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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 4, 2022

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• The strike that left the teachers without salaries (Koha Ditore)
• Will Kosovo’s teachers get paid for strike time? (BIRN)
• Osmani to attend European Political Community inaugural meeting (RTK)
• Kosovo visa liberalisation on agenda of EU summit (Exit)
• UNSC to discuss Kosovo (Security Council Report)
• Kurti thanks COMKFOR especially for reducing tensions in north (Koha)
• LVV slams all who governed Kosovo in the past, praises itself (Klan)
• LDK: Vetevendosje should stop the propaganda (Koha)
• Krasniqi: Kurti showed he will never become a leader (media)
• Kurti meets representatives of Goran community (media)
• Musk compares Kosovo with Crimea and Donbass, reactions follow (media)
• Davenport: OSCE will support preservation of rich cultural legacy (media)
• Iranian hackers leak database of Albanian criminal suspects (BIRN)
• US sanctions PM of Bosnia’s Federation for ‘undermining democracy’ (BIRN)

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  • The strike that left the teachers without salaries (Koha Ditore)
  • Will Kosovo’s teachers get paid for strike time? (BIRN)
  • Osmani to attend European Political Community inaugural meeting (RTK)
  • Kosovo visa liberalisation on agenda of EU summit (Exit)
  • UNSC to discuss Kosovo (Security Council Report)
  • Kurti thanks COMKFOR especially for reducing tensions in north (Koha)
  • LVV slams all who governed Kosovo in the past, praises itself (Klan)
  • LDK: Vetevendosje should stop the propaganda (Koha)
  • Krasniqi: Kurti showed he will never become a leader (media)
  • Kurti meets representatives of Goran community (media)
  • Musk compares Kosovo with Crimea and Donbass, reactions follow (media)
  • Davenport: OSCE will support preservation of rich cultural legacy (media)
  • Iranian hackers leak database of Albanian criminal suspects (BIRN)
  • US sanctions PM of Bosnia’s Federation for ‘undermining democracy’ (BIRN)

The strike that left the teachers without salaries (Koha Ditore)

The daily reports on its front page this morning that the academic year started on Monday after a one-month delay because of the strike of the teachers. The latter meanwhile did not get their salaries for September. At the government meeting on Friday, Finance Minister Hekuran Murati said that salaries would be paid only to those that worked full hours. The Union of Education, Science and Culture (SBASHK) said on Monday they will wait until October 5, which is the final legal deadline to allocate the salaries. “The government must pay the salaries because failing to do this is a violation of the law. If this punitive measure is enforced, we will have an even worse situation in the education sector,” SBASHK leader Rrahman Jasharaj said.

Head of the parliamentary group of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Abelard Tahiri, said on Monday they will press charges against Finance Minister Hekuran Murati if the salaries of teachers are not paid by Thursday. The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) meanwhile argued that the non-payment of salaries is a political payback against the teachers.

Will Kosovo’s teachers get paid for strike time? (BIRN)

The government has hinted that public workers who joined massive strikes in September will not be on paid for their absence from work – but opposition parties pledge legal action if salaries are not paid on time.

The start of the school year for more than 320,000 Kosovo pupils came one month late this year, as teachers were on strike for the whole of September in an attempt to force the government to offer an additional pay rise at a time of high inflation.

After weeks of confrontation with the authorities, Teachers’ Unions on Saturday suspended the strike until January 2023 and allowed teachers back into classes, even though none of their demands had been met.

The strike, which started since August 25, centred on a demand for another 100 euros a month for all public sector employees until the Law on Salaries – which has yet to be reviewed by parliament – comes into force.

Unions also sought a review of the Law on Pension Schemes, which affects teachers who worked in the so-called parallel system in the 1990s, when Serbia’s then authorities closed Albanian-speaking schools, and start of the implementation of the Law on Health Insurance, which was approved in 2014.

In response to the demand for another 100 euros’ pay a month, Prime Minister Albin Kurti on September 3 announced that all public-sector workers would get an additional 50 euros a month, which striking unions deemed unsatisfactory.

But instead of putting the debate to an end, on Monday teachers faced a new dilemma, over whether they would get paid for the time they were on strike during September.

Reshit Kushaj, head of the Teachers’ Strike Council, confirmed to BIRN on Monday that teachers had not received their salaries by then. “We are waiting for them to be executed,” Kushaj said.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3yf8Y3g

Osmani to attend European Political Community inaugural meeting (RTK)

The war in Ukraine and its impact on Europe will gather in Prague the leaders of European countries, excluding Belarus and Russia, on October 6 and 7. Bekim Kupina, advisor to Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, confirmed to RTK on Monday that Osmani will represent Kosovo at the inaugural meeting of the European Political Unity. The idea was first promoted in May by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Emrush Ujkani, expert on European integration, said in an interview with the news website that Osmani’s participation in the meeting of European leaders is a good opportunity for Kosovo. “I think that this is a new momentum, it is a new situation that Kosovo together with the other countries of the Western Balkans talk about their decision to oppose and even impose sanctions on the Russian Federation. It should be seen as a good opportunity to reaffirm these values,” Ujkani said.

