Remarks by President Charles Michel after his meeting in Pristina with President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu

(Source: Council of the EU and European Council)

Thank you, Madam President. It’s a great pleasure for me and a great honour to meet you again a few days after a short meeting in the margins of the event in Greece.

Our meeting comes at a moment of urgency for Europe. As we speak, Russia continues to brutally attack the people of Ukraine. Since day one, the European Union has acted firmly and with unity.

Just two weeks ago, we imposed a sixth package of sanctions against Russia, banning 90% of Russian oil imports into the EU by the end of the year. And we intend to put pressure on the Kremlin, to severely limit its ability to finance its war.

Madam President, I would like to thank you and all the authorities of Kosovo* for your clear position against the Kremlin’s war, and for your support in implementing EU sanctions. Kosovo has also shown solidarity with Ukraine, providing humanitarian aid and hosting journalists.

I know the war is having an impact on the region and on Kosovo. On the economy, on food prices and on energy prices. It’s very important that Kosovo’s upcoming energy strategy leads toward a clean energy transition, promoting energy efficiency and investing in renewables. We intend to continue to support you, and other regional partners, to address these important and difficult challenges.

We also had the opportunity to discuss our EU-Kosovo relationship. And you are right, I would like to confirm that the Western Balkans are a strategic priority for the EU. We are fully committed to the European perspective of the partners. That’s why we welcome your focus on implementing the EU-related reforms and on tackling key issues such as rule of law, justice reforms, and fighting corruption.

We also discussed visa liberalisation. I listened carefully to the arguments. I heard your views on that topic and you know that the European Union’s member states will have to decide on that important question.

Kosovo’s strong engagement will also be important in making progress on the Belgrade-Priština Dialogue. Both parties need to make rapid progress in implementing past agreements. Discussions on the comprehensive normalisation agreement at leaders’ level need to restart. It’s time to look forward and making progress in the dialogue is essential for advancing on the EU path and for the entire region.

I would also like to encourage Kosovo to participate in regional forums that bring real benefits for its people and businesses, and to work constructively with the whole region by implementing commitments made under the Common Regional Market and the Green Agenda. This would bring your region and the EU closer together. It will also help to implement the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. This plan provides funding of up to €30 billion to help the region close the development gap with the EU and to deal with today’s geo-strategic challenges.

Finally, next week, in a few days, we will have the pleasure of hosting a meeting in Brussels with the 27 EU leaders and the Western Balkan leaders. I am certain it will be an important opportunity to show our unity of purpose and to express very clear and firm political commitments for the future. It will also be an opportunity to discuss our enhanced engagement and to reaffirm our commitment to European values.

Madam President, thank you again for this meeting and this opportunity to exchange views with you in order to prepare together our common European future.

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