Saturday, September 1, 2012

LSI: Immunity in Parliament

LSI: Immunity in Parliament
LSI reinforces its position that constitutional changes to lift theimmunity should be resolved in the parliamentary hall and not througha referendum as proposed by Prime Minister Berisha.

After the declaration of Ilir Meta some days ago, that "immunityquestion should be resolved by parliamentary consensus", the SecretaryGeneral of the LSI, Luan Rama said that time doesn’t wait for Albaniato take a positive grade in the October European exam.

"The referendum in this case, in my judgment, does not give us theopportunity to fulfill this task before October, when assessment ofAlbania’s progress for fulfilling the obligations of EU will takeplace.

If it would be possible for the referendum to take place beforeOctober, there is nothing wrong, but LSI judges and is convinced thatimmunity lifting must still be voted and there exist otherpossibilities that assembly could fulfill this task," said Rama.

During the press conference Luan Rama said that there is no pactbetween LSI and PD for the election of the General Attorney.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is “unable to exist as country”

BANJA LUKA -- Bosnia-Herzegovina shows on a daily basis a chronic inability to exist and survive as a country, Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik has said.
Milorad Dodik (Beta, file)
Milorad Dodik (Beta, file)
He added that “it is no longer a question whether Bosnia-Herzegovina exists and the question is how to enable us to go our separate ways peacefully”.
“This is the only and essential issue if somebody wants to be rational. Otherwise, we can torture ourselves like this for years and decades,” Dodik explained.

He noted that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) should have been closed a long time ago, adding that European countries agreed that the OHR should leave the country.

“This is torture. The fact is that we are victims of some centers of powers that are trying to prove something that cannot be proven – that Bosnia-Herzegovina can be sustained, which is impossible. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers hardly functions, parliament is incapable of making decisions, the Dayton Accords is not being respected, there is no will to accept the reality and the international agreement has been violated for the past 15 years on a principle of the alleged strengthening of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Dodik explained.

He said that Bosnia-Herzegovina was not a functional state and that it could never be one.

The RS president once more said that Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdžija needed to step down “because he violated the Constitution“.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Serbian President receives U.S. ambassador, discusses Kosovo

BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić and U.S. Ambassador Mary Warlick discussed the need to soon resume the talks between Serbia and the interim authorities in Priština.
The president's press office said this in a statement, and added that Nikolić pointed out that the Serbian government is committed to creating the conditions for the resumption of this dialogue.
Nikolić and Warlick agreed it is necessary to maintain stability in Kosovo and Metohija, the release said.

Nikolić stressed the need to raise the negotiations from technical to political level.

The Serbian president also said that, when it comes to Kosovo, responsibility to Serbia's citizens and interests should be taken and added that everything agreed in the future talks should be precisely defined in order to avoid multiple interpretations.

He pointed out that he is fully committed to reaching a consensus on the issue of Kosovo between all relevant political and social actors in Serbia.

Speaking about the country's difficult economic situation, Nikolić underlined that Serbia primarily needs to reestablish cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and attract new investments, above all in the sector of agriculture and energy, which are two major development opportunities.

"Only with hard work and responsible national economic policy can Serbia overcome the economic crisis it has been facing for a long time," President Nikolić said during his meeting with Warlick.
US Ambassador in Greece Daniel Beneth with Nicholas Gage, visited Lia village, Thessprotia, Epirus

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The EU or a Greater Albania: what future for Kosovo?

by Francesco Guarascio
28 August 2012

As they walk in the centre of Kosovo's buzzing capital Pristina, passers-by cannot fail to notice the number of references to Albania. The dull six-starred, European Union-like flag adopted by Kosovo in 2008 is rarely seen, while the double-headed eagle of the Albanian banner is displayed proudly at every corner. Souvenir stalls in the main tourist streets sell t-shirts evoking Albania rather than Kosovo. Asked for a restaurant, taxi drivers are likely to drive to eateries with Albanian specialties.

"We would join Albania immediately, if America agreed," states Edmond Zhita, a hotel manager in Peya, the second-largest city. His view is widespread in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians represent almost 90 per cent of the population. A poll published by Gallup in 2010 revealed that 81 per cent of the Albanians living in Kosovo were in favour of a 'Greater Albania' – a dream state encompassing the territory of Albania, Kosovo and neighbouring regions in Macedonia, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro that are predominantly inhabited by Albanians.

The percentage of those in favour of a Greater Albania has risen steadily since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, when only 54 per cent of the sample backed the idea. In September, Kosovo will gain full rights of sovereignty as the 25-member international steering group in charge of overseeing the country's embryonic administration ends its task, four years after independence. Still, an EU mission to train police and the judiciary, called EULEX, as well as a conspicuous North Atlantic Treaty Organisation peacekeeping force, will remain in the country to prevent ethnic clashes between Albanians and the Serbian minority.

