There are so many uncertainties about the reintroduction of the toll on the highway that connects Albania to Kosovo, resulting from the violent protest at the end of March implemented by local residents for too high a toll.
The government and the Albanian concessionaire have announced that the application of the new tolls will begin the 17 September, following a suspension of five months to look for a solution of reduced tax for the residents of the district of Kukes, the poorest district of the country.
The re-introduction of tolls has been postponed to September to allow Kosovo residents to reach Albania without additional costs during the summer and thus prevent a possible boycott of the country that brings the greatest number of tourists to Albania.
The government at this juncture of time has renegotiated the tolls with the dealer: the residents of Kukes, in fact, will only pay 0,78 € (100 leke) compared to the 5 € that the other motorway users will pay.
Where the uncertainties come from
The uncertainties come at a time when the opposition is boycotting the parliament amid allegations of lack of legality, governmental ties with criminal gangs and growing corruption, which has led parliamentarians from opposition parties to invite local residents and not to pay the toll.
The director of a local business association - Business for Business - in the district of Kukes, states that the reintroduction of tolls could bring the scenario of late March back to life when the protest turned into a violent rebellion leading to the arrest of 23 citizens .
Tolls ranging from 2,5 € for motorcycles to average 19 € for trucks, passing by the 5 € of the cars and the 11,2 € of the buses, were deemed too high by the Albanian and Kosovo business communities, which they fear as a result a dramatic decline in trade between the two countries. However, the new rates offer up to 40% discount for regular users.
The highway that connects Albania to Kosovo
Operating from the 2009 for the Albanian side and from the 2013 in Kosovo, "the nation's highway" has given a strong boost to trade and trade between the two countries in recent years.
Trade between Albania and Kosovo, often hampered by trade barriers, is dominated by Albanian exports, which grew by 31% reaching the all-time high of 230 million in 2017, according to data reported by Instat.
At the same time, the number of Kosovar tourists in Albania has decreased by 20% in the 2017, following a constant increase in the last decade apparently negatively influenced by the constant increase in prices in the main summer destinations of Albania.
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