Monday

9th Dec 2019

NGOs argue against further indecision on Kosovo

The delay in working out a solution on Kosovo's future is hindering efforts to improve the lives of its people and creating tensions that could eventually result in violence, according to a report published by two NGOs on Monday (3 December).

The Serbian breakaway province has been under UN administration since 1999 and talks on its future status have been ongoing for years.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

People are "understandably anxious" about how the resolution of the status issue would affect them, while it is already having a negative impact on many aspects of their daily lives and is exacerbating tensions between the different communities, reads the report by London-based NGO Saferworld and Kosovo's Forum for Civic Initiatives (FIQ).

The local population is also increasingly frustrated as it does not feel involved in the international talks which are to determine the province's future.

"Many people feel cut off from high-level international negotiations and powerless to influence decisions made by the US, Russia and the EU about Kosovo. There is an urgent need to include the people of Kosovo in decisions about their own future", stated Ferdinand Nikolla, director of FIQ.

In addition, all of the Kosovars participating in the workshops organised by the NGOs during their research have agreed that "the decision on future status, when it comes, will cause some level of conflict".

If Kosovo becomes independent, this may trigger discontent among the Serbian minority; if it does not, then the "frustration among Kosovo Albanians could spill over into violence", reads the 30-page document.

Regardless of its final status, there are things that could already be done to ensure a smoother transition in the province, the NGOs argue.

They say more information should be made available to communities throughout Kosovo about the process of negotiations and on the possible implications of the different proposals for their everyday lives.

Involvement of the local population in the decision-making process should be increased as well and previous mistakes by the international community of not engaging with the local population and civil society should not be repeated.

Finally, internal action in some fields – such as the justice sector – are also essential in order to render the courts more functional and prevent people from "taking justice into their own hands", says the report.

EU works for recognition of independence in early 2008

Meanwhile, EU diplomats have told the International Herald Tribune (IHT) they are working on a plan to delay Kosovo independence.

The EU plan would mean that the 27-nation bloc will replace the UN as the civilian administration in the province and postpone a possible recognition of independence until early next year.

The time until then is to be used for diplomatic efforts to try to convince Russia – a loyal ally of Serbia and opponent of Kosovar independence – to change its position.

The project also includes implementing the so-called Ahtisaari plan – drawn up by former UN envoy to Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari - which was categorically rejected by Serbians earlier this year for putting Kosovo on its path to full independence.

EU, Russian and US negotiators are to report to the UN on the outcome of their mediation efforts regarding Kosovo's status on 10 December – but a last round of talks between Serbs and Kosovars last week saw no breakthrough.

Exclusive

France unveils new model EU enlargement

Western Balkan countries should become EU members via a new, step-by-step process, France has said in a detailed proposal seen by EUobserver.

Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls

The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker described a decision to block Albania and North Macedonia from advancing into the next phase to eventually join the European Union as a historic mistake.

News in Brief

  1. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says
  2. Report: Self-regulation of social media 'not working'
  3. Turkey: Greek expulsion of Libyan envoy 'outrageous'
  4. Merkel coalition may survive, says new SPD co-leader
  5. Von der Leyen Ethiopia visit a 'political statement'
  6. Over 5,500 scientists ask EU to protect freshwater life
  7. Iran defies EU and UN on ballistic missiles
  8. Committee of the Regions: bigger budget for Green Deal

Opinion

EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion
  2. UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK
  3. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  4. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  5. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  6. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  7. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  8. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us