European Commission – Fact Sheet/
Key findings of the 2015 report on Kosovo/
Brussels, 10 November 2015/
2015 Enlargement Package/
The report on Kosovo is part of the 2015 Enlargement Package adopted today by the European Commission. The Commission concluded that Kosovo has made further progress; in October 2015, the EU signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Kosovo. This is a milestone on Kosovo’s path towards a European future. The SAA constitutes the first contractual relationship between the EU and Kosovo.
Kosovo delivered on two key international commitments. The Kosovo Assembly voted in favour of constitutional amendments to establish the Specialist Chambers in August, overturning an initial negative vote in June. The Chambers are to prosecute cases linked to allegations of human organ trafficking. Kosovo also confirmed its commitment to the normalisation of relations with Serbia by reaching agreements with Belgrade on long outstanding issues such as energy, telecoms and the Mitorvica bridge and on setting up an Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities. Violent obstructions of recent plenary sessions by members of the opposition have adversely affected the functioning of the Assembly. This needs to be urgently resolved.
Many independent institutions and regulatory authorities are not operational. Both government and Assembly need to urgently ensure these institutions can carry out their duties, applying key principles of accountability, professional qualifications and merit. The recent election of the Ombudsperson was a positive development in this regard.
The government increased its focus on public administration reform. It made progress in the legal and strategic framework, but accountability and efficiency need to improve. Consultations with civil society should become more systemic. Parliamentary oversight of budget implementation should be reliable and transparent. Sound financial management across public institutions should be ensured.
Kosovo successfully adopted a substantial body of legislation in the area of rule of law. However, the judicial system still lacks accountability and resources, and it is prone to political interference. Kosovo should develop a track record in high level corruption cases. The setting-up of the Anti-Corruption Task Force was a first step. Organised crime remains an issue of major concern. The adoption of the human rights law package clarifies the roles of various institutions. However, implementation is hindered by a lack of resources, difficulties in access and a sub-optimal institutional framework. The public broadcaster continues to be vulnerable to undue political influence.
Kosovo continues to extend its participation in regional and multilateral cooperation arrangements. The status issue requires it to adopt an approach of patient pragmatism. Continuing commitment to the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia continues to be a priority.
Very low levels of labour force participation together with high unemployment hinder economic development. The Council recommendations to Kosovo’s first Economic Reform Programme need to be followed-up. Economic growth dropped to 0.9% – below the ten year average of 3.5% – mainly as a result of political uncertainty and lower than expected private consumption. The persistent trade deficit reflects a weak production base and a lack of international competitiveness. An inefficient public sector and ad hoc fiscal policy making constitute significant fiscal risks. To boost competitiveness, further investments are needed in human capital and physical infrastructure. Political interference in the economy needs to be reduced.
Kosovo is at an early stage of alignment in most areas.Some progress was made in public procurement, but Kosovo should strengthen the capacity of its public procurement bodies. As regards financial control, good progress was made, but significant efforts are needed to ensure sound public internal financial control throughout the public administration and in state-owned enterprises. In other areas of approximation, Kosovo’s institutions have demonstrated their capacity to deliver on political priorities, particularly as regards preparation for SAA implementation. Capital movements remain largely free, and the Central Bank’s supervisory capacity is sufficient. However, there has been no progress in the field of competition. Agricultural development is hindered by low productivity. A general lack of interest in the environment negatively affects public health and the quality of life in Kosovo.
June 2003: Thessaloniki Summit; the EU perspective for the Western Balkans is confirmed.
February 2008: Kosovo unilaterally declares independence.
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 acknowledging the content of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and welcoming the readiness of the European Union to facilitate a process of dialogue between the parties.
March 2011: The EU-facilitated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is launched.
January 2012: The visa liberalisation dialogue is launched.
October 2012: Feasibility study for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo is issued.
April 2013: The First agreement of principles governing normalisation of relations is reached in the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.
June 2013: Council authorises opening of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Kosovo.
October 2013 – May 2014: Negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
July 2014: Initialling of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement
May 2015: The Commission submits the Stabilisation and Association Agreement to the Council for approval.
