Ovakvo stanje stvari mogli bi da politizuju opozicione stranke kao što su Vetëvendosje (Samoopredeljenje) i Socijaldemokratska partija, koje su alternativa gore navedenoj eliti, ali se to još nije dogodilo na uverljiv način – smatra Artan Mustafa, predavač socijalne politike i sociologije na Univerzitetu za biznis i tehnologiju (UBT), Kosovo.

On je u okviru projekta portala Danasa „Druga strana Kosova“ odgovarao na naša pitanja, pitanja Vesne Pešić, i pitanja čitalaca sa društvenih mreža.

Projekat ima za cilj da približi kosovskoj i srpskoj javnost informacije koje nisu plasirale političke elite, ni sa jedne strane, već nezavisni građani javne i kulturne scene Kosova.

  • Pitanja novinara Danasa:

Šta bi, prema Vašem mišljenju, trebalo najpre i prioritetno učiniti kako bi se odnosi Srbije i Kosova normalizovali?

– Racionalna politička volja, informisana od strane drugih evropskih konfliktnih odnosa posle Drugog svetskog rata i posvećenosti razvoju, kao i odgovornost za šanse budućih generacija za dobar život. Lokalna agencija treba da se pojača; nije u redu ostaviti sve u rukama volje velikih sila ili verovati da te moći same mogu, hoće ili bi trebalo doneti normalizaciju.

Kako ocenjujete proces normalizacije koji trenutno vode vlasti u Prištini i Beogradu?

– U početku, dijalog je pokušao da pruži normalizaciju kroz tehnička rešenja, za različite probleme. U stvarnosti je to u velikoj meri bio neuspeh. Od leta 2018. izgleda da su predsednici Kosova i Srbije, uz saglasnost visokih savetnika za nacionalnu bezbednost u Parizu i Vašingtonu, kao i klimanje iz Moskve, Brisela, Tirane i raznih drugih prestonica, vodili energične razgovore o teritorijalnoj razmeni. Ako se budući sporazum odvija u tom pravcu, nesretno je izgubljeno vreme jer je Zoran Đinđić 2001. godine predložio nešto slično, i to je široko odbačeno. Bilo bi i protiv nedavnog razvoja u regionu, kao što je sporazum o imenovanju između Makedonije i Grčke, i poboljšanje unutrašnjih odnosa između Makedonaca i Albanaca u Makedoniji. Naravno, moglo bi biti pozitivno ako bi većina Srba i većina Albanaca živela u jednoj (zajedničkoj) državi, ali postoji važno učenje i iz drugih slučajeva, kao što je ujedinjenje dve Nemačke gde još uvek ima mnogo kritika. Bilo je nepovoljnih ishoda od strane bivše DDR i njenih stanovnika. Siguran sam da bi gubitak političke moći za kosovske Albance, kosovske Srbe, pa čak i Srbe u Bosni i Hercegovini imao mnogo sličnih posledica.

Da li je realno da normalizaciji odnosa Kosova i Srbije doprinesu političke elite koje su bile aktivne tokom sukoba devedesetih godina?

– Mislim da je to moguće. Ove elite imaju duboku kontrolu nad strukturama u obe zemlje. Međutim, skeptičan sam da su zainteresovani za normalizaciju odnosa. Može biti da elitni lideri u Prištini i Beogradu preferiraju medijsku pokrivenost i druge izvore potencijalne kontrole; u slučaju kosovskog predsednika, postoji čak i mišljenje da će ga svaki flert sa predsednikom Srbije i predsednikom Rusije držati podalje od interesa Specijalnog suda osnovanog u Hagu. Sadašnji lideri Kosova i Srbije nisu kao sadašnji lideri Makedonije i Grčke; oni imaju drugačiju prošlost, interni legitimitet i različite navike stvaranja politike. Pored toga, Evropska unija se trenutno ne čini tako zainteresovanom za proširenje, što dodatno otežava konjunkturu.

Radili ste kao reporter i urednik, zanima me sa kakvim se problemima suočavaju kosovski mediji?

