01.07.2020

The government adopts new measures to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic

 

 

 

9th Meeting of the Government

 

Prishtina, 1 July 2020

 

Led by Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo held a regular meeting, during which it approved decisions from its fields of constitutional and legal responsibilities.

 

At the opening of the meeting, Prime Minister Hoti spoke with regard to some issues of interest to the government cabinet and the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, which are related to the latest developments as a result of the decisions of the Specialist Chambers.

 

“I believe that, just as in the past, the institutions of Kosovo have shown and are also showing state prudence and culture in dealing with the issue at hand. We hold the stance that the liberation war of the people of Kosovo is indisputable and cannot be judged by any court. We value the basic principle of justice – the presumption of innocence for everyone, as long as we do not have a final court decision. Kosovo, same as in the past, will now be responsible regarding its constitutional obligations, legal obligations and international obligations as a country”, stated Prime Minister Hoti.

 

Prime Minister Hoti also spoke with regard to the visit to Brussels, emphasizing that our message to European partners is that the government is determined on the European integration agenda. Prime Minister Hoti stated that, in the meetings held, issues of interest for Kosovo starting from the need to have visa liberalization as soon as possible were raised. “We remain committed to maintaining the conditions we have met so far in terms of visa liberalization”, emphasized Prime Minister Hoti, extending his gratitude to EU institutions for their support in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Prime Minister Hoti stressed that he has been promised to work together in facing this pandemic but also recovering the economy and expects to have a high-level Western Balkans meeting next month on EU assistance for economic recovery.

 

As a third issue, Prime Minister Hoti mentioned the dialogue, pointing out that, despite the developments, the dialogue has no alternative. “We must show commitment and readiness as a state to enter this process. Kosovo is prepared for this process; a lot of work has been carried out by the past governments that is now being systematized in each of the possible topics of the dialogue process, which should commence from the topic of dialogue, mutual recognition. We are now working to set up a delegation, a state team that will represent Kosovo in this process, and surely be led by the Prime Minister, based on constitutional competencies”, stated Prime Minister Hoti.

 

Prime Minister Hoti also spoke before the government cabinet regarding the judgment of the Constitutional Court regarding the Law on Salaries. “Of course, the government is obliged to respect all judgments rendered by the Constitutional Court without exception and without discussing those judgments. We want to express our commitment for the swift commencement of the proceedings, as stated yesterday by the Deputy Prime Minister, who said that we should immediately start the process of addressing the remarks of the Constitutional Court on this law and proceed it promptly to the Assembly of Kosovo. The review and addressing of the Court’s remarks will be carried out in close consultation with all relevant unions in the public sector, as the Government of Kosovo is committed to a dignified and merit based treatment for all employees in the public sector as well as in the private sector of Kosovo”, stated Prime Minister Hoti.

 

Another point stressed by Prime Minister Hoti was the recent situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have had close consultations with the Ministry of Health and the committee within the ministry on this issue. Additional capacities are being established in the Infectious Diseases Clinic and other clinics as well as in regional hospitals for this issue; however, we must all be committed and disciplined to send the necessary message to the citizens of the country regarding the management of this pandemic. The trend we have seen with the increase in cases of infected people is in line with the trend in the region and beyond, with the return of a second wave of the pandemic. Therefore, we are forced to take the necessary measures for the management of the situation in an adequate manner”, stated Prime Minister Hoti.

 

The Government of the Republic of Kosovo approved the decision for the temporary systematization of structures of the former MEI. The organizational structures of the former Ministry of European Integration shall be temporarily transferred to the Office of the Prime Minister. Until the adoption and entry into force of the Law Amending and Supplementing the Law on the Budget Appropriations of the Republic of Kosovo for 2020, the former Ministry of European Integration, as the current budgetary organization, will continue to fulfil its financial obligations in accordance with the Law on the Budget Appropriations of the Republic of Kosovo for 2020, in force.

