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Kosovo says it’s agreed to rent 300 prison cells to Denmark

December 16, 2021 GMT

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s Justice Ministry said on Thursday that it has struck a preliminary agreement to rent 300 prison cells to Denmark, to help the Scandinavian country cope with its over-populated prison system.

A ministry statement said the 10-year agreement would earn the small Balkan country 210 million euros ($236 million), which will fund Kosovo’s justice system and renewable energy projects.

It added that only “non dangerous inmates” would come to Kosovo from Denmark. It did not specify how the rented cells would be managed and by whom. Kosovo’s prisons are already close to capacity.

The statement said that “Danish institutions have positively evaluated inmates’ treatment in Kosovo and our capacities.”

The ministry said a letter of intent on the agreement will be signed next week with visiting Danish officials.

Kosovo is Europe’s youngest country after declaring independence in 2008, nine years after a 1998-1999 war between separatist ethnic Albanian rebels and Serb forces ended following a U.S.-led NATO 78-day bombing.

Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s sovereignty, but Serbia and allies Russia and China don’t. Tensions over Kosovo remain a source of volatility in the Balkans.