Pristina: 5 EU countries, not a problem for the free visa regime

Pristina: 5 EU countries, not a problem for the free visa regime

Tirana, February 11, 2014/Balkan Independent News Agency

By Albana Skenderaj

Government of Kosovo doesn’t see the fact that 5 out of 28 EU member countries have not yet recognized independence of Kosovo as a problem.

Minister of Interior, Bajram Rexhepi, speaking today (11.02) in front of the parliamentary committee for European integration, (photo) said that the main obstacle for the liberalization of visas may be the increasing number of asylum seekers from Kosovo in different EU countries.

Meanwhile, he said that the 5 countries which have not yet recognized the independence of Kosovo have not posed any obstacles for the visa free regime.

According to Mr. Rexhepi, the biggest obstacle has been imposed by countries who have had the biggest number of asylum seekers from Kosovo. As far as this is concerned, he said that the big number of asylum seekers from Kosovo has a negative impact on the process of the liberalization of visas.

As far as the reintegration of repatriated persons is concerned, minister Rexhepi pointed out that 4800 to 5000 nationals are repatriated on an annual basis to Kosovo.

In the hearing session in front of the parliamentary committee for European integration, the members of the committee were interested to know more on issues which relate to the liberalization of the visa regime with Kosovo.

Glauk Kaonjufca from Self Determination has recalled the government’s promise for the liberalization of visas and offered a suggestion for the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of European Integration.

“Given that both ministries have as part of their staff professionals who are experts on this process, I would suggest you to be better informed on the time needed to meet the criteria for the liberalization of visas, in order for the prime minister not to fall a victim of promises which cannot be realized. This would not only be on his interest, but also on the interest of the citizens”, said Konjufca.

Minister of Interior, Bajram Rexhepi responded by saying that more caution has been shown in the recent years about the declarations which have been issued on the liberalization of visas, while saying that in several cases, Kosovo’s officials have only reiterated the promises made by officials from the European Commission for free movement of Kosovo nationals in the Schengen area.

“I can say that in the past, we have been promised by several European officials for the liberalization of visas this year.. In the past 2 or 3 years, we have been more cautious and we don’t issue dates because we now know how the European Commission functions”, said Mr. Rexhepi. /ibna/