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European Western Balkans
Politics

LIBE Committee of the EP votes in favor of visa liberalization for Kosovo

EP building in Brussels; Photo: European Parliament

BRUSSELS — European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs approved the trilogue agreement on visa liberalisation with Kosovo on 12 January 2023, with 48 votes in favor, 7 against and 3 abstentions. This presents another step in the institutional procedure which would enable Kosovo citizens to travel to Schengen area without visas, with the next one being the vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament. 

Rapporteur of the LIBE Committee, Thijs Reuten, shared the news on Twitter after the voting. 

 

“After the long awaited agreement with EU member states on visa liberalization for Kosovo last December, we will keep up the pace in the European Parliament. Vote in committee this Thursday,” as Reuten announced the vote on Twitter earlier this week. 

Member States agreed in the Council on a draft proposal to grant visa-free travel to the Schengen area to the holders of Kosovo passports, after several years of failure to reach a compromise. France and the Netherlands opposed visa liberalization for Kosovo due to concerns over rule of law and migration, but eventually came to an agreement to support the proposal. 

Representatives of Member States in COREPER II reached a consensus on the matter on 30 November, thereby giving the mandate to the Czech Presidency of the Council to negotiate with the European Parliament. The two institutions agreed on the draft regulation on 14 December, with the next step in procedure being adoption in the Council and the Parliament.

Upon completion of the legislative procedure and operationalization of European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), but in any case no later than 1 January 2024, holders of Kosovo passport will be able to travel to the Schengen area for 90 days in a 180-day-period without needing a visa. 

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