Kosovo, a potential candidate country for European Council membership, has suspended visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens until further notice.
The decision was approved in a plenary session, during which Prime Minister Albin Kurti indicated that his country, with a population of 1.8 million, was ready to accommodate up to 5,000 Ukrainian refugees, TheSchengen.com reports.
“In order to show solidarity with Ukrainian citizens who are facing Russian aggression, we are proposing to suspend the visa regime for Ukrainian citizens,” Prime Minister Kurti said.
Moreover, other members of the Kosovo parliament praised the decision, and Donica Gervala emphasized that the new changes would help Ukrainian citizens flee their country or use the road to cross to another place.
In addition, MEP, Viola von Kramon, praised the decision, saying that Kosovo’s foreign policies are once again in line with the European Union, proving that the country is pro-European.
“I am happy to attend the session of the Kosovo Council (KuvendiRks) on the adoption of the resolution condemning Putin’s war in Ukraine and clearly agreeing Kosovo with the West. The Member of Parliament noted that this is an important signal not only for the European Union but also for the rest of the Western Balkans.
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The southeastern European country exposed itself to aggression from the neighboring country, Serbia, for its pursuit of independence in 1999, which was followed by a one-year war. During this war, more than 13,000 people died, the majority of whom were Albanians and about 600,000 of them were displaced from their homeland.
The country has been recognized by the European Union as a possible candidate for accession since 2018 when it declared independence. Last week, von Cramon revealed that Kosovo had fulfilled key requirements to be granted membership in the Council of the European Union.
“Kosovo has fulfilled all the main requirements to become a member of the Council of Europe, and since one of the main opponents of this membership (Russia) has been banned, I believe we can find a majority for this type of application,” Viola von Kramon wrote in a statement earlier this week.
Previously, Prime Minister Kurti called on the EU to abolish visa requirements for the Schengen area of Kosovar, the only Western Balkan country that has not reached a visa agreement with the EU.
The main obstacle between Kosovar citizens and visa-free trips to the Schengen area remains the opposition of France and the Netherlands, as both countries’ governments refuse to support the agreement.