Balkans | Kosovo citizens have different opinions about the EU’s visa liberalization decision

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Balkans |  Kosovo citizens have different opinions about the EU’s visa liberalization decision

Opinions of Kosovo citizens differ on the implications of the European Parliament (EP) decision that will allow them to travel visa-free to the Schengen Area from January 1, 2024.

Kosovo residents believe that the downside of visa-free travel to the Schengen area is the exodus of young people from Kosovo, while the positive side is the convenience it will provide for family visits, businesses and tourists in Europe.

An AA reporter asked the public in the capital, Pristina, for their views on the possibility of visa-free travel to the Schengen area.

Arguing that visa-free travel to the Schengen area will have a negative impact on Kosovo, Alush Shahini said, “You train a young man, you train him, you give him the opportunity to graduate from university and turn him into the final product, while the West buys the finished product from us and does not invest in it. He uses his education and his knowledge.” He said.

Sarah Berisha shared the opinion that visa-free travel will not lead to an increase in immigration to Europe and said: “I hope that it will be easier for citizens to travel outside the country. It will be easier for mothers to go abroad and see their children there, for those who want to see new businesses and cultures. He said.

Shib Hajrizi also noted that the people of Kosovo are eagerly awaiting visa-free travel because only Kosovo still has a visa system among European countries.

“Visa-free travel will positively affect the creation of opportunities for economic cooperation”

International relations expert Efrem Mazreko said that visa-free travel to the Schengen area will positively affect the country’s economy.

Stating that in the medium term, Kosovo can bring many people from the Schengen area back to the country as it offers better conditions for some sectors, Mazreko said, “Visa-free travel will positively create new opportunities for partnership and economic cooperation with many companies. Outside Kosovo that would be interested in bringing their capital to Kosovo. It would influence them.” He said.

Arguing that the free movement of citizens without restrictions will not reduce the population, Mazreku used the following phrases:

“A very large and unexplored potential for Albanians is the diaspora, who show very good and successful entrepreneurship in the countries where they work, especially in Germany. Therefore, I believe that if the private sector uses the tools of the diaspora to support the existing private sector in Kosovo, it will have the opposite effect of what We dreaded it.”

It is not possible to prevent the migration of people with “human disability” jobs such as doctors and nurses from Kosovo, Mazreko emphasized that these professional groups will always find a way to migrate in order to develop their careers.

EU decision to liberalize visas with Kosovo

Kosovo citizens will be able to travel to the Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period from January 1, 2024, in line with the decision of the European Parliament.

Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 is not currently recognized by 5 EU members, namely Greece, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the Greek Cypriot administration.

Kosovo submitted an official application for EU membership in December 2022.


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