Public institutions of the Republic of Serbia in North Kosovo: What kind of future awaits us?

Date start: 18.08.2017.
Ustanove_Cover_front_01.jpg Serbs in North Kosovo have survived thanks to public institutions established by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which is the key conclusion of the study “What kind of future awaits us?” developed and published by the Institute for Territorial Economic Development - InTER. Results of the research show that around 18,000 students attend 48 educational institutions financed from the budget of the Republic of Serbia; around 50,000 people use health care services in nine health care institutions and pharmacies, and social welfare centres in Kosovo provide services to around 16,000 beneficiaries annually. Each month, the Republic Pension Insurance Fund in North Kosovo pays 8,328 pensions, and the National Employment Service provides services to around 8,340 people on annual basis. Other institutions of the Republic of Serbia also play an important role, each in their sector. Additionally, public institutions and public companies of the Government of Serbia employ around 12,100 people, which, together with their families, sums up to around 40,000 people, or around 80% of the population of municipalities in North Kosovo. In the negotiations in Brussels, which takes place between the Government of Serbia and the Government of Kosovo under the auspices of the European Union, no significant attention has been paid to finding an institutional and legal solution for further operations of these institutions in North Kosovo. The final solution should be found within the Community/Association of Serb Municipalities, which should take over the competencies of the institutions of the Republic of Serbia currently operating in Kosovo. Even after two agreements have been signed in Brussels, Negotiations about the establishment of the Community/Association have been highly politicised and the recent establishment or solution for the problem of further operations of institutions of the Republic of Serbia is not visible. Given the number of employees and the importance of services provided by the institutions of the Republic of Serbia to Serbs and non-Albanians in Kosovo (not only in the north, but in other parts of Kosovo as well), it is necessary to approach this problem with a considerable degree of seriousness and responsibility, and offer a comprehensive solution that would finally define the status and the future of these institutions in Kosovo. Research on Public Institutions of the Republic of Serbia in North Kosovo has been implemented between February and August 2017. The research was realised with the support provided by the Swiss Embassy in Kosovo, through a Small Action Grant. Findings and opinions expressed in the research are those of the authors and do not reflect those of the Embassy of Switzerland in Kosovo.