News 19 Mar 13

Fuele Sounds Hopeful on Kosovo-EU Deal

Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele suggested a stabilisation deal with Brussels is in sight this June if Kosovo ploughs on with EU-minded reforms.

BIRN
Pristina

Enlargement Commissioner Fuele told Kosovo leaders to up the fight against corruption in order to boost its chances of opening a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Brussels.

“Kosovo has to show even more courage. More efforts are needed in the rule of law, in fighting corruption and organized crime and electoral reforms”, Fuele said after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister, Hajredin Kuci, and the Minister for Integration, Vlora Citaku.

Fuele said a preliminary assessment on whether Kosovo was meeting the criteria for a SAA - the first step on the road to EU membership - was positive.

In the Feasibility Study for a SAA between the European Union and Kosovo done last October, the Commission urged the authorities to make further progress in the rule of law, the judiciary, public administration and electoral reforms.

At the same time, Fuele stressed the importance of maintinaing dialogue with Serbia on the path towards European integration.

Fuels said that a “deal with Belgrade should pave the way for positive... conclusions on a Stabilization and Association Agreement”.

His visit to Pristina came ahead of the seventh round of the EU-mediated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia on normalizing ties on Wednesday in Brussels.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, are expected to come closer to an agreement on the troubled Serb-run north of Kosovo in Brussels.

Dacic and Thaci are expected to flesh out the modalities of dismantling Serbian-financed "parallel" institutions in the north and discuss the future operations of an "Association of Serbian Municipalities" in Kosovo, which the Kosovo authorities have agreed to endorse.

While Belgrade wants to see the new association enjoy wide powers, Kosovo is reluctant to concede powers that rival those of central authorities.

Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci said any solution on the north of Kosovo has to remain within “Kosovo’s constitutional framework and respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

During his visit to Kosovo, Fuele took part in a meeting of the National Council for European Integration headed by Kosovo's President, Atifete Jahjaga.

“I reiterate our determination to strengthen the state of law… and the fight against organized crime and corruption as one of the main duties of our society,” Jahjaga said at the meeting.

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