Kosovo banning use of dinar currency—Serbian Church protests

Pristina, Kosovo, February 1, 2024

Photo: cde.news Photo: cde.news     

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raška and Prizren “raises its voice in protest” against the decision of Kosovo authorities to ban the dinar currency, “and appeals to international institutions to stop Pristina from completely ethnically cleansing Kosovo and Metohija.”

All cash restrictions are in principle to be restricted to euros starting today, though after Western nations expressed concern about the decision’s likelihood to increase ethnic tensions, Kosovo authorities announced that they will give a “sufficient period” for transition for the 120,000 Serbs who have always used the dinar in Kosovo and Metohija, reports Radio Free Europe.

Kosovo residents are also concerned, such as Blagica Radovanovic, a retired professor in Northern Mitrovica. “What are we going to do with people who are receiving social benefits, to whom postmen bring (money) directly to their doors?” Radovanovic asked. “This will cause a great humanitarian catastrophe,” the Associated Press quotes him.

And the local Serbian Orthodox administration warns that the decision “will completely block normal life in Serbian communities,” including the distribution of humanitarian aid to socially vulnerable people, and will negatively affect the life of the Church.

Тhe dinar ban is another step in the Kosovo authorities’ attempt to deny Serbian identity and create an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo, the diocese says, calling it a policy of “ethnic cleansing.”

The statement concludes:

We are deeply concerned that this logic will not only fail to solve the problems but will further complicate them for everyone, and therefore we appeal to international representatives, considering that our Church is already completely ignored by Kosovo institutions and exposed to open persecution, to stop further escalation that can endanger the entire Balkans and thereby Europe. The policy of blackmail, ethnic repression, selective application of laws, police method of coercion and intimidation has never led anywhere to the creation of a stable society, but a society that rests on such foundations becomes economically and politically isolated with increasingly intense negative demographic trends.

Our Church has shared with our faithful people all hardships through history, remaining and surviving in its age-old spaces, never giving up its readiness to live in peace and mutual respect with all people who have their home here, regardless of their religion and ethnic origin. We remain deeply committed to this Gospel approach, but at the same time, facing numerous injustices carried out against the Serbian Orthodox Church and our people, in full view of international representatives from the West, we cannot remain silent on the institutional repression that is increasingly gaining momentum and aims at the complete expulsion of the Serbian people from these territories and the erasure of the centuries-old history of Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija, where our people have made a significant historical, cultural, and civilizational contribution.

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