President Thaçi: It is due time for the whole Western Balkans EU membership

Budva, May 22nd, 2018 – Upon the invitation of the Atlantic Council and of the Government of Montenegro, President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, attended the proceedings of the "To be Secure (2BS) Security Forum today.

President Thaçi initially congratulated his counterpart, Milo Gjukanovic, on his inauguration two days ago.

He also conveyed his best wishes to the people and to the President on the Independence Day of Montenegro, stating that May 21st is also the day of the Montenegrin community in Kosovo.

Speaking about the Euro Atlantic perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans, President Thaçi said that Montenegro serves as inspiration to the whole region, on how to be incessant on the engagements towards euro Atlantic integrations.

"We as Kosovo are pleased for your accession to NATO last year. Albania’s and Montenegro’s NATO membership establishes greater guarantees for the stability, security and democracy in the region”, said the President.

President Thaçi also said that this forum ascertained that the pillars of the European Union are shaking, first by the economic crisis followed by the migrant crisis and now also by Brexit.

"It is important that, when we are facing such an antagonizing context, we do not forget the issue which is actually functioning”, said President Thaçi.

The head of state said that the rise of the right wing populism is a tendency in Europe at the moment, but it is not the only one.

According to him, different, and at times opposing tendencies, are evident at the same time.

"Many had foreseen a Brexit domino effect. Right after the referendum, or populism victory waves. But, what we have seen is that EU remains strong and that pro-European forces have come victorious in majority of EU member states” said the President.

EU, supported by NATO, according to President Thaçi, is the greatest and the most successful peace project to date.

President Thaçi also stated that problem remains with groups which, unfortunately, do not see EU as a peace project any longer, while 73 years after the end of the Second World War, only very old people has still some recollection of the war.

"In Western Balkans, things are different. Memories of the war and sufferings of my people are still alive with every single one in Kosovo. To us, EU is an example of peace, reconciliation, overcoming of the past and expansion of cooperation and gradual interdependency” added the President.

The head of state also added that EU is not only a peace project, but also a supranational governance structure which continuously expands and enlarges cooperation in all political field.

"EU enlargement must not be put to doubt. For this reason, my main message is: Increasing  right wing extremist populist tendencies should not be used as justification by EU member states in order not to keep open the EU perspective for the countries of the Western Balkans” said President Thaçi.

At this forum, President also emphasized that for a successful acceptance of the Western Balkans into EU, we need deep political and economic reforms in harmony with AQUIS in Western Balkans, in parallel with the internal EU reforms.

"EU’s Euroscepticism and enlargement fatigue must not be utilized by the politicians of our region as justification not to reform, develop and improve the lives of our citizens”, said the President.

President Thaçi said that is a time period and an opportunity for the European leaders to take on the responsibilities and not to follow short term, reactive policies.

"So, let us see what is good for Europe long term, It is clear that the answer is an enlarged EU which includes the whole Western Balkans”, said President Thaçi.

"To be Secure"(2BS) forum is an event which helps not only incite new ideas on security but also promotes tactical thinking in reform efforts in Western Balkans.

This forum aims to build closer relations between the main actors and their partners and to make the region a more secure place in overcoming of the future global challenges.