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In 2008 the EU repeated its willingness to assist the economic and political development of Kosovo through a clear European perspective.
The role of international institutions in Kosovo has been crucial to restoring peace and assisting in the institutional building process and democratization after the war. The presence of these institutions has ensured that Kosovo did not slip into post conflict anarchy but upheld law and order, for all its isolated problems; although a big contribution in this sense can be attributed to the population itself and their tradition of hospitality and mutual respect.
Democratization in Kosovo
Kosovo had a different transition compared to other former communist countries after the fall of communism in the region that influenced the development of pluralism and democratization of the political party. This influence determined Kosovo’s different path for many reasons, but the main ones can be attributed to changes in the political, social and economic environment in Kosovo after the constitutional changes imposed by the Milošević regime. The initial demands of most of the political groups were a repetition of the previous ones for republic status for Kosovo within SFRY, yet they quickly shifted towards the struggle for full independence following similar developments in Slovenia and Croatia. All parties supported the establishment of a democratic system with free elections and the protection of minorities’ rights. In the ‘shadow’ elections in 1990 (that were considered illegal by the government in power in Kosovo) the party led by Ibrahim Rugova, of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) won the absolute majority of the votes. The government that was established operated mainly from abroad, soon to be known as the government in exile. Rugova’s government was limited to some level of control and organization of the education and health care sector, funded on a voluntarily basis through a symbolic tax collected in Kosovo diasporas. (9)
It was before the outbreak of the Yugoslav state crisis that full Serbian control over the province of Kosovo was re-established. The takeover of institutions provided the Kosovo Albanians with a rationale for the creation of their own parallel state, resulting in the proclamation of Kosovo first as a republic within Yugoslavia, in 1990, and then as independent state, in 1991. While observing and getting involved in other parts of the Yugoslav federation, the Europeans also became aware of the problematic situation in Kosovo. For example, in summer 1992, one of the declarations on the deteriorating situation across the Yugoslav federation addressed Serbia’s southern province, as well: The Community and its Member States noted that the situation in Kosovo is potentially dangerous and urge all parties to show the necessary restraint and sense of responsibility. They urge the authorities in Belgrade to refrain from further repression and engage in serious dialogue with representatives of Kosovo. Failure to do so would impede their prospect for the restoration of normal relations with the international community. The Community and its Member States recall that frontiers can only be changed by peaceful means and remind the inhabitants of Kosovo that their legitimate quest for autonomy should be dealt with in the framework of the EC Peace Conference. (EPC 1992)