Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci rejected an invitation from Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to join the initiative to create the so-called “mini Schengen” between Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia on December 18.
The initiative to create a “mini-Schengen” in the Western Balkans is aimed at removing barriers to free trade and travel in the region.
Thaci said he cannot join the initiative because of Serbia’s policies against Kosovo’s statehood. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but it is still not recognised as a separate country.
"Kosovo continues to have serious obstacles in consolidating its statehood. Unfortunately, the main obstacle comes from Serbia, which in all forms and possibilities, constantly undermines our efforts to consolidate our citizenship,” Thaci wrote on his Facebook page.
Rama invited Thaci to participate at the third meeting between the prime ministers of Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia to be held in Tirana during the upcoming weekend. Kosovo boycotted the previous two meetings held in Serbia and North Macedonia.
During the previous meeting in Ohrid, Rama, his peer from North Macedonia Zoran Zaev and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic agreed to allow free travel between the countries only using an ID card, and a common work permit that would allow people to work in all three countries.
Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro are also reluctant to join the initiative.
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