“Mbështetje Procesit Integrimit Evropian në Kosovë – faza III (2017-2020)”

Your Excellency, Mr Voss,
Dear Mr Macbeth, Ms Meyn,
Dear colleagues and other guests,
It is my pleasure to be here today in the first days of my new function as the Minister of European Integration.

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, let me extend our sincere gratitude for all the support that the Federal Republic of Germany has given us in our European integration path. Germany has been supporting Kosovo ever since, not only through its rich institution-building expertise and financial resources, but also, and what’s more importantly, politically.

Kosovo would continue to rely on German support on our path towards membership to the European Union, especially now that our European perspective has advanced politically to the stage of contractual relations, through the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. In this context, we see an ever closer partnership with Germany as critical throughout further stages of this process, up to the actual accession. This is critical not only to this end in itself, but also for overall processes our society will undergo in the decades to come, processes of our socio-economic development and political reforms and stability, as well as legal and institutional reforms required by the SAA.

To this end, the Support to the European Integration Process in Kosovo, implemented by GIZ Kosovo, has over the last five years provided valuable expertise and support to the implementation of many European integration reforms.

The project was launched back in 2012, which was a critical year for this process, when all Kosovo institutions were engaging in intensive work leading to the SAA negotiations, but also on fulfilling the visa liberalisation criteria.

The project provided very important support and expertise to our successful contribution as Kosovo institutions to the Feasibility Study for the SAA, which in the end concluded that Kosovo was ready to enter into negotiations for this agreement, which ultimately brought us where we are today. Our joint cooperation within the project was especially important at the beginning in shaping our consensus as a society to the European integration path. This was done through the inclusive process of drafting the National Strategy for European Integration, under the auspices of the National Council for European Integration, led by the President of the Republic. This consensus-building process and the National Council served as two very important mechanisms bringing together all stakeholders from all walks of public life (public institutions, civil society and media, business community, academia and others).

The project has also been providing important support to all our institutions, at both central and local levels, in capacity-building on legal approximation, planning and monitoring of EU integration policy documents, as well as in public communication, transparency and inclusion of stakeholders. An equally important part of the project is the capacity-building support the project has been providing to the Assembly, focusing on legal approximation, and monitoring and oversight of implantation of national European integration policies contributing directly to the fulfilment of SAA obligations.

In this light, let me thank you once again and express our sincere gratitude for the willingness to continue supporting our Ministry and other stakeholders dealing with European integration. We as Government welcome this initiative very much. Let me reiterate that German support is all the more critical in this stage of SAA implementation, and the partnership between our two countries will become even more critical as a key driving force to implementation of multidimensional and long-term reforms Kosovo will be undertaking.

In the very end, I would like to express the willingness of our Ministry to fully cooperate with the project in ensuring that we jointly deliver the best results we can and make the best use of resources and expertise available. In this regard, let me emphasize the need to utilize the resources available to also benefit from the experience and good practices of other countries that have joined the EU before us, especially the fresher view of countries that have joined more recently.

Minister Bekim Çollaku
Bekim Çollaku