On 16 August 2016, an event was held in Pristina to celebrate the conclusion of the EU twinning project “Improving the Approximation of Laws and Coherence of the Legal Framework”, which was led by the IRZ. The Kosovan Minister of Justice emphasised the importance of the results of the project for Kosovo.

The EU twinning project led on from the successful cooperation between the IRZ and the Kosovan Ministry of Justice, which has been in place since 2009. Over the past two and a half years, the IRZ has been helping the Ministry to strengthen the judicial system in the areas of legal certainty and EU harmonisation of legislation.

Since the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU came into force on 1 April 2016, Kosovo has been contractually bound to implement the entire EU Acquis in its national legislation. This represents an enormous challenge. The Ministry of Justice obviously plays a significant role in this process. The twinning project helped the partners to establish the harmonisation requirements and to develop proposals for the relevant changes to legislation. Training sessions also improved the capacity for legal harmonisation.

The second major challenge for the Kosovan judicial system is legal consolidation. Historical circumstances have led to the existence of standards from various eras in Kosovo. However, it is not always clear which standards are in force. The project supported the Kosovan partners as they took their first steps towards simplifying and consolidating the law. One of the outcomes of the project was the clarification and publication of the four fundamental laws of the justice system.

The IRZ will continue to work with the Kosovan Ministry of Justice in the future and will also continue to support Kosovo in the process of joining the EU.