– Najveći problemi sa medijima na Kosovu danas su nizak kvalitet medijskih sadržaja i nisko poverenje javnosti u medije. To je, naravno, rezultat izazova koji su godinama dolazili od spoljnih agencija kao što su politički i finansijski pritisak, opšta ekonomska nerazvijenost, slabe državne institucije itd. Međutim, jasno je da postoji druga strana, možda i jednako relevantna strana medalje, što se tiče samih medija. Određeni broj njih je imao dobra sredstva – često zbog međunarodnih donacija – ali vlasnici i menadžment su radije postajali brzo bogati, iskoristili prednosti iz konteksta u kojem bi mogli izbeći vlasništvo i finansiranje transparentnosti, odlučiti da ne ulažu toliko novca u kvalitet sadržaja, da služi političarima itd. Mali broj dobrih novinara, urednika i pisaca gurnut je u stranu ili zanemaren. Mnogi dobri novinari su gurnuti u stranu zbog lošeg upravljanja, nepoštovanja ljudskosti i njihovih ličnosti i talenta, loše investicije u sadržaj, lošeg poštovanja radnih prava itd. Mediji su takođe i žrtve njih samih.

Upoznati ste sa problemima iz te oblasti u Srbiji. Da li možete da mi navedete najčešće sličnosti sa kojima se naši narodi suočavaju?

– Verujem da se neki od srpskih medija suočavaju sa sličnim problemima koji su gore opisani. Naravno, sa sve manjim brojem radnika, sve više novinara ostaje samo za stolovima reprodukujući brze izjave sa političkih konferencija ili tvitova; najbolje od tih izjava, koje je najlakše objaviti, su uobičajene političke izjave koje sadrže ključne reči kao što su Kosovo, Srbija, država i nacionalizam. To dodatno umanjuje njihov kredibilitet, dok njihove radne navike postaju deo ispiranja mozga i mehanizovanosti ništavila. Naravno, prvaci u obe zemlje su javne i privatne televizije koje su 24 sata u službi demagoških elitnih političara. Postoje mediji u kojima se još uvek pojavljuju odgovarajuće istraživačke priče i one ulažu u dobar rad, kao i različite individualne napore, ali takvi primeri su ređi. Čak i ređe ima kvalitetnih priča koje je užitak čitati ili gledati. U takvom kontekstu, moćnim elitama je lako da se preoblikuju i manipulišu javnošću zato je vrlo uobičajeno da mladi ljudi ponosno izlažu agresivnu podršku svojim elitnim političarima ili frakcijama.

Na kojim bi socijalnim pitanjima trebalo poraditi kako bi se poboljšala komunikacija između Kosova i Srbije?

– Pomogao bi rast moći biznisa, umetnosti, radnika i kvalitetnih medija, ali očigledno da se trenutno ne snalaze baš najbolje.

  • Pitanja sociološkinje Vesne Pešić:

Koji su najznačajniji i najteži socijalni problemi na današnjem Kosovu, s obzirom na nerazvijenost koja je bila odlika i pre i tokom postojanja Jugoslavije? Koliki je procenat siromašnih koji koriste mere socijalne politike i koja kategorija ne može da reši probleme bez te pomoći, odnosno koje mere socijalne politike se najčešće primenjuju da bi se problemi rešili ili ublažili?

– Jasno je da nekoliko važnih socio-ekonomskih indikatora (npr. stopa zaposlenosti, BDP po glavi stanovnika, stopa potrošnje i siromaštva prema prihodima, moderna putna infrastruktura, stanovanje itd.) pokazuju da stanovništvo Kosova danas živi u boljim uslovima nego u periodu socijalističke autonomne države Pokrajine Kosovo (1974-1989) i kroz čitav period samoupravnog socijalizma. Ali u poređenju sa drugim zemljama u regionu Kosovo je i dalje znatno siromašnije i nerazvijenije. Razlozi koji stoje iza nerazvijenosti i dalje su slični i čini ih mlada, neobučena populacija, slabe institucionalne strukture, a neke su nove poput neadekvatne politike. Prema mom mišljenju, najteži socijalni problemi u današnjem Kosovu su niska stopa zaposlenosti i odsustvo debate ili socijalnog konflikta o tome šta bi dobar život na Kosovu trebalo da bude. Zvanična stopa zaposlenosti je trenutno oko 30 procenata, samo oko sedam procentnih poena više od maksimalne stope zaposlenosti koja je postignuta tokom socijalizma. Adekvatnija politika bi poboljšala ovakvu situaciju.  Velike partije razgovaraju o državnosti i „salonskoj“ politici, ali nema rasprava ili vrednih sukoba o tome šta bi predstavljalo dobar i pravedan život u ovom društvu. Ovo pomaže koncentraciji materijalne moći, širenju korupcije, pesimizmu, netoleranciji itd.

