Officials from Kosovo and the European Union convened a digital meeting on 22 and 23 June 2022 to discuss developments over the past year in the areas of Justice, Freedom and Security. The discussion was held in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which entered into force in April 2016. During the two-day meeting, officials exchanged views on various areas related to rule of law, human and fundamental rights and home affairs. In all areas, the European Union and Kosovo agreed on the importance of implementing the priorities included in the European Reform Agenda and the recommendations from the Commission’s 2021 Kosovo Report.
Regarding the judiciary, the implementation of the rule of law sector strategy and action plan was welcomed. Views were exchanged about accountability mechanisms for the judiciary, including the recent Venice Commission recommendations on vetting in the judiciary. Both parties agreed to strive for a strengthening of the integrity in the justice system through substantial improvement of existing tools and possibly the introduction of integrity checks limited to high-judicial institutions fully in line with relevant European standards and the recommendations of the Venice Commission. EU acknowledged the adoption of the Concept Document on the Establishment of the Confiscation Fund and the work on the Law of the Prosecutorial Council and called for its adoption in the Assembly. Prosecutorial Council, while the Kosovo authorities presented their strategy to reduce the backlog of court cases. The field of administrative justice reform was also discussed.
As regards the fight against corruption and organised crime, amongst a number of legislative developments the EU welcomes the new Criminal Procedure Code and the the draft law on asset declaration, as well as anti-money laundering legislation. The state of play of the draft civil code was also discussed. The parties also discussed strengthening efforts and capacities to tackle high-level corruption and organised crime specifically by further developing the track record. Both sides agreed on the need to further align rule-of-law related legislation with the EU acquis. The parties also discussed the state of play in the area of asset confiscation. The Kosovo authorities presented progress achieved in the area of organised crime and corruption, in particular the progress in financial investigations.
Regarding fundamental rights and rights of minorities/non-majority communities, the EU welcomed the appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister in charge of human rights and communities, which should put these issues higher on the political agenda. The Ombudsperson outlined the general situation in Kosovo, and representatives discussed the overall progress on implementation of human rights and rights of minorities, gender equality, freedom of expression and transitional justice.
In the area of home affairs, views were exchanged on the fight against terrorism, countering violent extremism and radicalisation as well as on migration, asylum, trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling. Return and readmission to and from Kosovo were also discussed as well its link to the Schengen visa issuance under the revised Visa Code. Kosovo was encouraged to continue its good cooperation on readmissions with EU Member States. Both sides agreed that further progress in these areas is crucial. Both sides also discussed the issues of police and international police cooperation.
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is the framework for the EU and the Kosovo administration to regularly discuss technical and policy issues in relation to the EU-related reforms. The SAA bodies include the Stabilisation and Association Council, assisted by the Stabilisation and Association Committee, as well as SAA Sub-Committees, which cover a wide range of the EU acquis. The meetings of the SAA bodies provide direct input into the European Commission’s annual reports.
Each Sub-Committee meeting monitors and accompanies Kosovo’s delivery on reforms and identifies how the EU can assist in this process.
There are seven areas covered through sectorial meetings of sub-committees, 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, Climate Change and Regional Development; Economic and Financial Issues, Statistics.
Two other areas covered through the meetings of special groups are the reform of the public administration and normalisation.
SA Committee and Sub-Committee meetings are co-chaired by the European Commission and Kosovo. Each meeting results in jointly agreed follow-up actions to be taken by the Kosovo authorities.
The time between the meetings allows for the implementation of the recommendations and agreed follow-up actions.
For more information, contact:
European Union Office: Fjolla Ceku Sylejmani, +383 45 195 100, Fjolla.CEKU@eeas.europa.eu
Office of the Prime Minister: Flamur Salihu, +383 200 27 043, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified: August 4, 2022