European Western Balkans

Citizens of North Kosovo: Security the greatest problem

© Tanjug - Kosovo police waiting for the train at Jarinje border/boundary crossing, 14 January 2017

NGO Aktiv from Mitrovica North published a trend analysis, which is a regular survey of citizens’ opinions in North Kosovo carried out between May and August 2017.

The report  “Trend Analysis: Citizens Opinion Survey in North Kosovo” gives an overview of the main political and social developments in Kosovo around the time when the survey was conducted, that involves security incidents, but also issues related to the Brussels agreement and major political events.

First, the findings show that people have a very pessimistic attitude about the situation in Kosovo. The qualitative research, or the focus groups, indicate that the causes are political tensions between Belgrade and Prishtina, provoked by the “train” situation, arrest of Haradinaj, but also frequent elections cycles in both Serbia and Kosovo. Also, a huge majority (93%) believes that developments in Northern Kosovo go in a wrong direction.

Also, the respondents identify security situation, unemployment and political situation as the greatest problems in the Northern Kosovo. Compared to the previous year when unemployment was perceived as the biggest problem, this year it is security, most probably due to the increased number of interethnic incidents in the pedestrian zone in Mitrovica.

Also, more than 80% of respondents never or rarely visit the Albanian-majority areas. Yet, “the frequency of going to areas where Albanians are the majority is also related to the level of education of the respondents, because the analysis show that the respondents with primary education (9%) are the least likely to frequent them, while the respondents with university education (22%) are the most likely. “

Asked if the economic situation in Northern Kosovo changed in the past year, 46% of respondents said it has deteriorated, which is significantly higher when compared with the last year’s results, when 28% said that it has worsened. Also, 49% said that nothing has changed while only 5% think the economic situation has improved.

When it comes to the political situation, more than a half of respondents do not trust any politicians from Kosovo. More precisely, 78% do not trust any Serbian politician and 96% do not trust any Albanian politician. Yet, interestingly enough, majority of Kosovo Serbs living in these four municipalities believe that they should mostly rely on Russia lobbying for their interests, while only 5% think they can rely on the EU.

Further, 40% said they do not support the Brussels agreement, while 39% does not have an opinion on it, and only 20% support it. Moreover, 42% of respondents think that their life deteriorated since the Agreement was signed, while 49% thinks that nothing has changed. Yet, majority of respondent still believes that the Association/Community of Serb Municipalities will be established (41%), 27% think it will be established, but not this year, and 32% thinks it will not be established.

Also, the majority (52%) stated that security situation has worsened in the past year, which is a worrying trend, with interethnic incidents and political instability identified as the biggest risks to the security situation. And finally, 52% do not see themselves in Kosovo in five years, with the youngest respondents thinking about leaving Kosovo the most.

The findings of the research were presented on 14th November in Civic Energy Centre in Mitrovica and were followed by the panel discussion. The full document is available here: http://www.ngoaktiv.org/events/trend-analysis-citizens-opinion-survey-in-north-kosovo

Publication of this article has been supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy of the German Marshall Fund of the United States


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