News / Europe

    Kosovo Marks 5 Years Since Secession, Vows to Join EU, NATO

    Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.
    x
    Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.
    Members of the Kosovo Security Force march during a celebration marking the fifth anniversary of Kosovo's secession from Serbia in Pristina February 17, 2013.
    Kosovo has marked the fifth anniversary of its secession from Serbia with a festive military parade in the capital and a pledge to seek full membership in Western institutions.
     
    Sunday's parade saw members of the Kosovo Security Force march through Pristina as big crowds lined the streets, which were decorated with the national flag and that of the United States, a key ally.
     
    Addressing the event, Kosovo's ceremonial President Atifete Jahjage said her nation is committed to an "everlasting friendship" with Washington and meeting the conditions for membership of the European Union and NATO alliance. She said also Pristina respects the sovereignty of other countries and expects them to do the same with Kosovo.
     
    Western powers are among 98 countries that have recognized Kosovo as a state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Those powers led a NATO air offensive that ousted Serbian forces from Kosovo in 1999, putting its ethnic Albanian majority on a path toward statehood. An International Steering Group of Kosovo's allies ended their "supervision" of its independence last September.
     
    Serbia rejects Kosovo's secession, but recently agreed to a high-level dialogue aimed at improving relations between the two sides. The Serbian and Kosovar presidents held their first talks earlier this month, meeting in Brussels under E.U. mediation. More talks between their prime ministers are due to be held in Brussels on Tuesday.
     
    The E.U. has pressured Serbia to cooperate with Kosovo as part of Belgrade's bid to become a member of the 27-nation bloc.
     
    Despite Sunday's festivities, Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci acknowledged "much more" must be done to confront major challenges facing the young state of 1.8 million people, who are among the poorest in Europe.
     
    Minority Serbs in northern Kosovo have refused to recognize Pristina's authority or institutions. Another serious problem is unemployment, which stands at around 40 percent. Kosovo's government also has struggled to deal with corruption and organized crime.
     
    Among its notable achievements in recent years, Kosovo has become a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora