The Balkan Policy Research Group (BPRG) in cooperation with Democracy for Development (D4D) and Kosovo Center for Security Studies (KCSS) held a high level conference on ‘Kosovo’s Future Decade: Advancing Reforms, Regional Co-operation and European Integration’. The focus of the conference was the advancement of Kosovo’s state-building: strengthening of institutions and speeding up reforms, the EU Enlargement Strategy: the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans and the dialogue with Serbia towards the final agreement.
Also, for the first time this event presented the Policy Forum – a platform for civil society to speed up reforms in the country; as well as the presentation of the Kosovo-Serbia Policy Advocacy Group, a platform for civil society cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia aimed at communicating, promoting regional cooperation and Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
Naim Rashiti, Executive Director of Balkans Research Policy Group, in his opening speech stressed that there have long been plans to create a think-tankers policy forum platform that will address these issues. This forum was held for the first time in Kosovo advocating for state development reforms, regional cooperation and European integration processes. These three agendas present the core of the forum mission.
The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, in his speech declared that the country’s second decade is very important for NATO and UN membership. He stressed the importance of a deep reform and that it is up to political parties to do so. On this occasion, President Thaçi thanked civil society for supporting state-building processes.
Norwegian Ambassador, Per Strand Sjaastad, mentioned in his speech that Kosovo in the future should conclude the transition chapter, and should strive to build a common vision for the future. He added that the important issues such as relations with Serbia and fighting corruption will need more time and effort.
The conference was divided into three panels. The first panel discussed the EU Enlargement Strategy and the importance of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans. Part of the discussion were Prime Minister, Ministers and Deputy ministers local and regional, ambassadors and diplomatic representatives in Kosovo. During the discussion panelists agreed that regional cooperation among the Western Balkans states is vital for the European integration process. It was also highlighted the importance of reforms in the socio-economic development of aspirant countries in the EU – including Kosovo.
The second panel comprised by civil society representatives from Kosovo and Serbia discussed the dialogue with Serbia towards the final agreement. This panel discussion emphasized that the European Union Strategy for the Western Balkans could serve as a stimulating point for Kosovo and Serbia to be involved in the new phase of dialogue, which should be finalized with a legally binding agreement.
Present in the third panel with the topic “Projecting Kosovo’s next decade: What milestones to expect for?” were the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Lutfi Haziri and Visar Ymeri, representative of the Independent Group of MPs. In this panel it was stated that the second decade should find Kosovo integrated into the European Union, part of the UN, and as well with a process concluded with Serbia. It was also stated that the key to overcoming great challenges is broad political consensus.
Civil society organizations and other participants at this event had the opportunity to discuss with members of the panels and give their comments on the topics addressed. This conference served as a platform for encouraging and deepening the debate on topics requiring national consensus.