France and visa liberalisation for Kosovo. Ready to move forward?

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Publication Date October 2022
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Kosovo’s EU visa liberalisation process, for many years now, has been an ordeal for Kosovo citizens and a thorn in the image of the EU in the Western Balkans. Reaching a conclusion to this process would allow both the EU and Kosovo to move forwards in a regional and European context fraught with geopolitical instability. The position of France in this matter remains cardinal. Together with various other member states, it has since 2018 prevented the process from returning to the Council’s voting agenda. However, a recent shift in the French position could now set a positive course and have implications beyond Kosovo.

This report builds on the analysis of official documents and a series of interviews with policymakers and politicians from France and Kosovo. It examines the French position on Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process since 2018, as well as its motives and driving forces. It discusses how Kosovo has approached the issue and how the last remaining obstacles could be removed. While highlighting the strategic character of the issue in the broader context, the report finally explores the implications that the completion of Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process could have for the EU, the region, as well as France and Kosovo.

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