President Thaçi: Kosovo has a clear European perspective

Prishtina, February 28, 2018 - The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, received today the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner Johannes Hahn

President Thaçi has said that today’s presence of the highest delegation of the European Union in Kosovo is a clear testimony of the increased commitment of the EU for Kosovo and all other Western Balkan states.
“Your visit gives full comprehension and unwavering support to our efforts and the efforts of our citizens to make quick and decisive steps on our way to European Union membership”, stated President Thaçi.

He said that together with Speaker Veseli, Prime Minister Haradinaj, Deputy Prime Minister Pacolli, they have held a very substantial and productive meeting with the President of the European Commission and the EU delegation.

“On behalf of the citizens of Kosovo, I conveyed to President Juncker and the members of the high-level delegation of the EU the message that on the tenth anniversary of the declaration of the independence, Kosovo is proud and grateful that our state-building process has been in full compliance with the best values and practices of the European Union. The European values are embodied in our society and consequently in our Constitution and our laws. Therefore, the EU is an integral part of our new history, today’s dedication and the inevitable goal of our future”, said President Thaçi.

He added that without doubt there is much to be done, but this is a common agenda, an agenda that is part of the newly published European Commission strategy for the Western Balkan countries.

This strategy, among others, according to President Thaçi, has reconfirmed two very important things.

Firstly, President Thaçi has said that it has confirmed the safe future for Kosovo’s EU membership, as it has done for all other Western Balkan states as well.

“Regarding our European perspective, I made it clear that we are not looking for any short path, but we only expect equal treatment and clarity on our way forward, because I am convinced that this will result in stability, peace and cooperation for the entire region”, he said.

Secondly, according to President Thaçi, this perspective of EU membership is conditioned by the solution of existing inter-state disagreements between the Western Balkan states.

“Kosovo is fully committed to these two goals and our task is to first obtain the status of a candidate country for EU membership and, of course, to work with the highest commitment to full normalization of relations with Serbia within the framework of the facilitated dialogue by the EU through a final agreement”, he said.

President Thaçi has said that with the EU high-level delegation, they have also discussed about visa liberalization, a very urgent issue on our European path.

“I believe that it is clear to all of us why the Assembly of Kosovo failed to ratify the border agreement with Montenegro today. I will not comment anything, because I am convinced that the agreement will be ratified in the coming days. And as soon as this happens, I am convinced that President Juncker, all the carriers of the other European Union institutions, will do their job, will make their right decisions and will give an end to the isolation of the citizens of Kosovo”, said President Thaçi.

Whereas, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the strategy they have published on February 6 covers the entire Western Balkans and seeks to deepen cooperation with all partners of the region, including Kosovo as well.

He said that the European Union in the first place is a union of values.

“The Kosovars will thus find a safer future in Europe. It is essential for your Assembly to vote the demarcation of the common border with Montenegro soon. It is a key, inescapable, important step towards visa liberalization, where your Albanian and Serb fellow citizens will be the first beneficiaries”, he said.

The Head of the European Commission said that he is not satisfied at all that the Kosovars are the only ones in the region and in Europe who can not travel freely.

“They are citizens like the others and should have the same rights, provided that demarcation is resolved. Also, concrete steps should be achieved in the fight against trafficking, in the fight against corruption. We want that the relations between Kosovo and Serbia to be put on a new base. It is essential that Kosovars and Serbs find reconciliation between them, which will be legally binding to move along towards Europe”, he said.

President Thaçi also mentioned of having informed President Juncker and the EU high-level delegation about the commitment of the institutions and the results in the framework of the fight against organized crime and corruption.

“Our work will not stop now, will not stop during the upcoming period, nor after the visa liberalization”, said President Thaçi.

Following the joint conference of the two presidents, the EU high-level delegation headed by the President of the European Commission also organized an open conversation with civil society, media representatives and representatives of political parties.