Western Balkans

Kosovo’s path to Europe

, by Armend Muja

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] [italiano]

Kosovo's path to Europe

Faced with the challenge of status uncertainty and confronted with a dual crisis of economic decline and political instability, Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions, although recognizing the values of the Criteria of Copenhagen, do not have the sufficient capacities for fostering the processes.

For creating the right institutional environment for economic development and sustained economic growth and meeting the principles set out in the Summit of Thessaloniki in 2003, Kosovo needs to consolidate its governing capacities.

In other words, a key determinant for democratic prosperity and economic development is the ability of Government to provide Good Governance.

After the implementation of basic democratic values as organizing fair elections, proportional representation etc, citizens of Kosovo should be aware of some other traits of these basic democratic principles, as Government responsiveness, efficiency, accountability and promotion of sustainable economic development. I find these values of crucial importance for ensuring the overall well-being of the population.

In order to make Good Governance effective in Kosovo, attention should not be given to state institutions alone but also to other than state institutions. The development of social sectors, increased public participation, as society based on the rule of law and good governance are objectives in a poverty-reduction approach and main elements for stable economic, social, and political development.

Towards a democratic civil society in Kosovo

Civil society is seen as a possible basis and solution for further development in Kosovo. On this basis, attention should be turned to public realm, where the government and society interacts and where actors must have access to and prospects for influence. The public realm in Kosovo isn’t properly structured and therefore it gives opportunity for alternative forms of rule; parochialization, neopatrimonialism and informal institutions.

The present approach used by donors, aiding state institutions and the civil society, is necessary, but it might not be sufficient in addressing shortcomings on the governance level.

Much work in Kosovo in establishing an operational governing authority across the wide range of public services has been accomplished, but on the other hand, as more powers are transferred to Kosovan Provisional Government from UNMIK, corruption problems may intensify. In this respect, there is a need to educate citizens on their rights and government responsibilities and to promote their active participation in keeping institutions accountable and prevent further abuses.

Civil society organizations, the media and the business community have to play an important role in these initiatives. Media and business sector should put more efforts to direct negative trends through effective actions against corruption, insecurity and lack of professionalism and become proactive partners in anti-mismanagement campaigns.

A European perspective for Kosovo?

The European Union has not left Kosovo alone when offering European Partnerships to the countries of the Western Balkans. By so doing, the EU has kept open the European perspective for Kosovo which is crucial in extending the European fundamental principles of freedom, security and justice and in channeling the region towards sustainable economic development.

However, as the EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said, the doze of euroscepticism and wobbling on the region’s European perspective would incite radicalism which would eventually retort to the bitter actions. Kosovo is formulating the long-term strategy in steering its EU-compatible reforms.

Such an approach is offered by the “Stabilisation and Association Process” (SAP), the cornerstone of the European Union’s policy towards the Western Balkans. The SAP offers a progressive and multi-faceted partnership, with the aim of promoting stability and cooperation within the region while also facilitating closer association with the European Union. This provides a unique chance to the people of Kosovo to materialize their wish to create a better society and future for the next generations.

There were never more economic and political ties among countries in the Western Balkans, and strengthening of the pre-accession instruments would invigorate the peace and stability and lead the region to where it belongs - European family.

Kosovo, however, is not only geographically a part of Europe, but also its political and economic future is closely linked to that of the European Union. The journey for Kosovo is therefore not only towards Europe, but also towards the European institutions.


Kosovo’s government building, from the Free images gallery on wikipedia.


Your comments

  • On 4 September 2007 at 17:03, by Branislav Radeljic Replying to: Kosovo’s path to Europe

    Whatever the future of Kosovo will be, the only possibility to avoid new violent confrontations between Serbs and Albanians is to approach both sides with a clear framework for the European Union membership. It has become clear that the international community is not capable of resolving the problem in the province. The EU may be a competent player to keep peace on the continent (the EU optimistically announced at the Thessaloniki summit in June 2003 that the Western Balkans would definitely be offered membership into the EU at some unspecified point in the future). If talking about independence for the province, it is still only the EU that can facilitate that process and bring Serbs and Albanians closer. This means that Serbian territory will be forever lost and Kosovo Serbs will have to content themselves with a compromise solution of some kind, not the one the Serbian political elite optimistically expects. Moreover, no formal status will work if the inhabitants continue to hate and see no development opportunities. If we ignore human needs for fear reduction, deep reconciliation and economic recovery, independent Kosovo will become another failed state. Branislav Radeljic

  • On 16 October 2007 at 15:20, by ? Replying to: Kosovo’s path to Europe

    Excellent observation!

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