The Deception Shall Not Pass
Lëvizja s’mundet pa ju.
Fjalimi i Albin Kurtit në institutin IFIMES në Lubjanë në temën "10 vjet të pavarësisë së Kosovës: ç'duhet bërë në dekadën e ardhshme?"
Ligjeratën mund ta ndiqni në linkun në vazhdim:
Thank you very much for the invitation, for having me here today, and for these kind words.
Dear Dr.Zijad Be?irovi?, Director of IFIMES,
Dear Mr.Bakhatyar Aljaf,
Dear Prof.Ernest Petrich,
Dear Mr.Janez Škrabec,
Honorable ambassadors of Republic of Kosova and Albania, Mr.Nexhmi Rexhepi and Mr.Pëllumb Qazimi,
Dear Prof.Martin Berishaj,
Ladies and gentlemen,
In less than three weeks from now, Republic of Kosova will celebrate its 10th anniversary of Independence. I remember very well the 17th of February 2008. As representatives of the people of Kosova, 109 members of the Assembly of Kosova out of 120 MPs in total, declared independence of Kosova as a democratic and sovereign state. Huge crowds of people were celebrating in the “Mother Teresa” street and Scanderbeg and Ibrahim Rugova's Squares around Parliament and Government buildings. This was the second massive enthusiasm of the people of Kosova. The first one being the liberation of Kosova from Serbia in June 1999, when police and military forces of Milosevic’s regime withdrew after 78 days of NATO bombardments over the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Yet, this is not Kosova's first Republic. On 23rd of March 1989, Kosova’s autonomy was abolished violently by Belgrade, and on July 2nd, 1990, Kosova declared itself a Republic, much earlier than Slovenia and Croatia declared their respective independence. Our First Republic was Republic-for-resistance under the conditions of classic occupation of Serbia and imposed apartheid: Albanians were expelled from factories, hospitals, schools and university. This decade was one of open air prison where two million Albanians were kept suppressed and Serbia's administration of Kosova served as prisoners' guards. Our country was turned into prison and the Republic made the resistance. Democratic League of Kosova with Ibrahim Rugova's leadership, University of Prishtina and students' protests, uprising of the Kosova Liberation Army and NATO air bombardments of Yugoslavia were four consequent stages of the '90s: from passive peaceful resistance to active nonviolent resistance to people’s armed struggle to international military intervention.
Walls of prison fell down, Kosova got liberated from Serbia, and put under administration of United Nations Mission. We were much freer but not free. UNMIK had the first and last word on everything. International bureaucracy never voted on anything and was not accountable to the people of Kosova or its institutions. The decade after liberation, the first one of the 21st century, looked like a hospital under international administration: people were treated like patients and international officials were behaving like doctors and nurses. We were not ill-treated physically but yet we had no right to self-determination. Whenever we asked for independence of Kosova we were told by internationals that we have to be patient.
Finally, after failed talks with Serbia, Kosova's Parliament declared independence and it seemed that we are leaving the hospital situation. UN was replaced with EU and UNMIK with EULEX, the European Union Rule of Law Mission. Leaving hospital neither made us free nor we entered properly, let’s say, in school, namely the school of EU integration. International administration was replaced with International protectorate. After the shift from prison to hospital in 1999, therefore from prisoner-guards relation to patient-doctor one, the next promised shift didn’t exactly occur: we were supposed to move out from the hospital and enter the school, shift from patient-doctor relation into student-professor one. After declaration of Independence on February 2008, we managed to get out from hospital, but somewhat only with one foot, and again managed to enter the school, but merely with one foot. We are in-between hospital and school, not able to leave entirely international protectorate, and not able to fully join the path towards EU membership. Five EU members do not recognize independence of Kosova: Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Greece and Cyprus. Kosova has KFOR but doesn’t have its own army. EULEX and KFOR are expressions of EU and NATO getting integrated into Kosova and not the other way round. Therefore, it is not very much that Kosova is joining the EU or NATO, rather NATO and EU got integrated within the state of Kosova.
On the side of the successes of Independence, we should mention 114 recognitions, then our Movement’s local government in Prishtina, the capital town of Kosova, with our Mayor Shpend Ahmeti, with radical transparency, with the ban of all illegal buildings, with fixing health care services, improving infrastructure, 102 new laboratories in schools etc., to our incredible Majlinda Kelmendi who won numerous awards in judo culminating with Olympic Gold Medal in Rio. During this decade of independent Kosova inter-ethnic crimes fell, and now it is intra-ethnic crimes, the ones within Albanians and within Serb community that grew and not between Albanians and Serbs. In the municipality of Prishtina, the village of Bernica, where Albanians and Serbs live together is an example of not only coexistence but of cooperation, as well.
Next decade will be decisive for the independent state of Kosova. Weak state of Kosova should not fail. Serbia from outside and internal corruption in Kosova are competing who will damage more our present and our future. Kosova should get into European and Euro-Atlantic path and move faster by building Europe within state institutions and social organisations of our country. In parliamentary elections in Kosova held on 11th of June 2017, our political Movement came out first and now we have 32 MPs. Next to us are older parties, PDK and LDK which both fell to 23 MPs. In those elections we ran with a platform of 40 measures that our Republic shall undertake. In those elections we have listed these 40 measures and now I will list a dozen of them, not all of them, still believing they are decisive in order that second decade of our independent state becomes very different from the first one.
