Shops in the north of Kosovo for the first time without Serbian products

Shops in the north of Kosovo for the first time without Serbian products

For the first time in the post-war period, in North Mitrovica, a municipality with a Serbian majority in the north of Kosovo, there are almost no products from Serbia. Lack of these products is also observed in other municipalities of Kosovo. Citizens and businesses attest to this, while this can also be ascertained from the store shelves, where mainly products from the countries of the region are listed.

One of the businessmen from North Mitrovica, who insisted on remaining anonymous, explains that "Imlek" milk from Serbia has been replaced by "Bimilk" from North Macedonia and instead of frozen food "Frikom", also from Serbia, is sold "Ledo" from Croatia.

The lack of Serbian products in the north of Kosovo is a consequence of the decision of the Government of Kosovo on June 14 to ban the import of goods from Serbia. This decision followed the arrest of three members of the Kosovo Police by Serbian forces, whom the authorities in Pristina said were "kidnapped". As it was warned, such a decision was made for security and not economic reasons, and it is not known how long it will remain in force.

Serbian productions facing the boycott in Kosovo

This is not the first time that the Kosovo authorities have taken a decision to ban the import of goods from Serbia, or impose taxes on them, but until now the so-called "alternative routes" in the north of Kosovo have been used for import.

The Kosovo Police, in cooperation with the Customs, during the last year have developed several actions against the smuggling of goods, while the "alternative routes" between Kosovo and Serbia are under strict control of the Kosovo Police.

The latest case was last week in Leposavić, a municipality inhabited by a majority of Serbs in the north of the country, when the Kosovo Police stopped a vehicle with Serbian license plates, which was driven by a Serbian citizen.

How is the situation in other municipalities?

In the areas inhabited by Serbian majority south of the river Ibër, the lack of products from Serbia is obvious. Most of the shop owners in Graçanica, a majority Serbian municipality near Pristina, sourced their goods from Serbia in North Mitrovica.

Data from June this year, compared to the same period last year, show a decrease in the import of Serbian products.

Serbia's market in Kosovo decreases by about 37%

According to the data of the Statistics Agency of Kosovo in June 2022, Kosovo imported products from Serbia in the amount of 33 million and 757 thousand euros. In the same period of 2023, imports from Serbia are 13 million and 255 thousand euros.

"The decision of the official Pristina that prevents the entry of final products into the market of Kosovo still continues", says the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo, Lulzim Rafuna.

According to him, this measure does not apply to raw materials and semi-products./REL