Despite the accord of the Kosovo ruling and opposition parties to ratify the Agreement on border demarcation with Montenegro Kosovo still risks delaying of the visa liberalisation process. Read below the reasons which might delay visa liberalisation for Kosovo citizens.
Kosovo leaders, including the Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Speaker of Parliament Kadri Veseli, and Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli, looked thrilled last Saturday when announcing that they have finally reached a consensus with the opposition party of the LDK to ratify the demarcation Agreement with Montenegro, which includes the disputed document of the State Commission on demarcation concluding that under current deal Kosovo loses territory. The LDK insisted for this document prepared by their former MP Shpejtim Bulliqi, not be included in the Draft Law. Haradinaj seemed firm during Friday’s session of Parliament to include the report of the Commission to the Draft Law in order to justify his rejection to the deal while in opposition. But on Saturday he announced reaching a compromise with the LDK, agreeing for the State Commission report be included in the Draft Law but as he said, it will be used only as “orientation” document for MPs. Analists say that this ‘orientation’ document produces no legal effects. But all these efforts might be meaningless if the Parliament fails to ratify the Agreement within February. A European diplomat accredited in Pristina told Gazeta Express that Kosovo might miss the visa liberalisation train if the Parliament fails to ratify the demarcation Agreement, which is one of the last outstanding criteria for Kosovo to get visa liberalisation with the EU Schengen area. The main reason is that if Kosovo delays ratification of the deal, the visa free regime might be delayed due to bureaucratic procedures which will start in the European Commission and other EU institutions right after EU top officials, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, High representative Federica Mogherini, and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn visit Kosovo on 28 February. “If political parties want the visa liberalisation issue be included in the EU documents and the visa liberalisation be recommended during the EU’s Summit, due to be held by the end of June, the Assembly should ratify the demarcation within February. Further delays will miss this deadline,” said the European diplomat. “The visit of the EC President Juncker, High Representative Mogherini, and Commissioner Hahn on Wednesday, would be an ideal moment for these EU high representatives ‘to take note’ that Kosovo has ratified the demarcation. If we miss this deadline, Kosovo risks delaying of the visa liberalisation beyond 2020-2021,” he said adding that the EU will have no time to deal with Kosovo and will focus on the Brexit talks with the Great Britain.
Despite reaching the consensus over the weekend by Veseli, Pacolli, Haradinaj and the LDK chief of parliamentary group Avdullah Hoti, the ruling coalition is still short of votes needed for ratification of the demarcation deal. They have currently 78 out of 80 votes needed to ratify the deal. The Speaker Veseli said that the demarcation will be ratified on Wednesday hoping that some of the Vetevendosje MPs will vote its ratification. But Deputy Prime Minister Behgjet Pacolli told media on Sunday that the demarcation is expected to be ratified in March. /Gazeta Express/