The City of Unemployment, Terrorism, and Politicization of Education

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As part of its unsolved priorities, Mitrovica is faced with unemployment and politicization of education.

Apart from poverty, the municipality inhabited by 71 thousand residents, has water issues, problems with sewage, roads, including youth radicalization. These topics were all tackled during the debate for Municipal Elections.

Mitrovica, the municipality that cultivated the education of famous rockers and athletes in Kosovo, has become one of the main hotspots for recruiting ISIS fighters for the Syria and Iraq war.

Recent research shows that 10% of convicted persons for indoctrination and participation in terrorist groups come from the given municipality. Municipal government has a major role in preventing extremism by guaranteeing education and social care for its citizens.

Candidates vying for the position of the mayor during the debate on municipal elections 2017, did not provided any solution to their plans regarding deradicalization , by shifting their focus to preventing violence in politically driven schools.

Our investigation shows that in Mitrovica’s education sector, not less than 17 directors and deputy school directors are chairmen or heads of political party entities.


“Nga 32 shkollat, 17 prej tyre udhëhiqen nga drejtorë që kanë angazhime në parti politike”, shkruhet në njërën nga përgjigjet e komunës
“Of the 32 schools, 17 are led by directors who are involved in political parties”, is written in one of the municipal responses Apart from the school directors, the municipality has failed to free the occupied areas around the schools, which hinder the teaching process, and in one specific case, they caused the  burning of a high school.

Mitrovica has only one public kindergarten, and no private ones. A kindergarten was recently built with a public-private partnership. The municipality has explained that there is a need for at least two new kindergartens, whose construction is limited due to the lack of budget for investment.

Public services

In regards with essential problems, the municipality has problems with the environment and usurpation of public spaces. The road to the market is occupied during the whole week. The market works only on Saturday considering that other days no customers visit it; cars are parked on sidewalks and on the street.

Many of Mitrovica’s sidewalks continue to serve for parking cars and the promotion of various goods to be sold. Although sidewalks were promised to be freed by cars, Mitrovica continues to be faced with such issue.

The traffic during the summer, especially on the streets: “Queen Teuta” and “Shemsi Ahmeti”, as well as unattended parking lots, continue to stir the city. Villages have issues with sidewalks, while the city continues to lack public transport.

The municipality has a problem with sewerage and river pollution. The lack of organized public transport is one of the problems highlighted by the citizens of Mitrovica. At the beginning of Agim Bahtiri’s mandate, a number of buses, financially supported by the Finnish, was provided to the Municipality of Mitrovica in order to organize the public transport.

This was not completed during the mandate, and later on these buses were given away for free to sports clubs in Mitrovica. Transport in Mitrovica is managed by private vans, which operate in the city, while villages function with private buses.

Mitrovica’s roads are barely cleaned from the roadside dust, which causes dirtiness on roads, and consequently leads to environment pollution by dust.

There are still landfills/ waste from prewar period when the factory “Trepça” was still operating with all its units, within the mining town. Such waste because particularly problems with water contamination in the areas around them, but also during strong winds, which disperse further the given waste.


Challenge on Development

During the communist power of the 1980s, Mitrovica was synonymous with employment and economic development. The struggle and the transition from the communist system to the public and the private sector have put of the system most of “Trepça” industry. Lead processing lines, crushers and accumulator factories are out of order, while the enterprise works only in mining zone, with non-satisfactory capacities.

In order to boost to the economy development in this area, Thaci -Pacolli had declared three free economic zones cities: Mitrovica, Gjakova and Prizren. These areas have never been implemented. The decision was taken during the  electoral campaign in 2014, which was not implemented by the next government led by Isa Mustafa.


Lack of development and mismanagement have also reflected on the reduction of the Municipality’s budget.

Based on the data of the General Audiotr, the Municipality of Mitrovica has experienced continuous stagnation regarding the collection of own generated revenues.. The auditor stated that the municipality had planned 2.3 million revenues in 2014, but only 1.3 million were collected.

The situation remains the same in 2015 too, where according to the auditor, there are only 1.2 million euros collected from the initially planned 2.1 million. The data reveals that the situation improved in 2016, considering that the municipality managed to collect 1.9 million euros from the planned 2.2 million.