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.
- Michael Linhart – Secretary General, Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Vienna;
- Nataliya Apostolova – Head of EU Office in Kosovo / EU Special Representative;
- Anila Statovci-Demaj – Deputy Minister for European Integration to the Republic of Kosovo;
- Piero Cristoforo Sardi – Italian Ambassador to the Republic of Kosovo.
Panel 1: Taking stock: The European integration of Kosovo – driving forces and pitfalls
- Florent MARCIACQ, Programme Director, Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe, Vienna;
- Jeton MEHMETI, Research Director, GAP Institute, Pristina;
- Albana MERJA, Research Fellow, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Pristina;
- Jean-Arnault DÉRENS, Editor in Chief, Le Courrier des Balkans.
Panel 2: Kosovo in its regional space – regional cooperation and neighborly relations
- Tobias FLESSENKEMPER, Senior Fellow and Balkans Project Director, Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE), Berlin;
- Ardian HACKAJ, Director, Cooperation & Development Institute, Tirana;
- Jelica MINIĆ, President of the Forum for International Relations, European Movement Serbia, Belgrade;
- Zlatko VUJOVIĆ, President of the Governing Board, Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI), Podgorica;
- Lura POLLOZHANI, Centre for South East European Studies (CSEES), University of Graz.
Venue: Hotel Swiss Diamond, Prishtina, Kosovo.