- Removing tariffs is an important signal for political cooperation
- Visa liberalisation for Kosovar citizens as soon as possible would be a sign of EU solidarity
This is a crucial step, which will lead to the resumption of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, MEPs hope.
Following the decision taken by Kosovo’s government to completely lift taxes imposed on goods imported from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as of 1 April, the European Parliament’s standing rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA, DE), and the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, Romeo Franz (Greens/EFA, DE), made the following statements.
Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel said: “We are very happy about the decision made by the Kosovo caretaker government to lift the 100 percent tariffs. This is a very important signal for political cooperation in the region and a crucial step, which we hope will lead to the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue, so that relations between Belgradeand Pristina can be normalised.”
Romeo Franz said: “We count on the EU member states to fulfil their promise to grant visa liberalisation to Kosovar citizens as soon as possible, despite the current political crisis. This could be an important sign of solidarity, especially for the young people of Kosovo and for the country's commitment to its European future.”
In November 2018, Kosovo imposed a 100% levy on imports of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The European Parliament repeatedly called for the tariffs to be removed and for the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue to continue.
Kosovo lifted taxes on raw materials on 15 March and decided to lift all taxes on 1 April, but expects reciprocity from Serbia. It will assess the implementation of its decision on 15 June. The principle of reciprocity will not apply to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are the two Western Balkan countries which have not recognised Kosovo as an independent state.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. It has been recognised by 22 EU member states, with the exception of Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans that has not been granted visa liberalisation. The European Parliament has repeatedly called on the European Council to abolish the visa regime for Kosovo passport holders.