Oko 20 odsto stanovništva prima novčanu naknadu za socijalno osiguranje, međutim, ukupna politika socijalne zaštite je uglavnom ad-hoc i nažalost ne koristi se za promovisanje zapošljavanja, solidarnosti, i osigurava sve neuravnoteženije generacijske ugovore (u prvom redu dobrobit porodica pojedinca koji su bili pripadnici Oslobodilačke vojske Kosova ili koji su bili bivši politički zatvorenici).

Uglavnom se koriste gotovinske beneficije, za starije i siromašne porodice, za rešavanje problema siromaštva, ali ove koristi su niže u poređenju sa naknadama koje su usmerene ka privilegovanim i moćnim kategorijama koje su gore navedene. Gotovo celokupna socijalna potrošnja finansira se iz državnih prihoda koji se finansiraju do 85 odsto kroz oporezivanje potrošnje. To znači da se socijalna potrošnja i troškovi javne uprave više finansiraju od siromašnijeg dela stanovništva.

Koliko je na Kosovu izražena društvena nejednakost, ili je društvo relativno egalitarno? Koji su osnovni slojevi društva i odnos selo-grad, gde su razlike najveće, odnosno koliko su kanali socijalne pokretljivosti otvoreni da se između dve generacije napreduje na lestvici socijalne stratifikacija?

– U poređenju sa socijalizmom, položaj nekih od bivših siromašnijih opština i položaj seoskog stanovništva je značajno poboljšan, zbog javnih investicija i privatne inicijative. Međutim, posebno u relativnom smislu, nejednakost, u prihodima i mobilnosti, veoma je visoka i u porastu. Elite, blisko povezane sa nekadašnjim albanskim socijalističkim elitnim birokratama, bivšim rukovodiocima fondova solidarnosti koji su stvoreni tokom 1990-ih, a posebno rukovodstvom OVK (bivše Oslobodilačke Vojske Kosova), kao i velikim poslovnim subjektima koji su im bliski, kontrolišu i izvlače većinu resursa kao i šanse za mobilnost čak i iz civilnog društva. Mobilnost između generacija postaje sve teža, a odraz ove poteškoće je vrlo negativan. To je razlog zašto je toliko poželjna migracija prema Zapadu. Neki ograničeni prostori za mobilnost i dalje stvaraju nezavisne poslovne i zapadno finansirane nevladine organizacije (čija reputacija često opada i djeluje uglavnom u Prištini). Po mom mišljenju, društvena nejednakost je najveći trenutni izazov na Kosovu. Ona naročito ograničava šanse mladih, ali i opština, područja udaljenih od Prištine, Prizrena, i ruralnih oblasti. Ovakvo stanje stvari mogli bi da politizuju opozicione stranke kao što su Vetëvendosje (Samoopredeljenje) i Socijaldemokratska partija koje su alternativa gore navedenoj eliti, ali se to još nije dogodilo na uverljiv način.

Treća grupa pitanja se odnose na istraživački rad sociologa. Da li imate dobre studije sociologije, kvalifikovane istraživače ( obučavaju se na Kosovu ili u drugim zemljama), kao i koja su istraživanja najaktuelnija i na koje teme se odnose? Šta mislite šta bi trebalo da bude bila glavna tema kosovskih sociologa?

– Nasleđe istraživanja društvenih nauka na Kosovu nakon Drugog svetskog rata je prilično loše. Mnogi pisci socijalističkog perioda su pomalo nejasni, manji broj njih je dobar, ali njihov najbolji rad obično uključuje pregled ili prevod normativnih radova glavnih međunarodnih autora. Nakon socijalizma, većina radova je objavljena samostalno. Dalji razvoj istraživanja je narušen tokom devedesetih, a kasnije međunarodna administracija nije posvetila nikakvu relevantnu pažnju razvoju ovog polja. Mnogo godina nakon 1999. godine, obrazovanje na polju društvenih nauka na Kosovu bilo je slabo i nije pripremilo učenike za produktivan rad ili istraživanje. Često su kosovski studenti, koji su završili u inostranstvu, za dalje studije morali da nauče osnovne naučne korake kao i strani jezik. Danas postoji bolje, specijalizovano osoblje na raznim univerzitetima, koje se obično obrazuju u stranim zemljama, i pružaju kvalitetnije, ažurirane nastavne sadržaje za svoje učenike kao i bolji rezultat istraživanja, koji je međunarodno „pregledan“. Rekao bih da je sadašnje istraživanje društvenih nauka isto tako najbolje koje je Kosovo ikada imalo, u poređenju sa prošlošću Kosova, iako je ukupna proizvodnja i dalje osrednja u poređenju sa drugim zemljama. Neke od najboljih produkcija su empirijske i obuhvataju oblasti kao što su mobilnost kroz migraciju, izgradnju mira, političke stavove, politiku pamćenja, građanstva, institucija itd. Obično je to rezultat individualnog delovanja i motivacije, a ne državne podrške. Vlada Kosova nije pokazala stvarni interes za finansiranje naučnih projekata ili za podršku istraživanju društvenih nauka.

