President Jahjaga’s speech at the meeting of the National Council on European Integrations

Honourable Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Veseli,
Honourable Prime Minister Mustafa,
Honourable Ministers,
Representatives of the Executive, Parliamentary Committees and of the Judiciary,
Representatives of the Civil Society,
EU representative, Mr. Zbogar,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I have the pleasure to, under the umbrella of the National Council on European Integrations, meet with you again to discuss the advances in the fulfilment of the remaining criteria laid by the European Commission, as main requirements for the enabling of visa free movement for the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo in majority of EU member states.

This enlarged meeting of the Council aims for an objective evaluation of this guideline of criteria on visa liberalisation, and is the last one in line of more limited meetings which I have held with the leaders of the institutions, respectively with the line ministers, during the last months in order to coordinate our activities and to provide an impetus to this very important process for Kosovo.

We are at the last stage of fulfilment of criteria laid by the European Commission, and I consider that fulfilment of these criteria is by now an issue of our political will to conclude this process. The remaining requirements ahead of us depend upon us in its entirety and there is a general agreement that by the end of this month, by the end of May, we should be able to present the report and invite the Commission to evaluate the achievement of standards with conviction for a positive evaluation during this year, which will open the way to the visa liberalisation process next year. Therefore, I appeal to all of you today, to utilize this joint meeting for better clarification and overcoming of any possible institutional of legal barriers which would then allow for accomplishment of all criteria laid by the European Commission.

Honourable participants,

During this half a year we have had many challenges and tensions which we must understand as a call for deepening of reforms in the Republic of Kosovo and opening of an economic perspective for our citizens.
During the first months of this year, as institutions and as a society we were faced with the difficult scenes of illegal migration of our citizens towards the states of European Union. Through the final operations of the security forces it has been made clear that our citizens have fallen prey of organized crime networks stretching from Kosovo and Serbia to Slovakia and Austria. Without doubt, easing of the movement of citizens towards Serbia and the negligence of the Serbian authorities in their border management of their border with Schengen countries, were contributing factors of this migratory wave. But what is left to us, as institutions representatives of Kosovo is to urgently address the displeasure of our citizens, the so called inciting factors of this phenomenon. During those days I have visited many villages and towns, met with many women and men who have sacrificed all their lives for Kosovo. We must return their trust in the state building of Kosovo.

From the aspect of the fulfilment of Kosovo’s obligations, institutional reaction in prevention of illegal migration was swift and as a result, I do not expect that this painful episode will negatively influence the visa liberalisation process.

Albeit, lack of results in establishment of law and order and establishment of state of law, will be a determining factor for the speed with which  Kosovo shall open the doors to foreign investments in the country, so necessary for creation of new work places and to move towards European Union in order to realize our joining vision.

Corruptive practices must come to an end, because they are shaking the trust of our citizens and are ruining their hope for turning Kosovo into a country with a perspective and prosperity, a viable concept which our citizens will cherish and call it a permanent home.

And at the end, as this meeting of the Council coincides with the manifestations for the freedom of press day, this vital aspect for the development of democracy, I would like to encourage the journalists of Kosovo to aim towards building of a free, independent media, as politically uninfluenced media are essential to the development of our society and advancement of the state.

Every influence upon media or even violence is an encroachment in freedom of society in general and an attempt to oppress free thinking. Free development of media will help and strengthen our democracy, by providing a meaning to our endeavours in achievement of standards towards a developed state of law, ready to become an equal member of the countries of the European Union.