IBNA Special Report
Pristina, January 15, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Elton Tota
The new government of Kosovo says that it aims at putting foreign policy at the service of the economic welfare of the citizens in order to encourage economic development and the opening of new jobs.
Deputy PM and Foreign Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci says that economic diplomacy will be his priority during the four years term in office.
“Besides continuing with the traditional priorities of our foreign policy, such as Euro-Atlantic integration, talks with Serbia, international recognitions, public diplomacy, my main new priority will be economic diplomacy. This will aim at putting foreign policies at the service of the economic welfare of the citizens in order to encourage economic development and to open new jobs”, declared Thaci.
Experts of economic affairs told IBNA that the economic diplomacy proposed by PM Thaci is difficult to be achieved without a strategy.
Economy professor, Vebi Rama told IBNA that without a concrete strategy and plan for the functioning of the judicial system, fight against corruption and reformation of tax policies, there will not be results in this aspect.
“You can spend as much money as you want on adverts aiming at attracting investors. Without the rule of law and fight against corruption, there will not be investments of foreign capital in Kosovo. Foreign companies do not invest in countries where 10 to 20% of the amount of a tender must be paid to a politician”, says he.
According to him, due to corruption, foreign companies have lost their interest for the market of Kosovo. “Those few investors that come to Kosovo are from Turkey and other non European countries that know the Balkan mentality and are ready to corrupt government people to benefit a tender.”
Prominent analyst, Shkelzen Dakaj told IBNA that without a reformation of tax policies and an improvement of the business climate, it’s difficult to implement ideas regarding economic development and growth of foreign investments.
He proposes a change in the VAT, because according to him, this is damaging businesses.
Dakaj also demands for mechanisms to be found in order to respect business contracts.
“The majority of commercial banks complain that they are not issuing low interest loans because contracts are not respected. In this situation of high interest rates, manufacturers are unable to invest and expand their economic activity”, says he.
EU: Economic development is the priority of the government of Kosovo
The European Union is ready to help Kosovo in meeting its priorities for economic development.
The special representative of the EU office in Kosovo, Samuel Zbogar said that 2015 will be a difficult year, full of challenges for the EU, Europe and Kosovo.
He said that this year will be difficult because people in Kosovo expect changes and an improvement of their life, while the government has very little time to achieve results.
He added that there’s a lot of work to be done by Kosovo and EU and that he’s happy that the government’s priorities consist on economic development, because this tackles problems that exist in Kosovo.
“There’s a new government with Serb ministers who come from the north of Kosovo and I’m sure that they, as representatives of Serbs from Kosovo, will do everything in order for the position of Serbs and non Serbs to be improved. This way, they will have hope for the future and not flee Kosovo in search of work”, said Zbogar. /ibna/