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EU warns Kosovo MPs on Three Bills Ahead of Parliament Vote

eu warns kosovo mps on three bills ahead of parliament vote
eu warns kosovo mps on three bills ahead of parliament vote

The international community has expressed regret over Kosovo’s failure to incorporate recommendations into three crucial draft laws, on Public Officials, the Independent Media Commission, and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, scheduled for a second reading in the Kosovo Assembly.

The EU Office in Kosovo, in a press release on Wednesday, has expressed regret that three draft laws, scheduled for a second reading, have not taken into account the international community’s  concerns, appealing to the Kosovo Assembly to reconsider the proposed amendments once again to ensure that these draft-laws meet western standards.

“Ultimately, fair and just laws which align with European and international standards are essential for the rule of law in democratic societies, as well as the well-being and protection of citizens”, the EU Office in Kosovo wrote.

These three draft laws, on Public Officials, Independent Media Commission, and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, according to the EU, are key to Kosovo’s path towards EU integration and alignment with European standards.

EU Office in Kosovo stated that the draft Law on amending and supplementing the Law on Public Officials ignores extensive EU advice to align with merit principles, including crucial concerns on managerial positions, recruitment, promotion, and performance procedures, risking the civil service’s professionalism and impartiality, especially with the controversial ‘year zero’ provision contradicting a 2023 Constitutional Court ruling.

“It is concerning that the Assembly Committee on Public Administration, Local Governance, Media and Rural Development did not take on board the extensive and consistent advice the EU has offered throughout the drafting process in order to fully align with merit principles, including a separate EU Commission opinion delivered on the Law on Public Officials in force”, the press release read.

“The Assembly Committee has not addressed key concerns regarding this draft law, raised through various EU opinions, especially with regard to the changes the legislation brings to managerial positions and to civil service recruitment, promotion and performance procedures,” it added .

The EU Office also emphasised that the current draft Law on the Independent Media Commission lacks key recommendations from the Council of Europe, especially on powers, financing, member elections, terms of service, and sanction proportionality, necessitating further revisions for clarity and compliance with EU standards.

“Despite the introduction of some substantial changes in the field of media regulation, the current draft requires further revisions to enhance legal clarity, proportionality, and further compliance with EU and Council of Europe standards”, it is further stated in the press release.

The EU expressed further regret on Kosovo’s omission of a follow-up opinion from the Venice Commission on the draft Law amending the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council.

“Despite our continuous advice and support provided to the government and the respective Assembly committees, our comments have not been taken into account, including on increasing the pluralism and independence of the Pre-Selection Commission (provided in the draft Law on Kosovo Prosecutorial Council) in order to ensure alignment with European standards”, the communique emphasised.

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