Dialogue public institutions - civil society for SAA

Kosovo signed the Stabilization Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union (EU) in the autumn of 2015 while the agreement entered into force in April 2016. This is the first contractual agreement with the EU and constitutes the basis of key reform efforts towards a more democratic, stable and economically successful Kosovo. The SAA has an impact on all areas of governance in Kosovo. In March 2016, the Government of Kosovo approved the National Program for the Implementation of the SAA (NPISAA), which is a list of about 1,600 short-term and mid-term measures to be implemented by 2021. According to the Government’s own assessment, the implementation of the NPISAA is challenging and requires the efforts of all public and non-public institutions.

In addition, in November 2016, the European Commission launched a Kosovo-EU high-level dialogue on key priorities or the European Reform Agenda (ERA). The ERA action plan has received the support of the Assembly and represents a high priority for the current government. The document highlights key priorities in the SAA implementation process. ERA consists of three pillars: 1) Good Governance and Rule of Law, 2) Competition and Investment Climate; and 3) Education and Employment. If implemented effectively, the ERA has the potential to change policy making dynamics in institutions and give the first benefits of the SAA agreement for Kosovo citizens.

The implementation of the SAA represents a comprehensive reform process that Kosovo institutions and society should undertake. The EU reform process would benefit from an involvement of civil society, either through increased demand for good governance, research and analysis, capacity building or better communication. Business associations are just some of the many civil society actors that play a decisive role in implementing the SAA. They can mobilize members and address their concerns to the right institutions. Other CSOs also play an important role in the EU reform process, such as expert groups, advocacy groups, training centers, and so on. In this regard, KCSF is committed to support civil society organizations to contribute to addressing these challenges.

During year 2017, the Ministry of European Integration has drafted the Guidelines for Consultation with CSOs and other interested parties within the EU-Kosovo Stabilization and Association Structure, which is expected to be implemented after its official launch by the Ministry of European Integration. With the beginning of its implementation, there should be more dynamic developments and more structured contribution of CSOs in Stabilization and Association Structures, and CSO involvement in SAA implementation.

Beyond the engagement of civil society in these structures, in order to support partner organizations to engage in the KCSF objective to increase the participation and contribution of non-state actors in the European agenda, KCSF supports the engagement of civil society organizations in the implementation of the short-term priorities of Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and the measures listed in the European Reform Agenda (ERA). While a large part of this support serves to support activities undertaken directly by its programs, KCSF aims to expand the number of involved actors by supporting specific projects of other CSO in the implementation of their programming strategies.

In its commitment to supporting Kosovo’s European Agenda, KCSF believes that through the support of civil society partners will contribute directly to strengthening the role of the civil sector and will use the potential to contribute to the implementation of the SAA. In addition, it aims to mobilize the citizen’s potential and contribute to the European Agenda by utilizing the added value that partner CSOs brings to and benefiting from synergy and complementarity with KCSF’s actions.