Prime Minister Hoti: Kosovo has fulfilled all the criteria for visa liberalization




Prishtina, 27 June 2020

Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, after returning from the official visit to Brussels, held a press conference, informing on the meetings he had with the high representatives of the European Union.

Prime Minister Hoti stated that during these meetings they have discusses topics of vital interest for the state of Kosovo, ranging from visa issue, fight against the pandemics, economic recovery, dialogue, latest developments in Kosovo, cancellation of the visit to Washington and preparations for the Paris Summit.

Full speech of the Prime Minister Hoti in the press release

Thank you all for your presence today on Saturday!

We invited you to present some of the issues related to the visit to Brussels, which I consider to be extremely important for the state and Government of Kosovo.

As you have seen in the yesterday’s agenda, we had meetings of the highest level within the institutions of the European Union, ranging from the President of the Council, Charles Michel, President of European Commission, Mrs. Von der Leyen, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi and President of the Commission for Foreign Policy within the European Parliament, who at the same time is the Vice President of European People’s Party and friend of Kosovo, David McAllister.

I consider topics discussed during these meetings to be of vital interest for the state of Kosovo, starting from visa. It is my pleasure to state the full understanding of the European Commission and European Parliament for the need of Kosovo and Kosovo’s citizens to move freely as soon as possible.

All recognize that Kosovo has fulfilled all the criteria imposed for visa liberalization. Now our Government is obliged to maintain those criteria we have met for visa liberalization.

I expect that some of the member countries, which in the past used to be sceptic in this regard, thanks to the commitment of the new Government for European Reform Agenda, SAA implementation and justice reforms, will further, as soon as possible, the issue of visa liberalization.

As you have seen, a group of Members of European Parliament addressed yesterday in written the Chancellor Merkel, given that the Germany, starting from July 1, takes over the Presidency of EU, members of all parliamentary groups, without exemption, and this gives us hope that all groups of European Parliament agree for visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens.

We will work in the coming weeks with each of EU countries individually in order to show our dedication for reforms and maintaining criteria we have already fulfilled for visa liberalization.

The second issue we have discussed is the fight against the pandemic. I thanked the Commission and EU institutions for their support in the fight against the pandemic, both financial and technical support.

As it is obvious, we should prepare for the second wave of the pandemic and we will work closely with the Ministry of Health and health institutions in order to build all capacities necessary to normalize the life, business, education and other institutions as soon as possible and adapt to the pandemics conditions. The Government is oriented to implement the protocols of the European Commission with regards to the fight against the pandemic.

The third issue we discussed in details is the economic recovery and support necessary for the Western Balkans and Kosovo, in particular to overcome economic consequences of the pandemic.

I have informed the EU institutions for the efforts made so far, including the establishment of the fund for economic recovery consisting of nearly EUR 400 million and agreed to treat, in the second half of the year, the Western Balkans and Kosovo, in an inclusive package of the economic support and recovery provided by the European Union for all these countries.

We agreed to review the European reform agenda once again, based on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, but also review it by imposing clear criteria in order to be focused on European integration. This is the first issue I wanted to discuss with you and citizens.

Secondly, the political developments and last developments in particular in Kosovo changed a little bit the dynamics of our agenda as the Government after the notification for the indictment filed by the Specialised Prosecutor Office. With regards to this issues, allow me to state three pillars of the position of our Government:

Firstly, the Liberation War of the Kosovo people is the greatest achievement of our organization to gain independence. This war is sacred for the people of Kosovo, this war brought us freedom and independence and in fact the act of declaration of independence recognized by the International Court of Justice fully legitimates the war of Kosovo’s people for freedom and independence.

Secondly, we should agree to fully comply with the principle of justice, which is presumption of innocence until the final decision of this competent court.

Thirdly, I am convinced that all institutions, persons responsible within institutions in Kosovo, will show maturity for the new situation, as we showed maturity in the past to fully fulfil our constitutional and legal obligations, but also our international obligations.

The last issue I want to discuss with you is the dialogue process. Allow me to reiterate that regardless of the changes in the agenda recently with regards to the dialogue, the government remains committed for the dialogue process. We deeply believe that there is no other alternative. I have presented this position yesterday to the senior officials of the European Union and these officials we met yesterday.

It is for the interest of the state of Kosovo to conclude this process as soon as possible as the European Union, key EU countries and USA are very interested.

Due to the recent developments, which I mentioned above, we postponed the visit to Washington. I have intensively communicated with the Special Envoy of the President Trump for dialogue, Ambassador Grenell.

After the discussions with him, we agreed to ultimately postpone the meeting for another date, which will happen soon. You will be informed soon of the date to be set for this meeting. The agenda of that meeting remains the same, namely to trigger the support for dialogue process through an economic development agenda that completely changes the economic situation of both countries, but also in the region.

We are making the final arrangements for the Paris Summit. Our Government has agreed to attend that Summit chaired by two main EU countries. In fact, we are honoured to have such a great focus and interest of the President of France and German Chancellor for this process. In the coming days we will work hard within the Government to functionalize the structures necessary for the dialogue process through the Council of Experts for dialogue, who will be prepared to present our stance for each of topics raised in the dialogue process.

I believe that the agenda for this Summit will be soon made public and you will be informed on time.

Thank you for your attention!