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LIBE Committee Approves Visa-Free Travel for Kosovo Citizens on Jan. 1, 2024

In a meeting conducted on Thursday, January 12, the European Union Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) approved visa-free travel for Kosovo citizens to the 27 Schengen Area countries by January 1, 2024, at the latest.

Visa-free travel for Kosovo was approved with 48 votes in favour, seven against, and three abstentions, and was announced via a tweet from the LIBE Committee's official account.

“The trilogue agreement on visa liberalisation with Kosovo was approved by LIBE Committee MEPs with 48 in favour, seven against, and three abstaining,” the post read.

The Committee's Rapporteur, Dutch politician Thijs Reuten, applauded the vote in a tweet.

“One step closer! To the long-awaited visa-free travel for Kosovo,” Reuten wrote after he had announced the voting earlier this week on his personal Twitter account.

The news was welcomed by Kosovo Twitter users, while some did not hesitate to express their displeasure, calling the process interminable.

“You’re voting for the same matter for the 100th time. The RKS got the green light years ago,” a Twitter user commented.

Others chastised the seven MEPs who voted against Kosovo visa liberalisation, calling it "discrimination against Kosovo nationals who right to travel freely like any other European."

On December 14, last year, the EU Council and Parliament agreed to allow citizens of this country to enter the Schengen area visa-free beginning November 1, 2023, at the earliest, and January 1, 2024, at the latest.

Kosovo submitted their application for EU membership on the same day. Five EU nations, including Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Cyprus, and Greece, have yet to recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

Now that the LIBE Committee has approved the draught document allowing Kosovo people to enter the EU without a visa, it will be presented to the EU Parliament for approval. After that, the document will need to be supported by the Council before it can be officially adopted.

Kosovo has been working to acquire visa liberalisation for its nationals since February 19, 2012, and got the roadmap outlining the prerequisites for visa-free travel on June 14, the same year.

Only six years later, on July 18, 2018, it obtained a favourable recommendation from the EU Commission, confirming that Kosovo has completed all of the standards outlined in the roadmap for its residents to be able to travel visa-free to the 27 Schengen area nations.



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