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European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy
Remarks on the European integration process of Kosovo*
European Parliament, plenary debate / Strasbourg
17 April 2013
*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.
President, Honourable Members,
I would like to thank rapporteur Ulrike Lunacek, Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and European Parliament as a whole for your continuing support for our efforts to move Kosovo's European Union perspective forward. As you know, 2013 is a crucial year for European Union – Kosovo relations.
In response to the December Council conclusions, the Commission has foreseen to adopt yesterday:
Both the report on Kosovo's progress on the short-term priorities and the draft directives were discussed, but not adopted at yesterday's Commission meeting since a further meeting of the European Union-facilitated dialogue was announced by the High Representative for today. We are confident that this dialogue at Prime Ministers' level will result in a clear agreement.
Let me repeat what I said in my previous speech on Serbia. This is in the strategic interests of both Serbia and Kosovo, of the Western Balkans as a whole, and of the European Union itself. It is time for Serbia and Kosovo to move on from the past and look ahead to a common European future. We hope the two leaderships will seize the historic opportunity that lies before them – in the very interest of their citizens. The Commission will then revert to the issue and ensure that a positive outcome of the dialogue is reflected in the final version of both the report for Kosovo and that for Serbia, which will be rapidly adopted.
I would like to publicly commend Prime Minister Thaçi and Prime Minister Dačić for their efforts in the dialogue. The issues involved are complex and highly sensitive. The results of the dialogue are critically important for European Union relations with both Kosovo and Serbia. They should encourage our Member States to decide to open negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo, and accession negotiations with Serbia.
We will shortly submit our recommendation to the Council to agree to and sign a framework agreement with Kosovo allowing it to participate in European Union programmes, thus fulfilling a key wish of this house. Both agreements will eventually be submitted to this Parliament and I look forward to its consent.
Thank you for your attention.