From: Exit Staff
EU Ambassadors Agree on Kosovo Visa Liberalisation, Parliament Next

EU member state ambassadors agreed on Wednesday to greenlight the European Council Presidency talks with Parliament on Kosovo’s visa liberalisation with a completion date of no later than 1 January 2024.

Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans that does not enjoy visa-free travel in the EU despite having long met the conditions laid down by the Commission.

“Today, we have taken an important step towards visa-free travel for Kosovo, and we now hope to reach an agreement with the European Parliament swiftly to make this promise a reality,” said Jan Lipavsky, the Czech minister of foreign affairs.

He added that this was made possible by Kosovo‚Äôs efforts to strengthen its border controls, migration management and security, and “we trust that this good cooperation will only grow stronger in the future.”

Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after the 1998-1999 Kosovo-Serbia war, has faced many roadblocks when it comes to Europe. Five EU countries, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Slovakia, do not recognise it, mainly due to their own territorial issues.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti confirmed that Kosovo would apply for EU membership as of December this year.

The agreement was drafted by the Czech Republic, which has the current leadership of the EU, and specifies that liberalisation should be tied to the operation of the EITAS system.

The system, which currently needs to be operational, allows the digital verification of identity documents and the issuance of electronic visas before deciding whether someone should be allowed entry into the Schengen Area.

It foresees visa liberalisation no later than 1 January 2024.