Despite the high hopes of Kosovo Albanians for their country's future, recent Gallup Monitor results warn the period of disparity between expectations and reality may be long and difficult.
By Blerta Foniqi-Kabashi for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 10/04/09
"It is very difficult to offer such hopes and fear. At the same time, there could be a period when the difference between expectations and reality suddenly becomes much greater," Gallup Organisation Europe Managing Director Robert Manchin said. [Laura Hasani]
The 2008 Gallup Balkan Monitor, in partnership with the European Fund for the Balkans, published a report covering the Western Balkans. According to the report, Kosovo ranks the worst in the Balkans for corruption and organised crime, yet Kosovo citizens have the most trust in state institutions and are most optimistic about their future within the region.
According to Ylli Hoxha from the Foreign Policy Club and a panelist at the March 24th Pristina discussion of Balkan Monitor results, the Kosovo-specific findings should be read with caution. "The optimism of the citizens is not based on real findings … it is based on an evaluation of fulfillment of political aspirations that were expected for centuries. This is also reflected in our perception of life," said Hoxha.
The Balkan Monitor web site states "only 17% of the Kosovo Serbs said it would be possible to live peacefully with Kosovo Albanians; of the latter, seven in ten (72%) felt peaceful co-existence was viable. Six in 10 (61%) of the Serbian residents said Kosovo's independence would never be accepted; a quarter thought this would be possible within 10 years." The Gallup results indicate that Kosovo respondents "were upbeat about their lives and extremely hopeful for the country's general and economic future" (59%).
Robert Manchin, managing director of Gallup Europe, commented on the optimism of the Kosovo Albanians. "It is very difficult to offer such hopes and fear. At the same time, there could be a period when the difference between expectations and reality suddenly becomes much greater. And this will be a problem for the future," said Manchin during the Pristina presentation.
Kosovo and Albania view the EU positively, noted the Gallup report. In Albania, "83% of respondents believed that their country's EU membership would be a good thing. Kosovars, however, trusted NATO even more than the EU institutions," stated the Monitor on its website.
In terms of satisfaction and trust in the region's national institutions, Gallup results show that Kosovo (53%) and Montenegro (55%) are the only countries where a majority of respondents were positive about their government's performance. In comparison, dissatisfaction is the highest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed by 67% of respondents.
The 2008 Balkan Monitor research noted pervasive distrust by respondents of their countries' political institutions, giving them only a "low-middle ranking". Respondents in most countries reserved the most esteem for the church and other religious organisations.