IBNA Interview/Kosovo is facing foreign policy challenges

IBNA Interview/Kosovo is facing foreign policy challenges

In an exclusive interview for IBNA, the executive director of Kosovo Center of Diplomacy, Labinot Hajdari talks about the challenges that Kosovo is facing in its foreign policies. The expert of international affairs also talks about the stagnation in the process of the recognition and stops on the social-economic problems and their consequences in the life of the citizens of Kosovo.

Interviewed by Elton Tota

IBNA: What are the priorities of Kosovo in terms of regional policies and international policies?

The state of Kosovo is facing foreign policy challenges. The political gridlock of last year has caused without a doubt, a gap in foreign policy making and this has brought less development to the country, not only in the foreign plan, but also in the domestic one. With the consolidation of the government, the coalition between PDK and LDK and the appointment of deputy PM Thaci as head of the Foreign Ministry, visits have been made especially in European capitals, to seek support for the recognition of Kosovo, especially by the five EU countries, some of which in spite of the fact that they have not recognized Kosovo so far, they have shown a constructive approach and have backed the accession of Kosovo in different international institutions. And this leaves room for hope that that full recognition of Kosovo from these countries is not far. Spain and Cyprus have been less constructive in this aspect. However, there’s much work to be done, not only by responsible institutions, but also by the citizens of Kosovo, where everyone, in a way or another, could be an “ambassador” of our country. I believe that the government of Kosovo must make a priority out of the regional and international policies, foreign policies and especially the recognition by the five EU countries. But on this stage of political developments that the country is in, such as the creation of the Special Tribunal, it could have negative effects as far as the strengthening of the independence of Kosovo is concerned, not only in terms of recognitions, but also in terms of the accession in international organizations. It’s been a while that the authorities of Kosovo have promised new recognitions, but the real situation is different to what is claimed and we’re not always responsible for it.

IBNA: In the international aspect, Kosovo has encountered gridlocks in the process of recognition as a state. However, government officials promise new recognitions. How do you see this promise?

Dialogue with Serbia is the main focus. A lot has been talked about the commitment of Kosovo in the advancement of the process of dialogue with Serbia and the April 19, 2013 agreement, through which Kosovo has been promised accession in regional and international organizations. More than a “magic wand”, dialogue must be considered as a process, as it can also be the case with other neighboring countries, therefore the EU must not allow that Kosovo’s destiny depends on the (dis) agreements of the Serb side, because the stance of the Serb authorities toward Kosovo is based on the Constitution of Serbia. It’s not that Belgrade is expected to play the role of “connecting bridge” of the accession of Kosovo in regional and international organizations. Dialogue with Serbia has not brought any benefits for Kosovo, be it in the domestic domain, be it in the economic and foreign policy domain. The continuation of dialogue with Serbia must be restricted from the Kosovo side and Brussels too, with the implementation of agreements reached so far, which, unfortunately are not being implemented, otherwise dialogue without something concrete is pointless and brings no interests whatsoever for Kosovo.

IBNA: Currently in Kosovo, we also have social discontent, which was accompanied with massive departures of citizens. Why did this happen and where are the main problems?

The recent fleeing of Kosovo citizens is a powerful signal especially for the institutions of Kosovo that the citizens of the country are tired of empty promises and as a result of the failure to improve the serious economic and social isolation, the isolation of the citizens of Kosovo, when it comes to the free movement, but it was also a signal that more must be done in order to restore the confidence of the citizens toward the institutions of the country. I believe that the deepening of the economic crisis, but also the political gridlock, have had a big impact in this aspect.

IBNA: To what extent do you think that the current government is managing to identify the main problems of the country and the citizens?

In spite of the efforts for the improvement of the welfare of the citizens, the current government is also facing inherited problems, be it political and social. What I find critical is the negligence of the prime minister to fill in the posts of vice ministers, the failure to appoint board directors and issues which are more tangible for the citizen. I believe that we do not have the luxury to deal with “detection” of problems and citizens request immediate solutions.

IBNA: What are the main challenges that Kosovo will face in the future?

The main challenge consists on economic development, the restore of hope for the citizens, further consolidation of Kosovo in the international arena and domestic political developments, such as the establishment of the Special Tribunal, liberalization of visas and also to take Kosovo out of this undeserved social and political isolation. /ibna/