NATO PA President in Pristina urges further progress on Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans

03 July 2018

Pristina/Brussels, 3 July 2018 - “The European project will not be complete without the full integration of the Western Balkans, and that includes Kosovo”, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Paolo Alli (Italy) said in meetings with senior Kosovo political leaders on 29 June.

He stressed that, following the historic Skopje-Athens deal on the name issue, pressure has increased on leaders in Belgrade and Pristina to find a durable political solution.

Mr Alli welcomed a noticeable trend within the Balkans away from narrow nationalism and towards normalisation. He argued that the trend towards “the Europeanisation of the Balkans”  is a source of hope not only for the region, but also for the entire Euro-Atlantic community, at a time when Europe itself runs the risk of “Balkanisation” as a result of renewed  protectionism, populism and internal divisions.

In meetings with the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and members of the Assembly of Kosovo, President Alli noted the progress made by Pristina on its European path and encouraged Kosovo authorities to continue implementing reforms and strengthening the rule of law in order to achieve the activation of the visa liberalization regime with the EU as soon as possible. He also called on Pristina to exercise prudence and assess the dangers of unilateral approaches when advancing their plans to transform the Kosovo Security Force into armed forces.

Kosovo leaders highlighted the prevalence of consistently pro-NATO and pro-EU attitudes within the Kosovo society. During the meetings, the need to continue building an inclusive multi-ethnic society in Kosovo based on the rule of law was repeatedly emphasised.

President Alli reassured his interlocutors in Kosovo that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and he personally will continue to make the case for the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, including at the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels.

Mr Alli also visited the KFOR headquarters in Pristina and met with Commander Major General Salvatore Cuoci. Mr Alli reiterated the Assembly’s commitment to build up parliamentary support for the KFOR mission as long as it is necessary, stressing that KFOR continues to be seen as an essential actor for regional stability by all stakeholders.

The Assembly of Kosovo participates in the NATO PA as a parliamentary observer delegation.

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