GLPS held a Roundtable Discussion on the topic: (Two) Sovereigns on a Train: the few highs and many lows of the Kosovo’s Sovereign Fund Initiative”

October 26, 2023

On October 26, Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) organized a Roundtable Discussion on the topic: “(Two) Sovereigns on a Train: the few highs and many lows of Kosovo’s Sovereign Fund Initiative”, held in Prishtina. The aim of this event was to discuss the Government’s proposal for the establishment of its Sovereign Fund, from the viewpoint of its constitutionality and impact in economic policies.  At the beginning of the event, GLPS presented a Policy Analysis titled: “(Two) Sovereigns on a Train”, that provides a detailed analysis on the Kosovo Sovereign Fund proposal in general and the corresponding Draft Law with its precursory Concept Document in specific. It starts by briefly providing a general overview of Sovereign Wealth Funds and then narrows down to the mainstay of the paper, Kosovo’s Sovereign Fund initiative. The latter section is three-pronged: comprising legal arguments, policy perspectives, and theoretical examinations which push back on several grounds of the initiative. Afterward, the paper concludes with final remarks and recommendations, excised from the substantive parts of the paper.

The author of the Policy Analysis and Research Fellow, Mr. Levik Rashiti, argued that the main problem does not come from the relationship between the Fund and the management of public enterprises, but from the authorizations of the Sovereign Fund to invest in domestic companies, where the criticism was more detailed in the concept of national champions. Adding to this, he further noted that the aspect of public finances (as stipulated in the current Draftlaw) is also a constitutional violation in relation to the free market economy, fair competition, public finances (through derogation without legal alternative). For these, the arguments were built from the legal angle, but amalgamated with issues of politics and economic philosophy (competition rights and issues of monopolies and oligopolies, among others) and comparative aspects.

On the other hand, Mr. Emanuel Bajra, Member of the Working Group for the Sovereign Fund, put emphasis on the positive impact that the Sovereign Fund will have, stressing that a pragmatic approach is required when discussing for the Fund and its structure, a topic discussed since back in 2009. Among other things, Mr. Bajra emphasized the importance he sees in the creation of the capital market and offered his views in support of the aspect of national champions. He also emphasized that an important issue is the investment in foreign markets by the Kosovo Sovereign Fund. In addition, he offered clarifications on the issue of mediation in relation to the external investments of the Sovereign Fund of Kosovo.

Lastly, Ms. Rudina Nallbani Hoxha, Programme Manager at Friedrich-Erbert-Stiftung Office in Kosovo, emphasized the importance of the capital market for the economy and the aspects of the opportunity for investment by citizens as necessary for the latter (investments in startups as an example).

This Roundtable Discussion was organized with the support of the “SMART Balkans – Civil Society for Shared Society in the Western Balkans” regional project implemented by Centar za promociju civilnog društva (CPCD), Center for Research and Policy Making (CRPM) and Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) and financially supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA).

Panelists:
Mr. Emanuel BAJRA – Member of the Working Group for the Kosovo Sovereign Fund;

Ms. Rudina NALLBANI HOXHA – Programme Manager, FES Office in Kosovo;

Mr. Levik RASHITI – Research Fellow, GLPS.

Venue: Hotel Sirius, Str. Agim Ramadani, 10000 Prishtina, Kosovo

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