European Commission: Kosovo fulfils all required benchmarks for visa liberalisation

The European Commission said on July 18 that it had confirmed that Kosovo had met the two outstanding visa liberalisation requirements on the ratification of the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro and a strenghtened track record in the fight against crime and corruption.

This means that Kosovo has fulfilled all the benchmarks set out in the visa liberalisation roadmap, the Commission said.

In May 2016, the European Commission proposed to the European Parliament and the Council to grant EU visa-free travel for the people of Kosovo, on the understanding that the two requirements would be met by the time of the adoption of the proposal.

“The Commission now encourages the European Parliament and the Council to move forward on its proposal.”

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Kosovo has made great progress over the last two years to fulfil the two remaining visa liberalisation requirements.

“Today, we can confirm that both outstanding benchmarks have now been met, and that all other benchmarks continue to be met. I also count on Kosovo to continue addressing both migration and security challenges, including the fight against corruption.

“I now call on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly adopt our proposal on lifting visa requirements for Kosovo citizens. This will be an important moment for Kosovo, for the entire Western Balkan region, and for Europe as a whole,” Avramopoulos said.

Since the launch of the visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo in 2012, the Commission has continuously monitored the fulfilment of the requirements contained in the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap, its statement said.

“Today’s report confirms that Kosovo has met the two remaining benchmarks, since the Commission presented its fourth progress report in May 2016.”

These were border demarcation – following a positive vote by the Kosovo Assembly on the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro, this benchmark was met on 21 March 2018 – and a track record in the fight against organised crime and corruption.

“The Commission has been monitoring this last remaining benchmark for the past two years and held a technical mission to Kosovo on May 3-4 to further assess the progress made. The Commission can now confirm that the Kosovo authorities have established and strengthened a steady track record of investigations and final court rulings in cases concerning organised crime and corruption, thus successfully meeting the final benchmark.”

The July 18 2018 report also confirms that Kosovo continues to fulfil all other benchmarks set out in the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap relating to readmission and reintegration, document security, migration and border management, public order and security, and fundamental rights related to the freedom of movement.

The Commission’s proposal from May 2016 to lift the visa requirements for Kosovo citizens now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

“The Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of all requirements set out in the visa liberalisation roadmap. Once visa-liberalisation is adopted for Kosovo, the Commission will further monitor the continuous implementation of the requirements through the visa suspension mechanism and the Stabilisation and Association process,” the European Commission statemen said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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