Kosovo: EU supports private sector

Prishtina, Kosovo, 26 March 2007 – The European Union today launched the €3.2 million programme Fund for Agro-processing and Industrial Revitalisation (FAIR) to support local economic development and the creation of new employment in the northern part of Kosovo.

Investment in economic growth is the best way to overcome social and political difficulties and it is the time to change the face of a history and to invest in the future,” said Pierre Mirel, Director responsible for the Western Balkans, in the EU Commission for Enlargement. Kosovo’s Minister of Trade and Industry Bujar Dugolli stated that this project offers direct assistance for the community, which enables them top develop their businesses.

The FAIR programme, managed by the European Agency for Reconstruction, offers financial and technical support to entrepreneurs who are selected through a competitive application process, which will take place three times over 2007 and 2008. It will specifically benefit the municipalities of Mitrovicë, Zveçan, Vushtrri, Zubin Potok and Leposaviq and will generate an estimated 2.000 jobs in the area.

“This programme will provide substantial grants for private investments to expand and create businesses, said Thierry Bernard-Guele, Head of Kosovo Centre at the European Agency for Reconstruction. ‘ The recipients of grants will also receive professional help and advice in finance, production and management through a separate programme worth €800,000, he added.

Presenting the FAIR programme, Enrico Ponziani, head of the Iinternational Organization for Migration in Kosovo, that will implement this programme on behalf of EU stated : ”FAIR has the means to rapidly and effectively stimulate the economy. It is unique in this sense, as no other on-going initiative in Kosovo offers this level of investment capital. By providing capital grants, while simultaneously encouraging foreign investment, FAIR has the potential to create a significant number of jobs.

Existing or new entrepreneurs can apply for a FAIR Grant ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 EURO to purchase equipment and/or technology needed to start or improve a new business. FAIR Grant applications will be evaluated against factors including administrative compliance, the viability and soundness of the investment and the number of jobs created.

FAIR programme is part of wider EU support economic development in the northern part of Kosovo including funding of specific projects at the Trepca mining complex in Mitrovica, a multi-ethnic market, cattle market, small business production site in south Mitrovica, international wholesale market, business complex and redevelopment of the Ibar riverbank north Mitrovica and in Zveçan.