Prishtine, 17 December 2008 – Last week marked the transformation of the UNMIK Customs Service into Kosovo Customs. On Friday, 12 December, Kosovo Government and EULEX officials attended the ceremony of handover.
The Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Kosovo, Ahmet Shala, said the customs will spread its authority all over Kosovo territory, including the north.
The head of Kosovo Customs Naim Huruglica expressed his belief that soon customs officers will be able to return to customs points 1 and 31 in the north, which have remained closed since Serb protesters orchestrated by parallel structures run by Belgrade burned them down in reaction to Kosovo independence. Huruglica said the decision of the security bodies is expected before they can go back to the customs points in the north.
EULEX sent members to the border crossings on the first day of their deployment throughout Kosovo however, customs clearance is still done at the terminal in Mitrovica, offering an opening to smugglers, which experts have said, may cause up to €100 million in losses to the Kosovo budget a year.
ECIKS / New Kosova Report