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EU ambassadors say 'YES' to visa liberalization for Kosovo
The ambassadors of the member countries of the European Union have agreed on Wednesday to give the mandate to the European Council to negotiate the visa liberalization process for Kosovo with the European Parliament.
According to the decision, visa-free movement for Kosovo citizens will be possible when the European travel system, ETIAS, comes into force, and the date for this is November 1, 2023.
But, in case there will be delays for this system, visa liberalization for Kosovo will enter into force no later than January 1, 2024.
"Today we have taken an important step for Kosovo towards free movement without visas and we hope to reach an agreement with the European Parliament to make this promise a reality. The liberalization of visas has become possible thanks to Kosovo's efforts to strengthen border control, to manage migration, and we believe that this good cooperation will only strengthen in the future ", said the Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Lipavsky.
His country leads the presidency of the European bloc and drafted the text of the decision that was approved by EU ambassadors.
According to the decision, visa liberalization will only apply to holders of biometric passports, in accordance with international travel standards.
"Without prejudging the attitudes of the member countries towards the status of Kosovo - in the period until the effective start of visa liberalization, and where the decision will be applicable - Kosovo should aim to reach agreements or arrangements for repatriation with those EU countries , with which he does not have".
Something like this is required to enable EU member states to deport Kosovo citizens from their territory, in case they misuse visa liberalization by staying illegally, or if they seek asylum without having a basis.
Kosovo is also required to continue adapting its visa policy to that of the EU, while it remains to go through some other procedures required by the member countries./REL