Kosovo, European Integration and the SAA: An Analysis of citizens’ perceptions

November 3, 2017

The Republic of Kosovo, since its independence, has been on a slow but steady path to European Integration. The European Union (EU), by far the leading international political and economic actor in Kosovo, has been directly involved in the stabilisation, monitoring, strengthening, and state-building phases over the past decade. Since the Thessaloniki Summit of 2003, Kosovo and other neighbouring Western Balkan countries have been given a European perspective, beginning their long journey towards European Integration. One of the fundamental steps was taken in 2015 with the signing of the Stabilisation Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Kosovo, marking the entry into force of the first agreement between Pristina and Brussels involving contractual obligations. Nevertheless, Kosovo’s path to European integration has been everything but uncomplicated. It is arguable that Kosovo’s path towards EU Integration has been challenged by sizeable external factors such as the non-recognition by five EU Member States, a massive economic recession, which was immediately followed by an unpreceded socio-political crisis that developed through the EU. Kosovo’s inability to significantly improve its judicial, political, and economic sectors, added to the fact that EU membership expansion lost its momentum and relevance in Brussels, drove Kosovo to a situation of significant impasse. This report provides a comparative analysis of various surveys, from 2010 to 2016, which assessed citizens’ perception towards Kosovo’s European Integration and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. Furthermore, the study aims to report any changes of public perception over the last years and identify any possible trend that has recently developed. In addition, the panelists focused on the importance of implementing the key reforms necessary for Kosovo’s path towards EU integration.

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