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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article7 December 2021Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations2 min read

Remarks by Commissioner Várhelyi at the press conference after EU Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Council

Commissioner Kosovo

Brussels, 7 December 2021

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Today’s fourth meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council Council with Kosovo was a welcome and timely opportunity:

  • to first of all review and assess the work that has been done,
  • to reflect on the latest developments in Kosovo and the broader region,
  • and to look ahead at what needs doing and where progress needs to be delivered in the future.

Regional cooperation and the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue – we have discussed them today extensively.

We need to move up a gear so that the region as a whole can benefit from the significant investment opportunities provided by our Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. The Plan applies to the Western Balkans the same growth strategy that was put in place for the EU Member States and mirrors our policy priorities in areas such as sustainable transport, energy, digital and green transition, sustainable growth and jobs.

During our discussions today, I encouraged Kosovo to seize fully the opportunities offered by the Economic and Investment Plan. In particular, this means stepping up technical preparations for the identified flagship initiatives, so that investments on connectivity, energy efficiency and clean air can go ahead swiftly. The start of works on the Nis-Pristina highway, so called Peace Highway, on the Serbian section Nis-Plocnik last week showed that our Economic and Investment Plan is alive and kicking and already in action.

Today, we also discussed the importance for Kosovo to implement the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, including by increasing its commitment to decarbonisation. Kosovo should be part of our ambition for a sustainable green transition in Europe.

Our meeting focused as well on the Common Regional Market, which is the key for a successful implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan. There is little sense in building new roads, improved railways, or training workers with news skills, if technical and administrative barriers, long customs checks, technical obstacles to trade and people are still in place.

Recent events have shown the need for practical solutions to ensure the continuous smooth functioning of regional bodies and to advance the technical work for building a Common Regional Market. Kosovo should be part of regional economic integration. This is not in the interest of Kosovo people and businesses.

Today’s Council meeting was also an opportunity to reflect on the main findings of our 2021 Enlargement Package. Our latest Report on Kosovo recognised the positive trend of Kosovo’s renewed commitment to EU-related reforms. We do hope to see this commitment translated in tangible results swiftly.

The Commission, as always stands by and supports Kosovo to ensure that initiated reforms are fully in line with EU and international standards, and provided to the benefit of the population of Kosovo.