23.  Stresses the need to implement the minority protection provisions enshrined in the Kosovo Constitution and considers that full implementation of minority rights is fundamentally important for the stability of Kosovo and the region as a whole;

24.  Urges the Kosovo Government to continue to abide by its commitment to promote a spirit of peace, tolerance and intercultural and interreligious dialogue among all the communities in Kosovo, namely the Albanians, Serbs, Roma, Ashkali, Egyptians, Gorani, Turks and Bosnians, to create the right conditions for refugees to return to Kosovo, including through investment in job opportunities, infrastructure and the provision of basic services in relevant areas, and to ensure that minorities can benefit from the measures referred to above;

25.  Expresses concern at the criticism voiced by the UN Secretary-General in his above-mentioned report on UNMIK concerning the revision of the beneficiary selection criteria for return funding proposed by the Kosovo Ministry of Communities and Returns; reminds the Kosovo Government that, in the light of the sharp decline in the number of returns, the scarce funds available should continue to be targeted exclusively at facilitating the return of displaced persons to Kosovo;

26.  Urges the international and local authorities to settle the legal status of the stateless Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians living in Kosovo, including their rights of ownership; calls on the authorities to improve the situation of these communities by guaranteeing equal access to mainstream quality education and, where possible, to education in their mother tongue, by granting access to the labour market and to healthcare, by providing adequate sanitary and housing conditions and by ensuring participation in social and political life;

27.  Expresses grave concern at the acute ill-health of Roma families in the Osterode and Cesmin Lug refugee camps; believes that this is directly linked to the improper siting of those camps, which are located on the highly toxic tailing stands of the Trepça lead mines; welcomes the Commission’s initial representations to the Kosovo Government and urges the Commission to continue to work to secure the relocation, as a matter of urgency, of the families concerned;

28.  Asks the Member States to take a measured, sensitive approach to the issue of the forced repatriation of members of ethnic minorities, above all Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Roma, who have been living in western Europe for many years and to implement at the same time measures to foster the socioeconomic integration of the persons concerned;

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