The 5th meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Committee between the European Union and Kosovo took place virtually on 28 October 2021. Opening remarks were delivered by H.E. Mr Besnik Bislimi, the First Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Development and Dialogue, Government of Kosovo, and Mr Vassilis Maragos, Head of Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo in the European Commission’s Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. The meeting was co-chaired by the latter and Mr Artan Çollaku, Director, the Office of Coordination of the Stabilisation and Association Process at the Office of the Prime Minister, Government of Kosovo.
The Stabilisation and Association Committee discussed recent key political developments and took stock of the state of play in relation to political and economic criteria, alignment with the EU acquis and standards, financial cooperation, as well as implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
The meeting assessed and approved the outcome of seven subcommittees and one special group meeting that had been held over the course of the previous year. Throughout the discussions, it assessed progress in areas relevant to the European Reform Agenda and the Economic Reform Programme, which play an important role in guiding Kosovo’s reform efforts and the implementation of the SAA. The meeting discussed reform priorities in a number of areas, including rule of law and respect for fundamental rights, public administration reform, competitiveness and the investment climate, as well as employment and education.
The European Commission welcomed that the Kosovo Government, elected in March 2021, has confirmed Kosovo’s strategic commitment to its European path and has allowed for the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia.
The European Commission welcomed the Government’s steps to reinvigorate the reform processes, including in the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as regarding the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and underlined the importance for these steps to be followed through. The Commission welcomed in particular the launch of the second phase of the European Reform Agenda (ERA) and the adoption of related Action Plan, and encouraged their effective implementation. In this vein, the Commission underlined EU’s readiness to continue to offer its advice to avoid incompatibilities with EU standards and acquis in the Government´s reform efforts. The Commission encouraged the Government to engage with all political parties in the Assembly, including from the opposition, in order to strengthen political consensus on decisions related to the implementation of the SAA and European Reform Agenda, as well as on the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.
The meeting outlined the importance of alignment with best EU standards in areas, especially on rule of law, public administration reform, economic development, internal market, education, energy and environment. The Commission reiterated the importance of maintaining macro-financial stability.
The parties look forward to further discussing progress made in these key areas during the forthcoming Stabilisation and Association Council.