European Western Balkans

Lunacek reminds Rugova and urges for peaceful Independence Day-celebrations in Kosovo

Ulrike Lunacek MEP

BRUSSELS / VIENNA – Ahead of tomorrow’s eighth Independence Day of Kosovo European Parliament’s Vice-President and standing rapporteur for relations with Kosovo MEP Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA, AT) urged for peaceful independence celebrations in the spirit of Ibrahim Rugova, saying:

„After the finalisation of the EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) this year and only few steps to go on the way to visa liberalisation there are good reasons to celebrate tomorrow’s Independence Day. But this year’s Independence Day in Kosvo should also be used to commemorate Ibrahim Rugova, the Sakharov Prize laureate from 1998, who died just 10 years ago. He is still the symbol of Kosovo independence, and – most important for today’s politics in the country – a symbol of nonviolent struggle, a great poet and leader of Kosovo-Albanians into a European future. Therefore I encourage all political parties to continue their work for Kosovo after 8 years of independence in a constructive behaviour and European spirit and remind them of the good Kosovo tradition of civilian disobedience without any form of violence.

„As profound friend of the still young republic of Kosovo I would deeply regret if these celebrations turned destructive and violent. Kosovo’s progress inside the country as well as towards the EU is already being harmed by recent violent protests. If the celebration tomorrow again turns violent this will not only harm the image of Kosovo – which had improved over the last years – but it will also shed a new shadow on the efforts to achieve visa free travel for Kosovars!

Therefore I urge opposition and government to celebrate this year’s Independence Day in this special Kosovarian way Ibrahim Rugova has taught the people of t/his Newborn state.“

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