Brussels, 10 October 2012
Key findings of the Feasibility Study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and Kosovo
The Feasibility Study is part of the 2012 Enlargement Package adopted by the European Commission on 10 October. The Commission confirms that Kosovo is largely ready to open negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The Commission will propose negotiating directives for such an agreement once Kosovo has made progress in meeting short-term priorities.
The study examines whether the political, economic and legal criteria for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement are fulfilled. Kosovo has put in place a stable institutional and legal framework necessary to start negotiating a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. It is also essential that Kosovo continues implementing in good faith all agreements reached between Belgrade and Pristina to date and that it engages constructively on the full range of issues with the facilitation of the EU.
On this understanding, the Commission will propose negotiating directives for such an agreement, once Kosovo takes the following steps:
Rule of law: demonstrate a clear commitment to deliver results in the fight against organised crime and corruption, including launching investigations and ensuring continuous good cooperation with EULEX. Support the work of the Special Investigative Task Force. While implementing the new structure of courts, ensure that the Special Prosecution responsible for cases of organised crime, war crimes and corruption maintains its competencies. Adopt the legislation on confiscation of assets and revise the law on prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism. Adopt a new anti-corruption strategy.
Public administration: adopt the necessary secondary legislation of laws on civil service and on salaries for the civil service. Allocate premises to the Ombudsperson Institution and ensure its budgetary independence through obliging the government to include the Ombudsperson's draft budget proposal into the global draft budget submitted to the parliament without changes.
Protection of minorities: ensure existence of a body enabling direct consultation on the promotion and protection of religious and cultural heritage with religious communities, notably the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Trade: implement the government decision on the restructuring of the Ministry for Trade and Industry, put in place a mechanism to lead and coordinate negotiations within Kosovo and prepare an impact analysis of trade aspects of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
The study confirms that there is no legal obstacle to conclude a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo.
With regard to the north of Kosovo, the situation remains an important challenge for Kosovo, the Western Balkans region at large as well as the EU. All actors involved need to take positive and proactive steps to help resolve this situation. The current situation is not an obstacle to negotiate the agreement.
Finally, our analysis also confirms that further reforms by Kosovo will be necessary in the following areas to meet its obligations under a Stabilisation and Association Agreement: the rule of law, judiciary, public administration, electoral reform and the Assembly, human and fundamental rights, protection of minorities, trade and internal market issues, and phytosanitary and veterinary issues.
EU - KOSOVO: KEY DATES
1999: The EU proposes the new Stabilisation and Association Process for countries of South-Eastern Europe.
February 2008: Kosovo unilaterally declares independence.
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 and Kosovo's participation in EU programmes.
July 2010: The International Court of Justice concludes that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate general international law or Security Council Resolution 1244/99.
September 2010: The UN General Assembly adopts a resolution tabled by Serbia and co-sponsored by all EU Member States on the Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on whether the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo is in accordance with international law.
March 2011: The EU-facilitated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is launched.
To date: Kosovo has been recognised as independent by 92 UN Member States, including 22 EU Member States.
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