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Kosovo and Serbia

Job creation, better outlook for young people, returnee programme

Minister Müller to visit Kosovo and Serbia

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller in discussions with the Kosovar Prime Minister Isa Mustafa

27.05.2015 |

Berlin – Minister Gerd Müller will be visiting Kosovo and Serbia today and tomorrow. His visit will focus on the continuing flow of asylum seekers from the Balkans to Germany. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been supporting the two countries' transition process for 15 years now. In future, even more support is to be given to small and medium-sized enterprises and to practice-oriented vocational education in order to improve the outlook for young people in particular, in view of the high level of youth unemployment.

Minister Müller said, "We can stop the flow of asylum seekers from the Balkans to Germany if people are able to find jobs at home and have hope for the future. That is why we want to launch a returnee programme and invest, in particular, in vocational education for young people and in the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Balkan countries. In that endeavour, we need the governments of Kosovo and Serbia as strong partners. We will only succeed in boosting the countries' economies if we work together."

Currently, almost two thirds of asylum seekers in Germany come from the Balkan countries – much higher numbers than people from Syria who have been displaced by civil war or refugees from Africa. The rate of asylum seekers from Balkan countries who are actually granted asylum in Germany is less than one per cent.

The Minister's first stop will be the capital of Kosovo, Pristina. Germany has been supporting this youngest country in Europe since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999. The delegation will visit a vocational school and take part in a Kosovar-German business conference. The focus will be on improving vocational education and on economic development and job creation in forward-looking industries. The Minister will also have talks with Kosovo's Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and other members of the government.

On Thursday morning, Minister Müller and Kosovo's Labour Minister Arban Abrashi will jointly open a migration and development centre that will also provide advice to people who want to start their own business. During a visit to the NATO KFOR troops, Minister Müller will be briefed about the current security situation in Kosovo and in the region.

Thursday afternoon will be spent in Serbia. The delegation will meet with German entrepreneurs who have a presence on the ground, and there will be visits to a production site of a German enterprise and to a youth centre for Roma people.

There are also talks planned with members of the Serbian government. Serbia currently holds the chair of the OSCE. In the afternoon, Minister Müller and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić will jointly open a symposium on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Serbian-German development cooperation, and they will present their joint initiative for sustainable growth and employment. In that context, the delegation will also have talks with alumni of the Zoran Djindjic Internship Program of German Business, a scholarship programme for the Western Balkans.

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