Integrimi Evropian

Minister Hoxha: Visa liberalization closer, now everything is in the hands of member states

September 14, 2018

Prishtina, 14 September 2018 – Minister of European Integration, Dhurata Hoxha, held a press conference, whereby discussing visa liberalization, and yesterday’s voting in favour of visa liberalization by European Parliament. In the beginning, Minister Hoxha thanked media for reporting on visa liberalization process, and for making their headlines with this topic.

“I have pointed out that this process will be fully transparent and our citizens will be informed of all steps until the conclusion of this process that is crucial for the country. Yesterday, the European Parliament approved, with a solid majority, the entering into negotiation for visa liberalization for Kosovars. This approval in the European Parliament was a step further to the free movement for our citizens”, state Minister Hoxha.

Moreover, Minister Hoxha stated the next steps following the voting in European Parliament.
“Voting in the European Parliament provides the Council of Ministers the opportunity to approve visa liberalization for Kosovo. With regards to the EU Council of Ministers (main EU institution under the Austrian Presidency up to 31 December 2018), it is worth mentioning that the format deciding on visa liberalization is that of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, in which ministers of justice convene to deal with legal cooperation in civil, criminal matters and human rights, while the ministers of home affairs deal with migration, border management and, inter alia, police cooperation,” stated Minister Hoxha.

Minister Hoxha stated that EU Council of Minister consists of some of structures, ranging from Working Parties, Committees, COREPER and format of ministers.
“On 17 September 2018, within the EU Council, the Visa Working Party will meet. The Visa Working Party will be covered by capital cities of EU Member States and consist of experts of ministries of home affairs. The Visa Working Party is chaired by the Presidency of the Council, Austrian Presidency in this case. Karl-August Lux is the current Chair of Visa WP from Austrian Presidency”, stated Minister Hoxha.

“On 25-26 September, COWEB visits Kosovo institutions regarding visa liberalization process” stated Minister Hoxha, adding that “this mission will look closer on situation with regards to reforms of Kosovo, specifically Rule of Law and its related aspects”. As Minister Hoxha stated, inputs received by this mission will orient the decision-making of structures of the Council of Ministers, i.e. will impact the decision-making of COWEB (the Visa Working Party), then of COREPER and finally will impact the decision of the Council of Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice.

“Following the end of discussions and voting in COWEB and the Visa WP, if there is consent, the proposal proceeds to the level of COREPER where Ambassadors of EU Member States convene. COREPER convenes 6 to 9 times per month, e.g. 7 meetings in September 2018, 6 meetings in October, 9 meetings in November and 6 meetings in December. The Format of Ministers of JHA typically convenes on quarterly basis and remaining meetings are those to be held on 11-12 October 2018 and 6-7 December 2018.

Should the ministers of Justice and Home Affairs Council vote in favour of visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens, then the document to be signed by the Council and Parliament and published in the EU Official Journal is the Regulation of European Parliament and of the Council amending the Regulation No. 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement.

Following the approval in the Council of Ministers and publication of Regulation, the entry into force depends on the decision of these relevant institutions”, stated Minister Hoxha.

As regards to next steps that can be taken by our institutions, Minister Hoxha stated that “I can say that we have already met the criteria and now everything is in the hands of member states. Member states should unite to European Parliament and decide for free movement of citizens”.

“It is worth mentioning that the only thing we can do now is the awareness-raising campaign, which we have already commenced. This campaign aims at raising awareness and informing citizens of what is and what is not visa liberalization in terms of rights and obligations. Allow me to state once again that this process will be fully transparent and citizens will be informed on time of any development”, stated Minister Hoxha, and responded to the questions of journalists present.

Last modified: August 8, 2022

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