Monday

29th May 2017

Crime levels bode ill for Kosovo's EU visa-free bid

  • The EU police mission in Kosovo, Eulex, is the Union's biggest operation of its kind (Photo: eeas.europa.eu)

Kosovo is lagging behind in crime fighting reforms, limiting its prospects of obtaining EU visa-free travel.

The European Commission in a report released on Tuesday (12 February) described Kosovo’s capacity to fight organised crime and corruption as limited, “with a potentially severe impact on the EU’s internal security.”

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Senior commission officials delivered the message to Kosovo’s minister for European Integration Vlora Citaku on Tuesday.

Despite the bad news, Citaku told reporters in Pristina that progress has been achieved in all the blocks defined by the EU's so-called roadmap for visa liberalization.

But she did note that “there is still much to do and that our institutions will continue their maximum commitment in the implementation of all requirements and recommendations of the European commission report."

Hard drugs like heroine and trafficked people are among a long list of problems where the commission wants to see improvements.

The wealth it generates provides “considerable incentives for bribery, money laundering and the abuse of public procurement procedures,” the commission report said.

The breakaway nation launched its visa liberalization dialogue with the EU in January 2012 and started EU-mandated reforms last summer.

Neighbouring western Balkan countries including Serbia already have a visa-free regime, entitling their citizens to travel throughout the EU for up to three months with no permit.

The commission report pointed to areas where Kosovo needs to make further progress.

For one, it said Kosovo should make marked improvements in putting an end to human trafficking. While the legal and institutional framework against trafficking is being put together, the commission says Kosovo remains a place of origin and transit point for trafficked women and children.

Women are shipped against their will for sexual exploitation throughout the EU while children are forced to beg on its streets, the commission noted.

Other Kosovar women and children are coerced into prostitution, marriage or forced labour. Most young women trafficked into Kosovo come from Albania, Moldova, Poland and Serbia.

Authorities have cracked down on some of the networks. In 2011, they netted 88 suspected trafficking offenders but the judiciary is backlogged with massive case loads.

Europol, the EU police agency in the Hague, bagged over 100 suspects in a human smuggling end of January in a network of countries that included Kosovo.

The report also cites endemic corruption.

Despite a raft of new laws and a new anti-corruption agency, results have been limited. The commission says agency is ill-equipped.

Abuse of public procurement remains prevalent and a law on political party financing still does not prohibit donations from people or organisations that are in a position of a conflict of interest.

Opinion

Balkans media: EU words are not enough

Open letter to the EU commission: Despite all the conferencing in Brussels, threats to media freedom in Kosovo and beyond are getting worse.

Children among dead in UK bomb attack

Children are among the victims after a suspected suicide bomber detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday, the latest in a string of terror attacks to hit Europe.

EU and US discuss in-flight laptop ban

A meeting between US and EU officials in Brussels on possibly imposing a laptop ban on commercial flights was described by one senior Trump administration official as "robust".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  2. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  3. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform
  4. Club de combat: des espions russes recherchent des recrues européennes
  5. Judges refuse to 'let go' of Le Pen's fake jobs case
  6. Merkel: Europe cannot rely on its allies anymore
  7. Macron to tell Putin EU sanctions to stay
  8. China summit and Juncker in MEP tax hearing This WEEK