The Commission starts a dialogue with Kosovo on visa free travel

The European Commission launched a dialogue with Kosovo in order to eventually lift the visa obligation for citizens of Kosovo. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs was in Pristina, assured that whether and how soon citizens obtain the privilege of visa-free travel will depend entirely on the Government of Kosovo's continuing efforts to implement reforms in the rule of law area.

The Commission launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo. The aim of this dialogue is to eventually lift the visa obligation for citizens of Kosovo. According to the Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, this will only be possible once the Government of Kosovo has implemented substantial reforms in key areas such as the security of travel documents; border, migration and asylum management; public order and security issues (notably the fight against organised crime and corruption) and fundamental rights issues related to the freedom of movement. MEPs already proposed to start dialogue on visa liberalisation with Kosovo in 2009.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia already joined the EU's visa-free regime in December 2009 and Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina in November 2010. This process was achieved following the dialogues with five Western Balkans countries in order to allow their citizens to travel to the EU without a visa and the correspondent positive assessment on the progress made by these countries in implementing major reforms.

Commissioner Malmström is in Pristina (Kosovo) for the launching of this visa liberalisation dialogue. In addition, she will held during her two days visit, bilateral meetings with national, regional and local authorities. Among other activities, she will visit the Centre for Protection of Victims and Prevention of Trafficking in Human in Pristina, a non-profit organisation providing social and legal assistance, temporary safe accommodation, education and basic vocational skills to victims and potential victims of trafficking.