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European Union’s Delays as Impediment for Kosovo

by Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo

August 31, 2012 (TSR) – The era of bloody inter-ethnic wars in the Western Balkans has ended in the last century; however, the prospect of a secure peace is far away. There are many reasons why peace and stability remain so fragile in the Western Balkans, in particular in Kosovo.

That is why we as leaders who have experienced the terrible consequences of the war time, have to stand up and speak loudly before we allow ourselves to be overtaken again by the same inter-ethnic hatred syndromes of the past. This pessimistic message it is not meant to cause panic, but rather to serve as waking bell for all of us and in particular for EU.

Let me recall a founding father of EU, Robert Schuman who in his famous declaration of 9th May 1950 said that “world peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it”. Further on he said that “the contribution which an organized and living Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations”.

Sixty-two years have passed since then, but Schumans’ remarks are still very relevant. The project he envisioned, what is now the European Union, is about to succeed but only if EU leaders stay firm in embracing the remaining Western Balkans within the EU family. After all, our place in this family is well deserved.

The recent years in the Western Balkans have been identified as the years of considerable success and progress, either in the aspect of democratic consolidation or economic development.  This applies to my country, as well.  Nonetheless, the mindset of the past is still present in some parts of the region.

Thus, our northern neighbor Serbia still continues in an active manner to undermine Kosovo’s statehood. By doing so, Serbia is questioning the existence of internationally recognized borders in Balkans. This attitude of thinking yet about redrawing borders in the Western Balkans represents the biggest threat to the fragile stability. Serbia in the recent weeks and months undertook several severe provocations against Kosovo. The last terrorist attack in an ethnic Albanian family in northern Kosovo caused the death of a citizen and injured several members of this family. Moreover, the recent developments in the security dimension in Macedonia underline the fragile situation of the entire region. This situation raises several questions.

Why we can’t overcome yet the instability and bring about more secure Europe? Do the decision-makers in Brussels lack the will or the power to accelerate the EU integration process for the remaining Western Balkan countries? Are the decision-makers in EU aware that by dragging this process, they unintentionally help maintain the conflict industry alive in Balkans?

One cannot expect easy answers. But those who are responsible to deliver need to make it clear to the people of Balkans that the train they have embarked in, is the right one. That’s the one towards Brussels. Because if otherwise, then we will all be in trouble. Any further delays from EU to accelerate the membership of the remaining aspiring countries of the Western Balkans directly undermine our efforts to build multi-ethnic societies in our countries. Furthermore, delays will serve to the radicals’ aspirations to work on their agenda of creating mono-ethnic states. As consequence, this could lead towards the change of internationally recognized borders – the worst case scenario.

Personally, I have no doubt that Kosovo’s rightful place is within the big EU family. Its membership and equality within EU remains for us a roadmap of hope – not only for Kosovo but for other people in Balkans.  We as leaders need to make sure our societies are being developed based on principles which served as foundations to build Europe after the Second World War. We know how difficult and painful that process was.

However, it has proven as a successful model and we have no reason why not to adopt it. In this way, we make sure to build a better future which will prevent the bitter past being repeated. Moreover, kosovars have understood that membership into big democratic families cannot take place while obstructing the development of the others. Personally I am deeply convinced that the entire region will suffer if EU is thinking to close its door for newcomers like us. This would have been serious mistake.

In this context, I do understand limitations and difficulties of EU leaders and EU member states leaders. I try to understand their hesitations, complicated procedures of the art of reaching consensual decisions. Above everything else, we understand the EU key demands for us in reaching European standards when it comes to the inter-ethnic tolerance, respect for minority rights, fight against crime, corruption etc.

We in Kosovo have managed to achieve substantial progress in addressing all these aspects, but until now, there is no payoff for this progress. In contrary, the rest of the countries in the region managed to receive several carrots from the EU. The situation in Kosovo, as relates the EU affairs is engendering some negative implications. Considering the fact that EU so far did not deliver anything concrete on visa liberalization and Stabilization and Association process, citizens are discouraged and there are some clear Euro-skepticism signs, in this respect.

Kosovo continues to be the only country in the Western Balkans which still does not have any contractual relations with the EU. This is certainly not because we have not done our homework. Therefore, all we ask is to be treated by the EU as equal among the equals. In other words, we want to be treated fairly like other countries in the region. This is the minimum we ask and it is a European principle. We do not ask for favors compared to others, but we likewise do not want to be deprived. In fact, the EU course of action towards Kosovo, until now is still in the phase of rhetoric. EU highlights the importance of European perspective for Kosovo, but no concrete step is seen and all this remains simply as a rhetoric.

