Momirovic: Kurti is an economic destroyer not only of Serbs, but also of Albanians; "Open Balkans" is already producing results
The Minister of Trade in the Government of Serbia, Tomislav Momirovic, assessed in an interview for Politika that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, in addition to all the dangers he poses to the security of the region, is also an "economic destroyer" of the prosperity of not only Serbs, but also Albanians.
"In Kosovo, we are currently dealing with a fundamentalist, with a man who, in a political sense, has dedicated his life to eradicating the Serbian language and the Serbian church from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, and as a consequence of all this, economic relations, trade, and what has existed for centuries and connected Serbs and Albanians ae suffering," said Momirovic.
Stating that the ban on the sale of products to Kosovo from Serbia has been going on for several years, Momirovic says that this destroys the economic perspective and future of not only Serbs, but also Albanians and Bosniaks, and assesses it as absolutely unacceptable.
"This is contrary to all European postulates. I hope that our partners, above all the members of the Security Council, the NATO member countries, which according to Resolution 1244 took over the management of Kosovo and Metohija, will understand what kind of man he is - a man dangerous to peace in the region, for the security of Europe, and finally a man who is the economic destroyer of the perspective of the Western Balkans," Momirovic said in an interview for Politika.
He also states that more and more people in the international political public understand that he is a "dangerous man, turned to populism, solving political problems in an armed way, who sees himself as a future and military leader in the Balkans".
He points out that the steps taken by Kosovo institutions, primarily Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, only open the perspective for criminal structures.
"Banning, restricting trade, stopping traffic, on any basis, and above all on ethnic grounds, is the worst thing for economic activity in any region, any country. In addition to all the dangers that this man carries in terms of the security of the region, he is also economically a destroyer not only for Serbs, but also for Albanians," emphasizes Momirovic.
Speaking about the "Open Balkans" initiative, Momirovic says that it is getting to produce results and assesses that the greatest strength of the region lies precisely in economic connectivity.
"Our greatest strength lies precisely in what the countries of Western Europe did 40, 50 years ago. We have abolished a large number of stamp duties, we have relaxed phytosanitary regulations, the unified toll will soon start functioning, we expect that in a month or two the unified market will begin to function. Economic integration, support for the economy, new investments, fight against inflation, stable and predictable business conditions, this is what has been the hallmark of this policy for 10 years," said Momirovic.
He stated that the success of the "Open Balkans" initiative is indicated by the fact that the trade exchange between Serbia and North Macedonia reached the amount of almost 1.5 billion euros.
As he adds, it is expected that over the years, as the initiative develops, that amount will grow.
"In Montenegro, we have had political instability for several years, and it makes it impossible to make stronger political strides in terms of economic integration in the region. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have a lack of trust that has been going on since the end of the war in the nineties. We have to change that. I believe that only integrated into the common regional market, we can progress further economically," Momirovic points out.
As he states, the great potential of trade relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia is evidenced by the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently the third trading partner of Serbia, right after China and Germany, with which foreign trade exchange reaches the amount of 3.2 billion euros.
In 2027, Serbia will host the renowned international exhibition EXPO with tradition longer than 170 years, and Momirovic says that this exhibition will open up space for investments in Serbia amounting to billions of euros, as well as a large number of tourists.
"It will be the biggest event in the history of our capital when we talk about the number of visitors and the great return of Belgrade to the international scene. I am convinced that it will be a great success for our country," Momirovic said.
When asked whether Serbia is economically strong enough to enter the EXPO system, Momirovic says that there is no doubt about that.
"The question of the economic strength of a country like Serbia, which has been devastated in previous decades as a result of sanctions, wars, disastrous privatization, very bad reforms, is not a static question. We have made great strides, we have doubled the amount of our GDP, reduced unemployment from approx. 30 percent to below nine percent, we tripled the minimum and average wages, but our citizens deserve even more. EXPO 2027 will be the crowning achievement of the economic success of this government and politics led by Aleksandar Vucic. It will be a great mark in the history of this country. This is a big challenge, but I can proudly say that we can do it," says Momirovic.
He emphasizes that today Serbia is the most open country in Europe and in this sense states that it has a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, which has a preferential arrangement with America, Australia, Japan, which has a Free Trade Agreement with Russia and the Eurasian zone, Turkey, and today is working on a free trade agreement with China, Egypt, South Korea and the UAE.
When asked whether it can be concluded that the economy and trade are the basis of political prosperity, the minister says that the economy is definitely the field of greatest success of this government and politics in the previous 10 years.
"The economic progress that we have made is truly incredible, investments primarily in infrastructure, but also the construction of new factories, hospitals, etc. have significantly changed this country, they have made Serbia an industrial and economic power in the regional Balkan framework and that is all good base to make the next step forward, which is to approach the economic standard of the countries of Western Europe," said Momirovic.
In order to succeed, and to make a step forward so that the citizens of Serbia have a standard close to the countries of Western Europe, Momirovic points out that Serbia must enter a new industrial revolution.
"We have to catch up and be the first or among the first in Europe in new industries, new technologies, new raw materials, and I think we have a space there that we haven't used yet. Do I think it's the exploitation of lithium and related industries for that - yes , without any doubt that," concluded Momirovic.