Kosovo NGO criticizes EU visa regime, warns of creation of "ghetto"
BBC Monitoring Europe (Political) - July 17, 2009 Friday

Text of report by Kosovo Albanian privately-owned newspaper Koha Ditore on 13 July

[Commentary by Ramadan Ilazi of the Fol 08 (Speak up 08) Civic Initiative NGO: "Ghetto"]

Ghetto is a term that refers to isolated communities without access or links to the region, and this is something we are about to experience.

Kosova [Kosovo], the most optimistic and pro-Western country on the planet, will be rewarded with marginalization and disparagement by the European Commission [EC] for its loyalty to democracy and Western values.

Visa liberalization for Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro only will turn Kosova into a ghetto, because of the new rules that will be introduced to enter these countries.

These countries could also decide to introduce visas and other bureaucratic measures that will make the movement of Kosova's citizens even more difficult.

Kosova has the highest degree of commercial and human exchange with precisely these three countries.

In this way, Albania will remain the only country where we will be able to travel without big problems. By disrespecting Kosova's orientation towards Euro-Atlantic integration, the EU leaves us with no other alternative except "Unification with Albania."

Poor judiciary, failure of the government to fight corruption and organized crime, the inability to implement laws, and inefficient public administration are among the reasons why Kosova is not part of the visa liberalization process.

Nevertheless, the European Commission rushed when it announced abolition of visas for three countries only. The decision should be postponed until a similar visa liberalization process takes place in Kosova, too. In this process, the EU could also tackle the issue of staff behaviour in some of its embassies in Kosova.

Besides limiting the freedom of movement to Kosova's citizens, the EC decision will have consequences for the country's economy as well.

It will bring other small, but practical problems, given that many embassies issue visas for Kosovars in Shkup [Skopje]. Kosovars go to Shkup for advanced medical treatment as well. This will be very difficult in the future.

The European Commission liberalized visas for Serbia, which has not yet extradited war criminals, and disparaged Kosova, which is practically governed by the EC.

Kosova's isolation makes no sense, given that it transferred its essential components of sovereignty to the European institutions.

This is hypocrisy and humiliation for the Kosova citizens on the part of the European Union.

It seems that when the European Commission says that the Balkans have European prospects, it only refers to these three countries of the region.

Source: Koha Ditore, Pristina, in Albanian 13 Jul 09 p 11
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