Ambassador talks visa regime, and “customs with Kosovo”

The system for administering the “borders between Kosovo and Serbia” must be implemented “in order to enable freedom of movement,” Sweden’s ambassador says.

“The EC report on Serbia’s progress towards the ‘white Schengen’ stated that for freedom of movement, there must be a system of administering the border between Kosovo and Serbia and a part of administering of these borders is the customs control,” Ambassador Krister Bringeus said.

Bringeus, whose country currently holds EU presidency, said that this is not a condition, but explained that the European Commission stated that there is a need to implement a border system.

“It is necessary to establish customs control and that is something that the Serbian government knows. There is a problem with smuggling products and human trafficking and that problem must be solved in a practical way. It is not in the interest of Serbia to turn Kosovo into a black hole in Europe. I am convinced that this problem will be solved in the future,” Bringeus said.

He then continued to state that he is “convinced that the EU Council of Ministers will pass a decision in December for abolishing visas for Serbian citizens”.

“I am convinced of this. The Serbian government has done a lot of work. They have handed out more than a million biometric passports, which not even Sweden would be able to do in such a short period of time,” Bringeus said, adding that “there are still some jobs to be completed”.

“I have seen various reports, but in order to know what the issues are, you will have to ask the interior minister. I am convinced that the Serbian government will succeed in completing the remaining jobs,” he told Danas.

The ambassador was also quoted as saying that the European Union “will not ask Serbia to recognize Kosovo in order to continue its EU integration”.

“We will demand of Serbia and Kosovo to be practical when it comes to cooperation and neighborly relations. Good neighborly relations are a condition for all countries that want to join the EU. We expect that Serbia and Kosovo will have police cooperation, cooperation in the courts and customs, and in preserving Serb cultural heritage in Kosovo,” concluded he.

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