The members of the Stabilisation and Association Council (SA Council) reviewed Kosovo’s progress on its European path following the publication of the European Commission’s 2021 Report on Kosovo, said a statement released by the Council of Europe on Tuesday.
“The parties discussed recent developments relating to the fulfilment of the political criteria, as well as the state of play concerning the economic criteria, financial cooperation and implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement,” said the statement adding that they welcomed Kosovo’s renewed commitment to its European path.
They agreed on the need to continue with reforms, including through the implementation of the second phase of the European Reform Agenda, and building on Kosovo’s achievements to date. This requires increased focus by all political actors, strengthening of the administrative capacities and an effective coordination structure within the Kosovo institutions.
“The parties reiterated the importance of visa liberalisation for Kosovo citizens. The decision on the proposal remains under consideration in the Council,” said the statement.
The parties also took note of the positive developments in Kosovo’s economic growth, in the light of recent projections by Kosovo institutions of 9.9 % for 2021.
The parties discussed reform priorities in the areas of the fundamentals, and noted the government’s commitment to enhance rule of law, fight against corruption and organised crime, respect for fundamental rights; public administration reform; economic development; as well as education and employment.
Regarding the Specialist Chambers, the parties appreciated the cooperation shown by Kosovo authorities. The parties agreed on the need for continued commitment by Kosovo, in full compliance with its own legal framework and its international obligations, with genuine efforts to guarantee the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, justice and work on reconciliation.
“The meeting underlined the importance of constructive engagement in the EU-facilitated Dialogue to negotiate and achieve a comprehensive legally binding normalisation agreement with Serbia. This is crucial in order for Kosovo and Serbia to advance on their respective European paths. All past agreements need to be respected and fully implemented,” it was said.
The parties agreed on the importance of Kosovo’s active and constructive participation in regional cooperation mechanisms, notably the Common Regional Market and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans as endorsed at the 2020 Sofia Summit, and of Kosovo taking full advantage of the Economic and Investment Plan, which will bolster the region’s long-term development, sustainable recovery, health resilience and green and digital transition, and help to advance on European path.
Kosovo informed about its intention to apply for membership.
The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti while the EU delegation was led by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell, and included Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Olivér Várhelyi, who represented the European Commission. / Argumentum.al