The European Commission delivered the Visa Liberalization Roadmap in June 2012. Considering the wide range of interconnected issues related to visa liberalization, the roadmap aimed to identify the legislation and all other measures that Kosovo needed to adopt and implement, as well as the conditions to be met in the short term for progress towards visa liberalization.
The Roadmap contained 95 criteria and was organized into respective blocks:
Block 0. Repatriation and Reintegration;
Block 1. Document Security;
Block 2. Border/Boundary and Migration Management;
Block 3. Public Order and Security;
Block 4. Fundamental Rights related to the Freedom of Movement.
To access the list of criteria for Kosovo within the Visa Liberalization Roadmap, click the link: Visa Liberalization Roadmap.
To address these measures, in April 2013, an Action Plan was drafted, which contained specific actions to fulfill the recommendations and measurement indicators that would be used to monitor the implementation of criteria and recommendations. The entire plan contained about 150 specific actions.
Key achievements during the process include:
In the area of reintegration and repatriation: the allocation and adequate spending of the budget by investing in the long-term reintegration of repatriated individuals.
In the area of document security, the legal framework was amended and supplemented for the name change.
In the area of migration and asylum, a drastic decrease in the number of Kosovo citizens seeking asylum in EU countries has been demonstrated, while at the same time, conditions and capacities have been created for potential refugee flows from third countries to Kosovo. Law on Public Procurement has been amended, making it mandatory to suspend and dismiss officials accused and convicted of criminal offenses, and the electronic procurement platform has been operationalized.
In the area of human rights protection, the legal framework has been completed, and an agreement has been reached with Serbia on free movement between Kosovo and Serbia, allowing citizens of both countries to travel within or through the territories of both countries with identity cards. Also, the last remaining criteria related to the work of the Ombudsperson Institution, specifically ensuring an adequate facility and budgetary independence for this institution. Both of these points have been fully achieved.
On 4 May 2016, the European Commission approved the recommendation for the lifting of visas for Kosovo as it has been assessed that Kosovo has implemented the obligations issued by the visa liberalization roadmap. While in July 2016, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee issued a recommendation to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties to approve the visa waiver recommendation. In the last Report published on 18 July 2018, the fulfillment of all criteria was confirmed. Based on this report, following the ratification of the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro on 21 March 2018, one of the two remaining criteria has been fulfilled.
In 2022, the Government of Kosovo worked closely with the European Commission and the Czech Presidency of the EU to put this issue back on the EU Council agenda. On 12 August 2022, the Government of Kosovo submitted an updated technical report to the European Commission, emphasizing achievements in the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organized crime, reintegration, asylum and migration management. Following the positive assessment of this update, the Czech Presidency included it on the Council agenda in the visa working group, thereby unblocking a process that had been stalled for 4 years.
EU Regulation 2023/850 has already been published in the EU Official Journal and entered into force on 15 May 2023.. According to it, citizens of Kosovo with biometric passports will enjoy the right to travel without visas for short-term visits starting from 1 January 2024.
For more information visit the link https://integrimievropian.rks-gov.net/vizat/