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Kosovo finally joins rest of Western Balkans in visa-free travel to EU

Date

18 Apr 2023

Sections

Global Europe

Today, Kosovo finally gets the European Parliament’s green light for visa-free travel to the European Union. On Wednesday, the final act on visa liberalisation with Kosovo will be signed at the ceremony in Strasbourg.

The citizens of Kosovo are the last among our Western Balkan neighbours that still need a visa to travel to the EU for holidays, family visits and business trips, but not for much longer.

As of 1 January 2024 at the latest, Kosovo passport holders will be able to travel to the EU without a visa for a stay of 90 days in any 180-day timespan.

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

“This is a long-awaited and well-deserved moment for the citizens of Kosovo. For the EU, it is high time to realise the promise made long ago. Soon, there will be no black hole on the visa-free map of the Western Balkans anymore.

“Also, this is much more than a bureaucratic burden relief – it is an important milestone on Kosovo’s path to the European Union. A new chapter for Kosovo, for the region and for Europe. It is a meaningful foundation for further cooperation on our shared European future. We are proud to be a driving force behind this historic achievement."

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

“The next step is to ensure progress regarding Kosovo’s application for EU membership. The EU accession process is the only guarantee for real reforms and lasting peace in the region. Kosovo's path to the EU will be long, but the reforms carried out along the way will improve the lives of the people.

“To achieve genuine progress, it is crucial for Kosovo and Serbia to continue working on the normalisation of their relations and to avoid escalation, as this would severely undermine the security situation of the entire region.”

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