President Thaçi at the Conference of Paris: For 10 years as a state, Kosovo is a country of ongoing reforms

Paris, December 08, 2017 - The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, who is participating at the Conference of Paris, which is taking place within the framework of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, today in front of the participants spoke about the political and economic development of Kosovo within the process of integration into the EU.

President Thaçi said that Kosovo as a new state is developing politically and economically to improve the standard of living of the citizens, but also rigorously implements the development policies to meet the European standards in all fields, because our goal is membership in the Union European.

“We have implemented all government policies with EU standards, which is in line with the ultimate goal of our Euro-Atlantic integration. Our political development and the institution building, public administration reform, judicial reform and the empowerment of the rule of law have been modeled closely in line with EU criteria”, said President Thaçi.

He has said that the ongoing reforms are essential and they are made not only to be able to join the EU, although it is a fact that over 95 percent of the population is in favor of EU membership.

“Our plans in economic policy and structural reforms are conceived, designed and implemented in accordance with the criteria of economic acceptance, respectively to provide a free market economy that is able to withstand the competitive pressures of the EU market”, said President Thaçi, adding that now there is being worked towards the creation of economic conditions to increase exports, attract foreign investment and integrate Kosovo’s businesses into the international value chain.

President Thaçi has said that Kosovo’s successes are also proven by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, where Kosovo had a significant improvement in ranking, from 60 to 40. But, according to him, similar to our neighbors, we also have problems with the informal economy and moreover, Kosovo is still challenged by the high unemployment rate.

“However, improvements are being made continuously in all relevant areas and considering that next year we will celebrate our 10th anniversary as an independent country, the results are quite encouraging”, he said.

The Head of State has said that it is clear that these results have been achieved also because of the European perspective, including the considerable financial support provided by the EU through IPA funds.

“We often feel disappointed that the European integration process isn’t faster, because delays are creating space for other actors who try to violate our western civilization values. However, the signing of the SAA in 2015 was very important and it is expected to have a direct impact on our political and economic development”, he said.

President Thaçi added that Kosovo is still waiting for its work on the fulfillment of the criteria for visa liberalization to be crowned with success, because we are the only country in the Western Balkans which still has no right to visa-free travel.

At the First Conference of Paris, President Thaçi also spoke about the facilitated EU dialogue on the normalization of inter-state relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

He has said that this dialogue is now entering a new phase and stated that he is convinced that a final agreement will be reached within a not-too-distant future.

“The dialogue has so far given many positive results and remains the only key to the normalizing of relations between the two respective states, as a necessary condition for EU and NATO integration”, he said.

Taking into account the historical and geostrategic context, President Thaçi has said that the EU should have a single wave of expansion with all Western Balkan states, for them to join the EU at the same time period, as the similarities between them are very evident in all fields.