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Brussels, 24 April 2013
Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following his meeting with Kosovo Minister for European Integration, Vlora Çitaku
''We just had a very good meeting with Vlora Citaku the European Integration Minister and Mimoza Kusari-Lila Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade at this crucial time for EU-Kosovo relations.
I would like to, once again, welcome last Friday's historic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. It will be decisive for the European perspective of both countries in the foreseeable future. We are looking forward to swift steps towards implementation and are ready to help in any way we can.
It is particularly important that the agreement was negotiated and agreed by the countries themselves as it is their agreement, not one 'imposed' by the EU.
European Commission submitted its proposal for negotiating directives for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement to the Council last Monday. We were able to do so after Kosovo worked hard to meet the short-term priorities we identified in our feasibility study on rule of law, public administration, protection of minorities and trade. I would like to publicly commend Kosovo for this effort.
In its conclusions of last December, the Council has committed itself to adopt the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiating directives, provided its assessment of Kosovo's efforts was positive. Our report concludes that Kosovo has delivered. I now hope that the Council will share our assessment and will adopt the negotiating directives. Discussions in the General Affairs Council of last Monday give me reasons to be optimistic in this regard.
The Commission will do what it can to help guide its proposals through the Council but Kosovo needs to swiftly implement last Friday's agreement and other dialogue agreements, and continue to act on its EU reform agenda. It also needs to continue to prepare for the SAA negotiations, whenever they start.
The Commission will also help guide its proposal for a framework agreement allowing Kosovo to take part in EU programmes through the Council. I hope the Council will agree and sign this agreement soon.''