Corruption is the main obstacle for the liberalization of the visa regime

Corruption is the main obstacle for the liberalization of the visa regime

Pristina, 20 May 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Parliament in Kosovo has adopted a legal package in the framework of the delivery of criteria set by the European Commission for the liberalization of the visa regime.

The bills that have been approved relate to the reformation of the judicial system and fight against corruption and organized crime.

Representatives of the opposition say that these bills will speed up the process of the liberalization of visas, while the opposition and analysts are skeptic on this.

Vice speaker of parliament, Xhavit Haliti, who is also an MP of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, says that he has asked to the minister of Justice, Hajredin Kuci to start a comprehensive reform in the justice system.

“It’s clear that the justice system in Kosovo is corrupt. It needs to be changed and to be put under control, as it’s the case in western countries. A package of bills is necessary as far as the liberalization of visas is concerned and in general, with the aspects that relate to the EU criteria”, Haliti said.

Deputy leader of Self Determination, Glauk Konjufca says that the liberalization of visas cannot be achieved through legal packages.

According to him, if the criteria of the European Commission are carefully read, it may be seen that the government of Kosovo is far from meeting them, because it gets stuck on the fight against organized crime, corruption and other illicit acts committed by public officials.

“It’s the sixth year that our government officials are negotiating with the European Commission for the liberalization of the visa regime, but this process has not taken us anywhere”, Konjufca said.

Meanwhile, analysts and experts of European affairs says that the issue of the fight against corruption and organized crime is directly connected to the process of the liberalization of visas.

Professor of European Law, Avni Mazreku, told IBNA that Kosovo forged the necessary institutional mechanisms to fight corruption and organized crime.

“It’s not that we have not forged mechanisms. In fact, we have doubled the number of mechanisms in the fight against corruption, but the efficiency of this war cannot be seen yet. The lack of political will has also manifested the lack of efficiency by institutional mechanisms in this war”, he says.

“Meanwhile, the state is measured by its efficiency. All reports and indicators show that these mechanisms have not been sufficient in the fight against corruption”, Mazreku said.

According to him, it will be very hard for Kosovo to be granted the visa free regime as opposed to countries that have already gone through this process and those who have become part of the EU.

He mentions the case of Romania and Bulgaria, where according to him, although there was a high level of corruption, the EU had decided beforehand about the dates of the finalization of the process.

This experience of the European Union, according to him, makes the criteria more difficult in terms of Kosovo’s integration process, including the liberalization of visas.

“We must be clear about the fact that the criteria on Kosovo are more rigid than other countries. This has happened for many reasons: due to the mistakes done by the European Union or at least what are considered as mistakes in relation to other countries, but also the lack of enthusiasm within the European Union for further enlargement”, he says. /ibna/