EU Visa-Free Travel for Kosovo

EU Visa-Free Travel for Kosovo

Relief for Kosovo Nationals

Starting Monday, Kosovo nationals can travel to Europe’s borderless zone without a visa. This new visa liberalization scheme by the European Union allows Kosovars to stay in the passport-free Schengen zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

A Step Towards Recognition

Kosovo sees this reform as a positive step towards full recognition and joining the European Union. Many Kosovars are relieved by this change, including businessman Rushit Sopi, who called it a “great relief.”

Expensive Visas

Before this change, Kosovars had to pay 300 euros ($331) for each visa. Sopi calculated that he spent 2,500 euros on EU visas alone when he last changed his passport. This new visa-free travel will save Kosovars a lot of money.

Preparations for Visa-Free Travel

European embassies in Pristina, especially the German consulate, were ready for the visa-free travel. The German ambassador, Jorn Rohde, issued the last visas to Kosovars a few days ago and encouraged them to visit Germany for the upcoming Euro football championship.

Historic Day for Kosovo

Kosovars have been eagerly awaiting January 1st as a historic day for their country. However, they also blame both Brussels and Pristina for the long delay in lifting the visa regime. Kosovo was the last country in the Western Balkans to receive this waiver.

Second-Class Citizens

Kosovars feel that Europe has treated them as second-class citizens. They believe that the fight against corruption and organized crime, which was one of the conditions for visa liberalization, was delayed by their own politicians. Translator Adelina Kasolli said, “Our politicians are also responsible for such a long wait.”

Benefits and Concerns

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, led a campaign to explain the benefits of the new visa-free travel. He urged Kosovars to respect the criteria and remember that their home is Kosovo. However, there are concerns about the possible abuse of this new regime and the potential impact on the labor force.

Inflation and EU Economic Challenges

Emigration Fears

The government in Pristina has been warning people not to misuse the freedom of travel by looking for jobs in the EU. Despite this, around 18% of private sector employees are expected to quit their jobs and try to emigrate this year. The fear is that this could lead to even greater labor force shortages in Kosovo.

Excitement for Travel

Despite the concerns, many Kosovars are excited about the new visa-free travel. Rushit Sopi, the businessman mentioned earlier, is taking his wife to an EU country for the first time. His wife, Valdete, said, “The decision to lift visas is more than welcome. We have family in Germany and Switzerland, and it was time to visit them.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply