Mintchev, Emil and Bünger, Klaus (2002) A Sustained Economic Revival in Kosovo. Need for a Liberal Concept. ZEI Discussion Paper: 2002, C 109. [Discussion Paper]
[Introduction]. To try to elaborate a proposal for a liberal concept aimed at a sustained economic revival in a postcommunist society already making its first steps in the transformation and transition towards democracy and market economy is not an easy task. However, in 2002 some good examples and some lessons learned in other countries in transition may help a lot in the attempt to suggest the most appropriate model. Unfortunately there are also cases where the application of the learned lessons is almost impossible, due to the unique character of the situation. One such case is Kosovo. The well-known German expert on South Eastern Europe Viktor Meier wrote in March 2001: "... Kosovo is a place without a legal system, neither for civil nor for economic needs, without a regulated property status for its big enterprises, which are not functioning, without a regulated foreign trade, without a functioning monetary and credit system, without a political representation and even a normal identity documents for its citizens and with a security system inadequate to address any task beyond the very basic police duties, not to speak about fighting the mafia.." One year later a lot of these statements do not correspond with reality. The progress made was so immense that the experts have enough arguments for optimistic forecasts. The Kosovo Assembly and a provisional Self-Government are in place. The economic situation looks considerably better. Improvements in the everyday life are visible. Nevertheless a lot of obstacles making the transition towards a functioning market economy an extremely hard endeavor remain in place, thus adding some uncertainties to any attempt to address the economic challenges of the future. Taking into consideration the complexity of the situation the experts from the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) at the Bonn University, Germany and the liberal Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation, Germany decided to follow the old Chinese proverb "... instead of cursing the darkness, try to light a candle" by offering some suggestions about a liberal concept for a sustained economic revival in Kosovo. These suggestions are results of a short fact finding mission in Kosovo (11. - 14.12.2001) including 13 interview sessions with almost 30 representatives from local administration and politics, from research institutes, think-tanks and NGOs, from the business community and from the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and other international organizations. The paper produced is far from pretending to be a recipe for the establishment of a functioning market economy in Kosovo. The limited number of interviews, the absence of a clear political, legal and status parameters, the lack of reliable statistical sources, the unique character of the situation, the short period of time surely have some negative impact on the paper. But the intention of the authors was not to pretend to be the last instance of truth. More challenging was to try to provoke a discussion among experts, politicians and businessmen and to look together for the best suitable approach for Kosovo. Because every success in the economic field is a joint effort and the benefits are for the whole society.
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