Kosovo’s EU candidate status: a goal within reach?

This Discussion paper argues that the absence of a common position among the member states on Kosovo’s status does not prevent the EU from substantial engagement with Kosovo. The legal obstacles facing Kosovo’s bid for candidate status may be surmountable. Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union, which prima facie seems to impose a condition that Kosovo is unable to meet – that is, being qualified as a “state” – does not in fact require or entail Kosovo’s recognition as a state by the European Union, seeing that the Treaties do not foresee such a competence for the EU. Furthermore, Kosovo’s SAA seems to endorse a legal European perspective for the entity and may have already set a legal precedent that Kosovo could invoke in order to continue to strengthen its contractual relations with the Union. To access the Discussion Paper, please click here.

A new EPC and GLPS Discussion Paper released ‘Kosovo’s EU candidate status: a goal within reach?’

Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC) have jointly published a Discussion Paper entitled: “Kosovo’s EU candidate status: a goal within reach?” Ever since its declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo has made European integration one of its key foreign policy objectives. Having made headway over the past years in its efforts to draw nearer to the European Union – most recently by signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU – Kosovo is now eager to take the next step in its EU integration process: to apply for EU membership and receive candidate status. However, with five member states still unwilling to recognise its statehood, Kosovo finds itself in a unique and difficult position regarding its eligibility to advance towards the EU and eventually accede to the European Union. This Discussion paper argues that the absence of a common position among the member states on Kosovo’s status does not prevent the EU from substantial engagement with Kosovo. The legal obstacles facing Kosovo’s bid for candidate status may be surmountable. Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union, which prima facie seems to impose a condition that Kosovo is unable to meet – that is, being qualified as a “state” – does not in fact require or entail Kosovo’s recognition as a state by the European Union, seeing that the Treaties do not foresee such a competence for the EU. Furthermore, Kosovo’s SAA seems to endorse a legal European perspective for the entity and may have already set a legal precedent that Kosovo could invoke in order to continue to strengthen its contractual relations with the Union. To access the Discussion Paper, please click here.

An Analysis of the Vetting Process in Albania

This report examines the vetting process of Albania as an institutional measure, reflecting upon the benefits and flaws of the vetting law. The first section considers the structure and methodology behind the vetting process and takes a deeper look at the vetting law of Albania. The following chapters analyze the opinion of the Venice Commission in regard to the law and take a closer look at the controversies that have been going on for months in the political arena of Albania. In addition to this, the Analysis provides a comparative analysis between Albania’s vetting process and the one applied in neighboring countries. Lastly, the final paragraphs of this paper provide and in-depth conclusive analysis on the benefits and flaws of the new Albanian vetting law. Vetting has often been a viable institutional mechanism for transitional democracies to assess judges and prosecutors’ suitability for public employment. One of the major objective of this reformative measure is to strengthen integrity and accountability in the public sector and restore confidence in national institutions and government. The overall process touches especially areas of the public sector which tend to be more vulnerable to violation of human rights, such as police, prison services, the army and, of course, the judiciary. The new Albanian vetting law will conduct thorough investigation and evaluation of skills, competencies, personality, assets and other aspects of a given individual of the judiciary system.  To access the Policy Analysis, please click here.

International Conference on the challenges of the European integration of Kosovo: regional cooperation and neighborly relations

On 24 May 2017, Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) and Institute GAP – in cooperation with the Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (CFA) and French Institute for Foreign Relations (IFRI) –  have organized an International Conference on the topic: “The challenge of the European integration of Kosovo: regional cooperation and neighborly relations”, held in Prishtina. On April, 1st 2016, the Stability and Association Agreement between Kosovo and the European Union entered into force, marking a major step towards Kosovo’s political and economic convergence and candidate status. This agreement is the first contractual link between Kosovo and the Union, although it still leaves the question of the non-recognition of the country by five Member States unresolved. In addition to necessary political and economic reforms in public administration, the rule of law, human rights and the protection of minorities as well as free trade, the European integration of Kosovo implies an emphasis on regional cooperation and good neighborly relations. This emphasis in the EU’s approach to Kosovo is supported by all Member States. During the event, panelists had the chance to discuss the way forward and challenges encountered during the EU integration process, the progress achieved by the Kosovo government and regional cooperation and neighborly relations of Kosovo with other Western Balkan countries, seen as essential to Kosovo’s European integration. The first panel focused on the progress and challenges of the European integration process, as well as the Stabilization and Association Agreement, its benefits and obligations for Kosovo. While the second panel focused on the regional cooperation, peace building and relations among countries in the region. The conference was attended by numerous member state ambassadors, government officials, experts, civil society and media. The conference was supported by the Embassy of Austria and the Embassy of France in Kosovo.

