Kosovo Assembly. Photo:BIRN

Approval of Berlin Process Agreements Will Aid Regional Integration, Benefit Kosovo, Experts Say

The Assembly of Kosovo has ratified three agreements resulting from the so-called Berlin Process for the six countries of the Western Balkans, including visa-free travel with Bosnia and Herzegovina and recognition of higher educational and professional diplomas.

The Assembly of Kosovo on Thursday approved agreements on free movement with identity cards with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the recognition of higher education qualifications in the Western Balkans and recognition of the professional qualifications of doctors, dentists and architects in the region.

The agreement on free movement with identity cards is expected to be voted on by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. After coming into force, visa-free movement of citizens between Kosovo and Bosnia will be possible.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti on Thursday presented the agreements to deputies, saying that he was optimistic that free movement will be ratified in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We have difficult relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the veto of the Republika Srpska there, but the Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who is a Serb, also signed it in Berlin, and this makes us optimistic that this agreement will be ratified there as well and enable circulation from Kosovo to Bosnia and vice versa, only with identity cards,” Kurti stated.

The Executive Director of the EPIK institute, Demush Shasha, told Prishtina Insight that the agreements are important as they are one of the key elements for creating a common economic market between Western Balkan countries.

He emphasized that, through the agreements, Kosovo benefits from the visa regime waiver in Bosnia, while mutual recognition of diplomas for students will be done without additional costs, and they will be able to practice their professions in different countries.

“These agreements will finally put an end to the visa regime with Bosnia. Secondly, the agreements will enable the recognition of student degrees at no additional cost. So now a citizen of Kosovo does not have to pay from 200 to 500 euros in countries of the region for recognition of a diploma of Kosovo. Thirdly, doctors, dentists and architects from Kosovo can now practise their professions freely in Novi Sad [Serbia], Korce [Albania] or Sarajevo [Bosnia],” he added.

Shasha emphasized that the agreements will also facilitate the path of the six Western Balkan Countries to European Union membership.

“The agreement of the leaders of the region on the respective agreements is an important signal of their political maturity and as such will help the integration process of the entire region,” Shasha stated.

Ratification of the three agreements in the Assembly was welcomed by the ambassador of Germany, Jorn Rohde, who declared that they will benefit the citizens of Kosovo and promote regional integration in the EU.

Rohde wrote on Twitter that the Berlin Process is showing results.

Preliminary agreements were reached on November 3, 2022, within the framework of the Berlin Process.

The signing of the agreements between Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia follows almost two years of negotiations.

The Berlin Process was founded in 2014 at the initiative of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

This initiative was aimed at creating a platform for high-level cooperation between the Western Balkans six – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

23/02/2023 - 18:40

23 February 2023 - 18:40

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.