November 16, 2012

CGDC at the Conference “The Process of Visa Liberalisation and the European Way of Kosovo”

On November 16, CGDC representatives took part in the conference jointly organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Austria, the European Parliament and the European Commission, which was held at the House of the European Union in Vienna.

The first panel focused on the two main strategic objectives of Kosovo, after declaring its independence in 2008: state-building and international recognition in the context of EU accession processes. The panelists, H.E. Dr. Sabri Kiqmari – Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to Austria, H.E. Ambassador Jan Kickert – Director General for Political Affairs at the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Univ. Prof. Dr. Anton Pelinka – Professor of Political Science, identified corruption and organized crime, minorities issues and border control, as major obstacles on Kosovo’s way to becoming a democratic EU country. European Parliament Rapporteur on Kosovo – Ulrike Lunacek, who participated in the discussion via video conference connection, pointed out the lack of political will as an essential drawback to Kosovo. Other highlights in the first panel were the impact on Kosovo of the fact that 5 EU countries still have not recognized the country as an independent state, asylum seekers and technical framework of border controls, as well as the importance of the commitment of Kosovo Government to maintain dialogue and good neighborly relations with Serbia in order to achieve peace and stability in the Western Balkans.

The second panel presented insights from H.E. Bajram Rexhepi – Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, H.E. Albert Rohan – Austrian diplomat and expert on the Balkans, and H.E. Prof. Dr. Blerim Reka – former Ambassador of Mission of Macedonia to EU and Pro-Rector for Research at the South-East European University. The panelists reflected on the Ahtisaari Plan, EULEX, the integrated border management system, and the specific challenges of Northern Kosovo. The conference concluded with a comprehensive Q & A session which raised sensitive issues like the reconciliation among Kosovo, Serbia and Albania.

The Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation – CGDC strives to support emerging countries to become more reliable and stable partners on a regional and global level. Maintaining constructive dialogue and cooperation on the Western Balkans has always been amongst our priorities and we will continue to work towards achieving these goals.