Open letter to the President of the European Council and the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union by Members of the European Parliament
In Brussels, December 4, 2018
RE: Granting of visa liberalisation to Kosovo
Dear Mr President of the European Council, dear Mr Tusk,
Dear Permanent Representative of Austria to the EU, dear Dr Marschik,
We, undersigned Members of the European Parliament, consider it vital to grant visa liberalisation to Kosovo without undue delay. Therefore, we call on the Council to adopt amendments to the EC regulation No 539/2001 to exempt persons from Kosovo from the visa requirement when travelling to the territory of the Member States. We take the view that the visa liberalisation will improve stability and bring Kosovo closer to the EU by improving the ease of travelling and doing business, while helping to counter people smuggling and corruption.
Kosovo remains the only country in the Western Balkans whose citizens still need a visa to travel to the Schengen Area. This already created a sense of isolation affecting everyday lives of Kosovo citizens. We had already witnessed growth of a young generation cut off from the rest of unified and prosperous Europe.
Visa-free travel does not only enable people-to-people contacts, better cross-border cooperation, cultural, educational and professional exchange, but it also helps to curb irregular immigration by putting criminals out of business. Liberalised visa regime opens up possibilities for citizens to travel abroad for tourism, to visit relatives and friends without having to face lengthy and expensive visa procedures.
On July 18, 2018, the European Commission has confirmed that that Kosovo has met the all two outstanding visa liberalisation requirements on the ratification of the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro and a strengthened record of accomplishment in the fight against crime and corruption, thus fulfilling all benchmarks set out in the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap.
The European Parliament granted a mandate for inter-institutional negotiations to begin for the exemption of Kosovo nationals to be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders with an overwhelming majority on September 13, 2018.
Visa-free regime presents one of the most tangible and concrete achievements for the country’s European perspective and it brings about the realisation of free movement as one of the fundamental principles of the European project.
We therefore we call on the Council to schedule a vote on this matter and adopt the visa-free regime for Kosovo without further delay.
Tanja Fajon MEP (S&D/SI)
Eduard Kukan MEP (EPP/SK)
Andrey Kovatchev MEP (EPP/BG)
Angelika Mlinar MEP (ALDE/AT)
Asim Ademov MEP (EPP/BG)
Barbara Spinelli MEP (GUE-NGL/IT)
Birgit Sippel MEP (S&D/DE)
Daniele Viotti MEP (S&D/IT)
Dubravka Šuica MEP (EPP/HR)
Eugen Freund MEP (S&D/DE)
Heinz K. Becker MEP (EPP/AT)
Igor Šoltes MEP (Greens-EFA/SI)
Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP (ALDE/BG)
Ivo Vajgl MEP (ALDE/SI)
Jordi Solé MEP (Greens-EFA/ES)
Jozo Radoš MEP (ALDE/HR)
Knut Fleckenstein MEP (S&D/DE)
Lukas Mandl MEP (EPP/AT)
Marie-Christine Vergiat MEP (GUE-NGL/FR)
Othmar Karas MEP (EPP/AT)
Sophie in ‚t Veld MEP (ALDE/NL)
Tonino Picula MEP (S&D/HR)