Momirovic: Systematic violations of human and political rights lead to tragic events
The tragic events that unfolded in the past few days testify to what kind of future awaits us if mechanisms are not established to enable all ethnic communities to participate in public and economic life and to have self-governance as agreed by the Brussels Agreement, Tomislav Momirovic, the Minister of Internal and Foreign Trade of Serbia stated.
Addressing the audience in Tirana at the Berlin Process at the Forum of Economy Ministers and the Business Forum, Momirovic emphasized the utmost importance of understanding that a long period of unilateral and autocratic approaches, as well as violations of basic human and political rights, had consequences - the loss of human lives.
"Regional cooperation is of paramount importance to us, as evidenced by the fact that in just the first seven months of this year, Serbia recorded a trade surplus of EUR 1.7 billion in trade with regional countries. Our goal is to accelerate the EU accession process and further improve the quality of life for our citizens. Furthermore, we continue our efforts to remain firmly on the path of deepening regional integration and economic cooperation despite frequent obstructions," Momirovic stated.
He pointed out that restricting economic freedoms, especially in intra-regional trade, as we witnessed today, was a very dangerous path.
He added that when people didn’t have jobs, populist politics took precedence, and our common path was the path to the European Union, which implied the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital.
Momirovic stated that the responsibility for yesterday's incidents in northern Kosovo lay solely with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
"The circumstances and atmosphere in which this meeting took place were not good. A day after several people lost their lives in tragic events in northern Kosovo and Metohija, it had to be reflected in this meeting. I reiterated that a long-term policy that is autocratic and systematically violates the political and human rights of one people, which denies its right to self-organization, has its cost. The cost is human lives, and the responsibility is, without a doubt, primarily on the provisional institutions in Pristina, on Albin Kurti. Despite this, we must move forward, which will not be easy," Momirovic told reporters.
Momirovic says that despite all the difficulties, the region must continue to work towards the integration of the region into the European Union.
"Without a doubt, our common goal is to become an EU member. I hope we will find the strength to overcome these not-so-small incidents, I repeat, people have lost their lives. We must find the strength to move forward. We expect all barriers between our economies to be removed. Serbia is strongly committed to economic integration, and we do not want to see any administrative procedures or anything that hinders the economy on the territory of the Western Balkans, because you know our vision is that people can freely travel between our economies, between our states," the Minister assesses.
Speaking about the Open Balkan initiative, Momirovic said that this initiative was strategic, and Serbia was fully committed to its implementation.
"For the first time in history, we have intensive political communication, all in the interest of a better life for our citizens. Unfortunately, we have one phenomenon, and that is the ban on trade with Serbian companies in Kosovo and Metohija. This is something that fundamentally destroys the prospects for our people. On the one hand, if you take away a person's right to engage in business, to create and earn for their family, what remains for them? On the other hand, the ties that have always existed between the Serbs and the Albanians are being severed," Momirovic concluded.
The Business Forum, dedicated to presenting the main achievements and activities aimed at establishing a single EU market, preceded the Forum of Economy Ministers of the Berlin Process.