Prishtina, 19 April 2018 – At the invitation of the Committee for European Integration, Minister Dhurata Hoxha participated in the discussion dedicated to the European Commission’s Country Report and summarized the most important evaluations of the European Commission’s Report.
Minister of European Integration, Dhurata Hoxha, emphasized that the Report has many positive evaluations, including, among others, last year’s national and local elections, the ratification of the Agreement on the demarcation of the border with Montenegro and the existence of a pluralistic and dynamic media environment.
“Progress has also been achieved in the area of Public Administration Reform and review of independent agencies and bodies. There is progress also in the justice system with regard to the implementation of the 2015 legal package, and in particular with regard to the integration of judges and prosecutors of the Serbian community into Kosovo’s justice system”, emphasized Minister Hoxha.
Minister Hoxha underlined that similarly, there is progress in combating corruption and organized crime by addressing the targeted cases, including in the last-instance decisions, as well as in preliminary seizures related to such cases. According to the report, the Minister noted, progress has also been achieved in combatting terrorism, including the implementation of measures to combat violent extremism, radicalism and to prevent citizens from joining conflicts in the third countries.
“The report underlines that Kosovo has continued the measures for good and constructive bilateral relations with the countries of the region, and at the same time it appreciates our commitment to the dialogue on the normalization of relations with Serbia”, said Minister Hoxha. Regarding the economic criteria, the report finds that very good results have been achieved in economic development, namely, the business environment has improved. The government has complied with the fiscal rule for the budget deficit, and export has marked significant growth. It also estimates that we have achieved progress with regard to the improvement of road infrastructure.
Minister Hoxha pointed out that, regarding European standards, the report notes that progress has been achieved in key areas of the acquis, such as free movement of goods and services, taxes and customs, public procurement, competition, and management of legal and illegal migration. Also, the Minister emphasized, this report evidences the challenges.
“The Ministry has coordinated the preparation of the National Program for the Implementation of the SAA 2018-2022. The document envisages medium and short-term measures to address the findings of the Report. At the same time, the Ministry will coordinate during this year the meetings of the SAA structures, within which the representatives of the institutions and those of the European Commission will discuss the findings of the report and the measures we plan to undertake to address them”, said Minister Hoxha.
The Minister also held a presentation on the adoption of the National Program for the Implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (NPISAA) 2018-2022 and emphasized that this five-year program is inclusive and has been drafted in close cooperation with all relevant institutions implementing.
Minister Hoxha emphasized that the program contains short-term measures for this year and medium-term priority objectives to be achieved by 2022. They focus on three strategic aspects of EU accession: meeting SAA obligations, aligning national legislation with that of the EU, focusing on the areas where the Agreement foresees mandatory deadlines, and the implementation of the aligned legislation through policy advancement, institutional reforms, capacity building, and implementation in practice.
“In addition to the key political and economic reforms required by the SAA, the Program foresees concrete measures within the 33 chapters of the EU acquis. Based on the Copenhagen Criteria structure, all priority measures and objectives are divided into three blocks and forty chapters. Each chapter contains the narrative part and the short term measures matrix which contains legislative and implementing measures”, said Minister Hoxha, adding that the narrative part summarizes the obligations of the SAA and the obligations arising from other EU accession mechanisms, the actual state, and the mid-term priorities.
“Short-term measures are in line with the SAA implementation timeframe, and address the priority areas. The program contains a total of 534 measures, of which 147 are legislative measures and 387 are implementing measures. Out of 147 legislative measures, 44 of them are draft laws. The program also contains mid-term priority objectives in each chapter, which set out a general orientation for the development of the relevant sector by 2022, with a view to implementing the SAA and other requirements arising from the European integration process”, stressed Minister Hoxha.
The total cost of implementing the Program for this year, the Minister said, is estimated at 229,636,248 Euros, out of which 199,351,284 Euros allocated from the state budget and 30,284,964 euros allocated from the donors (EU and bilateral donors), adding that this document does not have a budgetary vacuum.
The main part of the Program revision under the coordination of MEI, the Minister noted, was conducted during October – December 2017, according to the same process and methodology used in its previous revision. Thereafter, public consultations took place during January. After its adoption by the Assembly, it will be sent to the European Commission for official comments. The program was prepared in cooperation with all state institutions.
“The program is harmonized with the Government’s Annual Work Plan, particularly in the area of legislative measures – 95% of the draft laws foreseen under the Program are part of the Government’s Legislative Program. The program also reflects the remaining actions of the European Reform Agenda (ERA) that are planned for this year. The same has also been harmonized with the Economic Reform Program and key sector planning documents” stated Minister Hoxha, while adding that with regard to the implementation of reforms foreseen by the Program during this year and the next two years, due to our obligations undertaken under the IPA 2007 Direct Budget Support Program for the Public Administration Reform 2018 – 2020. Within this program we have foreseen specific targets for implementation of the program: 60% for 2018, 70% for 2019 and 80% for 2020, therefore increased attention of all institutions is required in order to reach these targets.
After discussion and the presentation, Minister Hoxha was asked additional questions that emerged from the debate, to which she responded as a summary
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