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Regional cooperation and European integration week in Kosovo

March 25, 2015

Prishtina, 25 March 2015 – Minister Çollaku, through an editorial published today in the daily newspaper Koha Ditore, emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in the context of European integration. Minister Çollaku stated that:

“Through the regional cooperation, the countries involved could benefit not only in economic field, but such a thing would strengthen stability and peace in the region. This cooperation directly helps the region to address more effectively some of the challenges that could hardly be addressed separately by the countries of the region. We are talking about issues that have an impact in the lives of citizens since they relate to the infrastructure, transportation, cross-border, energy, environment, cooperation in fighting the crime, etc.”
Below we included the entire editorial of Minister Çollaku:
This is an active week for the Government of the Republic of Kosovo in the field of regional cooperation.

There is no doubt that during the upcoming days there will be a high concentration of the public attention on the outcomes of intergovernmental meeting between Kosovo and Albania, and on the ministerial meeting of the six countries of the Western Balkans that will be held in Prishtina in the middle of this week. Besides all the differences of these events, their common denominator is the inter-state cooperation aimed at strengthening the bilateral and regional relations, which will contribute in common advancement towards EU. Through the regional cooperation, the countries involved could benefit not only in economic field, but such a thing would strengthen stability and peace in the region.

This cooperation directly helps the region to address more effectively some of the challenges that could hardly be addressed separately by the countries of the region. We are talking about issues that have an impact in the lives of citizens since they relate to the infrastructure, transportation, cross-border, energy, environment, cooperation in fighting the crime, etc. Good neighbourly relations bring benefits to the process of Euro-Atlantic integration. In relation to EU, good relations between the countries of our region – and not solely with the countries with which such a thing occurs naturally – are not only desirable, but also obligatory prerequisites.

So far Kosovo, in every occasion has clearly demonstrated that we are committed to continue to provide our contribution as an active stakeholder in finding solutions to connect the region in the aspect of infrastructure, economy and politics, etc. This week demonstrates two examples of our commitment in this regard. Firstly, it is the second inter-governmental meeting between Kosovo and Albania, where both governments discussed and concluded various agreements within the strategic partnership between both countries. It should be emphasized that this close cooperation between Kosovo and Albania is completely based on the European spirit and is a model for broader regional cooperation. Therefore, we have already decided to conduct such practice with Macedonia in the near future.

Certainly, the focus of this week will be on the meeting of the sixth Western Balkans countries, which is a part of the stabilization and association process in order to discuss the infrastructure projects in the field of the transportation which will affect the connectivity of the region.

This regional engagement, supported by the European Commission and Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who will visit Kosovo on this occasion, is a continuation and a result of a process initiated in Berlin during last summer, where all these countries made a commitment before the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and senior representatives of EU, that are ready to intensify the regional cooperation. At this meeting it will be decided on specific infrastructure projects that would connect economic centres and capital cities of the entire region, which will then be presented at the second summit, which is a continuation of the Berlin process and this time it will be held in Vienna.

This meeting clearly demonstrates the serious commitment of Kosovo in regional cooperation. Furthermore, this event is also a testament for our strategic perspective for improving and strengthening the regional relations by bringing practical solutions to the challenges faced by citizens in their everyday life. This undoubtedly reinforces our role and position not only towards Brussels, but in the international arena in general. Kosovo has already showed many examples of this commitment, starting from technical and political EU-facilitated dialogue aimed at normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, various initiatives for bilateral cooperation with neighbours, as well as multilateral meetings such as this meeting of six countries of the Western Balkans for advancing the agenda of regional integration and EU integration of all countries participating in this initiative.

Good neighbour relationships are formal requirements of the European integration process and this is clearly specified in the Stabilisation and Association process which is applied by EU in the case of countries of Western Balkans. Performance in this field is not something for which there is room for negotiation. In fact, pre-candidates and candidate countries is expected only to provide a response regarding when these countries will meet the standards required by EU in this respect. On the other hand, we must consider the necessity of regional cooperation in the economic field in order to integrate and prepare the small markets of the Western Balkans region, by sufficiently being reformed to be able to cope with the pressure of competition in the common market of EU. Some of the things in which all region countries can do more is the reduction of transportation costs, improvement of customs services, mutual recognition of professional qualifications, harmonization of safety, quality standards, etc.

All these can be realized only with an adequate, comprehensive and equitable regional cooperation. Therefore, it should be considered as a good news the fact that besides participating in forums and initiatives, Kosovo, from time to time, is becoming the focus and the driving force of these processes.

Whereas, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Frederica Mogherini, shall take care to end this productive week in a dignified manner. This visit will mark another milestone for Kosovo in the process towards EU integration. Surely, we rightfully expect that the Commissioner Hahn and EU High Representative, Mrs. Mogherini, will reaffirm the clear European perspective for Kosovo, making it clear that such a thing will commence to be a reality during this year on the occasion of signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and providing a positive recommendation for visa liberalization for Kosovo, in accordance with the fulfilment of all criteria provided by the roadmap.

Last modified: August 12, 2022

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