I would like to greet all the representatives of the Government of Montenegro as well as our dear guests, representatives of the international community, ambassadors, distinguished friends… Ladies and gentlemen, I am extremely happy to be today in Montenegro, two days after the inauguration of your new President, my distinguished friend Milo Djukanovic, I had an opportunity to congratulate him directly, but I also want to congratulate him from here, standing on this podium and to wish him all the best in his new mandate. I am really glad to have a bilateral meeting with him to talk about relations between Kosovo and Montenegro in order to improve our relations. I hope that we will work on this together, so that all of us in the region could be able to make a step forward in the EU integration. I would like also to congratulate on the Day of the independence of Montenegro to all citizens of Montenegro, May 21 is also the day of the independence of Montenegrins in Kosovo, so I would like to congratulate them as well. We work on the amendments to Constitution so that Montenegrin community, that is the community Montenegrins in Kosovo would be recognized in a proper way through a reserved places for them in the Parliament. Montenegro has been the inspiration for all the region in terms of the Euro-Atlantic integration. You have never stopped working on the Euro-Atlantic integration of your country. We, in Kosovo, are very happy that you became a NATO member last year. The NATO memberships of Montenegro and Albania guarantee the stability and security as well as the democracy in the all Western Balkan region. But let me go back to the major subject of this panel and to discuss some trends in Europe. We can conclude that in Europe, there are financial, migrant and Brexit issues. It is very important that whenever we discuss conflict situations, we should never stop at the present moment, what is actually done by populist movements in Europe. So, this is one of the crises in Europe, but it is not a problem, the problem is the fact that many thing cannot be forecast, however, some trends are developed on the principle of the domino effect, which is the case with Brexit. However, we see that the EU remains strong, that the relationships within the EU are maintained and strengthened, so Mr. Macron’s move was one of the best indicators of this. The EU supported by NATO, in the sense that NATO ensures security, is something that has been the greatest peace mission so far. Therefore, there is only an insignificant number of the groups which do not see Europe as the peace movement. Those are people who forgot about memories from the war. Unfortunately, the development in the Balkans reminded of this. Unfortunately, particularly, we from Kosovo and the Balkans have very recent memories about those developments so , the integration could be a move towards the reconciliation and overcoming the past as well as something that is achieved gradually, step by step. Because the EU is not only a piece project, it is a supranational movement which is actually a movement that we should aspire to in order to overcome these problems and not to call in question something that can never be questioned. Tendencies and strengthening of the populist radical movements should not be excuse of the EU members for not opening the perspective for the Balkan countries membership. More attention should be given to the economic crisis, migrations and enlargement policies. We should work on this with the greatest level of responsibility. In three cases,it would imply the strengthening through the democratic reforms, strengthening the stability and finances and microfinancial stability, at the same time, to strengthen the domestic security, to prevent illegal migrations and to share together the burden of the reception of refugees. In order to succeed in the aspirations for the EU membership we have to implement the economic, legislative and political reforms. The Euro-skepticism within the EU EU and the enlargement fatigue should not serve as buzzwords for the politicians from the region and as excuse for not working on the reforms which would help improving living standards and life quality of our citizens. If we gave way to populism there would have not been a dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and we would have never worked on some binding agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, which will lead to the reconciliation. Thus, we must not get into the trap of populist sentiments. If it were the case, we would have not experience the border demarcation and that decision would have never been adopted by the Parliament of Kosovo. That’s why today, I also want to show gratitude to the representatives of the state authority of Montenegro for their understanding and patience for our institutions in Kosovo when we were working on the border demarcation, since they were waiting for it very patiently and it was a very wise approach, that’s why Montenegro and Kosovo have excellent relations today without some outstanding unresolved issues. We also share some common strategic goals and visions. Now, the leaders of the EU have an opportunity to focus on the Balkans and not to conduct policies that will provide them short-term benefits, because what is good for the region it is good for the EU as well. . A few days ago, we had a summit in Sophia, it gathered the EU members and the representatives of the Western Balkans. Kosovo, for the first time participated as a full-fledged sovereign state. It was very important as it was an affirmative step for the country. All the presidents of the EU members except Spain, which was represented by the ambassador, attended the summit and showed a support for the Western Balkans and their European perspective. They were also clear in requiring for this countries to be modernized and we heard very clearly that all the leaders of the EU member states as well as representatives of the European institutions were unanimous in their request for the Western Balkan countries to resolve all the conflicts and open issues between each other, because nobody will accept them in the EU if they bring with them also their problems. That is what makes us more responsible and aware of the fact that the EU membership is not only a gift but also a responsibility. Indeed, it is encouraging that after the border demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro, we see that Macedonia and Greece have also made a progress. we definitely support this, and it is a step towards Macedonia’s membership to NATO . In that context, , Kosovo itself works on the application of the 95 criteria in order to obtain visa liberalization and we hope that by the end of the year our citizens will be able to move freely across the EU as all the European citizens. What is important is the normalization of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia, which reflects positively on the whole region. In Sofia, in the premises of the EU, at the initiative of the high representative of the EU, Frederica Mogerini, I met with the President Vucic Vucic and we concluded together that now is the moment to start a new phase of dialogue. As long as that dialogue is conducted with the support of the EU, of all the EU member states, it will make this consensus legally recognized, valid. Despite of the fact that this consensus is difficult for both, Serbia and Kosovo, I believe and hope that it implies a beginning of the dialogue, the dialogue in which no party may have 100% of its requests met, but that in any case, we will together overcome challenges on our path to the EU membership. I believe that we will achieve it more easily if we have a clear a European vision of Kosovo, Serbia and the whole Western Balkan. I believe that at the and of that process Kosovo will also get a chair in the UN and that we will work on mutual recognition with Serbia and that all the countries which do not recognize Kosovo will follow the path that will lead towards their final recognition of Kosovo. Comparing Kosovo and Catalonia, we appreciate the integrity of Spain, Spain is not Serbia and Catalonia is not Kosovo, we appreciate traditions that stem from Spain and we are very thankful to Spain for recognizing Kosovo, for having its troops in Kosovo, for their presence in that territory and we are also happy that they accepted Ahtisari’s document which has actually started the process process of gaining the independence. We hope that one day all of us will will become the members of the same family that is of the EU and NATO. So, Kosovo hopes that it will happen soon. Thank you very much. Hello, my name is Esat Asllani, I am from Ohrid I am wondering why Europe was silent about Macedonia, about the dictatorship regime that we had in place in form of government. Why didn’t Europe step in earlier so that we set our people free, why Europe has hesitated for so long Why was Europe silent about that in 2004 is my question. How come that we kept the country in the process because of the name issue? I understand that we have kept the country still in the process because it does not fulfill the criteria as Mr. Sikorski and ambassador Dion said. All criteria should be met so that the country may become a full member of the EU, but as Mr. Sikorski has said, the regulation is such that if someone vetoes, than that veto is definitive. Unfortunately, I also regret it as a Slovenian politician, that it occurred in 2004 and it gave wings to the populists that we talk about today, it gave wings so that the country, which was ready for the accession to the Euro-Atlantic integration as much as Slovenia and Croatia and other countries of former Yugoslavia, was not accepted, was abandoned, forgotten thus provoked so that the other forces grabbed it and took away. That’s why I am constantly talking that the integration should be faster in Balkan, so that what happened in Macedonia would not happen in other countries. And thanks God, it didn’t happen because the countries of former Soviet bloc were fully integrated in 2004 with the aim to somehow prevent what is happening now in Ukraine, for example.

Danny Hutson

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