THE SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO, MADAM ATIFETE JAHJAGA IN THE KOSOVO ASSEMBLY

Today, when we’re approaching the fifth anniversary of the founding of our state, built with the hard work and the sacrifice of many generations so that the right to live in freedom becomes a reality, the commitment to make Kosovo the country of the dreams of every citizen is becoming even stronger.

Honorable Vicepresident of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable members of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable Prime minister of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable Deputy Prime Ministers,
Honorable Ministers,
Honorable Ambassadors and diplomats representing the friendly countries,
Distinguished citiziens,

Today, when we’re approaching the fifth anniversary of the founding of our state, built with the hard work and the sacrifice of many generations so that the right to live in freedom becomes a reality, the commitment to make Kosovo the country of the dreams of every citizen is becoming even stronger.

Today, when Us the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, are marching through the path toward a better and more prosperous future, when we’re cementing the foundations of a just and democratic state, inclusive and sustainable, the need for change and reform is becoming more necessary.

Our citizens demand this reform as the basis of our future that paves the way to the strengthening of our country and creates a longterm perspective for our children. This reform is demanded by those that are leading the construction and the strengthening of the state: by the farmers and the workers, by the engineers and the builders, by the teachers and professors, students and pupils, and by the doctors.

It has been demaded by our citizens, everywhere.

Reform needs to be comprehensive and with depth, for the good of the country that will open our way toward Euroatlantic integrations. Not only for the sake of integration, but to raise the standard of living for our citizen, to assist the country’s economic development and to strengthen the foundation of the establishment of order and the rule of law.

A reform that would help in raising the standards of the education system for our children, who are our future. For a stronger health system, so that our citizens get better care. For a rapid economic development and an opportunity to invest. For a greater security for our citizen, wherever he is, in every corner of the country, to move freely and without fear.

We are responding with concrete actions to the demand of our citizens to act.

Distinguished members of the parliament,

Distinguished citizens,


Regardless of our differences, we share the common future; the integration inside the borders of the country and at the same time the integration into the EU. And in a permanent friendship with the United States of America, this great friend who has stood with us always, and has given its support to our efforts for a better future.

This prosperous and bright future has opened up for our country in the fall of this year, when we completed the period of supervised independence, a joint success of our citizens and the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo and our international friends.

As a completed and democractic country we have take full responsibility for all the matters in our country, to push forward all the processes and to guarantee our historic, cultural and religious values.

Our independence is a guarantee of peace and stability beyond the region. Our country is a promoter of policies of good neighborly relations.

Kosovo is one and whole; it is a country of all its citizens and offers equal opporunity to everyone.

The Republic of Kosovo is an important part of all the international processes and especially those in the region, by giving its direct contribution as an equal country with all the other countries in Europe and the world. Kosovo is not a place of strife but an important factor that offers solutions to problems.

It is this internal stability that has reflected outside our borders, giving us an opportunity to present to the world a new Kosovo, a democratic Kosovo. This year this success story has brought a bigger number of recognitions and has consolidated our presence in the international arena. Most recently the majority of the member-states of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development voted in favor of the Republic of Kosovo. As Kosovo we have added our voice to the offering of solutions of global challenges, including the strive for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
 
For us the membership into the European Union, the United Nations and NATO as well as in the other international mechanisms continues to remain a priority as it will offer an important perspective and it will place Kosovo among the equal nations.

The Republic of Kosovo should become part of the important regional and international security mechanisms, of the EUROPOL and INTERPOL, to contribute in the fight of all kinds of crime, including transnational crime. We have build a police force according to international standards – professional, ready and capable to confront all the challenges.

Together with NATO, we have built a Security Force, a structure which has met its operational capabilities and is ready to take on responsibilities in international missions around the world.

Both institutions have won the trust and the full support of the citizens of Kosovo.

The whole Western Balkans is headed toward the European integrations and Kosovo is an inseparable part of this path.

The process of the Euroatlantic integration for Kosovo has experienced new impetus this year, achieved with the comprehensive engagement of all the citizens and the institutions of this country. We have entered into a new phase of our relationship with the European Union with the acceptance of the Feasibility Study which paves the way to the opening of negotiations for the Stabilization and Association Agreement.

It is our goal to begin this process as soon as possible. With this, the EU would prove its readiness to keep open the integration perspective for all the countries of the Western Europe.

The process of integrations however is a two-way street. We have a lot of work ahead in meeting all the European criteria and standards, starting with our own internal reforms in every field that would also benefit our citizen.

But the road toward the European Union is clear and secure. The European Union should speak with one voice on Kosovo and should keeo the gate open for each country in the Western Balkans, by giving them the same treatment. Europe is the family where we aspire to return again, all of us the peoples of the Balkans, separated from it unjustly by history. And we have decided today to make history jointly for the benefit of our peoples. This is a path that the European Union guarantees to us.

We have received the roadmap for the visa liberalization, which aims to allow the free travel for our citizens. Kosovo will not remain the sole country without the freedom of movement. We guarantee that the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo will respect all the rules and criteria set by the EU.

