IBNA Interview/Challenges and priorities of Kosovo in the path toward the EU

IBNA Interview/Challenges and priorities of Kosovo in the path toward the EU

In an interview for IBNA news agency, analyst and professor of European Law, Dr. Avni Mazrreku, talks about the challenges and priorities of Kosovo in the path toward the EU, the impact of SAA in the Kosovo economy, political crisis, process of talks for the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade and the perspective of the Balkan countries for their accession in the European family.

Interviewed by Muamer Mellova/IBNA

IBNA: How do you see Kosovo’s progress in the European integration path?

Not only Kosovo, but the Balkan in general has stagnated in the implementation of the EU reforms. For years now, leadership in Kosovo couldn’t manage to deliver political and economic criteria of Copenhagen. Unfortunately, we are facing a politicized administration, lack of dialogue and political culture, lack of an independent judiciary system, enormous corruption and a non competitive and dysfunctional economy.

With all of these deficits, EU institutions have continued to keep the doors open for integration with the hope that the most urgent reforms will be delivered one day. Opportunities are open. For the first time in history, Kosovo has established contractual relations with the EU and is expecting the visa regime to be lifted and to have access in the European structural funds, which aim at offering stability to the country.

IBNA: What will be the impact of SAA in the economy of Kosovo?

The Stabilization and Association Agreement enables Kosovo to become part of a market of 500 million people. In the economic dimension, Kosovo’s enterprises will have more opportunities and they will be able to increase their exports to European countries, but they will also be able to establish companies or branches.

Also, Kosovo’s entrepreneurs will be able to receive more knowhow and experience from European companies and more access to modern technologies. But one thing must not be forgotten. More investments must be made in order to increase the quality of products that guarantee the health and safety of consumers according to European standards.

IBNA: What is the impact of the political crisis in the Euro Atlantic process?

The political crisis damages Kosovo in many aspects, especially in the Euro Atlantic processes. The lack of dialogue and communication jeopardizes the European agenda. I believe that with the help of the international community, all political parties must find a common language for issues of a vital interest.

IBNA: What is your evaluation on the process of talks for the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade?

You cannot join the European family by judging and having stereotypes against one another. Nationalist rhetoric does not help the integration of the region in the European Union. Kosovo and Serbia must continue their talks to solve the problems that concern their citizens. Cooperation in all dimensions helps Pristina and Belgrade to come closer to the European family, because the principle of good neighboring relations is one of the main criteria of the European Commission for accession in these international organizations.

IBNA: The process of EU enlargement has come to a gridlock. When do you think the Balkan will become part of the European family?

It is true that Europe has become tired of the enlargement, due to the fact that the EU is facing many problems, starting with the crisis in the eurozone, frequent economic recessions, growth of skepticism among Europeans on the EU, problems with regional policies and the strengthening of extreme right wing parties. However, I believe that every “empire’s” scope is expansion. This process will not stop. I believe that the entire Balkan will be part of the EU until 2021, but this will also depend on the performance of applying countries. /ibna/