We continue to believe in the European principles and values, but that has not helped Kosovo not to be considered still as a black hole of the region. This is the right moment for Kosovo to move forward and get closer to the EU destination; it’s also time for EU to tell us that beyond the rhetoric, the future of Kosovo is also concretely linked with European perspective. This will also contribute further to the peace and stability in the region and will be a decisive step of closing the doors for the mindset of the past, which is still present in the region. Almost two decades ago, the Kosovo War served as a catalyst for the democratization and European integration. Now Kosovo should not be left as the last country on our continent without a European future.

Make no mistake: This must be the hour of Europe for Kosovo.

______________________

AUTHOR: Hashim Thaci

Hashim Thaci is the Prime Minister of Republic of Kosovo, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, and former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

3 Responses to European Union’s Delays as Impediment for Kosovo

  1. crox

    August 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I read articles at your web site with a great pleasure beacuse your web site is a voice of the truth, justice and freedom, but this article, regardless it was only accepted or even ordered, is your unbelievable mistake.
    I would be very glad if you maybe wake up and you are going to see that the state Kosovo is a child of long time internal expansionism and bloody exterinal interventionism.
    I would have never expected that The Santos Republic would bless such child.

  2. MJ Santos

    September 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    ATTN TO ALL OUR READERS: As Founder and Publisher of The Santos Republic, I do have to make decisions that many of you may not understand. I also know the pain and destruction that was done to Kosovo in the 90′s. I know that very well, in fact, the SAME MASTERMINDS BEHIND IT are the ones who DESTROYED LIBYA (now Syria). I was given the privilege by the Universe to be in the middle of high level action at the UN at the time. I also had my first experience of how the world works: How FACTS are purposely suppressed to the masses and had to keep my mouth shut about what I know until today. Little did I know that all everything I have experienced since I was a teenager would point to what I am doing today. The Arabspring was copied from my childhood in the Philippines. I receive some emails (or people leave comments on our articles) either as threats or reprimand. The KOSOVO PRIME MINISTER’s article is not my endorsement of what happened in Kosovo. It was published because I strongly felt that YOU ALL NEED TO KNOW what the OTHER SIDE is saying. If Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu decides to publish an op-ed to The Santos Republic, I have no problem giving him that platform. It is called being FAIR. MY VISION for TSR IS TO BE THE VOICE OF TRUTH, so when that time comes that some Zionist/NeoCon head hancho finds the nerve to allow themselves to be really scrutinized by us, then I have done my part.

    WE ARE GIVING YOU THE FULL PICTURE. Furthermore, you don’t even know nor may not understand what I am doing. Much of what we post, consider them as BRICKS AND PUZZLE PIECES. I am building up a CASE FOR HUMANITY. There is a strategic reason why I allow certain things like this article. So before you spew judgements towards me, know my intentions. You do not know what I am doing, and certainly MANY are brainwashed. I have to build this slowly. There is a deficit of real aware and awake writers around the world. Many have a knowledge of a pea, the rest is all propaganda. Also, I do not have a need to justify my actions to any of you. I am the CAPTAIN of this ship, and I will navigate it to where it needs to go. If you don’t like where we are heading, then by all means, jump in the ocean and swim back to the shores of your limited thinking. You can pretty much tell that TSR is very different, and I will have you know that I am possibly the MOST AWAKE PERSON ON THIS PLANET, this is why the path is long, hard and lonely. I was born in a colonialist bastard child. I KNOW the pain. I want Philippines free myself. There is much destruction and distortion of history and we are doing something about it. I would like to ask all of you to not treat me like an idiot. I KNOW what I am doing and I can bet you and even my own enemies have no clue what goes on in my head. I am a political strategist. Study The Santos Republic as a WHOLE and you will understand the BIG PICTURE I am painting slowly to all of you. Again, the article was NOT a mistake. It is there for a purpose, and that purpose will be revealed when the Time has come. I suggest that you all read between the lines. To you who dare tell me to wake up, it is YOU who needs to wake up because you cannot see what I am really doing. I know you are bitter for what US/NATO has done to all of you suppressed people, I feel and know it, but I am the wrong person to attack. I am on your side. I am using ALL my energy to defend all of you against THEM. I hope and pray that you see this. We are also building an institution here. Just trust that I got your back. Geez people, I am only in my 30s, and I am up against these people who are twice my age and control every known resources on the planet! I have MUCH WORK to do just to clean up all their mess! Cut me some slack! – Lady MJ Santos

  3. MJ Santos

    September 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I have a special message to you and everyone in this article: http://thesantosrepublic.com/?p=130262. You wake up because if you were, you would be more discerning. – Lady MJ Santos

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