The issues raised in the discussion ranged from Kosovo’s economic potential to the sectors of the economy that offered the best prospects.
The debating panel comprised Albin Kurti, leader of Levizja Vetevendosje (movement for self-determination); Mimoza Kusari, head of American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, Avni Zogiani from Cohu (rise); and Baton Haxhiu, director of Express, a daily Kosovan newspaper.
At the outset, the predominant view of the panellists was that economic situation in Kosovo is poor and there were problems associated with fiscal policy.
Albin Kurti, who is currently running a campaign for a boycott of all products that come into Kosovo from Serbia, said that poverty here was growing and would not be halted unless local products were promoted.
“Our fiscal policy is only good for Serbia,” said Kurti. “Only by boycotting Serbian products can our economy begin to develop.”
Kusari Serbian products were cheaper than local ones because they are not properly taxed when they are imported. She disagreed that a boycott was the solution.
“Very little, or nothing at all is being done for proper economic development,” added Kusari.
Haxhiu said that civil society should put more pressure on international authorities and the Kosovo government to change fiscal policy.
“The root of the problem is that Kosovo institutions and ministers are building a corrupt political system,” said Haxhiu.
The debate also examined how Kosovo could extricate itself from the current economic situation.
Kurti said it was all the fault of political leaders and that his movement aimed to overthrow the system by revolutionary means, then hold a referendum on independence.
He said after this, he and his followers would seek to develop agriculture and invest in energy resources.
Zogiani suggested that there was unlikely to be a revolution, and unless there were practical solutions the situation would only get worse.
“As we wait for this revolution,” he said,
“politicians will create an inferior economy.
“We need to exert pressure on these men and show that they are not working properly.”
Kusari said that “the only factor that can save our economy is direct investment from abroad”.