PRISTINA – For the European Union fight against corruption remains a priority, said the Head of EU Office/EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova, at the launching of the Anti-corruption week.
“This important initiative has one very important goal – to tackle one of the burning phenomena in Kosovo society – the phenomena that remains prevalent in many areas and undermines the rule of law and economic development,” said Apostolova.
She reminded that the EU, through 2016 Country Report, as well as the SAA’s European Reform Agenda and visa liberalization process, has recommended Kosovo to take robust steps in fighting corruption as one of the preconditions on its path of the EU integration.
“Concrete actions are needed – public officials that are indicated should be suspended from their functions and those that are sentenced need to be immediately removed from the office,” explained Apostolova, adding that corruption needs to be fully eradicated from public institutions and that private interests should no longer dictate public policy and politics.
Apostolova pointed out that corruption has a huge price tag for the society at large – it damages employment opportunities and takes away resources from sectors as important as health, education and environment.
“People in Kosovo are the most to benefit from anti-corruption measures as Kosovo will benefit from increased foreign investment, more jobs and overall better image,” she said.
Apostolova explained that the EU Office has currently two projects on the fight against corruption: The first initiative is the “Project against Economic Crime in Kosovo (PECK II)”, implemented by Council of Europe, with a total financial allocation of 2.2 million euros, and that the second project is “Further support to Kosovo Institutions in the fight against organized crime and corruption” implemented by B&S Europe, with a budget of 2.3 million euros.”
“As we are united in condemning corruption, we must be united in acting against it. Finally, we are launching today the Anti-corruption Week in Kosovo but we should start each day as an Anti-Corruption Day. We owe it to the present and the future generations,” she stated.