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Officials from Kosovo and the European Union met in Pristina to discuss developments over the past year in the areas of Justice, Freedom and Security. The discussion was held in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) which entered into force in April 2016. During the two-day meeting, officials exchanged views on various areas related to rule of law, human rights and home affairs. In all areas, the European Union and Kosovo agreed on the importance of implementing the priorities included in the European Reform Agenda and the recommendations from the Commission’s 2018 Kosovo Report.
Regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms, the EU stressed the importance of freedom of expression and property rights. Implementation of constitutional court rulings was raised in this regard. Kosovo needs an adequate framework for persons with disabilities and for protection against domestic violence.
The situation of minority communities was also discussed, including the implementation of the law on languages. The situation facing Roma and Ashkali and the lack of progress in improving the livelihood of these most vulnerable communities, remains a concern for the EU. Both parties also discussed the need for transitional justice, dealing with the past and clarifying the whereabouts of missing persons from the conflict.
Kosovo authorities updated the EU on the functioning of the judiciary. In this regard, the increased use of mediation was discussed. Both sides agreed the roll-out of an electronic case management system will be crucial for the judiciary.
Regarding anti-corruption, a number of legislative developments in the pipeline were discussed. The EU welcomed the adoption of the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest and the Law on State Prosecutor. Both sides agreed that a full implementation will be crucial. The EU called on Kosovo authorities to continue work on and approve the revised Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code as well as all laws contained in the Anti-Corruption Package. The EU stressed that implementation of the comments of the Venice Commission on the draft law on Political Party Financing will be key.
In the area of Home Affairs and the fight against organised crime, views were exchanged on migration, asylum and readmission, police reform, the fight against narcotics and terrorism and the prevention of radicalisation. Both sides agreed full implementation of all strategies in these areas is crucial. The EU commended progress in the areas of migration, asylum and the fight against terrorism. The parties discussed the need to strengthen efforts and capacities to tackling crime, in particular cybercrime, drugs and organised crime, including through increased number of final confiscations. Aspects related to visa liberalisation were also discussed. The European Union stressed that the assessment of the track record on the fight against organised crime and corruption continues, also in the light of the recent Commission expert mission (3-4 May).
The time between the meetings allows for the implementation of the recommendations and agreed follow-up actions. The conclusions of the meetings will be available soon here and on the website of the Kosovo Ministry of the European Integrations http://www.mei-ks.net.