Serbs and Albanians unhappy with the freedom of movement

Serbs and Albanians unhappy with the freedom of movement

IBNA Special Report

Pristina, September 10, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Serb and Albanian businessmen and journalists say that the agreements reached between Pristina and Belgrade have not contributed in the free movement of people.

Free movement of people continues to be difficult, even after the agreement reached in Brussels between Kosovo and Serbia.

Even the tax that citizens of Kosovo and Serbia must pay to cross the border is unaffordable for them.

This was said by Serb journalists and entrepreneurs during a debate with the topic, “What is the cost of the freedom of movement”.

But, Albanian analysts Fatmir Sheholli and Fadil Lepaja said that the freedom of movement has improved a lot in Kosovo, especially in the central part, but not in the north of Mitrovica.

Dragana Zecevic, journalist of “Vecerni Novosti”, said that the agreement reached in Brussels during the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, have not been successful and according to her, they have restricted the freedom of movement.

“I must pay at least 20 Euros a week in tax. The agreement reached in Brussels between the two governments was not successful in terms of the freedom of our movement. On the contrary, it has restricted our movement, because only those who have money can travel with these taxes”, says she.

Zecevic said that these taxes have mostly benefited insurance companies.

But, on the other hand, analyst Fatmir Sheholli mentioned three main points regarding to the freedom of movement: free movement in the economic and business aspect, free movement from 1999 to 2014 and the approach of the media in Belgrade toward the free movement in Kosovo.

He said that as far as the business aspect is concerned, Serbia exports to Kosovo around 400 million Euros, while Kosovo exports to Serbia 18-20 million Euros worth of goods, which means that in the business aspect, freedom of movement is satisfactory.

Sheholli has criticized Serb leaders who have been part of the government of Kosovo, about the lack of the freedom of movement in the north of Kosovo.

According to him, those Serb representatives who have served in both cabinets of Thaci government, have not met their obligations.

“The situation of free movement in central Kosovo is much better than in the north of Kosovo”, says Sheholli.

The other Albanian analyst, Fadil Lepaja said that the agreement for the free movement, reached in Brussels between Kosovo and Serbia has not been done to serve the interests of the citizens, but the interests of both countries.

“The government of Serbia and that of Kosovo have agreed in order to serve their interests. They have not cared about the interests of the citizens and they have not realized the European style in the border, where there are no barriers or police officers”, said Lepaja.

Bogulub Markinkovic, owner of a bus company which travels from Kosovo to Serbia, said that he needs to pay at least 240 Euros in taxes to enter Serbia and according to him, this tax is unaffordable. /ibna/