Meeting via video conference on 30 November, the members of the Stabilisation and Association Council (SA Council) reviewed Kosovo’s progress on its European path following the publication of the European Commission’s 2020 Report on Kosovo.
Participants discussed recent key developments relating to the fulfilment of the political criteria, as well as the state of play concerning the economic criteria, financial cooperation and implementation of the 2015 Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Participants welcomed Kosovo’s continued strategic commitment to its European path and to the EU-facilitated Dialogue with Serbia. They agreed on the urgent need to accelerate reform processes, including through the second phase of the European Reform Agenda, requiring increased focus by all political actors and an effective coordination structure within the Kosovo institutions.
Participants reiterated the importance of visa liberalisation for Kosovo citizens. The decision on the proposal remains under consideration in the Council.
Participants discussed reform priorities in areas including rule of law and judicial reforms, respect for fundamental rights, public administration reform, economic development, education and employment.
As regards the Specialist Chambers, participants appreciated the cooperation shown recently by Kosovo authorities and those arrested. Participants agreed on the need for continued commitment by Kosovo, in full compliance with its own legal order and its international obligations, with genuine efforts to guarantee the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, justice and reconciliation.
Participants welcomed the resumption of the EU-facilitated Dialogue in July 2020 following the appointment of EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák and the removal of the tariffs and reciprocity measures. The meeting underlined the importance of continuous engagement in good faith to negotiate and achieve a comprehensive legally binding normalisation agreement. This is crucial so that Kosovo and Serbia can advance on their respective European paths. Participants agreed that all past agreements need to be respected and implemented.
Participants agreed on the importance of Kosovo’s active participation in regional cooperation, notably in implementing the Action Plan to develop a Common Regional Market and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans as endorsed at the Sofia summit on 10 November 2020 and in pursuing a green and digital transition.
The meeting was chaired by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell. The Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Olivér Várhelyi, represented the European Commission. The Kosovo delegation was led by the Prime Minister, Mr Avdullah Hoti. Deputy Prime Minister Mr Driton Selmanaj and Ministers Ms Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla, Mr Agim Veliu, Ms Hykmete Bajrami, Mr Selim Selimi, Mr Besian Mustafa and Mr Vesel Krasniqi also participated.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.