Kosovo demands the removal of the Schengen barrier for its citizens

Kosovo demands the removal of the Schengen barrier for its citizens

Pristina, 20 November 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

After signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, authorities in Kosovo are hoping to also successfully finalize the process for the liberalization of the visa regime.

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa explains that in 2016, citizens of Kosovo will be able to move freely in the EU member countries.

“Kosovo has met the necessary criteria and the citizens of Kosovo are now the only ones in the region which cannot move freely in the EU countries. We are convinced that the citizens of Kosovo will move freely in 2016”, Mustafa said.

The same opinion is also shared by the minister of Integration, Bekim Collaku.

“We are discussing with Brussels the final steps for the finalization of the visa free regime. I feel encouraged by the support that has been offered and confirmation that we are on the verge of the finalization of the visa liberalization process. After the meeting with the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, I feel more optimistic that citizens of Kosovo will move without visas in 2016”, he says.

Meanwhile, experts of European affairs told IBNA that the process of the liberalization of visas can last for a little longer, due to the large number of refugees from Syria and other countries of Middle East.

“The large number of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries and the latest terrorist attacks in Paris have made the Schengen agreement fragile. Some countries have even declared that they will not respect the agreement and that they will reintroduce border checks”, Mazrreku says.

According to him, besides these problems, Kosovo has not yet delivered other criteria such as fight against corruption and organized crime, migration and repatriation of Kosovo nationals who are still staying in EU member countries illegally.

Analysts say that Kosovo doesn’t have economic stability and for as long as this situation persists, the country will see many people leave.

According to official data issued by EUROSTAT, in 2015 and 2015, 75 thousand people have left Kosovo to reach EU countries. /ibna/