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UNMIK Headlines 26 February

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• Kosovo aims for membership in CoE (dailies)
• Government boosts population number in north (Koha Ditore)
• “Hashim Go Away” Movement seeks support (Zeri)
• PM post non-negotiable (Epoka e Re)
• Pacolli: We could send resolution to Constitutional Court (Epoka e Re)
• Government leaves many tasks for after elections (Tribuna)
• Vulin requests Association before Kosovo elections (Koha Ditore)
• Serbia won’t pardon northerners’ electricity debts (Zeri)
• German Deputies support Kosovo on EU integration (Koha Ditore)
• Hodzic, Jashari, Mushkolaj, in race for Ombudsperson (Tribuna)

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Headlines – 26.02.2014

Kosovo aims for membership in CoE (dailies)

Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj met with General Secretary of Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, on Tuesday in Strasbourg. Hoxhaj informed Jagland about Kosovo’s aim to become a member of the Council of Europe, saying that Kosovo embodies the principles of the Council of Europe, such as democracy, human rights, and rule of law.

Government boosts population number in north (Koha Ditore)

The Government of Kosovo issued two decisions that would boost the population number in the north with a Serb majority. The intention is to increase the number of mandates and grants for this area. The Government also obligated the Statistics Agency of Kosovo to register the population in the north in coordination with recently elected bodies. Further, the Central Election Commission was asked to increase the number of municipal members of Zubin Potok’s and Zvecan’s assemblies from 15 to 19 members. Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi’s decision on 14 February 2014 foresees an increase of the population in the north of Kosovo. Therefore, he allocated an additional budget for Leposavic, Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan.

“Hashim Go Away” Movement seeks support (Zeri)

The movement called “Hashim Go Away”, which plans to stage nation-wide protests in Pristina in an attempt to bring down the Kosovo Government, established contacts with representatives of Kosovo civil society for support. Organisers of the protest also asked for a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Catherine Ashton, Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, and European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo Ulrike Lunacek.

Protest organiser Fehim Cela rejected the possibility of any political party being behind the initiative to bring down the Government. He said that the movement already organised protests in Brussels in front of the European Parliament building against the Kosovo Government and that they are currently awaiting confirmation to meet with EU officials.

PM post non-negotiable (Epoka e Re)

LDK General Secretary Ismet Beqiri said his party will insist that parliamentary elections be held on 8 or 15 June this year. He informed LDK leader Isa Mustafa that, in the coming days, a meeting will be held with the leaders of opposition parties to discuss the issue of parliamentary elections. Beqiri said that if LDK is to win these elections, under no circumstance will the post of prime minister be discussed with coalition partners. In this context, he rejected a possible coalition with PDK.

Pacolli: We could send resolution to Constitutional Court  (Epoka e Re)

The leader of the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) warned that he could address the Constitutional Court on the lack of implementation of the 7 April 2011Resolution, which foresees that the president will be elected through a voting process. He stated that he is disappointed with Hashim Thaçi and Isa Mustafa for failing to implement the political agreement that would save the territory from political crisis. The agreement was reached in the presence of former US Ambassador, Christopher Dell, and preceded the resolution of the Assembly of Kosovo. “This is so irresponsible and we, as the third partner on signing this agreement, will never stop raising the issue,” stated Pacolli.

Government leaves many tasks for after elections (Tribuna)

The Kosovo Government will leave many open issues for new institutions to address after parliamentary elections. These duties were part of the current government’s agenda but were not fulfilled for different reasons. International sources said that there are certain issues that, regardless of what party comes to power, will have to be reflected in their relations with the international community. Firstly, the implementation of obligations that stem from the agreement with Serbia; secondly, internationals want assurances that new institutions will accommodate communities, particularly the Serbs. Without specifying as to what party they would prefer to have in the new Kosovo Government, international officials said they would like to see a strong government that can push its decisions through the Assembly, unlike the present minority one.

Vulin requests Association before Kosovo elections (Koha Ditore)

The minister without portfolio in the Serbian Government, Aleksandar Vulin, said his government is concerned that the Association of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo would not be established soon, because of upcoming elections in Kosovo. He made these comments on Tuesday in Shterpce/Strpce after a meeting with representatives of Serb parallel institutions in this municipality, who are presently calling themselves provisional institutions of Serbia.

“The political aims of subjects during such a race would be to try to minimise the importance of the Association and not allow what we agreed in Brussels to be established; But, we are going to insist that the Association of Serb Municipalities be established as soon as possible, because it cannot remain hostage to political parties, as it is in the interest of Serbs here,” said Vulin.

Serbia won’t pardon northerners’ electricity debts (Zeri)

Serbian authorities decided not to pardon Serb citisens from northern Kosovo with debts, although, five years ago when the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK) disconnected the north from its network, the Serbian Energy Company (EPS) connected the region to its own network citing humanitarian reasons. However, EPS has now begun disconnecting customers in the north that have outstanding electricity bills. After encountering resistance from Serbs in the north, EPS is reported to have asked for assistance from Kosovo police. KP, however, said that although they are aware of these issues, they are not assisting in its implementation.

German Deputies support Kosovo on EU integration (Koha Ditore)

Bundestag Deputy Johannes Salle stated during a meeting with Kosovo Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi that Germany will support Kosovo’s European integration. According to a press release issued by the Assembly of Kosovo, Salle also focused on the need for economic investment and mentioned Germany’s experience in the nineties with its eastern region.

Hodzic, Jashari, Mushkolaj in race for Ombudsperson (Tribuna)

Kosovo Assembly commission for human rights, gender equality, missing persons, and petitions has come with a shortlist of candidates for the post of Kosovo Ombudsperson. The head of the commission, Suzan Novoberdali, explained that candidates have been evaluated and will be subject to a vote by MP’s in the regular session of Kosovo Assembly. Adrijana Hodzic, Hilmi Jashari and Xhuljeta Mushkolaj are the current candidates. The Interviewing Panel will select candidates through a report. However, the Commission unanimously approved this report and evaluated that the entire process was standard and transparent.

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