SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO AT THE BRDO-BRIJUNI PROCESS MEETING IN BUDVA

We meet today, at an important and an important and also challenging turning point for our countries and for the region of South-Eastern Europe as a whole. Advances achieved by our countries in the consolidation of their respective democracies are undeniable and have already become tangible through deepening of practices which make a democracy functional.

Honourable Presidents of the countries of the region,

Honourable colleagues,

We meet today, at an important and an important and also challenging turning point for our countries and for the region of South-Eastern Europe as a whole. Advances achieved by our countries in the consolidation of their respective democracies are undeniable and have already become tangible through deepening of practices which make a democracy functional.

At the same time, we still continue to remain hostages of non realization in their fullness of reforms placed upon us as conditions, implementation of which will enable our countries to become eligible candidates for membership in European Union, and which would transform the region and our individual countries into attractive places for foreign investment.

While some parts of these reforms are purely an internal issue of our states and of the institutions which lead them, certain parts also depend upon our joint will to pragmatically cooperate in order to move ahead the region as a whole and our countries in particular.

Our common consensus and our determination to become part of the European Union cannot remain only a declarative one. This orientation ingrains in itself responsibilities as well; particularly such responsibilities which require show of restrain from the rhetoric and ideas which have isolated this region and made it stagnate during the last three decades. I personally, as the President of the youngest state in the region, would like to strongly believe that this strategic resolve is without alternative and that we shall not deviate from this aim due to policies of the past and daily ideological agendas.

It is clear that reality which surrounds us is not an easy one. This year’s occurrences in the region demonstrate a necessity for an inter-state cooperation, especially in the fields of security and economics, the two most accentuated dimensions of our inter dependency with each other.

In economic aspect, there is no doubt that in our state to state cooperation we have marked a resurrection. Our regular and frequent meetings have contributed to a more favourable investment climate, especially in harmonisation of infrastructure and energy policies with European Union. In appreciation of forums such as BrdoBrijuni, defined by the Berlin Initiative at the meetings of our governments, we were able to include our voices and elaborate the needs of our citizens for a complement which will improve the quality of their lives; we are on a good path to become an inseparable part of the European Union maps in these two crucial fields. This economic interdependency which we aim to achieve in Balkans has been successfully tested and has provided the longest lasting peace and prosperity to a large part of Europe in its history. It is an important wholesome context which we must not set aside.

In the aspect of security, our countries have unfortunately not remained untouched by the global terror threats, particularly by violent extremism. I would like to welcome the dialogue commenced by some of our states in provision of joint response to this threat to stability of each country, and I would also like to add that as a priority, this challenge must be given its adequate and joint response which can be provided only through cooperation and coordination. We are facing this problem in Kosovo and I can say that we have provided a good example for the region, by providing concrete examples in fighting of this peril and protection of the image of the region, determined to contribute to the security of everyone.

Honourable Presidents,

I would like to return to our dedication to the European and Euro-Atlantic vision. A considerable part of our challenges and a serious obstacle to our further progress are as a result of non fulfilment of the conditions determined by the European Union for membership, or consideration for membership of this Union.

I say this with full conviction, that this aim, has made the unimaginable possible in Balkans. Allow me to mention the dialogue between the Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Serbia as one of the examples of transformative engagements of EU. Our two states have, through EU mediation, achieved a considerable number of agreements, which have helped in normalisation of relations between them, and Republic of Kosovo remains dedicated to this process as the best way to secure long term peace and security in South-Eastern Europe.

But this normalisation will not be complete or indeed possible without their full implementation.

We, individually as states, but also as a region, need a string European Union presence, especially now when competition in the region by circles which are not admirers of our social and democratic progress is growing. We need European investments, we need cultural communication which redirects us all together towards values and ideals which we share and makes them tangible.

In this debate there is no room for “us” and “them”, as such a division is totally counterproductive and is advantageous only to those who see the desperation and distress of our citizens as means to cause irreparable chasms which will send the region backwards.

My state is not looking for shortcuts, but we are looking for a path. And I encourage all you around the table- EU countries and neighbouring countries alike- to see this momentum as an opportunity to advance our respective European agendas.