THE SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO, MADAM ATIFETE JAHJAGA AT THE PRESIDENTS’ SUMMIT IN SLOVAKIA

I express my gratitude to the chair of the summit, Mr. President, for extending me the invitation and the participating countries for agreeing to this format which shows that only through inclusion and cooperation on key issues that matter to the future of the region we can move forward.

Honorable President Gasparovic,
Të nderuara shkëlqesi,
Honorable excelencies,
Postovane ekselencije,

 
I express my gratitude to the chair of the summit, Mr. President, for extending me the invitation and the participating countries for agreeing to this format which shows that only through inclusion and cooperation on key issues that matter to the future of the region we can move forward.
 
It also shows that we are all aware that Europe will be a whole and at peace with the integration of all its peoples and nations.
 
We meet as leaders amid the continuing European recession and financial crisis, and as our capitals as well as officials in Brussels ponder over the future of the European Union project, how to close the gap in public perception over its enlargement policy and the domestic frustration over high unemployment rates, declining living standards, painful reforms or brain drain, to name just a few.
 
Yet, in many respects, despite the qualms of the recent years brought upon the citizens and the countries of the European Union by the economic recession, the European Union project will continue to be the only indispensable option that will have the biggest impact and the most positive transformative role in our economies and the development of our societies.
 
We must remind ourselves of the goal and the reasons why the European Union was founded and why has it proved so successful. Europe has seen progress in the past five decades as never before. Not only have the founding countries continued their steady development, but the Union has helped close the development gap in Europe by offering the helping hand to countries that have lagged behind due to the events of the past decades.
 
Peace has brought not only growth and unprecedented development, but it has brought a period of political stability, freedom of movement and deeper understanding between peoples and nations.
 
You, the Presidents of the countries on this side of the Iron Curtain, know that journey best and, us the Presidents of the countries of Western Balkans, understand best the potential this project holds to change around our countries and shift the course of history.
 
On the premise of future cooperation for a lasting peace and stability we, the countries of the region, must work together. We had a difficult past, a past from which we may not have fully recovered and the consequences of which we continue to suffer, but we are now coming together to the promising vision of a united Europe.
 
The processes in which we find ourselves are irreversible. Our future is in the EU and the Republic of Kosovo is committed to this vision. We will continue to be factor of peace and stability and promoters of good neighborly relations. In the view of this summit, I appreciate that this perspective was respected and once again I express my gratitude to the organizer and the participating countries for helping the aspiring countries move closer to EU.
 
The region’s membership perspective, which unifies all of us, should prevail beyond any doubts about the viability of the open door policy, because this perspective has already yielded tangible results where just about a decade ago they were unthinkable.
 
Today we have shown creativity and constructiveness to move beyond the animosities of the past and to build trust, reconciliation and to change the image of the whole region, aware that unless we do so, we shall remain in isolation, losing yet another generation to unemployment and social exclusion.
 
The development of all the countries in the region of the Western Balkans, including the economic development, is interdependent, and despite the current differences and temporary disagreements to recognize the new realities, is a necessary vehicle to drive the cooperation and the general progress of this part of Europe.
 
We are small states, with great will and clear goals to become part of the European Union and to add our efforts to improve its security and stability.
 
Our countries aim to become member countries of the European Union and this journey, while individual for each country, will be easier if we cooperate and streamline our resources and those of the European Union wisely.
 
In this vein, aspiring countries must develop closer bilateral and regional cooperation, invest in building mechanisms and policies that will foster and enhance the economic cooperation, create opportunities and incentives for each other to stimulate the economic development, to intensify joint projects of capital investments, drawing on European Union and various funds of development. We will all benefit from joint projects and we will also be bound by this cooperation ensuring a lasting peace for the coming generations.
 
We can achieve this through the improvement of our infrastructure, joint water management, through joint protection and conservation of environment, through investment in border regions, sea-ports and terminals connected to European corridors.

In our countries, we must utilize all our resources and learn from each other’s best practices. As a region we are blessed with different resources and their proper and strategic use and management will be an added value to the European Union.
 
While intensifying the cooperation in the field of security and rule of law, we will develop a better coordination of relevant institutions of our respective countries in fighting of corruption, smuggling and organized crime, with the intention to create joint mechanisms that will prove successful in the fight against these negative phenomena.
 
Our joint front in establishing rule of law and order will open up new markets and will strengthen our economies. We must draft joint projects for economic development, while not giving up on those within our borders, but which will further advance our entry into third markets.
 
Today no country is self-sufficient regardless of its size. We all need to cooperate.

Honorable Excellencies,

 
I remain convinced that Europe will weather this economic recession,  caused also by the inability to manage the vast financial system and a fiscal policy that did not provide sufficient mechanisms to monitor investments and loans  and it will come out of this recent crisis stronger. As we can see, already EU has created mechanisms that act in solidarity and intervene in helping troubled countries draft sound fiscal policies that will move them out of crisis.
 
Southeastern Europe is an inseparable part of the European Union. The integration into EU is not only a vision, but an undeniable reality and it is the best possible option for the region. Through the European Union we are building the present and the vision for the future because our past proves that EU is the best invention for our comprehensive development.
 
As the European Union adds Croatia, its 28th member in its midst next month, we are once again reminded of the potential we hold as a region. We will be an asset and not a burden to the European Union.
 
THANK YOU!