Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, spoke on the phone to President Hashim Thaci to review the latest developments in the context of the EU facilitated Dialogue for normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
The High Representative underlined that the decision of the Kosovo government to increase the tax on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by 100% only complicates the situation further and does not bring any solution to people’s problems or to Kosovo’s aspirations for its present and its future. This is a measure that does not help to build good neighborly relations and needs to be revoked.
On 21st November, Kosovo imposed a 100% tariff on all goods produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, increasing the 10% tariffs that were imposed on 6th November. The tariffs contradict the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) of which all three territories are signatories. Kosovo has issued similar tariffs before and regularly claims that its products are not treated equally in other CEFTA members’ markets, but it is also seeking to use tariffs for political purposes.
Earlier, the Chairman of BiH’s Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic and Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic, during the telephone conversation, discussed the measures imposed by Kosovo.
Brnabic and Zvizdic agreed that this action by Kosovo government is unacceptable, that it destabilizes the region and process of regional connectivity and is a setback in the EU integration process.
“Serbia and BiH remain committed to the European values and international agreements, firstly the Stabilization and Association Agreement, CEFTA and they will once again call upon the European Commission, the EU member states, as well as the UN mission – UNMIK, to react and urge the abolition of 100 percent tax on products from Serbia and BiH.”
Brnabic and Zvizdic emphasized that this kind of behavior sends a negative message about the entire region and that it will discourage investors, damage further economic development and quality of life of everyone in the region.
Both have agreed to continue the communication to work together with the EU and the UN to resolve this issue, hence, the region’s burning issue.