Dritero Arifi, political commentator, argued that the meeting is a good opportunity for Kosovo to convince the skeptical states about visa liberalization.

Kosovo visa liberalisation on agenda of EU summit (Exit)

The Czech Presidency of the European Union has officially put the discussion on the liberalisation of visas for Kosovo on the agenda of the EU summit in Prague next week.

Radio Free Europe reports that the issue of visas will be discussed on October 13.

Currently, of the six countries of the Western Balkans that remain outside the EU, only the citizens of Kosovo cannot move freely to European countries in what is known as the Schengen area.

Six years ago, the European Commission assessed that Kosovo met all the visa liberalisation criteria. Still, it set a condition for the finalisation of the process to reach an agreement on ratifying the border demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro and to have results in the fight against crime and corruption.

In 2018, the European Commission found that Kosovo has met all the criteria and proposed liberalisation.

The European Parliament has supported this decision, but some sceptical countries such as France and the Netherlands have not agreed with the Commission’s assessments.

Among their concerns was the increase in Kosovo residents targeting the EU and the misuse of freedom of movement to seek asylum in the European bloc.

UNSC to discuss Kosovo (Security Council Report)

Expected Council Action

In October, the Security Council is expected to hold its second briefing this year on the situation in Kosovo. Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Caroline Ziadeh will brief on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s latest report. Serbia is expected to participate under rule 37 and Kosovo under rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

Key Recent Developments

While the EU-facilitated talks remain at an impasse, relations between Belgrade and Pristina have been generally stable since the Council’s last briefing on 20 April. On 21 June, Kosovar and Serbian officials agreed on a roadmap to implement energy agreements made in 2013 and 2015. The roughly 50,000 Kosovo Serbs living in the northern part of Kosovo have never paid for electricity, causing Kosovo’s electricity provider (KOSTT) to declare financial hardship in recent years. The roadmap stipulates that after Pristina issues a licence allowing Drustvo Elektrosever—a subsidiary energy company of the Serbian state-run Elektroprivreda—to operate in Kosovo, Drustvo Elektrosever will assume distribution services in the four northern Serb-majority municipalities of Kosovo. While the roadmap did not provide a specific implementation timeline, its adoption was welcomed by EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak, who described the agreement as “a major step forward”.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3SzluD2

Kurti thanks COMKFOR especially for reducing tensions in north (Koha)

In a farewell meeting with the KFOR commander Major General Ferenc Kajari, at the end of his mandate in Kosovo, Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti thanked him for his commitment and dedication in the service of peace and stability in Kosovo.

The Prime Minister highly appreciated the cooperation during this time, especially in the reduction of tensions in the north of Kosovo.

“Your great experience and leadership played a very important role in handling the situation and maintaining cohesion in KFOR, despite the challenges,” said Prime Minister Kurti.

Kajari thanked Kurti for the open discussion and willingness to cooperate. He also appreciated the cooperation with the institutions of order and security in Kosovo.

LVV slams all who governed Kosovo in the past, praises itself (Klan)

The Vetevendosje movement (LVV) has published a video on its Facebook account where it has accused the previous leaders in Kosovo. In the video, where the photo of Hashim Thaci, Ramush Haradinaj, Isa Mustafa, Behgjet Pacolli, Fatmir Limaj and others can be seen, LVV assesses that it is the only political entity that did not join the bad governance.

“The destroyers of the state who do not want to see Kosovo well have governed the country for 20 years. Sometimes alone and sometimes with each other. Formally divided into different parties but practically in one goal: About a united Kosovo that you only see as a tender, as a bribe, as a tribute, as a crime, as corruption and as something else. There was only one subject that was not on their side, VETEVENDOSJE,” the video says.

LDK: Vetevendosje should stop the propaganda (Koha)

The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) has reacted to the video posted by the ruling party Vetevendosje, which has called the opposition and unions destroyers of the country. Spokeswoman for the LDK, Sibel Halimi, said that the ruling party should stop the propaganda and that it is following an authoritarian path.

“The party in power must stop the propaganda. This approach does not contribute to the development of the country. Broadcasting the spot exactly on the day when classes start and teachers’ salaries stop, shows the authoritarian path that this party is following. The scenario prepared for deepening crises is worrying. Kosovo deserves governance, in the creation of well-being for the citizens, not an attempt to drown the critical voice in the murky waters of autocratic power. The Prime Minister must be oriented towards the values ​​of democracy, otherwise our country with this created spirit will become unlivable. Treating all others who are not part of the government as enemies of the state is the worst vice of authoritarian-minded rulers. And the belief that “I am the state” is also the enemy and the biggest threat to any democratic order. All democracies until today have died precisely when such paranoias have become a model of the political behavior of the government,” Halimi wrote on Facebook.

Krasniqi: Kurti showed he will never become a leader (media)

Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Memli Krasniqi said on Monday that Prime Minister Albin Kurti is proving that he will never become a leader. He has said that this has been proven by the discriminatory punishment for all teachers, through the illegal suspension of salaries, to the propaganda video to incite even more hatred and division.

