EU with an essential step towards visa liberalization for Kosovo

The Ministers of the Interior of the European Union member countries approved on Thursday the decision on the liberalization of visas for the citizens of Kosovo.

At the meeting of the Council of Internal Affairs in Brussels, the 27 ministers approved this decision without any discussion, after the agreement reached earlier by the permanent representatives of the member countries.

“Today the Council approved in the first reading its position on visa-free travel for holders of passports issued by Kosovo. The new rules will allow citizens of Kosovo to travel to European Union countries without a visa and stay in these countries for 90 days during the 180-day period,” says a notice from this Council, which is currently chaired by Sweden.

The Swedish Minister of Migration, Maria Malmer Stenegard, said after the approval of this decision that Kosovo has made great efforts to adapt the visa policy to that of the European Union.

“Kosovo has made great efforts to improve migration management and security as well as to adapt its visa policy to that of the EU. We hope that our cooperation in this field will continue,” she said.

According to the announcement, citizens of Kosovo will not need to request a visa for travel from the date when the European travel system – ETIAS is operational and no later than January 1, 2024.

ETIAS is the system in which foreign citizens who travel without a visa to the territory of the European Union must register their data before travel.

The rapporteur on the issue of visa liberalization for Kosovo, the Dutch Thijs Reuten, welcomed the decision, describing it as a very important step.

“No later than January 1, 2024, Kosovo will have the much-deserved and long-awaited visa liberalization,” he wrote on social networks.

He said that “voting in the Committee of Internal Affairs and then in the plenary session of the European Parliament is expected to take place soon”, where Kosovo is not expected to have any problems.

In 2012, the European Commission gave Kosovo a guide on this issue and in 2018 recommended the liberalization of visas for Kosovo, which it repeated in October last year.

Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans, whose citizens do not have the right of free movement in the territory of the European Union.

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