Brussels, 12 February 2013
First Commission report on progress by Kosovo* towards visa liberalisation
The Commission presented today the first report on the progress achieved by Kosovo in fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap. The Commission evaluated Kosovo’s progress in each block of the visa roadmap and made a set of recommendations for the Kosovo authorities in areas where more decisive action is needed to obtain visa-free travel for its citizens. The report also assesses the potential security and migratory impact of visa liberalisation with Kosovo
The report assesses Kosovo's record in adopting and implementing legislation and reforms as set out in the visa liberalisation roadmap, with a focus on Kosovo’s legislation.
It shows that Kosovo has established a legal and institutional framework in readmission, reintegration, document security, border/boundary management, migration, asylum, the fight against organised crime and corruption, police and judicial cooperation, data protection and fundamental rights related to the freedom of movement.
The report identifies two new pieces of legislation that Kosovo should adopt: a law on inter-agency cooperation in integrated border/boundary management and a law to combat trafficking in human beings. Several other pieces of legislation, such as the laws on names, foreigners, asylum, border/boundary control, political party financing and the draft law on the interception of telecommunication, require further amendments to ensure their alignment with EU standards. The provisions of the new criminal code and code of criminal procedure should be clarified, and the draft law on asset recovery should be adopted.
Kosovo’s current capacity to fight organised crime and corruption remains limited, with a potentially severe impact on the EU’s internal security.
The visa refusal rate for applicants from Kosovo varies across the Schengen area, while the number of Kosovo citizens refused entry to the EU doubled recently. The number of citizens found to be illegally staying or seeking asylum in the EU has fallen, and the number of pending readmission applications should be reduced.
Later this year, the Commission will carry out a further assessment, focussing in particular on Kosovo’s efforts to adopt the recommendations set out in the report.
The European Commission launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo on 19 January 2012 (IP/12/32).
The visa roadmap was handed to Kosovo authorities on 14 June 2012 (IP/12/605). It sets out a comprehensive list of reforms that Kosovo was requested to implement, in order to fulfil requirements related to the freedom of movement, such as reintegration and readmission, document security, border/boundary and migration management, asylum, the fight against organised crime and corruption and fundamental rights related to the freedom of movement.
The first Commission report on Kosovo’s progress in fulfilling the requirements of the visa roadmap was discussed today at a meeting in Pristina between senior officials' from both sides, led by Director General Stefano Manservisi for DG Home Affairs and Minister for European Integration Vlora Çitaku. Other high-ranking EU officials from the Directorate General for Enlargement and Justice, as well as Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs and Justice also attended the meeting.
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This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.