Pristina, 16 June 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Elton Tota
After signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the European Union in collaboration with institutions of Kosovo is investing in the growth of competition of small and medium sized enterprises.
Along with the Ministry of Commerce, the EU has allocated around 4 million euros for 36 enterprises from Kosovo, which have managed to produce quality products in line with European standards.
Christoff Stock, head of cooperation at the EU office, says that this program aims at increasing competition for enterprises, to replace imported products and generate employment.
Meanwhile, Avni Kastrati, vice minister of Commerce says that this program has generated around 200 new jobs.
“As you know, the EU and the Ministry of Commerce have invested around 4 million euros allocated in the form of grants to support SMEs. We have the pleasure to announce that the companies which have benefited these grants have managed to significantly increase their production capacities, increasing the export level and generating new jobs. Based on the information that we have, the 36 beneficiary enterprises have created over 200 jobs”, he said.
Professor of European law, Bardhyl Hasanpapaj told IBNA that investments in enterprises must increase, in order to cope with the competition coming from regional and European markets.
“Kosovo’s SMEs must work more in order to boost their capacities and innovation. These objectives cannot be achieved without the help of Kosovo institutions and the European Union structural funds”, he says.
According to him, Kosovo’s SMEs have difficulties in securing loans, especially in the initial stages of their development.
“Their limited sources restrict their access to new technologies and innovation. In this manner, we cannot be competitive, especially after the signing of SAA, which liberalizes trade with EU member countries”, he says.
Expert of European affairs, Muhamer Pajaziti told IBNA that Kosovo must deliver the objectives of the European Charter of SMEs.
He says that this document represents the key policies of the European Commission for member countries and the countries which are in the process of Stabilization and Association.
“It is a strategic instrument which is applied in all Western Balkan countries as a method of planning for the future, in order for these countries to achieve European standards. Thus, there must be more investments in education and training in entrepreneurship, legislation and technological capacities must be strengthened”, Pajaziti says.
So far, Kosovo has approved the Program of Economic Reforms, the National Development Strategy and it has established the SME’s Guarantee Fund. /balkaneu.com/