President Thaçi at the World Strategic Forum: Without security there is no powerful economy

The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, who is staying in the United States of America as honorary guest at the 7th edition of the World Strategic Forum, today, in fornt of about 1200 participants from dozens of countries around the world spoke about energy, infrastructure and sustainable development.

President Thaçi has said that the US economy is a motor of the global economy, while US politics is a guide lantern to world politics.

About the activities of the World Strategic Forum, President Thaçi said that there were two interesting days of debates on how to control change and how to have greater economic growth.

“My country is small, but we have a bit of experience which maybe can have usage also globally. I have been Prime Minister of the country for eight years and the first step was to declare my country a sovereign and independent republic. This declaration took place in 2008, just a few months before the Lehman Brothers bank collapsed. So it was not the luckiest time to declare a state independent, because the economy of the whole region and of all of our neighbors was going through a deep crisis. However, during our state-building, we managed to create an average economic growth of about 4 percent for eight years in a row. According to the International Monetary Fund, Kosovo has marked the largest economic growth in Europe in those years, while many other countries have declined economically”, said President Thaçi.

You might ask how little Kosovo, a country of two million inhabitants, like Western Virginia here in America, added President Thaçi, achieved to have a solid growth in the time of the great economic and financial crisis which affected the world 10 years ago?

“Initially we launched a very extensive and profound program of infrastructure investment. With the US company Bechtel, we built two highways to connect our country with our neighbors, in order to enable better connections of markets, people and goods”, said President Thaçi.

He said that he was proud of the fact that for a record time, without borrowing a single penny, over 800 kilometers of roads and highways have been built, which is the same length built from 1945 to the early years of the 21st century.

“Likewise, we also started a program of renovation and building of school. So we invested several billion dollars in physical infrastructure. This investment enabled the entry of funds into economy, the creation of new jobs, but also created a long-term platform for economic growth”, said President Thaçi.

At the World Strategic Forum, taking Kosovo as an example, President Thaçi also spoke about the efforts of President Trump and the US Congress to find a common language in drafting a National Infrastructure Plan.

“We have dedicated about 40 percent of the entire budget of Kosovo to capital investments, thus creating a positive economic macrocycle. We have refused to take public debts and today Kosovo has the lowest public debt in Eastern Europe. Only 10 percent of our GDP is public debt. You can compare this with our neighbors, where, for example, Serbia and Albania have 60 percent of GDP in public debt, while Greece has already reached 160 percent of GDP to be owed”, expressed President Thaçi.

"How did we manage to pay the bill of multi-billion investment in infrastructure?” - added President Thaçi.

The Head of State stressed that taxes have not been raised, but simply efforts have been made to close the black holes in the tax system, by increasing regular tax revenues and fighting the gray economy.

“The World Bank has praised Kosovo on the way how we have facilitated the payment of taxes and we are now at the 43rd position from 200 world economies regarding tax payment progress. All this, I can say, is not bad for a country which 18 years ago was in the midst of war and genocide”, he said.

President Thaçi also spoke about the issue of energy, saying that Kosovo is very rich in coal.

“We are looking at the possibility to use this asset in a stable manner and with as little environmental impact as possible. These weeks I hope that we will sign a contract of over 1 billion dollars for the construction of the new coal-fired power plant. Many environmentalists have attacked me, insisting that Kosovo should be a martyr of rules and prejudices on air pollution, but I have asked them and ask them today: Is it better for Kosovo and Kosovars to die from lung diseases from the pollution created by the 50 years old communist power plants, or is it better to shut down those power plants and build new capacities, with new American technology, with high standards?”, added President Thaçi

He said that Kosovo has not expected and has not requested many complicated solutions, thus preventing excessive regulations, which are often not understood by their own drafters, to stop it.

The President added that the state should have a limited role, and where possible there should be worked on Public-Private Partnership premises.

“On these bases we also built a new airport, which is today in private foreign management, but is creating incomes for our state more than when the state managed the airport itself”, said President Thaçi.

The Head of State has said that Kosovo would not be a story of success without the help of friends from all over the world.

“America continues to stand close to us and we are grateful that recently, the American Federal Agency (MCC) has decided to support Kosovo with several tens of millions of dollars in fields such as energy or rule of law, with the intention for Kosovo to implement favorable policies for economic growth”, added President Thaçi.

Taking as examples the two main boulevards in Prishtina, the one with the name of President Clinton and the other with the name of President Bush, President Thaçi said that there are no Republicans or Democrats for the people in Kosovo, but there are only Americans.

“According to polls of the Gallup agency, today, in Kosovo, 92 percent of the population support American politics”, said President Thaçi.

At the end, President Thaçi has said that without security there is no powerful economy

“Our undeniable ability to protect the freedom of our citizens wherever they are is a pillar of national pride and long-term progress”, he said.

President Thaç said that this lecture is valid for superpower, such as America, and also for small countries like Kosovo.