A major challenge for the political parties that will form the new government of Kosovo after 6 October will be to decide whether to abolish or continue the implementation of previous government measures on 100% import tax on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kosovo Albanian political parties have not even mentioned the suspension of the government’s previous decision to impose taxes, and most of them say they are “for the establishment of reciprocal measures towards Serbia”, reports Radio Free Europe.
“The taxes will continue to be in force if the Democratic Party of Kosovo gets a mandate to form a government after the elections,” said Enver Hoxhaj, vice president of the Party, stressing that this policy will remain in place until Serbia “stops its aggressive campaign against Kosovo.
“Necessary, but not sufficient”
“The principle that should guide Kosovo’s relations with Serbia in the future will be the principle of reciprocity,” said Hoxhaj himself.
The Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (DSK) spokesman, Besian Mustafa shares this view and also supports “reciprocal measures towards Serbia” by saying that the suspension can only be lifted under these conditions.
The Self-determination Movement, on the other hand, states that “not only will reciprocal measures not be abolished, but full trade, economic and political reciprocity towards Serbia will be applied”.
“The tax is necessary but not sufficient to guarantee the territorial integrity of Kosovo as a state in its relations with Serbia and to maintain mutual relations,” says Rexhep Selimi, a member of the Party’s leadership, Kosovo Online reports.
If the party of former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj – Alliance for the Future of Kosovo – were to win the elections, it would not change the decision on the taxes introduced by Haradinaj himself.
“Until Serbia recognizes Kosovo”
Ahmet Isufi, vice-president of the party, said that “even in a possible coalition after the early elections, only those political forces that support the decision on 100% tax on the import of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina would enter”.
Isufi reiterated Haradinaj’s view that “the tax will not be abolished until Serbia recognizes Kosovo. After all, Kosovo has the right to defend its market and interests without in any way allowing Serbia to arm itself and put pressure on through the exploitation of its market,” Isufi told Radio Slobodna Evropa.
The Kosovo government decided to impose a 100% duty on imports of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on 21 November last year, as a measure of retaliation against countries that had prevented its accession to Interpol.
(Al Jazeera, 09.09.2019)