Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti has stated that he was pushed by the US administration to change his long-held position against Kosovo’s participation in the Mini-Schengen initiative.
“I was against [the Mini-Schengen] but I was asked by the White House to join this regional initiative. So our position was against it, but we were asked by the White House and we agreed,” Hoti stated in a press conference on Wednesday.
The Mini-Schengen initiative is an idea of Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, strongly supported by Albanian prime minister Edi Rama. It envisages the free movement of people, capital, goods and services between the six non-EU member states in South-East Europe.
Vucic told journalists after the deals signed in Washington that Serbia has the strongest economy and the Mini-Schengen is important for them.
Hoti defended the commitments he made in the pledge signed in the White House.
The prime minister claimed it strengthens Kosovo’s sovereignty and has big economic advantages for the country. He said he is sure the agreements signed in Washington will be fully implemented.
Hoti said he had to agree on suspending requests for new recognitions and membership in international organizations also, otherwise he wouldn’t have the US support.
“No membership in international organizations and no new recognition can be achieved without the support of the United States and key EU countries,” he said.
Hoti stressed that Kosovo has an obligation to implement the Association of Serb Municipalities, and that the way to move forward with it will be decided in Brussels talks.
He estimated that about one billion US dollars will be invested in projects agreed in the pledges signed in Washington.