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A promise made long ago finally kept! The European Parliament and the Council agree on EU visa liberalisation with Kosovo

Date

14 Dec 2022

Sections

Global Europe

The S&D’s long-standing call to grant a visa free regime to the citizens of Kosovo will finally become reality with an agreement reached today by negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission, and the Council.

The agreement will allow Kosovo biometric passport holders to travel at the earliest, 1 January, 2024, to the EU without a visa for a period of stay of 90 days within any 180-day period.

The S&Ds also welcome today’s application by the government of Kosovo for EU candidate status - a legitimate aspiration to become part of the European Union. The EU must support Kosovo in its efforts to reform and advance on the European path, because the future of the country lies in Europe. 

We also regret the tensions in Northern Kosovo and call on Kosovo and Serbia to return to the negotiating table under the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and refrain from actions that could cause further instability.

Thijs Reuten, the European Parliament rapporteur on visa liberalisation with Kosovo, said :

"The EU left Kosovo waiting for far too long. It was the last country in the Western Balkans that did not have a visa-free travel regime with the EU yet. Four years after they fulfilled all the conditions, we finally live up to our promise. As of 2024, citizens of Kosovo can finally travel to the EU for holidays, family visits, and business trips without having to apply for a visa.  

“This is more than a bureaucratic burden taken away – it is an important milestone in the European integration of Kosovo. It makes me proud that we, as S&D Group, have tirelessly advocated and worked to achieve this. Now, we were able to close this deal during a historic week for the country. It is a meaningful foundation for even closer cooperation between the EU and Kosovo in the near future."

Andreas Schieder, S&D MEP and shadow rapporteur on Kosovo, said:

“This is an important day for Kosovo - the formally signing of the application for EU membership by the government of Kosovo and the agreement on visa liberalization.  

“We support this, seeing it as Kosovo’s commitment to the European Union and our common values.  The EU accession process will be an opportunity for real reforms and long-term stability in the region. Kosovo's path to the EU will be long, but it can bring positive changes, such as improving the living conditions and the rule of law for ordinary people.

“At the same time, we urge Kosovo and Serbia to stay on the path to normalize their relations and not continue the spiral of escalation, as this would also have severe consequences for the security situation of the entire region. In particular, the current rhetoric of Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vučić, should be avoided. The negotiations conducted by the EU Commission on an agreement to normalize the situation between the two countries have led to historic results that must now finally be implemented. We must not jeopardize this milestone!”

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