Support for the European integration process

Project description

Title: Support for the European integration process
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Kosovo
Lead executing agency: Ministry of European Integration (MEI)
Overall term: 2011 to 2020

Context

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Kosovo and the European Union (EU) entered into force in April 2016, putting relations on a comprehensive contractual basis for the first time. The SAA serves as a guide for Kosovo's European integration process by identifying necessary political, economic and legal reforms. This process is reviewed annually by the European Commission. 
To date, the capacity of Kosovo's institutions to harmonise legislation and to adopt and apply EU standards is not yet sufficient to ensure long-term and sustainable progress in the integration process.

Kosovo’s Ministry of European Integration (MEI) has an important role to play here. It must guarantee that the European integration process is given priority at policy level and ensure the full and unreserved participation of all of Kosovo's institutions.

Objective

The Ministry of European Integration coordinates planning and implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) effectively on the basis of the structures provided for in the Agreement.

Approach

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is helping Kosovo to build and strengthen institutional capacity to implement the process of integrating into the EU. This involves providing advice on processes and organisational procedures. Importance is attached to technical expertise, particularly from the countries of south-east Europe. Other partner institutions besides MEI include the relevant parliamentary committees and the Departments for European Integration and Policy Coordination in the sectoral ministries.
The project brief can be subdivided into three main areas as follows:

  • Supporting implementation of structures and instruments for the SAA planning and coordination processes
  • Strengthening the capacity of MEI to implement the key SAA reforms
  • Assisting MEI in implementing parts of the SAA communication strategy with the involvement of civil society.

Gender equality will also be included in the project measures, as this is an important cross-cutting issue in the EU accession process.

Results 

GIZ supported the National Programme for Implementation of the SAA and is also involved in the annual review. An online monitoring and reporting system has also been developed to track progress in implementing the SAA. This is improving the planning of activities, which will lead to a more efficient integration process.

Closer coordination between MEI, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance has led to an improvement in the coherent planning and prioritisation of strategic documents that are central to the integration process. Another important level of coordination is the regular exchange between MEI and parliament in order to ensure support for reforms as part of the European integration process. New laws can therefore be passed more quickly.

The project provides in-service training on legislative alignment and strategic planning for officials in key ministries and in parliamentary administration. To this end, a practical guide on the successive introduction of the EU acquis is available along with comprehensive ‘train the trainer’ programmes. All in-service training courses are run in cooperation with the Kosovo Institute for Public Administration (KIPA) to ensure that the measures are sustainable.

With the support of the project, MEI has also developed guidelines for integrating key players from civil society into the institutional structures of the SAA. Civil society was also involved in planning the SAA communication strategy. Systematic involvement is also promoting public scrutiny. 

Further information