Serbia was heading for a showdown with Kosovo in Zagreb this
weekend after its deputy prime minister said it would
never recognize its bid to join the EBRD as an
Bozidar Djelic told Emerging Markets that his
country had written to all shareholders in the multilateral
bank asking them to reject Kosovos application to become
Serbias state policy is clear that we will never
accept the independence of Kosovo and that is why we have
launched procedures at the General Assembly of the UN and the
International Court of Justice will soon demonstrate that the
unilateral independence of Kosovo is illegal, he
This stance is clear and our rejection of
Kosovos application to the EBRD has been communicated to
all shareholders this weekend.
His comments are a chilling reminder of the long and bloody
1990s Balkan conflict that led to Kosovo forming a breakaway
republic that Serbia has never recognized.
Kosovos minister of economy and finance, Ahmet
Shala, earlier told Emerging Markets he believed that
momentum was building towards Kosovar membership of the
Speaking on the eve of the annual meetings, he said:
We had a positive signal from some countries. At this
meeting we will have another chance to talk to different
stakeholders during this session.
EBRD President Thomas Mirow confirmed that Kosovo was
looking for the necessary quorum of shareholders that it needed
to approve its entry. It needs approval from two-thirds of
member states, and three-quarters of all votes.
Asked whether Kosovos recent membership into the
IMF and the World Bank had set a precedent for inclusion
membership in the EBRD countries of operation, Mirow told
Emerging Markets: This is something for the
shareholders to ultimately decide.
So far, there has been no official pronouncement by the EBRD
as to Kosovos current prospects. Analysts believe greater
access to assistance from the EBRD would greatly enhance the
social and economic prospects of the Balkan country, which has
a population of 2 million.
A vote to support membership in [EBRD] will not
preclude or attach recognition, but will help Kosovo overcome
economic, social and other problems, Shala said.
Kosovos economy has fared less badly than its
neighbours. Against a sluggish growth rate around 4% in
2009, Shala predicts GDP growth of between 5% to 6% this year,
and 6% to 7% in 2011.
Shala said that one factor driving growth would be the start
of work on its flagship E1billion motorway project. This is
expected to create between 4,000 and 6,000 jobs directly in a
country that is battling unemployment of almost 50%.
But forecast growth will do little to bring Kosovo near the
levels of its near neighbours. A recent World Bank report
calculated that to reach Montenegros current GDP
per capita of about E5,700, the economy would have to grow at
12% per annum for an entire decade, it said.