Kosovo: The political crisis may threaten the visa liberalization process

Kosovo: The political crisis may threaten the visa liberalization process

Pristina, 2 December 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

The political crisis in Kosovo is risking the visa liberalization process, the finalization of which has been announced to take place in 2016.

Deputy speaker of the European Parliament and rapporteur on Kosovo, Ulrike Lunacek asks from political parties to engage in talks in order to not jeopardize the European perspective.

“The process of the liberalization of visas may be threatened with the violent images in parliament. These violent episodes damage the image of Kosovo abroad: the only TV images from Kosovo are those of violence in parliament. The situation becomes even more serious following the terrorist attacks in Paris, when EU governments have announced a state of alert and this way, violent images do not offer a positive image of Kosovo. This is why I have asked from the opposition give up violence, as violence can damage the process of the visa liberalization. I also call on the governing coalition to stop the unnecessary arrests, as it was the case on 28 November. Dialogue is the path toward the liberalization of visas. I would like to see Kosovo nationals travel freely in the EU countries as of next year”, Lunacek declared.

Minister of European Integration, Bekim Collaku says that with the latest developments in the country, Kosovo is not sending a positive message to EU countries in order for them to lift the visa regime for its citizens.

“We have delivered the technical criteria for the visa liberalization and now it’s up to the EU and its member countries to decide. In order for the EU to take this political decision, Kosovo needs more than ever a positive image in very complex international circumstances”, he said.

Collaku is afraid that if the crisis is not solved, than the process of the visa liberalization may be jeopardized.

The same opinion is also shared by analysts in Pristina.

Professor of European law, Emrush Ujkani, says that the political crisis will have an impact in the European agenda, especially in lifting the visa regime.

“This lack of political stability will not only have an impact on the process of the liberalization of visas, but also an impact in the economic development of the country and the stability of institutions”, Ujkani says.

Professor Ujkani also says that the country needs political stability more than ever.

Kosovo has been facing a political crisis for the past two months due to the blockade caused by the opposition in parliament, which is protesting against the agreements on the Association of Serb Communes and the border demarcation with Montengro. /ibna/