Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe, with half its population under the age of 26. A quarter of the population is in schools at any given time. In the coming decade, these students will be leaving schools and will face a most uncertain future. If things go well, today’s students will help their country catch up with the rest of Europe. If things go badly, they will be deprived of prospects, short of jobs and income, tempted to take to the streets in protest or to seek to emigrate.
Bulgarians are famously unhappy. A few years ago their pessimism came to international attention. A Gallup Poll discovered in 2009 that the citizens of this small Balkan nation had lower expectations for how their life would be five years later than Iraqis and Afghans. Bulgarians were not surprised by this discovery. A leading Sofia-based think tank, the Centre for Liberal Strategies (CLS), had already published a paper in 2003 titled Optimistic Theory about the Pessimism of the Transition. The latest World Happiness Report confirmed this global reputation for morosity in 2013. Out of 156 nations it ranked Bulgarians 144th, behind Iraqis and Afghans, Congolese and Haitians.
Turkey has a tradition of rough and ready criminal justice. Judges virtually never reject an indictment, including many unconvincing ones launched by overzealous prosecutors. With a population smaller than Germany, Turkey had five times more criminal cases in 2010. Germany has 24 judges per 100,000 inhabitants; Turkey only 11. The workload for every Turkish judge is thus more than ten times that of a judge in Germany. One can see the results in any ordinary criminal court across the country, where a judge hears up to 20 cases a day.
Türkiye özensiz ve vasat bir ceza yargısı geleneğine sahip. Yargıçlar -fazla istekli bazı savcılarca hazırlanmış inandırıcılıktan uzak olanlar da dahil- neredeyse hiçbir iddianameyi reddetmiyorlar. Kıyaslama yapacak olursak, 2010 yılında Türkiye’de, nüfusça daha küçük olduğu Almanya’ya oranla beş kat daha fazla ceza davası vardı. Yine Almanya’da her 100,000 vatandaş için 24 yargıç bulunurken, Türkiye’de bu sayı 11. Her Türk yargıcın iş yükü Almanya’daki bir meslektaşından on kat daha ağır. Sonuçta, Türkiye’deki her hangi bir ceza mahkemesi yargıcının günde 20 kadar davaya bakmak durumunda kaldığını gözlemlemek mümkün.
Vladimir and Estragon in Skopje. A fictional conversation on trust and standards and a plea on how to break a vicious circle
There is no past, no future, just an endlessly repeating present. Characters are imprisoned in a single place, unable to leave. They inhabit a universe filled with futile dialogue and futile gestures. People are lost. We are on the set of Waiting for Godot. We are in the world of EU-Macedonian relations in 2014. Is this the future of European enlargement policy throughout South East Europe?
Kosovo’s (male) politicians repeat on every occasion that they see their country’s future as a member of the European Union. For this to happen, however, not only will the five EU member states yet to recognise Kosovo’s independence need to change their position, but the country will need more people willing to challenge its taboos. It will need champions for girls’ education, a revolution in the labour market and new forms of family life and gender relations. It will need scholarships for young women to study abroad and young women willing to return to take on the patriarchal values that still set Kosovo apart. It will need more women like Jeta and Besa for a European Kosovo, Kosovo 2.0, to become a reality.