Serbia wants Kosovo privatizations money blocked

BELGRADE -- Serbia has requested that funds in the amount of EUR 400mn, obtained from privatizations in Kosovo, be blocked, Belgrade-based daily Politika writes.

The issue was raised last week in New York by Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić, when he met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Jeremić told reporters that the Privatization Agency of Kosovo now wanted to appropriate for its own use the money of UNMIK's Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA).

“The money must be kept away from the parallel institutions in Priština. There exists an organization called the Privatization Agency of Kosovo (KAP), arguing that it is KTA's successor, which is not true. On behalf of Serbia as a UN member, I demanded that the funds be blocked,” Jeremić stated.

Politika writes today that there was an attempt after the unilateral proclamation of independence in Kosovo for the KAP to appropriate the KTA.

It is estimated that close to EUR 400mn is currently deposited in the KTA accounts. The money, according to the article, is meant to be used to insure collection of outstanding payments, obligations toward workers of the privatized companies and costs of possible court cases.

During the past decade, Serbian politicians protested over illegal privatizations taking place in Kosovo and Metohija, but so far no lawsuits have been filed.

The KPA was established in 2002, when the UN mission in the province, UNMIK, was headed by German diplomat Michael Steiner, "who believed Kosovo's society was stable and capable enough to undertake the process of privatizations", says Politika.

An UNMIK decree regulating this stated that the agency's goal was to "manage public companies and their assets".