President Thaçi’s speech, addressing the Governmental Cabinet upon the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Independence

Honourable Prime Minister Haradinaj,
Honourable Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers,
Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much honoured Prime Minister Haradinaj for the invitation to attend this meeting of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo.

We are close to the marking of the tenth anniversary of the declaration of the independence, which for me, for each of you, and above all for our citizens, should be a moment of pride for our path of state building.

We are also close to the publication of the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans, which definitely should create unique opportunities for EU membership for Kosovo and the entire region.

It is the right time for the European Union to confirm that the entire Southeast Europe belongs to the EU, and not to other ideologies that violate Western values and principles.

For us, the signing of the SAA has been an acknowledgment for the reforms we have made in all sectors: in economy, politics, and rule of law.

But it is also a guide to our EU integration path.

Honourable Prime Minister, congratulating you and your Cabinet for the work, I call the government to work with greater intensity for the implementation of the SAA and the European Agenda for Reforms. In this context, also all the institutions, the Presidency, the Parliament, and the local levels in close cooperation with the civil society, the media, public personalities and with all contributing people.

Of course, our constant focus should be economic development. The signing of the agreement for the construction of the New Kosovo power plant by the Government of Kosovo was historical, for which I congratulate you, honourable Prime Minister for your leadership role.

Increasing the welfare of the citizens, increasing the quality of education, medical services, increasing care for martyrs’ families and the continued care for KLA veterans, the opening of new jobs, and many other issues remain priorities of all institutions of the country.

Honourable Prime Minister Haradinaj,
Governmental Cabinet,
Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,

I am glad that in these ten years of our country we have made continuous progress, though not always as much as our citizens deserve.

The demands of the citizens were far greater than the opportunities we had as a state.

But the trends are positive and that should motivate us all to move forward.

State-building for us has not been an easy process for the reasons we all know.

Kosovo has had to face enormous challenges to consolidate our statehood not only in the international arena but also on the internal plan.

Only ten years ago, the northern part of Kosovo was under the control of Serbia’s illegal structures.

While the current reality there is quite different. We have managed to conduct municipal and central elections, according to the Constitution and laws of Kosovo, through which our citizens have chosen their leaders who are represented in Parliament, the Government and the local institutions.

We have installed our police and our judiciary.

At the border crossing points in northern Kosovo there are Kosovo police officers and customs officers.

Honourable Prime Minister Haradinaj,
Honourable members of the Governmental Cabinet,

Within this period we have built excellent relations with the countries of the region.

The dialogue for the normalization of relations between the Republic of Kosovo and Serbia and the 2013 Brussels agreement has given positive results, although there is still much to be done.

We have now entered the closing phase of this process and we are working to reach a final agreement which implies full normalization of relations and inter-state reconciliation.

Without a doubt, today we are a good example of peace and reconciliation, an example of dialogue and building good relations with all.

For a new, small, war-torn state, these achievements, for such a short time, are encouraging.

As we are preparing to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our state, we are proud of the achievements of our people in many areas.

The medals in sports, the rewards in art and culture, the achievements in science and innovation of the Kosovar youth make every citizen of our Republic proud.

Their successes deserve even more room in our public space and greater attention of our institutions.

Honourable Prime Minister Haradinaj,
Honourable members of the Governmental Cabinet,
Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,

As we count the achievements of the state of Kosovo, of course, we can not fail to mention the aspirations for the future as well as the challenges we are facing.

Although we know what our destination is, the road towards NATO and the EU is not easy and fast.

This requires dedication and work focused on coping with the challenges, both immediate and long-term challenges.

Immediate challenges remain the fulfilment of all conditions for visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens, the rapid and successful transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into the Armed Forces, the fight against radicalism and extremism and the preservation of the partnership with the international community, the war against corruption, organized crime and all other negative phenomena.

But we should be encouraging in the commitments we have made so far, because we have met the criteria for liberalization, of course by welcoming and the recent efforts to find a way forward for the ratification of the demarcation agreement with Montenegro are very welcome.