1. The implementation of the Development Vision based on the establishment of the Sovereign Fund of the Republic of Kosova, the Development Agency of Kosova, and the Development Bank of the Republic of Kosova, starting with investments that will lead to the increase of the value of the Trepça Mining Complex, the Kosova Energy Corporation (KEK), and the Post & Telecommunications of Kosova (PTK). Sovereign Fund would take over SOEs from Kosova Privatization Agency (KPA), and POEs from the Government, being linked directly with the Parliament and reporting to it, ending brutal and abusive privatisation and enabling our diaspora, and, for example our Pension Trust Fund to buy shares, to become a stakeholder into the Sovereign Fund. Our diaspora brings remittances officially around 750 million euros per year, unofficially over 1 billion, while the budget of the state is only 2 billion. Irish, Greek, Armenian and Jewish diasporas certainly bring more money back home but not in such a high ration with the budget of the state. Pension Trust Fund has 1,6 billion euros and 97% of it is invested outside the country. Likewise the Privatisation Fund with around 600 million euros is stuck and not used for investments. On the other hand small and medium enterprises are lacking easy access to financial capital. Trade deficit of Kosova amounts to 1/3 of our GDP and GDP per capita is nine times less that EU average. On the other hand, each annual European Commission Progress Report on Kosova, mentions that there is insufficient access to financial capital for businesses and economic zones and industrial parks are failing because there has been no prior national Development Plan. Therefore, market economy is failing due to high interest rates of commercial banks with no investment bank in sight. That’s why we need a development bank with several years of grace period and with interest rates which are lower than 3% so small and medium enterprises start and grow. 3/4 of bank assets are managed by three banks only and 80% of banks are foreign ones. That is why the first measure should be this development vision where the State of Kosova is not a spectator to the economic development. If one could use the language of film or theatre the state should not be the director or the scriptwriter of the play or of the drama but neither a spectator in the audience. State should be an actor and a factor in the set, on the stage.
2. The establishment of the Armed Forces of Kosova and its inclusion in NATO.
3. The construction of new energy capacities from public capital and private one, the establishment of a common energy market between Kosova and Albania, the revision of the electrical energy fees, and the reformation of rates. In this sense we would include our public funds for building new power plant without excluding the private one which should come in addition but never as a replacement of engagement of public funds.
4. The irrigation of farm land – the complete revitalization of the irrigation system “Ibër-Lepenc”, and studying the possibilities for its expansion. The increase in subsidies, grants for farmers and full insurance coverage of farming products. All governments of Kosova in these ten years of Independence allocated only around 2% of the state budget for agriculture and the most of it went for the ministry itself. This must change.
5. The full reconstruction of the Cadastral System, with special focus on the settlement of property issues
6. The development and implementation of a Master Plan for the supply of drinking water in the cities and the treatment of sewage, as well as the construction of sewerage systems in all villages with over 200 houses.
7. The reduction of the number of Ministries and reform of the administration where Stabilisation Association Agreement gives some useful guidelines. At present Kosova has a government with 5 deputy Prime Ministries, 21 Ministries and 70 Deputy Ministries, and they doubled salaries of all these positions in December last year. We are a relatively small country with absolutely big government. Economically, Kosova is Trade and Consumption without production and redistribution, or, revenues are mainly from customs and remittances while government expenditures spent mainly on asphalt and offices. We would stop further increases in salaries for Members of Parliament, the Prime Minister, and other elected officials, and return to previous levels.
8. Health insurance for all the citizens of the Republic of Kosova. If one has a car accident in Kosova, there is a car insurance but not human insurance for those who suffered the car accident. Likewise we must have insurance for all members of the Kosova Police Force and fire fighters because at present there is none.
9. The tripling of work inspectors and the limitation of the work week to a maximum of five days a week for all non-managerial positions. The establishment of the Special Chamber of Labor within the justice system, in order to process any infringements on workers’ rights. Every year a dozen of workers die while working, usually in the construction businesses, and every third employed young man or woman works without contract.
10. The establishment of 160 new day-care centres (kindergartens) in cooperation with the municipalities of the Republic of Kosova. A free meal each day for children in all public elementary schools, grades 1-5, and, the rectification of schools in the Republic of Kosova emphasising quality and linkage between education system and employment economy.
11. An inquiry on the privatization of the Kosova Energy Distribution Services (KEDS), as well as on the contracts for the construction of the highway “Vermica-Prishtina-Merdare” and “Prishtina-Skopje”, which costs three times more expensive than market prices without ever making public the contracts (over 10 milion € per kilometer of a four lane highway), and also an inquiry on the privatization process of the Post Telecommunications of Kosova (PTK).
