President Jahjaga’s speech at the European Forum Alpbach, Austria

President of the republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga, participated today at the working panel titled “From Reconciliation to Integration”, part of the proceedings of the Europe Forum Alpbach, Austria. Together with the President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bujar Nishani, and participants from other international organisations and the region of South-Eastern Europe, as panel participant, President Jahjaga spoke about the European path of Kosovo and of the region, endeavors to build good neighbourly relations, bringing of justice to the victims of the war and inclusion of the youth in important processes to their respective countries. The panel, at which Presidents Jahjaga and Nishani delivered their addresses, was also attended by the President of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Heinz Fischer. Prior to the commencement of the proceedings of the “From Reconciliation to Integration” panel, in sign of respect for President Jahjaga and President Nishani, the Austrian Presidency and organisers of the Forum held a ceremonial reception by the Guard of the Land of Tirol.

We are publishing the address of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga, at the Europe Forum Alpbach in its entirety:

I am honored to be here among you today, at one of the most important forums in Austria, which has gathered to date a large number of state leaders, academia and in particular students from different countries of the world. Moreover I am honored to be here today together with Albanian President Nishani and other distinguished participants from other countries of the region, in a friendly country such as Austria, which has continued to show its commitment to bringing Balkans closer to Europe.

I would like to thank President Fischer for his vision and his belief in a united Europe, with Balkans in its midst, – as well as the organisers of this forum, who, through discussions of various issues in the world, for decades have raised it to a level of a significant forum for a common future.

I am particularly honored to see here today young men and women, students also from my country, Kosovo, as well as from other Balkan countries, from Serbia, who together discuss issues of their everyday lives and issues related to their development. Without prejudices, without national differences (which once used to be obstacles), as equals, with aims to find solutions for a better future, in an integrated world. It is extraordinary for the youth coming from the western Balkans region, which has produced more history than it can consume, as the former British Prime Minister Churchill used to say, to see each other beyond hatred, animosity and Balkan spite, thus demonstrating that reconciliation between people is possible and that integrations depend fully upon their will.

You are the source of the continuous progress of your countries and at the same time the strongest bridge of cooperation, which changes the perceptions of one for another.

We meet here together, in a friendly country, at a period when the Balkan region is trying to change the perception of the world for the region and at a time when changes in the countries of this region have left visible signs during the last few years. Beyond violence and hegemony, beyond ruins and destruction of lives of the people, beyond old animosities and intolerance for each other, western Balkans region today, however slowly, is demonstrating the will for cooperation and living together, leading to the conclusion of the Euro-Atlantic integrations processes.

And this coexistence means reconciliation-between people- who have seen each other with suspicion. Just and full reconciliation – with justice fulfilled, to heal the souls of all those victims of the terrible wars, especially women victims of rape and the families of the missing.  And reconciliation has a meaning only when realities are accepted! For this changes also the approach of the neighbours between each other and accelerates the path towards the EU.

For every country of the western Balkans region, EU means a driving force for peace, stability and security for everyone, above all because it is the most indispensable option with greates impact in transforming our economies and policies. It is a project of our citizens, with no discrimination, in every country of South Eastern Europe and the only alternative for every single one of us. Kosovo is part of the regional joint efforts for EU integration as well as a strong contributor for stability and good neighbourly relation. The EU project has its full meaning only when we conclude the membership of all out countries in the European family as equals and in cooperation and reconciliation with one-another.

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