Anger rises against EU-led deal in Kosovo

Opposition MPs in Kosovo released tear gas inside parliament to protest EU-brokered deal with Serbia and Montenegro

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Opposition politicians in Kosovo released tear gas in parliament for the second time in a day at midnight on Friday to obstruct a scheduled session as police clashed with hundreds of protesters in Pristina on October 23 2015

Opposition members of parliament in Kosovo fired tear gas twice on Friday at Kosovo's Grand National Assembly against the EU (European Union) brokered agreement with Serbia.

The session in parliament, was postponed to later in the evening after opposition MPs released two canisters of tear gas, which sent lawmakers rushing from the debate chamber, this has been the third such incident in a two-week span.

Around the same time, police tear-gassed hundreds of protestors who were throwing petrol bombs in front of the parliament building. 

Recently, protesters have been clashing with police officials in Kosovo, who demand to reject the EU-brokered pact with Serbia, which Kosovo declared it’s independence from in 2008, and another deal demarcating the Kosovo-Montenegro border.

"We will continue to resist until these two agreements are canceled," Donika Kada Bujupi of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo told reporters after letting off a tear gas canisters in the chamber in the afternoon.

The deal would give more local power to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo and possible funding from Belgrade, however it would pose a threat to the small countries independence.  

EU, IMF and US concerned over developments

The head of the Monetary Fund in Kosovo, Jacques Miniane said in a statement that IMF was concerned that the developments in parliament would damage investors’ confidence.

"This is delaying the approval of important legislation, some of which is critical to the government's economic reform agenda and to the viability of Kosovo's Fund-supported program," Miniane said.

In June, Kosovo signed 185 million Euro a stand-by deal with IMF.

Police stand in front of the parliament building during a protest by opposition supporters in Pristina October 24, 2015 / Photo by Reuters

The United States who is the biggest supporter of the 2 million population Kosovo is concerned with the ongoing developments in the country.

"To those people who bring weapons into the Kosovo assembly ... I have a message: you are hurting Kosovo's economy, you are risking isolating Kosovo from the Euro-Atlantic community," said US Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie.

The issue between Serbia and Kosovo started from former Yugoslavia, when then leader Slobodan Milosevic lifted the autonomy of Kosovo in 1989, however, Kosovo has historical meaning for both countries,  

Kosovo, broke away from Serbia in 1999 when NATO intervened the killing of ethnic Albanian civilians by Yugoslavian forces.

On February 17 2008 mostly ethnic Albanian MP's declared independence and more than 100 countries recognise Kosovo as an independent country, except for Serbia and its ally Russia.

TRTWorld and agencies