1. EXTRACTS FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPORTS ON KOSOVO (2005 – 2007) (PDF) download >>>
2. ANALYSIS BASED ON THE EXTRACTS FROM the EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPORTS ON KOSOVO (2005 – 2007)
In 2005, European Commission states that corruption in Kosovo is widespread at all levels, even there are allegations of corruption regarding the Government.
Next year, it is underlines, again, that corruption in Kosovo is widespread at all levels and that little progress is made in tackling corruption.
In its Report (2007), the Commission stresses, again, that corruption is still widespread and remains a major problem – due to a lack of clear political will to fight corruption and due to insufficient legislative and implementing measures, underlining that corruption undermines a proper functioning of the institutions in Kosovo.
Capacities to Fight Corruption and anticorruption policies
In 2005, European Commission greets promulgation of the law on the suppression of corruption and setting up of a special prosecutor’s office for handling cases of corruption. Furthermore, it is emphasized that putting in place a Kosovo anti-corruption agency, strategy and an Action Plan for the implementation of the Anti-Corruption strategy is a matter of priority. In conclusion, the Commission points out further efforts are needed to combat corruption, fraud and organized crime.
Following year, the approval of the anti-corruption action plan and the establishment of the anti-corruption council are welcomed. However, European Commission underlines that progress in implementation of the law on the suppression of corruption is slow and that there are doubts over the political neutrality of the members of the anti-corruption council.
In 2007, the Commission notes that the Kosovo Anti-corruption Agency became operational, underlining that it had, repeatedly, to defend its independence against political pressure. Furthermore, the Commission underlines again that the composition of the government anti-corruption Council does not sufficiently guarantee its impartiality, stressing that the Council is not very active in the definition and implementation of anticorruption policies – which is considerably behind schedule. In conclusion, the Commission states that very few anticorruption cases have been finally decided by the courts.
International Conventions and obligations
In 2005, the Commission states that Kosovo is not a party to the main international conventions in the field of anti-corruption. However, it is noted that some of these provisions to some extent are interpreted in the domestic legislation such as the provisional criminal code of Kosovo and the law on the suppression of corruption. The Commission concludes that more effort is required to launch a more cohesive and forceful action against corruption.
European Commission, in its Progress Report (2006), states, again, that Kosovo is not party to the main international conventions in the field of anti-corruption, underlining that the provisions of these legal instruments are, to some extent, integrated into the domestic legislation such as the provisional criminal code of Kosovo and the law on the suppression of corruption.
European Commission does not mention in its Progress Report (2007) if Kosovo has become a party to the main international conventions in the field of anti-corruption.
In 2005, the Commission states that, since corruption is widespread, the judicial institutions need to be substantially improved to be capable of fully enforcing the law, underlining that this requires an independent and efficient judicial system.
European Commission, in its Progress report (2006), emphasizes that the constitutional framework defines the competence of the Assembly to appoint judges and prosecutors, thus potentially allowing for political considerations to interfere in the selection process, underlining that the draft laws on courts and prosecutors suffer the same shortcomings. In conclusion, the Commission states that the establishment of an objective and merit-based recruitment procedure is a priority to set the basis of a sound independent judiciary.
Following year, it is stressed that there are cases of corruption in judiciary, and that there are concerns regarding the balance between independence and accountability of members of the Kosovo Judicial Council.
Public Administration and Business Environment
European Commission, in its Progress Report (2005), states that Kosovo’s administrative capacity remains extremely inefficient, subjected to political interference and that although, a legal basis for the civil service and for public finance management is in place, there is a lack of transparency and accountability. In conclusion, the Commission emphasizes that the fight against financial crime must be stepped up and that local capacities developed in view of any future transfer of powers to local authorities.
In 2006, regarding public administration, European Commission greets establishing of two institutions, an independent oversight board and a senior public appointments committee, however, emphasizing that they are not yet functioning effectively. In conclusion, the Commission states that corruption and uncertainty over property rights continue to impede investment and economic activity.
Following year, it is pointed out, again, that civil servants are still vulnerable to political interference, corrupt practices and nepotism. Furthermore, the Commission repeats that corruption and uncertainty over property rights continue to impede investment and economic activity, underlining the deficient rule of law is hampering business development. In addition, it is underlined that the disregard of the law on construction, and widespread ignorance of building permits and urban planning, including by a number of high-profile politicians and civil servants, seriously puts at risk the confidence of Kosovo citizens in the rule of law.
