Visa liberalization linking to the political dialogue-disappointing

Kosovo’s Minister of European Integration, Dhurata Hoxha, said in an interview to Radio Free Europe that it would be disappointing if the visa liberalization process for Kosovo is linked to the political dialogue with Serbia.

“It would be disappointing to see such tendencies, although we must admit that we had requested, to suspend the tariff [on Serbian goods] or for the resumption of dialogue, related to one another. So, there was a request to suspend the tariff and then resume dialogue. I don’t think these two should be related because this is a process that has so far been purely technical and now it has been politicized in Kosovo’s case … We have earlier seen a clear process, but lately this process has become very unclear for the Republic of Kosovo. I hope these two do not become related because since the beginning we have paid double the price compared to other countries in the region. We had to meet 95 requirements, whereas other countries had 40 – 45 requirements,” she said.

Hoxha said it is in Kosovo’s interest to reach a comprehensive agreement on mutual recognition with Serbia, as this would pave the way to a quicker European integration process.

“But at the same time, it is not fair for the European Union not to keep its word. We all know that this process has been very clear for all countries in the region: meet the requirements and the decision on visa liberalization is made. I hope there won’t be such tendencies. We have made this clear and I have said in many of my meetings that Kosovo should not pay another price for visa liberalization and we should not be asked to do something that has no relation to the visa liberalization process,” Hoxha said.