Hahn meets with Kosovo officials and “Serbian List” MPs

Johannes Hahn; Photo: Tanjug / Dragan Kujundžić

PRISTINA – Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, stated yesterday in Pristina that the imposition of 100% tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to be revoked, because EU aims to create a common market, Zeri online reported.

Hahn said that during a special conference for journalists after separate conversations with highest state officials, Ramush Haradinaj, Kadri Veseli and Hashim Thaçi.

One of the topics the meetings focused on was visa liberalisation. Prime Minister Haradinaj, before the meeting had started, stated that he expected good news in this area.

“We hoped that we will receive good news on Kosovo visa liberalisation before Christmas”, said Haradinaj.

However, Commissioner Hahn stated that a realistic date for Kosovo to get visa liberalisation is 2020, reported Zeri.info.

“If we compare the situation with Ukraine and Georgia, it took them year and a half to get to visa liberalisation… We are working hard, but that is not a thing that can be done in a day, and it is in the interest of everybody that all countries and citizens in Europe are equal”, said Hahn during a separate press conference.

Asked why visa liberalisation is being delayed if Kosovo met all the criteria, Hahn said that 2020 remains a realistic date, not excluding a possibility that it will happen sooner.

“We were all surprised with the increase of tariffs”

Hahn pointed out that he was familiar with difficulties of trade between Serbia and Kosovo and added that tariffs directed at Serbia should not remain in force.

“It is necessary that both sides solve these issues, so I emphasised during my meetings that it should be done to increase market possibilities”, said Hahn.

He stressed that EU was very surprised and disappointed with the decision of authorities in Pristina to impose tariffs.

“We were all very surprised and disappointed when the Government decided to raise tariffs to 100%. I am aware that everybody in the EU are speaking about the current difficulties for Kosovo, so it is necessary that both sides resolve these issues”, said Hahn.

However, during the following press conference, Prime Minister Haradinaj stated that the decision on imposing tariffs won’t be revoked. He added that Kosovo has been forced to make this move due to aggressive politics of Serbia.

“Kosovo will consider revoking tariffs only after Serbia recognizes its independence”, stated Haradinaj, reprted Gazeta.

According to this portal, Prime Minister also announced help to Kosovo Serbs in a case of crisis.

“If the government of Kosovo receives information on scarcity of vital goods, we are ready to offer our supplies. There will be no lack of medication in hospitals”, he stated.

Meeting with “Srpska lista” MPs

Commissioner Hahn met with the members of parliament from “Srpska lista” (Serbian List, SL), who previously spend the night in Kosovo Assembly waiting for his visit.

Vice President of SL Igor Simić said that MPs introduced Hahn with a difficult situation Serbs in Kosovo face after the imposition of tariffs.

“Hahn expressed worry about the situation, but he isn’t a big optimist that Pristina will revoke tariffs soon”, said Simić, adding that they agreed with the Commissioner that the dialogue is the only way for solving all open questions, and that peace should be maintained at any cost.

He announced that peaceful and the largest protests of Serbs from the North of Kosovo will be held at noon in Kosovska Mitrovica, Gračanica and Štrpce.