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MTI and EU Office in Kosovo present a project that supports service sector reform in Kosovo

The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the EU funded Twinning Project “Assistance for implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement – The EU Services Directive 2006/123/EC” organized the official Launching Event of the Project on 25 January 2021 in a virtual manner, respecting the current anti-covid measures. This event was honored by the presence of ambassadors of Croatia and Germany in Kosovo, the Special Representative of the European Union Office in Kosovo, representatives of the Twinning project from both Member States, Deputy General Secretary of MTI, Department of Trade and Legal Department of MTI. The goal of the Launching Event was to inform institutions, the business community and associations and other stakeholders involved, as well as the general public about the aims and expected results of the project which is going to be implemented over the course of the next two years. Kosovo has lately made progress in the field of digitalization of trade in services, where a Contact Point on Services database has been created which enables facilitation of access for all stakeholders in the legal framework that regulates service activities in Kosovo, thus helping operate those that are already present in the market as well as entrepreneurs that want to start offering services in Kosovo. It was pointed out in the meeting that mutual cooperation on the Twinning Project “Assistance for implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement – The EU Services Directive 2006/123/EC” can further have a positive impact on the development of the service sector reform in Kosovo. In addition, it was said that with a complete alignment of the national legislation with the Services Directive, many types of administrative and regulatory barriers to freedom to provide services can be removed, as well as that sectoral regulations will be harmonized with the Services Directive which encourages simplification and digitalization of administrative procedures in order to simplify the process of obtaining of licenses for specific activities in the service sector and all of the information has to be available in one spot. It was also emphasized that in the upcoming two years, the EU funded project will support the government of Kosovo to further develop its institutional capacity to create the basis for a sustainable environment for private sector development in line with the Union acquis and the SAA requirements. The overall objective of this project, which is implemented by a consortium of relevant state institutions from Croatia and Germany and by the Ministry of Trade and Industry is to further support Kosovo’s integration into the world economy and strengthen the role of the Kosovo administration on economic governance through effective regulatory functions in line with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement’s (SAA) obligations. The Twinning project will further support the development of Kosovo’s economy by reduction of administrative burdens, setting up a clearer legislative framework, and providing easily accessible information on service sector regulations via Point of Single Contact. Moreover, stated Twinning project results will have positive effects on easier market entrance for businesses while increasing the number of entrepreneurs competing through market dynamics, even boost innovation, while providing more opportunities as well as more choices for consumers.

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MTI launched the database for trade in services

The Ministry of Trade and Industry / Department of Trade, with the support of the EU-funded project and the German government through GIZ

The Ministry of Trade and Industry / Department of Trade, with the support of the EU-funded project and the German government through GIZ, has launched a database on trade in services, attended by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Vesel Krasniqi; Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Trade and Industry Gentiana Islamaj; Deputy Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Ricardo Serri; German Deputy Ambassador Jan-Axel Voss; project leader supporting the EU Integration process within GIZ-Kosovo, Mark Barrett and EU Trade project leader, Luis Abugattas.

On this occasion, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Vesel Krasniqi, said that the services sector is the most important segment that contributes to employment. “The services sector is the largest segment of Kosovo’s economy and the driving force, which contributes to the largest part, in added value, employment, and local trade, thus the service’s activities have covered 74 percent of the production of the gross domestic product in 2019 and has employed 85 percent of the total labour force in Kosovo. “Also, the export of trade in services for 2019 has reached the value of 1.6 billion euros,” said Minister Krasniqi.

He stressed that the main purpose of this database is to facilitate access to all parties of interest to the legal framework that governs services activities in Kosovo, thus assisting the operation of those already in the market and those entrepreneurs who want to start providing services in Kosovo.

By evaluating the electronic platform for services in trade, Minister Krasniqi said that this platform is only one successful step towards the establishment of a Point of Single Contact based on the Services Directive of the European Commission and the Law on Services.

Riccardo Serri, from the European Union Office in Kosovo, stressed that it is good to work together on this project, as it is part of the partnership between them.

“We have tackled on some of the main issues, which I would like to repeat and emphasize on this important day for us, since it is the day of the project launching, the contact point on services,” said Serri, adding that this is something for which it is good to work on this project together with other partners.

While, Mark Barrett, head of the project that supports the EU Integration process within GIZ-Kosovo, said that, this project proves that the implementation of the SAA is a very practical and safe way to EU integration.

Even in these pandemic circumstances, we have managed to get involved in some activities related to the integration process. I think that the development of this point shows how the process of integration with the SAA is very practical”, said Barrett. He added that there are many discussions and what is implemented through this process becomes very real and deals with improving the economic situation which is something that helps Kosovo move forward. According to Mr. Barrett, the creation of this point of contact is the first step towards integration. He thanked MTI/DT for the proactivity and excellent coordination of this process when it is known fact that it has been more than a donor.

And, at the very end, the electronic platform was presented to the audience by Shqipe Jashari Sekiraqa – head of the Division for Trade Agreements in the Department of Trade.