- Title: EU's Hahn urges Kosovo to reach border deal.
- Date: 11th November 2016
- Summary: PRISTINA, KOSOVO (NOVEMBER 11, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** EU ENLARGEMENT COMMISSIONER JOHANNES HAHN WALKING KOSOVO PRIME MINISTER ISA MUSTAFA AND HAHN SHAKING HANDS VARIOUS OF MUSTAFA AND HAHN AT MEETING MEDIA ONGOING KOSOVO/EU CONFERENCE ON THE "EUROPEAN REFORM AGENDA" MUSTAFA TALKING AT CONFERENCE WITH HAHN SITTING BY HIS SIDE HAHN LISTENING OFFICIAL TAKING NOTES KOSOVO MINISTERS MUSTAFA AND HAHN ENTERING NEWS CONFERENCE PHOTOGRAPHERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU ENLARGEMENT COMMISSIONER, JOHANNES HAHN, SAYING: "It is honestly difficult to understand that there is a government which is backed by a sound two third majority, and within more than one year it is not possible to approve something." ONGOING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU ENLARGEMENT COMMISSIONER, JOHANNES HAHN, SAYING: "I (think) for early elections, if you can't get a decision on the parliament you will never so to say deliver on something, I mean it must be possible to get agreements to adopt something and honestly I don't think that this is such a big issue." CAMERA MONITOR SHOWING MUSTAFA (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU ENLARGEMENT COMMISSIONER, JOHANNES HAHN, SAYING: "Everything is possible but it will take time, it will take years and there will be no visa liberalization." MUSTAFA AND HAHN LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 26th November 2016 18:01
- Keywords: Kosovo Montenegro border EU Johannes Hahn
- Location: PRISTINA, KOSOVO
- City: PRISTINA, KOSOVO
- Country: Kosovo
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00158050ZD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EU commissioner for enlargement, Johannes Hahn, has urged Kosovo to reach a border deal with Montenegro as he visited Pristina to hold a conference on the "Europe Reform Agenda".
Western allies have told Kosovo that clarifying borders with its ex-Yugoslav foes, including Montenegro, is a prerequisite to getting closer ties with the European Union, in particular securing visa-free travel.
Huge numbers of Kosovars claiming asylum in the EU are invariably deported as they are considered economic migrants, ineligible for asylum.
The border deal between Pristina and Belgrade has sparked violent protests throughout Kosovo and nationalist lawmakers having released tear gas inside the chamber several times in protest.
The opposition in Kosovo says the agreement hands over some 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of territory to Montenegro, a claim the government denies.
Hahn said he found it difficult to understand.
"It is honestly difficult to understand that there is a government which is backed by a sound two third majority, and within more than one year it is not possible to approve something," he told reporters at a news conference.
Kosovo still struggles with the legacy of war. Corruption and poverty are rife, and a gradual improvement in relations with Serbia, mandated by the EU, is fraught with setbacks.
EU officials have used a policy of 'carrots and sticks' to guide governments both in Pristina and in Belgrade toward closer integration with the EU, with the Montenegro border deal just the latest requirement.
Hahn said Kosovo may have to wait longer to win visa-free travel.
"Everything is possible but it will take time, it will take years and there will be no visa liberalization," he stated.
Border issues between Yugoslav republics remain unresolved 17 years since nearly a decade of wars ended in 1999. Even two EU member states - Slovenia and Croatia - still dispute over one part of the border going through the Adriatic Sea.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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