Summary: 14 July 2009, Brussels – Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), visited Kosovo on 14 July 2009, as part of a wider trip to the Western Balkans region. The visit provided an opportunity to discuss the latest local developments as well as regional issues and relations with the European Union. Mr Solana met with President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
After the meeting Mr Solana made the following remarks to the press:
“It is a pleasure to be back in Pristina. If I remember correctly I was here about three days after the unilateral declaration of independence. It has been a long time, more than a year, and I have to tell you that I sense that there has been enormous progress in this period of time.
I think a lot has been done in this period and I think this has to be recognized. I hope very much that this will be continued with the help, no doubt about it, of the European Union. Also many other people and many other organizations will continue to help you. But let me insist once again that I feel optimistic about how things have developed.
But to be an optimist today does not mean that you have the right to remain idle. You have the obligation to continue to work in this direction, to maintain the progress while facing the challenges that we all have to face collectively, as part of a world that is going through difficult moments especially with the ongoing economic crisis. But you know that you will always have the support and cooperation of the European Union. Be it through EULEX or be it through economic agencies which are working with the government in trying to help the people here.
In the end, all that we do is for the people, for the people of Kosovo. We are going to continue to help and also see how other institutions can be engaged in the development of Kosovo.
As you know, I am on a visit to the region and I think that everybody who can do so should play a role for the stability of the region. It is a region very close to the European Union and we want the whole region, including Kosovo of course, to get closer and closer to the European Union.
This is our aim, this is our objective and with that spirit we will continue working”.
On a question about the visa liberalisation Mr Solana replied: “the visa liberalisation process started a long time ago, at a time when Kosovo was not a candidate and in the coming days three countries will get it. It is a process that will also include the rest of the region, because it is our wish to go as far as is technically possible. There is a lot of work to be done and we will continue working on that. The one thing that I can say today is that this is going to be a reality and that this is good news for everybody. For those who will have it but also for others as this is a process that will continue."
The EU High Representative also visited the EULEX Headquarters where he met mission personnel and received a briefing by the Head of Mission, Yves de Kermabon, and Senior staff. In an address to the members of the mission and invited guests he made the following remarks:
“It is a great pleasure to be here with you today. You know that part of my life is very closely linked to Pristina. The European Union has deployed here the most important mission of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and that is a real satisfaction.
Many of you know that it was not an easy start. I thank you for what has been done and I thank you for what you are doing now. It is a very impressive mission, a very important mission and a mission that will be remembered for the change that it will help to produce.
So far you have had many challenges. In the future, you will have different challenges, – not easier, some probably more difficult – but I am sure they will be resolved with the same professionalism, with the same passion, with the same determination, that you have shown so far.
I can tell you that what you are doing is really very important for the European Union. It is the most important mission we have and I am very happy to be here today to express the gratitude on behalf of the European Union. Thank you very much and let the mission continue."