In at least a sign that Kosovo PM Albin Kurti’s government is making good on promises to reduce and refine the ethnic Albanian police presence in North Kosovo, 74 new officers have been hired, of which 45 are ethnic Serb and the rest are non-Albanian.
The new hires are intended to alleviate tensions in ethnic-Serb dominated enclaves, which protested violently following a series of issues that first included demands for Kosovo Serbs to re-register license plates and to get new Kosovo IDs.
This resulted not only in protests but in a walkout by ethnic-Serb police officers and other ethnic-Serb officials, including local mayors. This was made different by rushed elections that were roundly ignored by Serbs, but which resulted in ethnic-Albanian mayors in four districts, despite voter turnout of 3.5 percent.
Now, following prodding from the EU, Kurti has promised a reduced police presence and also new elections. The new police hires are seen to be a step pin the right direction, but it remains to be seen as to how they are accepted on the ground. Non-Serb officers include Bosniaks, Roma, ethnic-Turks and ethnic-Egyptians.
Meanwhile, however, a Kosovo flag was raised outside of city offices in Mitrovica North, which simply may not go down well.