Kosovo Country Report
Following the June 2017 general election, a broad coalition was formed, including parties with seemingly contradictory interests. This, together with the growing strength of opposition parties, increases the risk of policy paralysis and early elections in the one-year outlook. The risk of protests because of a deteriorating socio-economic situation will remain high throughout 2017.
Kosovo's business environment is constrained by widespread corruption and outdated infrastructure. However, local infrastructure has started to improve as a result of domestic and international investments To date, the international community has invested EUR4 billion into improving Kosovo's road and rail networks. One major concern is the unstable water supply and the lack of an efficient energy infrastructure. Impending investments, such as the planned construction of a 400 kV interconnection line with Albania, will serve to diversify Kosovo's energy sources, thereby increasing energy security.
Dissatisfaction among Kosovo Serbs over the integration of Northern Kosovo under the authority of Pristina increases the risk of attacks against Kosovo police and security personnel. There is a growing number of radicalised youth adhering to extremist interpretations of Islam, a number of whom have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamist military organisations. However, the risk of attacks remains low in the foreseeable future. The biggest risk stems from collateral damage as a result of conflicts between rival criminal groups.
A passenger train, which was provocatively emblazoned with Serbian nationalist slogans and travelling from Belgrade to Mitrovica, was stopped on 14 January 2017 before entering Kosovo because of the deployment of Kosovan special forces at the border. Former Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vučić accused Kosovo of playing "war games", while Serbian former president Tomislav Nikolić expressed his preparedness to send troops to Northern Kosovo to "protect the Kosovo Serb minority". However, despite this deterioration in bilateral relations, war risks are low due to the presence of international peacekeeping troops.
Socio-economic factors, such as high levels of unemployment, widespread poverty, and corruption are ingredients that have fuelled popular disaffection. The opposition Self-determination Movement (Lëvizja Vetëvendosje: LVV) especially has managed to utilise public discontent to organise anti-government protests. Such protests frequently escalate into violence between the police and protesters, often resulting in damages to government property.