First meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Kosovo
The Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Kosovo held its first meeting on 25 November 2016. This inaugural meeting marks a new important stage in EU-Kosovo relations.
The Stabilisation and Association Council welcomed the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) on 1 April 2016. The European Union noted that the SAA is at the core of the relationship between the EU and Kosovo. It provides the contractual framework within which the EU and Kosovo will intensify their co-operation and take stock of developments in their relationship. Both sides also warmly welcome today's signature of the framework agreement on Kosovo's participation in Union programmes, which will open up new opportunities for the population of Kosovo, from research to student exchanges.
During the meeting, discussion took place on 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 Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
The Stabilisation and Association Council welcomed the launch on 11 November of a European Reform Agenda which will play an important role in guiding Kosovo's reform efforts, in areas such as good governance and rule of law, competitiveness and the investment climate, as well as employment and education. This will aid Kosovo in its implementation of the obligations under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
The meeting discussed reform priorities in areas including rule of law and judicial reforms, respect for fundamental rights, public administration reform, and economic reforms. The Stabilisation and Association Council welcomed Kosovo's significant progress in fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap. The EU encourages Kosovo to intensify work on the ratification of the border/boundary agreement with Montenegro and to continue to strengthen the track record in the fight against organised crime and corruption.
The meeting underlined the importance of progress in the EU-facilitated dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade and of the implementation of all agreements already reached without delay.
The meeting was chaired by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union. Commissioner Johannes Hahn represented the European Commission. The delegation of Kosovo was led by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa.
References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/1999 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.