Prishtina [Pristina], 25 April: Kosova [Kosovo] Prime Minister Agim Ceku has been making efforts to reinforce his staff with two additional international advisers. This time, he is planning to have two senior officials from Croatia - Milorad Pupovac, a Serb deputy in the Croatian Assembly, and Neven Mimica, a former Croatian minister of European integration. Kosova government spokeswoman Ulpiana Lama has confirmed this news.
"Yes, it is true that the prime minister has requested consultation from international experts, and this is not an isolated case. The prime minister has international advisers for other areas such as, for instance, the economy," Lama said. According to her, in both cases, consulting was requested because the prime minister considers the integration of minorities and European integration as issues of paramount importance.
"It is normal to seek individuals with expertise and experience in respective areas, that is, people who know very well the region's problems and have proven to be successful in their previous assignments." [Passage omitted]
Milorad Pupovac is a deputy in the Croatian Assembly and chairman of the Independent Democratic Serb Party of Croatia. The reason why Ceku wants to hire him as adviser is that Pupovac would work on the issue of displaced people from Kosova. He is considered to have been successful in this field, more specifically, the return of displaced Serbs to Croatia.
"Mr Pupovac has a respectable career and has played an impressive role in the area of political, social and economic integration of the Serb minority in Croatia. It is obvious that this issue has some specifics, which means that it is more logical to engage Mr Pupovac as an adviser on minority (especially Serb) issues, than, let us say, an expert from Albania, Macedonia or some other country from the region," Lama said. [Passage omitted]
Based on internet writing, Pupovac was a supporter of Croatia's independence, and was harshly criticized by media and political circles in Serbia.
The second adviser that Ceku is seeking to hire - Neven Mimica - is a member of the Croatian Social Democratic Party. He is known as a moderate official. He served as a minister both in the previous Croatian government and the actual one headed by Ivo Sanader. Mimica is an economist by vocation and has very successfully performed the job of the European integration minister in the Croatian government.
The reason why Ceku wants Mimica is that is he wants him to implement his experiences on integration in Kosova. Croatia is the first country of the Western Balkans that has been given the status of the EU candidate.
"As regards the integrating processes, Croatia is a positive example, and Mr Mimica, at some point, minister of integration, has his share of success in this positive story," Lama said.
Our newspaper could not contact any of the two above-mentioned Croatian officials. [Passage omitted]
Source: Koha Ditore, Pristina, in Albanian 26 Apr 06 p 3