- Since midnight, citizens of Kosovo have been allowed to enter the Schengen area without a visa.
- Hundreds of people took advantage of the option at Pristina Airport, according to Reuters.
- Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurdi welcomed passengers at the airport and said: “This day is important. A great injustice has now been removed.
“I now feel free as a bird because I can travel anywhere in Europe,” said Habib Spahiu, who plans to make a two-day visit to Vienna with his son. He was one of a group of 50 people who won a government-sponsored lottery.
The Schengen area allows more than 400 million people to travel freely between member states without border restrictions. Strict demands from EU member states and internal disputes have delayed Kosovo's integration process for years.
In 2018, the European Union declared that all requirements were met. But France and the Netherlands halted that decision, fearing a new wave of immigration.
Independent since 2008
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. But the young government is still the UN. Opposition from Serbia, Russia and China prevented this. The country is legally recognized by more than 110 countries, but its 1.8 million citizens can travel to fewer than 20 countries without a visa. Kosovo is still one of the poorest countries in Europe, and many see the visa waiver as an opportunity to get a job abroad.
Kosovo is the last of six Western Balkan countries to have this travel relief implemented. The new restriction also applied to Switzerland, and he kept it The Federal Council decided in the spring. However, Kosovars who want to work in Switzerland still need a work visa.
“Wannabe pop culture fanatic. Zombie advocate. Entrepreneur. Internet evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Typical travel buff.”