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Brussels, 25 March 2011

Statement by Commissioner Stefan Füle at the press point with Ms Vlora Citaku, Minister for European Integration of Kosovo

I am very pleased to welcome today Ms Vlora Citaku, new Minister for European Integration of Kosovo, on her first official visit to Brussels.

Our first meeting was very productive and enabled us to confirm where we stand on Kosovo's European reform agenda, and to agree on our priorities for this year.

I confirmed to Minister Citaku that I am pleased that the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue was launched. The Commission is closely involved in this dialogue, which aims to move both Kosovo and Serbia closer to the European Union.

As far as the reform agenda is concerned, the Commission will issue its Progress Report on Kosovo on 12 October and there is therefore only some 6 months left to ensure concrete, tangible progress in terms of legislation adopted and measures implemented. This is key to enable Kosovo to fulfil its European perspective and move forward on the path of democracy, institution building, fight against corruption and to improve the ordinary lives of the people of Kosovo.

It is extremely important that Kosovo uses this time well; in fact, it is better to address a limited number of key priorities effectively, than to try to do too much, with insufficient results.

Our 2010 Progress Report should serve as guidance and we are ready to provide our assistance if necessary. Kosovo will have to continue to address the issues of rule of law, fight against corruption and organized crime, strengthening of public administration and promotion of private-sector led economic growth and employment. In these fields as it others, it is crucial for the leadership to work hand in hand with civil society, which has an important role to play.

On our side, the European Commission will continue to actively work on the initiatives outlined in our 2009 Communication on Kosovo in order for it to progress on its EU path and will help it prepare for the start of the visa liberalisation dialogue and towards a possible trade agreement. We recently sent our proposal for a framework agreement allowing Kosovo to participate in EU programmes to the Member States. We will continue our high level political dialogue on all issues relevant to Kosovo's efforts to move closer to Europe, and will continue to provide generous financial assistance under our IPA programme.

I was happy to meet with Minister Citaku and very much look forward to working together with her and her team on Kosovo's European perspective.

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