Kosovo and European Union held 4th Stabilisation and Association Agreement Sub-committee on Justice, Freedom and Security
Officials from Kosovo and the European Union convened a digital meeting on 10 and 11 June 2020 to discuss developments over the past year in the areas of Justice, Freedom and Security. The discussion was held in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which entered into force in April 2016. During the two-day meeting, officials exchanged views on various areas related to rule of law, fundamental rights and home affairs. In all areas, the European Union and Kosovo agreed on the importance of implementing the priorities included in the European Reform Agenda and the recommendations from the Commission’s 2019 Kosovo Report.
Regarding fundamental rights and rights of minorities, the Ombudsperson outlined the general situation in Kosovo, and representatives discussed the overall implementation of human rights and rights of minorities, gender equality, freedom of expression and property rights. The situation of minority communities was also discussed, including the implementation of the law on the use of languages and the integration of Roma and Ashkali communities.
In the area of home affairs, views were exchanged on the fight against terrorism, countering violent extremism and radicalisation as well as on migration, asylum and border management. Both sides agreed full implementation of all strategies in these areas is crucial. The Commission underlined the authorities’ commitment on the arrangement between Kosovo and the EU for the implementation of the Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans.
Regarding the judiciary, the parties discussed the Functional Review of the Rule of Law Sector and work on the overall sector strategy in this area. The further roll-out of the electronic case management system and the centralised criminal record registry was raised. The EU also stressed the need for the Assembly to appoint remaining members of the Kosovo Judicial Council and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council and for the authorities to fully implement the Law on Mediation and the Law on disciplinary liability of judges and prosecutors.
As regards the fight against corruption and organised crime, a number of legislative developments were discussed. Both sides agreed that a full implementation of all new rule of law-related legislation will be crucial. The EU called on Kosovo authorities to adopt the revised Criminal Procedure Code as well as further anti-corruption related legislation. Both sides also discussed the issues of police and international police cooperation. The parties also discussed the need to strengthen efforts and capacities to tackle high-level corruption and organised crime. Especially the confiscation of criminal assets was raised as key to making progress in this area.
- The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is the framework for the EU and the Kosovo administration to regularly discuss technical and policy issues in relation to the EU-related reforms. The SAA bodies include the Stabilisation and Association Council, assisted by the Stabilisation and Association Committee, as well as SAA Sub-Committees, which cover a wide range of the EU acquis. The meetings of the SAA bodies provide direct input into the European Commission's annual reports.
- Each Sub-Committee meeting monitors and accompanies Kosovo's delivery on reforms and identifies how the EU can assist in this process.
- There are seven areas covered through sectorial meetings of sub-committees, on Justice, Freedom and Security; Innovation, Information Society, Social Policy, Education and Culture; Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation; Internal Market, Competition, Consumer and Health Protection; Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Food Safety; Transport, Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Regional Development; Economic and Financial Issues, Statistics.
- Two other areas covered through the meetings of special groups are the reform of the public administration and normalisation.
- SA Committee and Sub-Committee meetings are co-chaired by the European Commission and Kosovo. Each meeting results in jointly agreed follow-up actions to be taken by the Kosovo authorities.
The time between the meetings allows for the implementation of the recommendations and agreed follow-up actions.