President Thaçi: The Western Balkan countries have learned from the past, they know where nationalism and populism leads

Budva, June 1, 2019 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, along with his Montenegrin counterpart, Milo Đukanović, today, as panelists, participated in an open discussion in the Security Forum “То Be Secure“ in Budva.

President Thaçi has said that the Western Balkan countries have nearly the same challenges and there is being worked to improve neighborly relations and to close every open issues.

“These obstacles can be overcome if we do not fall into the positions of daily and populist politics”, he said.

Following the extraordinary successes of Montenegro’s NATO membership, the Prespa agreement between North Macedonia and Greece for Macedonia’s secure NATO perspective, the creation of the Kosovo army and the steps being taken for the partnership for peace, despite the differences, President Thaçi expressed his optimism that the region is on the secure path towards the Euro-Atlantic future.

“I am one of the people who is greatly dissatisfied with the European Union’s rigid stance towards Kosovo, which has not properly assessed the progress happening in Kosovo, particularly on visa liberalization. They have used double standards in relation to Kosovo, which naturally has brought dissatisfaction, but at the same time we as the leadership know that the sole path for us, the sole alternative, is the European future and NATO membership. Our patience will be even greater than perhaps the delay of the European Union”, said President Thaçi.

The Head of State said that we all learned from the past, where nationalism and populism has led.

“We are very determined and are shaping the multiethnic societies in our countries, but I am convinced that the more the European Union delays, there will be even more populism. Today, the greatest patriotism is the cultivation of this multi-ethnicity, I am also talking about Kosovo, is the economic development, the attraction of foreign investors, the creation of jobs and the growth of social welfare”, said President Thaçi.

The Head of State said that the challenge now is to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, which is a big challenge not only for Kosovo and Serbia but for the entire region.

While questioned about the Kosovo police action against organized crime throughout the country, President Thaçi has said that there has been made much ado about the police action related to smuggling and corruption against certain individuals, but it wasn’t focused only in the north of Kosovo, but throughout the country.

“Belgrade’s media headlines all said it was a campaign against Serbs, but no, a multiethnic, Serb, Albanian, Bosniak, and other community organized crime network was hit not only in the north, but throughout Kosovo.

About the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, President Thaçi said that it is actually in a crisis, but there are many factors that have affected it to be in crisis.

“Initially, the Kosovo-Serbia relation is very sensitive due to the bitter past and on the other hand, also because of the difficulty to take the strategic decision for a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. It is sensitive in Prishtina, but it is also sensitive in Serbia because of the false myth that Belgrade has created in relation to Kosovo”, stated President Thaçi.

President Thaçi stressed that if Kosovo and Serbia can reach a final agreement this year, the benefits will very large.

“Kosovo will be recognized immediately by the five European Union countries. It will be also part of the UN, there will be global recognitions and comprehensive membership in all international organizations”, said President Thaçi.

The Head of State said that Kosovo is fully oriented towards the future and is working unceasingly to strengthen the European perspective.

The “To Be Secure” Security Forum has been organized by the Atlantic Council under the auspices of the Government of Montenegro.