On Tuesday 17 February 2009 the new
But, leaving these manifestations aside, the occasion was a low key affair. The Kosovo assembly met to commemorate and celebrate the declaration of independence and heard Prime Minister Hashim Thaci recount the achievements since independence: ‘The year we left behind was a year of achievement and of pride. It was a year of historic success for our country’.
For those visiting today’s Kosovo, the day to day reality would make it difficult to accept Thaci’s statement at face value: of the UN's 192 countries, only 54 have recognized the new republic. Five EU member states have yet to recognize it despite the fact that EULEX, an EU mission has undertaken to support Kosovo’s route to complete sovereignty and independence in addition to
And, although everyday life has considerably improved over the past few years, back in Pristina one needs to look no further than to the still faltering and rationed electricity provision to understand that normality is still a long way away. There is indeed, plenty of ground for pessimism and apprehension.
However, if one casts a closer look at the year that passed since independence, it is possible to find reasons for some guarded optimism. With the exception of a few dramatic gestures from the usual suspects of the Serbian Radical Party, the celebrations were not met with the outrage that the original declaration of independence back in 2008 had been received in
It seems that on both sides of the contested border moderate and forward looking forces are working painstakingly dealing with the many challenges they are facing with pragmatism and perseverance. In Kosovo, the jubilation and euphoria prevalent on the anniversary of the declaration of independence did not degenerate in chauvinistic violence, while