We are ready to enter in this new relationship with the EU and we want this process, of visa liberalization to end no later than by the end of next year. The inability to move freely, has isolated the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and has created harships not only for their life but also for the general development of the country. The visa liberalization is also a recognition for the work and the engagement of every citizen and every institution of the Republic of Kosovo in building a democractic country.

The European path has no alternative and we stand united on this endeavor; all of us citizens and institutions alike. Our European agenda should be transformed in a work plan for the whole Kosovo society.

This moment is only the beginning of a long way of reforms. In this process, the unity of all of us is necessary. Institutions, political parties, civil society, academic community and business alike have a crucial role to play.
 
Based on the experiences of the countries that have now gone through this process, the general consensus in fulfilling reforms for integration is crucial.

In March I have established the National Council on European Integration, a coordinating institutional mechanism as evidence of our unity – the unity od institutions, political spectrum, municipalities, civic society, business and all the citizens to take responsibility in enhancing the dynamic of the European integration by joining our efforts to successfully complete this process.
 
We have created a political and social platform, with the aim of securing a clear and stable course for the full integration into the EU, by strengthening the trust and the partnership between the institutions and the civic society, the academic community and that of business.

But this path of ours toward the EU demands from us a greater engagement in the completion of internal reforms. Reforms that mainly relate to the rule of law and demand the inclusion of every segment of our society.

We are building a just state, where the respect of the rule of law and the equality before the law means security for the citizen, means wellbeing and development, which is also a guaranteed investment for our future.

We have come at a crucial junction in the history of our country where the fight against corruption and organized crime is becoming powerful and uncompromising.

When our children, who will inherit this country from us, will not ask for the sacrifices we have made in this fight – but will reap the rewards. When the future generations will no longer talk of negative phenomena – but will experience the development of the country and will move forward.

We do not have any time to lose – we cannot lose the fight against organized crime and corruption. We do not have other chances and opportunities but this one chance today. We will not endanger the sacrifice of our generations for freedom, democracy and independence.

This is why we are committed to uproot the negative phenomena, because they are hindering our development as a society and as a state, they are an obstacle to the process of the Euro-Atlantic integration, they are holding back the life of our citizen.

We do not want our youngsters to remain hostages of corruption and organized crime, which have deterred investments and the opening of new jobs.

We cannot afford to risk their future!

Therefore, in accordance with my constitutional authority, I have established the National Anti-Corruption Council, to fight this destructive phenomena in the highest level and with the greatest devotion.

In this Council, we have coordinated the actions of all the institutions that are tasked to fight corruption, by enhancing the communication between them, dividing the responsibilities and increasing the accountability. For the full implementation of the law in this crucial battle which is the centerpoint that will determine our internal stability, our sustainability as a state and our European perspective which we aspire.

With the establishment of the Council as a priority of the Office of the President of Kosovo, we have helped in improving Kosovo’s image beyond our borders and in changing the perception within our borders.

We have come to useful conclusions to review and change legislation and we have identified gaps that slow down our work.

But above all, we have created a common and comprehensive front that will not stop working until we defeat corruption in Kosovo. This will continue to remain one of the top priorities of my Office.

We must continue and accelerate the reforms for strengthening law and order and improve the business climate as preconditions for attracting foreign direct investment, by increasing domestic production, which generate jobs and raise the quality and competitiveness of our products and services.

Our country this year has improved the road infrastructure, which will facilitate the movement of goods and people. The conclusion of the project, the Nation’s Road “Ibrahim Rugova” with our own revenues shows the institutional commitment and engagement to build the adequate infrastructure that will aid the economic and general development of our nation. This road will connect peoples and states. It is our link to the important European corridors, which connect us with the other regional countries and the world.

For a sustainable economic development and the opening of new jobs, our country will draft developmental policies, which will be in line with the long term economic vision of Kosovo. The Budget of year 2013 should serve this purpose as should the medium term development plans.

Dear fellow citizens, 

As we stand here today, I want to remember our 1770 missing citizens, whose families have been adamantly searching for them for 14 years. The tranquility of any family in Kosovo and the peace of our country will not be reached and achieved without establishing the whereabouts of each and every missing citizen. Therefore, we, the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo will be more committed to resolve this issue, to help the families whose loved ones are missing reach a spiritual calm.

Many other war victims are among us. They want and they deserve justice. Therefore, in the Prishtina Principles, stemming from the International Women’s Summit, Partnership for Change, we asked that women who were raped and subject to abuse be recognized the legal status of victims of war, so that they, along with the other women who sacrificed so much for freedom, to occupy their rightful place.

Our peace is peace for all and peace and stability everywhere.

The democracy, which we are developing, is our strength – of a country with cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. Of this state that has had a difficult past: which we have not forgotten but we have built the present for the sake of the future.

We have entered in important process for our state and we need to be united. We should turn our political difference in advantage and pragmatism for our good and our future.

As a factor of peace and stability in the region we have responded to all the states with good neighborly relations, by building it with respect, as equal and with dignity. But we are aware of the problems in the relations with the Republic of Serbia and therefore we have embarked on the path of dialogue to find solutions.

