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Brussels, 1 March 2012

Kosovo: Important step in relations with the EU

Commissioner Š. Füle on his meeting with Kosovo's Prime Minister Hasim Thaci, Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj and European Integration Minister Vlora Çitaku

"At our meeting today we discussed conclusions of the General Affairs Council, which confirm the intention of the Commission to launch a feasibility study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

This is an important step forward for Kosovo in its relations with the EU.  It will provide a comprehensive framework within which we will discuss with Kosovo all issues that are important for its path to a European future. The formula on regional cooperation agreed last week is a very important step towards  contractual relations with the EU.

The conclusions of December and of today confirm the EU's commitment to  an ambitious European agenda for Kosovo. The  launch of the  visa dialogue in January demonstrates that the EU can deliver on this commitment.

In my discussions with Ministers Hoxhaj and Citaku I emphasised that it was for Kosovo leaders to reach consensus on the necessary reforms, notably on the rule of law and on trade. To help focus Kosovo's efforts, I intend to  launch the Structured Dialogue on Rule of Law in Brussels later this spring. This week our experts are in Pristina to provide guidance on trade-related reforms.  I again underlined the need for Pristina to work on an 'inclusive and long term agenda' for the north.  It is clear that further progress towards Europe is in Kosovo's own hands now."

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