The road ahead for Kosovo to get visa liberalisation is bumpy. The country is currently awaiting a European Commission assessment that is expected to give the green light to visa liberalisation. The next step is the European Parliament, where it is believed that there will not be many obstacles due to the positive mood of MEPs. But when it comes to member states things are expected to be complicated. As far as visas are concerned, Kosovo’s opponents are even some states that have recognized independence, where lobbying is also recommended.
But the most ambiguous point for Kosovars remains the time when Kosovo will be included in the Schengen’s white list. The Balkan Group led by Naim Rashiti has prepared a report dubbed ‘Kosovo’s long delayed path to visa-free travel’, which explains the remaining procedures in this process. But nothing can be said exactly. The Balkan Group says it is difficult to predict how long the process will last and recommends lobbying in some states that are sceptical, such as France, Netherlands, Belgium and some other EU member states. “The five non-recognizers, other than Spain, are unlikely to cause any trouble,” the report says. “Madrid’s former government did the utmost to undermine Kosovo at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia. Some suggestions are that Madrid may request to remove Spain from the list of Schengen countries Kosovo passport holders can travel to. EU bureaucrats insist this is impossible and unnecessary.” The report also talks about the process of EU institutions decision-making process, and makes comparisons with Georgian and Ukraine, which obtained visa-free regime at the same time, while Kosovo was not granted visa liberalisation due to failure to ratify border demarcation agreement with Montenegro.
Read The Balkan Group Report in full: http://balkansgroup.org/eu/