Young Kosovo Albanians holding the flags of the countries that recognised Kosovo’s Independence, march in Pristina on the eve of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Kosovo independence. Photograph: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Young Kosovo Albanians holding the flags of the countries that recognised Kosovo’s Independence, march in Pristina on the eve of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of Kosovo independence. Photograph: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

Kosovo celebrates 10 years since splitting from Serbia

Kosovo on Saturday celebrates 10 years since it declared independence, a moment of pride for its ethnic Albanian majority, although sovereignty remains fiercely contested by Serbia.

The capital Pristina is covered in the blue-and-yellow Kosovan flag for a weekend of festivities, with Kosovo-born British pop star Rita Ora due to headline a concert in the main square on Saturday night.

A decade after a war between Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian rebels and Serbian troops left 13,000 people dead – most of them Albanians – the Kosovan parliament declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008.

https://www.nst.com.my/world/2018/02/336324/kosovo-celebrates-10-years-splitting-serbia

13 curious facts about Europe’s youngest country (in more ways than one)

It is a corner of the European continent whose precise status has been a source of considerable controversy for a decade – and today (February 17) is the reddest of its red-letter dates. But what do you know about Kosovo, the most mysterious – and disputed – part of the Balkans? The following 13 nuggets of fact may shed some light…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/kosovo/articles/fascinating-facts-about-kosovo-pristina-independence/

In independent Kosovo, families still search for their missing children

On a Wednesday afternoon in March 1999, Albion Kumnova was rounded up with five other men by policemen and put in the back of a van. From the four policemen kicking in the door to the vehicle speeding away, everything happened so quickly that Albion didn’t have time to put his shoes on.

Albion’s portrait sits above the television in his parents’ sitting room in Gjakova, Kosovo. He has thick, dark hair and a handsome face. Whenever she gets a message or phonecall, his mother’s phone lights up with a picture of him on holiday by the sea in Montenegro. Nesrete Kumanova has waged an intense war to find out what happened to her son, who was 21 when he was disappeared.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2018/02/independent-kosovo-families-still-search-their-missing-children

Kosovo is still locked out of the EU ten years after declaring independence – why?

As Kosovo prepared to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of its declaration of independence, it was hit with a bitter blow: on February 6, the EU Commission released its strategy for the accession of the Western Balkans, which made it clear that Kosovo’s prospects of joining the EU are remote. Reeling from high unemployment, perennial corruption and a series of recent crises, the people of Kosovo badly needed a boost – instead the EU’s strategy delivered a slap in the face.

https://theconversation.com/kosovo-is-still-locked-out-of-the-eu-ten-years-after-declaring-independence-why-91869

Kosovo’s Anthem Still Leaves Citizens At A Loss For Words

“Kosovo’s independence has become an irreversible fact, even if Serbia, Russia, and some other countries persist in their denial of reality,” says Albert Rohan, an Austrian diplomat who served as UN deputy special envoy on Kosovo’s future status.

https://www.rferl.org/a/kosovo-anthem-still-leaves-citizens-at-a-loss-for-words/29043836.html

51st state: Kosovo’s bond to the US – photo essay

In the 1990s Kosovo’s first president, Ibrahim Rugova, ended his news conferences every Friday with the words “God bless America and our western friends”. The phrase stuck with the public.

Nowadays it is hard to find any physical trace of the war. A generation has grown up in an environment of peace and relative stability. However, that pro-US sentiment is still present.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/feb/16/51st-state-kosovos-bond-to-the-us-photo-essay

It’s not a happy birthday for Kosovo

As Europe’s youngest state celebrates its 10th anniversary, the country must come to grips with a decade of poor leadership and a very uncertain future.

Kosovo, Europe’s youngest state, turns 10 on Saturday, but its people have few reasons to celebrate. Blame for that largely goes to successive lousy governments and a corrupted predatory elite, often enabled by an international community that is more interested in stability than anything else, happy to turn a blind eye to Kosovo’s obvious democratic shortcomings.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/its-not-a-happy-birthday-forkosovo/article38005252/

‘We made Kosovo, now we must make the Kosovars’

As for the Albanian majority, this is not the place to rehash the debate that went on in Java years ago. The division between upholders of a Kosovar identity and those who like to call themselves only Albanian is today less sanguine. That Kosovo’s young talents such as pop stars Rita Ora and Dua Lipa, or judo champion Majlinda Kelmendi, are likely to wave the Kosovo flag as much as the Albanian, is another indication that pride in Kosovo’s political independence can live alongside people’s self-identification as Albanians. In the end, it might not matter that much.

http://prishtinainsight.com/made-kosovo-now-must-make-kosovars/

51st state: Kosovo’s bond to the US – photo essay

In the 1990s Kosovo’s first president, Ibrahim Rugova, ended his news conferences every Friday with the words “God bless America and our western friends”. The phrase stuck with the public.

