Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said during a March 18 visit to Pristina that for Austria the Western Balkan was an important geostrategic region, with which it shared historic ties.
After a meeting with the Kosovo prime minister, Albin Kurti, the Austrian chancellor said at a press conference that he and his host discussed ways to accelerate Kosovo’s accession to the European Union (EU).
“We do live in challenging times. First we fought the pandemic and its consequences. Now we have a war in Europe. The Russian Federation attacked Ukraine. The consequences that will come need to be addressed. I discussed a faster EU accession process for Kosovo with the prime minister. It is important for Austria to be a bridge, but it is very important that Germany plays a more active role, because it is Kosovo’s friend,” Nehammer said, adding that it was important that ties with the Western Balkans also existed in the future, which was why “Kosovo should be in the EU.”
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti asked the Austrian chancellor to rekindle the visa liberalization process for Kosovo, suggesting also that Kosovo should get more from EU funds. Kurti said that Kosovo was prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees after sanctions were imposed against Russia, as it did when Afghani refugees needed help.