Slobodan Petrovic, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of Independent Liberal Party
In the north, criminals stronger than all institutions
29/08/2011 19:42 | Prishtina, Belgrade | Belgrade dual policy is no longer viable: Slobodan PetrovicPrishtina recognized Serbia’s candidacy for EU membership as the right moment for its action
Slobodan Petrovic, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of Independent Liberal Party In the north, criminals stronger than all institutions 29/08/2011 19:42 | Prishtina, Belgrade | Belgrade dual policy is no longer viable: Slobodan PetrovicPrishtina recognized Serbia’s candidacy for EU membership as the right moment for its action Author: Snezana Congradin Prishtina, Belgrade – The condition of the European Union that Serbia should abandon parallel institutions in Kosovo is not new, only this time more directly addressed, and a logical sequence of events following the recent developments in northern Kosovo, assessed for Danas the president of Serbian Independent Liberal Party, Slobodan Petrovic, who in the Government of Kosovo has the functions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Government. Does this mean that the government in Prishtina deliberately raised the issue of abolishing the institutions of Serbia in the north in order to condition Serbia’s candidacy for membership? – It is a real dilemma, and indeed could be construed that the moment of Serbia’s candidacy was chosen to push forward the unresolved problems that weaken the economic development of Kosovo. Citizens in the north of Kosovo see the actions of the government in Prishtina as an attack on them, but this is not the case. Due to poor information, those citizens do not give the opportunity to Prishtina to properly show its sincere intentions. There is not only the government of Kosovo, but also the EU institutions. The citizens of northern Kosovo should consider how much they lose and how much they gain with that while a small number of people acquire wealth in terms of non-defined relations. Why would Serbia at all establish institutions if it now takes a decision to abolish them? – In northern Kosovo no institutions are exercising the power, which gave a wide area to criminal activities and strengthening of very powerful individuals. Given the fact that Serbia has agreed to the presence of EULEX in Kosovo, the existence of these institutions has no greater purpose, except that it provides personal income to citizens in the north of Kosovo. On the other hand, citizens in the north have big problems with infrastructure, water and pollution by lead, and on these issues there is nothing done by these institutions. Well, what goal aimed to achieve Serbian authorities by investing money in the establishment of those institutions? Serbia is leading a dual policy – European integration and the keeping of Kosovo, so I guess that is why investing in institutions in the north. However, it becomes very clear that achieving both goals simultaneously is not sustainable. Serbia openly shows pretensions to the northern part because I do not remember when Belgrade has done something significant for the Kosovo Serbs south of Iber. The goal of Serbia’s investments to the north is its survival in the life of Kosovo, which would not be disputed if it were transparent and in compliance with the EU and in general with the international community in Kosovo. The Marti Ahtisaari plan provides that Serbia can support the education and health care system in Kosovo. However, maintenance of institutions such as municipalities that are not functional due to the well-known political reasons simply does not make sense. It is not in line with European standards. How big were the risks of the actions by Prishtina authorities in northern Kosovo and within the context of security can it be spoken whether the action was justified? – If the move was good for Prishtina, time will tell. The risks were great, the situation could really get out of control, and yet we cannot say that there is no danger. However, after this very busy period, all think more soberly and I sincerely hope that all the moves and plans will be transferred to the negotiating table. I appeal to all the stakeholders to use only diplomatic means to achieve their goals. What happens if Serbia decides to stay consistent and not abolish its institutions? – I believe that, with the support of Brussels within the framework of the started dialogue, the best solutions for the security of our citizens will be found.