 

At today’s meeting, the Government approved the decision to establish the “Council of Experts for the Dialogue with Serbia” within the Office of the Prime Minister. The tasks of this Council are to make specific analyses and to advise the Prime Minister and the Government on the issues of the dialogue with Serbia according to the topics that will be discussed in the dialogue process. The Council will prepare reports and documents on the position of Kosovo, as well as analytical and factographic documents and other documents as needed. The State Coordinator for Dialogue will lead the work of the Council, and he is also an advisor to the Prime Minister. The coordinator coordinates with all parties in the dialogue process, on behalf of the Prime Minister.

 

A decision was approved to transfer the Kosovo Agency of Statistics from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Regional Cooperation Council shall be transferred from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and the Inter-Ministerial Water Council shall be transferred from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Ministry of Economy and Environment.

 

The Government of the Republic of Kosovo has approved the decision repealing the Government Decision dated 22 September 2017 on the establishment of the State Commission for Marking and Maintenance of the State Border and the Decision of the Government dated 2 May 2019 amending and supplementing this decision.

In addition, the Government approved the decision to establish a Commission of Ministers for Public Enterprises with the following composition:

  1. Minister of Economy and Environment,            Chairperson;
  2. Minister of Finance,                                     Member;
  3. Minister of Infrastructure,                            Member;
  4. Minister of Trade and Industry,              Member,
  5. Minister of Regional Development                Member.

 

The Commission has the duty to recommend to the Government of the Republic of Kosovo proposals and remarks related to public enterprises and this decision replaces and repeals the decision of 6 October 2017.

The Government also approved the decision for the establishment of the Steering Committee of the Technical Assistance Project – Energy from Lignite, responsible for the project of the

 

Thermal Power Plant “Kosova e Re”. The committee will have the following composition:

  1. Minister of Economy and Environment,                         Chairperson;
  2. Minister of Finance,                                                        Member;
  3. Minister of Infrastructure,                                               Member;
  4. Minister of Trade and Industry,                                 Member;
  5. Minister of Labour and Social Welfare,                     Member;
  6. Representative of the Office of the Prime Minister,     Member;
  7. Head of the Energy Regulatory Office;                      Member;
  8. Chairperson of the Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals,    Member.

 

This committee shall, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, decide on issues related to the Thermal Power Plant “Kosova e Re” and in this case, the decision of the Government dated 10 March 2020 shall be repealed.

 

The decision approved today by the Government of Kosovo abolishes the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo dated 10 March 2020 whereby the Privatization Agency of Kosovo was required to suspend for an indefinite period all actions related to immovable properties from the List of Assets for Lease – with specific character – updated” promulgated on 5 March 2020 and the Government decision dated 23 March 2020 whereby the Privatization Agency of Kosovo is required to suspend for an indefinite period all actions related to immovable properties under their administration. According to this decision, the Ministry of Economy and Environment is authorized to take the necessary actions for the establishment of the Inter-Institutional Working Group with PAK for drafting the Strategy for Privatization of Socially-Owned Enterprises in accordance with the Program of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, with the aim of successfully concluding the privatization process. Until the adoption of the Strategy, the Privatization Agency of Kosovo is required not to proceed with the privatization of these assets.

 

In today’s meeting, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo approved the decision to recommend the President of the Republic of Kosovo to authorize the Minister of Finance to sign the Loan Agreement between the Republic of Kosovo and the World Bank represented by the International Development Association. The loan agreement is for financing the “Program – Fostering and Leveraging Opportunities for Water Security”.

 

The Government Cabinet also approved the decision to establish the Appeals Commission on Foreigners. The Commission has the following composition:

  1. Agron Gashi, Office of the Prime Minister –                           Chairperson
  2. Esat Veliu, Ministry of Justice –                                              Deputy Chairperson;
  3. Arben Kqira, Ministry of Internal Affairs – Member;
  4. Bashkim Shala, Ministry of Education and Science –             Member;
  5. Jeton Maliqi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora –      Member;
  6. Samire Bajraktari, Ministry of Trade and Industry –              Member;
  7. Leutrim Zabelaj, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare –      Member.

 

The mandate of the Commission is three (3) years and the same is independent in its work. This Commission may also decide while having a panel of 3 (three) members and it shall take decisions by a majority of votes, while the UNHCR representative may participate in the work of the Commission as an observer.

