France extinguishes Kosovo’s hopes of visa liberalization in the near future

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France is not convinced that Kosovo has fulfilled all the necessary criteria to complete its protracted visa liberalization process.Even if it was expected to happen soon, such a process will not be completed this year, despite the European Commission reconfirmation that the country has met all the criteria, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.

The main reasons France is still not convinced of Kosovo’s prosperity in this process, according to French officials, are crime and corruption.

Diplomatic sources in France stressed that in their opinion Kosovo did not meet all the criteria for visa liberalization.

“A short-stay visa indicates that certain conditions must be met, in particular with regard to the rule of law and the fight against organized crime and criminal activity. Currently, these conditions are not fulfilled by Kosovo ”, a diplomatic source told Kosovo-based Gazeta Express.

In July of this year, European Union rapporteur Viola von Cramon again stressed that French President Emanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte are responsible for the delay in the visa liberalization process for citizens of Kosovo.

According to von Cramon, Macron and Rutte are “keeping their foot on the hiatus” regarding the current process of visa liberalization for Kosovo.

Former Kosovo Minister for European Integration Dhurata Hoxha also accused France and the Netherlands of blocking the visa liberalization process in the past.

Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans that does not have a visa-free travel agreement with the European Union, although all EU passport holders can enter Kosovo without a visa.

Kosovo’s journey in this process began on February 19, 2012, when the visa liberalization dialogue began. On July 18, 2018, the European Commission declared Kosovo to meet the two special visa liberalization requirements. On the same day, Commissioner Avramopoulos urged the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly adopt the Commission proposal on lifting visa requirements for citizens of Kosovo.

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