President Jahjaga’s annual speech at the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo

I feel honoured to address you, the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and the Assembly, to reveal the successes and the challenges of our country in fulfilling the vision for which many generations have sacrificed towards achieving this major project which has brought peace and stability to the whole region of the South-Eastern Europe and to Europe in general.

Today, when we have concluded a successful process of municipal elections, we stand together to evaluate our work and engagement within a year in building the democratic values and to determine our aims for the near future.
 
These elections have demonstrated that we are responsible in organising and running the important process, where the vote of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, as their sacred right, have proven to be free, an expression of their will embodied as well in the Constitution of Kosovo.
 
Now, when we have concluded another important process in our attempts towards building a state of law, we have opened to ourselves the path of European integrations, a long standing aspiration of the citizens of Kosovo, regardless.
 
With these elections, which for the first time are held in whole territory of the country at the same time, we have brought our citizens closer to one another by initiating the integration of all the communities into the society and the institutions of the country.
 
This is a common success of the people, institutions and our international partners which is an example that our society can be build upon values and that the state is built upon legal principles.  Kosovo should continue to be the house of all its citizens, where tolerance and understanding are its fundamental values.
 
During this period, as during the whole history of existence of the Republic of Kosovo, we have demonstrated that we are a state which is committed to ensure peace and stability for the region of South-Eastern Europe by attempting to overcome the differences of the past and by offering an example of building neighbourly relations.
 
It has not been easy to address challenges and find solutions. The wounds of the war in Kosovo have not yet healed since the consequences which were left by this war have not yet been overcome.
 
The dialogue is the only way to establish peace and stability, as well as to guarantee the prosperity of our country. It is understandable that in our society we have had hesitation and opposition for the process of dialogue which should end with the Agreement on Normalisation of Relations between Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Serbia, which ensures peace and stability and opens the road towards the European future.
 
Let us consider the Agreement as a way to move ahead and as an aim of ours to realize our ambition for the integration of the country, for the protection of the wholeness of our state. And let us see the agreement as a good intended endeavour of our international friends, USA and EU, to help us overcome the history of violence and disagreements by opening to us a new window of greater opportunities.
 
However what we need now is the full implementation of the Normalisation Agreement, because only like this the agreement can take meaning. The implementation must be done chapter by chapter, step by step.
 
We want for the agreement to be closely monitored by EU, certainly by the USA as well, which have stood by us during the whole time, as they have always supported Kosovo, even during the harsh period of repression, during the war, and particularly during the period of the building of the state and of the democratic society. We want the agreement to be successful, as it means the opening of the perspective for the whole region and definitely an irreversible path of Euro-Atlantic integrations. For the Agreement means sustainability in South-Eastern Europe, as it guarantees the state of law.
 
Therefore, the Agreement on Normalisation of Relations and its full implementation, through international monitoring of this process, we ask for it to serve as conditionality for Serbia’s European integration. The opening of each chapter of negotiations for Serbia’s membership in EU should be appraised by the steps undertaken on the path of normalisation of relations with Kosovo.
 
The dialogue is important in fulfilling the capacities of Kosovo to meet our European aspiration, a process during which we ensure the integration of all communities. The dialogue with our citizens of all communities, especially those of Serbian community, is an attempt to end the chapters of distrust among us and open new chapters of trust and common goals for a better life. Therefore, we have extended our hand of cooperation to the Serbian community who live in the north and inn the south of the Ibar river.
 
And now we have responsibilities. We have the responsibility to help this community live in an environment where law and order are respected, to set itself free from the fear of criminals who have benefited while harming them and to be led by leaders who represent their will. Hence we have the responsibility to build together the future of our country by enabling the integration of all citizens regardless.
 
Let us be clear – Kosovo is a country where the constitutionality and legality are applied and where each citizen is guaranteed his/her own rights and freedoms. The municipalities of Kosovo can help each other; can establish partnerships amongst one another, in accordance with the democratic functioning of the institutions of the country.  Everything that is foreseen by the law, for any community, will be applied. Everything that is foreseen by the Constitutions will be met. Let us open the way to the solutions based upon our laws and our legal processes.
 
We will carry the responsibility for our road towards a better life together, because it is possible to build a better future.
 
Mi dokazujemo da je moguce da zajedno izgradimo nasu buducnost. U ovoj nasoj jedinstvenoj zemlji, mi ravnopravni gradjani bez obzira na nasu nacionalnu ili versku pripadnost, odgovorno tezimo ka  evropskim integracijama.
 
Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable Members of the Assembly,
Kosovo today is a country recognised by more than 100 countries of the world, which has established bilateral relations with a number of states and it is our continuous aim to become member of international organisations by becoming part of EU, UN, NATO and all other international mechanisms, as this is our future, and the future of each independent state.
 
