The new car dealership on a main road in Pristina, the capital of the Republic of Kosovo, glistens in the evening sun. The Volkswagen logo hangs over the entrance like the promise of a better consumer world. Yet there is not a single customer inside.
“Business is doing very badly this year,” said VW and Skoda dealer Baki Abdullahu. “There is a great void in our country. People aren’t expecting anything anymore.”
It’s a typical scene in Europe’s newest country.
Once part of the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Only after a bloody civil war, which cost thousands of lives, was the Albanian majority able to break away from their overpowering neighbor. But independence came at a high cost.
“The war destroyed many businesses, some beyond repair,” said Samir Krasniqi, president of the Kosovan-German trade association.