President Jahjaga’s speech at the eighth meeting of the National Council on European Integrations

I would like to welcome you to the eighth meeting, and at the same time the first meeting of this year of the National Council on European Integrations.

Honourable leaders of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable leaders and representatives of political parties,
Honourable Ambassadors of the European Union member countries,
Honourable representatives of the civil society,
Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo

I would like to welcome you to the eighth meeting, and at the same time the first meeting of this year of the National Council on European Integrations.

Since the last meeting of this Council, Kosovo has held its general elections, and few months after legal and political uncertainties, it has by now constituted its institutions, which enables this Council to, without delay, continue with the building of social consensus on European integrations. Please allow me to also wish a warm welcome to the new members of the Council.

Without delay, I would like to move to one of the most emergent issues with which we are being challenged today as institutions and society, the issue of illegal migration.

I have called this Council meeting to find the adequate responses from the instances mandated to face this phenomenon. It is our responsibility to have a clear picture of what exactly is the matter.

Deepening of the reforms foreseen by our European agenda remain a priority for the institutions. We must compensate the time already lost in implementation of our aims, which will enable the signing of the Stabilisation-Association Agreement and fulfilment of Visa liberalisation criteria.

At this meeting we welcome the contributions of the European Integration’s Minister, Mr. Bekim Çollaku, Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Skender Hyseni, Police Director General Mr. Shpend Maxhuni, as well as the perspectives of the European Union’s representative Mr. Samuel Zbogar and representatives of the EU member states, present in Kosovo.

Also, in conformity with the Council’s mission, to build a wide consensus, I invite to participate in discussion the representatives of the political spectrum, especially of the opposition and civil society, as irreplaceable contributors to this discussion.

Honourable members of the Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen;

The illegal migration trends are worrying, and we must undertake immediate steps to address the causative factors.

It is clear that these are problems which lie in two categories- lack of vigorous economic development, related to the level of unemployment and poverty in Kosovo, and criminal networks which utilise this economic displeasure to benefit from our citizens.

Last week, with great sorrow, I visited the family of Ali Fetahu, a Kosovar citizen, who was found frozen at the Hungarian border, in his endeavour to join the path of migration. Whichever the migration causes may be, one thing remains uncontested: This must not be the Kosovo of 2015, because all of us, its citizens, share a different vision for our state, and our place within this state.

Cases like this one, demonstrate that we must undertake everything we can to prevent illegal migration.

I expect from the leaders of the institutions to, at this meeting, discuss in a concrete manner how we can achieve an inter-institutional coordination, even through more frequent meetings of this Council at a central or technical level, to ensure that we shall fulfil the responsibilities entrusted upon us.

We must strengthen our endeavours to empower achievements reached to date on visa liberalisation dialogue. I am convinced that fulfilment of these criteria will not only enable the free movement of the citizens of Kosovo but will also improve the efficiency of the system which we have been building for a decade and half.

As institutions of Kosovo, it is our obligation to undertake deep and rapid reforms in the field of rule of law, as precondition for the attraction of the foreign capital and general development of free market economy. Despite the potential which we know that Kosovo does possess, there is no investor which will be convinced to come to a Kosovo which is politically tense, ethnically divided and challenged by a lack of efficiency of the judicial system.

Our responsibility also requires a more efficient coordination between the security mechanisms, awareness raising campaigns which inform the citizens that the asylum requests by Kosovars will not be accepted, and that the increased number of such requests in EU member states harms the approval of EU member states for visa liberalisation for Kosovo. I am convinced that no citizen of Kosovo would today willingly harm this ambition.

Thank you.