Integrimi Evropian

European Integration

The annual meeting of the SAA sub-committee on Internal Market, Competition, Consumer Protection and Public Health

March 30, 2023

Brussels, 28th March 2023

On Tuesday, 28th March 2023, Kosovo and European Union held its 7th Stabilisation and Association Agreement Sub-committee on Internal Market, Competition and Health and Consumer Protection. Representatives from Kosovo and the European Commission discussed developments over the past year in the areas of state aid, public procurement, intellectual property rights, rights of establishment and free movement of services, competition policy, financial services and company law, consumer and health protection. The discussion was held in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which entered into force in April 2016. In all areas, the Commission and Kosovo agreed on the importance of implementing the relevant European Reform Agenda and Economic Reform Programme priorities as well as the recommendations from the Commission’s 2022 Report on Kosovo.

Many of the issues discussed relate to ensuring a competitive economy, including facilitating business and creating a level playing field for companies doing business as well as consumers and businesses using those services.

On State Aid, the Commission raised concerns that the Kosovo State Aid Commission has still not been appointed and remains without decision-making quorum. It invited the State Aid authorities to continue aligning further with the acquis including secondary legislation and existing State aid schemes. The Commission suggested to continue the professional training and to strengthen the control on State aid.

As regards competition policy, the Commission acknowledged the efforts made by Kosovo in enhancing cooperation with sector regulators and continue providing training and raising awareness of competition rules. It invited to further increase its enforcement record and further align with the acquis. The Kosovo Competition Commission quorum allows for its functionality but we suggest urgently  to be completed with all its members and administrative capacity to be increased.

On public procurement, the Commission welcomed the progress made on further aligning Kosovo’s legislative framework with the EU acquis. The Commission highlighted to take into account the functional independence of the Procurement Review Body within the law. It invited Kosovo to adopt the Law and implement it. Kosovo should pursue with the capacity development and with its inter–institutional cooperation in the area of Public Procurement. The Procurement Review Body and Board needs to be fully capacitated.

On rights of establishment and freedom to provide services, while welcoming the development of the Point of Single Contact, the Commission stressed that further efforts are necessary to harmonise remaining legislation with the EU Services Directive. The Commission invited to further align with the EU acquis after the opening of the postal services market to competition, which is in the interests of consumer and business users. On mutual recognition of professional qualifications, the Commission would like to see more progress in mapping the regulated professions in Kosovo and legal alignment including strengthening the Ministry’s capacity.

As regards the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights, the Commission welcomed Kosovo’s progress made in the area on alignment with the EU acquis on copyright and related rights and on industrial property (trademark and trade secrets). It invited Kosovo to increase capacity in the area and to further enforce Copyright and related rights and take steps in the fight against counterfeit goods and piracy.

As regards consumer protection, the Commission welcomed incremental developments in the area of Consumer protection by adopting the Laws on Consumer protection and Product Safety. It invited Kosovo to reinforce its efforts to further align with the EU acquis on consumer rights and to enforce consumer protection by increasing the number of inspectors.

On health, the Commission informed about relevant developments in the area. The Commission reminded to pursue with the legislative alignment in the health sector. It highlighted the importance and the need for sustainable funding in the field of public health in order to facilitate health care reforms and to provide for quality and accessible public healthcare for all citizens. The Commission also stressed the importance of sustainable financial provisions to provide adequate primary health care services and mandatory health insurance.

Finally, on the company law and financial services, the Commission noted some developments in the area of Business entities and relevant legislation but further efforts are needed to fill some gaps made in the area of business registration, Corporate Governance and on Banking. It invited Kosovo to pursue with the alignment in both areas and to guarantee adequate resources to implement and enforce relevant legislation and other measures including through digitalised inter-institutional cooperation frameworks.

Background information

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is the framework for the EU and the Kosovo administration to regularly discuss technical and policy issues in relation to the European agenda.

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 conclusions from the meetings are available on the website of the EU Office in Kosovo 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, Regional Development; Economic and Financial Issues, Statistics. Two Special Groups cover the reform of the public administration and normalisation of relations with Serbia.

Each sub-Committee meeting monitors and accompanies Kosovo’s delivery on reforms and identifies how the EU can assist in this process. The meetings also provide direct input into the European Commission’s annual reports.

Last modified: April 3, 2023

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