Kosovo is a relatively small country when compared with other European and neighbouring countries as it is just 10,878 km² and has two million inhabitants, but despite its size it has big aspirations. On 17 February Kosovo celebrated its fourth anniversary of the independence, which was an important date and made Kosovo feel as happy as a small child, a child that needs to be taken care of by its leaders and needs assistance from other strong and modern countries around the world to guide it down the right path and towards European integration.

On Kosovo’s fourth anniversary of independence, there were dignified celebrations without any incidents, and even though she was provoked, she held her ground on this special day. Kosovo was recognized by yet another country, Uganda, which is now the 88th state to recognise Kosovo’s independence.

What is also important to mention is that in 2012 citizens and leaders of Kosovo are willing and are working hard to help their country move towards European integration. Kosovo has shown progress in this area and is officially set begin the necessary dialogue over visa liberalization. Kosovo now has its own roadmap and knows exactly what needs to be done in order to walk straight down the blue road of European Integration.

A few months before, Kosovo was criticized in a progress report but amazingly those critics didn’t disappoint Kosovan citizens, but it made them open their eyes, contribute and make improvements in all fields where they were criticized.

As in other countries, in Kosovo we also have the government and the opposition which knows how to contradict each other from time to time – let’s face it, it’s their job – even on Kosovo’s independence day, but the aim of both sides is to do what’s best for the country and their citizens and citizens also know when and how to appreciate the progress of their local institutions and of course they also know how to “punish” them when the progress made is not as much as expected.

Neighbourly relations are always very important to national, regional and international stability, but seen this time and therefore it is the biggest priority of our leaders to stabilise relations with neighbouring states. The agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, something that the international community has proudly presented as a great achievement, and the fact that Kosovo will be represented with a footnote (Kosovo*), which implies territorial of Kosovo as part of resolution 1244, but at the same time as an independent state, where obviously such a thing that opens the door for Kosovo to be shown as a country with full rights in conferences, agreements and important meeting in region, Europe and everywhere in the world, and it gives a strong effect on representing the state of Kosovo.

According to local media, this decision is viewed with suspicion by citizens of both countries, but was seen as the best solution for both parties involved between the two Balkan republics. They have yet to reconcile and today citizens of Kosovo express fears that the footnote means removing the term ‘Republic.’ On the other side we have citizens of Serbia that have expressed fears that by accepting an agreement where the Republic of Kosovo will be represented with a footnote, means that they have accepted the new political reality in the Balkans.

These two opinions differ and can also be seen as negative events from various parties, but obviously this decision has raised many people’s hopes that it will eventually stabilise neighbourly relations, and of course increase international support regarding Kosovo where some countries have softened their stance on Kosovo, and why not some of them will have started to think of recognizing the of independence of Kosovo.

In Kosovo it is not so common for civil society to speak positively about the government, but given the political and security situation a few years ago, I can proudly say that my country is a democratic country that cares for all of its citizens, and protects them regardless of which ethnic groups they belong to. The Ahtisaari Plan accepted by Kosovo is a significant indicator of this fact. I strongly believe that Kosovo has managed to meet the most important criteria to pass with success as soon as the visa liberalisation process, and in the near future to be an EU candidate country.

It is only the first weeks after the fourth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence, and there were so many events and emotions in our small state. Kosovo’s citizens and its leaders will continue to work hard until their last breath and are working towards a stronger Kosovo that can stand on it’s own feet and will do so until the day that we can no longer call Kosovo a small child. Working towards a better Kosovo with more security greater economic development, higher educational levels and to be able to increase its circle of friends because their six star flag really wants to be a big and shining star of the European flag.

by Arditita Osmanaj

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