From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Kosovo Parliament Disagrees on Phasing Out of Serbian Tariffs

Today in Kosovo’s Parliament, a discussion took place regarding Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s announced plans to phase out the 100% import tax on goods from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

The session was held following the submission of 41 signatures from Opposition MPs were submitted to the assembly following Kurti’s announcement that the tariff will be lifted for raw materials on 15 March. He said that the tariff will be completely removed as of 1 April for a period of 90 days if Serbia stops their derecognition campaign against the state.

Brother of ex-Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and head of the Parliamentary Group for the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Daut Haradinaj asked Kurti not to remove the tariff, accusing Kurti of surrendering his principles. He said that such a move would put Kosovo in danger and could be seen as a moment of weakness.

Rexhep Selimi, the head of Vetvendosje’s parliamentary group said that the tariffs failed to stop Serbia’s ongoing campaign against Kosovo’s independence. He said that citizens had voted for change and action and that is what the Prime Minister is doing

PDK MP Bedri Hamza said that the tariffs were a justified response to Serbian aggression including its opposition to Kosovo’s wish to join UNESCO and INTERPOL. He said that the countries main priority should be preserving relations with the EU and US, both of whom have asked for the withdrawal of the tariff. 

Members of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Kurti’s governing partners have objected to the plan and are seeking the full removal of the tariff and described it as an “inadequate political tool”.

Following Kurti’s announcement last week, US Special Envoy for Serbia-Kosovo negotiations Richard Grenell made a strong statement on Twitter, calling the news a “half measure” and a “serious mistake”. Meanwhile, Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the  EU welcomed the move saying they were “looking forward to seeing more details”.