NGOs Fear EU Measures Against Kosovo Could Hit Civil Society Funds

Civil society organisations in Kosovo have expressed concern that their future sustainability might be affected by Brussels' decision to temporarily suspend funds provided under the European Commission's Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, IPA until Pristina complies with the EU's prescriptions for restoring stability in the country's Serb-majority north.

Taulant Hoxha, executive director of the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation, KCSF NGO, which supports civil society development, told BIRN that such organisations' funding could be affected "if these [EU] measures continue for months, and especially beyond 2023".

Hoxha explained that "the natural cycle of IPA funds management is such that at least one to two years pass from programming to the practical implementation of funds".

He said that the suspension of IPA 2024 funds, which the EU is threatening, would not affect already-funded civil society projects for this year and next year, but could affect NGOs' work in 2025.

Kosovo has many civil society organisations - parliament's website lists 84 - and they are highly dependent on EU, US and Swiss funds.

Zana Hoxha, the executive director of Artpolis, a human rights and arts NGO, told BIRN that the suspension of IPA funds by the EU might cause her organisation to reduce jobs or cut salaries by 30 to 40 per cent.

"We have been supported by IPA funds since 2008, for the promotion of women's rights, youth engagement and art and culture, which is our mission," she said.

She explained that financial resources for 2023 have been secured but the NGO planned to apply for IPA 2024 and if the funds were not available, it would make the organisation's future uncertain.

She added that she believes that the suspension...

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