Honoured Prime Minister,
Honoured EU Special Representative for Kosovo Mr. Zhbogar
Ladies and gentleman;
First I would like to welcome the continuation of the work of the Council for European Integration of the Republic of Kosovo. It is very important to continue to use this high and inclusive forum for an open dialogue in addressing the issues of national importance.
Reforms within the European agenda affect the whole society and therefore it is vital to continue the joint commitment and support of each institution, political party, civil society and media.
Kosovo is at a turning point in the integration process. Now we have entered in a stage when we can make a break from the much-repeated metaphor of ‘Kosovo’s European path’ and provide a ‘European perspective with concrete agenda towards membership of the Republic of Kosovo in the European Union.
The signature and then the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement as the first contractual agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kosovo will provide the realization of agenda by clarifying our obligations towards meeting the membership criteria, known as the Copenhagen criteria and certainly will clarify the obligations of the EU towards Kosovo.
This process is progressing according to the foreseen schedule, and this is confirmed in December by the European Commission and the Council of the EU. Upon completion of institutional procedures of EU, we will sign the document which is already negotiated.
Of course, the key priority remains the visa liberalization process. Recent reports from the responsible institutions show that we are in the final phase of fulfilment of roadmap criteria. We have the opportunity to conclude quickly this process, but we need together to give the final push.
As the final step in the dialogue on visa liberalization, the European Commission expects from us to send a report on fulfilment of the last recommendations that they provided us during the last summer. It is in our interest to submit this report only when we are fully confident that we have done all the necessary things. Our intention is to do this report within the first months of this year.
Visa liberalization roadmap also contains provisions for the performance of institutions and the reforms undertaken by us. In our case, EU is interested to see that these reforms have the effect itself. This relates to the topic of today’s meeting which is illegal migration of citizens of the Republic of Kosovo in the countries of European Union.
Unfortunately, we must admit that the total number of irregular migrants from the Republic of Kosovo for 2014 increased compared to the recent years. Fellow citizens and their families who are affected by this phenomenon are directly harmed, starting from large financial costs that were incurred and without any real opportunities of benefit to the various risks of life that are caused as part of their journey towards Member States of European Union (EU) and of the Schengen zone.
Honoured members of the Council,
Lets remember the sad case of Fetahu family few days ago! It is recent the memory of each and every one of us of a tragic event in the Tisza River, where due to the benefits of a handful criminals, 15 of our citizens lost their lives. These facts provide sufficient reason to seek higher attention and care of all the institutions that are responsible for combating this problem. It is painful, depressing but also unforgivable to allow this kind of stories to be repeated in Kosovo in 2015!
The negative impact of this phenomenon is harming all Kosovar society, by lowering the morale of the citizens inside, and severely harming the country’s image in the EU to the extent that may have a direct effect on the speed of visa liberalization for citizens of the Republic of Kosovo despite meeting all technical criteria.
Member States are tired of migration in general, and certainly do not expect from us on this day to be the source! The days are over when Kosovars are justified the migration in EU.
What each and every one of us can do in a minimum is to clarify the negative consequences of this phenomenon to the public opinion, and to refrain from hasty political statements that can sometimes only go in advantage to the traffickers who are orchestrating this illegal activity.
Illegal migration from Kosovo is a phenomenon with complex background which primarily is being driven by the general social-economic conditions, but also being facilitated by criminal networks of traffickers.
Full and effective prevention of this phenomenon depends on avoiding real reasons related to economic development and employment. Therefore I am convinced that basically this is not just a matter of law and order.
Improvement of economic perspective and consistent implementation of the criteria outlined in the visa liberalization roadmap will have the final impact in prevention of migration from Kosovo.
We should be realistic that it is hard to do immediate drastic changes, but, an increased commitment could affect on this phenomenon to be alleviated and decreased in a relatively short period. But in order to have faster results in this situation, will have to try all available means.
I believe that first and urgently we need to better understand the issues – we are still awaiting the total numbers of migrants, and therefore we cannot speak about any deep study regarding the reasons, motivations, methods of migrants etc. Afterwards, based on this we have to further intensify the awareness campaign to make it even more focused, and expand participation outside of institutions as well. Other commitments may include intensification of the work of law enforcement authorities in localities which have been the biggest sources of migrants.
Success will largely depend on the mobilization at the local level. We should empower more the municipalities to fight this problem.
Other immediate action can also be in addressing the issue of licenses for companies that conduct transportation of citizens, with a focus on those companies that are takings citizens towards known channels of crossing the border.
We will add the interaction with Member States to ensure the prompt return of our citizens who do not enjoy the status of asylum-seekers.
An opportunity to alleviate the economic and social problems certainly is to explore the agreements for seasonal work abroad.
Also, some attractive factors should be avoided that relate to several states that have put Kosovo on the list of unsecure countries – which prolongs the asylum application procedures and the rejection of these applications, by creating an illusion of the fellow citizens that they can stay there.
In order to have the proper success, we must ensure that all institutions at central and local level but also other stakeholders to see this problem as a shared responsibility.
For the end, once again let me greet the commitment of the Council and each of you for prevention of this harmful phenomena
Thank you for your attention!
Last modified: August 12, 2022