Kosovo PM appoints new Minister for Communities and Returns

Premijer Republike Kosovo, Albin Kurti, Nenad Rašić
Kabinet kosovskog premijera / kryeministri.rks-gov.net

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has appointed Progressive Democratic Party leader Nenad Rasic as Minister for Communities and Returns, said Kurti’s office, Kossev reported.

Prime Minister Kurti congratulated Mr. Rasic on the new institutional duties and responsibilities in the Republic of Kosovo, said the Prime Minister’s Office.

Rasic was appointed Minister in place of Serb List leader Goran Rakic.

Kosovo Serbs withdrew from Kosovo’s institutions in November, a move triggered by a new crisis over license plates, that is, by the Kosovo Government’s decision on a phased implementation of its decision on the re-registration of vehicles with Serbian-issued license plates in Kosovo.

Following several delays and over 15 hours of negotiations at two meetings in Brussels, the decision was finally suspended on November 23.

Under the agreement, Belgrade is to stop issuing license plates with Kosovo cities’ denominations, while the registration of the vehicles that already have Serbian license plates will be renewed.

The Serb List stipulated two conditions for its return to Kosovo’s institutions – that Pristina withdraw its decision on the re-registration of vehicles and form the Community of Serb Municipalities.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic recently said that the first condition has been fulfilled and while the second remains to be fulfilled.

In spite of this, new Serb List MPs recently took oath of office in the Kosovo Parliament after their predecessors, also Serb List members, previously resigned. They explained that they technically verified their mandates in the Kosovo Parliament so the Serb community’s MP seats would not be taken over by “Kurti’s Serbs.”

President Vucic severely criticized Kurti’s decision on Rasic’s appointment, and said that the Kosovo Prime Minister was “terrorist scum.” He said European Movement of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija leader Rada Trajkovic, who was appointed advisor to Rasic, was “the worst scum from the very bottom.”

Vucic described the European Union’s (EU) reaction to Rasic’s appointment as “shameful”, and stressed that, because of that decision, the Serbian delegation will not participate in the EU-Western Balkans summit in Tirana.

Commenting Rasic’s appointment, European Commission (EC) spokesperson Peter Stano told Tanjug that is it vital that Kosovo follow all the necessary procedural steps when appointing ministers who represent the non-majority community, the Serbian state TV (RTS) reported.

On behalf of the EU Stano called on both sides to act in line with the binding agreements on the dialogue and to refrain from any actions that could raise tensions in the already volatile security situation.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also said the EU’s reaction was shameful. “We were waiting to see what the Union would say about the appointment of Rasic and received another shameful statement,” said Brnabic, adding that Rasic’s appointment is not only contrary to the Brussels Agreement but that it also goes against the will of the people expressed in the elections.

For the first time Serbia will not participate in the EU-Western Balkans summit due to be held on December 6 in Tirana, said Brnabic.

Former President of the Kosovo Constitutional Court Enver Hasani said Rasic’s appointment was a violation of the Kosovo Constitution. He told koha.net that the appointment of ministers and deputy ministers requires the votes of the majority of MPs representing a community.

Hasani said that, under the Constitution, the appointment of a minister who is not an MP must be backed by 50 percent plus one member of parliament, or at least by six MPs from the ranks of Kosovo Serbs.

In addition, this cannot be done without consultations with the political organizations of the minority communities that say they represent those ministers or deputy ministers, said Hasani.