The Council of Europe has been supporting Kosovo* towards the advancement of its reform agenda through co-operation activities since 1999, functioning in full compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. The first Working Group on Co-operation between the Council of Europe and Kosovo* met in Pristina in November 2013 to initiate discussion on collaborative planning and programming, and was followed by five Working Group meetings which took place between 2014 and 2020. The latest meeting of the Working Group was organised on 13 October 2020 in a hybrid format due to COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Following the achievement of tangible results thanks to the actions carried out under the first phase of the European Union/Council of Europe Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey, the second phase of the programme has been ongoing since May 2019. Throughout this second phase, Kosovo* continues to be supported in the fields of strengthening the efficiency and quality of justice, countering discrimination and ensuring inclusiveness, as well as enhancing the freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
In addition, implementation of the European Union/Council of Europe joint Project Against Economic Crime in Kosovo* (PECK III) has recently been initiated building on the results already achieved under the previous phase of the project.
In January 2020, the European Union/Council of Europe joint programme INCLUDE was launched to support Kosovo* in fostering quality education and improving access to education for children from disadvantaged groups.
Co-operation activities are also implemented in Kosovo* in the field of countering violence against women in line with the standards set in the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), as well as in improving the protection of European human rights standards by the Constitutional Court. Both interventions are supported by Norway.
A project on strengthening Kosovo* institutions in the fight against torture, ill-treatment and other degrading treatment (IKOS) was recently launched with a focus on enhancing the capacities of the Academy of Justice and the judiciary to sustainably ensure effective investigations of allegations of torture and ill-treatment related to persons deprived of their liberty. It will also aim at reaching law students to better understand and internalise standards of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to fight against ill-treatment.
A project was recently launched to strengthen Kosovo*’s institutional capacities to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings in line with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The level and quality of the measures taken in this field since 2015 will be assessed to serve as a basis for the development and implementation of the new Strategy against Trafficking in Human Beings for 2020-2025.
In the field of democracy, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is implementing the project Promoting local democracy in Kosovo*. In close co-operation with the Association of Kosovo Municipalities, the project aims to improve local self-government and the quality of local democracy by fostering multilevel dialogue and strengthening the capacities of local authorities on political integrity, public ethics and open government principles. It will also assess the state of implementation of the principles enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
Kosovo* also benefits from two European Union/Council of Europe regional Joint Programmes in South-East Europe, namely Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level, ROMACTED, for which a second phase is under final stage of negotiations, and Targeting crime proceeds on the internet and securing electronic evidence in South East Europe and Turkey, iPROCEEDS 2.
Kosovo* has an active role also in the regional actions implemented under the Horizontal Facility in the fields of addressing radicalisation in prisons, achieving quality and sustainability of justice through the Council of Europe flagship initiative based on CEPEJ methodology “Dashboard – Western Balkans” and human rights education for legal professionals (HELP). Similarly, the following topics are also tackled from a regional perspective: judicial training institutes, legal certainty, economic crime, promotion of diversity and equality and freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
The Council of Europe Office in Pristina holds a key role in the implementation of the abovementioned co-operation activities by facilitating the delivery of support programmes, assisting key institutions in the process of democratic reforms and actively co-ordinating efforts with all relevant local and international actors in the field.
*All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.
Through the implementation of these projects, the co-operation activities in Kosovo* contributed to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably SDG 3, SDG 4 (targets 1, 5 and 7), SDG 5 (targets 1, and 2), SDG 8 (target 7), SDG 10 (targets 2 and 3), SDG 11 (target b) and SDG 16 (targets 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, a and b).
More information: Overview of the Council of Europe Contribution to the UN 2030 Agenda.