From Technical Arrangements to Political Haggling: The Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue and the North of Kosovo

For the first time since Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, Kosovo and Serbia began a direct dialogue in March 2011, under the facilitation and mediation of the European Union. The EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has sought technical solutions and agreements that promote neighbourly relations between Kosovo and Serbia and help normalize the situation in the northern Kosovo. Acting as a neutral mediator and leveraging the benefits of European integration (which is partly conditional upon maintaining a pro-European Belgrade), the EU hoped to help Kosovo and Serbia find lasting policy solutions for the multi-ethnic northern Kosovo and the relations between Kosovo and Serbia. However many challenges, both technical and political, have prevented the successful implementation of agreements that have been reached so far. Parallel structures and institutions in the north, ethnic tensions, and domestic pressures on politicians in both Belgrade and Prishtina have ignited conflict over the northern border and solution for the north that has inhibited the success of the dialogue thus far and has prevented the normalization of the situation in the northern Kosovo.You can download this policy report by clicking here.

For a professional public administration: An orientation toward strengthening the professional education of civil servants in Kosovo

The performance, professionalism and efficiency of public administrations in developing countries remain as the key foundations for both economic and political development. In addition, these criteria become predominantly significant in polities facing tough transitional and democratic challenges, as the public administration becomes subject to political and/or partisan control, wherein hindering the institutional power to deliver transparent and market-oriented policies. Of note is the fact that public administrations in post- communist polities have faced huge obstacles which have in turn hampered the institutional progress towards democratic accountability and effectiveness. For states aiming to integrate into certain international organizations, such as Kosovo, the capacity of public administration for substantive policy potency plays the key role in determining the outcome of reforms and the progress towards certain policy/state objectives. Kosovo‟s public administration is one that possesses hybrid attributes. On one hand, legacies from the former communist regime and the international administration of Kosovo hinder the progressive development of Kosovo‟s public administration. On the other hand, insufficient and often politicized structures built by the post-1999 institutions also characterize the administration‟s structure and impede its capacity to perform effectively.You can download this Policy Analysis by clicking here.

Public procurement practices at the municipal level: A statement of preliminary findings

Public procurement practice in Kosovo is often referred as one of the main sources of corruption. Another argument, hence, speaks for the fact that this practice is mainly a result of both central and local level institutions’ behaviour. In this policy note, though, the aim is to highlight the main problems with public procurement at the municipal level. The focus, therefore, is to emphasize the main problems related to  the misuse/circumvention of the public procurement rules of behaviour determined by the law on public procurement with regard to the procurement activities undertaken by municipal institutions. In particular, we refer mainly to secondary data and information acquired from the findings of, inter alia, the office of the Auditor General, Public Procurement Regulatory Commission (Department for Supervision and Monitoring), Procurement Review Body decisions, and from our staff field research activities. Of note is the fact that the annual public procurement market in Kosovo in 2010 was about 800 million EUR, representing approximately 14% of the GDP, including the public procurement activities undertaken by central and local level institutions as well as publicly owned companies.You can download this Policy Note by clicking here.

An Ahtisaari ‘Plus’ Paradigm for the northern Kosovo: a Unified or a Divisive Approach for Ethnic Communities in Kosovo?

The events that followed the Kosovo‟s government- owned police action intended to reassert control over the border crossings in the northern Kosovo dominated by ethnic Serbs generated a complex situation, both domestically and internationally. A very common tendency – as anticipated by several rational observers – was that the reaction of local Serbians living in the northern Kosovo would be adjusted to both the aims of the Serbian Government and Serbian opposition political parties that control some of the local leaders in those areas.A number of multifaceted developments therefore pursued these events. On the one hand, local Serbians living in the northern Kosovo were mobilized to confront any action of the Kosovo Government to put into control both border-crossing posts, and on the other, to avert any action that intends to establish a different  governing logic in the northern part of Kosovo. With a new – both political and non-political – approach to resisting any form of control from the international and Kosovo‟s Government authority, local Serbians in the northern Kosovo started to implicitly articulate the Serbia‟s Government request for a northern autonomous territorial entity, later labelled as an “Ahtisaari Plus” solution. Of note is the fact that this solution was never substantively articulated and/or formulated. There is of course another view which reiterates that the Serbian leaders‟ claim for an autonomous north is an ambiguous claim in itself. It goes without saying that considering Kosovo part of Serbia on the one hand, and claiming an autonomous solution for its northern part, on the other, makes this claim both ambiguous and obscure.  You can download this Policy Note by clicking here.

A Comprehensive Agenda for the North: The New European Approach

Being conscious of the latest complex and challenging situation in the northern Kosovo, the European Commission has officially requested in its Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012 that Kosovo adopt ‘a comprehensive agenda for the north’. As it stands, in its part, the European Commission gave no further explanation on this ‘advice’, leaving it as a straightforward contention. Although many perceive this as a simple statement having hardly any effect, one should dare to analyse more profoundly the substance of this request of the European Commission. Therefore, this Policy Note will analyse the substantive meaning and the significance of the European Commission asking Kosovo to adopt a comprehensive agenda for the north, and hints on the possible policy options that could derive thereof. We argue that the comprehensive agenda,nevertheless, should be complemented with an increased pressure of the EU upon Serbia to halt financing and supporting parallel structures in Kosovo. Certainly, Kosovo’s Government must effectively lobby at the EU institutional and member states’ level to transform this in an explicit condition on Serbia’s European integration track.You can download this Policy Note by clicking here.

For a Semi-Presidential Regime: Where is the New-Born Republic Heading?

As a state established under certain international supervisory conditions, Kosovo drafted its first state constitution in a process both straightforward and opaque. The parliamentarian political parties managed and owned the constitutional drafting process,starting immediately after the revelation of the Ahtisaari Settlement Proposal. This control kept this process essentially closed to public opinion and citizen participation,although, in late 2007 and 2008, the parties did organize a limited number of formal debates around Kosovo to discuss the choices. One can sum up this process as one wherein a politically headed commission supervised the constitutional drafting process in which it insisted upon the inclusion of certain partisan-favoured solutions in the newstate Constitution. The resulting Constitution created a consociational model of democracy for Kosovo—quite less rigid than that of Bosnia—and logically and substantially based on the Ahtisaarian prescriptions. Nevertheless, the constitutional status of the President of the Republic carries no value of consociation; instead, it falls well within the margins of intergrationism.You can download this policy report by clicking here.