It started in Shengjin, but it ended in Durres. Nonetheless, Kosovo now has an “open” sea route from Albania and finally fulfilled its dream to have access to sea, something which was impossible for this country during the former Yugoslav regime and when along with Serbia, they did not have any access to sea.
A special ceremony was held yesterday in the port of Durres to inaugurate the opening of Kosovo’s customs office in the presence of high level officials from both countries. This was an act that was regarded by them as a great opportunity to boost commercial relations between the two countries and also to launch the so called “border integration” project between the two countries, a process which is expected to take place in spring. But how did things evolve? It hasn’t been easy. In numerous occasions, Albanian authorities have promised the Kosovar side that they would grant them Albanian ports for use. The first one was going to be the port of Shengjin. Let us recall that this was a promise made by Albanian politicians a decade ago in 2009.
At that time, the country was being governed by the former Prime Minister’s Berisha right wing party. However, this was never been put into practice. Years later, in 2016, Albania promised another port for Kosovo, namely the port of Durres. This time, the country was being governed by the left wing socialist government led by the current Prime Minister Edi Rama. It was during a meeting held at that time in Pristina that the then minister of Finance of Albania, Arben Ahmetaj openly declared that Kosovar importers and Kosovo in general, could use the port of Durres and that this port was going to act as the last stop for Kosovar businesses.
“The idea here is for the port of Durres to offer unique procedures for Kosovar entrepreneurs. In other words, as part of facilitating trade, this port will act as the last stop for Kosovar importers”, was declared at that time by minister Ahmetaj during a joint meeting between the two governments.
Meanwhile, years went by and this promise was officially fulfilled yesterday. On the other hand, the two governments are planning to totally remove borders between the respective countries by spring.