Osmani: We oppose to any new criteria for visa liberalization

Osmani: We oppose to any new criteria for visa liberalization

The Republic of Kosovo opposes any additional roadmap or reassessment of the criteria for visa liberalization. The President of the country, Vjosa Osmani has made it clear to all representatives of the European Union that Kosovo will not become part of any initiative which would prolong the process of free movement. Osmani says that Kosovo has already received a response from most EU officials that there is no intention for additional criteria, however she considers that work should be done so that proposals such as the one for the new roadmap are not pushed forward.

The head of state told KosovaPress that Kosovo has met all the criteria, emphasizing that the decision on visa liberalization has been delayed.

Osmani: Any new criteria for visa liberalization are unacceptable for Kosovo

“We want to be treated as other countries have been treated, it has never happened in the history of the European Union to set a second roadmap, consequently a new criterion, or re-evaluation of the criteria from the beginning, therefore it is necessary that we as the Republic of Kosovo oppose such an approach, as we did. I have made it clear to all the representatives of the European Union, that if such an approach is considered, of course it will not be acceptable, and we will not be part of such initiatives which aim to prolong even more this process, which has already been delayed for more than four years”, said President Osmani.

The president says she has already received a response from most European Union officials that there is no intention for additional criteria.

However, she adds that it is necessary to work with member states so that they too reject initiatives for new roadmaps.

Osmani: Most the EU officials have told us that they do not intend to set additional criteria for Kosovo

“It is necessary to work with member states separately, so that they also refuse such an approach, and at the same time, we should not allow the European Union to establish procedures for Kosovo, which have never been established before for any other country. So, it would be unprecedented in the very history of the European Union if such a thing were required from us, so, it is unacceptable, and we will not walk in such a path. We have already been given an answer by the vast majority of European Union officials that in fact there is no such intention, but we will work together to ensure that something like this, that this proposal is not pushed forward”, said Osmani.

Last week, the President of Kosovo participated in the EU-Western Balkans Leaders’ Meeting, where she stressed the need for visa liberalization for the citizens of Kosovo, as the only country that still does not enjoy free movement, despite meeting all criteria.

According to Osmani, for the first time at the level of the EU Council, Kosovo has received a great support.

Osmani says that even reluctant countries have shown support, but adds that now there are some procedures which she expects to be completed as soon as possible.

Osmani: There is optimism for visa liberalization, but it is not responsible to set dates

“I do not believe it would be responsible for us to set a date. Of course that we are optimistic because we have met all the criteria, we have responded to all the concerns of the member states, and now, as I mentioned myself, in the Council Summit there was a discussion in favor of visa liberalization also by skeptical states themselves, if they have additional questions in relation to specific issues in the Republic of Kosovo, we will address these issues bilaterally, but this would by no means justify creating a new unprecedented procedure of a new roadmap, as mentioned by the enlargement commissioner. Therefore, if any of the member states have any additional questions these days, we will address them urgently and there will be no other issues left, therefore, an urgent decision should be taken on the matter”, said President Osmani.

In the debate that took place on Monday in the European Parliament, the European Union Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhely, has announced an additional roadmap for visa liberalization for Kosovo.

On Tuesday, the European Commission said that they do not plan anything like that, and that they continue to stand behind their assessment that Kosovo has met the conditions for free movement in European Union countries.

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