It's hard to know what to trust on April Fool's Day as there are many stories that seem rather strange but are in fact genuine. The first tweets that Kosovo had officially signed the Stabilization Association Agreement with the European Union would have passed easily for a prank on April 1st , if it weren’t for the High Representative of EU, Federica Mogherini to announce the big news herself. "This agreement opens a new phase in the EU-Kosovo relationship. I am looking forward to its implementation," said High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini.
The news quickly became a buzz in the social media and political institution with high politicians welcoming it as the agreement is considered a milestone for the EU-Kosovo relationship, that will speed the reforms and create trade and investment opportunities.
The sector that will benefit the most from the SAA is agriculture. With the agreement, Kosovo managed to negotiate the exemption from customs duties for the export of almost all agricultural products in the country, in the market of 28 EU countries. "There are around 2 thousand and 560 agricultural products which Republic of Kosovo could export to the EU without customs duty from the entry into force of the agreement", stated Minister of Kosovo European Integration, Bekim Çollaku.
Memli Krasniqi, Minister of Agriculture was highly enthusiastic on the benefits of the agriculture sector from the SAA, by not only increasing trade with EU countries, but as well by strengthening the trade relationships with Albania.
Kosova is the second partner in Albanian exports registered at 9.1%, after Italy, which constitutes 48.3% of the total exports.
“For us the cooperation Kosovo-Albania has a very special significance. It is not only emotional, due also due to our tradition, history and brotherhood” , said Kosovo’s deputy Minister of Agriculture, Vezir Januzi during the meeting with the Albanian Minister of Agriculture, Edmond Panariti few days ago in Peja, Kosovo.
“This cooperation must intensify and expand even more. We can do even more together, we have all the possibilities and preconditions and have a national obligation to work and cooperate more on economic development and the establishment of welfare states in the two countries”, stressed deputy minister Januzi on his speech.
Despite the 50 % growth of the volume of goods exported from Albania to Kosovo, is expected an increase of export of Kosovo goods to Albania, especially after the signing of the SAA, which will increase FDI and encourage farmers to produce more.
Trade exchanges between Albania and Kosovo have increased by EUR 20 million more during 2015, compared to 2014. During 2015, Kosovo exports to Albania were estimated at a value of EUR 60 million while Albanian imports were estimated at the value of EUR 200 million.
The mutual economic activity has increased in terms of exports and imports as well, mainly agricultural products. Despite this, businesses of both countries have still faced bureaucratic barriers in cross bordering points.
Last year in early September, the two ministers of Agriculture met and agreed to end these unnecessary barriers that might have affected the commercial exchange between the two countries.
According to the press release of the Ministry of Agriculture, Edmond Panariti stated at the time: “We agreed to put an end to the bureaucracies and the unnecessary barriers that we have noticed with regard to flour trade among Albanian and Kosovo traders."
The Albanian Minister also praised the support shown to the Albanian government by his Kosovar counterpart Memli Krasniqi. The Ministry of Agriculture of Kosovo has given Albania the “exclusive status”, which has reduced the bureaucracies for the Albanian agriculture exports to Kosovo’s markets.
Once upon a time we used to call ourselves Arbër, which according to a Kosovar agriculture specialist is (arë - land, bër - to do, to work); we were singing songs for our land, for people that are going to work on the soil or harvest the wheat, for beautiful Baresha (Shephardess).
Now we might not have many Baresha around, or might not be in a mood to sing song, but both countries could work closer to close any gaps and overcome any obstacles. We are Arbër after all. What we do best is work our land. Now is joint venture./AgroWeb.org/