Thaçi in Vienna: Without the Balkans, Europe is not complete

Vienna, October 08, 2016 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi has participated in the Pan-European Movement Congress, where, together with the President of Albania, Bujar Nishani and the President of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov they have spoken on a panel about the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

In front of many state representatives, diplomats and representatives of the public life of Austria, President Thaçi said that these discussions are a source of inspiration of our efforts, dreams and dedication to be fully part of the European future.
“Not just geographically, but sharing the values that define our continent. Looking back, we see that EU enlargement has been one of the most successful policies ever of the EU. It has transformed societies and countries and made them free, democratic, prosperous and at peace”, he added.
According to Thaçi, these are the elements that promote our dedication to achieve and to make deep reforms in all aspects of governance.
He added that this is the reason why we sometimes push the processes that are perceived as difficult or that don’t necessarily enjoy popular support, but that are in the best interest of the citizens, and contribute to moving forward on the paths towars EU integration.
“The road to achieve this goal is European integration. Likewise, the EU and the continent of Europe is not complete, and could not realize its potential, in terms of security but also in welfare and values, if the Western Balkans is left out", he highlighted.
In the Pan-European Movement Congress, President Thaçi said that EU membership enjoys more than 95% of the people of Kosovo and, as long as the promise of a European future remains real, positive change is possible.
“Such changes will be manifested in the development of each country towards economic prosperity, rule of law and stable institutions, but also in terms of regional cooperation and overcoming past differences”, he has added.
In front of many diplomats, government representatives, participants in this congress, Thaçi emphasized that it is important for the EU to remain focused on this part of the continent and to ensure that enlargement remains on the table.
He has added that Kosovo so far has been able to make great headway on EU integration. According to Thaçi, Kosovo’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU entered into force earlier this year, making it the first contractual relationship between our country and the EU.
“Still, we must recognise that without a full normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, neither country will be able to join the Union. This is why we are so committed to the dialogue for normalization of relations with Serbia”, he stressed.
President Thaçi also spoke about the consistency of the EU, saying that Kosovo is still arguing for visa liberalization for its citizens, many years after its neighbors have received these privileges.
“As result of this unfair treatment, kosovars continue to remain the only isolated people in the Balkans”, he added.
At the end President Thaçi has said that the EU should recognize that wherever it leaves a void, there will be someone else willing to fill it. According to him, more EU engagement leaves less space for less democratic foreign powers and threats of radicalization.
“Instead, it promises more prosperity, more stability, more reforms and more peace”, he added.