Prime Minister Thaçi: with this agreement, Serbia has definitively recognized the state of Kosovo, with regard to customs
Prishtina, 31 January 2013
Today, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, the Regulation on areas of administrative competence of the Office of the Prime Minister and ministers, and in accordance with the Resolution approved by the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo on normalizing relations between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi addressed deputies of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo regarding the latest meeting held in Brussels with the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, mediated by the European Union Representative on Foreign Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton.
The following is the full text of the speech given by Prime Minister Thaçi in the Kosovo Assembly
Distinguished guests present in the chamber,
Distinguished citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,
Allow me to inform you about the development and results of the meeting in Brussels between me, in my capacity as Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, and Mr. Dacic of Serbia, with the mediation of the European Union, respectively Baroness Ashton.
Thank you for this opportunity, following my request, to inform you and to report to you about this meeting, in the Kosovo Assembly.
In this meeting, we discussed dismantling Serbias illegal security structures in Kosovo; completing the IBM Agreement, especially with respect to customs; as well as the actions that the Government of the Republic of Kosovo would undertake to implement law and order in the northern part of our country.
The Government of the Republic of Kosovo thinks that marked progress has been made in these meetings in establishing normal inter-state relations between the countries of Kosovo and of Serbia, and in removing obstructions and ending illegal intervention by Serbia.
The conclusion of this meeting was the decision that: the Serbian party has undertaken obligations to dismantle illegal security structures in Kosovo; and, we have reached agreement on customs, according to which law and order will be enforced in this area according to the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, our laws and a unitary customs system in Kosovo.
We have set out our commitment, as the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, to improving the socio-economic situation of our citizens in the north of our country.
The Government of the Republic of Kosovo believes that dialogue on normalizing inter-state relations between Kosovo and Serbia is in the function of peace and stability in the region, in the interests of our citizens, as well as facilitating faster integration of our country in the European Union.
I would like to thank the representatives of political parties who yesterday demonstrated their willingness to be informed by me in a meeting we held within the Kosovo Assembly.
Allow me now to talk to you about the agreement reached about customs.
Excise and VAT will be collected at customs points 1 and 31 according to the laws of Kosovo and will be initially deposited in the state Treasury.
Meanwhile, the European Representative in Prishtina will open up a bank account, in one of the commercial banks in Prishtina, where these funds from points 1 and 31 will be temporarily managed.
The Fund will be managed by a three member board, one representative of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, one from the community and one from the European Union.
Decisions about capital and infrastructural investment will be taken by consensus by Board members, and in the absence of consensus, the vote of the European Union representative will be decisive.
Technical groups are currently working on the implementation of this agreement, which is above all in the interest of our citizens, who live in the north of the country.
The Agreement on customs is in full accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and its laws. This agreement defends the principle of Kosovo as a unitary customs zone, and the same state laws apply across the country, with regard to this issue.
This agreement enforces law and order in customs in the northern part of the country and it stops existing irregularities.
The Agreement foresees the functioning of the customs administration as in other parts of the country. The Agreement facilitates the full collection of all customs duties, including excise and VAT, and the revenue collected will be deposited in the Budget of the Republic of Kosovo.
With this agreement, parallel structures will be dismantled in customs, customs activity will be normalized, and full registration of trading and economic activity will be secured.
This agreement makes possible a complete stop to smuggling across the border; it facilitates the stabilizing of the countrys market; and, it protects free competition and provides institutional protection for legal trade.
In other words, this agreement makes possible the normalization of trade relations between two states, according to European Union criteria.
In the political aspect, with this agreement Serbia has definitively recognized the state of Kosovo, with regard to customs.