Today, the new regulation of the CBK enters into force, the circulation of the Serbian dinar is prohibited
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Authorities in Kosovo said on Wednesday that from February 1 [today] the Central Bank regulation on cash payments in the country will come into force, but left open the possibility of a transitional period to resolve the concerns of the Serbian community, which continues to use the Serbian dinar.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Besnik Bislimi, confirmed this on Wednesday, saying that an easy transition will be ensured. He did not say how long the transition period will last.

"Implementation of the regulation does not mean a ban on transfers from Serbia and does not mean possible financial penalties for holding the currency of another country".

However, he said that from Thursday, the importation of money will not be allowed if the importer is not licensed by the CBK.

Bislimi also said that there will be a campaign to inform the citizens and that he hopes for talks between the central banks of Kosovo and Serbia to find a mechanism for the transparent transfer of funds.

According to him, the Government of Kosovo is determined that "the implementation of legality in each part of the territory of Kosovo is unconditional and uncompromising".

"At the same time, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo is committed to ensuring that the citizens adapt as quickly, as easily and without harm during the eventual transitional periods."

The regulation that allows cash payments in Kosovo to be made only in euros has fueled the concern of Belgrade and the political representatives of the Serbs in Kosovo, who estimate that this decision endangers the survival of the Serbian community.

According to the QUINT group, which includes the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy, this issue should be discussed further within the dialogue for the normalization of Kosovo-Serbia relations, which is mediated by the European Union.

The EU, on the other hand, asked for an agreement in the dialogue on the decision of the CBK.

The President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, said that in order to fully implement this decision, Kosovo needs the support of its allies.

"Because as you know, for every issue that has to do with the north of Kosovo, with the extension of sovereignty and with the security of the state, whenever we have allies by our side, these challenges are overcome and the protection of our Constitution is realized as a whole", she said.

President Osmani said that she expects an agreement on how to implement the regulation.

"A number of options are being discussed which, on the one hand, would respect Article 11 of the Constitution, but on the other hand, will leave some time for informing the citizens and transferring them, let's say, to new accounts, in order to be implemented without any problems and with the full support of the allied countries", she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bislimi said that the communication channels between the Central Bank of Kosovo and that of Serbia should be opened to facilitate this process.

"In the arrangement of these modalities, there are examples from the past where, for example, the government of the Republic of Kosovo sent support to the municipality of Presheva, and then the Central Bank of Serbia automatically converted euros into dinars and transferred them to the account of the municipality of Presheva. Just as there are countless examples when the Republic of Serbia sends payments in euros to neighboring countries. The sooner this agreement is reached, the greater the contribution of these two central banks to the removal of eventual concerns," he said.

The governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo, Ahmet Ismaili, said earlier in the day that the institution he leads is ready for cooperation.

"We are ready as the Central Bank to help if required in the technical aspect and in other necessary arrangements with the Central Bank of Serbia. So we as the Central Bank can see the possibilities of how to facilitate this process, because at the end of the day these are citizens of Kosovo whose lives should not be affected by the regulation of the country's financial system, it should only improve their lives," he said.

He emphasized that the use of currencies other than the euro is illegal, underlining that the regulation is not against any community, but in the function of protecting the banking system from counterfeit banknotes, activities that finance terrorism and money laundering.

Serbia, which does not recognize Kosovo's independence, continues to use the dinar to pay pensions, social benefits and salaries for the parallel institutions it has in Kosovo.

In Kosovo, in all Serbian-majority settlements, the population uses the Serbian dinar to make payments, and those who work in Serbian institutions in Kosovo also receive their salaries in dinars.

Pensions are also paid with dinars, according to the Serbian system, as well as child allowances and social benefits. In commercial establishments, in areas where Serbs live in Kosovo, in addition to the euro, the dinar is also used.

Bislimi said that nearly 27 thousand Serbian pensioners also receive pensions from Kosovo, in their bank accounts in euro currency, and that they can accept pensions from Serbia in the same accounts in euro currency.

He added that thousands of other Serbs are paid by the Kosovo authorities in euro currency in their bank accounts in Kosovo, and that those who do not have bank accounts can open them to receive money in euro currency in commercial banks in the north.

Bislimi said that the international community does not question the legality of the regulation, referring to the recent meetings of QUINT ambassadors with Prime Minister Albin Kurti this week, as well as the visit of the EU special envoy, Miroslav Lajçak, to Prishtina on Tuesday.

The European Union, the United States and other QUINT members – Germany, Italy, France and Britain – have said that the CBK's decision "raises concerns about the impact on Serb-majority communities in particular".

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