”Where were the millions of euros invested in the north of Kosovo?” was a topic of a debate held on Tuesday in Media Centre in Caglavica, reports KIM radio.
Some panelists claimed that there was a detailed report for each euro invested, and that citizens were informed about everything else, others feel that neither councilors nor citizens had information on how the funds have been spent.
Sanja Sovrlic, co-author of the research “Where 32 million euros were invested in the north of Kosovo,” said that in a study “Do we live better?” published in 2016, a fact was mentioned that in a period since the signing of the Brussels Agreement from 2013 to 2016 more than 32 million euros was earmarked for the implementation of 249 projects from the EU Fund, the Government of Kosovo and the Fund for the North.
She added that when it comes to the EU investment, the data received from the EU Office for the period from 2010 to 2015, show that 54.5 million euros was invested.
Sovrlic said that one of the conclusions reached was that the funds allocated to northern Kosovo “were more a support for politically elected leaders than for the quality of life of citizens”.
Deputy Minister of Finance in the Government of Kosovo, Fatmir Gashi, informed the participants about the local municipal projects that were funded and implemented in the period from 2015 to 2018.
“In that period, for various projects, infrastructure, health, education, development of small and medium-sized enterprises 10,991,801 EUR was allocated. …Leposavic received about 2,061,000 euros, Zubin Potok 2.501.000, Zvecan 3.014.000 and North Mitrovica 3,415,000 euros,” Gashi said.
He said that these projects were supported based on the requests of said municipalities, and that he attended several meetings that were organized regarding that, and that he personally gave instructions to the representatives of the four municipalities in the north “that not a single project can reach the Fund if it does not go through Municipal Assembles in these cities, i.e. until citizens discuss these projects”.
Minister of Local Government Administration Adrijana Hodzic said that transparency, generally in the north, was at a low level, but that it was not the fault of the local self-government.
“Because we, as a municipality, have organized public debates, public talks with citizens. I can tell you, under full responsibility, that every project, every initiative that was implemented from the municipal budget of the municipality of North Mitrovica was proposed by the citizens of that municipality, with an attached petition with citizens’ signatures for that project. I fully assure you that everything we did was with respect of the citizens’ will,” Hodzic said.
She pointed out that since 2013, huge funds have been invested in the municipality of North Mitrovica.
On the other hand, a municipal councilor in the North Mitrovica municipality, Ksenija Bozovic, said that neither councilors nor citizens have information on how the funds were spent in the municipality.
“Huge money come and is being spent in the north of Kosovo. Municipalities are financed from the municipal budget, their own revenues, from European funds, from the Fund for the Development of the North, but also from donations received from foreign investors, which are never transparent. We, as councilors, never knew what funds have been invested, and you can then imagine what citizens know about what happened in our municipality” Bozovic claimed.
She pointed out that at each Municipal Assembly discrepancy was present in the reports, that mistakes are being repeated, and that the proposals of councilors and citizens were not respected.