EU expansion: Kosovo set to be granted visa free travel to EU in further enlargement

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    High unemployment, perennial corruption and a series of recent crises in the country had put Kosovo’s prospects of joining the EU slim in February.

    But on Wednesday, the commission said it was satisfied with Kosovo’s crackdown on organised crime and corruption, as well as a new demarcation agreement with Montenegro.

    Once the legislation comes into effect, Kosovars with biometric passports will no longer require visas when travelling for short stays of up to 90 days to all EU Member States, except for Ireland and the UK.

    Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Kosovo has made great progress over the last two years to fulfil the two-remaining visa liberalisation requirements.

    “Today, we can confirm that both outstanding benchmarks have now been met, and that all other benchmarks continue to be met.

    “I also count on Kosovo to continue addressing both migration and security challenges, including the fight against corruption. I now call on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly adopt our proposal on lifting visa requirements for Kosovo citizens.

    “This will be an important moment for Kosovo, for the entire Western Balkan region, and for Europe as a whole.”

    The Commission said it will continue to monitor the implementation of all requirements set out in the visa liberalisation roadmap, handed to Kosovo in June 2012.

    The commission said Kosovo is continuing in its quest to fulfil all other benchmarks set out in the roadmap including readmission and reintegration, document security, migration and border management, public order and security, and fundamental rights related to the freedom of movement.

    Earlier in July, The Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) called on the Prime Minister to aid the Balkan nations in their quest for EU membership.

    It urged the Government to develop a “credible and independent” 10-year plan of action for its relationship with the nations – in light of continued pressure from Russia.

    Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the FAC, said: “The Western Balkans have come a long way since the 1990s, when the region was engulfed in violence.

    “But the Western Balkans Six have further to go if they are to qualify for EU membership.

    “Opposition from some countries around the world will harm their interests and those of neighbouring EU states.”

    The leaders of Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro met politicians including Theresa May and Angela Merkel in London on July 10 to discuss key issues including EU accession.

    View the original article:

    At the meeting, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Brexit negotiations were not easy but suggested Warsaw was satisfied with the progress that had been made.

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