Albanian Prime Minister Blasts EU for Not Granting Visa-Free Regime to Kosovo

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has blasted the European Union for not lifting visa requirements for Kosovo citizens despite the country having met all conditions. 

In a joint press conference with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti on Friday in Tirana, Rama called the lack of a positive decision “a shame for the EU.” He said Kosovo people are the only people in Europe being kept “hostage” by the EU through restriction of free movement.

“It is a shame for the European Union to keep a people hostage; the only people in our continent that is actually being kept hostage and restricted free movement like all other countries, despite having met all requirements a country should meet before getting visa liberalization,” Rama said.

Rama blamed the EU and certain member states governments’ domestic political calculations for the situation. 

“The reason is in Europe, in the EU’s domestic politics, that of different countries, which increasingly tend to decide on us through calculations based on the stability of domestic electoral forces they lead. This is neither a secret nor a shame on its own. What is shameful is the fact that Kosovo citizens cannot move freely today […] as a result of the EU’s refusal.”

Last week, dozens MEPs asked German chancellor Angela Merkel for Schengen visa liberalization for Kosovo.

France and the Netherlands are considered the main countries opposing a visa free regime with Kosovo.