Osmani: All Western Balkan countries support EU visa-free regime for Kosovo

NEWS 12.09.2022 19:57
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Source: N1

All countries which are part of the regional Brdo-Brijuni Process, including Serbia, on Monday unanimously supported a recommendation for the EU to cancel visa requirements for citizens of Kosovo by the end of the year.

The European Commission in 2018 confirmed that Kosovo meets all criteria for the abolishing EU visa requirements. However, Kosovo citizens can still not travel freely to the EU, President Vjosa Osmani said at a meeting of the Brdo-Brijuni Process at Brdo Pri Kranju, Slovenia, on Monday.

“We hope this injustice and discrimination will soon end,” she said. Osmani said that “absolutely nobody” was against the Brdo-Brijuni Process conclusion to recommend that the EU abolish visa requirements for Kosovo.

The countries which are part of the Brdo-Brijuni Process are Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Albania, Slovenia, and Croatia, and officials from all these countries, including President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, attended the conference. Osmani said that “the unanimous adoption of this decision” was “exceptionally important.”

She said she expected visa requirements to be abolished by the end of the year because the EU is currently chaired by the Czech Republic, which supports the idea and “none of the other EU member countries are against it.” Speaking of relations with Serbia, Osmani said that Belgrade was “denying reality” because “Kosovo is an independent and sovereign state and that is an irreversible reality.”

“The sooner Serbia recognizes it, the better the situation will be for it, for its people and for peace and security in the region,” she said, stressing that only mutual recognition would bring a long-lasting peace to the region. Osmani said that EU enlargement was not only a matter of technical criteria but also “a geopolitical and security issue” and that the EU was “not complete without the Western Balkans.”

“The European context has changed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” she said, stressing that this is “no time to hesitate or have second thoughts about support to Ukraine.”

“No country can continue pretending to have a pro-European orientation if it does not behave in line with the European response to the conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the EU,” she said. “You are either on the right side of history or not, there is no middle ground,” Osmani stressed, in an obvious allusion to Serbia, the only Western Balkan county that has not imposed any sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

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