President Thaçi: The isolation from the EU is unfair, it must be stopped as soon as possible

Prishtina, October 28, 2016 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has assembled today the National Council for European Integration.

President Thaçi has highlighted that it is extremely important that this council continues to function, but it must be meaningful and directed towards results.
The President has said that Kosovo does not need a meeting, a council, communication or more protocol photographs. “We have to move a step further away from bureaucracy and move a step forward towards communication, cooperation and concrete commitment”, said President Thaçi.
He has said that the council must be rather an additional platform to identify the opportunities to jointly advance the process of the integration of our country into the European Union, but also to address the challenges and obstacles there where they are.
President Thaçi added that our only goal is to draw our country closer to the EU by working together. But, according to him, about this we should speak openly and concretely, about the point where we are and what we should do.
“Therefore the topic of today’s meeting is very concrete: Isolation or Integration”, he said.
President Thaçi said that if we look from the perspective of European integration, we have to deal with a perhaps paradoxical situation.
According to him, Kosovo has made the greatest steps towards the EU, by crowning our work of state building, of longer than a decade and a half after the liberation and 8 years after the declaration of the independence of the Republic of Kosovo.

He said that Kosovo has signed a bilateral contractual agreement between the Republic of Kosovo and the European Union, while the entry into force of this agreement has formalized and makes the country’s accession process into the European Union irreversible.
“Yesterday was the first anniversary of the signing of the SAA, this historic agreement. Unfortunately, this important date passed in silence due to the current stagnant situation in our country”, he added.
The President has called for a political culture and maturity, for an open political debate, with mutual respect, which brings solutions to issues through democratic means.
He then has stopped at two specific issues, at the continuation of the reform process and the process of visa liberalization for the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo.
President Thaçi said that with all the developments and debates we are dealing, we do not have the luxury to afford to have stagnation.
“And here we all have a role. Now when we have started to touch the first results of the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement as a contract for our European future, we must demonstrate seriousness and results in the implementation of the obligations and reforms”, he added.
As President of the country, he said that he will provide all the institutional support to implement this agenda of reforms that are not only important for our European future, but in the first place develop the country and improve the quality of the life of the citizens of the country.
The President also spoke about the second issue and requested that special attention should be paid to it, to complete the visa liberalization process as soon as possible.
“The current situation in which the citizens of Kosovo continue to be deprived of the right to travel without visas to EU countries, namely the Schengen area, is unjustified. We are elected by the people and we have a constitutional and moral responsibility to our citizens to solve this problem”, he said.
President Thaçi has reiterated that no matter how unfair this approach of the European Union in relation to Kosovo is considered, the truth is that the decision by the institutions of the EU on visa liberalization is a hostage of the conclusion of the ratification of the Agreement on the demarcation of the border with Montenegro, but also by the demonstration of the convincing results in the fight against organized crime and corruption.
“As President of the country I consider this approach of the European Union totally improper “, he added.
President Thaçi has asked the representatives of the EU and the ambassadors of the member states of the EU, how many state borders the countries of the region have marked and ratified, starting from Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, before the EU has taken the decision on visa liberalization?
He said that an ordinary response, which we hear constantly in such cases, is that the EU draws lessons from previous experiences and mistakes.

“But, unfortunately, this argument does not stand either, because within a few weeks, the Parliament of the European Union and the EU Council will decide on the abolition of visas, for the citizens of Georgia and Ukraine”, said the President.

“Which state borders have these two countries marked about which the EU is enthusiastically expected to take a decision on visa abolition?”, asked President Thaçi.

To avoid being misunderstood, President Thaçi said that Kosovo rejoices every decision on the abolishing of visas for the citizens of every country, but refuses to be openly discriminated by the EU.
President Thaçi also spoke about strengthening the fight against organized crime and corruption.
“This is an ongoing work, which must be further strengthened. Therefore, neither the EU nor anyone else has the right to make pressure on the work of the judiciary, which will continue after the visa liberalization as well”, said President Thaçi.
At the end, President Thaçi said that the unfair isolation of Kosovars must be stopped as soon as possible, because the European Union and its member states do not even have a single argument to keep the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo isolated.
This is the first time that President Thaçi has called the National Council for European Integration, since having taken office in April 2016.