Reports 2016

Zooming in on Kosovo: an expert angle

31 March 2016


Not so long ago, Kosovo was considered by some as the ‘black hole’ of the Balkans, lagging the farthest behind on the path towards EU membership. But over the past few years, Kosovo’s relationship with the EU has deepened considerably; in December 2015 the European Commission adopted the third and final report on Kosovo’s progress in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap, while in November 2015, Kosovo’s parliament ratified the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). At the same time, the EU-mediated talks between Pristina and Belgrade helped to normalise relations between the two sides. Yet, despite these important strides forward, there are still a few bumps in the road; Kosovars are still excluded from visa-free travel to the EU; some opposition parties are vehemently against the government’s dialogue with Serbia; and illegal migration from Kosovo to the EU, which peaked at the beginning of 2015, showed the growing public frustration with the still dire domestic economic prospects. At this Policy Dialogue, experts Besa Sahini and Leon Malazogu drew on their vast hands-on experience of Kosovo’s politics and reform efforts to discuss 16 years of EU engagement in Kosovo, what lessons could be learned, and how to move forward decisively.