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The European Commission has urged Kosovo to give the Serb minority who uses the dinar more time before completely ousting the currency from the country’s monetary system.


The European Commission has called on Kosovo to be given more time before expelling the dinar, the currency used by its Serb minority, from its monetary system.

Political tensions are running high and the Commission is the latest among Western countries to express its disapproval after Kosovo implemented a new regulation ordering it to completely remove the dinar from its monetary system.

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The rule, which came into force on February 1, says: “The only currency accepted for cash payments or transactions in Kosovo is the euro,” causing renewed political tensions not only with Belgrade but with its Western allies. Went.

“The Commission regrets that this decision was adopted without prior consultation,” a European Commission spokesman in Brussels said Friday.

Banning transactions in dinars could effectively lock the local minority of Serbs, who widely use the currency, out of the financial system in Kosovo. This could lead to another crisis with Serbia.

The Commission spokesperson highlighted the hardship faced by the local people. For example, salaries of those working in healthcare or education are paid by Serbia in dinars.

“Given the impact this decision will have on the daily lives of Kosovar Serbs and other communities in Kosovo, given the apparent absence of alternatives at this time, the Commission is particularly concerned about the impact on schools and hospitals.”

The Commission calls on Kosovo to ensure that the transition period is sufficiently long and also urges “EU-facilitated dialogue” between Belgrade and Pristina.

History makes communication difficult

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, following a war between the two regions that ended in 1999. However, Serbia never officially accepted it. The two sides clash regularly Bitter disagreements even over minor issues like license plates.

Despite being a member of neither the European Union nor the Eurozone, Kosovo adopted the euro in 2002, sharing the region’s euro currency.

Although Kosovo has adopted the euro, it has tolerated the use of the Serbian dinar for the past few years because about 120,000 Serbs live there. They receive their salaries and pensions in dinars.

Belgrade supports the Serbian community in Kosovo with jobs and financial aid equivalent to €120 million every year.

The new ban has created a huge amount of uncertainty among Kosovar Serbs. As a result, many banks in northern Kosovo began closing on Tuesday because they could no longer operate without a new license or authorization from the central bank.

A local resident clarified his views. “I feel like everyone is playing with us,” Zoran Ilic, from Mitrovica, told AFP. “No one tells us anything… I am fed up with politics.”

Western governments call for suspension of ban

Serbia has chosen this moment to consider reintroducing compulsory military service. However, President Aleksandar Vucic cited tensions in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe in considering doing so rather than a potential currency crisis when announcing Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kosovo’s biggest political and financial allies are urging the country to suspend the embargo amid fears of increased political and diplomatic tensions.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact of the regulation on schools and hospitals, for which no alternative procedures are currently feasible,” Reuters reported, quoting a joint statement issued on Saturday by the ambassadors of France, Germany and Great Britain. Looks like.” Italy and the United States.

The ambassadors called for a longer transition period and asked that the public be given clear direction as to what was going to happen.


Why does Kosovo want to ban the Serbian dinar?

Authorities in Kosovo said new regulation has been introduced to fight corruption and money laundering.

First Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi said the new sanctions would stem the flow of irregular funds from Serbia. AFP quoted him as saying: “Money continues to cross the border in travel bags and then be distributed by unregistered and unlicensed offices.”

The Serbian government considers Kosovo’s move provocative and analysts say it is certain to harm ongoing efforts to defuse tensions between Belgrade and Kosovo.


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