Law professor at the University of Pristina, Berat Aqifi talks in an exclusive interview for IBNA news agency about the long political crisis in Kosovo, the role of the international community in this process, the avoidance of general elections, political system in the country and European integration process
Interviewed by Elton Tota
How do you see the solution of the political crisis in Kosovo?
There have also been similar crises in EU member countries, but when the functioning of the state was in danger, compromises have been made and political gridlocks have been resolved. But, when it comes to Kosovo, the situation differs. We’re a young state and we have many challenges ahead such as international recognition, accession in the UN and other relevant organizations, integration of the country in European Atlantic structures, economic development, reformation of the justice system, legal system, normalization of relations with neighboring countries and other problems that require a government and responsible people to address them. We don’t have time to wait. Leadership in Kosovo must urgently reflect in order to find a compromise, putting personal interests aside.
How can extraordinary parliamentary elections be avoided?
It’s absurd to think of extraordinary parliamentary elections. At this time of crisis, we will spend millions of Euros and we will still come to this situation with the constitution of parliament and government. New elections would be a failure, because I’m afraid that they will be boycotted by the citizens of Kosovo, who are tired of political leaders.
What will be the role of the international community in this process?
The messages of the international community were clear. It’s been a while that US and European diplomats have demanded the solution of the political crisis. Up until now, they didn’t want to intervene in this process in order not to damage the political system and democracy in Kosovo. But, I believe that without the direct intervention of the international community, the political crisis may continue for a long time. The mounting of tension up to this level, where we risk to have a financial and budget crisis, makes the international community be very cautious as to how it intervenes in the solution of the crisis.
Do we have democracy in Kosovo and is the political system in the country functioning as it should?
I believe that we have deficits in the functioning of the political system in Kosovo. When the judicial system doesn’t function, when the government and parliament do not function, when we have a Constitution the decisions of which are not respected, we can conclude that we have failed in building a political system similar to those of EU member states. In such circumstances, we cannot talk about healthy democracy because the state is controlled by several politicians who are not able to take decisions on behalf of the citizens of Kosovo or the demos.
How is Kosovo moving forward in its European and Atlantic integration path? How do you see the talks for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia?
I think that Kosovo is making slow progress in its European integration. There have been a few good things such as the finalization of SAA negotiations, but we expect more work to be done in order to be granted the EU candidate status and launch the negotiations for accession. I believe that there must be a strong will to meet the criteria of Copenhagen required by the European Commission. In this aspect, we must deliver and fulfill the principle of good neighboring relations, normalizing relations with Serbia and finalizing contests, no matter how small they are, in the economic and political aspect with the neighboring countries that surround us.
About the author
Prominent columnist in the Balkan, Berat Aqifi is a lecturer at the University of Pristina and at the University of Business and Technology (UBT) in Pristina. For a long time, he has held several posts at the government of Kosovo and that of FYR Macedonia. In the first years of his career, he has worked as journalists and editor in the Radio Television of Kosovo.