Nowadays it is hard to find any physical trace of the war. A generation has grown up in an environment of peace and relative stability. However, that pro-US sentiment is still present.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/feb/16/51st-state-kosovos-bond-to-the-us-photo-essay

Challenges ahead as Kosovo, Europe’s newest nation, turns 10

A Pristina apartment can easily go for 1,000-1,500 euros ($1,238-1,857) per square meter and it costs half a million euros ($619,000) for a villa at the Marigona Residence, five miles from Pristina, where the country’s prime minister lives. But that is not affordable in a nation where the average salary is about 360 euros ($450) a month.

With their future looking bleak, many youngsters long to leave.

“When will we have visa-free travel so I can get to Germany or Switzerland and build a better life?” wondered Shait Krasniqi, a 28-year-old economics graduate who works as a waiter in Pristina. “There are no prospects here, especially for us, the young people.”

https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article200495024.html

A dream cut short

Shortly after the refugees returned, many other Kosovars who had permanent residence in Western Europe started coming back, leaving behind their well-paid jobs to start a new life in Kosovo.

Eighteen years later, a Kosovo citizen pays trafficants between 2,000 and 3,000 euros to illegally cross borders into the EU. Since the declaration of independence in 2008, about 185 thousand Kosovars, or 10 per cent of the population, have requested asylum in the EU, spending up to 550 million euros for illegal migration from Kosovo.

http://prishtinainsight.com/dream-cut-short/

Kosovo Finds Little to Celebrate After 10 Years of Independence

Ten years ago on Feb. 17, the mountainous, landlocked region of less than two million people declared independence from Serbia. Yet far from ending Kosovo’s troubles, independence seems to have brought a new set of problems.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/world/europe/kosovo-independence-anniversary.html

Kosovo at 10: challenges overshadow independence celebrations

Migration, youth unemployment and unresolved alleged war crimes are headaches for Kosovo’s international backers

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/kosovo-at-10-challenges-overshadow-independence-celebrations

It’s not a happy birthday for Kosovo​

Kosovo, Europe’s youngest state, turns 10 on Saturday, but its people have few reasons to celebrate. Blame for that largely goes to successive lousy governments and a corrupted predatory elite, often enabled by an international community that is more interested in stability than anything else, happy to turn blind to Kosovo’s obvious democratic shortcomings.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/its-not-a-happy-birthday-forkosovo/article38005252/

Kosovo marks 10 years of independence but its people remain divided

On Feb. 17, Kosovo celebrates the 10th anniversary of its independence from Serbia. Still not recognized by about 100 nations (including Russia, Spain, Greece and China), Kosovo is struggling to exist. Its population has lost hopes of a transparent governance structure, and international missions and military presence are still necessary to strengthen the state’s capacities and control the territory. The country with the youngest population in Europe also has the highest unemployment rate (33 percent), which reaches a global low when it comes to its youth (60 percent). Even today, national identity seems at times more a foreign-imposed undertaking than a true bottom-up acquisition. Kosovo’s six main ethnicities (Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Romani and Bosnians) stand close only in the official country flag, represented by golden stars, while in real life they carry on separate lives. For example, most children attend only mono-ethnic classes, where not only the teachers but also the janitors belong to the same ethnic group.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/wp/2018/02/16/kosovo-anniversary/

Students celebrate 1st child born in an independent Kosovo

All the students in a tiny village in Kosovo have gathered to celebrate a very special day for Pavaresia Sopi – a 10th birthday with deep significance for her whole Balkan nation.
Pavaresia, whose name means “independence” in Albanian, was the first baby born in an independent Kosovo, 15 minutes after independence was declared at an afternoon session in parliament on Feb. 17, 2008.

The 4th-grade students celebrated Friday in Sllovi, 17 kilometers (11 miles) south of the capital, Pristina with a concert and other festivities. On the blue-yellow-and-white birthday cake – the colors of Kosovo’s flag – they wrote: “Pavaresia 10 vjet! Happy Birthday!”

http://www.wpxi.com/news/students-celebrate-1st-child-born-in-an-independent-kosovo/701171624

Kosovo’s 10th anniversary: US calls for war crimes court

The US ambassador to Kosovo says the country must allow a new war crimes court to investigate alleged atrocities by the Kosovo Liberation Army.

He’s been speaking to Al Jazeera as Kosovo prepares to mark 10 years since declaring independence.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports from Gracanica, Kosovo.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/kosovos-10th-anniversary-calls-war-crimes-court-180216114252443.html