Brussels, 11 July 2008 – The international community have pledged a total of 1.2 billion euros ($1.9 billion) over the next three years to support the state building process in Kosovo.
Nearly 40 countries were represented at a donors’ conference in Brussels organized last week by the European Commission. The conference was attended by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi and a range of high governmental officials.
The EU and its member countries pledged a total of 800 million euro and the US 225 million euro. Germany pledged 100 million euro, Norway 48 million euro, the UK 28 million pounds sterling, Switzerland 47 million euro, Luxembourg 25.5 million euro, Italy 13 million euro, France 2.3 million euro, Slovenia 500,000 euro, Bulgaria 500,000 euro etc.
The George Soros Foundation pledged 500,000 euro in aid for the Roma community in Kosovo.
European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said special attention would be paid to monitoring and the capability of the Pristina authorities to spend the funds, as strictly required by the European Parliament’s budget committee.
Interviewed by Kosovo newspaper Koha Ditore, Rehn said that the donors’ conference was of immense importance not only for the economic development of Kosovo but also for the entire region. Rehn emphasised to the newspaper that the funds should be strictly managed.
“We will have to ensure all funds that will be used in Kosovo for economic development, education and rule of law and other needs are spent accordingly,” Rehn said.
Prishtina-based news website Kosova Live quoted Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi as asking that those who participated in the donors’ conference should not judge “the previous politics, but the new economic reality”.
Thaçi promised that the donations would be spent in a rational and transparent way. He said that it was the beginning of a new period for building a “modern multi-ethnic society” in Kosovo that could be integrated in the EU.
European Union, United States and Kosovo officials have hailed a donors’ conference for Kosovo as a great success, while the EU has said that spending of the money would be carefully monitored and Kosovo has promised the money will be spent in a “rational and transparent” way.