  • Pitanja sa društvenih mreža:

Da li postoji mogućnost da kosovski intelektualci, koji su dugo bili marginalizovani, javno izražavaju svoje mišljenje, a da ne budu ucenjivani ili ugroženi od strane vodećih političara?

– Verujem da je odgovor ne, posebno ako su argumenti ili objavljena otkrića snažni. Većina marginalizovanih intelektualaca, u tim situacijama, je ucenjivana posebno putem internet stranica povezanim sa političarima, anonimnim partizanima u društvenim medijima, i savetnicima koji su plaćani iz javnih sredstava za propagandu. Političari koriste sve lične informacije, kojima mogu imati pristup, ili bilo koju nekadašnju pogrešnu ili kontroverznu poziciju, kako bi umanjili te argumente.

Prema Vašem mišljenju, da li je politički vrh Kosova i Srbija suveren u donošenju odluka?

– Nacionalni akteri mogu i trebaju biti odgovorniji i aktivniji kada su u pitanju nacionalne i regionalne teme. Ako će to učiniti racionalnim i pragmatičnim angažmanom, onda će se njihova pozicija poštovati. U mnogim unutrašnjim sektorima i temama imaju dovoljno prostora za donošenje odluka, u drugima je prirodno da druge sile utiču. Nema zemlje u potpunosti oslobođene tog uticaja u celoj Evropi i to nije nužno loša stvar. Ne mislim da su politički problemi u regionu jednostavno „međunarodna zavera“, ne možemo se na taj način opravdati.

Da li je trenutna situacija na Kosovu i Metohiji održiva i šta biste promenili?

– Formalna politička pluralnost, povećanje obrazovnih standarda i mobilnost dijaspore pružaju prostor za pozitivne promene, uprkos činjenici da mnogi ljudi, uključujući i mene, nisu zadovoljni trenutnom situacijom. Ja bih više voleo značajnu rotaciju u vladajućoj koaliciji koja donosi kratkoročne nove ideje i politički stil, dugoročnu dobro promišljenu socijalnu politiku koja promoviše zapošljavanje i socijalnu jednakost, upotrebu javnog stanovanja kao mehanizma za borbu protiv siromaštva u perifernim područjima, čistiji vazduh, snažan program zaštite dece i najmanje 100 miliona evra ulaganja svake godine u narednoj deceniji za empirijska istraživanja.

ENGLISH VERSION

Artan Mustafa, lecturer of social policy and political sociology at the University for Business and Technology (UBT), Kosovo

  • Questions asked by Vesna Pesić

Given its current underdevelopment which was also its characteristic before and during the era of Yugoslavia, what are the most important and the most difficult social problems in today’s Kosovo? What percentage of the population claims welfare benefits and which category of it cannot solve the problems without such help? What welfare benefits are most often used in order for the problems to be solved or alleviated?

– Dear Vesna, I am really honoured to receive your questions! It is clear that several important socio-economic indicators (e.g. the employment rate, GDP per capita, consumption and income poverty rate, modern road infrastructure, housing etc.) show that Kosovo’s population lives in better conditions nowadays than during the period of Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo (1974-1989) and entire self-management socialism. But, you are right that in comparison to other countries of the region it remains considerably poorer and underdeveloped. Some reasons behind the underdevelopment remain similar (e.g. young, untrained population, weak institutional structures) and some are new (inadequate policies that were followed etc.). In my view, the most difficult social problems in today’s Kosovo are the low employment rate and the absence of a debate (or a social conflict) on what a good life in Kosovo should be. The official employment rate is currently about 30%, only around 7 percentage points higher than the maximum employment rate reached during socialism; more adequate policy and interested politics would have improved it. On the other hand, major parties converse about statehood and “palace” politics, but there are no debates or worthy conflicts on what would constitute a good and just life in this society. This helps the concentration of material power, spread of corruption, pessimism, intolerance etc.

