The Rapporteur for Kosovo in the European Parliament, Viola von Cramon, has said that visa free travel for Kosovo is not and should not be linked to the dialogue with Serbia.
In addition, she stressed that citizens of Kosovo deserve the long overdue visa liberalisation.
“We want to be crystal clear- visa free travel is not and should not be linked to the Dialogue with Serbia, EU has to keep its promise allowing the citizens of Kosovo to travel freely as of January 1, 2024,” von Cramon wrote on her Twitter account.
Her comments came following France’s President Emmanuel Macron’s recent declaration that France might review the commitments it has made on political and economic issues of visas for Kosovo and Serbia if these countries do not behave responsibly.
“France and Germany have made their promises on visa policies and other economic issues, which will be reviewed if both parties do not behave responsibly. We must be very careful in this regard, especially when the stability of the Western Balkans is at risk”, France’s President emphasised.
Macron’s comments have raised concerns that the much sought-after visa liberalisation process for Kosovo’s citizens, who are waiting to travel visa-free to EU countries for more than ten years now, may be at risk.
However, President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, said that any suspension of visa-free travel to the bloc for Kosovo would kill the dialogue with Serbia once and for all. Osmani considered that such measures are against the people.
At the same time, the Dutch MEP, Thjis Reuten, said that when it comes to the entry into force of the future visa-free regime for Kosovo from next year, “we have not received any signal that this process is at risk.”
The European Union adopted visa-free travel for Kosovo in April this year, stressing that holders of Kosovo’s passport would be eligible to travel without visa requirements from January 1,next year at the latest.
Kosovo was the last country in the Western Balkans to not have such an agreement with the EU.
The visa liberalisation process started over ten years ago, however it has still not been finalised in spite of the fact that in 2018, the European Commission estimated that the Balkan country met all the needed requirements.
Kosovo and Serbia aspire to become members of the European Union. However, Brussels made it clear that both Balkan states should solve their dispute through a mediated dialogue in order for this process to be completed.