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.

How ‘friendly’ is Kosovo for Foreign Direct Investments: A Policy Review of Gaps from a Regional Market Perspective

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is widely recognized for its positive impacts on economic growth and transformation. It is also considered an important channel for the development and accumulation of human capital and the diffusion of new ideas and business skills across national borders. Foreign investment inflows can positively influence employment and may represent an important source of technological advancement in the host country. Global trends show that competition for attracting FDI is especially strong among developing countries, as it represents an important source of foreign capital and can have positive spillover effects on the host economy. This policy paper is organized as following: Section 2 provides a brief theoretical discussion of the main factors that affect investors’ decisions and potential Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) effects on the host-country, followed by a discussion of the importance of FDI for Kosovo and the current legislative framework. Section 3 highlights Kosovo’s FDI profile in general and by sector, as well as its position compared to other SEE countries. Section 4 discusses Kosovo’s potential for attracting investments and its investment climate and scrutinizes the key deterrents for FDI in Kosovo. Section 5 examines the main types of investment incentives and compares Kosovo’s incentive schemes with SEE countries. Section 6 considers the perceptions of EU and EFTA foreign investors operating in Kosovo. The last section offers a set of policy recommendations and solutions that would further enhance Kosovo’s investment climate and its overall performance with regard to attracting FDI. To access the report, please click here.

Promising Early Years: The Transformative Role of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo

In this Working Paper we analyse whether and, if yes, how, the Constitutional Court of Kosovo has influenced and guarded the essentials of the nascent democracy. While we strive to assess the Constitutional Court’s role in the democratic transition of Kosovo, various external factors, such as political influence and the legitimacy of the Court, will necessarily be part of the equation. The first section of this paper briefly reviews the role of constitutional courts in transitional democracies, and identifies the common denominators which explain their endeavors to influence democratic developments. The second section focuses on the jurisdiction, functioning and organisation of the Court, and its relationship with public opinion. The third section analyses internationalized constitutionalism and its impact on the legitimacy and integrity of the Court in Kosovo. The fourth and fifth sections assess specific indicators, including the perceived level of confidence in the Court by political actors and the public at large, the role of international actors, and the perceived outside pressure on judges, doing so through analyses of the most notable cases and their impact upon societal and political life in the country. The final section provides a brief conclusion. To access the report, please click here.

This Working Paper is delivered with the support of the Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans (RRPP).The RRPP is coordinated and operated by the Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe (IICEE) at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). The programme is fully funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Assessing the EU Special Representative: Samuel Žbogar’s performance through Two Mandates

Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) has published a Policy Report which thoroughly assesses the performance of Samuel Zbogar, the EU Special Representative in Kosovo throughout his first two mandates. He is the highest-ranking European Union official on the ground in Kosovo. He manages the distribution of tens of millions of Euros for Kosovo’s progress towards the EU. He heads an office that advises on every piece of Kosovo legislation to ensure that it is in line with European standards. He handles the day-to-day implementation of the fragile dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia on the Kosovo side. He mediates between Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs, between disparate EU member states and between the EU and third parties. As the EU Special Representative to Kosovo, Samuel Žbogar is the most important international official in Kosovo. This report looks at the background of his position, the Special Representative, and where it fits in the Kosovo context. It also considers how he came to be the Special Representative in Kosovo and examines his mandate in depth. The report also discusses the two aspects of his mandate: coordinating the EU presence in Kosovo and ensuring Kosovo’s European path, before concluding and giving recommendations for the Special Representative and the EU. Overall, the report gives a positive evaluation of the Special Representative, as his outreach to minorities, his advocacy on Kosovo’s behalf in the EU and aid to Kosovo’s legislative process, among other actions, far outweigh the problems present in a sometimes timid approach to local politics and sporadic communication breakdowns with the member states. To access the report, please click here.

Confiscation of Illicit Wealth: Challenges and Perspectives of the Kosovar Approach

This Policy Report identifies the main challenges and considers that the implementation of the mechanism of illicit wealth confiscation has not shown tangible results. Among other things, this Report offers a set of policy recommendations that would establish a more comprehensive legislative and institutional framework in the fight against corruption and organized crime through the mechanism of illicit wealth confiscation, which is rooted in other successful EU practices.To access the Policy Report, please click here.