Prime Minister Mustafa in Sarajevo: Republic of Kosovo is committed to regional cooperation, internal issues are not discussed with Serbia
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Sarajevo, 16 March 2017
Prime Minister of Republic of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, took part in the Summit of the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans, known as the "Western Balkans 6", which took place in Sarajevo.
At the meeting, apart from Prime Minister Mustafa were the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn and the prime ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia and the Italian Foreign Minister, Alfano.
Prime Minister Mustafa was welcomed at the opening of the Summit by Bosnian counterpart, Denis Zvizdiq.
Afterwards, Prime Minister Mustafa participated in the Summit, where before the participants presented the achievements of the Republic of Kosovo, and expressed views on further European integration processes of the Republic of Kosovo and the region.
Prime Minister Mustafa emphasized that Kosovo continues to be committed to regional cooperation agenda.
"We are interested to facilitate our trade and economic cooperation, eliminate, to simplify bureaucratic procedures and find the most appropriate ways to integrate into the European single market. Kosovo's goal is to be part of the European market, while with Western Balkan countries to facilitate and advance economic and trade cooperation. The common market, which is being insisted, be that unique European, or a market of Western Balkans cannot function without freedom of movement for Kosovo without visa liberalization ", said among others Prime Minister, speaking for achievements of Kosovo and trade statistics which confirm regional cooperation.
Prime Minister Mustafa, further spoke about the complaints of businesses with additional procedures with some countries, creating new costs.
"I believe that the economic cooperation in the Western Balkan countries is crucial to achieving many goals that are laid down in the framework of the Berlin process", the prime minister said, looking to prioritize some specific aspects related to facilitating cooperation economic.
Further, talking about cooperation among countries in the region, Prime Minister Mustafa said that Kosovo has very good relations with most countries in the region, talking about the dialogue between the Republic of Kosovo and Serbia mediated by the EU.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mustafa has responded to several issues raised at the meeting by Serbian Prime Minister Vucic making it clear that they are internal matters of the Republic of Kosovo and that they will not discuss those issues.
"Some issues that were raised today by Vucic, I consider that are internal matters of Kosovo, where Kosovo has full legitimacy to decide, so I do not see any reason why to discuss here with you," said Prime Minister Mustafa at the summit.
Further, Prime Minister Mustafa spoke about the agenda of connectivity, for the completion of Highway 7, connecting Albania and Kosovo and Kosovo to Nis in Serbia, advanced phase for the start of the reconstruction of the line 10 of the railway connecting Skopje-Pristina and Belgrade for the establishment of the Regional Office for Youth Cooperation, as a proper and timely impulse , which will build bridges of youth for exchange and cooperation, cooperation in the joint fight against violent extremism and terrorism.
"Let me confirm Kosovo affirmative attitude towards taking the necessary steps to facilitate trade between our countries, in the spirit of the CEFTA Agreement, in light of the SAA, the European spirit. Aspirations to be part of the family of European Union countries, are real and legitimate. They relate not only to the fact that we belong to this continent, but the substance that we need to be in the EU but also the EU benefits more with us in its bosom, than with us as its satellite.
Finally, I want to emphasize that the Republic of Kosovo requires support from you that the headquarters of the Transport Community Treaty be established in Pristina. Kosovo will fulfil all administrative duties for that, "said Prime Minister Isa Mustafa.
After the meeting, it was held a press conference and issued a joint statement.
And last night, Prime Minister Mustafa attended the dinner for the prime ministers of the Western Balkans Summit present in Sarajevo.
During the meeting, it discussed the European integration process of the region, for their cooperation and for the promotion of regional cooperation through various projects.
This summit, was held in the framework of preparations for the next summit of representatives of the Western Balkan countries and representatives of the EU, as a continuation of the Berlin Process, which after Berlin, Vienna and Paris, this year will be held in Trieste Italy.
The full speech of Prime Minister Isa Mustafa at the Sarajevo Summit
Dear Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the host of the meeting, Mr. Zvizdiq,
Dear Commissioner Johannes Hahn,
Honorable Director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey, Mr. Angelina Einchorst
Honorable Foreign Minister of Italy, Mr. Alfano
Dear Colleagues Prime Ministers from the region,
Ladies and gentlemen, all of you present.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, I would like to extend our best regards to you all, and state that I consider this meeting as very important.
Now, being at the verge of the next Trieste Summit, we can conclude that significant successes have been achieved in the regular meetings under the Berlin Process. We have created the opportunities for communication and agreements between our countries and the European Union.