 Keynote Speakers:

  1. Michael Linhart – Secretary General, Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Vienna;
  2. Nataliya Apostolova – Head of EU Office in Kosovo / EU Special Representative;
  3. Anila Statovci-Demaj – Deputy Minister for European Integration to the Republic of Kosovo;
  4. Piero Cristoforo Sardi – Italian Ambassador to the Republic of Kosovo.

Panel 1: Taking stock: The European integration of Kosovo – driving forces and pitfalls

  1. Florent MARCIACQ, Programme Director, Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe, Vienna;
  2. Jeton MEHMETI, Research Director, GAP Institute, Pristina;
  3. Albana MERJA, Research Fellow, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Pristina;
  4. Jean-Arnault DÉRENS, Editor in Chief, Le Courrier des Balkans.

Panel 2: Kosovo in its regional space – regional cooperation and neighborly relations

  1. Tobias FLESSENKEMPER, Senior Fellow and Balkans Project Director, Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE), Berlin;
  2. Ardian HACKAJ, Director, Cooperation & Development Institute, Tirana;
  3. Jelica MINIĆ, President of the Forum for International Relations, European Movement Serbia, Belgrade;
  4. Zlatko VUJOVIĆ, President of the Governing Board, Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI), Podgorica;
  5. Lura POLLOZHANI, Centre for South East European Studies (CSEES), University of Graz.

 

Venue: Hotel Swiss Diamond, Prishtina, Kosovo.

GLPS and EPC co-organize a Policy Dialogue: “Kosovo and the European Union – What next?”

Group for Legal and Political Studies in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC) have organized a Policy Dialogue on the topic: “Kosovo and the European Union – What next?”, held in Brussels. Kosovo is making headway in its efforts to draw nearer to the European Union. Just last year, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU entered into force, Pristina adopted a list of priorities – the so-called European Reform Agenda – meant to help the implementation of the SAA, and the European Commission proposed visa liberalisation for Kosovo. In parallel, since the beginning of the EU-mediated talks between Pristina and Belgrade in 2011, the two sides have reached important agreements aimed at normalising their relations. Kosovo is now eager to advance even further on its EU track. But to do so, it must first deliver on the reform commitments assumed to date. Recent bilateral tensions with Serbia, which brought the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue to an effective halt, as well as the parliamentary impasse reached in the implementation of Kosovo’s border demarcation deal with Montenegro are not helping Kosovo move forward. Moreover, the refusal of five EU member states to recognise Kosovo’s independence continues to call into question Kosovo’s eligibility for EU accession. What are the key legal and political obstacles in the way of Kosovo’s European integration and how can they be overcome? How can Kosovo ensure meaningful progress on its EU-related reform agenda, where does Kosovo stand from a Balkan regional perspective, what more can the EU do to help Kosovo in its quest for EU membership were some of the topics discussed during the event. Short presentations and exchanges with the panel were followed by an interactive discussion with the audience.

Panelists:

Ms. Ulrike Lunacek – Vice President, European Parliament

Mr. David Cullen – Head of Unit, D3 – The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, DG Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission

Mr. Augustin Palokaj – Brussels Correspondent for Koha Group

Mr. Fisnik Korenica – Senior Research Fellow, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Kosovo

Ms. Corina Stratulat – Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre (Moderator)

 

 

Venue: EPC Conference Centre (3rd floor), Rue du Trône 14-16, 1000 Brussels

GLPS held a Seminar for CSOs in Kosovo on Effective Monitoring of Public Policies

On 10-11 May 2017, Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) has organized two-day seminar for the Civil Society Organizations in Kosovo on the topic: “Effective Monitoring of Public Policies” The aim of the seminar was to familiarize the civil society organizations in Kosovo with the process of drafting and monitoring of public policies, with a special focus on local level, WeBER PAR Methodology, indicator for monitoring PAR, as well as the WeBER monitoring methodology. The event was attended by more than 25 representatives from the civil society organizations in Kosovo and participants had the opportunity to actively interact with the experts and discuss among them the above-mentioned topics. The first day of the seminar included Policy monitoring and writing, the participants discussed the aspects of research and monitoring methodologies on PAR, indicators, as well as policy writing aspects. The last session included the presentation of the WeBER PAR Monitor Methodology.  On the following day, the discussion focused on the indicators of the PAR methodology and their developments, followed by practical exercises on this matter. The third day of the seminar is expected to take place on the 23 of May.

This activity was organized within the framework of the WeBER Project, funded by the European Union and co-financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Speakers:

Ms. Corina Stratulat – Senior Research Fellow, European Policy Centre (EPC), Brussels;

Ms. Simonida Kacarska – Executive Director, European Policy Institute (EPI), Skopje;

Ms. Stasa Lukic – Senior Project Manager, Centre for European Policy (CEP), Belgrade;

Ms. Bardha Maxhuni – Research Fellow, Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS).

 

 

Venue: Hotel Emerald, Prishtina, Kosovo.