President Thaçi: The delays of the EU and NATO in the integration of the Western Balkans create space for dangerous ideologies

Prishtina, October 23, 2016 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has participated today at the 93rd Rose Roth seminar of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which is being held in Prishtina.

President Thaçi has said that Kosovo is a good opportunity to teach important lessons to the international community.
“Kosovo is no longer a source of instability, but in the contrary it is an exporter of peace and dialogue. This makes Kosovo a good opportunity to learn about similar cases from around the world”, said President Thaçi.
President Thaçi said that, 17 years ago, Kosovo was a country just emerging from war, from genocide attempt, from a decade of Serb repression and state apartheid and from many decades of discrimination.
“But during those heavy days it was the international community, in particular NATO, who were put in charge of restoring peace and order in Kosovo. The citizens of Kosovo accepted with open arms the KFOR peacekeeping force, led by NATO and the United Nations mission”, said President Thaçi.
Another lesson of those immediate days after the war, according to President Thaçi, which is valid also for one of the major challenges Europe and the North-Atlantic Alliance is currently facing is the issue of the refugees.
“Upon the ending of the war and the establishment of peace, around a million people did not wait neither for the UNHCR nor any other agency, but returned to their homes. It did not bother them that their homes had been destroyed, that the economy was ruined, that the state institutions should be built from zero. It was important that they had peace, although still heavy, and a guarantee of security and stability, who was NATO. Even today when we see the waves of refugees, we should be committed to establish peace and stability for them”, said President Thaçi.
According to him, they do not desire anything more than to return to their homes, to have peace, to have stability, because the will reconstruct the destroyed homes, the ruined state,  as we have done in Kosovo.
President Thaçi has said that a year ago we managed to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU.
“This came as a result of rapid and successful reforms in the installation of the rule of law, in the construction of the democratic institutions and paving the foundations of a free economy”, he said.
Speaking about the process of the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, President Thaçi said that Kosovo is ready and in fact requires that the dialogue to be raised to another level, to take another quality.
“We are ready for a proper process of cooperation, of friendly and reconciliation relations. We have never had a better opportunity, as a Kosovo, as a Serbia and as a region, than the coming months, to put our cooperation on secure tracks”, said President Thaçi.
He has said that thanks to the commitment for dialogue and cooperation, today the relations between Kosovo and Serbia  are no longer a threat to the stability in the region, but are an example of strength that through dialogue to turn to a better future for all.

President Thaçi has said that we are also proud of the successes on the internal consolidation of Kosovo.
“We have built multiethnic institutions in which all communities living in Kosovo are represented”, has said President Thaçi.
Moreover, according to him, even those who once stayed at the barricades in the northern part of Kosovo, even attacking the peacekeeping forces of KFOR and NATO, are now part of the Kosovo state institutions, the Parliament, the Government, the local governance where they are committed for the rights of their community.
“With this spirit of cooperation for a better future for Kosovo, we are also working on the establishment of the Kosovo Armed Forces. We wish that the decision on the establishment of the Army of Kosovo to have the approval of all the communities living in Kosovo. The experience we have with the Kosovo Security Force, which we have now, makes us optimistic for this ambition”, said President Thaçi.

The Kosovo Armed Forces, according to President Thaçi, will be another major step on our way to the aspiration to become members of NATO and the EU.
“We understand that today the EU does not have its mind on expansion. Financial crises, the wave of refugees, BREXIT are topics that have drawn the attention of Brussels from the Western Balkans. However, the delay of the EU and NATO to bring the Western Balkan region closer to itself will not leave simply a vacuum. Other ideologies, from other continents, with other agendas for the world, are trying to penetrate into our region. These are anxious to fill the vacuum that the delay of the EU and NATO will leave, said President Thaçi.
He said that it is essential for the region, but also for the EU, for NATO, for the continent, not to be late in the regional the integration processes into NATO and the EU