European Reform Agenda for Kosovo: Challenges to the Good Plan – a policy report
11 November 2016
– On the first anniversary of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, Kosovo and the EU launch another dialogue, on 11 November 2016, the Eu- ropean Reform Agenda (ERA). The document contains 22 priorities and 130 actions, in the areas of governance, rule of law, economic growth, competi- tiveness, and education and job creation. Opportunities are enormous; if implemented fully, these actions will support SAA implementation, improve governance and the business environment, and consolidate the state. If the EU wants, the reforms will also move Kosovo to the next accession stage, securing the status of candidate country, something on which government officials insist. Yet there are numerous obstacles. The action plan does not correspond with other on-going reform programs, the government work plan or the budget. Another key challenge derives from the divergent start- ing positions of the government and EU. The former seek to have the reward of implementation spelled out at the beginning. The latter, unable to make that promise, insist that it will use Kosovo’s commitment to these actions to advocate in favour of candidate status when the time comes.
The European Reform Agenda is a high-level dialogue between Kosovo and the EU. Formally is called a High Level Dialogue for European Agenda. It is not meant to replace the formal Stabilisation and Association dialogue, the main track between Kosovo and EU. It will, however, target priority areas under the SAA and speed implementation, streamline government priori-ties, channel EU and other international financial institution (IFI) funding for structural reforms, improve governance, and boost Kosovo’s image. Prac-tically, ERA targets the areas in which the Kosovo government needs to make major improvements. Implementation requires commitment, inter-in-stitutional coordination and political consensus. The document needs to be approved by the Government and the Assembly, and will eventually guide the work of the National Council for European Integration.
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