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News 17 May 16

Lunacek Urges Kosovo to Ratify Montenegro Deal

The Vice President of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek, said Kosovo should ratify a border demarcation deal with Montenegro if it wants to obtain a visa-free regime with the EU.

Amire Qamili
Ulrike Lunacek said Kosovo would need to confirm a border agreement with Montenegro and to produce real results with corruption and organised crime to get the visa liberalisation in the EU. Photo: BIRN

With a football in her hands, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Ulrike Lunacek, congratulated Kosovo on its admission into FIFA and UEFA, football's main international bodies, before going to say that the ball was in Kosovo’s field if it wishes to secure visa liberalisation with the EU.

“When it comes to the next positive thing, a green light from the Commission for the visa liberalisation process, the ball is now in the hands of your government and your assembly to… conclude the border agreement with Montenegro,” Lunaccek said in Pristina.

She also urged Kosovo to produce more concrete results in terms of corruption and organised crime cases, as this was the second condition for the effectuation of visa liberalisation.

Lunacek said that if Kosovo institutions do their job, “the ball will be on the European side”, voicing optimism that the visa process will move forward in the European Parliament.

Lunacek’s remarks were another reminder for Kosovo about its obligations to obtain visa liberalisation – a process that started on May 4, when the European Commission advised the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to add Kosovo to the list of visa-free countries.

However, the European Commission said that Kosovo must first step up its efforts to tackle organised crime and corruption and ratify a border agreement with Montenegro.

The latter is highly controversial in the eyes of the Kosovo opposition parties whose supporters have clashed with police in Pristina over the terms.

While citizens of Kosovo are now the only ones in the Balkans who still need visas to travel into the EU's Schengen area, the country can only end its isolation by ratifying the unpopular deal, which according to the opposition, “robs Kosovo of swathes of territory”.

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