KSPAG: Problems can be solved, what is needed is political will!
The Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, as
a member of the Kosovo-Serbia Policy Advocacy Group, with the support of the
European Union, organized a roundtable “Technical Agreements and
Cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina – Energy, Trade, Regional
Development”, with an aim to inform the public and promote the benefits of the technical dialogue
between Belgrade and Pristina.
This roundtable brought together representatives
of civil society, experts and representatives of the Serbian Chamber of
Commerce, who discussed the progress made so far in the implementation of
technical agreements, their impact on citizens and consequences they have on
energy, trade and regional development.
Speaking about the issues of common
interest between Belgrade and Pristina, an expert in economic policy and
international relations Srecko Djukic stated that long-term investments in
energy is needed across the region, because “the energy is a decisive
factor for further development”.
He emphasized that energy management and
concretely the gasification is essential for connecting the region, and above
all for economic cooperation. Djukic said that if the region “wants to be part
of the EU it must at least halve its coal production”.
“The region needs a large pipeline for the
energy supply because it is important for development,” Djukic said.
Analyzing the implementation of the
technical agreement on energy between Belgrade and Pristina, Djukic said that
political will is needed to solve all the problems.
“If we look from technical and expertise level,
this issue could be solved, but there is no political will on either side. It
should be analyzed how to make things better in this area, because it deals
with the most basic human needs. These are not unsolvable things, it is
possible to solve them in the near future,” Djukic stated.
The head of the Center for Regional
Cooperation of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Aleksandar Radovanovic,
emphasized that problems in trade affect regional cooperation. The introduction
of non-tariff barriers hinders cooperation and has a negative impact on both
economies, he said.
“The cooperation of business companies from
Serbia and Kosovo contributed to the industrialization of Kosovo, because over
55% of imports from Serbia were raw materials which were used for further
production by Kosovo companies. So, the introduction of tariffs caused lost not
only for small and medium-sized companies in Serbia but for the Kosovo
producers as well,” Radovanovic said.
According to him, the chambers of commerce
of Serbia and Kosovo are cooperating but within other projects in the Western
“We hope that the tariffs will be removed because
we all lose,” he added.
Talking about the results in the implementation
of certain technical agreements, Dragisa Mijacic, executive director of the
Institute for Territorial Economic Development in Serbia, said that there has
been progress in the issues related to freedom of movement, but still much remains
to be done.
“In all agreements there are problems in
realization, for example in education, customs and so on, these are not as big
problems as the issue of the Association of Serbian municipalities. The energy
agreement is perhaps the most difficult agreement, which has not been
implemented and we don’t know what will happen,” he said, while adding that “cooperation
is also needed in the field of environmental protection because pollution
Mijacic stressed the cooperation of two
sides in the development of active tourism as economic but also a social branch
that contributes inter-ethnic communication, reconciliation and branding.
“There are examples of good cooperation and
it’s not always so black. Although maybe at the micro level but there are
certainly signs that people can function and work together if given the
opportunity and framework to do that,” Mijacic said.
Representatives of the Novi Pazar business community
and civil society organizations have called for resolving political disputes
between Belgrade and Pristina in order to restore a favorable business
environment, stating that companies from the region had good trade co-operation
with the Kosovo businesses.
According to the participants, it is necessary
to include citizens in the implementation of the technical agreements in order
to open perspective for all, at local and regional level.
roundtable is part of the activities anticipated in the “Promoting and
Communicating Benefits of the Pristina – Belgrade EU Facilitated Dialogue”
project, implemented by the KSPAG.
was organized with the assistance of the European Union. The contents are the
sole responsibility of Kosovo-Serbia Policy Advocacy Group Consortium and can
in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.