OBSERVATION/Kosovo continues to remain an ‘isolated island’ in the Balkan region. Citizens are still not able to enjoy a basic right such as free movement, because the visa regime with the European Union countries still continues to apply. A survey carried out by IBNA in Pristina shows that many people are disappointed by the delays in this process. We’ll read insights from the expert on legal issues, Afrim Hoti and Minister of Interior, Bajram Rexhepi
Pristina, March 20, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
Process of the liberalization of the visa regime is delaying, because the government of Kosovo is not showing that it’s able to fulfill the criteria set out in the European Commission guideline.
Citizens, speaking to IBNA, say that they are disappointed and accuse institutions of Kosovo for not fulfilling the criteria for the liberalization of visas. Dafina. G, a student, says that it’s been a while that the Kosovar leadership has promised the liberalization of the visa regime, but no work has been done in meeting Brussels’ criteria.
“We’re isolated. We cannot hold study visits in any of the EU countries. We’re deprived of this right and the government of Kosovo is to be blamed for this. It’s a shame, because Skopje and Tirana are the only two places that we can visit”.
Rezarta M, a student, fears that with the liberalization of visas, the majority of youngsters in Kosovo may leave the country due to the lack of perspective in the country. “I believe that with the liberalization of visas, EU countries will receive great numbers of Kosovar citizens, who will seek salvation there. The government must take measures and inform the citizens that the EU countries do not offer accommodation and financial assistance for the citizens of Kosovo, because many people are not aware of such details”.
Analysts and experts of political developments in Kosovo believe that the delays in the process of the liberalization of visas are being caused by the weak rule of law.
Meanwhile, government representatives say that Kosovo is close to fulfilling the criteria.
Expert of legal issues and university professor, Afrim Hoti says that the lack of the rule of law has caused big delays and has prevented the progress of Kosovo in the process of the liberalization of visas. Mr. Hoti believes that the delays are being caused due to the weak rule of law. He says that EU must not make concessions toward Kosovo.
“The lack of the rule of law has caused big delays and has prevented Kosovo from advancing in the process of the liberalization of visas. EU must not make concessions toward Kosovo, in order for the latter to fulfill all the criteria. Rule of law, efficient administration, fight against corruption, integrated border management are criteria which accelerate or slow down the process. But, the rule of law remains a big problem, because Kosovo is only causing delays in this aspect”, says Hoti.
Minister of Interior, Bajram Rexhepi says that Kosovo is close to meeting the criteria and that his ministry is taking actions.
He’s expecting the evaluation of EU experts, who will come up with a report in a month’s time.
“The evaluations of EU experts will come out in four weeks time. Police and Integrated Border Management are showing very good standards. We’re coming closer to meeting the criteria”, says Rexhepi. /ibna/