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FAST risk profile Kosovo

Geneva, 31 Aug 2005 - 2005 and 2006 could prove to be decisive years for Kosovo's political future. In general, there are great expectations towards negotiations on the country's future political status being taken up by the end of 2005. In principle, everything depends on the progress in fulfilling democratic standards. However, it seems that as a result of pragmatic considerations the international community has departed increasingly from this premise and wishes to initiate negotiations despite the insufficient implementation of standards. Independent of this decision, Kosovo will further be confronted with serious problems significantly influencing stability: Among other issues of concern, the socioeconomic situation remains precarious and is characterized by a very high unemployment rate. Especially, unemployment of the young, increasing annually due to a very young population structure, has reached worrisome dimensions. There are no prospects for speedy improvement, as economic structures as well as growth rates are not capable of absorbing this development. Furthermore, interethnic relations have not improved substantially during the six years following the violent conflict. Overall security as well as freedom of movement for Kosovo's minorities are still unsatisfactory and a repetition of violent unrests as in March 2004 cannot be ruled out entirely, especially if status negotiations are further delayed or result in an undesired outcome for the Kosovo Albanian side. In the light of the various grievances, which will prevail after possible status negotiations, the further presence of the international community remains indispensable. Together with the local political actors (authorities) the implementation of standards must be given the highest priority in order to lay the further ground for lasting peace, peaceful multiethnic coexistence, and sustainable development.

Source: Swiss Peace Foundation
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