The Kosovo minister claimed that Kosovo laws are respected by removing the Cyrillic alphabet from the signs, then deleted the word „Cyrillic“ from his post


„We have undertaken to remove all Serbian traffic signs in the north and throughout the territory of Kosovo, written in Cyrillic, replacing them with official signs of settlements as per the laws of Kosovo“ – the Kosovo Minister of Infrastructure said, announcing yesterday’s removal of monolingual signs in the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets and installation of new bilingual ones – first on in Albanian, then in Latin Serbian, in the north of Kosovo.

According to Kosovo legislation, Albanian and Serbian are official languages, which also includes their respective alphabets.

„Albanian and Serbian and their alphabets are the official languages of Kosovo and have equal status in Kosovo institutions,“ states the second article of the Law on the Use of Languages.

This law states that communities and their members have the right to „freely maintain, express and develop their culture and identity, as well as preserve and strengthen the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, tradition and cultural heritage.“

On the other hand, when it comes to signs that indicate or include the names of municipalities, villages, streets and other public places, it is defined that they will be „marked in the official language and in the languages of the communities that have the status of official language in that municipality“.

The Constitution of Kosovo also defines Serbian and Albanian as the official languages of Kosovo and grants the right to communities to „express, maintain and develop their culture and preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely religion, language, tradition and culture“.

At the same time, Article 59 of the Constitution of Kosovo provides that citizens have the right to use local names, street names and other topographical signs that reflect and take into account the multi-ethnic and multilingual character of a given area.

Moreover, in several places in Kosovo’s legislation, including the Constitution itself, it is emphasized that the rights of communities are protected from discrimination and assimilation.

The Serbian people use both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.

Despite the fact that the Law on the Use of Languages has been violated in Kosovo for years, and the obvious trend of removing the Cyrillic alphabet since the arrival of the current government in Pristina, the Kosovo Ministry of Communities and Returns has kept its inscription in Cyrillic.

Also, the Serb-majority municipality of Gracanica and the municipality of Strpce, which was recently awarded as the municipality with the best implementation of the Law on Languages, uses trilingual signs, with Serbian as the first (Cyrillic script), Albanian as the second and English as the third. Kosovo personal documents, such as passports and identity cards, still contain Cyrillic inscriptions.

With the change in the ethnic structure of the municipal leaderships in the North, at the very beginning of the mandate of the new mayors, the boards displayed in the municipalities themselves were changed – the inscriptions are now written first in the Albanian language and in a bolded font, followed by the Serbian inscription in Latin, as well as English in Latin, in regular font.

Removal of the Cyrillic alphabet and compliance with the law

Yesterday, the Kosovo Ministry of Infrastructure removed the existing monolingual boards in Cyrillic and Latin and installed new bilingual ones – first in Albanian, then in Latin Serbian, in the north of Kosovo.

This move triggered an avalanche of mutually opposing reactions on both the Serbian and Albanian sides, with a focus on the Cyrillic alphabet.

Kosovo Minister of Infrastructure, Liburn Aliu, said on Facebook that they will remove the Cyrillic alphabet, stating that it is not in accordance with the laws of Kosovo.

At the same time, the media in Pristina, referring to the statements of this minister, stressed in the headlines that Cyrillic characters are being removed.

What happened to the part on the Cyrillic alphabet in the minister’s announcement?

The word „Cyrillic“, however, has been removed from the minister’s announcement today, and now it only states that the ministry has undertaken to „remove all traffic signs of the State of Serbia“ and replace them with „official signs of settlements in accordance with the law“.

Most of those same signs, however, were spray painted over less than 24 hours after they were installed. Albanian names of places have been crossed out with black paint, and in some cases the whole sign was painted over.

On the other hand, the Kosovo Ministry of Infrastructure continued with the installation of traffic and road signs today.

Read more:

Szunyog on sign removal in the North: Implement the process after interpreting the law and consulting with the commissioner

Albanian inscriptions on some newly installed bilingual signs have been spray-painted

Aliu confirmed the removal of Serbian roads signs will continue, an avalanche of reactions on both sides – Cyrillic at the center

Bilingual signboards are being installed in the north, names appear first in Albanian, Cyrillic signs removed

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