The government of Acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti has put in place another reciprocity measure in trade with Serbia. The new measure requires Serbian companies to write “Republic of Kosovo” on export documentation, and to get an entry permit from Kosovo state’s representative office in Serbia.
Serbia implements the same measure toward Kosovo companies.
Kosovo’s government lifted 100 percent tariffs on Serbian goods on March 31, and started implementing reciprocity measures, firstly by demanding that products imported from Serbia include “Kosovo” as a destination.
The new measures received negative reactions from EU envoy for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajcak, President Hashim Thaci and parties in opposition with Kurti’s LVV.
Lajcak called for the immediate removal of the measure:
Disappointed about new reciprocity measures introduced by care-taker government of Kosovo.Such unilateral actions undermine the Dialogue-resumption & should be removed immediately. As consistently said, we expect both parties to the Dialogue to implement & respect past agreements
— Miroslav Lajčák (@MiroslavLajcak) May 31, 2020
Kosovo’s Speaker of Parliament Vjosa Osmani replied by defending the principle of reciprocity, also as part of agreements between Serbia and Kosovo.
The agrements refer to reciprocical measures in trade & docs and respect for intl’ standards. Most important standard in intl trade: reciprocity. What 🇽🇰 is doing is exactly what you’re are asking us to do: implementing the agreements. About time for 🇷🇸 to do its share. 2/2
— Vjosa Osmani (@VjosaOsmaniMP) May 31, 2020
President Hashi Thaci accused Kurti of “patriotic fraud” and “strategically wrong” decisions that go against the U.S. and EU expectations and jeopardize relations with the U.S.
Në përpëlitjet e fundit para se të largohet nga zyra, Kurti po i vazhdon mashtrimet patriotike me vendime strategjikisht…
Democratic Party of Kosovo, previously headed by Thaci, also slammed Kurti’s decision as deceitful.
Avdullah Hoti of LDK called reciprocity measures with Serbia “obstacles” to dialogue and promised to remove them all when he becomes prime minister.
We need to support dialogue. The new Gov of Kosovo will coordinate with Kosovo's partners, removing obstacles to dialogue. Only this way do we advance Kosovo's position in the international arena and remove from Serbia the alibi to delay the agreement on mutual recognition.
— Avdullah Hoti (@Avdullah) May 31, 2020
Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has also slammed the decision, adding that they won’t consider sitting in talks unless Kosovo removes reciprocity measures.
“Serbia won’t recognize Kosovo but it wants dialogue and compromise. If they think compromise means that Serbia will recognize Kosovo, this is not going to happen,” Dacic was quoted stating for RTS.
“Denying the reciprocity principle to Kosovo means to deny it [the right] to exercise its sovereignty rights,” Kurti reacted to statements against reciprocity measures imposed by his government.