In this bar in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, EU citizens are persona non grata. The MAMA’S bar prohibits them from benefiting from “free movement” in this restaurant, located close to the EULEX headquarters in the capital of Kosovo. Employees of this EU mission which supports the country in the institutions of the rule of law, regularly go there to eat.
“It’s my way of protesting against the discrimination I’m the victim of“, explains Shpejtim Pefqeli, its owner, because I can’t move freely. Our people, our young people are isolated.”
At the summit last week, the 27 did not address the issue of the “liberalization” of visas for Kosovo, which is creating enormous frustration, especially among young people: “We continue to be the only country in Europe not to have the right to freedom of movement. Whatever the reasons, nothing can justify this form of enslavement of the citizens of Kosovo”, said a young woman.
“I am extremely disappointed, adds a young man. We are a young country, we are ambitious. We want to be able to travel without visa restrictions. I can’t understand the reason why they refuse us. We are human beings, like everyone else.”
The former Serbian province which declared its independence in 2008 has long demanded that its inhabitants be exempted from short-stay visas allowing them to travel freely in the 26 countries of the Schengen area, most of which are members of the EU.
Kosovars remain the only inhabitants of the Western Balkans who need a visa for the Schengen area. A long and costly obstacle course often experienced as an vexation.