The new Prime Minister of Kosovo has called on the European Union to cancel the requirement to obtain a visa before traveling to the Schengen area for citizens of his country, which remains the last country in the Western Balkans not to achieve a visa liberalization agreement with the European Union. .
During his participation in the EU and Western Balkans Summit held at Brdo Castle near Kranj, Slovenia, today on October 6, 2021, Prime Minister Kurti described the postponement of visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens as a “great injustice” by the EU.
It has been more than three years since the European Commission recommended for the second time visa liberalization for Kosovar citizens. It was a great injustice… toward our fellow countrymen who have suffered so much,” said Kurti.
>> Timeline for the long road to EU visa liberalization for Kosovo
Kosovo started the EU visa liberalization process nearly ten years ago. Although on July 18, 2018, the EU Commission confirmed that the country had met all the requirements for visa-free travel with the EU, the process is not yet over.
The main obstacle between Kosovar citizens and visa-free trips to the Schengen area remains the opposition of France and the Netherlands, as the governments of both countries refuse to support the agreement.
Both countries have consistently raised the issue of corruption in Kosovo at the institutional level, as well as their concerns about a possible wave of immigration from the country once visas are liberalized.
In May this year, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, indicated that the country had met all criteria, urging the EU to “make progress on this issue”.
During an informal dinner held to discuss the situation in the Western Balkan countries and their European future, the Commissioner also emphasized that Kosovo has his full support in its bid to obtain visa-free travel to the European Union for its citizens.
During the EU and Western Balkans summit, Prime Minister Kurti also said he hoped the EU would continue to implement its plans to include more countries, calling the bloc “the largest historical peace and prosperity project since World War II”.
In a declaration by the EU Council following the summit, the EU reaffirmed its support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans while welcoming these countries’ commitment to the European perspective, which is in our common strategic interest and remains our common strategy. Option.
The European Union also pledged to further intensify engagement to advance the political, economic and social transformation of the region while recognizing the progress made by all six countries of the World Bank.