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"Kosovo needs more consensus and a broad platform"

Statement by Mr Per Strand Sjaastad, Ambassador of Norway

Kosovo has made many great achievements since independence 10 years ago. However, expectations among citizens tend to rise faster than progress on the ground. This is not a bad thing – it helps to push reform and keep focus.   

Kosovo has many strong men and women – it also needs strong institutions. Why are some states across the world stuck in bad governance and weak institutions, whereas others manage to build strong public and private institutions? I am confident that Kosovo has the capacity to be among those that succeed.

Connecting to Euro-Atlantic structures, will help to bring Kosovo towards Western standards, normality and opportunity. However, the most important driver for progress – the willingness to reform and change - must come from inside Kosovo itself, from its people and its leadership.   

In the next decade, Kosovo should complete the transition chapter in its history. Kosovo must try to establish a common vision for the future, on how to address the core national issues, and how to mobilize all strands of society to reach its objectives.

History shows that progress will be faster through compromise and building consensus across political parties. Initiatives to bridge differences, coming from government or the opposition, must be encouraged. Strong political confrontation over time may bring stagnation and massive loss of delivery and progress.

Among the crucial issues are relations with Serbia and fighting corruption and organized crime. Addressing these two issues with success will unlock opportunity and progress across sectors.  

Finally, let me thank Balkans Policy Research Group and Director Naim Rashiti for hosting this conference, in close cooperation with Democracy for Development and Kosovo Centre for Security Studies. The conference provides a forum to address what should be the aspirations, objectives and visions of Kosovo for the next decade. The broad participation here today is a good sign of willingness to discuss and try to find some common ground.