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Pristina/ Brussels, 19 March 2013
Remarks by Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy to the press during his visit to Kosovo*
‘It is good to be here today - in this crucial time for Kosovo's European future. If you've noticed the increased frequency and contacts between Pristina and Brussels, you see the level of determination, on both sides, to move Kosovo forward on its European path.
I have just met with Deputy Prime Minister Kuci and Minister Citaku and will meet President Jahjaga shortly. My main message for them and for Kosovo as such is this - I support wholeheartedly your efforts in the dialogue with Serbia and I appreciate the good progress made in meeting the short term priorities from the feasibility study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
This progress is the result of Kosovo's hard work. It is essential to maintain the pace and build on this progress because based on that, the Member States should decide in June about the next steps.
The coming days and weeks will be crucial for EU-Kosovo relations. A possible deal with Belgrade tomorrow and its implementation on the ground should pave the way for positive June Council conclusions about the negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Prime Minister Thaçi has worked very hard to get to this moment. Now he will need the support of all in Kosovo - in the interest of Kosovo and all its citizens. Because being European means being ready for compromise and consensus.
I will be shortly addressing the National Council for European Integration and also the joint meeting of the Assembly's Committees on European Integration and Foreign Affairs with the same message.
Kosovo has to show even more courage now. More efforts are needed when it comes to the rule of law, fight against organised crime and corruption, electoral reform and economic development.
Continuing reforms and improving relations are two sides of the same coin. Without them there cannot be thriving, prosperous Kosovo at ease with itself and with its neighbours, heading towards Europe. I am sure you can make it and for that you have our continuing support.’
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.