Kosovo’s EU accession has many unknowns

Kosovo’s EU accession has many unknowns

Pristina, 28 October 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

On Tuesday, the European Union has established contractual relations with the Republic of Kosovo, following the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, which regulates trade relations between Kosovo and EU.

But, experts of European affairs told IBNA that this document from the ordinary SAA, as it doesn’t treat Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state.

“This agreement is different from the ones signed by the countries of the region, because it wasn’t signed by representatives of member countries, but EU officials. The agreement is also expected to be ratified by national parliaments of member countries, but it enters into force once the Parliament Agreement ratifies it in the spring of 2016”, says the professor of European law, Avni Mazrreku.

Mazrreku told IBNA that unless Kosovo is not treated as a state by all member countries, it cannot be part of the European Union.

“The Lisbon Treaty says in article 49 that only those countries that have been recognized by 28 EU member countries can become part of the European Union. Kosovo’s accession will be blocked by the five countries which are yet to recognize its independence and which have the right of veto in decision making”, Mazrreku says.

However, the European Law professor, Bardhyl Hasanpapaj told IBNA that in the technical aspect, it’s similar to the agreements with other countries.

“This document will regulate trade relations between Kosovo and the EU. It will offer an opportunity for companies from Kosovo to increase exports toward EU countries, but they must first offer products with high quality and standards. Otherwise, they would not be able to face European competition”, he says.

Hasanpapaj says that with the signing of SAA, Kosovo will benefit economic prosperity, legal security and political stability.

On 22 October 2015, the EU Council approved SAA and gave way to its signing on 27 October in Strasbourg by PM Isa Mustafa and Minister of European Integration, Bekim Collaku.

The implementation of SAA lasts a period of 10 years, while it will be revised in five years time.

SAA is divided into 4 parts: political issues, harmonization of legislation, cooperation policies and commercial issues.

Once it comes into effect in 2016, all industrial and agricultural products apart from meat and sugar will be exported to the EU without customs charges. /ibna/