Thousands of people turned out in Pristina’s city centre to celebrate Kosovo’s five years of independence from Serbia.
For the first time since the war with Serbia in 1988-89, Kosovo Security Force armoured vehicles joined the parade.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci fought against Serbia, which still claims Kosovo is part of its territory.
Nearly 100 countries have recognised Kosovo’s independence, but ordinary Kosovans have more pressing concerns, like one man who said:
“We have made some progress but not in the way we hoped. The main thing is that we are free – free to express ourselves. But we expect our leaders and the government to work harder. Unemployment is very high.”
Thaci says Kosovo will eventually apply for EU member status, but there is a long way to go.
“We know there are issues with the rule of law, we know there are issues with corruption, we know not all laws are in place yet and we know that the laws are not being implemented. People in Kosovo know that and we know that,” said EU representative in Kosovo Samuel Zbogar.
EU-sponsored talks between the two former foes have led to a thawing of relations between Pristina and Belgrade.
Thaci remains defiant, describing an independent Kosovo as an “irrefutable reality”.
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