Albin Kurti, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, told the German ARD TV his decision remained to partially revoke 100 percent of import taxes on goods from Serbia as of March 15, the Beta news agency reported on Tuesday.
Kurti ignored warning from the US that lifting taxes on raw material only was not enough and demanded that he eliminate all tariffs.
The European Union has been restrained and praised the decision “as the first step.”
However, Kurti ignored the statements that US might suspend aid to Kosovo and said that the rest of the taxes might be removed on April 1, providing that Belgrade stopped its anti-recognition campaign and lifted some trade barriers against Kosovo.
David Perdue, a US Senator tweeted on Tuesday that Washington should consider the presence of the US troops in Kosovo if Pristina did not revoke all the taxes.
For over two decades, US forces have helped keep the peace between Kosovo & Serbia. Now, with historic progress in sight, Kosovo must do its part & abolish all duties imposed on Serbia.— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue)March 10, 2020
If Kosovo is not fully committed to peace, then the US should reconsider its presence there.
“I think that all countries from the Western Balkans should join the EU, as soon as possible. We are not EU neighbours. The EU member states encircle us. There are countries in the East and South. But that doesn’t apply to the six Western Balkans which needs investments, and Kosovo is in the centre of those six states,” Kurti told ARD TV.
He said that in the next months, the most important thing for the region would be the opening of the accession negotiation with North Macedonia and Albania and the visa liberation for Kosovo’s citizens.
“That’s what I demand from our partners in the EU. We met all criteria, and the new government is committed to improving the country’s image, first of all by fighting organised crime and corruption at all levels,” Kurti said.