BELGRADE – Kosovo’s foreign affairs minister has reaffirmed his country’s ambitions to join both NATO and the European Union, in an interview with EurActiv Spain.

Speaking to Spanish journalists, Enver Hoxhaj outlined his country’s future plans for better relations with the EU and the Vatican, as well as ambitious plans to join NATO and the EU. However, he did say that Kosovo has “excellent relations with Turkey, as well as the Saudis and the other Gulf States. They supported us during some difficult times.”

He added that his country “appreciates Spain’s support at a European level; it means a lot that Madrid has not blocked Kosovo in this respect and I hope that they will be more open in the future to working with an independent Kosovo”.

On relations with the EU, Hoxhaj insisted that “in historical and geographical terms, Kosovo is a European country, and being a part of the EU means returning to Europe; we have historically felt a part of the European identity”.

The foreign minister explained that his country “is a small state and part of an uncertain world; to be a member of the EU is important for Kosovo’s security and stability, but also for economic growth”.

Hoxhaj confirmed that Kosovo still has ambitions to join NATO, but admitted that “first, we have to carry out reform at home. We will take the first step next year and then we will see how things progress gradually.”

He also confirmed that Kosovo is interested in establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican, insisting that the Holy See is “much more important to us than it is for other Balkan countries, as the Vatican has been on the side of the Kosovars throughout history”.