PM Isa Mustafa, Head of Assembly Kadri Veseli, British Ambassador Ruairi O’Connell | Photo: Assembly of Kosovo

The British embassy in Kosovo will fund an independent firm that will lead the process of recruiting senior staff and filling open positions in the Balkan country’s state institutions, according to an August 15 statement from the embassy. The company will generate shortlists of the most qualified candidates for the positions. Kosovo will then have the task of appointing the best candidates from the shortlists.

The British ambassador in Kosovo Ruairí O’Connell said that the aim of bringing in the independent firm was to address nepotism in the Kosovan administration.

On August 15, a memorandum of understanding on the project was signed by O’Connell, Kosovan Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and Kosovan parliament speaker Kadri Veseli.

The process will start with recruitment for 20 senior vacant positions. “If we manage to prove that the recruitment process can be conducted free of political influence, this may serve as a basis for how future recruitments should be done,” O’Connell said.

The diplomat commented that implementing this plan would prove that Kosovo’s leaders “really want to fight nepotism.” O’Connell also mentioned a recent scandal, which began on August 1, when the website published wiretap excerpts allegedly suggesting the involvement of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in senior appointments in the justice and police sectors.

The ambassador assessed that nepotism is “a cancer that stifles the state” and if not eradicated it “certainly will destroy Kosovo.” O’Connell said, “Now no one believes that employments are conducted on the basis of merit and qualifications, so we need to crack this practice and should restore peoples trust in the institutions of Kosovo.”