Integrimi Evropian

A new chapter for European Integration of Albania in a developing Europe: Challenges after the Status of Candidate and the enlargement policy during the Italian presidency

September 30, 2014

September 30, 2014 – Today, in Tirana, Deputy Minister of the European Integration Mr. Gëzim Kasapolli took part in the conference “A new chapter for European Integration of Albania in a developing Europe: Challenges after the Status of Candidate and the enlargement policy during the Italian presidency”.

On the sidelines of the conference Deputy Minister Kasapolli communed with Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Fatmir Besimi.  

Below you may find the full speech Deputy Minister Kasapolli:

Ladies and gentlemen,

During the course of a last decade, Republic of Kosovo faced many challenges. We came through a long path. We came out of a war for freedom by establishing a functional democracy, with sustainable institutions and free market economy, where freedom of speech, religion and other fundamental human rights are guaranteed. This was not an easy path. Nevertheless, we succeeded!

Today, we are on a dawn of a new day for the Republic of Kosovo. We are in front of a new age; an age of European Integration. Kosovo strongly believes that Europeanization is the best way to walk forward in improving living standard and to incite economic development for all citizens.

Processes of Europeanization is more than mere adoption of EU legislation and fulfilment of EU norms and standards. In various countries such as Poland, Hungary and Estonia with differing historical and economic heritage and political traditions, the process of EU membership brought quick transformation of state-citizen relationships, sustainable reform of public administration and a cycle of economic development, direct foreign investments and combating of poverty by outreaching most vulnerable groups and rural areas. Same transforming power of European integration brought positive changes in our neighbourhood.

Dear present in this room,

It is a special advantage and an indicator of political maturity that in Kosovo, after the proclamation of independence, the process of European integration continues to enjoy broadest political and social consensus. Such consensus was an indispensable factor in meeting our obligations within the European agenda.

Kosovo’s European agenda is consolidated in two particular strategic fields:

1.      Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the Republic of Kosovo and the European Union; and

2.      The process of Visa Liberalisation with the European Union.

Let me express few words on these two processes!

The process of European Integration is a process features with long, complicated and difficult reforms – in political, economic and social sense of the word. As such, the process of European integration could not be tackled with ad hoc and short term instruments by the EU. It needed a long term and sustainable solution, which would create stimuli for needed reforms.

Until 2012, relationship between Kosovo and the European Union were limited to “European Perspective for Kosovo”, a concept historically unknown in legal and political vocabulary within the European Union enlargement.

Lack of a long term, clear and pragmatic solution of the European Union for Kosovo’s European agenda would impede Kosovo’s efforts for European integrations. It was a moment that approach “diversity in recognition, unity in engagement” should be redefined.

This moment was created in October 2012, when the Feasibility Study for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Kosovo and the European Union confirmed that “…Kosovo is largely ready to open negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.”

The Council of EU, on 11 December 2012, confirmed that Kosovo will start SAA negotiations after four short term priorities were fulfilled: in the field of rule of law, public administration, protection of minorities and trade.

In April 2013, European Commission confirmed that Kosovo fulfilled short term criteria for rule of law, public administration, rights of minorities and trade.

In June 2013, by confirming fulfilment of short term criteria, European Council evaluated the achievements and confirmed start of negotiations for Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo.

In this context, on 28 October 2013 Kosovo and the European Union started negotiations for Stabilisation and Association Agreement, while 6 months later on 2nd of May 2014 we concluded the process of SAA negotiations.

Conclusion of negotiation process for Stabilisation and Association Agreement comprises a historical momentum in the modern history of Kosovo.

I call this historical momentum because we opened a new chapter in the integrating process of our country and a new, irreversible, process was emerging, which happens only once in a history of a country.

We started an official process which leads toward membership of Kosovo in the European Union. This moment removes every suspicion and seals strategic determination of our country to be member of the European Union.

The importance of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement is in the fact that SAA is now a fundament of our political, economic and legal relationships until the final act of the membership of the Republic of Kosovo into European Union.

Regarding the process of visa liberalisation, Kosovo launched official dialogue with the European Commission in January 2012, whereas in June 2012 European Commission handed over the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap.

So far, Kosovo worked in the fulfilment of 101 criteria of the visa liberalisation roadmap. This is twice the number of criteria other countries in the Western Balkans had.

However, our institutions worked intensively in the fulfilment of all the criteria set forth.

Last progress report on implementation of Visa Liberalisation Roadmap, published in July this year, confirmed that Kosovo fulfilled almost all criteria for visa liberalisation. In this regard we aim that by the end of this year; we meet all criteria stemming from the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap.

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

The curb of Kosovo’s progress toward European Union is features with exponential dynamics.

Not more than two years ago, European agenda of Kosovo was limited only in European Partnership and annual Progress Report.

Today, Kosovo concluded Stabilisation and Association Agreement. We are members of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, members of Council of Europe Development Bank, we signed draft agreement with European Investment Bank while Kosovo is in the final stage of fulfilling criteria for visa liberalisation.

The advancement of Kosovo comprises an additional motivation to continue with our reforms, which aim improvement of daily life of citizens which will be crowned with full membership of our country in the EU.

Last modified: August 12, 2022

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