Thursday, April 21, 2005

Albanian agency views EU document on Kosovo's European future

Text of report in English by Albanian news agency ATA

Tirana, 21 April: The EU confirmed yesterday its utter commitment for the European future of Kosova (Kosovo), presenting a document that lays the foundations for Kosova's integration into the European structures. The EU has put in operation specific instruments to support other countries of the region for their integration. However, it has lacked a golden strategy for a European perspective for Kosova.

The document presented in Brussels backs Kosova's integration into Europe and points out that "Kosova issue will be among EU priorities during the coming months". The European Parliament asked last month the European Council for clarification of Kosova's future, whereas the international officials have constantly called for the determination of the status and the definition of its (European) perspective.

Kosova is presently at a delicate point of its history, because the examination of the standards set by the UN, including the democratization, the rule of law, and the protection of minorities, in summer this year can launch the talks on its final status. But, irrespective of the outcome of these talks, Kosova should continue its efforts not to lag behind the other countries of Western Balkans in the integration process.

While appreciating the contribution made by the European Commission in this direction, EU Commissioner on Enlargement Olli Rehn said that "the economic problems of Kosova cannot wait until the status issue is resolved". "The economic development of Kosova should be encouraged by guaranteeing a better perspective for its residents. We intend to build a multiethnic Kosova, where all its citizens feel safe and respected," he said.

Other EU officials stressed that the document targets the commitment for long-term development of Kosova. "We are ready to assist Kosova to realize its European aspiration if the political leaders in Prishtina (Pristina) will express crystal-clear devotion to observe the democratic principles, human rights, and minorities," they stressed. The European officials have constantly stressed that the future of Kosova is in the hands of its citizens. They have said that for its European integration, Kosova must reach the standards and display those principles and values on which the European block is based.

The document conveys an important message to the interim institutions of Kosova and its people and stresses that "the fulfilment of the standards for a multiethnic society is a long-term commitment and pre-condition for its progress towards EU integration". In the economic aspect, the document points out that the (EU) financial support for Kosova during 1999-2005 (period) reached 1.6m euros and that the future aid will be at the same level. In the political aspect, the EU will back the participation of Kosova in the process of the entire region for its integration into the EU. The document explained that the instrument of the Association-Stabilization process would be applied for Kosova, too. This confirms the devotion of Brussels to assist Kosova in the realization of its European aspiration. It also ensures Kosovar authorities about the EU support on the eve of the status talks.

Source: ATA news agency, Tirana, in English 1547 gmt 21 Apr 05

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