12. The vetting, through special legislation, of all the prosecutors and judges of the justice system in the Republic of Kosova. There are around half a million cases in dusted shelves of our judiciary. We need to increase the number of prosecutors, the number of judges and also the number of professional assistants to prosecutors and judges. At present, three judges or three prosecutors they have one professional assistant. Should be the opposite: one judge or one prosecutor must have three professional assistants. The adoption and implementation of the Anti-Mafia Law. The solving of the case of the violent death of Astrit Dehari in the prison of Prizren – the establishment of the special Unit of investigation on the solving of all the assassinations that have remained unsolved.
13. Opening the dialogue on social and economic issues with Serb minority citizens of the Republic of Kosova. Six years of dialogue for normalisation of relations between Kosova and Serbia were without much result. There has been too much investment and too little return. No definition of end goal, namely ‘normalisation’, in the name of 'creative ambiguity', as they call it. You may use creative ambiguity to start a dialogue but you cannot end up a dialogue through creative ambiguity. You need real solutions. What actually normalization means? If you ask people in Brussels, in Prishtina and in Belgrade you will get totally different answers about the meaning of the word normalization. Then, there has been no symmetry in process: EU facilitating, not mediating, Kosova was rather a topic than a side in this dialogue and no proper results were achieved: there was no advancement in the EU integration and no integration of Serbs into Kosova.
New dialogue that I propose should be democratic rather than diplomatic. In Kosova rather than Brussels. Among the people, with the people rather than in offices for the people. Open, rather than closed. From below rather than from above. For development rather than for tolerance. And for what kind of integration? Definitely for socio-economic not only institutional. In factories and universities, not only in the parliament and government. Through equality, not only through privileges. We would start to view Serbs of Kosova and Albanians not just as Serbs and Albanians but also with their social roles like students, professors, taxi drivers, farmers, engineers, doctors, unemployed etc. If in one village in Kosova we bring together Albanian farmers and Serbian farmers and encourage them to speak about fertilizers and seeds, food processing, agricultural market, machinery and so on - that kind of dialogue from below and not with top down approach could integrate different communities.Therefore, we affirm dialogue from below with Serbs of Kosova, an open, democratic, social dialogue for development, in contrast to current dialogue in Brussels which was going on throughout six years, from 2011 to 2017, a dialogue that remained closed, diplomatic and without any conditions for Serbia while being always for internal matters of Kosova. Equality and development integrate people and communities.
These changes are definitely vast; they would mean a new Republic for Kosova, a third Republic of Kosova. First republic being the one for-resistance since 1990, second republic which has its 10thanniversary on the 17th of February this year being a republic-for-privatization and now we need a third republic, a republic which should be the one of socio-economic development and European integration. We need a third republic in order to save the second republic as a Republic.
Let me emphasize that, we as political movement are both for EU integration and for NATO membership. We want to join EU and we want to join NATO. We believe that Europe should be defended, that EU should be defended. In spite of criticisms that we have for EULEX, we want Kosova to join EU. We are very much aware that this is not going to happen anytime soon but we are ready to engage sincerely and seriously in this path.
In the aftermath of the WW2, Europe was rebuilt towards European Union relying on three pillars:
First pillar is peace with anti-fascism. Robert Schuman had his famous speech on 9th of May 1950, that was done on the 5th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany and fascism in Europe. So, peace with anti-fascism in it. While in 1938 in Munich Conference, Neville Chamberlain, former English Prime Minister, was more involved in peace with fascism. Peace with fascism brought WWII; peace with anti-fascism is one of the main three main pillars of EU today.
Second pillar is welfare state. From, let’s say, French and German republicanism, French one for revolution and German one for federalism for development: always economic growth being combined with social justice meaning social insurance and progressive taxation; from Italy to Scandinavia, welfare state had three golden decades from 1945 to 1975, and I believe that welfare state should be defended and there should be struggle to defend welfare state.
And, the third pillar is NATO security umbrella.
I know that all these three pillars, peace with anti-facism, welfare state and NATO security umbrella, are not that strong as before but I think they should become once more strong.
For three decades in Kosova, the first one during Serbia’s occupation and apartheid, the second after the liberation war and under UNMIK, and the third one after declaration independence, Kosova has been ruled strangely by the same paradigm called the stability paradigm, the paradigm of short term political stability, otherwise named also as crisis management. But we’ve seen that when stability is the goal, then authoritarianism is the consequence. The international quest for stability in Kosova brought local authoritarianism as the guarantee for it. We certainly need stability, but we need development, democracy and justice even more so. Once we would seek for these (development, democracy and justice) then stability would be the consequence. Therefore we need stable progress rather than stability as progress. A progressive hope rather than the conservative fear. Whereas the trinity of stability, security and peace remains an offer from above you can’t refuse, the other trinity of development, democracy and justice represents the boiling demand from below. I think that our political movement is responding best to this demand from below and that’s why we became the main political party in Kosova and the biggest parliamentary group in our parliament.
To conclude with, after failed coup d’etats in Montenegro and Macedonia resulting in Montenegro’s inclusion into NATO and social-democrats taking power in Macedonia, after the victory of Socialist Party in Albania, Kosovo should become next step of the progressive changes in the region.
Once the President of Kosova, Hashim Thaçi, informed the public today regarding the Joint...
Vizita në Prekaz, 17 shkurt 2018
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