“As of 2015, all candidates and potential candidates for EU membership submit annual Economic Reform Programmes (ERP) to the European Commission. I stress, all candidates and potential candidates. This means that the Economic Reform Programme is yet more evidence of Kosovo’s European perspective,” Apostolova said.
She explained that the fulfilment of the economic criteria is a key requirement for EU membership and that implies a functioning market economy that has the capacity to withstand competitive pressure inside the EU single market.
She also added that the Economic Reform Programme is the main EU instrument for dialogue on economic matters.
“Economic governance is the system by which government institutions, including independent actors like the central bank, regulate and steer the economy. In the context of EU enlargement, this includes: macroeconomic stability, a welcoming business environment, functioning labour and financial markets, good quality of education, infrastructure, innovation and economic integration with the EU and the world,” Apostolova stated, adding that it represents one of the 3 pillars of the enlargement strategy.
“It is a process that is here to stay: it will continue even when enlargement countries join the EU, as it mirrors what EU Member States also do in the context of the European Semester. This means that the ERP puts Kosovo through the same type of process that EU Member States go through. Again, this shows the clear dedication of the EU towards Kosovo,” she said.
Apostolova emphasised that the purpose of the ERP is to help design more relevant, more credible, more affordable economic and social policies, and to implement reforms that will help Kosovo improve the lives of its people.
“I call on Minister Hamza, as the national coordinator of the ERP process, and his colleagues in the government, to focus on implementation of the measures you have designed and presented to the EU today. Only if implemented properly will the ERP measures change the lives of Kosovo’s people for the better,” she said.