“For the purpose of meeting responsibilities that stem from participating in the Stabilization-Association Process, Kosovo authorities needed to establish relevant structures within Kosovo institutions to work on these matters. Structures established for European integration comprise of the National Council for European Integration, Ministry of European Integration, European Integration offices in Ministries and Municipalities, Ministry of Local Government Administration, Parliamentary Committee for European Integration as well as a number of offices and departments within independent agencies and institutions.
National Council for European Integration
The National Council for European Integration was established in 2012 with a purpose of directing the country toward the path of complex reforms which are required to approach the EU. Kosovo European Integration Council is the highest political coordinating entity in the field of European integration. Established in March 2012, this Council is led by the President of Kosovo and consists of the highest Government, Assembly, parliamentary parties, judicial, Municipality Associations, civil society, union and academic representatives. The Council has a mandate to provide a clear and consistent path toward EU integration, regardless of the possible changes in party policies within the Government and the Assembly. The Council convenes twice a year to provide strategic guidelines regarding the European integration process. More specifically, its mandate is to determine the strategic direction of the Republic of Kosovo’s European integration process; to coordinate and harmonize the positions of institutions, political parties and civil society in the process of European integration with a goal to ensure the necessary political and social support on the implementation of required reforms; to follow on the progress of the Republic of Kosovo toward European Union integration and to issue recommendations for the process of European integration, also including negotiations with the European Commission and EU member states. Until now this Council has met 5 times and during the last meeting held on October 5th, 2013 it approved the National Strategy for European Integration.
Ministry of European Integration
In order to better fulfill the responsibilities arising from the participation in the SAP, Kosovo authorities had to establish certain relevant structures within institutions, to work on those issues. In 2003 Kosovo had established an office within the Office of the Prime Minister which would deal with obligations that at the time stemmed from the SAP process. As a result of increasing responsibilities and engagements, Kosovar authorities established the Agency for European Integration (AEI) in 2006 as the successor of the Office for European Integration Processes (OEIP). In order to strengthen the support for the political process of European Integration, the Government of Kosovo decided to establish the Ministry for European Integration (MEI) for the purpose of managing, coordinating and monitoring the Kosovar agenda for European integration.
Departments or offices for European Integration within Ministries
To coordinate the process of European Integration, there are Departments or Offices for European Integration throughout the line Ministries, which operate as internal structures within ministries and as a bridge between the line ministries and MEI. Initially these offices had only a single employee each while now in some Ministries, these offices have risen to Department levels led by their leader and assisted by officers for EU issues and officers for the IPA program.
Ministry of Local Government Administration – liaison and officers within municipalities
Ministry of Local Government Administration through its mandate is the main coordinator for working with municipalities, in which case it ensures that reporting and monitoring on the European agenda extends throughout the territory of Kosovo. To ensure coordination and implementation of the agenda for European integration, to ensure the execution of documents and obligations undertaken within the European Partnership Action Plan (EPAP) as well as the Action Plan for the execution of the SAA feasibility study. Municipal officers are also responsible for the management of repatriation and reintegration strategy and the implementation of the reintegration fund.
Parliamentary Committee for European Integration
The Parliamentary Committee for European Integration monitors the process of harmonization of the Kosovo legal system with the legal system of the European Union (EU), reviews draft-laws and amendments proposed by another Assembly Committee to draft-laws from the aspect of approximation and compliance with EU legislation. Also cooperates and ensures coordination with the EU institutions towards integration of Kosovo into the European Union, including here cooperation with the European Parliament. Cooperates and exchanges practices with EU Member State Parliaments as well as with Parliaments from candidate countries regarding integration in the European Union. This Committee cooperates with European institutions and representations in Kosovo and also oversees EU support management in Kosovo by the Government, including the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), technical assistance and information exchange instrument (TAIEX), Kosovo’s participation in community programs and other support by the EU. In Kosovo, as in any other country in the region, this Committee is led by the opposition.”
KOSOVAR CIVIL SOCIETY FOUNDATION,