Lunacek: Opposition violence harms the image and could affect visa liberalization

Ulrike Lunacek

BRUSSELS – After today’s first reading of the European Parliament’s 2015 Report on Kosovo in the foreign affairs committee Ulrike Lunacek, Greens Vice-President and standing rapporteur of the European Parliament for Kosovo, stated:

„As the presentation of the European Commission’s 2015 Enlargement Strategy and Country Reports some weeks ago has been considerably overshadowed by the narrow rejection of Kosovo’s bid for UNESCO membership, today’s first reading of the EP report on Kosovo, authored by me as Kosovo Rapporteur, was held under the impression of progress of Kosovo towards the European Union by the ratification of the SAA and by the upcoming report by the European Commission on Kosovo’s progress in complying with the benchmarks for visa liberalisation next week – which myself and all MEP’s expressed their hope that the Commission will give green light to the Council for progressing with the visa liberalisation process.

The presentation of my report today is, however, also overshadowed by the ongoing sequences of violence in the Kosovo Assembly. Therefore I have urged the opposition to give up violence, because – among other things – this violence harms the image of Kosovo abroad and could affect the process of visa liberalization.

And I also urged Kosovo authorities to refrain from excessive arrests as happened on flag day, Nov. 28th. Dialogue and not escalation of conflict is the way out of the difficult situation, f.ex. via all parties in Kosovo accepting the constructive Osmani/Deda proposal by two MPs.

In addition my report is demanding the continuation of the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo as well as the quick implementation of agreed commitments. The rejection of Kosovo’s UNESCO bid underlines the lack of adherence of Serbia to the principle of good neighbourly relations when it comes to Kosovo’s bid for participation in international organizations.

My report also urges Kosovo’s government to do more in the fight against high level corruption and organized crime.

Also this year, my report is urging the remaining five EU member states to finally accept the existence of the state and recognize Kosovo without delay. The positive impact of the EU on Kosovo is repeatedly weakened by the Union’s member states disagreement in its foreign policy.