Kosovo seeks equality in CEFTA, Serbia toughens barriers

CEFTA’s Joint Committee held the last meeting for 2021 but did not manage to resolve the issue of Kosovo’s representation without UNMIK.

Kosovo’s Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade said that the first item in the meeting’s agenda was the review of the letter of Minister Rozeta Hajdari who argued for Kosovo representing itself in the mechanism and not through UNMIK.
“UNMIK, as a UN interim mission, signed the CEFTA agreement in 2006 on behalf of Kosovo. At the time UNMIK submitted a statement according to which, the validity of the CEFTA agreement will depend on Kosovo’s future authorities. Now that UNMIK holds no executive powers in Kosovo, minister Hajdari requested Kosovo authorities represent themselves as an equal party. Principle of equality, nondiscrimination and transparency are guaranteed for moving forward towards quicker economic development and EU integration,” the Ministry said in a statement.
Minister Hajdari added that the letter calling for Kosovo’s representation without UNMIK should not be viewed as a political issue but as a necessity to facilitate CEFTA’s functioning.
The Ministry also said that the review of the letter was opposed by representatives of Serbia and Montenegro who claimed that they did not give their consent to the letter being included in the agenda. “The Joint Committee did not approve minister Hajdari’s letter due to lack of consensus.”
At the same time, Kosovo opposed the approval of ministerial conclusions and three draft decisions, including that put forth by Serbia for recognition of economic operators programs and the budget for the CEFTA secretariat. The Ministry said Kosovo would oppose any new act of the Steering Committee “for as long as the legitimate request of Kosovo for equality is not accepted.”
The Ministry also accused Serbia’s authorities of not permitting transit of goods from Kosovo saying that this represents a serious violation of the CEFTA agreement.