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.

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.

Kosovo’s Accession to the WTO – An Assessment of Potential Costs and Benefits

The Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) has recently published a Policy Analysis entitled: ‘Kosovo’s Accession to the WTO – An Assessment of Potential Costs and Benefits’. In this time of globalization, countries are increasingly interested in participating and further integrating in the global economic system in order to benefit from the intensified economic inter-connectivity. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization responsible for regulating trade cooperation between nations and ensuring that free-trade rules and standards are put in place and are fully respected. According to the WTO agreement “any state or customs territory having full autonomy in the conduct of its trade policies is eligible to accede to the WTO on the terms agreed between it and WTO Members”. The Policy Analysis reflects and discusses the possible effects of Kosovo’s accession to the World Trade Organization, elaborating in detail the potential benefits that WTO may entail for Kosovo. The Analysis also reflects upon the potential costs of Kosovo’s accession to WTO and challenges during this process. Among other issues, it provides a set of policy recommendations which would result on greater advantages to the Kosovo market from the WTO accession. To access the Analysis, please click here.


The Serbian Media and the Dialogue: Has there been an evolution in how Serbian media perceive Kosovo?

This report examines the attitudes of the Serbian media towards Kosovo and how those attitudes have changed as the dialogue has progressed. Changes would indicate that the dialogue has changed either how the Serbian media thinks or how they perceive changes in their audience’s opinion. While this report will not examine this question, it is an important issue to keep in mind. In either case, it would show that the dialogue has caused a change in how the Serbian media views Kosovo and a resolution of the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. If this is true, it could be a leading indicator of shifting public opinion within Serbia where a realistic and permanent resolution and reconciliation between the two states could take place.To study the Serbian media’s attitudes towards Kosovo, three news providers were chosen: the online B92 service, BETA news agency and the state-run Tanjug news agency. To access the Analysis, please click here.

Western Balkans and its EU Integration: 2015 Comparative Overview

The report has used a comparative approach and was conducted in Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The report entitled: ‘The Western Balkans and its EU Integration: Independent Analysis and Follow up of EC Country Reports on Western Balkans countries’ serves as a first attempt to provide a comprehensive analysis of the EU integration efforts of the Western Balkan. This analysis revealed that, at the political level, the progress of Kosovo was slightly above the regional average, however it achieved the lowest score in the region concerning the level of preparedness in this area. On the economic level, Kosovo had one of the lowest levels of progress and also one of the lowest levels of preparedness. Similarly, concerning the ability to take up membership obligations, the progress of Kosovo was one of the lowest in the region, while the level of preparedness was the second lowest, considerably below the regional average. To access the report, please click here.

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Panic Selling – Assessing the main challenges and deficiencies of Kosovo’s Privatization Process

The Policy Analysis entitled Panic Selling: Assessing the Main Challenges and Deficiencies of Kosovo’s Privatization Process’, provides an overview of the main challenges and problems encountered during the privatization process in Kosovo. More precisely, it highlights problems such as institutional dualism, ownership disputes, and methods of privatization, the negative impact on employment, highly under-priced sale of SOEs, corruption, undervalued agricultural land, non-utilization of privatization funds, and the exclusion of citizens from the privatization process.To access the Analysis, please click here.