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Key findings of the 2010 progress report on Kosovo*

Commission Européenne - MEMO/10/554   09/11/2010

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MEMO/10/554

Brussels, 9 November 2010

Key findings of the 2010 progress report on Kosovo*

On 9 November, the Commission adopted its 2010 Enlargement package. It comprised a Strategy paper, the Opinions on the membership applications by Montenegro and Albania and seven Progress Reports on the other candidate countries and potential candidates, including on Kosovo*. On Kosovo*, the conclusion was that, given Kosovo's strengthened commitment to the European agenda and policy reforms, the Commission is committed to launch a visa liberalisation dialogue shortly, to assist Kosovo to put into place the conditions needed for a possible trade agreement with the EU, and to propose the opening to Kosovo's participation in relevant Union programmes, such as ''Europe for Citizens'' and ''Culture''.

Ahead of the adoption of the Report, Commissioner Füle stated: "We are as committed as ever to Kosovo's European perspective. This goal is within reach, provided Kosovo continues with vital reforms and engages without delay, constructively and pragmatically, in regional cooperation. I hope today's report will provide a useful roadmap for Kosovo's preparation for its European perspective".

In July, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion, which concluded that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate general international law or Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). In September, the UN General Assembly adopted a joint resolution tabled by Serbia and co-sponsored by EU Member States as a follow up to the ICJ opinion. The resolution aims at opening the way for a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade to promote cooperation, achieve progress on the path to the European Union and improve the lives of the people. The EU stands ready to facilitate this dialogue.

Political criteria

Kosovo has made progress as regards the political criteria in a number of important areas. The decentralisation process has advanced significantly. Local elections were held at the end of 2009. Cooperation with the EU rule of law mission (EULEX) has improved. This trend needs to continue.

However, the capacity of the public administration remains weak. The judiciary is not functioning effectively. The rule of law remains a serious concern. Efforts to tackle corruption, organised crime and money-laundering need to be strengthened. Decentralisation can only be completed with the participation of local communities.

Economic criteria

Kosovo has made little progress towards establishing a functioning market economy. Considerable reforms and investments are needed to enable it to cope over the long term with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union.

Kosovo’s economy continued growing in 2010. The use of the euro, the low levels of external debt and the narrow exports' base have limited the economy's exposure to the economic crisis. The banking sector continued to expand and remained stable and profitable.

However, deficiencies in policy formulation and implementation increased the already high uncertainty in the economy. Unemployment remains very high particularly among the young. The weak rule of law, corruption, uncertainty over property rights and high interest rates continue to impact negatively on the business environment and prevent economic development. The informal sector remains an important challenge.

EU Legislation

Progress is mixed in aligning Kosovo's legislation with European standards. The legal framework has been developed further in the areas of customs, taxation, free movement of goods, statistics, policing and anti-terrorism. Approximation is at an early stage as regards competition, intellectual property, environment, energy, agriculture and food safety, integrated border management and money-laundering. Alignment with European standards remains limited in the areas of public procurement, financial control, drug-trafficking, organised crime and personal data protection.

EU - KOSOVO: KEY DATES

November 2005: Martti Ahtisaari appointed as UN Special Envoy for Kosovo.

March 2007: Ahtisaari's Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement forwarded to the UN Security Council.

December 2007: The EU underlines its readiness for a leading role in implementing a settlement defining Kosovo's future status and to assist Kosovo in the path towards stability.

February 2008: Kosovo declares independence. The EU Council notes that Member States will decide, in accordance with national practice and international law, on their relations with Kosovo. The Council underlines its conviction that Kosovo constitutes a sui generis case.

April 2009: The EU rule of law mission (EULEX) becomes fully operational.

October 2009: The European Commission adopts a communication on Kosovo's European Perspective proposing initiatives on visa liberalisation, trade agreement, Stabilisation and Association process dialogue, Kosovo participation in EU programmes.

July 2010: The International Court of Justice concluded that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate general international law or Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

September 2010: The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution tabled by Serbia and co-sponsored by all EU Member States.

More information at:

http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/press_corner/key-documents/reports_nov_2010_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/potential-candidates/kosovo/index_en.htm

EU Liaison Office in Pristina: http://www.delprn.ec.europa.eu/

* :

Under UNSCR 1244/99.


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