Agreement benefits thousands who cross the border daily.
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times -- 12/11/12
Faton Abazi (left) and Jonche Poposki, directors of the national insurance bureaus of Kosovo and Macedonia, respectively, share a toast after signing an agreement on October 23rd in Ohrid. [Miki Trajkovski/SETimes]
An agreement between Macedonia and Kosovo makes it easier for drivers to travel between the two countries and simplifies the insurance compensation process for motorists who have accidents after crossing the border.
The national insurance agencies of the two nations signed a pact in Ohrid on October 23rd that allows drivers to cross the border by showing their passport and auto insurance documents.
"If this memorandum didn't exist, then every citizen who would come at the border from Kosovo would have to take out a border insurance, which would have been valid for 10-15 days," Jonche Poposki, director of Macedonia's national bureau of insurance, told SETimes.
"Our citizens who go to Kosovo, would have to do the same, but now there is no need to do that," Poposki said. "We recognize their so-called motor TPL insurance policies plus a green card as a kind of entrance into Macedonia, and they recognize our green cards. This part refers to the free flow of goods and passengers."
The agreement will facilitate procedures when citizens of the two nations are involved in traffic accidents with one another, said Biljana Stojanovska from the insurance company Uniqa Group in Pristina and Skopje.
"With this agreement it will be determined, if there is a damage made, where the citizens should turn," Stojanovska told SETimes.
According to Macedonia's interior ministry, 5,000 to 6,000 people cross the Macedonia-Kosovo border daily. In the past year, more than 90 incidents occurred in Macedonia involving citizens of Kosovo, and the number of collisions involving Macedonians in Kosovo is similar.
"The final number of damages [in the past year] in all the countries in Europe, in which our citizens were involved, is around 600, from which Kosovo accounts for 10 percent of the total number," Poposki said.
Natasha Mitrevska, a lawyer with Uniqa Group, said the agreement will improve communication between the countries and will be beneficial for both.
"I had a case when a car accident occurred in Skopje, but the fault was on the insured vehicle from Kosovo. There were problems because we, as lawyers, did not have the right to act on territories of the other countries," Mitrevska said. "We didn't know where to turn, but now with the agreement these issues will be part of the past and the things will go in better direction."
Kosovo has a similar bilateral agreement with Albania. Kosovo's insurance bureau said the aim is to provide free movement for people on both sides of the border.
"The agreement signed with Macedonia is not unique, and we in the future will sign similar agreements with other countries too," Vlora Obertinca, of the Insurance Bureau of Kosovo, told SETimes. "It will be like this until Kosovo becomes a member of the green card system. Before the contract was signed with Macedonia, Kosovo citizens paid a fee of 50 euros to enter in Macedonia and it was valid for two weeks, but not anymore, now that will be changed."
Leposava Gjelevska of the Macedonian insurance bureau said the agreement will give citizens from both countries equal rights in pursuing compensation for damages from accidents.
Ali Asani, 30, from Skopje, said he travels to the nearby town of Kachanik in Kosovo almost every day.
"In order to enter Kosovo, we need only green card who is 60 euros which is valid for one entire year," Asani said. "Before, to go in Kosovo, at the border we took border insurance, but not anymore. I have a friend from Pristina who was involved in a car accident in Tetovo. Thanks to this deal, it is a lot easier to be compensated."