The government of Kosovo approved a €2.8 Billion budget for 2022, earmarking €100 million for its growing military force.
The 2022 budget sees an 8.7% increase compared to 2021, or about €220 million.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti emphasized his government would focus on increasing Kosovo’s defense spending to 2% of the country’s GDP, or the commitment required by NATO of its members.
“From the salary savings achieved by the new management of the Kosovo Privatization Agency, we have been able to reorient those funds to the Army and as a result we will recruit 840 new soldiers to meet the transition objectives,” Kurti explained on Friday.
Kurti also pledged to build 50 new kindergartens, and said that €45 million will be used to support new mothers and childcare. Whereas a portion of the budget will be used to ensure that pensions do not fall below €100 per month.
The budget foresees €10 million for the purchase of new embassies, and another €2 million for the Presevo Valley, a region in southern Serbia inhabited by some 60,000 ethnic Albanians.
In July, the Helsinki Committee found that the Serbian government was committing “ethnic cleansing through administrative means” in the Valley, through its removal of ethnic Albanians from their home.
Political leaders from the Presevo Valley have lobbied Kosovo for support, asking that the rights of its Albanian residents be among Kosovo’s main priorities during the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia.