Albania-Kosovo roaming tariffs to be removed in May

Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Fatmir Limaj said for Radio Evropa e Lire (Free Europe Radio) that the telecommunications roaming tariffs between Albania and Kosovo will be removed starting May 2019. Limaj also serves as the national coordinator between the two countries.

“As Kosovo, we are ready to remove the roaming immediately, but I believe that Tirana too, will decide on that very soon through a government decision and in May we no longer have roaming issues,” said Limaj.

The roaming tariffs imply telecommunications and mobile service that citizens receive from their home operator while in another country. However, these tariffs are normally twice the price from what a customer normally pays in his home country. So, the roaming tariffs removal would mean not having to buy extra pricey credit when traveling to Kosovo or Albania.

Kosovo’s parliament has already passed a resolution in its assembly on June 2018 for the removal of these tariffs. The Institute GAP in Kosovo was the one to initially suggest these tariff removals since 2014 in the framework of the EU directives for western Balkans, as the EU countries had already removed their roaming tariffs since 2007. This would also be beneficial for the citizens and businesses considering the deepening relations between Albania and Kosovo.

That the roaming tariffs removal between Albania and Kosovo is in benefit of the citizens and businesses was also said by communications expert Agron Dida. He said that this action should be expanded to the whole region so a more favorable situation in terms of communications can be created.

“I think that only the interests of the operators which would refuse to take this action are under question here. Kosovo needs global communications, and with Albania especially has national interest and in other aspects for this to happen,” said Dida.

Along with the removal of roaming tariffs, DP Limaj said that other signed agreements between Albania and Kosovo are under accomplishment. In joint meetings through years between the governments of the two countries, have been signed multiple agreements which aim strategic shared governance with a Euroatlantic vision.

Recently in Nov. 2018, the two governments met in Peje, where they also decided in unifying the customs and removing their tariffs for an easier trade. These agreements are the old priorities which have waited to see the light of day, and the two counties’ leaders said that they will be implemented within six months upon signing.

The two counties have signed a collaborative intergovernmental protocol which represents the full institutional frame of the bilateral relations in all fields, started from economics to education. But more than often there have been obstacles in realizing these agreements, such as bureaucracy and negligence. Limaj said that the coordination group gathered after multiple complaints from the interest sides to monitor why some of the 80 treaties signed aren’t executed.

“We are monitoring these deals to see why aren’t they being executed and to start their implementation,’’ said Limaj.

Billions of euros have been invested in road infrastructure in Albania and Kosovo, so the countries could have an easier economic collaboration. Yet, there seem to be many difficulties faced in tradings, assuming an unsatisfactory relation. Official records claim that Albania exports annually 200 million euros of goods to Kosovo, whereas Kosovo exports 60 million euros of goods to Albania.