Dear Minister Bek,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have come to Prague, the city at the heart of Europe, to reaffirm the Republic of Kosova’s unyielding commitment to the fundamental values of the European Union — to freedom, democracy, human rights, equality, and rule of law — by submitting the application of Republic of Kosova for membership in that Union.
This is a historic day for the people of Kosova, and a great day for democracy in Europe.
The letter I carry contains the hopes and dreams of our citizens, who have worked so hard to reach this day.
It speaks to our aspirations to join the EU — with which we share common values and ideals — as a historical process out of a political project of peace and prosperity.
It answers to a vision of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace. It adds to a belief in a Europe that has a bright, cooperative, and progressive future.
Next year we will mark the twentieth anniversary of the Thessaloniki Summit, where the EU made a promise to all Western Balkan countries. Next year we will celebrate 30 years since a Community officially became a Union, a European Union, with the Maastricht Treaty entering into force. Next year, in a European sense, starts today for my country, with submitting to Your Excellency our application for joining the Union.
We understand that our way forward is based on our own merits.
We want no back door nor fast track. We want to build the EU in our country with our people — a home grown EU, yet, not self-made: we need the EU’s help in Kosova, a country that strives, in turn, to contribute to the EU.
We don’t see progress from a transactional point of view, but rather from a transformative one, where we advance our democracy, grow our economy, and reform our society. The European Union is the destination we aim for and it is the destiny we embrace.
Meanwhile, the EU represents the hard work one is supposed to enjoy. From the moment they submitted their respective applications to the moment of their accession, different time spans were needed for different countries: from Finland and Sweden, which took three years, to Malta and Cyprus, which took 14 years — an average of 9 years. It is realistic for the Republic of Kosova to aim for this average length of time. Our Stabilization Association Agreement has already been implemented by around 50%.
Thank you, Minister Bek, for your warm welcome, and for all the support you have shown us during your presidency.
Under the Czech Republic’s leadership of the EU, our people have moved closer to the European Union; and the bond between the Czech Republic and the Republic of Kosova have grown even stronger.
Let me conclude by saying that President Vaclav Havel’s “Europe as a task” is our Europe, is our task.
Thank you very much.
Last modified: December 15, 2022