Kosovo: MEPs welcome lifting the tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

EU_Kosovo_Header

  • Removal of tariffs is an important signal for political cooperation
  • Visa liberalisation for Kosovar citizens as soon as possible as 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 of Kosovo’s government to fully 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) said:

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel:

We are very happy about the decision of 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 for the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

Romeo Franz:

We count on the EU Member States to fulfil their promise for visa liberalisation for Kosovar citizens as soon as possible, despite the current political crisis. This can be an important sign of solidarity, especially for the young people of Kosovo and for the country’s commitment to its European future.

 

Background

In November 2018 Kosovo imposed a levy of 100 % on imports of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The European Parliament repeatedly called for the removal of the tariffs and the resumption of the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue.

Kosovo lifted the taxes on raw materials on 15 March and decided to lift all taxes on 1 April, but expects form Serbia reciprocity. It wil 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.

 

LINKS:

  • Commission report on the implementation of the remaining benchmarks of the visa liberalisation roadmap by Kosovo (18. July 2018)

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/20180718_com-2018-543-report_en.pdf

  • EP resolution on the 2018 Commission Report on Kosovo (29 November 2018)

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-8-2018-0479_EN.html

  • European Parliament first reading position on visa liberalisation for Kosovo (9 September 2016)

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2016-0261_EN.html

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