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Kosova: Action against Privatization

4. October 2010

Vetevendosje no 218 describes an action taken by be Vetevendosje and the union of the workers in PTK (Post and Telecom of Kosovo) against the privatization of the this important company during a debate in the parliament of Kosova. Besides it comments on the resignation of Kosova’s president Fatmir Sejdiu.

Action against privatization

On Thursday, as the Kosova Assembly was due to debate the question of PTK privatization, activists of Lëvizja VETËVENDOSJE! and the Independent Union of Postal and telecommunications workers of Kosova jointly organized a symbolic protest action.

Activist Frasher Krasniqi said:

“When Kosova’s people expects and needs economic development and social welfare, the Government and Assembly (as is clear from today’s session) continues its commitment to
destroying everything valuable which belongs to the people. When they expect and need jobs and equality, Kosova’s politicians increase unemployment whilst enriching themselves shamelessly.

A greater difference between the people and their Government would be hard to achieve.

Kosova’s people need to get rid of these corrupt politicians who continually cause losses, not PTK which brings only profit, despite its poor management by the Kosova Government. If in our public companies there is corruption, this reflects the situation of the state of Kosova and not simply the company in question. It is the Government which is leading corruption hence corruption cannot be stopped by selling our resources, but by changing the government, as it is responsible for steeping our state in corruption and organized crime from top to bottom.

It is clear that selling PTK is very damaging for Kosova and will only benefit our corrupt politicians, who have been stealing from PTK and now tell us: we’re selling it because they’re stealing. They don’t intend to stop privatizing PTK. If people don’t remove this political class from power, they will privatize the whole of Kosova. When the personal interests of Hashim Thaçi, Ahmet Shala and others threaten the public good of society, we are dealing with a situation when thieves prevent development, which must be changed urgently.

The Last Wish

The following is a short extract from Albin Kurti’s comment on the resignation of former President Fatmir Sejdiu:

“After the resignation of Fatmir Sejdiu, lectures about institutional crisis are a misinterpretation of the fact that in Kosova crisis is institutionalized. Even EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) is defined as an operation for crisis management.

In Kosova, we have a deep political, security and socioeconomic crisis. Kosova’s institutions are not here to solve this crisis, but to institutionalize it. The crisis is more political and socio-economic, rather than institutional. Crisis in Kosova is a crisis more for the citizen than it is a crisis for those in power. To tell a citizen that only now we’re in crisis because there’s no President, means having disdain for the serious crisis he lives in each day, struggling to survive.

The life of Kosova’s citizens is made more dramatic by social misery and political insecurity than the fact that instead of a President, now we have an acting President. For the citizen, the difficulty of having no food and no job, no quality education for his children, no money to buy medicine for his elderly parents, is incomparable with the fact that a political figure on TV will now be shown with the title acting President.”

Resignation farce

On Monday, the former President of Kosova, Fatmir Sejdiu resigned following the decision of the Constitutional Court that he had violated the Constitution. The Court reached this decision according to Article 88.2, which states that the President cannot exercise any other function, including a position in a political party. The clarity of this Article means that no one was in doubt about whether the President had violated the law. It was just a matter of political timing, as to when it suited the Government and international actors, to fabricate a political crisis and force new elections.

That time appears to be now. The US has shown the EU it is not capable of running Kosova, or negotiations with Serbia, without US assistance. Thaçi has revealed the depths of his instrumental approach to the democratic process as his own personal tool for retaining power, before negotiations drain PDK (Democratic Party of Kosovo, headed by Hashim Thaci) of its remaining support. Meanwhile, Kosova’s people are expected to believe the ICR (International Civilian Representative for Kosovo) Pieter Feith’s statement that international officials are not interfering in the political process, when he and the Quint Ambassadors have been in daily secret meetings with Kosova’s leaders.

The remaining certainty amidst this struggle for power between Kosova’s corrupt political elites and their sponsors is that negotiations will occur, maybe starting prior to predicted elections early next year. Negotiations are being wrapped in the language of EU integration to make them more palatable in Kosova, which has no perspective of visa liberalization, let alone EU membership. Issues will be negotiated to advance Serbia on the path to the EU, not Kosova.

They will be discussed in ‘technical working groups’, to normalize a process occurring as Serbia controls over a quarter of Kosova’s territory, continues to destabilize it through its parallel structures and refuses to recognize it.

In an example of what to expect, Serbia’s Minister of Trade, Slobodan Milosavljevic stated that Serbia is ready to engage in trading negotiations, as Kosova is an important market for Serbian products. What he failed to mention, is that Serbia is flooding Kosova’s internal
market with cheap goods, which cross Kosova’s northern border without paying custom taxes since the customs points were burned by Serbia’s parallel structures. Kosova’s domestic producers do not even have a competitive chance. Serbia is also blocking exports from Kosova, despite being a signatory to the CEFTA free trade agreement. Serbia is thus seeking to negotiate on an issue resulting from its violation of the law,hoping to win further concessions from Kosova and positive marks in its EU progress report!

Kosova has everything to lose in these negotiations and nothing to gain.

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