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Guest comment: Kosovo needs a clear EU perspective

A small country in the middle of the European continent is celebrating its 13th Independence Day this year and, like no other country in the region, is being challenged in its perspective towards the European Union. Apart from the corona pandemic, which has brought its own difficulties, the most important matter, Kosovo's European path towards the EU, still remains in the dark. The promised visa liberalization is still in prospect, but will not yet be implemented due to opposition from some EU member states. It remains uncertain when freedom of movement for Europe's youngest society within the continent will come about.

The only motto for the Kosovars, however, remains Euro-Atlantic integration. Kosovo is also demographically young, the start-ups and web developers in the country are among the best in Europe, plus very well-known pop musicians who maintain Kosovo's image in the world. So the country will be more of an asset to the European Union.

A majority of the member states of the United Nations have recognized the Republic of Kosovo and find common ground in the formation of the state. So far, the Republic of Kosovo has 117 recognitions. So far, the country has achieved its international goals with the support of its many partners. The Republic of Kosovo, with the support of the USA, recently established diplomatic relations with Israel that strengthen the small country's international position. And EU diplomacy can also achieve success by giving Kosovo and the young Europeans of the Western Balkans a chance of togetherness, such as the recognition by those five EU states that make the whole integration process more difficult.

The dialogue with Serbia must also be continued, as this is the way to a final solution for peace and stability in the Balkans. Such a reconciliation can only come about through mutual recognition of the states of Kosovo and Serbia. But as long as the European Union hesitates in integrating the region or possibly ignores some of the economic influences of others, these problems will persist on the European continent.

Austria, however, is one of the states that are assisting Kosovo in this difficult integration process. More than almost any other country in the European Union, Austria has committed itself to Kosovo and the Western Balkans as a whole, both historically and in the recent past. A piece of Austria was also involved in the creation and development of Kosovo. Even if Austria is not a member of NATO, it has ensured peace and quiet in the Balkans. The current foreign deployment of the armed forces is one of the largest in Kosovo. And that is also very much appreciated. With such good developments and commitment, Austria is now one of Kosovo's closest trusted partners.