Our integration within EU is possible, and it will come true, when we understand in utmost seriousness that the most important chapter of state building is the rule of law, the state of law and equality in front of the law. EU has opened the possibility of integrations for us, through the initiation of negotiations on the Stabilisation-Association Agreement and we expect to conclude the negotiations in spring of next year. The initiation of this process has been possible thanks to a wide political consensus around the European agenda, by demonstrating progress in fulfilling the fundamental reforms and through the engagement and advancement that we have shown in the process of dialogue in Brussels.
 
SA Agreement will support reforms in all sectors, but in a longer time period it will also create new opportunities in the dynamics and competitiveness of our economy, in order for it to reach its full development potential.
 
Our work has not yet ended for our citizens to be able to enjoy the European perspective, as do the citizens of the other countries of the region. On visa liberalisation process, despite the important progress that has been achieved in certain sectors and in the approval of the legal framework, many other challenges remain, such as the effective implementation of the legislation and the effective fight against organised crime and corruption.
 
It is by now clear that the visa liberalisation for the citizens of Kosovo is not only an issue of the capital of the European Union but also a preoccupation of each member state, as this is related to their national policies.
 
In each EU country that I visited and with every European leader that I have met, I have asked the freedom of movement, as an undeniable right, to be offered to the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo.
 
We are not looking for a shortcut to EU membership, but we are interested to fulfil all the obligations in this process.
 
Through the National Council on European Integration we have already approved the National Strategy on Integration, a one year process of consultations with wide participation of all institutions, political parties and civil society.
 
The process of EU integration is the best roadmap for our social transformation and this vision has no alternative. Every action that we undertake, as institutions and as a society, must be firmly oriented towards the full integration within European Union.
 
On this journey we will be supported by EULEX, as a partner mission in Kosovo and important to accomplish the task we started together in consolidating the rule of law.
 
We will continue to build strong and responsible local mechanisms- able structures and accountable ones - on rule of law, professional institutions which also enjoy the trust of our citizens. Gradual transfer of responsibilities in the field of rule of law to the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo is closely linked with the building of our full capacities in cooperation with EULEX.
 
Our reforms in the justice system aim to create independent and efficient mechanisms which will strengthen the trust in the justice of the state.
 
We can make Kosovo one of the most developed countries in South-Eastern Europe by turning it into the most important crossroad for all the countries of the region, which ensures investors that Kosovo shall protects their capital.
 
It will be difficult for Kosovo to build the trust of its citizens if the fight against corruption does not become a priority and if it does not yield results. It is difficult for Kosovo to change the convictions of its citizens if the corruption is stealing their future.
 
The state was built by the citizens of Kosovo, the same people who today have turned their eyes towards the institutions - toward the central level as well as the local one, as well as here at this place of the people- to see the accountability of our governance and the benefits stemming from the state which we are building.
 
We have pledged in front of our citizens that we will fight corruption till the end by establishing zero tolerance policies against this negative phenomenon. Now is the time to provide tangible results to them. We need consistency, we need courage and we need faith in the system we have established.
 
This reality in the eyes of the world has its aim to integrate into Europe, to integrate into the North Atlantic Alliance. This will be possible after we accomplish our work. And our work is to build a sustainable, incorrupt state, a state where the rule of law is the foundation of our democracy. We have committed, we have created mechanisms to fight the negative phenomena in the society, we have enacted modern legislation, and now we must show efficient implementation of the law.
 
We must end the trend which qualifies our country as a corrupted one and one with organised crime; because we do not want to see the opportunities for foreign investment dry out, thus infringing our economic development. We must end this trend as we do not want to see our youth leave the country in search of a better life, putting themselves to a great risk and succumbing to gangs of organised crime who carry them outside their country.
 
Every new work place depends on our strength to stop corruption and organised crime.
 
A citizen would rather continue to remain in his country to help the development of the latter.
 
A step ahead towards economic development depends upon our will to stop the force of corruption and organised crime.
 
Hundreds of small and large investments, of our citizens as well as of foreign ones with huge potential, have depended and continue to depend even today on our strength, will and ability to eradicate the phenomenon of corruption and on our obligation to implement the law.
 
Let us take a look around us. Despite the difficulties, our youngsters are excelling worldwide. Lately, the digital diplomats of Kosovo, with a self initiative and dedication, ensured a very important recognition by building a new image of our country. They are only a fraction of the potential that their generation carries – or around 70% of the population of Kosovo who is under the age of 30.
 
