Serbian Officials encourage Destabilization in Northern Kosovo

BogdanovicPRISTINA, Kosovo — Reportedly several officials from the Serbian Government crossed the border to Kosovo illegally. On Friday 3rd June, Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, entered the mainly Serb populated northern Kosovo territory without permission from the Kosovo Government. In the Serb controlled northern Mitrovica Bogdano- vic then officially presented a Serbian government donation of 350,000 Euro cash for Kosovo-Serb owned enterprises. Already a day before, on 2nd. June – the head of the Serbian delegation for the Dialogue with Kosovo, Broko Stefanovic paid an illegal visit to the same region. Bypassing the official border controls, Stefanovic obviously used the smuggler routes from Serbia to Kosovo.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Kosovo’s Euro-Atlantic Illusions

John.SewelBRUSSELS / PRISTINA, Kosovo — Poor govern-ance and slow economic growth continue to be major obstacles in the process of the Euro-Atlantic integration of western Balkan countries. This is the outcome of a report, which the British politician John Sewel, in his function of the Rapporteur for the Committee on Economics and Security, recently presented to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly: "The road … is rocky, and only Croatia seems close to achieving the basic qualifications … The others face daunting challenges … These include the debt crisis, problems of governance and corruption … and enlargement fatigue among some EU governments and their publics."  Read the rest of this entry »

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Kosovo President at CEE Summit – EU Rapporteur condemned Serbia’s absence

LunacekPRISTINA, Kosovo — The past weekend’s partici- pation of Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga at the summit of central- and south-eastern European countries was widely seen as a progress in achie- ving international acceptance for the youngest European state. The clear statement of the Polish host, not to see a problem in inviting the Kosovar President – due to the formal recognition of the Republic of Kosovo by Poland and the majority of the European countries – was fueling self-confidence of the Kosovo government.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Amnesty International on Kosovo

Kurti3PRISTINA, Kosovo — First to mention: In its recently published Human rights report 2011 Amnesty International  still presents (the Republic of) Kosovo as a part of Serbia. However, as far it concerns Kosovo, the Amnesty report starts with the constitutionally forced resignation of former President Sejdiu, the following parliamentary elections and cases of election fraud. Partially quoting EULEX (the often disputed European Union rule-of-law mission in Kosovo), the report states that the Kosovo "justice system remained weak and is subject to political interference. Judges and witnesses received threats, and protection mechanisms were rarely invoked." This is the main statement.

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Europe Day in Kosovo – no reason to celebrate!

KosovoPRISTINA, Kosovo — The Europe Day in Kosovo was "celebrated" on 9th May. However, smiling faces are to find mainly at those who enjoyed the day off. The image of the EU in Kosovo is worse than ever. In particular the EU Rule-of-Law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) lacks results and faces an increasingly damaged reputation.  Inactivity and ignorance are comm-only used attributes to describe EULEX in the Kosovar public opinion over the past weeks. In contradiction to its own objectives as well as to the proclaimed values of most EU member states, which sponsor this mission with 100 m Euro every year, EULEX is obviously not providing ‘Law and Order’ equally allover Kosovo.

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Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence – at World Press Freedom Day

Selvije-BajramiAn occasion to briefly review the media situation in Kosovo: By coincidence together with the World Press Freedom Day on 3rd. May started the 2011 Balkan Fellow-ship for Journalistic Excellence programme. Accor-ding to the organizer, this year’s programme sets a focus on justice in legal and social dimensions. Ten journalists from the Balkans attended the opening presentations in Austria’s capital city Vienna. Main speakers were Christoph Prantner from Austria’s daily "Der Standard" and Igor Stiks, research fellow at the Scottish University of Edinburgh. The event lasts until the end of this week.

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Kosovo Minister Rexhepi Demands Exit-Strategy for EU Rule-of-Law Mission

RexhepiPRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s Minister for Internal Affairs Bajram Rexhepi obviously won’t ‘let go’. In interviews with broadcasting media Rexhepi repeated his skepticism against the EU Rule-of-Law Mission in Kosovo: "…, this mission came to Kosovo upon our request, but we also have a monitoring group which supervises the work of EULEX, and as far as I’m informed, Brussels is also not really satisfied with EULEX’s work, and if they continue like this, they have two options: either increase efficiency or plan an exit strategy from Kosovo. … the ministries in charge for the rule of law … have concrete requests, and we would like these to be implemented in partnership with EULEX.".

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Kosovo War Crimes Institute established

KuciPRISTINA, Kosovo — The Government of Kosovo decided to establish  an institute for the investigation of war crimes. The war crimes institute will have the status of a public agency, which will work under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kosovo. Its main focus will be to keep evidence of crimes and damages committed by Serbia in Kosovo during the time period 1990-1999. According to  Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Hajredin Kuçi, the institute "… will collect, process, classify and store cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and values, ​​protected by international law."

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Kosovo Minimum-Wage Announced

Nenad.RasicPRISTINA, Kosovo — The minimum wage for full-time employees at public and private employers  in Kosovo will be 170 € per month in 2011. This was decided by the Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Kosovo. On this behalf the council recently held an extra-ordinary meeting, reportedly chaired by the Kosovar Minister for Labour and Social Welfare, Nenad Rasic. According to labour statistics, the current average wage in Kosovo is said to be in a range of 220 to 250 Euros per month and about 300 Euro at private enterprises with more than 10 employees.

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Kosovo Minister: God save us from EULEX

Bajram.RexhepiPRISTINA, Kosovo — Unusual harsh words against the EU ‘rule-of-law-mission’ in Kosovo – EULEX – were used by former Kosovo Prime Minister and current Minister for internal affairs Bajram Rexhepi: “There is no good from EULEX. God save us from EULEX” the minister was quoted as saying by Kosovar media. In this particular case Minister Rexhepi expressed his anger concerning the refusal of EULEX police to confiscate Serbian car plates used by Serb Kosovars in the north of the country. …

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