Despite the sizeable ongoing foreign presence in the country, this first taste of real power may push Kosovo's leadership to rethink the idea of a Greater Albania. The concept is not new – it was born in the Kosovar town of Prizren in the 19th century to promote Albanian independence from the then ruling Ottoman empire. It may sound odd that after a long struggle for independence from Serbia, Europe's youngest state is already tempted by the idea of giving away its sovereignty to enter a new marriage with neighbouring Albania. But the poor economic state of the landlocked country – which is ravaged by corruption and frequent ethnic clashes with Serbian minorities – has gradually increased the will to join the bigger neighbour.

But it takes two to tango, and Albania is showing little appetite to openly back a project that would cause concern not only in the region but also in Brussels and Washington. Most Albanians from Albania remain in favour of a Greater Albania, but the number of supporters is shrinking. They dropped from 68 per cent in 2009 to 63 per cent in 2010, according to Gallup pollsters. "The contradictory dynamics of the support, in Albania and Kosovo, for the idea of a Greater Albania is the best illustration of how important an EU perspective is for the region," explains Ivan Krastev, a Balkan political expert. "The explanation for these contradictory trends is quite obvious – at the time of the poll, while Albanians were expecting the lifting of the visa restrictions for travel in the EU, only 7 per cent of Kosovars saw freer travel coming soon," he argues.

Krastev's view is widely shared in Brussels. Europe is firmly engaged in giving Kosovo a clear EU perspective. Work is underway to launch a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, a crucial step for a country wishing to gain the status of official candidate for EU membership. A visa liberalisation process is also ongoing, to favour free movement of Kosovars in the EU. "I confirmed the EU's continued commitment to Kosovo's European perspective," reiterated European Council President Herman Van Rompuy after a meeting in July with Kosovo's President Atifete Jahjaga. Kosovo has already adopted the euro as its official currency, despite being outside the eurozone. National laws are available in English, favouring harmonisation with EU rules and foreign investors' understanding of the country's legal environment.

Yet despite all this effort, the road to Brussels remains a bumpy one. Only 22 of the 27 EU member states have so far recognised the new country. Greece and Cyprus still oppose this move, mainly because of fears of a Greater Albania. Spain, Slovakia and Romania are also against recognition, believing that it could trigger copycat demands among the Hungarian, Basque or Catalan minorities living within their countries. Serbia is even firmer, saying that it will never recognise the breakaway region, as are Russia and China.

One way to quell the potentially dangerous ambitions for a Greater Albania is for Brussels to keep alive the EU perspective for Albania, although the country still falls seriously short of meeting basic requirements. Tirana was granted the status of potential candidate in 2003 but submitted its membership application only in 2009. Since then, the process has moved slowly amid violent power struggles and widespread corruption in the country. The warm embrace of the EU has prevented the breakup of many European countries for years – including Belgium and Spain. For Albanians that embrace needs to work in the opposite way, to avoid a marriage that would be unpopular with too many parties. The question is, will the prospect of a common house convince those in favour of marriage to refrain from union?

Read more:
SP to Nishani: React about Greece
Continues the anti Hellenic rhetoric of the Albanian opposition

SP to Nishani: React about Greece
The SP Parliamentary group addressed a letter to the Albanian President, expressing their concern regarding the behavior of the Greek authorities against the Albanian citizens in the border, such as the case of Top Channel’s reporter, Marin Mema.

The MPs also mention the delicate issue of the maritime border agreement between the two countries. The MPs underline that the way how the President was elected and the way he has behaved so far leave no hopes that he will act independently from Berisha.“We followed closely and with great concern the case in which a well known Albanian journalist was banned from entering Greece and was declared unwanted in the neighboring country, considered a threat for the national security of Greece. We and the public are fully aware that this is only the most flagrant and notorious case of the many other incidents, caused by a behavior that s against the European values and standards. Such incidents with citizens, journalists, judges and political representatives, who are treated indecently at the border, demand a mutual solution based on Albanian Constitution and laws”, SP declared. The opposition underlines that these repeated incidents do not offer the best climate to hold negotiations for the maritime border agreement and do not guarantee the public that the process will be transparent, right and equal.The Socialist MPs declare that the maritime border issues must be resolved on mutual and equal conditions and they ask the Albanian authorities to expert their power in order to impose all standards on this agreement. Otherwise, SP reminds President Nishani that in case that the same scenario will be repeated, he will be considered a collaborator of the Prime Minister and the Democratic Party in the signing of an agreement that damages the territorial sovereignty of Albania.