In 2005, European Commission states that frequent irregularities in public tendering procedures are reported, and that the Public Procurement Law encountered serious difficulties in its application – which further complicated proper procurement. The Commission stresses that the public procurement regulatory commission is facing a conflict of interest between its regulatory and judicial review functions, while public procurement agency is not functioning.
Following year, the Commission repeats that the Public Procurement Law encountered serious difficulties in its application, and furthermore, it stresses that the auditor general noted widespread noncompliance with procurement laws and regulations. Therefore, the Law was subject to a lengthy revision process and the revised draft provides for a separation between regulatory and judicial. Overall, according to the Commission’s opinion this remains a problematic area, no progress can be reported at this stage and preparations for alignment with the acquis in this field are lagging behind.
In 2007, European Commission greets promulgation of a law amending the 2004 public procurement law, however, it is emphasized that the passage of the law amending the public procurement law through the Kosovo Assembly suffered significant delays, and the final version is not in line with European standards. Moreover, the Commission notes that the Procurement Review Body which is responsible for managing complaints is a department under the Public Procurement Regulatory Commission and is therefore not an independent body, underlining that there are concerns about the method of appointing the members of the boards of all these administrations which leads to their politicization.
In 2005, the Commission greets Kosovo’s progress in putting in place the basic framework for the fight against money laundering, however, pointing out that further alignment with international standards remains necessary. Furthermore, it is noted that the effectiveness of anti-money laundering defences are seriously hampered by corruption, organized crime, the large informal economy and the high level of cash transactions. Therefore, the Commission concludes that anti – money laundering legislation needs to be effectively implemented and the high level of money laundering has to be curbed.
European Commission, in 2006, notes as a positive step in fighting money-laundering, revision of the anti-money laundering regulations and the revision of onsite examination procedures of the Central Banking Authority as well as refinement of its implementing rules regarding financial institutions. However, the Commission concludes that limited progress is made in this area.
In 2007, European Commission states that the wide range of actors dealing with money laundering and the lack of a clear distribution of competencies are hindering investigations and prosecution of money laundering offences, underlining that the investigations for money laundering involving high-level politicians are not always finalised. In conclusion, the Commission stresses, again, that limited progress can be reported in combating money laundering, emphasizing that effort in this respect need to be stepped up and backed with political determination.
Conflict of Interests
In 2007, European Commission highlights that politicians and senior civil servants started declaring their assets to the Kosovo Anti-corruption Agency, however, it is highlighted that the current law on asset declarations does not allow the Kosovo Anti-corruption Agency to publish these declarations or to make inquiries about the origin of the wealth declared.
Free Access to Information
In 2005, the Commission underlines that the Law on Access to Information has to be implemented.
European Commission, in its Progress Report 2007, states that the law on access to official documents is not fully implemented, however, it is pointed out that it is implemented satisfactorily at local level.
Customs and Taxation
In 2005, the Commission states that the implementation of the Customs Code is satisfactory, pointing out that more efforts should be made in order to tackle the important problem of fraud in the area of excise duties. In conclusion, European Commission stresses that the fight against corruption needs to be pursued and reinforced in order to ensure the non-discriminatory application of tax laws.
In its Progress Report (2006), the Commission points out that the new customs code is expected to become operational, highlighting that Customs legislation is broadly in line with the acquis and good progress is achieved in several areas related to administrative capacity in the customs area, among which is fight against corruption. Finally, it is pointed out that further progress is needed.
Following year, European Commission notes that there is a special telephone line for all citizens, businesses and other relevant institutions to use in order to report possible cases of corruption, smuggling or other information in relation to abuses in customs.
Competition and State aid
The Commission states, in 2005, that the Law on Competition defines competition policy for Kosovo and takes a first step towards the development of a sound market economy in Kosovo by prohibiting acts that restrict, suppress or distort competition. However, European Commission concludes that Kosovo should pay increased attention to applying competition principles in its economic regulations and decisions.
In 2006, the Commission states that little progress can be reported in the area of competition and state aid, pointing out that the Kosovo Competition Council is in the process of being established.
Following year, European Commission points out that the Competition Commission is not yet operational, underlining that the assembly is examining candidates for the Competition Commission – underlining that this method of appointing could lead to its politicisation. Furthermore, European Commission states that a law on State Aid is not adopted, concluding that there is little progress in the area of competition policy.