While most countries in the world have faced a two-fold crisis in terms of their health and economy, Kosovo has been going through a threefold crisis, due to political developments.
For several months now, the region “breathes” in emergency circumstances caused by COVID-19. To prevent the virus from spreading, governments in the region are taking a number of measures. Citizens, institutions and the private sector face a number of different challenges. We know the situation at home, but how do neighboring countries deal with the pandemic? What are their challenges? What lessons can we learn from this health (and economic) disaster?
To answer these questions, we launched a blog initiative with seven organizations and authors from the region (Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia). During two weeks (June 24 - July 6), we will read how COVID-19 attacked the countries in the region, what measures were taken by their local and national authorities and how the citizens reacted to these measures. We will learn from their successes, but also from their mistakes.
By sharing their "tales", we learn about the challenges the region faces in the coming months, and we learn what the “new normal” will look like for all of us.
The initiative "Tales From the Region" is implemented by the academic blog Res Publica in cooperation with the Institute of Democracy and Mediation (Albania), Analiziraj.ba (BiH), Radio KIM (Kosovo), Sbunker (Kosovo), the civic initiative "Ne Davimo Beograd ”(Serbia) and PCNEN (Montenegro).
The initiative is implemented within the project "Connecting the Dots: Improved Policies through Civic Engagement" implemented by the Institute of Communication Studies, with the support of the British Embassy Skopje.
Less than a month after the easing of restrictive measures, Kosovo is facing a sharp increase in the incidence of coronavirus cases, which is no obstacle for political opponents to deal less with the health and well-being of citizens, and more with the continuation of political skirmishes.
Alban Dafa, Redion Qirjazi
COVID-19 was met with a quick response by the Albanian government, yet, it presented opportunities for the Executive to expand its power by sidelining criticism, dominating public perception, disrupting institutional checks and balances, and ignoring due democratic process.
Serbia's state leadership, including a group of MDs who are in the forefront in the fight against the spread of the corona virus, to say the least, ignored the deterioration of the situation until the voting was over.
How did Bosnia and Herzegovina cope and how is it still coping with the crisis caused by the pandemic? Why didn't we have a singular state-level crisis headquarters? How were the scandals produced, caused by irregularities and abuse of the system thanks to shortened procedures during the state of emergency? What caused our greatest fears? Will the November elections bring about change, at least at the local level?
On June 2nd, Montenegro declared the end of the epidemic. Coming out of the first wave, the country’s balance was the following: 324 infected and 9 deceased. Now Montenegro is facing economic challenges and there is great uncertainty regarding the tourist season. Initial estimates clearly show that revenues from tourism will be reduced by 70 percent!
The trend of putting up walls between states and the shaky confidence in the multilateral order suggests that the pandemic, instead of being resolved as a global crisis, will continue to be resolved as a national crisis in each country of the world. Taking all this into account, COVID-19 is also the biggest test of how much and how successfully Macedonia can act as an independent state in the world that is ever so rapidly changing.
This website was developed within the project "Connect the Dots: Improved Policies Through Civic Participation", which is implemented by the Institute of Communication Studies. The project is funded by the Government of the United Kingdom, with the support of the British Embassy in Skopje. The views and opinions expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the position or the opinions of the UK Government. All content is Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) and is free for redistribution by following certain guidelines.