President Thaçi: Today marks the beginning of the demolition last isolationist wall

Brussels, July 18th 2018 – President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi ,accompanied by the Speaker of the Parliament Kadri Veseli, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, and Deputy Prime Ministers Behgjet Pacolli, Fatmir Limaj and Dardan Gashi, met today with the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

After the meeting, President Thaçi and Commissioner Avramopoulos, held a press conference.

The head of Ssate said that today’s decision of the European Commission to declare the fulfilment of all the criteria in favour of a visa liberalisation for Kosovo is one of the best news, long awaited by the citizens of Kosovo.

According to him, this is a historic moment and a recognition of years long endeavours towards Kosovo’s anchoring in the heart of Europe.

“Honourable Commissioner Avramopoulos, I express my gratitude for all your support to our traversing of these last kilometres. And I must emphasize that these last kilometres, have been very long indeed. Nevertheless, I am happy that together we have reached this important goal, and that very soon we will reach the moment when citizens of Kosovo will be travelling visa free to the EU states”, said President Thaçi.

President Thaçi also pointed out that visa liberalisation is the most meaningful moment in Kosovo’s EU path, up to the very moment of EU membership.

“Today commences the demolition of the last isolating wall of an entire society in Europe” said the President, and added that “today’s news concludes a tough and rigorous cycle of the fulfilment of the requirements by European Commission. As we have stated previously, Kosovo has fulfilled all the criteria laid by the visa liberalisation guidelines, and today, we are in full agreement with our partners at the European Commission”, said the President.

President Thaçi also said that this was not a gift, but an acknowledgement of the hard work we carried out together.

He expressed his gratitude to each member of the delegation individually, Speaker of the Parliament, Prime Minister, Deputy Ministers but also for the political spectrum, opposition, previous governments and all institutions of the land, law and order bodies, including the courts, which provide a relentless effort to this process.

President Thaçi also expressed the determination that this effort will be continued  with the same dedication during the forthcoming stages.

“Visa liberalisation for the citizens of Kosovo will ease the freedom of movement of people and will also have a positive influence in movement of goods and above all will advance the European values and ideals in Kosovo. I have the faith and determination to continue towards the conclusion of this important process. Today’s news will be a thrust to our daily engagements in moving forward the important reforms, including the issues related to the rule of law” , stated the head of state.

He also added that it is evident that Kosovo, apart from being a country aspiring EU membership, is also an actual EU partner in addressing of common challenges, as in migration, security and many other issues of common interest.

“In this case I must say that we are aware of EU’s internal challenges, related to migration, increase of populism and so on, but being ready and already prepared for, I do not believe that we have much time, or a better opportunity to finalize this joint years long project, in order to end the overdue isolation of citizens of Kosovo, the only ones in Balkans and beyond, who have not as yet benefited from this opportunity”, stated President Thaçi.

According to him, independent institutions will continue the process with utmost determination, in order to provide as many arguments in facing the member states.

At the end, please allow me to express a sincere gratitude at the end, to you personally, for you great engagement. The biggest reward we can offer to you, is the effect that this will have upon our nation, in strengthening and preservation of EU’s credibility in our country, but also the positive effect this will have in the dialogue process”, said President Thaçi.