Kosovo bloggers debate 2013 expectations

29/12/2012

Bloggers are sceptical of the government promises for the new year.

By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 29/12/12

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Bloggers are hopeful that Serbia will recognise Kosovo's independence in 2013. [Laura Hasani/SETimes]

Kosovo citizens hope that a number of pending issues are solved in 2013, such as the talks with Serbia, the situation in the northern part of the country, changes in the political scene and economic development.

Serbia Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said in December that Serbia is ready to talk about a stable solution for Kosovo in 2013, and that it is taking concrete steps to improve the relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo's independence, but Dacic and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci agreed this month to exchange liaison officers in the respective capitals.

Dragan Popovic, director of the Policy Centre in Belgrade, said this agreement "is the first step in building direct connections between two governments."

"It ... is very close to informal or de facto recognition of Kosovo from Serbia," Popovic told SETimes.

Kosovo bloggers are hopeful. "Mr. Dacic ….you will soon be convinced and you will see that there is no other way out for you but to accept Kosovo as an independent state. You have been against that before, but of no use … you have some months left to accept Kosovo. We live now as good neighbours," blogger Luli i vockel said.

But not everyone agrees.

"Serbia wants to reconcile with politicians, but not with the Kosovo people, we have no clue what is going on. [Serbia is] cleared to enter Europe, and we have remained in the mercy of thieves," Beka said.

"Serbia should pay all the war reparations, pensions of the workers which it didn't pay for 20 years, ask to be forgiven and never again messes up with the Albanian lands," enti said.

Another pending issue, bloggers said, is the country's fight against crime and corruption. President Atifete Jahjaha said that the fight against corruption and organised crime will be intensified in 2013, but bloggers do not seem optimistic.

A blogger nicknamed Cima wrote, "People are not stupid, it is been seen what is happening, only our leaders can lie so openly, shame on you."

Petrit Zogaj, executive director of FOL Movement, said several arrests this year have shown that corruption is spread at the central and local levels.

"Prosecuting corruption affairs would help the implementation of the rule of law and the principles of democratic governance," Zogaj told SETimes.

On another issue, Kosovo Minister of Labor and Social Wellfare, Nenad Rasic, said on December 24th that the main objective for 2013 is to reduce unemployment. Rasic said 8,000 new jobs were opened in 2012. The minister said there are 270,000 unemployed in the country.

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"It is true there is unemployment, but what makes the country poor are the low incomes … Those who work as seasonal masters (handicrafts) are not considered jobless, but workers not accounted as such. We miss exact data, we miss control of wild employment,” blogger Zeka said.

But other bloggers were doubtful.

"Out of 7,116 employed (in 2012), 7,100 were employed through connections," Meta said.

Mehmeti went even further. "That means that for 1.8 million inhabitants we have, unemployment in Kosovo is 6.6 percent lower than in the European Union, [Rasic] can only be a Thaci's minister," he said.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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