Statement by Commissioner Hahn following the meeting with Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in Pristina

PRISTINA, 18.02.2015. – ‘I am very pleased to have met Prime Minister Mustafa and his new government as well as President Jahjaga. Our meetings confirm that we consider progress on Kosovo’s European path to be of critical importance, for the country, the region and the EU itself. Prime Minister Mustafa and I had a fruitful discussion. I thanked him for his constructive attitude in the recently resumed EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia. We also discussed this year’s process of EU-Kosovo relations. I look forward to our Member States’ agreement to sign and conclude the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. I hope to be able to put forward proposals to this effect in April and have the adoption process completed by the end of this year.

The progress with Kosovo’s Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) confirms that the European perspective for Kosovo and the other countries in the region is alive and well. The EU will continue to play a strong role in supporting Kosovo’s reform, including through use of IPA funding. IPA will continue to support policy priorities in the areas of rule of law, governance and public administration, as well as economic development and competitiveness. Our support should be focused, efficient and effective. We want to see clear results; impact is everything.

I see three key issues for Kosovo’s process towards the EU in the immediate future: the rule of law and fundamental rights; a properly functioning democracy; and the development of Kosovo’s economy including the fight against unemployment, especially among the young. We need to focus on the fundamentals: Kosovo needs to improve its investment climate and open new markets, to tackle organised crime and corruption and it needs to reform its public administration. Finally, further progress towards an independent and professional judiciary is essential.

Kosovo’s new government has rightly put the economy and the necessary economic reforms as its number one priority. In our 2014 Enlargement Strategy we have asked Kosovo for the first time to prepare, adopt and implement an Economic Reform Programme. The fact that Prime Minister  Mustafa’s government has already adopted this programme is a very positive step which we fully acknowledge. We will work closely with Kosovo to ensure further development and implementation of the reform programme, which will help to boost the economy, improve the creation of jobs and offer better prospects for all citizens of Kosovo.

The recent rise in irregular migration flows from Kosovo highlights even more the need for these reforms which will make your country more attractive for its young people and investors, by creating jobs and growth.

The European Union continues to be fully committed to Kosovo’s progress and the realisation of its European perspective. I very much look forward to working with Prime Minister Mustafa’s government and to visiting Pristina again soon.’