Atifete Jahjaga

Inaugural Address - April 7, 2011

Atifete Jahjaga
April 07, 2011— Pristina, Kosovo
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Honorable president of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable deputies,
Honorable Prime Minister,
Honorable ministers of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honorable ambassadors,
Honorable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo,

My election as president of the Republic of Kosovo expresses the consensual position and agreement among parliamentary political parties for overcoming the political crisis and finding sustainable solutions for the future of the country by making the necessary changes to the Constitution of Kosovo and the electoral system as well as by setting a clear agenda of institutional actions for the next three years.

Until yesterday, I had no thought of assuming a senior post of political leadership. But, like many of my fellow citizens, I was ready to serve when called by my country. I have devoted my life to the citizens of this country in building one of its most important democratic institutions. For the past 11 years, I served my country and its citizens in the Kosovo Police, in which I entered as a rookie and leave today as Deputy Director.

My career has mirrored the changes Kosovo has undergone in the last decade. I experienced firsthand the challenges that led to Kosovo’s independence, and am proud to have contributed to creating one of independent Kosovo’s most respected institutions. It is an honor to have developed and led a strong and capable force that has done much to embody the values of Kosovo, a democratic and multi-ethnic republic.

This will be the most challenging position yet in my career – but I go into it willingly knowing the potential that exists for great change and progress for our country. I want to be a part of that progress, as a representative of a new generation of Kosovo leaders ready to build on the successes of those who came before us and lead this country and its people forward in the 21st century. I have faith in Kosovo, and I have faith in this government, and I have faith in the citizens of this young country to fulfill all the expectations set before her.

As president of the country, I will be a guarantor of the constitutionality and legality, a unifying factor, politically impartial, a defender and representative of the interests of Kosovo, a sovereign and independent state, and a representative of all citizens regardless of nation, religion, race or gender.

During my tenure with the Kosovo police, I upheld the values that make Kosovo unique and protected the rights of every individual regardless of their backgrounds, and now as President, this responsibility and duty is even more essential as we solidify what was begun when our country declared independence. As President I will strive every day to ensure that Kosovo exemplifies the best values of its Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Honorable deputies,

Kosovo passed a difficult but glorious road in the declaration of independence and building a state for which many generations of Kosovo’s best sons and daughters sacrificed by always keeping alive the idea of freedom, the idea of democracy, the idea of dignity and equality among peoples.

The ideal of all citizens of Kosovo is membership in the European Union and the permanent friendship with the United States of America. In this road, we are working continuously to meet all the required standards, especially in respecting human rights and freedoms, in the rule of law, in attaining high objectives in education, in health, especially in economic development, in order to ensure a good, peaceful and prosperous life for citizens.

I believe and I will engage that we all together realize our aims. I believe and I know that we will make our dreams a reality in a near future. I base this belief on the strength of the people, the mind and will of the Kosovo’s young men and women.

Honorable citizens of Kosovo,

Together with our international friends, we have embarked on a process of dialogue with Serbia. This is an entirely normal process among countries that have had disagreements and conflict in the past. In this process of dialogue, we, both countries, were compelled to share the past, but we will also be compelled to share the future. Since we cannot change the past, we will build the future by learning from the mistakes of the past. The dialogue will have success. After its completion, the region will return to peace and stability. Kosovo and Serbia will have a clear road to membership in the EU by helping and not impeding each other. The citizens of both countries will return to normal life, cooperation and development which will provide them with a peaceful and better future.

All solutions from the dialogue between the parties, to the benefit of all, will be European and will be based on the best practices and experiences of the European Union.

Kosovo, a free and independent state, is a factor of peace and stability in the region and wider and conducts good and neighborly relations with all countries. Kosovo will have an active role in foreign policy by becoming a member in initiatives and regional and world organizations, increasing the number of recognitions, establishing diplomatic relations and reaching bilateral and multilateral agreements, and creating internal and external circumstances that would allow Kosovo to become a member of the UN as soon as possible. With our wise and responsible policy we will prove to ourselves and the world that there is no reason for any state not to accept Kosovo’s independence as an irreversible reality, as a factor of peace and stability.

The agreement among the political entities testifies about the responsibility of the mandate given to all of us by the people, testifies about the commitment that the interests of the country are above all.

Honorable deputies,

This Assembly has just approved the budget which will be in the function of development. Thus, by increasing the salaries and increasing the wellbeing we at the same time instigate structural changes in economy by paying attention to increase in production and bringing goods to the market, by enabling us to live off our work and to have the taxes in the function of the production and the advancement of our education and health systems and social policies. Kosovo is continuing with capital investments this year too, it is continuing the process of privatization by investing the money acquired in this way in developmental policies and at the same time defending the interests of workers but also of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo.

Reforms in education, health, science, changes in the structure of economy and its adaption to global trends are possible with a better management of the budget, right fiscal policies and the incitement of the developmental branches of the economy by increasing quality and adhering to the parameters of developed European countries.

Honorable citizens of Kosovo,

Being president of Kosovo at this time is an honor but also a great responsibility. I will perform this duty with the cooperation and close assistance of all of you. Let us use this years of transition to make comprehensive reforms in order to adapt our legislation with the European Union, to obtain the guidelines for visa liberalization and a clear mechanism for the process of membership in the EU. Kosovo, because of what her people experienced, because of the more than ten-year presence of the international civilian mission and the international military mission, must not remain behind other countries in the processes of Euro-Atlantic integrations. This would also be a failure of the international engagement in Kosovo and for Kosovo. Kosovo, as the entire Western Balkans, has its place in the European Union. With this an age-old journey of the efforts of the peoples of this region to European civilization would come to an end.

In our journey, we are proud of the glory, we are proud of the example of Skenderbeg, the personality of Mother Theresa, the sublime act of Adem Jashari, the activity of Ibrahim Rugova. All these personalities, as many more others, over centuries and in our day put the interests of the country and nation above their own and the light of their deeds shined until our days and will shine in the future by determining clearly our road, the commitment and idea to be honest, dignified, free and equal.

Honorable deputies of the Republic of Kosovo,

In my work and duty I will be led by the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Kosovo. I will be transparent and cooperative in all issues. I will be a factor and symbol of unity. I will represent with dignity and responsibility the Republic of Kosovo and the interest of all citizens.

Thank you.

Speech from http://www.president-ksgov.net/?page=2,6,1686#.WK9ld_J5UUc.