European Western Balkans

Kosovo visa liberalisation: 42 MEPs send letters to Macron and Rutte, ask for a positive decision

BRUSSELS – Forty-two Members of the European Parliament signed letters to French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urging them to support Kosovo visa liberalisation by the end of the year.

The letter was shared on Twitter by MEP Andrey Kovatchev (EPP) and co-signed by multiple Members from his group, as well as Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe and the Greens.

“We, Members of the European Parliament, are calling on you to ensure that the long-standing issue of visa liberalisation for the Republic of Kosovo will finally be resolved. Kosovo is the only country from the Western Balkans, whose citizens still cannot travel around the European Union without a visa. This issue has not been resolved despite the fact that Kosovo has fulfilled all the comprehensive criteria set out by the EC”, the letter reads.

The MEPs reminded that it has now been two years since the Commission confirmed that Kosovo has met the last two outstanding visa liberalisation requirements in July 2018.

“For two long years, the Council has not come to a positive decision to grant visa-free travel to citizens of Kosovo, despite the met obligations”, they stressed.

The EU is trying to position itself as a fair broker in the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue. However, this would not be possible if we continue to treat the citizens of the two sides differently, MEPs noted.

“Visa liberalisation for Kosovo’s citizens has been a long awaited achievement on the country’s path to European integration. Delivering promises has an impact on how the EU is perceived in our neighbours in the Western Balkans. The more we delay the positive decision to the matter, the faster we lose our credibility in the country and the region as a whole”, they wrote.

They concluded that it would be harder to demand reforms and structural changes in the region if the EU cannot ensure more rights and freedoms for the people of the Western Balkans.

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