European Parliament approves visa liberalisation with Kosovo.
On April 18,2023, the European Parliament (EP) approved the agreement on visa freedom with Kosovo. It means that Kosovo passport holders will be able to travel to the EU without visas for 90 days in any 180 days. The abolition of the visa requirement for Kosovo will take effect on January 1, 2024. On April 19, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and Jessika Rosëall, the Swedish minister of the EU, representing the presidency of the Council of the EU, signed the law.
Kosovo already met all the requirements to secure visa-free travel in 2018. However, some of the non-recognising states of Kosovo’s independence have been holding up the approval process, as well as states like France and the Netherlands that were concerned about potential migration problems.
The EP approved the agreement on visa-free liberalisation for Kosovo, although it has not yet fulfilled all its obligations, including the creation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities resulting from the Brussels Agreement (2013) and renewed in the Ohrid Agreement (2023). It is worth mentioning that Kosovo is the only part of the Western Balkans that does not have visa-free relations with the Schengen area.
From Serbia’s point of view, the Chairperson for the Commission for European Integration of the Parliament of Serbia, Elvira Kovac, said, „Kosovo is being rewarded while the EU is punishing Serbia in the context of the ongoing Belgrade-Prishtina EU-facilitated dialogue. One side receives a prize, while the other waits two years to open a new cluster,” she said regarding Serbia’s EU accession path.“
On the other hand, Kosovo fully welcomed the decision of the European Parliament, and Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani gave credit to the citizens of Kosovo regarding visa liberalisation. “Today’s final decision on the liberalisation of visas for the citizens of Kosovo is a victory, not only for our country but for democracy itself and unity in Europe. This decision is the merit of the people of Kosovo, the unparalleled determination shown throughout the years, despite various delays and injustices,” Osmani said.
Despite the approval of visa liberalisation by the European Parliament, citizens with a Kosovar passport will have to be subject to a visa requirement when entering the Spanish territory. Spain still does not recognise the Republic of Kosovo as an independent country, and unlike some of the other non-recognisers, it does not recognise either passports issued by the Kosovo authorities.