Prishtina, January 30, 2004 – Koha Ditore has interviewed Dr. Erhard Busek, the Stability Pact Coordinator for South-East Europe, who recently visited Prishtina.
KD: Why isn’t Kosovo included in free trade agreements in the region?
Busek: Kosovo is included in these agreements. We are trying to include Kosovo as soon as possible in trade agreements with the neighbouring countries. There is already a free trade agreement with Albania, and I am trying to convince Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro to move forward on this issue. I am also encouraging other countries in the region to do so.
KD: Serbia is applying pressure on regional countries by stating that it will end free trade agreements with them if they cooperate with Kosovo. What is your comment on this?
Busek: The Union of Serbia and Montenegro recognizes the provisional agreements and this is enough, bearing in mind that Kosovo’s status is still unresolved.
KD: After Serbian representatives gave their speeches at the meeting in Rome, Kosovar representatives weren’t even allowed to make their presentations?
Busek: They were at the table… they were not invited to lunch, but in every other meeting a representative of UNMIK and a representative of the provisional government were at the table. The presentations were up to the Italian presidency, which hosted the meeting.
KD: What is the meaning of being represented in the Stability Pact in this case?
Busek: I can give you a list why it is important for Kosovo to be represented in the Stability Pact, and it is a pretty long list.
KD: As its Coordinator, will you do anything concrete to improve Kosovo’s position in the Stability Pact?
Busek: This is certain because we in the Stability Pact will do everything not to let Kosovo to become a black hole. We aim to integrate Kosovo in the region and we are satisfied with economic developments here.
KD: Will the Pact be within Kosovo’s reach?
Busek: Certainly. We are waiting for a decision by the Kosovo Assembly on the possibility to participate in programmes of international financial institutions, e.g. on transport. We are waiting for an action plan on electricity; we are trying to include Kosovo in the Center for Fighting Organized Crime and we intend to push forward Kosovo joining free trade agreements in the region. All this is in the context of improving standards.
KD: When will the electrical transmitter between Kosovo and Albania be set up?
Busek: The problem now is that we are still waiting for the Kosovo Government to give us the action plan on the Memorandum of Understanding for the Regional Market on Electric Power. The Kosovo Government still hasn’t done this. I have talked to the Prime Minister and he said that they were still considering this and we are waiting.
As in most regional countries, crime is a problem in Kosovo, too. Lately there have been investigations against UNMIK officials.
We have a Center for Fighting Organized Crime, which is based in Sarajevo and we have proposed to the Prime Minister to join it. My proposal was to form an independent committee that would investigate this but this also depends much on how we can go public with the fight against corruption. There will be no impact on institutions and politicians if these things are not made public.
ECIKS / Koha Ditore