Press Conference of President Jahjaga and Commissioner Füle

After the inaugural meeting of the National Council for European Integration, the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Madam Atifete Jahjaga and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Mr. Stefan Füle, addressed at a press conference on the work of this council and a range of other topics.

Below we bring the statements of President Jahjaga and Commissioner Füle:

President Atifete Jahjaga: Today, we held the inaugural meeting of the National Council for European Integration, operating under my authority as the President of the Republic of Kosovo, within my constitutional and legal obligations, of coordination and harmonization of policies in a very important and vital area for our country, the path of Euro-Atlantic integration.

I am honored that in this meeting the European Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Füle, participated and provided his full support, serving as evidence that to accomplish this mission of ours we have the full institutional support of the European Union and that it is in our and Europe’s interest that Kosovo and the entire Western Balkans join the union of free and equal peoples of Europe. 

Kosovo and the EU have reached a stepping stone moment in the strengthening of their relations, launching the Visa Liberalization dialogue and beginning the Feasibility Study for the Stabilization Association Agreement that will enable us throughout the coming period to provide a comprehensive political, economical, and legal analysis for our readiness to join the EU.

This puts Kosovo in the context of European Union policies for the Western Balkans towards the establishment of contractual agreements.

I am also honored that today’s meeting was attended by the Assembly Speaker, Mr. Jakup Krasniqi and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaçi, as well as by the opposition leader, the head of Democratic League of Kosovo, Mr. Isa Mustafa, whose support demonstrates the unity and functionality of our institutions.
Today’s meeting was attended by ministers of the government of the Republic of Kosovo, in areas that are pertinent for the fulfillment of standards for membership in the E.U., representatives of the civil society, as well as other relevant factors and Ambassadors of QUINT member countries that in their national policies and within the European Union play an important role in enhancing Kosovo’s path to E.U. membership.

Today’s meeting was informing and crucial with the statement of viewpoints, to harmonize and coordinate them in the most effect effective manner, within an institutional framework, to complete all those tasks required of us.
Today we were gathered to demonstrate our commitment, our goal and the desire of all citizens of the Republic of Kosovo to become a member of the European Union, which is the only alternative, and I am also saying this here because it is intertwined with regional and global security policies, and that we desire and are building necessary capacities to become a NATO member by contributing in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions. 

Through this National Council, except for its symbolism and for being led by me as the President of the country and as a unity factor, I will develop concrete activities, not as an executive body, but rather by offering a broader institutional setup, government, opposition, and civil society, to fully implement the constitution and laws.

Commissioner Stefan Füle: Madam President, I am pleased that I attended the first meeting of the National Council for European Integration. I welcome this comprehensive approach since it is essential for the acceleration of the progress of Kosovo towards the EU.

We have formally started the feasibility study for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo. This pushes forward the European agenda for Kosovo. The feasibility study for Kosovo will open a new era in our relations.

We need to keep the momentum. Kosovo should focus on issues which are of immediate importance for the feasibility study. I would like to emphasize some of them: trade, public administration reform, electoral reform, rule of law and integration of minorities.

It is important to ensure that this reflects the maximum progress in the implementation of its agenda of European reform. This requires a broad public support and commitment of the whole political spectrum.

The year 2012 is a year of opportunities for Kosovo. The feasibility study is an important step. This is part of an ambitious agenda of relations between the EU and Kosovo.

We expect that the roadmap for visas to be presented this spring to Kosovo. We also expect progress during this year, at the opening of the EU programs and membership in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. At the end of May the structured dialogue on the rule of law will begin.

We are working closely with the Kosovo authorities in their plans for the long term and comprehensive agenda for the north.
Like I said at the opening of the National Council for European Integration it is essential that all political forces in Kosovo to support the building of trust in a comprehensive manner, so that there is proper communication and integration, not confrontation.

Once again, Madam President, I am very happy to be here, and very happy that besides reading the speeches, we were able to accomplish that a substantial portion of our time to devote to a very open and interactive debate on those important issues and I deeply appreciate this.