EU to begin talks about visa liberalization with Kosovo

Prishtina, KOSOVO – European Commission Director for the Western Balkans Pierre Mirel says that all EU member-states have agreed to begin visa liberalization dialogue with Kosovo.

He submitted a progress report and feasibility study on Kosovo to senior officials in Prishtina.

Mirel said that it was a lengthy process and that Kosovo must fulfill all the criteria that other countries had been set before it could become part of the Schengen zone or any other EU agreements.

“The visa liberalization process and the trade agreement are long processes where there are many conditions and criteria to meet. This process calls for patience, work, and institutional determination to achieve the criteria,” he said.

The EC official called on Kosovo to issue identification documents of a high security standard and biometric passports, to sign and implement agreements on returnees, and to manage its borders.

Mirel said that he believed that the EU would adopt a proposal on the feasibility of beginning dialogue between Brussels and Prishtina, regardless of the fact that five member-states had not recognized Kosovo’s independence.

He said that progress and rule of law must be established in Kosovo, because the report noted great flaws and deficiencies.

“Another issue which is sadly present throughout the region is corruption. A plan of action and strategy have been adopted in Kosovo, but they need to be implemented in order to note progress in tackling this phenomenon,” said Mirel.

Addressing a special press conference, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi said he welcomed the progress report, particularly the decision on the feasibility study.

Thaçi said that the government would meet all the EC’s demands so that Kosovo could one day integrate into the European family.