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Kosovo Finds Little to Celebrate After 10 Years of Independence

On my last day in Kosovo, news broke that Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj had been refused a visa to visit Britain. The reaction seemed to be widespread embarrassment, as he had also recently been refused a visa for the United States.

Since its independence declaration, Kosovo has been recognized by just 111 of the United Nation’s 193 member states. Crucially, Russia, China, Serbia and five European Union countries do not recognize it.

So Kosovo remains the only country in Europe without visa liberalization, meaning that it is almost impossible for its people to travel. It also has the youngest population in Europe, according to the World Bank — 70 percent of its people are under 35.

“For as long as we are stuck in this ghetto, we will have problems,” Arben Berisha, the chairman of the Arsenal supporters club in Kosovo, told me. “We need our young people to go abroad to study and then bring their expertise back.”

Driving toward Macedonia to catch my flight home, I took one of the new highways linking Kosovo to Albania, and I couldn’t help wondering: If the prime minister himself can’t travel, what does it mean for the rest of the Kosovars?

Source: NYT > World

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