27 January 2016
Public Program | Discussion on “8 Years after Independence – Kosovo between Isolation and EU Integration?”
On January 27, 2016 the Aspen Institute Germany in cooperation with the Ministry of European Integration of the Republic of Kosovo had the pleasure of hosting H.E. Bekim Çollaku, Minister for European Integration of the Republic of Kosovo, for a discussion with Dr. Ernst Reichel, Ambassador, Special Envoy for South Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the EFTA States in the German Federal Foreign Office and Gunther Krichbaum, Member of the German Bundestag and Chairman of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union. The focus of discussions was Kosovo’s progress over the past years, in particular with regard to its European integration efforts. One of the key issues addressed was the issue of visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens. While it was pointed out that the current refugee crisis in Europe was not a particularly favorable background for Kosovo’s ambitions, Minister Çollaku questioned whether it was reason enough to disregard Kosovo’s progress in fulfilling the technical criteria for liberalization, thereby isolating 1.8 million Kosovars in Europe. While Minister Çollaku warned that without substantial progress the support for EU integration in the region would be difficult to uphold, both German speakers underlined the clear perspective of EU membership for the countries in the region.