Brussels, 14 June 2012
Commission delivers visa roadmap to Kosovo government
Today, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström handed the roadmap for visa liberalisation over to the Kosovo government. This document sets out a comprehensive list of reforms that Kosovo will be requested to implement to fulfil requirements related to the freedom of movement, such as reintegration and readmission, document security, border and migration management, the fight against organised crime and corruption and fundamental rights. The pace of the visa dialogue will depend on the Kosovo government’s progress in fulfilling these requirements.
"I am particularly pleased to be able to present this eagerly anticipated document to the Kosovo government. Today’s handover ceremony brings the citizens of Kosovo a step closer to visa-free travel. The roadmap to visa liberalisation sets out reforms that the Kosovo government will need to implement to create a secure environment for visa-free travel. Whether and how soon visa-free travel becomes a reality depends on the government’s commitment to implementing these difficult reforms on the ground. The European Commission stands ready to assist the Kosovo authorities in their efforts,” said Cecilia Malmström.
In the past, the EU launched visa liberalisation dialogues with five Western Balkans countries to allow their citizens to travel to the EU without visas. Following an assessment on the progress made by these countries in implementing major reforms, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia joined the EU's visa-free regime in December 2009 (IP/09/1852) and Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 2010 (MEMO/10/548).
In the margins of the handover ceremony, Commissioner Malmström met Minister for European Integration Vlora Çitaku, Minister of Internal Affairs Bajram Rexhepi, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration Lutfi Haziri, Deputy Minister for European Integration Gëzim Kasapolli, Mayor of Pejë/Peć Ali Berisha, Mayor of Istog/Istok Haki Rugova, Mayor of Graçanicë/Gračanica Bojan Stojanović and Mayor of Gjilan/Gnjilane Qemajl Mustafa.
The state of play of the visa roadmap was recently discussed at the launch of the Structured Dialogue on the Rule of Law with Kosovo by Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle and Commissioner Malmström with Kosovo representatives on 30th May in Brussels.
Today, the European Commission and the Kosovo government also held a first Senior Officials’ Meeting to discuss next steps in the visa dialogue with Kosovo. The government will now be requested to present a comprehensive overview of legislation and recent reforms in the areas covered by the visa roadmap.
The Commission will continue to monitor progress by Kosovo in fulfilling the benchmarks of the roadmap, including by drafting regular reports.
For more information
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
Homepage DG Home Affairs:
Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)
Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)