MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: EU should liberalize visas and not change rules of the game - Gazeta Express

MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: EU should liberalize visas and not change rules of the game

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Gazeta Express

11/03/2020 14:03

German Member of European Parliament and Rapporteur on Kosovo, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, in an interview with Gazeta Express says Kosovo prime minister Albin Kurti made a positive step by proposing partial revocation of tariffs and now is Serbia’s turn to show good will and move forward. She said the European Union should not change rules of the game when it comes to visa liberalisation adding that Kosovo has already fulfilled all the criteria.

Gazeta Express: What’s your opinion about the involvement of US special envoy Mr. Richard Grenell in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and his refusal to accept the abolishment of tariff from PM Albin Kurti for the raw materials that are imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina saying that the Prime Minister of Kosovo is making a serious mistake?

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: We all should understand that Kurti’s step is an important signal that he is ready to move forward and he wants to have better relationship. I see it as a positive step and now we need to wait for Serbia’s reaction. Kurti made an offer, something to work on. And ultimately the tariff is harming both sides, so it is no one’s interest to keep it longer. On the other hand, this was after all only a reaction after Vucic’s derecognition campaign. So if Belgrade wants to move forward, they also need to show some good will.

Gazeta Express: Prime Minister, Albin Kurti said that the abolishment of tariffs is a sign of good will from Kosovo and now the EU should remove the visa regime for the country before the Zagreb Summit (May 2020). Do you think that the European Union should finally remove the visa regime for Kosovo citizens?

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: The EU should have removed visa regime a year and a half ago, when Kosovo fulfilled all criteria. The European Parliament and the Commission understands this, it is only the member states halting this process, and I do hope we can move on as soon as possible, maybe even before the Zagreb Summit.

Gazeta Express: Do you think that Kosovo has fulfil all conditions set by European Union for viza liberalization?

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: Of course, these were technical requirements, there is no place of exercise of discretion from the member states. And it would not be fair either to change the rules of the game in the middle of the match. Kosovo did its home work, not it is the EU’s task.

Gazeta Express: What do you think about the agreements for railway, aviation and highway signed between Kosovo and Serbia in mediation of Special Envoy of President Donald Trump, Richard Grenell in Munich in presence of the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi and the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic without the involvement of PM Albin Kurti?

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: Grenell, Trump and everyone else needs to respect the decision of Kosovars. There were democratic elections in Kosovo and they voted for a new government. It is not up to us to decide who is on the other side of the table. So based on the Constitution and other legal frameworks of Kosovo it is clear who should be involved in deciding on infrastructural projects. These are the minimum requirements, and generally speaking it is always better to involve as many actors as possible to make a broad support for various projects. /GazetaExpress/