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Prishtina, 25 April 2013 – The general international fair in Prishtina started in rather difficult conditions, but it is now gaining grounds and Kosovo’s economy is represented in a better light every year, said the Minister of Economic Development, Besim Beqaj, in his opening address of International Fair ‘Prishtina 2013’, attended by senior government dignitaries, business representatives and numerous citizens.

Minister Beqaj stated that after Kosovo’s membership in EBRD, the latter’s Board adopted the first country strategy for Republic of Kosovo, whereas next week himself, the Prime Minister and Deputy-Prime Minister will attend the annual EBRD conference.

“EBRD strategy envisages around 150 million euro in investments in various spheres, including energy sector, renewable energy sector and the sector of public enterprises, all aimed at improving the quality of living for the country’s citizens. The private sector is also included, hence I call upon you to start considering this possibility and to apply to EBRD, through the Governor of Republic of Kosovo representing our country in EBRD,” said Beqaj.

Speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, he said that he will strive to treat better, faster in a more effective manner all requests presented from businesses, while inviting to private sector to present its ideas on renewable energy investments and to participate in the donor’s conference on the renewable energy sector in Republic of Kosovo.

The Head of MED expressed his hope that all participants will have a successful activity, will be able to conclude contracts and present products in the most successful manner, while adding that this is the best argument that Kosovo’s economy is increasing its competitiveness in both the country and the region.

For her part, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, emphasized that the institution headed by her is committed to improving the doing business environment, by conducting thorough reforms that are aimed to facilitating the operation of businesses in Kosovo.

“The Government of Kosovo is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, in order for our country to have a larger number of successful businesses, which are financially sustainable and able to survive in the open local, regional and global markets,” underscored Kusari-Lila.

For her part, the Minister of European Integration, Vlora Çitaku, said that the European Union is more so an economic union than a political union, also bearing in mind that the very idea of EU derived from the need for a common market.

“Unfortunately, Kosovo still lacks a contractual relation with EU, however, a positive development in this regard is that we will now start to negotiate the Stabilization Association Agreement, which as a measure is 70% focused in the sphere of trade, therefore I hope that by next year’s fair, Kosovo will have signed the Stabilization-Association Agreement and that Kosovo merchandise and products will be freely circulating in Europe,” she added.

The President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, Safet Gërxhaliu, said that his organization’s mission is to contribute to economic development to the greatest extent, while adding that economic development is considered a stamp of political victories.

According to him, the private sector is the key bearer of economic development and of this battle, and that the business community knows how and will be a crucial contributor to these processes, with adequate support and partnership from the institutions.