On October 14, PIPS held a roundtable discussion on "European Reform Agenda II", during which our latest publication "The beginning of a new ERA!" was presented.
Given the importance that ERA II now has on the path to EU integration and the necessary reforms for Kosovo, it is critical to overcome the obstacles previously experienced, therefore this publication provides an overview of the implementation of ERA 1 and provides recommendations for the implementation of ERA II.
The discussion was opened by Mrs. Leonora Kryeziu from PIPS, and Mrs. Venera Ramaj from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kosovo. Mrs. Ramaj went through a timeline of civil society engagement in monitoring the implementation of ERA through the support of this Embassy, and stressed the importance of these reforms for Kosovo and the setbacks and obstacles witnessed by ERA 1.
Mrs. Delfinë Elshani from PIPS presented a summary of the publication "The beginning of a new ERA!". She explained the key findings from the implementation of ERA 1 as well as offered recommendations for ERA 2, as follows:
- The ‘ticking the box’ logic should be avoided when drafting and adopting laws, regulations and strategies, instead they should aim at making an actual impact on the well-being of citizens and tangible results;
- Strengthening cooperation between all actors is of great importance, all necessary reforms should be undertaken in coordination and cooperation with all relevant actors;
- The government should implement a more proactive approach to accelerate the implementation of reforms and achieve the desired results;
- Maintaining political maturity and sustainable governance is of great importance, so far political instability has negatively affected the sustainability of reforms;
- Institutions that do not implement the necessary actions should be held accountable. If the relevant institutions are not held accountable for their failures, they tend to neglect their responsibilities;
- Civil society organizations should continue to monitor all necessary agreements and reforms and put pressure on the institutions to meet their obligations.
- Institutions should engage with CSOs more seriously and benefit from their expertise and experience.
Mrs. Katerina Lopo from the EU Office in Kosovo underlined that ERA 2 has come as a natural continuation of ERA 1, in which the unfulfilled actions from ERA 1 have been transferred. She praised the work done by the Government of Kosovo in pushing the priority on health. She stressed the need for strong political will for ERA 2 reforms and the need for cross-party consensus to prioritize EU reforms, and consequently called for more cooperation between the government and parliament to implement them.
Mrs. Blerta Deliu Kodra, Kosovo MP, was also part of the panel. In her address, she said that the political level understands the importance of this process and that dedication should be increased in order to make deep and not partial reforms. Further, she said that it should be kept in mind that there is currently a discrepancy between the objectives of the government and the objectives in ERA 2.
Furthermore, Director of the EPIK Institute, Mr. Demush Shasha spoke. He requested that the EU brings a clear incentive for Kosovo institutions to undertake these reforms. He said that the reforms are not being taken seriously because there is no serious incentive to convince the institutions. On the other hand, he stated that the government's approach shows differences between what is said and what is done displaying a lack of seriousness. Mr. Shasha stressed that this process has been characterized by a lack of political leadership and that it is worrying that after the abolition of the Ministry of European Integration there is no address which deals with these reforms on a daily, monthly and weekly basis.
The roundtable ended with an open discussion with representatives from the institutions involved in the reform, civil society representatives, economists and citizens.