Led by S&D MEP, Tanja Fajon, the European Parliament today confirmed its will to include Kosovo in a visa free regime with the EU, and called on the member states to finally adopt their position.
Kosovo is the last country in the Western Balkans whose citizens still face lengthy and expensive visa procedures while travelling to a Schengen area. Although the European Commission already last July confirmed that Kosovo had fulfilled all the required conditions, and immediately after the European Parliament gave Kosovo the green light with a strong majority for visas to be abolished, the Council has still not acted.
S&D MEP and European Parliament’s rapporteur for visa liberalisation for Kosovo, Tanja Fajon, said:
“I urge the member states to stop their shameful games and finally give their green light for visa liberalisation to Kosovo. Kosovo has fulfilled all the conditions that were set very high, significantly higher than any other Balkans countries. I reject any attempt by some EU governments trying to impose new conditions. The Council does not need unanimity, it can take its decision with a qualified majority, so I urge the member states to respect the treaties, and act.
“The citizens of Kosovo have been isolated for far too long. This isolation affects people’s daily lives and their cross-border cooperation, cultural, educational and professional ties. Visa liberalisation will primarily enable young people to travel, and those are the ones who have to queue at EU consulates. Politicians, businesspersons, even criminals, will always find ways to travel.
“It’s high time to realise that the best guarantee for European security and stability for the region is the economic and political development of its immediate neighbourhood and the European integration process. This goes for Kosovo, too. The European Union unequivocally committed itself to the European perspective for all the Western Balkans countries. Visa liberalisation is one of the most tangible steps in this process.”