How much is Serbian property in Kosovo worth?
The value of Serbian property in Kosovo is enormous, and for the first time there is an institutional framework in place to resolve the issue of illegally seized property with an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, says President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) Zeljko Sertic.
Monday, July 22, 2013
With regard to the issue of Serbian property in Kosovo, established in UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the PKS notes that the calculations must take into account Serbia's investments in the Kosovo economy during the time of the former Yugoslavia, when the state was not concerned with institutional protection of its property in the area.
A PKS analysis which Tanjug has seen shows that the value of around 1,500 privatized Serbian companies alone exceeds EUR 1.2 billion.
The Kosovo privatization agency has conducted the whole ownership structure transformation process in an illegal manner, Sertic told Radio Television of Serbia.
Milovije Miletic, the head of the PKS regional cooperation bureau, says Serbian companies have filed individual complaints to Pristina institutions, but without results.
According to PKS data, Kosovo has rich natural resources - around 580,000 hectares of arable land and around 15 billion tons of coal reserves.
Miletic recalled that Kosovo enjoyed a special status in the former Yugoslavia, and recorded an economic growth of 6.8 percent in the period from 1957 to 1979, when the country invested between 1.5 and two percent of its GDP in the area.
According to Miletic, the former Yugoslavia invested a great deal in Kosovo through its development fund and a fund of underdeveloped parts of the country, primarily in the electric energy sector which received around USD 5.5 billion.
Experts had calculated that the coal deposits in Kosovo were sufficient to ensure the work of existing and several new thermal power plants for the next hundred years.
Companies based in central Serbia have over 1,350 facilities in Kosovo - PTT 130, Zelezniccko-transportno preduzece 55, Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) 18 and Srbijasume 45, with the property of EPS alone estimated at around EUR 3 billion.
The Serbian Development Fund has shares in around 150 companies in Kosovo whose value exceeds EUR 140 million.
The PKS says that companies in Serb-majority communities are the only ones that remain state-owned and are worth around EUR 2 nillion.
Records kept by the Serbian government show that over 30,000 Serbs fled Kosovo following the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, and the property they left behind is estimated at a minimum of USD 4 billion.
Taking all this into account, Serbia can claim over EUR 10 billion from Kosovo based on the property of its citizens and companies, the money invested by the old fund for underdeveloped areas, and the loan payments it made on Kosovo's behalf for years.
Protect Serbian property and businesses in Kosovo
President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) Zeljko Sertic said Monday that state institutions and businessmen should work together to determine the facts and protect the interests of the Serbian economy in Kosovo.
The PKS wants to see all institutions and capacities united in an effort to protect the Serbian businesses and property in Kosovo, Sertic said at a conference held at the PKS, which was attended by the head of the Serbian government Office for Kosovo.
Sertic said Serbia invested billions in Kosovo in the previous period, and it is unknown how enormous property was sold.
Through the privatization process in Kosovo, the property of the Serbian state was literally stolen and sold dirt cheap, said Sertic.
"The PKS will offer all its support and logistics, and everything that is needed in the segments of the negotiating process it is involved in," said Sertic.
He said the only way is for all state institutions to fight together with businessmen using legal means to determine the facts and protect the interests of the Serbian economy in Kosovo.
"Vulin and I agreed there is a lot of room to do this if we are united," said Sertic.
He said there is nothing more important for future generations than defending Serbian national interests right now, adding that the Office for Kosovo is the best example of how to fight for the cause.