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EU: Kosovo’s Visa Liberalisation Process Should Be Treated as a Matter of Urgency

Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process that is still pending in the Council of the European Union should be treated as a matter of urgency, the recent report of the European Commission has concluded.

The report has stressed that Kosovo has fulfilled all visa liberalisation criteria, as it was previously highlighted by the Commission in July 2018, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The recent report published by the EU Commission has also recalled that the early parliamentary elections in Kosovo in February 2021 resulted in the formation of the new government. Therefore, the Commission has urged authorities in Kosovo to continue their work in order to finalise this process, among other issues that the country’s authorities should consider.

“Full and effective implementation of the reform action plan over the coming period will be essential,” the report published by the Commission has emphasised.

The report also brought into the spotlight the current situation between Kosovo and Serbia and called for a comprehensive, legally binding normalisation agreement between both territories that would further help both countries to advance on their respective EU paths.

Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process started on February 19, 2012. However, the process has not been finalised yet.

In 2018, it was estimated that Kosovo met the two last visa liberalisation requirements. Furthermore, in July the same year, the European Commission confirmed that all criteria regarding the agreement on visa-free travel with the EU were met.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently visited the region, and EU-Western Balkan Summit held on October 6 at Brdo pri Kranju in Slovenia while addressing an important signal that the Western Balkan’s future lies within the EU.

“All six Western Balkans partners have committed to establishing a Common Regional Market, building on EU rules and standards, and should focus on overcoming the difficulties encountered in order to bring the opportunities of this initiative to the citizens and businesses of the region and to maximise the benefits of the investments under the Economic and Investment Plan,” the statement reads.

During the same Summit, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti urged the EU authorities to remove the requirement to hold a visa before travelling to Schengen Zone for Kosovo citizens, which remains the last country in Western Balkan the citizens of which need a visa in order to travel to the borderless area.

In addition, Kurti said that the delay regarding its country’s visa liberalisation process was a great injustice by the European Union.

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