A European Future for Kosovo
The European Commission today adopted a Communication highlighting its contribution to making Kosovo’s European perspective a reality. Kosovo will be high on the agenda in the months to come. The upcoming review in 2005 of the UN Standards, including democratisation, the rule of law and minority protection, could be followed by discussions on Kosovo’s future status. Independently of the outcome of these future talks, Kosovo needs to be kept firmly anchored in the progress of the Western Balkan region in the Stabilisation and Association Process.
Welcoming the Commission’s contribution Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Enlargement said: “Kosovo’s economic problems can not wait until the resolution of the status question. The economic development of the province needs to be fostered to guarantee a better future for all people in Kosovo. Our aim is to build a truly multiethnic Kosovo in which all citizens feel secure and equally treated. Our contribution today sets out the Commission’s approach to Kosovo’s long-term development. We are ready to continue helping Kosovo to make progress towards its European aspirations, provided political leaders demonstrate a clear commitment to democratic principles, human rights, protection of minorities, rule of law, market economic reform and the values on which the European Union is based. Ultimately, Kosovo’s future is in the hands of its people.”
This document is about explaining what the European Commission is doing now and will we do in the future to help Kosovo. It sets an important message to the Provisional Institutions of Self-government and the people of Kosovo that achieving the standards for a secure, stable and multiethnic society is a long-term commitment that goes beyond the status settlement and a prerequisite for progress towards the European Union.
The political context
The European Commission’s engagement with Kosovo has been huge in political and financial terms €1.6 billion 1999-2005. Unfortunately, six years after the conflict, the territory remains fragile. The Commission’s political and technical capital needs to be further mobilised in support of Kosovo to enhance its economic development and facilitate its constructive participation in the region’s progress towards European Union integration. This Communication explains how the Commission is going to apply the instruments of the Stabilisation and Association Process and the experience developed during the pre-accession and enlargement process to Kosovo.
What is in the Communication?
The main areas covered in the document are:
• Reiteration of the overall policy framework of the SAP and how it relates to Kosovo,
• Economic development: growth, regional economic integration,
• Building institutional capacity,
• Financial assistance,
• Kosovo’s links with the rest of the region.
Why this Communication now?
The Conclusions of the General Affairs Council of 21-22 February 2005 invited the SG/HR and the Commission, in close cooperation with the Presidency, to examine with the United Nations and other relevant players what might be the future contribution of the European Union to the efforts of the international community in Kosovo. This communication is a first contribution to that joint work that the Commission will do with the HR/SG and the Presidency.
 Kosovo is at present under the administration of UNMIK, pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999).