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EU offers ‘compromise’ in exchange for tariff withdrawal

A letter by EU officials addressed to Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj requested the revocation of the increased import tariff against Serbian products, offering certain changes within CEFTA.

A letter signed by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom and European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn appealed for Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj to undo the 100 per cent increase to import tariffs on Serbian and Bosnian products, offering to change Kosovo’s name in the Central European Free Trade Agreement, CEFTA, from UNMIK to Kosovo*.

In the letter obtained by, EU officials respond to a previous letter sent by Haradinaj, where he justifies the levying of the tariff, requesting Kosovo government to temporarily suspend the decision before Monday, then endeavor to void it completely.

The letter says that the European Commission takes Haradinaj’s concerns “very seriously,” calling all parties to respect mutually agreed upon rules regarding trade.

“We have also become aware of a list of trade practices by Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina that, according to Kosovo’s viewpoint, present barriers in the appropriate application of CEFTA arrangements and cause meaningful problems in the field for economic activity and citizens,” the letter reads.

The EU officials reiterated their position on the import tariff, saying that it will damage Kosovo’s economic interests.

“Imposing new tariffs will damage the economic interest of Kosovo and its people in the mid-term, decreasing trade exchange lowering Kosovo’s attraction of investments and business. This decision should be revoked as soon as possible,” the letter highlights.

Advisor to Haradinaj Halil Matoshi dubbed the contents of the letter “a compromise” and an invitation for less independence towards the EU.

“Nobody has the right to make compromises with February 17 [Kosovo’s independence day], with Kosovo’s sovereignty and its territory. Prime Minister Haradinaj has made it clear for friends and enemies of the Republic [of Kosovo]: February 17 cannot be infringed or negotiated!” Matoshi wrote.

Avni Arifi, Haradinaj’s advisor and chief of the technical negotiation team in the EU-mediated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, said that Haradinaj issued a response to Mogherini, but refused to comment on it as “it might not have arrived yet.”

“What I can say is that the Kosovo government has in no way made any changes in its policies or regarding the tariff and any other approach regarding current developments that we talk about,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Kosovo government voted to increase the customs tariff for goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to 100 per cent on November 21.

17/12/2018 - 10:37

17 December 2018 - 10:37

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