Kosovo: expropriating the land for the highway

Prishtina, 9 May 2007 – The Ministry of Transport and Post Telecommunication (MTPT) has calculated a total sum for expropriating the land for the Merdare – Vermice highway. According to the plan, 65% (686 hectares) of the land are private property and may be compensated with € 80 million.

“Our calculations indicate that some € 80 million are required for expropriating the land. We have already begun reviewing possible alternatives to ensure the means,” stated MTPT Senior Advisor on Infrastructure, Florim Grajqevci. He added that Minister Ahmeti has raised this issue at the assembly and requested that a part of the means of the second mobile telephony license be used for compensating the land.

Advisor Grajqevci said that a special working group will be established to properly evaluate and categorize the land. “It will be decided which land is urban, rural and mountainous. Once the land is categorized, the compensation will follow,” stated Grajqevci.

The issue will be discussed at the government meeting next week and the Kosovo Assembly will be requested to declare the area a zone of national interest. Grajqevci also pointed out that he is aware that expropriation cannot take place without the ratification of the Law on Expropriation. This law is still waiting for the signature of head of UNMIK Joachim Ruecker.

Concerning the finance issue of the entire project, Grajqevci stated that the best option at the moment seems to be the one through Public – Private Partnership (PPP), with the participation of the government as well.

MTPT officials believe that the best way to avoid any eventual misuse would be if the donor manages the means.

Deputy Head of the Economic Commission within the Kosovo Assembly, Bajrush Xhemajli said that the deputies and the commission have requested explanations from the UNMIK Legal Office regarding the delays to sign the Law on Expropriation. According to Xhemajli, UNMIK officials replied that the law must first be translated properly and then reviewed in all its details.