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Visa freedom for Kosovo: Serbs should stay abroad

Visa freedom for Kosovo: Serbs should stay abroad

DrNegotiations have lasted more than a decade, and there have been repeated delays, but now there is a result. Since 1 January 2024, visa-free travel to the Schengen Area has also applied to residents of Kosovo. Citizens of the country, which declared its independence in 2008, are now allowed to stay in European Union countries for up to 90 days without having to apply for a visa to enter the country. For millions of people from the other five Western Balkan countries, this has been normal for many years.

Michael Martens

Correspondent for Southeastern Europe, based in Vienna.

Therefore, the European Union is compensating for this step, which led to years of delay undermining its credibility in Kosovo. The fact that Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova met the conditions for visa exemption, but Kosovo did not, has long ceased to be a convincing argument. Kosovo has long met the technical requirements – biometric passports and anti-forgery documents such as birth certificates or identity cards. The European Commission confirmed this years ago, and has repeated it several times since. The delay, which mostly came from France, had political reasons. They simply do not want Kosovo to be part of open borders. But in the end, all member states agreed to visa freedom, even Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Romania and Cyprus, which still do not recognize Kosovo as a state.

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