OP-ED/ Citizens of Kosovo and their leaders

OP-ED/ Citizens of Kosovo and their leaders
This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al

By Alfred Peza

The best way to draw a comparison between the problems that citizens of Kosovo encounter and the problems encountered by their political leaders is to look at the events taken place in the recent days.

Good news

Media in Brussels report that LIBE committee announced that the European Parliament will vote on Thursday in favour of the liberalization of visas for the citizens of Kosovo. This procedure gives way to the start negotiations with the European Union.

Bad news

The news came at a time when the president of the European Commission, Juncker called on the EU to be united when it comes to the issue of Western Balkans. “If we don’t do this, then this neighbouring region of ours will be under other influences”, he said. The growth of the Russian influence, Brussels’ objective to strengthen the enlargement policy following the departure of the UK from the EU, Turkey’s slipping toward authoritarianism and the refugee crisis are believed to be some of the reasons why Juncker has raised the alarm.

Despite the positive decision which gives way to the free movement of the citizens of Kosovo to travel freely in the Schengen countries and the messages issued by the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Kosovo is last among Western Balkan countries as far as integration process is concerned.

It’s been a while now that the process of new recognitions for the youngest state in Europe has also come to a halt, while Kosovo’s aspiration to become an EU member is a difficult process given that 5 out of 28 EU member countries have not recognized its sovereignty.

Serb president Aleksandar Vucic and president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci have been engaged in a process of talks which is designed to mend ties between the two countries. This remains a key condition for the European perspective of both countries.

Despite the debates, optimism and skepticism which have accompanied the idea for territorial exchanges between Serbia and Kosovo, one thing is clear: a deal which will lead to the normalization of relations between the two countries is still far.

Kosovo’s leaders are holding a tour

President Hashim Thaci, PM Haradinaj, speaker of parliament Veseli and leaders of majority and opposition parties have travelled to Tirana. Their tour in Albania resembles a pilgrimage to holy places to receive the blessing of such and such saint rather than a natural approach of relations between politicians in Pristina and Tirana.

In contrast to other leaders in Kosovo, president Hashim Thaci has launched a tour in the Balkans. On Tuesday he was in Montenegro to meet with his counterpart, Milo Djukanovic, while on Wednesday he was in Skopje where he met PM Zoran Zaev.

More than an effort to promote his idea of land swaps through the process of border correction, critics see this as an attempt by president Thaci to save himself from the threat coming from the Special Tribunal.

Conclusion

Of course Albania is an important factor for Kosovo and the tours that political leaders in Pristina have started are part of their functions.

However, when these tours aim at satisfying their egos and personal ambitions, then this would remain an unnecessary political act, which could bring an immediate benefit for its protagonists, but the citizens of Kosovo, who have voted them to address their problems, do not stand to benefit anything out of it.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy

 

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