He said that Kurti will remain only a chronic divider. “The prime minister is the chief deceiver of Kosovo. His colors faded very quickly,” he wrote.

Kurti meets representatives of Goran community (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti discussed with the representatives of the Goran community in Kosovo, from academia, non-governmental organizations, media and institutions of Kosovo.

Expressing gratitude for the contribution of the Goran community in Kosovo, Prime Minister Kurti emphasized the Government’s commitment to increasing the well-being of this community. He singled out the support provided through the Office of Community Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office. This has included community representation in the scheme of internship in institutions over the past six months, as well as grants that support NGOs in their work to promote and protect community rights.

Evaluating the Balkan Studies Program at the University of Pristina, led by Mrs. Seniha Gjylderen Krasniqi from the Goran community, the allocation of 5 scholarships for students from non-majority communities to enroll in this program was highlighted, which is the only such opportunity in the region for students to learn the official languages ​​of Kosovo, along with the study of linguistics and linguistic and cultural features of the Balkans.

Meanwhile, talking about the implementation of the Law on the Use of Languages, Prime Minister Kurti emphasized the support given to the Office of the Commissioner of Languages ​​in its important work, as well as the work started to establish the Translation and Harmonization Unit within the Office of the Prime Minister.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3C4KXgx

Musk compares Kosovo with Crimea and Donbass, reactions follow (media)

The richest man in the world Elon Musk has compared the situation in Kosovo with that in Donbas and Crimea, regions of Ukraine occupied by Russia. The owner of Tesla, in a post on “Twitter”, said that the citizens of Donbas and Crimea should be left to decide whether they want to be part of Russia or Ukraine.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to the Ukrainian President, reacted to the tweet asking Musk ‘if we will legitimize the pseudo-referendums that took place under conditions of persecution and mass execution.’

But Musk has said that he is suggesting voting under the supervision of the United Nations.

“Perhaps a similar approach as with Kosovo” Musk wrote, while posting the “Britannica” article about the declaration of Kosovo’s independence.

However, this has also pushed the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to post a poll asking if they prefer Musk who supports Ukraine or who supports Russia. After more than 1 hour, more than 916 thousand votes have been cast and 84.6 percent said that Musk who supports Ukraine.

Vice President of the Kosovo Assembly, Enver Hoxhaj, too reacted to Musk’s mentioning of Kosovo. “Read some books if you want to understand #Kosovo and #Ukraine better! Serbia committed genocide in Kosovo, while Russia wants to take land that does not belong to them. You have a Russian narrative. Stay out of this if you aren’t privy to the details,” Hoxhaj tweeted.

MP and leader of the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR), Behgjet Pacolli, too took to Twitter saying: “Read before tweet! The best you can do to the world is have another spaceship for the leadership of Russia and Serbia because with their genocidal & war legacies have become unhealthy for the earth. If you can’t do that, then better stay out!”

British reporter, Andrew Gray, reacted to Musk’s tweet saying: “Musk seems to be suggesting there was a UN-supervised referendum in Kosovo. There wasn’t. This is basic stuff. And drawing comparisons with Kosovo in this way just isn’t helpful, it’s straight from the Kremlin playbook. No wonder the guy wants an edit button.”

Davenport: OSCE will support preservation of rich cultural legacy (media)

Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Michael Davenport, said on Monday that the OSCE remains committed to support cultural heritage. After meeting the head of the Kosovo Council for Cultural Heritage, Davenport tweeted: “Delighted to meet Zanita Halimi, Chair of Kosovo Council for Cultural Heritage. We remain committed to supporting preservation of rich, varied cultural legacy for future generations.”

Iranian hackers leak database of Albanian criminal suspects (BIRN)

An Iranian hacking group called “Homeland Justice” published new information on Monday related to people supposedly “suspected” by the Albanian police authorities.

The file, simply titled “Suspected”, contains information allegedly related to people in the State Police database connected to different crimes.

The data shared from the Telegram channel also called “Homeland Justice” includes photos of these people, their ID numbers, names and surnames, names of their fathers, dates of birth, birth cities and nationality. The database is thought to have 100,000 items of data.

The prosecution has ordered local media not to report the content of data that hackers released. Albania’s government has not reacted to the latest leak.

Sali Berisha, veteran boss of the centre-right Democratic Party in opposition, said that the leak was very dangerous.

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

US sanctions PM of Bosnia’s Federation for ‘undermining democracy’ (BIRN)

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said on Monday that it has sanctioned the prime minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fadil Novalic, as well as businessman Slobodan Stankovic and his company Integral Inzenjering A.D. Laktasi.

“Today’s action underscores how politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina are undermining democratic institutions and processes for their own political gain and to reward their patronage networks,” the US Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a press release.

The sanctions mean that all their property and interests in property in the United States or in the possession or control of US citizens are frozen and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The US Treasury accused Novalic of misusing pensioners’ data during the 2018 elections for “the benefit of his own political party and contrary to [Bosnia and Herzegovina’s] law”. Novalic used the pensioners’ data to send letters “listing his accomplishments and promising increased pensions”.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3C89MIz

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