Kosovo, EU End Talks on Stabilization and Association Deal
The European Union and Kosovo have concluded a deal deepening ties between Brussels and Pristina, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele reported on Tuesday.
Fuele, who was in Pristina for talks with Kosovo leaders, said the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SA) would ensure potential investors that Kosovo was a "safe place for business", according to Germany's DPA agency.
He expressed his hope that the country could implement the necessary reforms and improve its dialogue with Serbia to an extent which will allow it to sign the SAA in 2015.
The agreement, if it comes into force, could lead to Kosovo's integration into Europe's free trade area.
It however requires serious reforms on Kosovo's behalf, most of them in the fields of competitiveness, public procurement, intellectual and industrial property, consumer protection and working conditions.
The SAA would be among the furthest step of Kosovo's relations with the EU, as it could not become a member before being recognized by states such as Romania, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia.
Pristina is nonetheless aspiring to become a EU country and uses the euro as its currency. During his visit Fuele met President Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.
The EU's Enlargement Commissioner also praised Kosovo's authorities for the extension of EULEX (Europe's rule-of-law mission to the country) by two years and the decision to set up a tribunal dealing with war crime allegations.