"Cooperation without recognition" was the topic of the conference held on June 15 in Bratislava, Slovakia, where representatives of Kosovo's civil society organizations and business community were invited.
This visit was supported by KSTalksEU project, namely the British Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo and the British Embassy, in cooperation with the Kosovar Center for Security Studies (KCSS) and Slovak Association for Foreign Policy (SAFP).
The aim of the Kosovo delegation, which consisted of representatives of KCSS, Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), KIPRED Chamber of Commerce, Investment Promotion Agency and IPKO, has been oriented towards creating new opportunities of cooperation between the Slovak and Kosovo institutions in areas which do not necessarily have political implications between the two countries.
A panel consisting of Juraj Marusiak (Slovak Academy of Sciences), Vladimir Bartovic (Institute for European Policy in Prague), Ivo Samson (Slovak Association for Foreign Policy), Pëllumb Kallaba (KCSS) and Engjellushe Morina, discussed the role of Slovakia within Kosovo's integration process into the European Union and the prospects of Western Balkans within the EU. This event was followed by a number of accredited embassies in Bratislava.
Kosovo delegation in general has stressed the need for constructive approach of Slovakia within the context of Kosovo's approximation to the EU, support for membership in international institutions and organizations, creating new programs for cooperation with civil society, universities and media and human exchange in terms of improving the image of Kosovo in Slovakia. Also, the new momentum created after the parliamentary elections and the composition of the new Slovak government is considered as a promising opportunity in aligning the two countries mutually. Despite the non-recognition, influence and interaction of non-political actors in changing perceptions and raising awareness of Slovak society was seen as a necessary step in the future. Besides this panel, representatives from business community have presented investment opportunities in Kosovo and economic cooperation in meeting with credible institutions, such as the Slovak Agency for Investment and Trade (SARIO) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia. Although they have met for the first time, both parties have agreed to continue the cooperation between two countries in trade and economy in a more intensified approach. All participating organizations from Kosovo and Slovak civil society and business agreed that despite the lack of recognition of independence by Slovakia, this cooperation should be concluded with a partnership as the only way towards a gradual process which will eventually result with the decision for recognition.
This activity was covered by the Slovak TA3 television by inviting in live broadcasting program the KCSS co-organizer and panelist, Pëllumb Kallaba. The interview focused on the need for constructive role of Slovakia within the EU, the challenges due to the lack of establishing the bilateral relations, possibilities of trade and economic cooperation, academic and cultural exchange, as well as discussions on internal developments in Kosovo. For KCSS, within one year this has been the third event organized with Slovak civil society.