cooperation with the British partners in achieving common goals,” a statement by Osmani’s office notes.

Kurti calls on Serbs to register Kosovo license plates, gives Incentive (Exit)

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has encouraged ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to abide by the law to have Pristina-issued plates on their vehicles, offering them zero tax or registration fees if done before 31 October, a day before the new rule comes into force.

Earlier this year, the government announced that all of those living in Kosovo must use license plates issued by Prishtina, a decision also impacting ethnic Serbs in the north who refuse to recognise Kosovo’s institutions. After being postponed by two months, the decision enters into force at the end of October.

Kurti said that any plates that are not RKS would be illegal by this time.

“We are working hard for the Serbs in Kosovo to switch to Kosovo license plates. Because only they are legal in this country. Now I have extended my hand to the people. Anyone who registers their table by October 31 pays neither tax nor registration fee for the vehicle. This is very attractive for Serbs in Kosovo. This is exactly what the illegal structures are putting pressure on. But there is still enough time to re-register your plates,” Kurti said.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3yqMiNV

Lajcak meets Chancellor Scholz’s advisor, discuss next steps in dialogue (Koha)

EU Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, met on Thursday with Jens Plotner, the senior diplomatic advisor of German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

“Very good meeting with Jens Plotner, Chief diplomatic adviser of German Chancellor Scholz, in Berlin. We spoke about our recent visit to the Western Balkans, as well as current developments and next steps in the normalization process. Grateful for strong German support to my work,” Lajcak tweeted.

SBASHK to announce vote results on strike suspension during weekend (Koha)

The daily reports in one of the front-page stories that teachers in Kosovo schools have until end of the day today to vote about the proposal of the Union of Education, Science and Culture of Kosovo (SBASHK) to suspend the strike in education until January next year and for school classes to start on October 3. SBASHK will then announce the vote results over the weekend.

Abdixhiku accuses government of arrogance and undemocratic behavior (media)

Leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lumir Abdixhiku, criticized on Thursday the Kurti-led government, saying that it is incompetent, and that it is stalling in the economy, education, health, energy, as well as in investments.

During a visit to Podujeve, Abdixiku said that instead of providing a solution, the government is producing crisis, threats and lack of realization of projects. “This Government has already failed. In just 18 months they proved incapable of managing the country, let alone coping with the severe crisis. Above all, we see arrogance, undemocratic behavior, and disrespect for public debate. Kurti is running away from problems and leaving the country in the middle of a crisis because he can’t resolve it,” Abdixhiku said, describing further the severe situation in healthcare, economy, employment.

“Moreover, we are the only country in Europe that has not started the education process this year. Kosovo is the only country that had power outages during the summer because the government failed to maintain production capacities in time. A massive failure,” he said.

The LDK leader said his party has proposed concrete steps to the government to deal with the crisis, but the executive has refused to take the advice into account.

Albania and Russia clash over Kosovo, PM welcomes fleeing Russians (Exit)

Albania and Russia clashed on Tuesday during a United Nations Security Council meeting when Russia’s Vasily Nebenzya compared the invasion of Ukraine to the Kosovo-Serbia war, accusing the west of double standards.

Serbia waged a brutal war in Kosovo between 1998-1999 against ethnic Albanians, killing thousands and displacing 1.5 million before NATO airstrikes ended the conflict. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, although Serbia refuses to recognise it.

“The most vocal critics of the referendum in Donbas, Zaporizhzhia were, once at the forefront of support for Kosovo’s independence then declared that the territory had the right to leave the Serbian state if there was a real threat to the rights of Kosovo Albanians,” he said.

He added that it is not right to put pressure on Serbia to impose sanctions on Russia when the latter has historical relations with this country.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3rlD1md

How One Gesture Curbed Ethnic Discrimination (Prishtina Insight)

Can galvanising moments sway discrimination against minorities? Research assumes that ethnic or racial boundaries may take generations of cohabitation to adapt. But we found that one single gesture by Swiss football players with Kosovo-Albanian heritage was powerful enough to alter discrimination in Switzerland.

It’s the 90th minute in the 2018 World Cup, and it’s a draw between Switzerland and Serbia when Xherdan Shaqiri scores for Switzerland. Emotions run high, and Shaqiri celebrates his goal with a double-eagle gesture, just like Granit Xhaka did earlier in the game. The team captain, Stephan Lichtsteiner, joins in, making the same gesture. It’s a heated atmosphere in the Kaliningrad Stadium, but should there be any wider consequences for the society?

Goals and controversies in sports may often soon be forgotten, but under certain circumstances seemingly trivial things like a controversial gesture in football can have a real impact. We happened to be studying ethnic discrimination in the Swiss housing market at the time of the World Cup, using a field experiment to describe the unfortunate fact of discrimination: people with minority names are less often invited to view an apartment. Right after the game and the double-headed eagle gesture, we observed a drastic drop in discrimination against people with a Kosovo-Albanian name.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3fuEdRz

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