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The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Kushtrim Cukaj, General Secretary of the Ministry of European Integration and Mr David Cullen, Head of Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. The meeting was opened with a welcoming speech by Mrs Dhurata Hoxha, Kosovo Minister for European Integration.
The Stabilisation and Association Committee discussed key developments since the second Stabilisation and Association Council and took stock of the state of play in relation to political and economic criteria, alignment with EU legislation and standards (the “acquis”), financial cooperation, as well as implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) during this period in all areas covered by it.
The meeting assessed and approved the outcome of the second round of meetings of the seven subcommittees and two special groups held over the course of the previous year. Throughout the discussions, it assessed progress in areas relevant to the European Reform Agenda, the National Programme for Implementation of the SAA and Economic Reform Programme. All these frameworks play an important role in guiding Kosovo’s reform efforts and implementation of the SAA in all areas, with priorities of political importance focusing on areas of good governance and the rule of law, competitiveness and investment climate, and employment and education.
The meeting discussed reform priorities in all areas, including public administration reform, rule of law and judicial reform, respect for and protection of fundamental rights, and economic reforms. The European Commission welcomed ratification of the agreement on border demarcation with Montenegro and recalled its proposal for visa liberalisation and the ongoing discussions in the Council and European Parliament. It also urged Kosovo to make greater efforts to build consensus across the political spectrum in support of the European agenda, and especially to accelerate implementation of comprehensive reforms to meet SAA obligations.
The meeting underlined the importance of making progress in the EU-facilitated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade and in the implementation of all agreements already reached without delay. It also underlined the importance of further progress on regional integration, including on the regional economic area and connectivity agenda.
The meeting underlined the importance of alignment with best EU standards in key sectors, especially in relation to public administration reform, economic development, internal market, education, energy and environment. In relation to a number of initiatives currently promoted by the government and discussed in the Assembly, the Commission underlined the importance of maintaining a stability oriented macro-economic policy.
The parties look forward to further discussing progress made in these key areas during the third Stabilisation and Association Council, on 17 December 2018.