Europa Nostra reacted last night after Pristina media published a letter that two ministers in the Kosovo government sent to the executive president of this organization – asking him to remove Visoki Decani from the list of the 7 most endangered sites. Europa Nostra revealed that they have not received the letter yet, which they were informed about from the media. “A response will be sent to the Ministers once we receive their letter,” they wrote.
At the beginning of April, Europa Nostra, an organization dealing with the protection of cultural heritage, included Visoki Decani on this year’s list of the seven most endangered cultural monuments in Europe.
This decision triggered an avalanche of negative reactions from the Kosovo public and media.
Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti were among the first to express their disagreement in a joint letter they sent to Europa Nostra before the final decision on Visoki Decani was made.
Yesterday, however, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gervalla-Schwarz, and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hajrulla Ceku, also sent a letter, which was published by Pristina media, to the executive president of this organization.
They claim that this decision is unfounded because, in their words, it does not coincide with the facts on the ground. Furthermore, they urged the organization to remove Visoki Decani from its list and thus “requite for the damage to Kosovo’s reputation.”
The two ministers urged Europa Nostra’s executive president to visit Kosovo as soon as possible and see the state of Decani monastery up close. They also alleged that Orthodox churches in Kosovo enjoy a high level of security and are “not endangered.”
Although Kosovo officials’ letter was published in the media, Europa Nostra says that they have not received it yet and that they learned about it from the media.
“A response will be sent to the Ministers once we receive their letter,” they wrote in a short statement.
Europa Nostra recalled that it addressed two letters to Albin Kurti and Vjosa Osmani respectively, who also objected to Visoki Decani being included in the 7 most endangered list.
“As already indicated to President Osmani and Prime Minister Kurti, in two letters addressed to them, respectively on 6 April 2021 and 19 April 2021, a delegation composed of experts from Europa Nostra and our partner, the European Investment Bank Institute, plans to visit Kosovo as soon as the epidemiological situation will allow such visit to take place.”
The organization revealed that it has embarked upon a series of online meetings with all relevant organizations.
“In our letter dated 19 April, we have already asked for an online meeting with the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo (or with their representatives),” Europa Nostra wrote, noting that they are still awaiting their answer.
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