Kosovo is making great progress in promoting its future as part of the European community. A decision by the European Union to launch a feasibility study for a stabilization and association agreement with Kosovo “represents a step toward European Union membership for Kosovo,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a press conference following a meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in early April. “It shows that leaders in Kosovo and in the EU are committed to strengthening their relationship.”
Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared its independence in 2008 and has been recognized so far by 87 countries, including the United States. It is also a member of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Kosovo is making progress toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration by enacting key domestic reforms.
Its strong commitment to the EU-facilitated Dialogue with Serbia is paying dividends for the citizens of Kosovo. The Dialogue has resulted in a series of practical agreements that will improve lives, such as enhancing cross-border travel and trade, securing recognition of diplomas, and by ensuring that Kosovo represents itself as a sovereign state in regional, intergovernmental fora.
In another sign of Kosovo’s maturation, the International Steering Group, which was set up in 2008 to guide Kosovo's democratic development and promote good governance, has begun preparations to end supervised independence this year.
“Although more work remains, the government [of Kosovo] is enacting the legislation and building the institutions that will promote democratic reform and effective rule of law for all the people of Kosovo,” said Secretary Clinton:
“I am encouraged by the progress that Kosovo has made, not only with respect to European integration, but economically. ... Kosovo has grown five percent this year. That’s a very strong signal of the kind of progress that Kosovo is making, and we want to help fully integrate, particularly the young people of Kosovo, into Europe and the international community.”
“I believe strongly in Kosovo’s independence and territorial integrity and in its aspiration to become a full partner in the international community and a member of the European Union, and eventually, NATO. The United States will continue to support Kosovo and work with the European Union to resolve the outstanding issues that exist between Kosovo and Serbia,” said Secretary Clinton.
“The United States is standing side by side with the people of Kosovo as they chart the course for their country’s future.”