MEPs urge German chancellor visa liberalization for Kosovo

 In a joint letter, 32 members of the European Parliament asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to put the issue of visa liberalization for Kosovo on the agenda.

Germany takes over the presidency of the European Union on Wednesday.

In the letter signed by the rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, the deputies said that for two years Kosovo has met all the criteria set by the European Union for visa liberalization.

"Currently, Kosovo is one of the few European countries whose citizens cannot travel freely to the Schengen area without visas. However, this no longer depends on the citizens of Kosovo. The process of securing visa liberalization is supposed to be based on objective criteria , which, as announced by the European Commission, were met in July 2018, exactly two years ago, and since then the country has awaited the final decision of the Council on visa liberalization," the letter reads.

Deputies express hope that Germany's historic ties and commitment to the Western Balkans could be used to resolve the issue. They dismiss claims that Kosovo cannot benefit from the number of unfounded claims for housing and problems with organized crime.

"Kosovo has met the standards. Has done its homework, now it's our turn not to break our promise. We are losing our credibility when a country is doing what we ask for, but they do not benefit from our claims. How can we demand any other reform from neighboring countries, when they cannot be sure that they can benefit from their work?” The letter reads.

The letter was welcomed by US Ambassador Richard Grenell, President Donald Trump's special envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia talks.

"Finally. This is welcome news even if it is aimed at only a few businesses. The focus of the United States on economic normalization has motivated Europeans to take action," Ambassador Grenell wrote, among other things.

Kosovo citizens are the only ones in Southeast Europe who cannot travel without visas to the Schengen area.

The first proposal for visa liberalization was submitted by the European Commission in May 2016, but the process was blocked due to the non-ratification of the agreement on the demarcation of the border between Kosovo and Montenegro.

After almost three years of debates and clashes in the Kosovo parliament, but also outside it, the agreement was ratified in March 2018.

In September of that year, the European Parliament voted in favor of liberalization, but the European Council did not agree to meet that goal.
MEPs urge German chancellor visa liberalization for Kosovo MEPs urge German chancellor visa liberalization for Kosovo Tuesday, June 30, 2020 Rating: 5
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