Integrimi Evropian

Priorities for 2015: Visas and SAA

December 18, 2014

Minister Çollaku, in an editorial for the daily newspaper “Koha Ditore”, spoke about priorities of MEI for 2015.

– Two clear priorities for 2015 will be the signature of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and implementation of the latest recommendations of visa liberalization roadmap.

Prishtina, 18 December 2014 – In the recent years, Kosovo’s performance indicator towards the European Union was characterized by an exponential dynamic. After many years of lack in   developments for many reasons, the year 2012, especially, marked two very important events that have advanced the European agenda in Kosovo. Visa liberalization process commenced in 2012 and the Feasibility Study was published in the same year, which recommended the beginning of negotiations for Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the Republic of Kosovo and the European Union.

In the following years, the European agenda has dominated in Kosovo government and so far we have had many positive developments in this regard. Negotiations on Stabilisation and Association Agreement were initiated and successfully concluded. Kosovo became a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a member of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CoE). A framework agreement was signed with the European Investment Bank and Kosovo continued work in meeting the recommendations for visa liberalization.

At the recent meeting of the Council of the European Union, held on 16th of December, several conclusions were adopted, which are encouraging and confirm the European perspective for Kosovo. These conclusions provide concrete support for SAA signing and visa liberalization process.

The achieved progress would be impossible without the hard work of the civil service throughout all relevant ministries and without the support of the entire political spectrum, government and opposition at central and local level. Of course, the support received from all European Union member states had and will have an irreplaceable role, including countries that have not recognized Kosovo’s independence yet.

The government of the Republic of Kosovo will continue to consider the process of European integration as a process that enjoys full support of all citizens and political parties of the Republic of Kosovo. During 2015, the European integration process should be focused on materialization of the excellent progress achieved during the last years.

Two clear priorities for 2015 will be the signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement and implementation of the latest recommendations of visa liberalization roadmap.

During 2014, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement was negotiated in a record period of 6 months. This agreement is the foundation of our country’s integration process in the European Union. The agreement in essence contains a combination of political, legal and economic means that must be met in order to join the most powerful political and economic block of the world. SAA represents a legal framework providing stability and security for investors, and as such establishes sound basis for foreign direct investment and job generation.

Within this agreement, the EU with SAA  entry into force  will fully liberalize the EU market for Kosovo products, whereas Kosovo will continue to protect certain categories of products of a special significance for our manufacturers from 5, 7 to 10 years.

During 2015, our priority will be coordination of the entire process to ensure the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and opening the path for its entry into force. Kosovo began visa liberalization process in 2012. Its set criteria were more difficult compared to other countries of the Western Balkans. Nevertheless, since 2012 the state institutions have worked maximally to meet all criteria foreseen in visa liberalization roadmap. Illegal migration remains a particular challenge, which will be addressed seriously.

I consider that a remarkable progress has been achieved; however, we are aware that there are other criteria left to be fulfilled.

In this regard, during 2015 we will intensify the dynamics of addressing the unmet criteria of the visa liberalization process. During the first months of 2015, we intend to submit a final report on fulfilment of the criteria for visa liberalization. This will open the way for the final assessment from the European Commission.

Related to 2015, I do not want to either be optimistic or pessimistic. I do not want to give deadlines or promises. I want to be realistic and present you the concrete plans and activities for 2015. We have made an uncontested progress in the last few years. The year of 2015 should materialize the progress and conclude successfully these two processes of special importance for every citizen of the Republic of Kosovo.

(The author is the Minister of European Integration in the Government of Republic of Kosovo)

Last modified: August 12, 2022

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