We should also praise the work of the members of the KSF to include all communities and to increase the level of professionalism, the multi-ethnic building of this army, enabling the establishment of the Armed Forces of Kosovo.

As a society we have been determined and have acted together, at the institutional level and at the general social level, to prevent the penetration of extremism and radicalism in our society.

Kosovo has been, is and will remain an active part of the anti-terrorist war, that is, of the global anti-terrorist coalition.

By staying behind our international obligations, we demonstrate high responsibility to the international community on the one hand, and on the other hand, we maintain and strengthen our partnership with our international allies.

Among the long-term challenges are those that have been the same for all other neighbouring states - economic development and the strengthening of the rule of law.

Also with regard to the special court, though historically unjust, Kosovo has taken its obligations and will promptly perform the agreements we have reached.

This decision has also been made to preserve the strategic partnership with the United States of America, the European Union and NATO.

Honourable Prime Minister Haradinaj, 
Governmental Cabinet,

It is true that in our history, the notion ‘state’ has long been synonym of a foreign and hostile body.

But, fortunately, since the liberation of Kosovo, and especially the last decade, testifies to the fact that for the first time in history we have our own state, working for the peace, security and wellbeing of our citizens.

Building the state requires sacrifice and permanent work.

It is our duty to work with dedication to further strengthen our state.

Therefore, we must cultivate and complement the signs of our state identity.

The Government of Kosovo has had, has and will have my full support.

It will have my full support in deepening the reforms in legislation, in economy, in politics, in the internal and international consolidation as a state.

Therefore, honoured Prime Minister Haradinaj, I congratulate you and your team for the steps you have taken in this short period of time.

I am well aware of the omissions, weaknesses, challenges we can face in our day-to-day work, but our journey is clear, and with a Euro-Atlantic vision.

In service to this purpose, as the President of the Republic of Kosovo, thanking you once again for your invitation to participate in this meeting of the Government close to the marking of the 10th anniversary of Kosovo’s independence, taking advantage of this opportunity today, but also a new tradition which I hope to continue in the future, I would like to make today with your understanding three proposals which I hope will receive the support of the governmental cabinet and the citizens of our country.

Firstly, the state of Kosovo needs the construction of a residential complex of the state institutions as a necessity of time and the real presentation of Kosovo’s development.

Secondly, our century-long sufferings and efforts for freedom are embedded in the mind of each of us. But that is not enough

Our historic collective memory definitely needs a museum object, which I propose to call the Museum of Independence, where the material artefacts of a long historical process will be preserved and exposed, reflecting the suffering and efforts for freedom and independence.

And thirdly, the capital of the Republic of Kosovo, Prishtina, also needs the construction of a Freedom Obelisk, as a monument of remembrance and reverence for the sacrifice of all generations for the freedom and independence of Kosovo, in front of which the citizens of Kosovo and all our friends from the world would pay their honours.

I want to believe that our country, despite the great challenges we have, will find the right way to bring these important projects into reality, which will become part of our historic positive heritage.

Honourable Prime Minister Haradinaj,
Governmental Cabinet,
Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,

These ten years have been years of success but also of learning the responsibilities and obligations we have towards our state institutions.

We have gone a long way and we have achieved undeniable successes.

We are grateful for the sacrifices made by generations for our country.

After a while we will also mark the 20th anniversary of the heroic fall of the legendary commander Adem Jashari and the Epopee of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

We know what our destination is, the integration of Kosovo into the UN, the EU and NATO. For this we need the work and commitment of all, the Government, the Presidency, the Parliament, the opposition parties, civil society, the media, all the willing people in Kosovo and the support of the diaspora, but I am confident that we will achieve it together.

I trust our citizens, we must cultivate the citizens’ trust in politics and in the institutions that by working together and with dedication, not only will we move with safe steps towards the Euro-Atlantic family, but we will also strengthen our love and respect for our country, for our past, but above all for our future.

Once again Happy 10th anniversary of the state of Kosovo, honoured Prime Minister, to you Governmental Cabinet, the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, it is a special honour and pleasure that I had this opportunity to address you today and I thank you once again for this opportunity honoured Prime Minister.