More information at:
EUROPEAN UNION OFFICE IN KOSOVO /
EUROPEAN UNION SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE
2015 Report confirms Kosovo’s European path, points to key role of enlargement process in strengthening economic and political stability
Pristina, 10 November 2015
In a set of annual reports adopted today, the European Commission has assessed where the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey stand in preparing to meet EU membership requirements, and sets out what needs to be done to address the remaining challenges.
Presenting the annual Enlargement Package, Commissioner Johannes Hahn said: “The current refugee crisis shows how crucial close cooperation between the EU and the countries in south-east Europe is. The EU enlargement process, covering the Western Balkans and Turkey, is a powerful tool to strengthen the rule of law and human rights in these countries. It also boosts the economy and promotes regional cooperation. A clear European perspective gradually transforms our partner countries and strengthens stability around our Union. Our firm commitment to EU enlargement, and to the conditions it involves, is therefore a long-term investment in Europe’s own security and prosperity”.
Samuel Žbogar, Head of EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative, pointed out that despite a challenging year, Kosovo has witnessed some major achievements, most notably the signature and ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement as an important milestone and the first contractual relationship between Kosovo and the European Union. “The Agreement will deepen political, economic and trade ties between Kosovo and the EU. It will form the main framework for the relations between the EU and Kosovo, further preparing Kosovo on its European path.”
Žbogar said that despite a delay in forming the institutions after the 2014 elections, they have managed to produce important laws: the judicial package and the human rights package – crucial for the visa liberalization process. But with the Kosovo’s Assembly once again blocked, key reforms that Kosovo needs are also being delayed. “Kosovo has no time to lose. The time lost pushes Kosovo away from a better future for its people, its children.”
Žbogar highlighted a number of issues from the report. “The recent fall in interest rates for business loans and recent increase in FDI represents an important progress supporting business development. A good progress has been made on developing a comprehensive strategic framework for public administration reforms and on improving legislation, but a continued strong political commitment is essential.
The system of the rule of law remains weak, courts remain slow and inefficient. Judicial bodies and law enforcement remain prone to political interference. Corruption and organised crime remain a key challenge and substantive efforts are needed to build a track record of convictions in such cases, including high level ones.
Kosovo has shown courage and political maturity in deciding to establish the Specialist Chambers to follow-up on allegation contained in the Council of Europe report. It has continued to take a constructive approach in its EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia. A necessary and commendable sense of compromise has allowed for the agreement on the establishment of an Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo, as well as agreements on telecommunications, energy and freedom of movement. Kosovo has handled well its migration issues challenges, with the migration figures for Kosovo coming down drastically.”
“Despite many challenges still ahead of Kosovo, we have reasons for optimism. With the expected ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement by the European Parliament early next year, we will get a powerful vehicle for policy dialogue, reforms, and concrete change for the better for the people in Kosovo. The focus should now be on building a track record in implementing the Agreement. The EU will offer its support and advice to Kosovo in this important work”, Žbogar concluded.
Background on new presentation of Enlargement Strategy and Reports
The overarching enlargement strategy is now multiannual, covering the period of the Commission’s mandate. In addition to reporting on progress, much more emphasis is put on the state of preparedness for taking on the obligations of membership. The reports provide even clearer guidance for what the countries are expected to do in both the short and long term. Harmonised assessment scales are used, increasing comparability between the countries, and improving transparency of the accession process. This should facilitate greater scrutiny of reforms by all stakeholders. More on the new approach
For detailed findings and recommendations on Kosovo see: Kosovo MEMO
The Enlargement Strategy and the Kosovo 2015 Report is available at:
The EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative has produced a short video on the Kosovo 2015 Report, to show that a concrete purpose of the Report is to help Kosovo move forward in its political, economic and social development, in a way which has concrete benefits for the citizens. The EU does not just measure the progress; it supports it actively, both politically and through its main development instrument: the IPA funds.
The video with subtitles in Albanian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhurNm5r1zI
The video with subtitles in Serbian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5y7zJwfm3M
The video in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5bpPsP4bi0&feature=youtu.be