Sofia view: Never a dull moment in Kosovo

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Kosovo is still a long way from becoming a boring affair. In the wake of the early elections on 12th December, a report by the Council of Europe made allegations that senior politicians, including the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Hashim Thaci, were implicated in an organ-harvesting ring.  The story about the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) executing Serb POWs has been around for quite some time, but this was the first time that a high-profile international body such as the CoE has taken a stance.  Even if the claims are not proven, this is a major embarrassment for both Prishtina and the EU plus its large rule-of-law mission (EULEX). Catherine Ashton has called on Dick Marty, the former Swiss prosecutor behind the report, to provide evidence.

There might be a silver lining to the scandal. The PDK and the other groups, perhaps even the runner-up in the elections, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), might rally behind the flag and patch up differences to form a governing coalition.  At any rate, the process is promising to be painful.

Whatever its composition, the future cabinet is unlikely to be in cooperative mode vis-à-vis Belgrade.  The electoral success of Albin Kurti’s Vetëvendosje (Self-Determination), which came third with 12.5 per cent of the popular vote, is likely to harden Kosovo’s position. By hailing the CoE report as a ‘great victory’, Serbia is upping the ante too. Meanwhile, Kosovar Albanians see Dick Marty as the Serbs’ agent.

 Back in September, Belgrade and the EU co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution calling for talks with Prishtina on a range of technical issues. The EU had managed to moderate Serbia’s original position, not least thanks to the pressure exerted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague during his trip to Belgrade at the end of August. Let’s hope the EU pulls a trick, yet again, to keep up the positive momentum.

An aside: as of yesterday, citizens of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina can travel visa-free to Schengenland. Kosovo remains the only country left behind.  My guess? Expect to see many more applications for Albanian citizenship coming from Kosovo.

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