Private company to recruit for senior Kosovo state positions in bid to tackle nepotism

Private company to recruit for senior Kosovo state positions in bid to tackle nepotism
By Dimitar Koychev in Sofia August 16, 2016

The British embassy in Kosovo will fund an independent firm that will lead the process of recruiting senior staff and filling open positions in the Balkan country’s state institutions, according to an August 15 statement from the embassy. The company will generate shortlists of the most qualified candidates for the positions. Kosovo will then have the task of appointing the best candidates from the shortlists.

The British ambassador in Kosovo Ruairí O’Connell said that the aim of bringing in the independent firm was to address nepotism in the Kosovan administration.

On August 15, a memorandum of understanding on the project was signed by O’Connell, Kosovan Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and Kosovan parliament speaker Kadri Veseli.

The process will start with recruitment for 20 senior vacant positions. "If we manage to prove that the recruitment process can be conducted free of political influence, this may serve as a basis for how future recruitments should be done," O’Connell said.

The diplomat commented that implementing this plan would prove that Kosovo's leaders “really want to fight nepotism.” O’Connell also mentioned a recent scandal, which began on August 1, when the website published wiretap excerpts allegedly suggesting the involvement of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in senior appointments in the justice and police sectors.

The ambassador assessed that nepotism is “a cancer that stifles the state” and if not eradicated it “certainly will destroy Kosovo.” O’Connell said, “Now no one believes that employments are conducted on the basis of merit and qualifications, so we need to crack this practice and should restore peoples trust in the institutions of Kosovo.”

Veseli encouraged all young professionals, who can give more to Kosovo, to apply to every available state position, the parliament announced. The parliament speaker noted that the initiative for the project came from the Kosovan side and the memorandum signing follows one year of work.

"We are determined to change the situation of our country. The phenomenon of nepotism has been present in the institutions, we thus provide opportunities for staff to contribute to competition on the boards of public companies," said Veseli.

Mustafa stated that selections which firstly respect the professional side of the people are the best ones in terms of contributing to the government programme’s implementation.

Prime Minister Mustafa has assessed the importance of the memorandum of cooperation, thanking the Embassy of the United Kingdom and the Assembly for their contribution and coordination.

"It is in the interest of the Republic of Kosovo institutions for us to make the best choices in terms of personnel that will be put in charge of independent agencies, in charge of government agencies, but also in other countries' [interests]" the prime minister said, according to a statement on the government website.