Belgrade will address the UN because of a statement made by the former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo. This comes after reports that William Walker spoke about his work on a project of creating the Greater Albania. Walker is known for heading the OSCE “verification mission” in the Kosovo, whose activities and reports during 1998 and 1999 influenced the public opinion abroad in favor of launching a war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Earlier that year the bodies of 45 Albanians were discovered in the village of Racak and the Walker-led OSCE mission accused Serbian security forces for killing them without presenting any evidence – although it was never determined whether the victims were in fact civilians. Reports coming from the Serbian side said that Albanian terrorists – members of the KLA – were the ones killed in Racak, but in the West, the event was qualified as a crime against civilians, used as an excuse to launch NATO’s bombing of Serbia. According to the Minister without portfolio, Jadranka Jankovic, who is in charge of EU integration, Walker’s statement is proof that the Greater Albania project is not merely flirted with at election time, but is instead “something that exists and is not only Serbia’s problem. It includes the territory of several countries in the Balkans, and I think all of us need to be concerned”.
The idea of Greater Albania – uniting all Albanians in one state – is once again a hot topic in the Balkans, DW reports. While leaders in Pristina and Tirana deny pan-Albanian ambitions, their recent statements have caused alarm. Serbian Foreign Minister Dacic also said that the EU, the US, and Britain “will be directly responsible” if the Albanians push ahead with their territorial ambitions. According to Erdoan Shipoli, Associate Dean of School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia International University, the Albanian leaders, with their statements, want to get more votes from the more nationalist groups, because they know that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to even choose the leader of the Great Albania, let alone making it function. Even so, the talk of Greater Albania can be dangerous, according to the expert. People across the region are tired of corruption and unemployment, pro-western Albanians feel like the EU has failed to defend their interests in Macedonia and Serbia, and Kosovo citizens are angry at the EU for not letting them travel without visas. In such circumstances, it is natural for nationalist sentiment to rise. “Right now there is no support but if the EU continues to fail the Albanians in general and Kosovo in particular, then this thought will gain more momentum and have more acceptance”, Shipoli said.
Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa said that Kosovo may not benefit from the visa liberalization regime in 2017 either, if the agreement for the border demarcation with Montenegro is not ratified. PM Mustafa made these declarations today during the government meeting. Mustafa has proposed a committee to be formed in order to evaluate Kosovo’s territory.
In a press conference delivered in Brussels European Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn said that Kosovo had to fulfill 95 conditions in order to benefit from the visa liberalization regime and so far, it has delivered 93. This is the reason why the European Commission may present a last report on Kosovo in May of next year and that will show if there’s a need to issue a second report or not.
Before becoming an EU member, Serbia must adapt to the EU’s foreign and security policies, has declared today the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn. He said that the normalization of relations with Kosovo helps Serbia in its path towards European integration.
The Serb List has expressed its readiness to talk with parties of the governing coalition in Kosovo with the aim of returning to the institutions. Leader of the Serb List, Slavko Simic declared that he’s expecting an invitation by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa to discuss the modalities of the return of Serb MPs in the Parliament of Kosovo. For the Serb List, the most important priority is the establishment of the Association of Serb Communes, as a product of the agreement reached in Brussels in the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.
Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa has once again refused the request made by opposition parties for early elections. According to Mustafa, the elections are being requested for political reasons and not for the issue of the border demarcation. Meanwhile, the opposition continues insist on the holding of fresh elections. According to it, now there are more reasons than ever to head to the polls.
The Vice President of the European Parliament and Rapporteur on Kosovo at the European Parliament Commission on Kosovo, Ulrike Lunace, declared during her visit in Pristina that blaming the others doesn’t help with the process of the liberalization of visas.
Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Dhurata Hoxha has met today with the vice president of the European Parliament and rapporteur on Kosovo, Ulrike Lunacek. Lunacek’s visit takes place after the publication of the Progress Report on Kosovo by the European Commission, a report which identifies Kosovo’s positive steps and the criteria that must be delivered in order for the country to benefit from the visa liberalization regime.