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Pristina, 6 May 2014
Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the meeting with Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, Prime Minister of Kosovo
Mirëdita! I am glad to be in Pristina again. It is striking that every time I come we can mark one more milestone in Kosovo's relations with the EU:
- two years ago we launched the Feasibility Study on Stabilisation and Association Agreement,
- last year I reported on its Conclusions
- and now we are marking the end of successful SAA negotiations.
Today, I had very good meetings with President Jahjaga and Prime Minister Thaçi, and I participated in the National Council for European Integration. I will also meet the leaders of the main opposition parties and the mayors of the four municipalities in the north of Kosovo.
With my interlocutors so far, we have reviewed Kosovo's progress on EU reforms. Our discussions focused on three key issues on the EU-Kosovo agenda for this year:
1. the need to continue the normalisation process with Serbia;
2. the conduct of the general elections (which as I was told are expected to be called soon);
3. the need to continue work on the rule of law and other key areas of reform identified in our Feasibility Study and also in the last Progress Report.
We also discussed the next steps for the SAA. I would like to praise the professional and efficient manner in which the negotiations were conducted. The draft text will now be discussed with Member States. I hope it will be initialled this summer.
I also commend Kosovo for agreeing to the new EULEX mandate and the establishment of the Special Court to follow-up cases investigated by the Special Investigative Task Force recently. This is very important for our relations. It is also important for Kosovo itself; it shows the world that Kosovo has the political courage and maturity to be open and that it has nothing to hide.
On the upcoming general elections – it is essential that they are fair, transparent and efficient. Kosovo should build on the successful local elections of late last year. And it should stay focused on the EU reform agenda and the priorities highlighted in the latest Progress Report, with everybody bearing in mind that the progress towards Europe requires broad national consensus.
I also highlighted the importance the EU will continue to attach to economic development and governance, which are closely linked to the rule of law. Kosovo urgently needs to work on a strategic approach to its socio-economic development and its fight against unemployment, especially among the young. The EU continues to stand ready to help Kosovo address these challenges.
It is essential Kosovo keeps up the good work in its efforts to normalise relations with Serbia. The key is to continue implementing all Dialogue agreements and being able to offer all ethnic communities a stake in Kosovo's collective future.
Overall, you have made great progress, but there still is a long way to go with reforms and tackling all political and economic challenges. But you are not alone and we continue to walk this journey with you.