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Rajoni

The level of democracy in some regions of Europe and Asia, Freedom House publishes the report: Serbia's refusal to recognize Kosovo, a challenge of...

The level of democracy in some regions of Europe and Asia, Freedom House

Despite a turbulent year for the civil society and the citizens of Kosovo, the position of this country on the road to democratization has remained the same as last year, it was said in the latest report of the international organization, Freedom House, on the level of democracy in some regions of Europe and Asia. The problems with Serbia have been mentioned as among the key obstacles in Kosovo's way forward. In the assessment for the year 2023, from 1 to 7 points, where 1 represents the lowest level of democratic progress and 7 the highest, Kosovo continues to have 3.29 points.

As for the countries of the region, Albania and Croatia have also not changed their position, while North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have marked a decline on the road to democratization. Apart from Croatia, other Balkan countries are on the list of countries with a hybrid regime of government, according to the evaluations of Freedom House, the organization based in Washington. However, Kosovo is mentioned as a country with a hybrid regime directed towards democracy, Serbia towards autocracy, while Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina are mixed on both sides. In the section on Kosovo, the report mentions that in 2023, disagreements with Serbia have entered a new phase of escalating tensions.

"Kosovo Serb protesters clashed and injured 30 NATO troops in May, and armed Serbs carried out an attack in September that killed four people, including a police officer,"  the report said.

The assessment was a reference to the May protests in the three municipalities in the north of Kosovo - Zveçan, Leposaviq and Zubin Potok - as a sign of opposition to the entry of new Albanian mayors into the municipal buildings, as well as to the September attack in Banjska in Zveçan, in which which Sergeant Afrim Bunjaku was killed and in the exchange of fire also three Serbian attackers.

The responsibility for the attack was taken by the former vice-president of the Serbian List - the largest party of Serbs in Kosovo, Milan Radoicic, who is believed to be in Serbia now, and for whom there is an international arrest warrant issued by the International Police Agency (INTERPOL). Kosovo has blamed the state of Serbia for organizing and carrying out the attack, but official Belgrade constantly rejects the accusations.

"In many countries, but especially in those of the Western Balkans, political leaders are using the greater focus on regional security as a justification to subvert democratic institutions and avoid democratic norms."

Në raport është përmendur, po ashtu se Qeveria aktuale në Kosovë, e cila e ka nisur udhëheqësinë më 2021, “është përpjekur që ta largojë vendin prej trashëgimisë së konfliktit parlamentar, duke promovuar një agjendë reformash të bazuara në sundim të ligjit”.

“Kryeministri Albin Kurti ka iniciuar proces të ri vettingut për gjyqtarët. Mirëpo, refuzimi i Serbisë për ta njohur pavarësinë e Kosovës vazhdon të jetë barrierë e madhe për demokratizim. Pavarësisht marrëveshjeve të arritura mes dy qeverive në fillim të vitit 2023, vitin e ka përcjellë jostabiliteti dhe përshkallëzimi i dhunës së nxitur pjesërisht prej lidhjeve jozyrtare të Beogradit me grupet e organizuara kriminale”.

Në shkurt të vitit 2023, Kosova dhe Serbia kanë arritur marrëveshje me qëllim të normalizimit të marrëdhënieve, ndërsa në mars për një aneks zbatimi. Megjithatë, palët nuk i kanë nënshkruar marrëveshjet dhe kanë bërë pak për zbatimin e tyre. Në raportin e Freedom House është përmendur, gjithashtu, reagimi i partnerëve ndërkombëtarë të Kosovës ndaj “qasjes së ashpër të Kurtit në negociatat me Beogradin, dhe mungesën e konsultimeve me komunitetin e serbëve të Kosovës”, çka, sipas raportit, “i ka komplikuar përpjekjet e Qeverisë për t’u çliruar prej kësaj sfide afatgjatë”.

Në raportin për vitin 2023, Freedom House ka thënë se Ukraina e ka shënuar përparimin më të madh në procesin e demokratizimit, ndërsa Serbia rënien më të madhe. Prej 3.79 pikëve sa i ka pasur vitin paraprak, Serbia tani është vlerësuar me 3.61 pikë. Rënia, siç është thënë, historike, u është atribuuar përpjekjeve të presidentit të Serbisë, Aleksandar Vuçiq për të konsoliduar pushtetin.

“Të shtënat masive në maj patën nxitur protesta përgjatë verës, ndaj të cilave Qeveria serbe është përgjigjur me zgjedhje të parakohshme të manipuluara në dhjetor. Për më shumë, udhëheqësia e Vuçiç-it është përshkruar e atillë që e ka ruajtur pushtetin me procese të manipuluara zgjedhore, me dominim në media publike dhe private, përmes njollosjes së anëtarëve të opozitës dhe aktivistëve, si dhe frikësimit të udhëheqësive komunale. Freedom House përmend se më 2023, Maqedonia e Veriut është përballur me kthim të madh mbrapa në fushën e sundimit të ligjit, pasi partitë kanë pasur mospajtime të theksuara për amendamentet kushtetuese, të cilat janë të domosdoshme për të shmangur veton e Bullgarisë në rrugën e Shkupit drejt integrimeve evropiane.

Montenegro is said to be still picking up its pieces after the 2022 constitutional crisis, and has faced dysfunctional and corrupt municipal governance in the absence of stability at the national level. As for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Freedom House has estimated that the assessment of defamation as a criminal offense in the Republika Srpska since July of last year has increased the pressure on journalists, in an environment that has already been on a downward trend, in terms of hate speech and physical security. Overall, Freedom House has said that of the 29 countries analyzed from Central Europe to Central Asia, 10 have recorded decline, while only five have recorded progress.

The international organization evaluates the level of democratization of the countries of this region since 1995 and categorizes each country based on the type of regime. For the 20th year in a row, Freedom House has registered a decline in the level of democratization in the region it observes. Russia's war in Ukraine, launched in February 2022, and the Azerbaijani regime's invasion of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, are said to have precipitated a new geopolitical order.

"The fate of European democracy now largely depends on the willingness of democratic states to adopt a more active approach to security in the region, especially by supporting Ukraine," said Mike Smeltzer, co-author of the report and senior researcher for Europe and Eurasia.

"Any failure to uphold democracy during this critical moment will make it more costly to control the expansion of authoritarian regimes in the future, both in the region and in the world." The United States and Europe must act now to guarantee Moscow's defeat during the invasion of Ukraine, to protect democratic institutions and norms,"  ??he said.

The war in Ukraine started on February 24, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a "special military operation" to demilitarize Ukraine. The West has responded to Russia by hitting the economy of this country with harsh sanctions. As a result of the war, thousands of people have died and millions more have been displaced from their homes./ REL