Press statement following the 3rd meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Kosovo*, Brussels, 17 December 2018
The Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Kosovo held its third meeting on 17 December 2018 in Brussels. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is at the core of the relationship between the EU and Kosovo. It offers Kosovo an opportunity for sustainable progress and rapprochement with the Union, in line with the European perspective of the region, and creates trade and investment opportunities.
At today’s meeting recent key developments relating to the fulfilment of the political criteria, as well as the state of play concerning the economic criteria, financial cooperation and the implementation of the SAA were reviewed.
The European Union underlined the importance of the continued and effective implementation of the SAA, as well as contractual obligations including in the area of trade and customs. The EU deeply regretted the government’s unilateral tariff increases on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the imposition of non-tariff barriers, and insisted on their immediate revocation. The introduction of these tariffs damages the economic interests of Kosovo and its people, reducing trade flows and diminishing Kosovo’s attractiveness as a place for investment and business. Any impediments to trade should be resolved within the appropriate fora and mechanisms, with the constructive participation of all sides concerned, in a spirit of regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations.
The European Union underlined the relevance of Kosovo’s continuous engagement in the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, accelerating and intensifying work in good faith on a legally binding agreement on comprehensive normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia. All Dialogue agreements agreed already need to be fully implemented without any further delay, in particular the 2015 agreement on the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities.
At today’s meeting reform priorities in areas including rule of law and judicial reforms, respect for fundamental rights, public administration reform, economic development, education and employment were also discussed. The meeting acknowledged progress made in implementing the European Reform Agenda and called for the swift implementation of outstanding measures. As regards visa liberalisation, the European Commission adopted a report in July 2018 on the fulfilment of the remaining benchmarks. The decision on the Commission proposal is currently under consideration in the Council and the European Parliament.
The meeting was chaired by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica Mogherini. The Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Johannes Hahn, represented the European Commission. The Kosovo delegation was led by the Prime Minister, Mr Ramush Haradinaj. Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj, First Deputy Prime Minister/Minister Behgjet Pacolli, Minister Dhurata Hoxha and Minister Abelard Tahiri also participated.