A delegation from the European Union will be in Kosovo this week to gather information on the implementation of the plan against organised crime and corruption, which is the last necessary step for Kosovo towards obtaining visa liberalisation with the EU.
“The evaluation of the EU delegation will be carried out in Kosovo this week. A busy program of meetings with all the institutions is planned, in relation to the specific criterion of the fight against crime and corruption,” said Albanian Minister for European Integration, Dhurata Hoxha, to Radio Free Europe.
Minister Hoxha also stressed that the fight against organised crime and corruption will be a continuous effort, but according to the minister, Kosovo these efforts are already paying off.
“Every attempt to repress organised crime and corruption should be appreciated. Our only road to integration is zero tolerance of crime and corruption at all levels. We believe that the work of the institutions will be evaluated positively,” Hoxha said.
The high rate of corruption and organized crime have been highlighted in almost every report by the European Commission on the country’s progress as one of the biggest problems in Kosovo’s EU integration.
However, Betim Musliu, director of the Kosovo Institute of Justice, has told Radio Free Europe that there are has been a lack of courtroom convictions against individuals accused of crime and corruption. “We, as Kosovo’s Institute of Justice, have repeatedly addressed the lack of results in the fight against corruption and crime. The situation has not changed even now: there are no definitive judgments aimed at proving that these crimes have been condemned,” said Musliu.
However, the director of the judicial institute said he expects a positive outcome from the delegation’s visit. “I believe there will be a progressive EU policy that will grant a concession to accept this state of affairs and grant visa liberalisation. With regard to the fight against corruption, however, we still have a lot of work to do,” Musliu said.
If the European Union delegation decides that Kosovo has met the requirements it will then be up to EU member countries to take the final decision on whether to loosen visa restrictions for Kosovo wishing to travel to the bloc.