The eighth summit of the Berlin Process ended in a deadlock, with only good intentions and messages of good wishes from the Balkan countries but nothing concrete was done in practice, due to obstruction by Kosovo and its leader, Albin Kurti.
The Balkan political leaders were offered four agreements to sign; the rule was that no signature would be put on any documents unless all the countries agreed.
Sabine Schuez, director for South-Eastern Europe at the German Foreign Ministry, had previously revealed that these were agreements on free movement (without passports, only with IDs), on a single road space for third-country nationals, but also on the recognition of professional and academic diplomas.
All countries had to sign the documents, otherwise, the talks would not continue as the Berlin Process works on the principle of inclusion. Among the important agreements is free entry to the country that are members of the Berlin Process, transit and short stay of citizens who have biometric IDs.
This would also imply the free movement of third-country nationals through the region to whom one of the signatories has issued a visa. Thus, for example, anyone from countries outside the Western Balkans to whom Kosovo or Albania has issued a visa could enter and stay in Serbia without any obstacles.
However, Kurti reportedly resisted. “Pristina is holding back on everything. Serbia is constructive and is ready to discuss everything. Nothing has been adopted in Vienna, Tirana or Berlin. The only time something was agreed upon was in Antalya, when Pristina was represented by the current President of Kosovo, Vlosa Osmani, who had not voted in favour, but had not prevented the adoption,” says an unnamed source for the Blic daily.
“Of these four agreements, the one on the movement of citizens with ID cards and the recognition of academic diplomas has been harmonised both technically and professionally, but Pristina’s doubts remained about the terminology,” the source says.
The agreement on free movement that was supposed to be on the table is practically a modified version of the mini-Schengen agreement, and as it was envisaged, one of the agreement’s versions stipulated the unhindered passage on the territories of the six Western Balkan countries and a short stay of no more than 90 days in a 180-day period.
This post is also available in: Italiano