PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti and cabinet ministers will accept a halving of their salaries in an attempt to demonstrate that the new government plans to tackle wage inequality.

Kurti’s predecessor, Ramush Haradinaj, doubled his salary two years ago from 1,500 euros ($1,637) to 2,950 euros, a move that drew strong criticism in a country where one third of the population is unemployed. His ministers also got big pay increases.

“I propose to undo the (previous) government decision and for salaries (of ministers) to return to where they were before,” Kurti said before the cabinet approved his decision.

Kurti had promised during last year’s election campaign to take a salary cut and push for greater wage equality if his leftist party Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) won. He reached a coalition agreement with a center-right party after lengthy talks and the new government took office on Feb. 3.

Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but is still not recognized by Belgrade, remains one of the poorest countries in Europe and is dogged by corruption and nepotism.

Kosovo’s statistics office said the average salary in the private sector was 401 euros in 2018, but 573 euros in the bloated public sector, where having political connections or enough money to bribe officials is required to land a job.

The International Monetary Fund has said the gap between private and public sector salaries is undermining Kosovo’s financial health and competitiveness.

Kosovo, a country of 1.8 million people, expects economic growth of around 4 percent this year but economists say this would not be enough to tackle unemployment and poverty.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Gareth Jones

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Jimmie Johnson disqualified from second-place Coca-Cola 600 finish after car fails post-race inspection

Nascar President Steve Phelps joins Jon Scott to discuss the successful return of Nascar and the upcoming Coca-Cola 600. Jimmie Johnson’s second-place finish at the Coca-Cola 600 was nullified after his car failed inspection following the end of the longest…

British-Australian woman jailed in Tehran says she rejected Iran’s offer to become a spy

Fox News Flash top headlines for Jan. 21 are here. Check out what’s clicking on A British-Australian academic jailed in Iran said she refused an offer from Tehran to become a spy in exchange for her release, according to media…

North Korea floods kill 22, approach nuclear reactor — but Kim doesn’t want help

TOKYO — Flooding caused by weeks of unusually heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 22 people in North Korea, with four others missing, and even approached the country’s main nuclear reactor, but Kim Jong Un says he is too…

Moon rush: NASA looking for companies to help mine the lunar surface

Nasa is looking for private companies to go to the moon and collect dust and rocks on its behalf. The American space agency says it will pay for the samples, but not for the trips. It hopes they will be…