 

Another decision approved by the Government established the National Commission for Refugees in the following composition:

  1. Mergim Himaj, Ministry of Internal Affairs – Chairperson;
  2. Leunora Ahmeti, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare – Deputy Chairperson;
  3. Nehat Pllana, Office of the Prime Minister – Member;
  4. Shkelqim Jakupi, Ministry of Local Government Administration – Member;
  5. Ruzhdi Osmani, Ministry of Justice – Member;
  6. Aferdita S. Hoxha, Ministry of Health – Member;
  7. Shkodran Manaj, Ministry of Internal Affairs – Civil Registration Agency – Member;

 

The mandate of this Commission is also three (3) years and it shall exercise its activity based on the Law on Asylum and the relevant legislation in force. During the work of this Commission, decisions are taken in councils composed of three (3) members, and the same shall take decisions by a majority of votes, while the UNHCR representative participates during the work of the Commission, as an observer.

 

In order to prevent infection with COVID-19 Coronavirus, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, in today’s meeting, approved the request of the Ministry of Health to take the following measures:

  1. Reducing administration employees to only essential staff and engaging them in working from home (online), halving the number of people in each office, in accordance with the manual.
  2. Closing offices or units in all public institutions and private businesses where there are positive cases.
  3. Application of protocols in force for the persons with whom the person already confirmed with COVID-19 positive has been in contact.
  4. Ensuring that the contacts are self-isolated for 14 days at home and have no contacts with other people during this period.
  5. Advising the contacts to monitor their health for 14 days after the last date of exposure and to seek immediate health care if they show any symptoms (fever, high body temperature, coughing, breathing difficulty or diarrhoea).
  6. Ensuring that all positive cases and their contacts are supervised by the municipal headquarters, controlled by the inspectorate, MFMC and law enforcement agencies.
  7. Ensuring rigorous observance of the protection measures imposed by the NIPHK.
  8. Ensuring rigorous observance of physical distancing, use of masks, disinfection and ventilation of premises, preventing the possible spread of infection and preventing the spread in closed spaces.
  9. FVA sanitary inspectorates and municipal inspectorates shall implement the Law on the Inspectorate and the Law on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and take measures in case of eventual non-implementation of NIPHK recommendations.
  10. Health workers shall adhere to NIPHK recommendations in using protective measures, thus protecting their health, the health of patients and of all citizens.
  11. Ensuring that wearing masks is mandatory.
  12. Institutions that provide services through counters shall be obliged to ensure that both employees and parties wear masks and observe the distance of 2 meters while waiting in queue, with the possibility of waiting in outdoors spaces according to the Manual for fighting COVID-19.
  13. Strict control at the entrance of each institution to check if people are wearing masks.
  14. Wearing masks shall be mandatory in public transport, taxis, both by employees and passengers, observance of the distance of 2 meters, natural ventilation (opening the windows) and disinfection of vehicles at least twice a day.
  15. Activities in the identified sector of the respective institutions listed according to the active epidemiological surveillance are cancelled.
  16. Wearing masks shall be mandatory for law enforcement agencies (police officers).
  17. Prohibition of visits by family members of patients to health institutions (only one person is allowed, as needed).
  18. Reduction of effective operations in health institutions.
  19. Wearing personal protective equipment shall be mandatory in all public and private health institutions inside and outside the institutions.
  20. Strict controls carried out by the Health Inspectorate in health institutions.
  21. Gatherings of more than 50 people in closed and open spaces shall be prohibited.
  22. Strict control by the bodies of the Inspectorate and the Police for the observance of the distance of 2m and the wearing of the mask in any closed (offices, shopping centres, counters) and open (gastronomy as a whole) spaces.
  23. In particular, commercial activities (shops, bakeries, pharmacies, etc.) and gastronomy are obliged to wear masks and ensure easy and continuous access to disinfectants.
  24. Funerals should be organized only with the close family circle.
  25. Relevant bodies are engaged in overseeing the implementation of these measures.
  26. The Ministry of Health and NIPHK will monitor the situation and, if the situation deteriorates, strict measures recommended by the WHO will be required.
  27. Municipalities should fully activate local headquarters.
  28. Additional protection measures should be implemented in nursing homes.