Around 20% of the population receives cash welfare benefits, however the overall social protection policy is largely ad-hoc, unfortunately not utilised to promote employment and solidarity, and provides for an increasingly unbalanced generational contract (benefiting primarily the old-age and families of individuals who were members of Kosovo Liberation Army or who were former political prisoners).

Mostly cash benefits for old age and poor families are used for tackling poverty, but these benefits are lower in comparison to benefits going towards the privileged and powerful categories mentioned above. Crucially, almost the entire social spending is financed from government revenues financed up to 85% through consumption taxation. This means that social spending and public administration costs are financed more from the poorer part of population.

* How much is social inequality noticeable in Kosovo or is its society egalitarian one? What are the main social strata in Kosovo and what characterizes the relation between its urban and rural areas, where are the differences most noticeable and how much are the channels of social mobility opened for the advance between two generations within social stratification?

– In comparison to socialism, the position of some of the former poorer municipalities and that of the rural population has significantly improved, due to public investments and the private initiative. However, especially in relative terms, inequality (in income and mobility) is very high and growing. An elite of the society closely connected to some former Albanian socialist elite bureaucrats, former managers of solidarity funds created during the 1990s, and particularly KLA (former Kosovo Liberation Army) leadership as well as major business close to them control and extract most resources as well as chances for mobility, including in the civil society. Inter-generational mobility is becoming more difficult and the reflection of this difficulty is very negative: this is why there is so much out-migration towards the west. Some limited mobility spaces are further created by independent business and western financed NGO-s (whose reputation is often declining and operate mostly in Pristina). In my view, social inequality is the biggest current challenge in Kosovo, restricting particularly the chances of the youth, municipalities and areas with some relevant distance from Pristina or Prizren, and very deep rural areas. This state of affairs can be politicized by opposition parties such as Vetëvendosje (Self-determination) and Social Democratic Party – which are an alternative to the elite described above – but this has not happened yet in a convincing fashion.

The third group of questions refers to the research work of the sociologists. Do you have good studies of the sociologists and qualified researchers (are they trained in Kosovo or in other countries?) and which studies are currently most popular and which subjects do they examine? In your opinion, what should be the main subject of the research of Kosovar sociologists?

– The heritage of Kosovo Albanian social science research after the Second World War is fairly poor. Many writers of the socialist period are somewhat obscure; a minority were better, but their best work usually involves reviewing or translation of major international authors’ normative works. After socialism, most work was self-published, the further development of research was disrupted during the 1990s and later the international administration did not pay any relevant attention to it. For many years after 1999, social science education in Kosovo has been weak and it did not prepare students for productive work or research. Often Kosovar students who ended up abroad for further studies had to learn basic scientific steps just like a foreign language. Nowadays, there is better, more specialized staff at various universities, usually educated in foreign countries, and they provide more quality, updated teaching for their students and better research output in that it is peer-reviewed internationally. I would say that the current social science research is also the best Kosovo has ever had, in comparison to Kosovo’s past, although the overall production remains mediocre in comparison to other countries.  Some of the best production is empirical and involves fields such as mobility through migration, peace-building, political attitudes, politics of memory, citizenship, institutions etc. It is usually a result of individual agency and motivation rather than owing to state support; Kosovo Government has not shown real interest in financing scientific projects or in supporting social science research.

  • Questions asked by Danas:

You worked as a reporter and editor. I would like to know what problems media in Kosovo face?

– Thank you, Una! This is a very difficult question… I think the biggest problems with the media in Kosovo today are low quality of media content and low trust in media from the public or audience. This is of course a result of the challenges that have come for years from external agencies such as political and financial pressure, general economic underdevelopment, weak state institutions etc. However, there is clearly another side, perhaps an equally relevant side of the medal, which concerns the media itself. A number of media had good funds at times – owing often to international donations – but the owners and the management preferred to become quickly rich, to take advantages from a context where they could avoid ownership and finance transparency, to choose not to invest as much in quality content, to serve politicians etc. Dozens of good reporters, editors, and writers were pushed aside or neglected due to poor management, poor human respect for their personality and talent, poor investment in content, poor respect for labour rights etc. So the media are victims of themselves as well.

If you are acquainted with the social problems in Serbia, can you compare the problems in that domain which our two nations most often face?

