IBNA Interview: Economic Chamber of Kosovo, against the exchange of access to sea with the interconnection

IBNA Interview: Economic Chamber of Kosovo, against the exchange of access to sea with the interconnection

The chairman of ECK: Kosovo is not helped if it’s promised access to sea through the port of Shengjin and to be deprived of the interconnection

By Tinka Kurti

The chairman of the Economic Chamber of Kosovo, Safet Gerxhaliua has said that holidaymakers from Kosovo in the beaches of Albania need to see the products of Kosovo there, like they do in Montenegro.

He added that neither Kosovo nor Albania is helped by the electoral promises which are not kept such as the promise of the port of Shengjin in exchange of the suspension of the interconnection project. This reaction comes after the government in Tirana has promised to put the port of Shengjin at the disposal of the authorities in Kosovo, thus insuring Kosovo’s access to sea.

How do you consider the economic relations between Kosovo and Albania?

Given that we are two states of a divided people, as far as the economic aspect is concerned, we have no reason to be satisfied, when we all know that there have been made great investments in infrastructure and we cannot be happy if the benefits last only two or three months during the summer season. It’s time for more to be done than it’s talked about the economic cooperation between Kosovo and Albania and the relations should not be based on political conjectures.

In what way?

In such way that national interest must be more important than the interests of particular individuals.

Meanwhile, how do you explain the commercial barriers and the low value of commercial exchanges between the two countries?

If we analyze commercial exchanges, they are a reason for concern and it seems that it’s impossible to achieve mutual trust between two business communities. Therefore, more must be done in order to get rid of existing barriers and not to race as to who introduces more barriers like it happened in the case of cement or potatoes. If these relations between Kosovo and Albania are not improved, then we will be dishonest and not serious to a divided people and to Brussels and the EU integration path.

What more can be done in the domain of tourism?

We’re happy about the fact that the number of tourists who visit Albania is growing, but it’s time for institutions in Albania to do more in terms of hospitality and more in order for tourists from Kosovo to find their products in Albania. If the beer that is produced in Kosovo is found in Ulcinj, then there’s no reason for it not to be found in Albania. Then, there’s no reason for a tourist from Italy or Greece to be treated better than a tourist from Kosovo.

What about in Kosovo?

The fact that both countries have different climates, there must be a more advanced tourism, in order for Albanians from Albania to come and visit Kosovo.Meanwhile, there are several suspended projects such as interconnection… In the future, we must do more for the harmonization of legislation and economic criteria in order to eliminate barriers, but at the same time these relations must be stripped off political interests. There must also not be electoral promises which are not kept, because people lose their faith. Neither Kosovo nor Albania is helped by mere promises. For example, we have been promised the port of Shengjin, but on the other hand, interconnection project will be suspended which is of a substantial importance for Kosovo and Albania. /ibna/