Said simply, our future is in our own hands, as is the opportunity to radically transform Kosovo! I do not want to lose this chance! And I believe that no one else wants to lose it either!!
 
Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,
 
It is all of Us - the Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo - not just one part of this country, but all of Us - the equal citizens of this state - who must enjoy equal and undeniable rights as they are enshrined in our Constitution.
 
It is us, all of US- citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, peoples- regardless of our gender- who want to work and live every single day with this state of ours. Therefore we want more opportunities for education and schooling of our girls. Because they are an indivisible part of our society.
 
We want more opportunities for economic empowerment of women and greater inclusiveness of women in all levels of the institutions.
 
Kosovo in these recent years has been able to change the perception on gender issues by undertaking important steps in the representation of women in all fields of life.
 
We must preserve the secular character of our state, as we have envisioned it by the Constitution.
 
We do not want to change anyone’s religious convictions but we want the state and the religion to be clearly separated since this principle will preserve the religious tolerance we have built for centuries.
 
Kosovo has never been a source of crisis and religious conflict, but a country where the principle of religious tolerance is a founding value of the state, upon which it is also built. We are a state of Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox and all other beliefs and of non-believers, as much as we are a state of all the communities living in it.
 
We are a civic state.
 
Today we are a country with a clear ambition and determined vision. Our today’s strives are to build an economically strong state, a state which serves as an example of good neighbourliness and a state of law.  The strives of our youth today are battles of wellbeing and employment, battles of a better life.
 
The citizens of Kosovo must not get involved in wars around the world, whether due to ideology or material gain. We cannot allow the involvement of our youngsters in wars abroad, as parts of radical and extremist groups, whose aims have nothing in common with the aims of the democratic world and to establish universal human rights in countries which aspire freedom, democracy and who fight against dictatorships.
 
We are a small country to carry the consequences of any kind of extremism, but we are a country clearly and fully aligned with the democratic forces of the world, which aim to establish peace and remove dictators.
 
However we are being challenged by the problem of radicalism, in this case, as are other countries whose fellow citizens are involved in the Syrian conflict. We will be able to deal with the mentality of a foreign war, which can be brought to Kosovo by the generation of youngsters who are involved in it. The mentality of violence and murder committed in the name of a cause- still unclear to many.
 
And it will be hard for us - but let us be clear: no type of extremism will be able to find a safe base in Kosovo because Kosovo will not become a shelter or an exporter of such a phenomenon.
 
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Kosovo has maintained throughout the year a continuous economic growth, despite the global economic and financial crisis. However, we need to further mobilize ourselves and to, with a more serious dedication, promote investment opportunities and to offer more favourable conditions to foreign investors and their protection.
 
The major infrastructure projects, highways which link Kosovo to the neighbouring countries, offer greater opportunities for the country and the citizens, and create better business conditions as well as increase their competitiveness.
 
We must create also the necessary supportive mechanisms in order to ease the investments of the Diaspora, by offering them concrete investment opportunities, with a minimal risk and with a guaranteed yield.
 
However, despite the achieved progress, Kosovo continues to face serious economic challenges. High unemployment rate, the high level of poverty, the low level of domestic production, the small scale of exports and the high level of imports, the informality and the lack of the rule of law, naturally curtail the economic growth and the general progress on national level.
 
Therefore, the process of structural adaption must continue. Privatisation as a painful process at times but a necessary one for a sustainable development must carry on.
 
We must engage harder in creating the preconditions for effective economic governance which means the concentration of economic institutions towards offering of necessary legal and institutional protection for the economic system, elimination of practices of monopoly, improvement of the flow and confidentiality of information, protection of competition, safeguarding the macroeconomic stability, with an added attention towards economic freedom.
 
Our economic prosperity depends on unblocking our resources and the extraordinary potentials of our country, whether human or natural, or those stemming from free initiatives of private sector.
 
Dear citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,
I know how challenging it is the great expectation for a better life and social wellbeing. I understand how just is the need of the whole Kosovar society for a sustainable, developed and strong state. I appreciate your great patience and your dedication to face the challenges of today.
 
But I would like to call upon you to stand together. Let us all engage for our state stand on strong feet.
 
The road towards the future requires grand sacrifices from us. And I strongly believe that we are ready to face them and to achieve full success.
 
We have achieved the impossible together; we have built our own state. Kosovo is ours and this process is irreversible.
 
I will continue to diligently perform all constitutional and legal obligations as a non-partisan factor of unity fully engaged in representing the country, here and abroad, in enhancing the image of Kosovo as a democratic country built upon civic principle based on order and rule of law, fully engaged in the fight against organized crime and corruption and in the eradication of all negative phenomena in our society.
 
Thank You!