Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at Corruption Roundtable, Thursday, May 18, 2017
Thank you for allowing me to speak briefly to you today about corruption. As I have said many times, the fight against corruption is one the most pressing problems facing Kosovo. It impacts economic development, progress towards European Integration and the future of all of Kosovo’s citizens.
I and my colleagues at the U.S. Embassy are committed to supporting Kosovo in its continuing effort to battle corruption. Over the last year we have dedicated an enormous amount of money and expertise towards developing programs and legislation that will improve Kosovo’s ability to address this problem. Unfortunately that work is facing some new challenges. While I respect the democratic process and the recent decision made for new elections, we cannot allow this to be an excuse to halt progress on this issue. Every institution needs to continue its work so that when the government is formed, it can take immediate steps to help keep Kosovo moving forward.
As prosecutors you are a very important component in the fight against corruption and crucial to stopping public officials from abusing their power and authority for personal gain. I understand how hard this is. When you prosecute government figures, you will be subject to a high degree of scrutiny, media attention and possibly political pressure. You must resist the pressure to respond with dedication and professionalism. You may already be aware of this, but the first place that international partners look when measuring Kosovo’s success against corruption is the prosecution of public officials. You can make a real difference in Kosovo’s ability to advance economically, socially and politically by taking this issue extremely seriously.
I am particularly glad that our Department of Justice has brought a speaker today to talk about the challenges we also face in the United States in prosecuting public officials. And yes, we do have public corruption in the United States. As long as you have people, you have a very tiny percentage who are going to be involved corruption, so we treat it very seriously. I’m sure we will hear her tell us some hair-raising stories about some of the things that go on in my country.
She will provide some valuable insights and tools for you that may help you find solutions to some of the frustrations that you may share. As we have for many years, my colleagues and I will continue to support you and your work toward improving the rule of law in Kosovo. I wish you the very best and I look forward to watching Kosovo become a regional leader in this area. Thank you very much.