5108 - Galeria_single | MMPH

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Prishtina, 17 April 2013 – The Minister of Economic Development, Besim Beqaj, invited Greek businessmen to continue to pursue and develop further the good relations with Kosovo, adding that concrete economic agreements between the two economies should promote political relations between Kosovo and Greece.

Beqaj made these comments in his introductory speech at the Forum on Kosovo-Greece Economic Relations, attended by around 100 Greek businessmen, while praising the good economic relations between the two countries.

“According to the data made available to me, we have significant imports from Greece, while we also started with small scale exporting. However, this ratio does not provide for a sustainable system for bilateral relations, therefore we will strive to have a better economic balance between Kosovo and Greece,” he said.

Minister Beqaj said that economic relations between two countries are good and that Kosovo is grateful to Greece for the support provided, by being pragmatic in bilateral relations and by not hindering Kosovo’s journey towards European integrations.

The Head of MED expressed his hope that yesterday’s Resolution of the European Parliament calling for the removal of the footnote in documentary references to Kosovo will influence the stands of five EU-member states that have not recognized Kosovo’s independence yet.

“This is the most pragmatic and practical approach for the countries that have not yet recognized Kosovo’s independence to provide a direct contribution not only to visa liberalization but also to supporting Kosovo become a state that brings European values to the EU,” said Beqaj.

Minister Beqaj called this a great day for the entire region, referring to the continuation of the dialogue between the Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia, emphasizing Kosovo’s readiness to move forward, convinced that the EU is not ready to have a country with problems and even territorial aspirations accede, therefore, he wished for the agreement to be signed, as it will open new perspectives for the citizens of both Kosovo and Serbia.

Referring to economic development, Beqaj said that Kosovo’s economy continues to grow against the prevailing crises, thanks to private sector support, vast investments made through Kosovo’s budget, noting that 40 percent of the budget is allocated to capital investments, pursuant to the reforms pursued, whereas the Government is striving to remove all obstacles for businesses, making the country’s economy functional and stimulating private sector activities.

MED’s number one emphasized that Kosovo is listed quite high in the WB report, for 32 places in comparison to previous years, and this means that our procedures have been scrutinized, while promising to undertake all steps necessary for treating businesses well.

Minister Beqaj has emphasized that energy represents another sector in the focus of our work, while adding that comprehensive reforms are implemented in this sector.

“Recently we have privatized electricity distribution functions to two Turkish companies, while we have inclusion of Greek companies in our future plans, being that one Greek company has joined a consortium with an American company. Three companies have prequalified for a 1 billion euro project and we hope that we will conclude the agreement on this project during this year,” he said.

The Minister further said that PTK privatization is in process and two companies have been part of the bidding, while noting that the decision has been adopted in the Government and now further procedures are conducted towards signing the agreement with the respective company.

According to Beqaj, there were no investments in Kosovo in the past, whereas now Kosovo is two and a half hours away from the Durrës port, but this represents merely one of Kosovo’s sea accesses, as we will continue to cooperate with the Thessaloniki port, bearing in mind that the Government of Kosovo has allocated the appropriate budget this year for initiating the highway to Skopje, which will bring Thessaloniki and Kosovo, respectively Greek and Kosovo economies, even closer.

“In May, we will organize a large donor conference for the sector of energy efficiency, renewable energy and on the decommissioning of TPP Kosova A. This conference will be held on 14 May and invite all of you to participate in it, in order to see whether any possible partnerships could be made in projects in the sphere of solar, wind and gas-powered energy,” he added.

Beqaj said that the conference is supported by the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, while thanking Greece for voting in favor of Kosovo’s full membership in EBRD and adding that this Bank is now adopting its country-strategy for Kosovo.

“As you may see, there are vast possibilities, and many businessmen participating here have good memories of Kosovo – Greece relations in the past, which we wish to rejuvenate and I hope that those relations will serve as means for Kosovo’s recognition by Greece. This represents the one final step for acceleration and further advancement of economic relations,” he added, while welcoming the decision for the opening of a Kosovo Commerce Office in Greece, which will further strengthen the relations between these two countries and beyond.

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