President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga, is participating at the Brdo Summit of the Presidents of the western Balkan region, co-organised by the President Borut Pahor of Slovenia and President Ivo Josipovic of Croatia.
President of the Republic of France, Francois Hollande is also attending the proceedings of the Brdo Summit.
Presidents of Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are all in attendance as well.
The Brdo Summit is specifically concentrated upon regional cooperation and European perspective of the countries of the western Balkans.
Following is the address made by President Jahjaga at the Summit’s plenary session:
Dear President Hollande,
President Pahor and President Josipovic,
Presidents of the region,
It’s a great pleasure to meet again in such a short time to renew our commitment to the European agenda and strengthen the bilateral relations, the platform that unites all our citizens and which has paved the way to stability and prosperity in our region.
I am particularly pleased to have among us President Hollande to support the initiative of Slovenia and Croatia to assist the six remaining countries of the region in the process toward fulfilling the necessary criteria for EU membership as well as to strengthen the good neighborly relations. I am a firm believer that we shall all become members of the EU in the near future. The European path of each state should be guaranteed and sustainable.
We need your support as we make serious strides to reform our countries internally, address the remaining disputes between each other and make way for genuine dialogue as neighbors. Your presence and your political will to continue the policy of enlargement demonstrates that the unfortunate turns in history of the last century will neither determine the region’s future.
We must remind ourselves of the goal and the reasons why the European Union was founded and why has it proved so successful. Europe has seen progress in the past five decades as never before. Not only have the founding countries continued their steady development, but the Union has helped close the development gap in Europe by offering the helping hand to countries that have lagged behind due to the events of the past decades.
Peace has brought not only growth and unprecedented development, but it has brought a period of political stability, freedom of movement and deeper understanding between peoples and nations.
Similarly, the political progress we have seen in the region in the past year alone has been unthinkable just a year earlier. This change that has swept our countries has been possible with the clear goal and the necessity of the European integration and it has been reached through the dialogue.
It is a vision endorsed by our citizens especially since we have much to offer to the European Union. We understand our integration into the EU as a win-win outcome.
The political will and leadership to reform our economies and consolidate rule of law – as the key areas – is necessary to make this leap forward as is the commitment of the EU countries to guide us in this process. Most of this heavy work remains to be done by the aspirant countries themselves and as I have said in Kosovo we will not seek shortcuts because we need these reforms to ensure our sustainability.
As we recognize the challenge that lies within each country and the work that remains to be done, we must also realize the opportunities that arise from the regional cooperation. I take the opportunity to once again thank Slovenia and Croatia for taking the lead to facilitate and define the contours of this much needed cooperation.
On the premise of future cooperation for a lasting peace and stability we, the countries of the region, must work together. We had a difficult past, a past from which we may not have fully recovered and the consequences of which we continue to suffer, but we are now coming together to the promising vision of a united Europe.
It is crucial that our cooperation is comprehensive and inclusive. No cooperation in the region will be completed without the participation of Kosovo; no regional policy will be fully enacted without Kosovo’s inclusion and the European Union project be incomplete without the full membership of the countries of the Western Balkans.
Our cooperation may take the shape of a so-called “mini-Schengen” and other best European practices through which aspiring countries must develop closer bilateral and regional cooperation, invest in building mechanisms and policies that will foster and enhance the economic cooperation, create opportunities and incentives for each other to stimulate the economic development, to intensify joint projects of capital investments, drawing on European Union and various funds of development.
We will all benefit from joint projects and we will also be bound by this cooperation ensuring a lasting peace for the coming generations.
President Hollande, President Pahor and President Josipovic,
Presidents of the Western Balkan countries,
We need the European perspective to be encompassing, to continue to offer the hope and the concrete incentive for societal and economic transformation.
The region’s membership perspective, which unifies all of us, should prevail beyond any doubts about the viability of the open door policy, because this perspective has already yielded tangible results.
The processes in which we find ourselves should become irreversible.
We will do everything necessary to influence our governments to develop concrete programs of cooperation and to meet the criteria for membership into the EU.