From: Bledar Qalliu
German Foreign Minister Promises Kosovo Support for Visa Liberalisation

“Kosovo has done its job in terms of the visa liberalization process and now it is up to the European Union to do the same,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated during a joint conference with Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti on Thursday.

Kosovo has met all requirements for visa liberalisation since 2018 but remains the only country in Europe whose citizens need visa to enter any of the Schengen area countries. Repeated promises by European leaders have not changed the situation.

The minister is visiting Western Balkan countries together with Manuel Sarrazin, the newly appointed German special envoy for the region. They have concluded visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, and are now in Serbia.

Baerbock promised for Germany to be more present in the region after the latest appointment of Sarrazin and help countries on their path toward EU accession. She stressed the need for trust between Western Balkan countries, pointing at the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo as one prime example necessitating progress.

The minister urged both countries to find a way for Kosovo Serbs to vote in Serbia’s April 3 elections. The government in Kosovo has refused to allow Serbia to hold elections in northern municipalities with a Serbian ethnic majority, arguing the constitution prohibits it.

In a joint press conference with Baerbock, Prime Minister Albin Kurti noted Kosovo’s stable partnership with Germany and the European Union, pointing to his government’s reception of Afghan refugees and sanctions against Russia. Kurti asked for greater support from Germany and the EU to benefit employment policies, justice reform, infrastructure and energy.

Baerbock said Kosovo’s sanctions against Russia have shown clearly that it belongs to the European Union, as does the whole Western Balkans.

Serbia has continuously refused to join the EU sanctions against Russia since 2014, including after the invasion of Ukraine.

In her meeting with the top German diplomat President Vjosa Osmani stressed the need for Kosovo to accelerate its EU and NATO accession process as soon as possible in the light of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.