On Wednesday, Kosovo’s opposition members of Parliament interrupted their Prime Minister by pelting him with eggs mid-speech. Their attack halted the legislative session, which was broadcast live nationally, though the Prime Minister insists it will not yield the result the opposition had hoped.
Prime Minister Isa Mustafa was delivering an address to Parliament about a European Union-brokered deal with Serbia, which would, among other things, allow for the government in Belgrade to fund some government activities in minority-Serb communities. Kosovo, which became one of the world’s youngest nations after splitting from Serbia in 2008, is a majority Albanian nation, and members of the nationalist Self-Determination Party fear that such a deal will allow Serbia to slowly take over all of Kosovo’s government and deprive them of sovereignty. Mustafa’s speech was the first time the minority members were to be addressed on the deal, brokered in August.
In the video, a bodyguard can be seen shielding Mustafa from the eggs with an umbrella. The session would eventually be called off entirely.
In response to the eggs, Parliament speaker Kardi Veseli can be heard shouting, “Shame, shame, shame!” at the legislators participating in the egg attack.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation–nor do several of its neighbors. Thus, the deal between the two countries was heralded in August as the state of a “normalization” process that might ultimately lead to mutual respect and acknowledgment not previously believed possible during the first few years of Kosovo’s sovereign existence.
“Today’s outcome represents landmark achievements in the normalisation process,” EU Vice President Federica Mogherini said in August. “Solutions such as those found today bring concrete benefits to the people and at the same time enable the two sides to advance on their European path.”
The deal creates an Association of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo and allows Belgrade to fund the group. The association will work to enhance education, health care, and other civil services for Kosovo’s Serb minority. Mustafa was in the midst of explaining that the association would not have any executive powers or influence over the federal government when opposition members began throwing eggs at him. Specifically, he noted that the deal did not violate the Kosovar Constitution when a member of Parliament shouted, “Whose Constitution, Serbia’s?” and tossed an egg his way.
Even before the speech, comments from opposing MPs on the deal and each other indicated that the event would be, at least, a tense one. DLK MP Ismet Beqiri, for example, is quoted as mocking Self-Determination members for allegedly being unfamiliar with parliamentary procedure: “I know you’re the smartest guy in the world, and that everyone else is wrong. However, you need to read the Book of Rules,” he told one Self-Determination MP.
The ruling Democratic League of Kosovo (DLK) has condemned the Self-Determination MPs. “Today’s behaviour by the opposition does not contribute to our country moving forward,” DLK MP Ismet Beqiri, lamented to reporters.
Mustafa has asserted that he has no interest in revisiting the deal with Serbia; it has been passed, and the Association of Serb Municipalities will exist despite the interruption. “There is no return to the origin point of any agreement. We will not return to the zero point of law for the ratification of the first agreement,” he said Tuesday on local television channel RTK1.