Kosovo remains committed to the regional cooperation agenda. Moreover, we are interested to facilitate our economic and trade cooperation, to eliminate and simplify bureaucratic procedures, and find the most suitable paths for integration into the unique European market.
Kosovos goal is to be part of the European market, and facilitate and enhance economic and trade cooperation with Western Balkan countries.
The common market, which is being insisted, be that unique European or Western Balkan market can not function without freedom of movement and Kosovo without visa liberalization.
Kosovo is implementing the Stabilization and Association Agreement, as the first contractual agreement with the EU.
Kosovo has an annual economic growth of 4% for the past two years, we have achieved macroeconomic stabilization and budgetary stability, and we are the country with the lowest share of public debt in GDP.
The review of various statistics in terms of trade with other countries of the region, shows the following:
- Around 30% of Kosovo imports come from 5 Western Balkan countries;
- Based on the value of imports from Western Balkan countries, we only cover 19% with exports, which shows that other countries can open their markets for Kosovo products, as Kosovo did so far for them.
The import/export procedure is facilitated to such extent that in 75% of cases, the entire procedure is completed within 15-20 minutes, all this due to the use of yellow channel, paperless and e-payment etc. The same goes for the transit procedures.
Moreover, phyto-sanitary procedures are also conducted in accordance with the EU rules, and only a small number are subjected to additional control and licenses.
On the other hand, our businesses mainly complain about the additional procedures they have to undergo with some countries, which generate new costs. Also, the prolongation of export procedures for fruits and vegetables, as a non-tariff barrier, and in some situations, failure to respect CEFTAs agreement, failure to respect documentation etc.
Therefore, I consider that the economic cooperation in the Western Balkan countries is crucial to achieving many goals that are laid down in the framework of the Berlin process.
Thereby, I consider that within this economic cooperation, priority should be given to the following:
- Mutual recognition of phyto-sanitary certificates, thus resulting in increased trading speed and lower trade costs;
- Mutual recognition of individual qualifications and occupations between our countries, including university and specialized qualifications;
- Development of common packages for investor attraction. In this regard, our region may provide common tourist packages.
Economic cooperation will have a positive impact on advancing the political cooperation between our countries. Kosovo has very good relations with most of the regional countries. However, in some cases, these relations may be further advanced.
For several years now, Kosovo, facilitated by EU, is holding negotiations for normalization of relations with Serbia. Both, the dialogue results and the need to work for implementing concluded agreements are evident.
Kosovo remains committed to dialogue and we see the dialogue without alternative. Recently we had two high-level meetings in Brussels, where we have agreed to reduce tensions.
Some issues that were opened today (from Vucic) I consider that there are internal issues of Kosovo where Kosovo has full legitimacy to decide, so I do not see any reason to discuss them with you here.
Connectivity Agenda in fact the essence of the concept of the meetings of six Western Balkan countries, as the process of strengthening regional cooperation and promote integration in the European Union.
We are committed to advance this agenda. We are very interested in the completion of Highway 7, connecting Albania and Kosovo and Kosovo to Nis in Serbia. By 2018, we will finish the highway to Skopje, which we are financing with our resources.
Also, we are in advanced stage for the beginning of reconstruction of the railway line 10 connecting Skopje-Pristina and Belgrade. For this project we developed procedures with the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.
I appreciate the establishment of the Regional Cooperation Office for Youth, as a proper timely impulse, which will build bridges of cooperation and youth exchange.
Cooperation to evaluate in our region there has been over the years in the joint fight against violent extremism and terrorism.
Neither these phenomena, such as organized crime and corruption but also information economy are not autonomous phenomena which appear and end only in one place. They, at least, are exported and imported within our countries but also take wider character. Therefore, I consider that the reduction of these phenomena depends on cooperation and coordination between us.
Without wishing to extend further, let me confirm the affirmative attitude of Kosovo in terms of undertaking the necessary steps to facilitate trade between our countries, in the spirit of the agreement of CEFTA, in the spirit of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, in the European spirit. Aspirations to be part of the family of European Union countries are real and legitimate. They relate not only to the fact that we belong to this continent, but the substance that we need to be in the EU but also the EU benefits more with us in its bosom, than with us as its satellite.
In the end I want to emphasize that the Republic of Kosovo requires support from you that the headquarters of the Transport Community Treaty be determined in Pristina. Kosovo will fulfil all administrative duties for this.
Thank you very much for your attention.