De Riu: Dialogue, historic opportunity; visa liberalization overdue

Italian Ambassador to Kosovo, Antonello De Riu, said in an interview with news agency ANSA that Italy strongly supports the EU-facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.

“It is a historic opportunity for the two countries to finally close the tragic legacies of the past and look ahead towards European Union accession. The legitimate aspiration of Kosovo to be part of the Council of Europe is crucial – an important signal of engagement for democracy, rule of law, and protection of the rights of its citizens – to be also nurtured by significant progress in the dialogue facilitated by the EU,” De Riu said. 

The ambassador noted that Italy, alongside other Quint members, encourages the parties to work constructively in reaching a final agreement that would contribute to the stability of the region and the European perspective of Kosovo and Serbia. 

Speaking about the war in Ukraine, De Riu said the threat of its spilling over to the Western Balkans can be avoided if the region’s European perspective becomes tangible. “In the case of Kosovo, it is necessary to overcome the growing public opinion’s disappointment in the European integration process, also due to the lack of visa liberalization for the Kosovo citizens – the only ones in the region that do not enjoy this measure – despite the country having achieved all necessary parameters a while ago,” he added.