The Kosovo institutions were represented by Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, Minister for European Integration Vlora Çitaku, other members of the government cabinet as well as members of the Assembly and independent institutions. The priorities set forth in the Feasibility Study for a future SAA were the main reference points to check progress against. The meeting took place only shortly after member states had authorised on June 28th the start of negotiations for a future SAA.
The meeting was opened by Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, the Deputy Director-General for Enlargement of the European Commission Joost Korte and the Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Samuel Žbogar.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi said:
“I would like to welcome, once again, the decision of the June European Council for the start of the SAA negotiations between Kosovo and the EU. This is truly a historic milestone in Kosovo’s European integration process. The SAA is a first contractual agreement that offers a clear perspective toward EU accession. From the outset, it is very encouraging that we have on the table a very ambitious agreement that will include all elements of the SAA, including political dialogue, approximation of legislation, trade issues, cooperation policies and Justice and Home Affairs.”
Deputy Director-General for Enlargement Joost Korte said:
“Our meeting today marks the extraordinary progress in EU-Kosovo relations since April. Kosovo’s historic agreement with Serbia, the plan to implement this agreement, and Kosovo’s progress in meeting the priorities of our feasibility study were matched last month by our Member States giving us the go-ahead to negotiate a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo. It is difficult to overstate the importance of these developments. Kosovo is now clearly in the mainstream of the enlargement process. Today’s meeting was an opportunity to take stock and synchronise watches before we start our negotiations with Kosovo.”
On trade, Kosovo’s efforts to prepare for the future negotiations for an SAA were discussed. As the trade and internal market provisions will represent the largest part of the SAA, the Commission stressed the need for Kosovo to improve the impact analysis of a potential trade liberalisation with the EU, as a precondition for preparing sound negotiation positions, with a full knowledge of the trade related SAA implications.
Proper conduct of elections was mentioned as a major issue to deal with. The lack of reform regarding the electoral system was a concern expressed by the representatives of the European Commission. Good conduct of elections was an essential prerequisite for democracy and good governance. The EU reiterated its recommendation for a simple and transparent system that would allow for timely and accurate results in line with best EU practices and standards.
Discussants agreed that there is a need to step up efforts in the areas of rule of law and fight against organised crime and corruption. Rigorous implementation of the new Law on the confiscation of assets and secure working conditions for prosecutors and judges for them to perform their functions without external pressure were indicated as key parameters in this regard.
The forum provided opportunity to discuss at length the current situation with regards to human rights, the institutional set-up in the public administration to follow up on human rights issues and to cooperate with civil society organisations. Minority protection and specifically the protection of the Serbian Cultural Heritage were stressed, as well as education in the Serbian language.
Kosovo’s Energy Strategy, in particular the closure of Kosovo A and the construction of the New Kosovo Power Plant were discussed as well. The Commission reiterated the need to respect international commitments, which include the closure of Kosovo A by 31 December 2017. As announced at the donors’ conference in May, the European Commission is willing to cover the decommissioning costs, provided that actions are implemented in a gradual manner as of 2015 onwards.
The urgent need for Kosovo to establish the new Air Navigation Service Agency was also underlined.
• The SAP Dialogue is the framework for the EC and the Kosovo administration to regularly discuss technical and policy issues in relation to the European agenda. The meetings provide direct input into the European Commission’s yearly progress report an the Feasibility study concretely in 2012.
• The SAP Dialogue monitors and accompanies Kosovo’s delivery on reforms, in particular with regard to the priorities defined in the European Partnership, and identifies how the EU can assist in this process.
• There are seven areas covered in sectorial meetings and they follow closely the format of the dialogue that the EU has with other candidates and potential candidates. The sectorial meetings are on Justice, Freedom and Security; Innovation, Information Society, Social Policy, Education and Culture; Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation; Internal Market, Competition, Consumer and Health Protection; Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Food Safety; Transport, Environment, Energy, Regional Development; Economic and Financial Issues, Statistics.
• Sectorial and plenary SAP Dialogue meetings are co-chaired by the European Commission and the government. Each meeting results in jointly agreed follow-up actions to be taken by the Kosovo authorities.
Last modified: August 16, 2022