Kosovo will have to adopt laws on co-operation in border management and a law on combating people trafficking, while amending a number of other laws, to make progress towards a visa liberalisation agreement with the European Union, the European Commission said on February 12 2013
The European Commission presented on February 12 its first report on the progress achieved by Kosovo in fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap.
The Commission evaluated Kosovo’s progress in each block of the visa roadmap and made a set of recommendations for the Kosovo authorities in areas where more decisive action is needed to obtain visa-free travel for its citizens, a statement said. The report also assesses the potential security and migratory impact of visa liberalisation with Kosovo
The report assesses Kosovo’s record in adopting and implementing legislation and reforms as set out in the visa liberalisation roadmap, with a focus on Kosovo’s legislation.
According to the European Commission, the report shows that Kosovo has established a legal and institutional framework in readmission, reintegration, document security, border/boundary management, migration, asylum, the fight against organised crime and corruption, police and judicial co-operation, data protection and fundamental rights related to the freedom of movement.
The report identifies two new pieces of legislation that Kosovo should adopt: a law on inter-agency cooperation in integrated border/boundary management and a law to combat trafficking in human beings. Several other pieces of legislation, such as the laws on names, foreigners, asylum, border/boundary control, political party financing and the draft law on the interception of telecommunication, require further amendments to ensure their alignment with EU standards. The provisions of the new criminal code and code of criminal procedure should be clarified, and the draft law on asset recovery should be adopted.
Kosovo’s current capacity to fight organised crime and corruption remains limited, with a potentially severe impact on the EU’s internal security, the European Commission said.
The visa refusal rate for applicants from Kosovo varies across the Schengen area, while the number of Kosovo citizens refused entry to the EU doubled recently. The number of citizens found to be illegally staying or seeking asylum in the EU has fallen, and the number of pending readmission applications should be reduced.
Later this year, the Commission will carry out a further assessment, focussing in particular on Kosovo’s efforts to adopt the recommendations set out in the report.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. Belgrade, backed by a number of countries including Russia and China, rejects this independence. Of EU member states, 22 recognise Kosovo and five do not, meaning that the EU officially has a “status neutral” position on the issue of Kosovo’s independence.
(Photo: Sebastian Bernard)