- February 18, 2021
On February 18, 2021 the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a conversation on “Kosovo: Elections, Coalitions, and Euro-Atlantic Prospects” between Veton Surroi, Journalist, Writer, Politician, and Civil Society Activist, and Valeska Esch, Deputy Executive Director and Program Director Europe, Aspen Institute Germany.
13 years after the Republic of Kosovo declared its independence, the young country held its fifth parliamentary elections on February 14, 2021. The Vetëvendosje! party won the elections with a clear majority. On this basis, Valeska Esch and Veton Surroi discussed the results and consequences of this year’s elections. The conversation focused on possible coalitions and on the chances of forming a stable government, which for the first time could remain in office until the end of the legislative period. Also discussed were the voters’ hopes for change promised by Vetëvendosje!, as well as the chances of success in fighting corruption and in creating jobs. Veton Surroi also explained what the new U.S. administration means for the country’s transatlantic relations and what changes can be expected. Another important topic was the future of the EU integration process and the visa liberalization for Kosovo. Veton Surroi also addressed the EU-led Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue, particularly regarding EU and U.S. expectations, what priority it will have for the new government and what the prospects are for resolving the conflict.
Veton Surroi is a journalist, writer, politician, and civil society activist. In 1990, he founded the independent weekly KOHA and later the daily KOHA Ditore (1997), still the leading Kosovo daily newspaper. In 2000, he founded KTV, the leading independent national TV broadcaster. In 1989, he founded the first Independent Trade Unions in Kosovo. During the 1990’s he was a leading figure in civil society and politics in Kosovo. He has been a Senior Member of the Kosovo Negotiations Unity Team in the Vienna Negotiations (2005-2007) that brought about the independence of Kosovo. He was a Member of Parliament of Kosovo as President of the ORA Reformist party (2005-2008). He was a Senior Negotiator during the Rambouillet peace talks in 1999 and one of the four cosignatories of the Rambouillet accords for Kosovo. In 2001, he mediated between the Albanian political and guerilla leadership to negotiate a peace agreement that would end the war in the Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia). In the past years, he has been invited to participate in several projects of the Berghof foundation. He graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1982. He has published ten books, three of which were novels, a play, and the rest collections of essays.