President Jahjaga’s speech at the Prishtina Institute for Political Studies

I have the pleasure to be with you here today to discuss one of the strategic aims to discuss one of the strategic priorities of the foreign policy of Republic of Kosovo, that of membership in the Council of Europe.

Dear participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I have the pleasure to be with you here today to discuss one of the strategic aims to discuss one of the strategic priorities of the foreign policy of Republic of Kosovo, that of membership in the Council of Europe.

My presence here at Prishtina Institute for Political Studies is the continuation of joint engagements of institutions of Republic of Kosovo and a number of organisations represented at the institute and the Group for Legal and Political Studies, aiming to draft a proper guideline which will lead Kosovo to the membership in Council of Europe.

Furthermore, it is an example of more than necessary cooperation between policymaking state institutions and civil society, of a dialogue which aims to advance the wellbeing of citizens of Republic of Kosovo, irrespective of ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Irrespective of ideological lines and daily politics; Building of a democratic Kosovo which has as reference point the highest standards of protection of human rights and freedoms.

It is exactly this strengthening and respect of human rights which makes Kosovo’s membership in Council of Europe a necessity and one of the highest priorities in diplomatic engagement of our country.

For myself, as the President of Kosovo and bearer of our young state’s foreign policy, membership in this body is an urgent need, which is closely linked to our endeavours in strengthening of human rights in practice, advancement of democracy and in bringing the Republic of Kosovo closer to European integration processes, which as the main ambition enjoys full institutional and social consensus.

We are lucky as Kosovo to have as a guideline a modern Constitution, which aspires the highest standards and determines the implementation of the European Convention of Human Rights, as one of the international instruments on human rights.

Let me be clear: Kosovo has marked exceptional advancement on development of democracy and human rights, particularly in the field of inclusion of minority communities and respect of their rights. But it is of essential importance to, in this first decade of existence of our state building as a independent and sovereign state, engage that this determination expressed in the Constitution does not only remain only an ambitious aspiration. The principles upon which we built our state will influence each our step in creating of an all inclusive state, state of law, of equal citizens in both the privilege and accountability.

It is as much in the interest of Council of Europe, as the largest international organisation in Europe engaged in respect of human rights, to have Kosovo aligned on its side in advancement of rule of law and development pf democracy in each corner of European continent.

Membership in Council of Europe would allow citizens of Kosovo, of all its communities, to address the European Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg as the last instance after they have consumed all judicial mechanisms in Kosovo.

It is not understandable and unjust to deny access for Kosovar citizens to a human rights mechanisms of such importance.

These arguments have constituted the main axis of discussions in September of last year, at the margins of UN General Assembly in New York, which I have held with the Council of Europe General Secretary Mr. Thornbjorn Jagland, at which I asked for strengthening of cooperation between Kosovo and Council of Europe. At this meeting, which was the first step we undertook in our engagements to join Council of Europe, we have agreed for the formalization of the office of this organisation and continuation of operations of the working groups.

Since then, in continuing months, institutional contacts with the Council of Europe have intensifies. So far, Kosovo has obtained the support of two thirds of the countries which have recognised Kosovo for its membership in this organisation. We will submit our application very soon.

Honourable participants,

Despite many priorities which compete for our attention as state institutions and yours as civil society, we must remain concentrated to enliven the dream of many generations in Kosovo, that of building of a just state which offers equal opportunities to all its citizens.

All of us who carry upon our shoulders the burden of establishment of our young state must insist that Kosovo is built upon the principle of justice for all, and that Kosovo must never deny or violate the rights for which it fought so hard for solong.

Ahead of us are decisions which will determine the future of Kosovo and the nature of our democracy,  of our dedication ro our ideals and principles. I have full confidence that we shall fulfil our international obligations, by demonstrating seriousness and sincerity on fulfilment of standards we aim for.

Only in this manner, as we have shown and we will show, that we may remain faithful to our values as a nation, as citizens and a state.
 
Thank you.