Seferi: Visa abolition is a correction of many years of injustice towards Kosovo citizens
Journalist and writer Idro Seferi stated that the EU had been using the issue of visa liberalization as a punishment against the policies of the governments in Pristina for years and that the announced abolition of visas from January 2024 was a correction of years of injustice towards Kosovo citizens.
Seferi emphasizes for Kosovo Online that visa liberalization is, above all, a humanitarian issue, expressing satisfaction that people from Kosovo, regardless of nationality, will now be able to travel freely.
"Visa liberalization is absolutely the best news for the citizens living in Kosovo in the last ten years, primarily because it is a humanitarian issue. People can travel regardless of their nationality. It is important news for Serbs living in Kosovo as well because they will at least be able to avoid the bureaucratic procedures that were terrible in Kosovo," Seferi said.
According to him, citizens used to take six months to obtain a visa, and even actors, doctors, or people attending family celebrations abroad couldn't move freely.
"The visa application process was lengthy, and in the end, a visa for five or six days was issued. A considerable amount of money was spent on this. Of course, this has been a political issue so far. The EU has sent a very bad message until now because it used visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens as a punishment against the policies of various governments in Kosovo," Seferi explained.
However, despite the benefits, Seferi points out that the introduction of visa liberalization and easier procedures may lead to increased migration from Kosovo.
"Of course, it will be a significant challenge to see how the situation develops afterward, whether there will be more significant migration or not. People are leaving anyway. They find jobs. In Kosovo, a large number of people speak the German language, and many are learning German or other languages, especially because some were there in the 1990s. Some completed part of their education in European countries. This will benefit EU countries as a ready workforce," Seferi notes for Kosovo Online.
He believes that the liberation from the visa regime is, however, correcting years of injustice. He expressed particular satisfaction that Serbia also supported visa liberalization for Kosovo.
"It is very good that Serbia also supported visa liberalization for the citizens of Kosovo because it is not often that something like this is supported. But I think this is a correction of an injustice. As I said, it is also for citizens of Serbian nationality in Kosovo because, despite having passports, they had to go through these procedures. And now, people will finally be able to just buy a ticket and go somewhere," Seferi said.
As he assesses, people will initially "rush" to visit relatives abroad.
"Here's a personal example. My brother has been living in Germany for 25 years. My parents could only visit him once. They were not there when his children were born, when they celebrated birthdays, or for some important events because the procedure was such that you couldn't schedule an appointment. It was very complicated to apply through the online application, which they could not always understand. I think this will make life easier for many who need to travel, and it will also make it easier for people who want to study and improve in their professions, so I hope everyone will then come back," Seferi concluded.