MEPs approve visa liberalisation with Kosovo

MEPs approve visa liberalisation with Kosovo

Citizens of Kosovo will be allowed to travel to the EU –and EU citizens to go to Kosovo- without requesting a visa, for periods of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. After the law has entered into force, the entire Western Balkans region will have a similar visa framework for the Schengen area.

The visa exemption will enter into force once the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is in place and in any case by 2024.

Kosovo is a potential candidate for EU accession and unilaterally declared its independence in February 2008. Its independence is currently not recognised by five EU member states (Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain). The European Parliament has supported visa liberalisation with Kosovo since 2016, after the Commission declared that Kosovo fulfils the criteria of its roadmap for visa liberalisation. Kosovo is currently the only part of the Western Balkans region to not enjoy visa-free travel on short stays with the Schengen area.

Rapporteur Thijs Reuten (S&D, the Netherlands) said: “After years in the waiting room, Kosovo is now the last one in the Western Balkan region to join our visa-free regime. This finally enables the people of Kosovo to easily travel, visit relatives and do business in the EU. But it is more than that: this milestone is also an important foundation for the future and ever-closer cooperation between the EU and Kosovo.”

On Wednesday 19 April, the act will be signed into law in Strasbourg by European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and the Swedish Presidency of the Council.

The signing will be followed by a press conference with the Rapporteur, Thijs Reuten, and Besnik Bislimi, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, in Parliament’s Daphne Caruana Galizia Press room at 15.15 CEST.

You can follow the press conference here.


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