– I believe, some of the Serbian media face similar problems described above as Kosovar ones. Of course, with increasingly fewer number of workers, more and more journalists are staying only in their desks reproducing quick statements from politicians’ live conferences or tweets; the best of those statements, the easiest to publish, are as usual political statements containing keywords such as Kosovo, Serbia, state and nationalism. This further diminishes their credibility as their working habits make them part of the brain-washing, full of nothingness machinery. Naturally, the champions in both countries are certain public and private televisions 24 hours in the service of demagogic elite politicians. There are media where still proper investigative stories appear and they invest in good work, as well as various individual efforts, but such examples are rarer, and even scarcer are becoming the stories one enjoys to read or watch quality wise. In such a context, it is easy for powerful elites to rebrand themselves and manipulate the public, and very, very common for young people to proudly expose aggressively their supportive badges towards these elite politicians or fractions.

Which social issues should be worked on in order for the communication between Serbia and Kosovo to be improved?

– The growth in the power of business, arts, workers, and quality media would help, I believe, but obviously this is not their shining hour.

What, in your opinion, should be prioritized first and foremost in order to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo?

– Rational political willpower, informed by other European post-World War II conflict relations and commitment to development, as well as a responsibility for the chances of future generations for a good life. The local agency should step up; it is not right to leave everything in the hands of the will of the big powers or to believe that these powers alone can, will or should bring normalization.

What do you think about the process of normalization that is currently being led by the authorities in Pristina and Belgrade?

– At first, this dialogue tried to provide some normalization through technical solutions to various problems; in reality it was largely a failure. Since summer 2018, it seems that the Presidents of Kosovo and Serbia with the agreement of high national security advisors in Paris and Washington as well as the nods from Moscow, Brussels, Tirana and various other capitals have had energetic conversations on territorial exchange. If the future agreement were along such lines, the time lost would be unfortunate as Zoran Djindjic proposed something along these lines in 2001 and it was widely rejected. It would be also against the recent regional developments such as the name agreement between Macedonia and Greece, and improvement in internal relations between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonia. There could be of course positives if most Serbs and most Albanians were to live in one (joint) respective state, but there is important learning to be taken also from other cases such as the unification between two Germanys where there is still a lot of criticism and there were unfavourable outcomes on the part of former DDR and its inhabitants. I am sure the loss of political power for Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Serbs, and even Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina would have many similar consequences.

Is it possible that the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia might be achieved by the political elites that were active during the 1990s conflicts?

– I believe it is possible. These elites have deep control of structures in both countries today and they can make an implementable deal. However, I am sceptic that they are interested to normalize relations. It might be that the elite leaders in Pristina and Belgrade prefer their media coverage and use it as a cover for other sources of potential scrutiny; in the case of Kosovo’s President, maybe there is even a thinking that any flirtation with the President of Serbia and President of Russia will keep him away from the probable interest of the Special Court established in the Hague. The current leaders of Kosovo and Serbia are not like the current leaders of Macedonia and Greece; they have a different past, different legitimacy internally, and different habits of making politics. In addition, the European Union currently does not seem so keen on enlargement either, what adds to the difficult conjuncture.

  • Questions asked by our readers:

Is there a possibility that Kosovo intellectuals, who have been marginalized for a long time, publicly express their opinion, without being blackmailed or endangered by the leading politicians?

– I believe the answer is no in particular if the arguments or revelations brought forward are powerful; most of the marginalized intellectuals would be blackmailed especially through websites connected with politicians, anonymous partisans in social media, and advisers paid from public budget for propaganda. The politicians would use all the personal information, to which they can have access, or any former wrong-doing or controversial position, to downplay the current arguments.

In your opinion, are the political elites of Kosovo and Serbia independent in making decision?

– I addressed this question partly above as well. In my opinion, the national actors can and should be more responsible and active when it comes to national and regional topics; if they will be doing this through a rational and pragmatic engagement, then their position will be respected. In many internal sectors and topics they have enough space for decision-making, in others it is natural that other powers exercise influence – there is no country fully free of that influence in entire Europe and it is not necessarily negative. I do not think that the political problems of the region are simply an international conspiracy; we cannot excuse ourselves in that way.

Is the current situation in Kosovo sustainable, and what would you change?

– The formal political plurality, the increasing education standards and diaspora mobility provide spaces for positive change, despite the fact that many people including myself are unhappy with the current situation. I would prefer a substantial rotation in the governing coalition bringing new ideas and political style in the short-term, a long-term well-thought social policy which promotes employment and social equality, the use of public housing as a mechanism to fight poverty in peripheral areas, cleaner air, a strong program on children protection, and at least 100 million euros spent every year during the next decade in empirical research.

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