The European Union and the Council of Europe have been providing tailor-made support to Kosovo* towards the advancement of strategic reforms in the areas of human rights and the rule of law and further alignment with relevant European standards.
Thanks to the co-operation under the joint programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye”, significant results have been achieved, paving the way for further activities on the reform path of the authorities. This has been underlined in today’s first meeting of the Beneficiary Steering Committee of the programme.
The programme is enhancing the efficiency and quality of the justice system through the provision of tailored technical assistance and capacity building for the local beneficiaries. In the thematic field of fight against discrimination, it contributes to the further alignment with European standards. When it comes to freedom of expression and media, the programme supports public institutions and civil society organisations by utilising Council of Europe resources and methodologies to foster an environment for exercising these rights.
The meeting with beneficiary institutions and local stakeholders addressed key milestones and challenges in the ongoing third phase of the Horizontal Facility programme.
Representing the Office of the Prime Minister/NIPAC, Director of Development Co-operation Office - Florim Canolli emphasised the close synergies and partnerships of the programme with the public authorities and the added value of the Horizontal Facility programme to promote good governance, rule of law, and democracy, based on Council of Europe standards and recommendations.
Nicola Scaramuzzo on behalf of Co-operation, European Union Office in Kosovo emphasised the EUOK commitment and strategic partnership with Council of Europe in the first Beneficiary Steering Committee under Horizontal Facility III. "Our collaborative efforts, building on past successes, are crucial for sustained progress in Kosovo,' he noted, highlighting the program's focus on human rights, rule of law, and democracy. The Steering Committee serves as a platform for comprehensive reviews and valuable feedback, ensuring effective transfer and sustainability of results beyond funding periods.", said Scaramuzzo.
In his remarks Schnutz Rudolf Dürr, Head of Programming and Resource Mobilisation Department, Directorate of Programme Co-ordination of the Council of Europe reiterated “The Council of Europe remains committed to preserving the values-based co-operation with the authorities, carried out in partnership with the European Union, striving to support reform efforts in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy, and with the ultimate goal of bringing positive change into people’s everyday lives.”
In addition, a pivotal instrument within the programme is the Expertise Co-ordination Mechanism, which is providing valuable legislative expertise and policy advice to domestic institutional actors. This unique instrument in the hands of policymakers in Pristina assesses the alignment of legislative frameworks and policy documents with Council of Europe standards.
The joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye” (Horizontal Facility III) is a co-operation initiative, running from 2023 until 2026. It enables the Beneficiaries to meet their reform agendas in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy and to comply with European standards, which is also a priority for the EU enlargement process. The current, third phase of the programme amounts to €41 million (85% funded by the European Union, 15% by the Council of Europe).
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.