I think we all agree that the European Reform Agenda and the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), are two very important drivers for reform and progress in Kosovo. These drivers do have a positive impact on good governance and the rule of law, as well as on markets and the economy.
Strong coordination and a consistent push from the top - by the Prime Minister and Minister Hoxha – is a crucial factor to ensure a successful implementation of the Reform Agenda and the SAA, which is a comprehensive – and sometimes complex – task.
The purpose of the Human Capacity Development Facility is to help in this implementation process.
Kosovo needs a civil service that understands the EU system and EU legislation, knows how to coordinate and follow the necessary procedures, knows how to assess the impact on public budgets and transpose the legislation into laws and regulations in Kosovo. The Human Capacity Facility will help you to meet these needs.
For this Facility to have the intended effects, it must be based on documentation of gaps in legislation and gaps in competence. It must also be accompanied by a professional management of personnel resources in the ministries, giving trained staff the incentives to stay in their jobs and recruiting new staff strictly based on the principle of merit.
Let me thank the Luxembourg Embassy and the Luxembourg Development Agency – LUXDEV – for taking the initiative to establish the Facility, in close cooperation with Minister Hoxha and her Ministry. It became quickly clear to me, that this was an excellent initiative, and that Norway would join the Facility.
Norwegian efforts in Kosovo is complementary to EU efforts. We share the same values and objectives. We try to contribute in areas where we can be a value-added. Norway is an associated member of the EU internal market, and have a lot of experience in transposing EU legislations into national laws and regulations.
If we look at the bigger picture, one could say that in a strongly globalized and competitive world, the choice that countries face is between modernization and stagnation. The European Reform Agenda and the SAA is the right path towards modernization.
At the same time, the business sector and authorities in Kosovo must be fully aware that a more integrated and free market, does also mean more competition from companies both inside and outside of Kosovo. To meet increased competition and to be able to use the new opportunities provided by the SAA, Kosovo must grow a strong and competitive business sector.
To conclude, I believe the Human Capacity Development Facility will make a difference for Kosovo, it will provide funds to build necessary competence and capacity to the civil service, and we hope that these are sustainable efforts for the long run.