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Lambsdorff and Fucci promote Serb model of privatization

Prishtina, 2 March 2004 - For months now there has been no contact between local and international officials on the issue of privatization and the new operational policies, reports the Kosovar daily "Kosova Sot".

The paper notes that until Friday, there has been no information from the Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA) about what is happening inside the walls of this institution. The KTA Public Information Office informed that KTA Executive Director Marie Fucci held a meeting with KTA regional officials to brief them on the operational policies she has compiled. ‘This is happening at a time when the UNMIK leadership is expected to fulfill the Kosovo Government’s demands to dismiss Marie Fucci. The latter, together with UNMIK Pillar IV head Nikolaus Lambsdorff have started briefing KTA regional officials and are ignoring the local members of the Kosovo Trust Agency on the issue of operational policies, which are identical with the demands of the Serbian Government,’ added the paper.

Kosova Sot claims that the ambiguities from the UNMIK Legal Office and the KTA on the one hand and on the other hand the ambiguities coming from the United Nations Legal Office in New York have pointed out problems that will slow down Lambsdorff’s decision to announce the third wave of tenders for the privatization of socially owned enterprises. The status of socially owned enterprises is seen as a barrier to move ahead with the blocked process.

Asked to comment on the issue, KTA deputy director Ahmet Shala was quoted as saying, ‘If you look at the latest changes in the operational policies, you will see that they are not aimed at improving the process of privatization as was initially claimed by the heads of privatization, but to complicate the process and especially to challenge privatization’.

The paper writes that Lambsdorff and Fucci have earlier stated that the changes in the operational policies were positive and facilitated the procedures of selling. However, local representatives at the KTA Board and local economy experts have warned that the modifications were not professional and that they further complicated the process of privatization. ‘Fucci has met with representatives of five regional offices of KTA, but on the other hand, it is still not known why she no longer wants to meet one of the local representatives in order to brief them on the changes in the operational policies,’ added the paper.

Ali Jakupi, deputy chairperson of the KTA Board, said: ‘I have managed to realize that the new chapters of these policies are in direct damage to our interests and are in favor of strangling the process of privatization.’
Adding to the same issue, Bahri Shabani, leader of the Workers Union and member of the KTA Board, was quoted as saying, ‘I think that Marie Fucci and Paul Csiszar have compiled the operational policies according to Covic’s demands, but we won’t agree with these policies without having a detailed debate at the board’.

Shabani also said that reviewing the status of the socially owned enterprises was unacceptable at a time when the KTA had decided to ask the former Serb management about the background of these enterprises. ‘This is a Serbian model of privatization that is being promoted in Kosovo,’ Shabani concluded.

In closing, Kosova Sot notes that the operational policies were endorsed by the former head of UNMIK Pillar IV Andy Bearpark, former SRSG Michael Steiner and the Kosovo Government; and now Fucci on her own is designing a new project of regulations for privatization in Kosovo.

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