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NATO Parliamentarians’ Seminar in Prishtina Puts Kosovo’s Euro-Atlantic Integration under Magnifying Glass

For three days, Prishtina became the host of the 102nd Rose-Roth seminar of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which discussed various topics, from the challenges of the Western Balkans for Euro-Atlantic integration to the role of young people in building sustainable societies.

From October 8 to 10, the Rose-Roth Seminar gathered around 100 participants in Prishtina, the main purpose of which is to facilitate the dialogue among the legislators of NATO and partner countries on issues of regional security. 

The President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, said on Saturday that the non-liberalization of visas for Kosovars is the greatest injustice in the history of the European Union. 

According to her, Kosovo is at a very good moment to get the much-awaited visa liberalization, but according to her, “we should be carefully optimistic”.

“We have been waiting for more than 4 and a half years, now we are finally in a much better moment. We are cautiously optimistic because there have been times in the past when we were told things were done but they were not done, ” she said to the seminar participants.

On the other side, Alexander Avles Aalmo, deputy political adviser in KFOR assessed that the security situation in Kosovo is calm but fragile. According to him, the non-resolution of the license plate issue between Kosovo and Serbia within the dialogue in Brussels is “a source of instability in Kosovo”.

“Problems with vehicle license plates and, during the summer, problems with ID cards are some issues that must be resolved in dialogue, but they are problems that affect free movement. We are also concerned about the license plates, this has provoked an aggressive reaction from the local community, we are working to mitigate it,” said Aalmo.

In his statement at the seminar, Prime Minister Albin Kurti discussed the state of affairs of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. 

“From August 18, we entered a new phase, because the first topic was the general framework. Mutual recognition is not at the end of the process but at the center of the agreement, this made me optimistic for the months ahead and for reaching a legally binding agreement,” said Kurti.

PM Kurti said that it is time for NATO countries to contribute to both cohesion and expansion, as Kosovo has a clear goal and is working towards membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.

The President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Gerald E. Connolly added at the Seminar that the disputes between Kosovo and Serbia are preventing the region from integrating. 

Connolly estimated that commitment towards Euro-Atlantic integration is still needed.

“For the Western Balkans, the path to democracy is like the path to Euro-Atlantic integration, that requires commitment,” said Connolly.

Donika Gërvalla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has said that Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the EU is good not only for Kosovo but also for the West.

“I am not saying that the EU should accept us into its bosom tomorrow, but from the geopolitical point of view it is important that the EU does not give up because it leaves the door open for Serbia, Russia and others to enter the democratic space,” she emphasized.

The Rose-Roth program of co-operation with the parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was initiated in 1990 by the then President of the Assembly Congressman Charlie Rose together with Senator Bill Roth.

The original goal of the program was to assist partner countries in Central and Eastern Europe through their challenging transition process to democracy after the fall of the Berlin wall, which involved the implementation of difficult political and economic reforms.

The seminar was organized in cooperation with the Assembly of Kosovo, under the leadership of the head of the Delegation of the Assembly of Kosovo to the NATO AP, MP Driton Hyseni, as well as with the support of the Swiss Government and the Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance ( DCAF), together with the Commission for Economy and Security.

Last year the Rose -Roth seminar was held in Belgrade, Serbia.

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