In this meeting were present the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga, Commissioner for Enlargement in European Commission, Mr. Stefan Füle, Chairman of the Assembly of Kosovo Mr. Jakup Krasniqi, Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Mr. Hajredin Kuçi,
EU Special Representative in Kosovo Mr. Samuel Zhbogar, leaders of political parties, officials of civil society, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Academy of Science.
The Speech of the Minister Çitaku for the National Council for European Integration
Honourable President Jahjaga,
Honourable Chairman of the Kosovo Assembly Krasniqi,
Honourable Commissioner Füle,
Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Kuçi,
Honourable Mr. Mustafa,
Honourable Mr. Haradinaj,
It is a special honour to have with us today Mr. Stefan Füle,, European Commissioner for Enlargement.
Your presence itself Mr. Füle, is a good message for all citizens of Kosovo as it is a testimony of the commitment and support by EU institutions for European perspective of our country.
In the same way, from our side I hope that this meeting will make an impression to you on the continuation of the support for an European Kosovo not only by the Government of the Republic of Kosovo but also from a broader spectrum of the political, institutional representatives, interest groups, media etc.
Dear Commissioner Füle, we have stated earlier that it is a blessing to enjoy such a clear and wide support for the integration process in EU – this is a desire which unites the Kosovar society in these times when dissolution and stopping of further integration are topics which are discussed more and more within the European Union itself.
Mr. Füle, we have paid attention when you said that despite all economical difficulties, with which the European Commission is faced, the appetite for expansion is not reduced and we are not dealing with“enlargement exhaustion”.
I would like to argue that the achievements that Kosovo has made since the launch of the process for the visa liberalization dialogue and the Feasibility Study based on clear standards have been proofs of our commitment and proofs that Kosovo does not have“reform exhaustion”.
I believe that this is an encouragement for all of us meaning that one meeting of the National Council for European Integration to another we have had significant improvements in various aspects which are discussed in this forum.
In the last meeting we have talked on how the priorities of the Feasibility Study will be addressed, and as it has already been reported, all involved institutions have done a hard work in meeting short term priorities described in this document.
It is our assessment, that the priorities of the feasibility study in the field of law, public administration, protection of minorities and trade are already fulfilled. We are looking forward for the reviewing of these efforts by our partners in EU and we expect the proposal for negotiating directives by the Commission in spring with the hope that this is going to pave the way for the beginning of negotiations for an Agreement of Stabilization Association in the beginning of this summer. I believe that I am speaking for everyone when I say that the fulfilment of this objective for the citizens of Kosovo is very important as it is late.
With full confidence I consider that Kosovo is ready for this step. As you know we have taken a number of actions which were not easy and within a short framework of time we have achieved to be where we are today.
Among other things this includes the approval of laws and strategies in the field of rule of law which would considerably affect the fight against organized crime. In the same field we have intensified and improved the cooperation with the EU presence in Kosovo. Also we have supplemented the legislation for civil servants and have reached to a solution for accommodation and financial independence of the Ombudsperson. Also the request for the creation of a body for the promotion and protection of cultural heritage is addressed; and with special importance in this process is carried the reconstruction of the Ministry of Trade where is prepared the assessment analysis of the trade impact for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Visa liberalisation remains an extremely important priority. Regarding European Commission we have continued to report our activities. In February as you know we have had an important meeting with the General Director for Internal Affairs Mr. Stefano Manservisi. While we are engaged with all our forces in order to finish this process as soon as possible we should be aware that all political obstacles are significant and should not be underestimated.
Today’s format is convenient to repeat the appeal for all in order to give their maximum and joint commitment to support this process – as well as the joint commitment in central and local level, in both public institutions and civil society up to every citizen is the key to immediate success.
In order to contextualize this position at the request of the council, I have initiated the Task Force for European Integration which is in the final stage of the drafting of National Strategy for European Integration which will cover all fields affected by the process of European Integration. This is going to be the first framework strategy of this kind which is drafted by locals and which prioritizes main issues that will be addressed in upcoming years.
So far have been organized more than 50 meetings and workshops of thematic tables where are addressed topics such as public administration, rule of law, economic development, innovation, trade relations, environment, energy, education, agriculture and many other important topics for this process. More than 1000 participants of the Civil Society, Government, Business Community, Academia etc have been engaged. Discussions are developed in a free spirit without any prejudices or misunderstandings with participants who have generated discussions, presentations and necessary materials.
During the whole time, a good atmosphere prevailed and participants attended this process very seriously with a sense of a mission which will push our country forward, a platform that we are building together, regardless the political, gender, national or religious background.
This atmosphere has made us feel secure and this is considered to be the right approach, a comprehensive and evolutionary approach.
Ultimately one of the values of EU is the inclusion and engagement of the entire social spectrum in the drafting of social policies which will have an impact in their future and this is what prompted us to undertake this initiative.
Regarding this I will conclude my speech today with allegation which I believe is a Czech proverb: “Do not protect yourself with a fence, but rather by your friends”. Needless to state that Kosovo and its citizens are true friends of the European Union and deserve fair opportunities to align as soon as possible in terms of free movement, trade, economy, political etc.
Thank you for your attention.
Last modified: August 16, 2022