Kosovo-Serbia Policy Advocacy Group and Balkan Policy Research Group together with the I4PA Institute organized "The Benefits of the Technical Dialogue" workshop in Vushtri with participants from the civil society from Mitrovica, Vushtri and Obliq, funded by the European Union and the Norwegian Embassy in Prishtina/Pristina. Twenty-two representatives from local NGO-s and public from three municipalities discussed the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue process and the benefits of the agreements reached during the process.
Dea Gecaj, Executive Director I4PA Institute during her opening remarks noted that “we can rightly say that besides the three pillars of governance - legislative, executive and judiciary - in today's modern and democratic states, we can add two other important pillars for the advancement and development of those societies - the media and civil society.”
Fisnik Rexhepi, expert on the dialogue process, presented the dialogue process between Kosovo and Serbia that started in March 2011, describing the challenges on reaching the agreements while adding “What is important for this stage is that this dialogue has provided a new perspective which has proven that besides differences, agreements are possible. Even in cases when the parties cannot agree, they did not withdraw from negotiations.”
Mr. Rexhepi also emphasized the importance of the agreement on freedom of movement as one of the most successful agreements, were he added that “with this agreement the access of Kosovar diaspora that live in EU countries and especially in Germany, in their homeland is shortened for at least 400 KM.” Also he mentioned that after the agreement Kosovo Serbs started applying for Kosovo ID cards. While some of the agreements did not reach full implementation he added that “the situation now is much better than it was before the agreements”
In the other hand, participants raised an issue about the transparency and public information during the dialogue process and the implementation process of the agreements. Most of the public was informed through media outlets, they emphasized the role of media in engaging the society to participate more in the process of the dialogue. Besmir Ahmeti from NGO Hareja from Vushtri added that “there are discrepancies in reporting from media in Kosovo and media in Serbia for the dialogue process, this creates confusion in the public opinion”. The whole process was not immune to the global trends of fake news and click baits in social media, where the considerable number of public opinion, especially youth, have the first contact with the news.
The workshop is part of the activities of the "Communicating, Debating and Promoting the Dialogue" project. The project is funded by the European Union and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Kosovo Serbia Policy Advocacy Group was established in early 2018, as a tool to challenge the narratives at the society level and help policymakers to make the agreements in a more transparent manner. The Consortium is comprised of eight likeminded NGOs: Balkans Policy Research Group (BPRG), Democracy for Development Institute (D4D), Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) and NGO AKTIV from Kosovo, and Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), European Movement in Serbia (EMinS) and Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) from Serbia.
This workshop was organised with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of are the sole responsibility of Kosovo-Serbia Policy Advocacy Group Consortium and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.