The dialogue is not only the best solution, but it is the only way through which the Republic of Serbia will take the responsibilities and implement the international agreements in relation to Kosovo. The dialogue is the best way to normalize the relations between two equal and sovereign states and it paves the way to European integrations.

There is no time to lose and now more than ever we must unite to find the best solutions for Kosovo, based on the European standards, guaranteed by EU and strongly supported by USA.

We have made it clear that Kosovo is a whole unique territory and it has its internationally guaranteed borders. There will be no other solutions except for the ones based on the laws and the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and all the reached agreements must be guaranteed and implemented in practice.

There is no division of Kosovo. There is no exchange of territories and populations.

We do not want to put in place double standards for the communities in Kosovo and in particular we do not want to destroy what we have achieved so far, the inclusion of all the communities – Serbian, Turkish,  Bosnian, Gorani,  Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian in the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.
   
The dialogue takes place to find practical solutions for the citizens and to normalize the relations between two states. Our past will not hold hostage our future and we will find the ways to resolve the remaining open issues.

I have expressed my willingness to meet the President of Serbia, in the interest of the state and the people of Kosovo, based on the laws and the constitution of Kosovo. I have stated that I will meet at anytime and anywhere and I continue to believe that the meetings between equal representatives of Kosovo and Serbia contribute in the normalization of relations. The meetings cannot be conditioned by any party, least of all the representatives of the Republic of Kosovo. Problems will not be solved by themselves and are not solved by force. In modern times problems are solved through dialogue, especially where the war has ended.

Our path towards EU will be easier if we cooperate with each other, as two independent sovereign states, which respect the values of each other and the good neighborliness.

I urge the Republic of Serbia to give up the financing and support of the illegal and criminal structures in the north of the country, because they are holding hostage the lives of ordinary people there. We asked for the authorities of the Republic of Serbia to give up interference in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo. The stability of Kosovo, as an independent and sovereign state, is the stability for the region and beyond. Our relations cannot hold hostage the stability of Europe and threaten the general development of Western Balkans.

The lives of the citizens are more important than the ego of power.

In the municipalities in the north we will establish order and the rule of law, by dismantling all the structures linked to organized crime, smuggling and corruption, by returning the faith of the citizens in this part of the country in the institutions of Republic of Kosovo. The normalization of the situation would enable that in the time when the local elections are held in the Republic of Kosovo, based on the laws and the Constitutions of the country, to be held even in the municipalities in the north of the territory, enabling the Serb community and the other communities to elect their legal and legitimate representatives. This would enable the faster economic development of the three municipalities in the north as well as improve the inter-human relations.

But with democracy and development, responsibilities come along as much as the rights. The Serb citizens in the municipalities in the north should feel and understand Kosovo as their state and homeland. To feel that the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is our common wealth and understand that their future too, is within this state.

Therefore I urge the citizens of the Serb community, especially the ones in the municipalities in the north, to look towards their future together with all the citizens of Kosovo.

I zato pozivam gradjane srpske zajednice, posebno one koje zive u opstinama na severu, da gledaju ka njihovoj buducnosti, zajedno sa svim drugim gradjanima Kosova. Vasa domovina je Kosovo, mesto velikih aspiracija i mogucnosti. Vasa domovina je Kosovo, zemlja nade i zajednickih odgovornosti. Hajde da je zajedno izgradimo za nasu dobrobit, i za sigurniju i bolju buducnost.   

Honorable Assembly members,

Our job has not terminated especially in the constitutional and electoral reform, although great efforts were made to finalize this process. Kosovo citizens rightly expect to offer them an evidence of the achieved results and they want us to complete them successfully.

It is time to find common solutions especially in the electoral reform and all the political forces in the country to offer the best solution for a secure electoral race. To establishes the basis for free and democratic elections, which the citizens believe in.

It is necessary for our country to successfully complete the processes of the electoral and constitutional reforms. The phase of transition which our state went through in these years of liberation and the experience with democracy has provided us the opportunity to see how to improve the electoral legislation and how to make the constitutional reform to advance the democratic processes and separate more adequately the competencies within the institutions.   

My dear fellow citizens,

You have requested actions and concrete measures to advance the democratic processes through which our country is going. You have requested more work and more commitment from all of us to build Kosovo, a dignified state, of which we will all be proud.

We never gave up our common dream for the Republic of Kosovo, a place of great opportunities. We achieved the will for freedom and independence and together will enjoy a better future. With more welfare and more prosperity, with more development and economic progress and more jobs.

What has characterized our invincible spirit in Kosovo has been the solidarity among us, and the trust in one another. Our unity has been part of our prosperous but very much difficult history and that was our salvation.

The challenges in our way forward will be major and I do not say that it will be easy.

But we should speak with one voice for Kosovo because it is our homeland, a place that will make proud all of those that helped us to build it.

It is time to look forward and to show our power is our unity and the belief in our power. The trust in Us.

God bless you!

God bless Kosovo!