EU: Opposition in Kosovo is blocking nation's integration

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2015 9:57 AM
EU: Opposition in Kosovo is blocking nation's integration

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — European Union Commissioner Johannes Hahn has warned Kosovo opposition members that blocking Parliament will hamper the country's further integration into the 28-nation bloc.

Kosovo last week signed a stabilization and association agreement with the EU, considered a milestone for its economic growth.

"Our plea is always that the political debate should take place in the parliament by all the elected members," Hahn said at a news conference with Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa in Pristina Friday.

During the past two months, the Kosovo opposition has disrupted Parliament using tear gas, whistles and eggs to demand the government renounce deals with Serbia that give more powers to Serb-dominated areas of Kosovo, and with Montenegro on border demarcation.

Hahn said a blocked parliament could negatively affect the country's integration progress.

"The speed of moving toward the EU is usually determined by the country itself," he said.

Kosovo's opposition, however, said their actions were "defending and facilitating" Kosovo's path toward European integration.

"Europe will not accept a dysfunctional and undeveloped state which, due to the agreements dividing it ethnically, will be a permanent source of conflicts," said a statement from the Self-Determination Movement Party.

Hahn said that Brussels will provide Kosovo with about 650 million euros ($706 million) until 2020 to boost the rule of law, governance and public administration, as well as economic development and competitiveness.

Although it has warned Parliament against holding other sessions, the opposition let Hahn speak, allowed a vote Monday and last week let the Austrian president speak.

"I hope that the Assembly is not only available for foreign guests," Hahn said.

In what seemed to be a sign of the opposition's determination to continue their protest, two supporters egged Justice Minister Hajredin Kuci on a street in Pristina.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move not recognized by Serbia.

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Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, contributed to this report.