A Success Story

PRISTINA/BERLIN | | jugoslawien

PRISTINA/BERLIN (Own report) - Serious social upheavals are threatening to erupt in Kosovo on the second anniversary of its secession, accomplished with strong German impulsion. Since its breaking away from Serbia, the economic situation of the region has become desolate, with an increase in bitter poverty, protests and strikes. Outside the EU there is talk of "a failed state." Whereas Germany, along with the other leading western powers, is continuing to pressure Serbia into recognizing the illegal secession, politicians in Kosovo are threatening to annex more Serbian territory. Bombing attacks, apparently politically motivated, were reported in the areas in question. The situation of minorities remains catastrophic. For example, the Roma in Kosovo are massively discriminated against, hundreds are languishing in lead contaminated camps. Berlin's plans to deport Roma seeking refuge in Germany back into this persecution, are meeting growing protest. The German Bundeswehr is alone in having discerned a positive development. A member of the Bundeswehr has declared that NATO's occupation of the region is a "success story," and calls on the population to recognize "the successful work of the soldiers."

A Powder Keg

Two years after Kosovo seceded, February 17, 2008, with Germany's energetic impulsion,[1] the economic situation of the region is desolate. Nearly half of the working population is without a job. There is no commodity production worthy of the name. More than 90 percent of the commodities sold in Kosovo must be imported. Approximately 163 million Euros in Exports in 2009, stand in contrast to imports that are 12 times higher - 1.9 billion Euros. Foreign investments are receding. Nearly half of the population is poor with 15 percent living in dire poverty. "Before the war in 1999, I could feed a family of ten, with my pay," a citizen of Kosovo says. "Now seven members of the family have to work, so that we can make it. Our living standard is very low."[2] "There is some sort of protest daily," says the Kosovo Chambers of Commerce Vice President and warns that "Kosovo is like a powder keg that could someday explode." President, Fatmir Sejdiu declared that "the stability of the country should not be jeopardized" with strikes and other forms of protests.[3]

Failed State

The situation in Kosovo from the standpoint of, what some observers call, rampant corruption is similarly disastrous. According to expert calculations, around ten percent of the finances earmarked for public contracts, are flowing into the coffers of Kosovo's political parties. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci gave the leading posts of the Kosovo police to former operatives from his illegal secret service, SHIK. A Swiss journal noted with annoyance that the theft of 46 kg of drugs, which disappeared a year ago, from the premises of the Pristina police presidium, has yet to be solved. "The legal system in Kosovo is only in name,"[4] noted the journal - even though the EU has been engaged over the past two years in its creation. In addition, members of organized crime are not being prosecuted. According to the report, the US ambassador in Pristina spoke of Kosovo "suggestively as in the failed state" category.[5] For six million Euros, the government in Kosovo has hired the Saatchi and Saatchi PR agency to launch a campaign to somewhat polish up its image.

Bomb Attack

In answer to the Serbian government's new initiatives, Berlin and the rest of the leading western powers are intensifying their pressure. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is expected to render an opinion on Kosovo's illegal secession in June. Thereafter Belgrade wants to negotiate on the status of the region and plans to bring its case before the United Nations. At present only about a third of the UN member nations have recognized Kosovo's secession. Last week, in a diplomatic note, the governments of Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain and the USA called on the Serbian Foreign Minister to cool down his rhetoric about Kosovo and refrain from "adventurous actions."[6] On the other hand, Jakup Krasniqi, Speaker of the Kovovo Parliament, was not warned a few days ago when he contemplated that "the Albanians from the Presevo Valley" to the north of Kosovo, could join the area of secession - signifying the annexation by the secessionist government in Pristina of more Serbian territory. Shortly thereafter a Serbian policeman was seriously wounded in a bomb attack in the town of Bujanovac in the Presevo Valley. Already years ago, secessionists have been making terrorist attacks in this town seeking to bomb their way to an inclusion of their area into Kosovo.

Deported into Squalor

Even after more than ten years of occupation rule with German participation, the situation of the minorities in Kosovo remains catastrophic. "Poverty and discrimination, unemployment at 90 percent, exclusion from the social security system and medical aid" are the "tragic existence" of the Roma, according to an appeal published in December 2009 by various refugee organizations.[7] Last week, the Human Rights Commissioner of the European Council concluded that until now, hundreds of Roma have been made to languish in lead contaminated camps in Kosovo. In spite of numerous complaints, neither the government in Pristina nor the European and US occupying powers have altered their situation in any way. On the contrary, in spite of hefty protests including from UNICEF, Berlin wants to deport several thousand Roma from Germany to Kosovo. UNICEF points out that Roma, who are deported from Germany with their children, are "often outside the communities in wooden shacks, living without heat and in dilapidated conditions" - a situation that has not impressed German authorities.[8]


After more than ten years of occupation and two years of - a Berlin supported - secession, astonishing appraisals of the situation in Kosovo can be found in the press of the Axel Springer media and in the German Bundeswehr. According to the assessment of the Springer daily, "Die Welt" "the young republic Kosovo" finds itself "on a promising path". Its secession has "contributed to the stabilization of the region as a whole."[9] A Bundeswehr Brig. Gen. characterizes the occupation of the region as a "success story" and demands that the population give stronger recognition to the "successful work of the soldiers" in Kosovo.[10] Astonishing and noteworthy is also an open confession of the CDU member of the European Parliament, Doris Pack, who has been engaged in Southeast Europe for many years. According to Pack, since Kosovo has been occupied by NATO "not much progress has been made, on the contrary. In the ten years, corruption has grown, instead of being combated."[11] There are "thousands of criminal cases (...) that have yet to be brought to trial." All of the heads of the occupation administration UNMIK, who, according to Pack, are de facto guilty of supporting corruption, come from the EU nations, two even from Germany. Germany is the nation that is alleged to exercise the most influence over the UNMIK administration.[12]

Further information on German policy towards Kosovo can be found here: Self Determination, Political Friendships, "Thank You Germany!", Pure Chaos, Arbitrariness in Power, In Accordance With NATO Standards, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and The Mafiosi State (II).

[1] see also German administrator calls territorial integrity of Yugoslavia into question, Neuer Vasall, Mit kreativen Tricks and "Thank You Germany!"
[2], [3] Kosovo - ein soziales Pulverfass? Deutsche Welle 16.02.2010
[4], [5] Der Frust mit der Freiheit; Basler Zeitung 16.02.2010
[6] Major powers warn Serbia to cool down Kosovo rhetoric; waz.euobserver.com 09.02.2010
[7] see als Unglaubwürdig and Besondere Verantwortung
[8] Roma-Kinder im Kosovo: Abgeschoben und ausgegrenzt; www.unicef.de 16.02.2010
[9] Richard Herzinger: Kosovo - ein Staat, besser als sein Ruf; Die Welt 16.02.2010
[10] Die vergessene Erfolgsgeschichte der Kfor; Hamburger Abendblatt 25.01.2010
[11] Pack: EULEX-Mission hat große Last zu tragen; Deutschlandradio Kultur 17.02.2010
[12] see also Aufs engste verflochten