After yesterday’s legislative proposal from the European Commission for visa liberalisation for Kosovo, Ulrike Lunacek, EP Vice President in charge of Western Balkans and EP’s rapporteur for Kosovo, stated:
“The European Commission’s long awaited green light for visa liberalisation with Kosovo brings joy to Kosovo citizens and all of us who have been supporting visa free travel for this youngest European state for so many years. It is a very good new momentum for the EU integration process. This long overdue step will lead to the end of the unacceptable isolation of Kosovo citizens since the freedom to travel has been enjoyed by the citizens of all other countries in the region since the end of 2010.
This roadmap for visa liberalisation is also an important demand in my recent Kosovo report which was adopted in February of this year by a large majority of the European Parliament. It is high time for Kosovo citizens to be able to enjoy the freedom to visit friends and family in the EU for three months, like all other citizens of the region. The feeling of being „locked-in“ has to be over as soon as possible. The two remaining benchmarks can be fulfilled by Kosovo soon, now it is up for us in the European Parliament and for the Council to follow suit and make the Commission’s green light an open road for Kosovars.
Visa liberalisation is not a right, it is merit based. The government in Pristina has done a lot in fulfilling the requested benchmarks. It is now up to the Ministers of Interior of the EU Member States and the European Parliament to stick to promises and agree. Therefore I call on the Kosovo government and political parties to now invest in a common effort with the Assembly of Kosovo, with civil society and prominent Kosovars to deliver a positive image of Kosovo in the EU Member States to convince the 28 ministers of interior in the Council. I am optimistic and the EP will strongly support Kosovo.
Yesterday’s good news from UEFA – Kosovo has become the 55th member of European football’s governing body – was another important step to end the isolation of Kosovo athletes, artists and citizens. It is also a boost for the full international recognition of Kosovo statehood and its full inclusion in all UN bodies.“