MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel: EU should liberalize visas and not change rules of the game
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?
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
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.
Express: Do you think that Kosovo has fulfil all conditions set by European
Union for viza liberalization?
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.
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?
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/