Last weekend (22-24 May) a new edition of the Course for Promising Politicians (CPP) started. The first seminar of this year’s course took place in Budva, Montenegro. The seminar on ideology, ‘Ich bin ein Social Democrat’, focused on the policies and the central messages of social democracy. Over the course of three days, 27 young politicians followed several workshops on this topic.
The EU’s rule-of-law mission (EULEX), a civilian security and defense mission deploying around 1,600 EU police and judicial personnel in Kosovo, is facing serious credibility challenges after allegations of an EULEX judge taking bribes. ‘The reputation of the European Union on Kosovo is at stake’, S&D Group member of the European Parliament (EP) Tonino Picula said.
Between the 30th of October and the 2nd of November the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) office in Belgrade in cooperation with the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) and the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity, organized the second seminar in 2014 for young and promising politicians and members of social democratic parties from the countries of former Yugoslavia and Albania. The seminar, in which 26 participants participated, took place in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Van 26 tot 28 September vond op het Kroatische eiland Korcula de jaarlijkse zomerconferentie van het Central Eastern European Gender Network (CEE Gender Network) plaats. De Korcula School ging dit jaar over het thema geweld tegen vrouwen. FMS trainer Janna Besamusca reisde naar Kroatië af om een presentatie te verzorgen en mee te discussiëren.
Balkan countries have undergone an upsurge in the number of its citizens joining the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) in recent months. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo are in the front line of the phenomenon after several of their compatriots either died in Iraq or were arrested on their way to jihad. These events underline the reticular organisation of the Islamic State, which attracts more and more European Muslims to join the fight for the caliphate.
Senior Kosovo leaders face indictment for crimes against humanity after a report by US prosecutor Clint Williamson was released on 29 July. The charges include killings, abductions, disappearances, sexual violence and other forms of persecutions against Serb and Roma minority populations, as well as political opponents, since the end of the conflict with Serbia in 1999. Although the suspects are not named, they are referred to as "senior officials of the former Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA), who fought against Slobodan Milosevic’s Serbian regime. The EU special investigative task force (SITF) which led the investigation is likely to prosecute some top figures of Kosovo politics, who accessed leadership positions after the country’s independence in 2008.
Following our previous coverage of June 8th elections in Kosovo, declared as positive and democratic, the country has entered a profound political crisis. The opposition parties’ alliance against the PDK’s election victory have increasingly being challenging the political and institutional organization of Europe’s youngest state. Indeed the Vetevendosje’s demands to end the EU-led talks between Belgrade and Pristina still prevent the opposition from forming a majority.
Clashes broke out between ethnic Albanians and police in the ethnically divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica, injuring 13 police officers and 21 protesters on Sunday 22 June. The clashes started after ethnic Serbs rebuilt a road barricade over the central bridge, dividing the ethnic Albanian southern part of the town from the ethnically Serbian northern part. Local Serbs removed the barricade on 17 June but they replaced a road barricade, made of sand and flowerpots, on 18 June. The ethnic Albanian’s were outraged by the renewed barricade, saying the barricade stands testament to ethnic Serb refusal to integrate into the independent state of Kosovo.
On 8 June general elections took place in Kosovo, due to an early dissolution of parliament on 7 May. Normally, elections would take place half a year later. Ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK) got the most votes: 30;72%. Despite this fact, three opposition parties announced an plan to topple a DPK government, which could succeed.