Minister of Foreign Affairs Pacolli at the Atlantic Council: Only economic development can solve inter-ethnic conflictWashington D.C., 30 November 2017 – The only effective option for the Western Balkans to improve its standard of living and citizens’ awareness is a rapid prosperity and economic cooperation between the countries of theregion.
This was stated by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Behgjet Pacolli, in his speech at the Atlantic Council Conference on the "Future Investment: can entrepreneurs regulate the Balkans?
"I have always been aware that only economic development can solve the inter-ethnic conflict in a natural manner, including therein the inter-ethnic conflict in our region", stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pacolli, pointing out the importance that the establishment of Free Economic Zones may have in this regard.
“The region has 20 million people, with a low average per capita income, less than ten thousand dollars a year. As you can see, we are the poorest region in Europe. On the other hand, the region has the potential to provide better living opportunities and higher-income for its people, as it has qualified human resources, numerous natural resources, a young and dynamic population, favourable climate conditions, good geographic location, and access to the European market ... "stated Minister Pacolli.
Further in his remark, Mr. Pacolli unveiled his vision about the steps and actions that would affect a sustainable and rapid economic development of Western Balkan countries.
“The software, or better say, my business cure to the political diseases of the Balkans, includes: changing the status-quo in economic relations between our countries, its key players...;breaking the monopolies: the domination of specific countries or companies in agriculture, energy, air traffic ... Mr. Dacic knows very well that Serbia is dominating our country with transport, agriculture, energy, airspace ...;
Or by injecting best organizational practices into our companies;
Public Private Partnerships;
Changing development patterns, liberalizing our economies;
Increasing the weight of services;
modernizing the mining industry through modern management, access to capital markets;
strengthening all types of infrastructure and better using human and natural resources of the countries of the region;
making a regional economic integration and de-politicization of state-owned companies in the region such as air traffic companies, railways, energy generation systems, energy transmission systems, managing of high-ways, mines and other management areas, which should integrate into international or regional holdings with effective PPPs and provide them with professional management, "said Minister Pacolli.
Further, he also invited companies from the host country to increase their presence and investments in the region and in Kosovo.
“There is room for more US companies, and they will find that the right incentives are in place for engaging in this great development challenge. There are many opportunities for these companies, such as free access to the EU market ... “said Mr. Pacolli.
At the same discussion panel with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pacolli was the counterpart from the neighboring state - Serbia, Ivica Dacic. In the margins of the conference, Minister Pacolli had joint informal meetings with his counterparts from the neighbouring countries, countries of the region and senior officials from the host state.