ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo Leader Mulls Turning North Into New Dubai


By Bojana Barlovac

Kosovo’s wealthy Deputy Prime Minister, Behgjet Pacolli, says if Serb-run Northern Kosovo was turned into a free economic zone, it would solve the conflict there fast.

Behgjet Pacolli, Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and a rich businessman, has declared that best solution for the Serb-run northern part of Kosovo is to become a free economic zone, like Jebel Ali, the world’s largest and fastest-growing free zone in Dubai.

“I would give my best for the free economic zone to function and the international community would benefit, as the money it spends on police could instead be invested in production,” Pacolli told the German media on Thursday.

According to Pacolli, the free economic zone would include the northern part of Kosovo, down to and including the southern, Albanian, part of the town of Mitrovica.

“Over the next 20 or 30 years it would create thousands of new jobs annually,” he said explaining that while producers in Germany currently pay up to 50 per cent tax, tax in the free zone would be only 5 per cent.

Pacolli said that he had been urging problems in the north to be resolved through economic means for some years.

Northern Kosovo, which borders Serbia, is almost entirely comprised of Serbs, and does not recognise Kosovo’s 2008 independence or the ethnic Albanian-led government in Pristina.

The region is under the de-facto control of so-called parallel institutions, funded by Belgrade. These parallel institutions include town councils, health authorities, post offices and schools.

According to Pacolli, both Albanian and Serb criminal groups work and cooperate in the North and their illicit earnings damage both the Serbian and Kosovo economies.

“I am sure that people are tired of that life,” he noted.

Asked whether the Kosovo government supports his ambitious idea, Pacolli said the government had not discussed it yet.

Meanwhile, he insisted that the Northern issue has to be solved in consultation with the international community.

Pacolli maintains that once the free economic zone comes to life, no one in Pristina, Mitrovica and Belgrade, will give primacy to politics any longer, but will turn their attention to economic development.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

2 thoughts on “Kosovo Leader Mulls Turning North Into New Dubai

  • July 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    It’s not enough that they (Albanians) stole the rest of Kosovo? If it is such a good idea then why not do it to Albania and leave Kosovo to Serbia?

  • July 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Borisovic u can have Montenegro not Kosovo whose population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian Montenegros populasion is 45 percent Serbs


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