“Kosovo Minister of the European Integration, Dhurata Hoxha, told media on Friday that the final decision of the European Council on lifting visas for Kosovo will not be taken before December. She warned authorities to be cautious in managing expectations noting that there are still procedures within the EU institutions before the final decision on waving visas for Kosovo citizens takes place.

The European Parliament approved on Thursday, with 420 votes against 186, the opening of talks on visa liberalisation for citizens of Kosovo. The vote came after the European Commission in July confirmed that the country had fulfilled all the criteria. Minister Hoxha explaining further procedures until a final decision enabling Kosovars to travel without visas in the EU Schengen area, said that EPs rapporteur for visas Tanja Fajon was mandated on Thursday to start negotiations with the Council which will be followed with the adoption of the negotiation position by the Council. According to Kosovo Minister Hoxha the working groups of EP and Council are expected to resume soon, but she expects the final decision by the Council is not expected before December. ‘The best option possible would be the Council to vote a positive recommendation during their December meeting,’ Hoxhaj said.” (Gazeta Express)

“Kosovo’s state prosecutor indicted 12 people including senior government officials on charges of pensions fraud on Friday, accusing them of falsely registering thousands of people as war veterans who claimed millions of euros in state benefits.

Around 40,000 people in Kosovo are drawing state pensions for war veterans, but the prosecution says half of them never fought in the 1998-99 war for independence with Serbia.

Public prosecutor Aleksander Lumezi told Reuters that among those indicted is Rrustem Berisha, minister for Kosovo’s Security Forces and his deputy Agim Ceku.” (Reuters)

“Kosovo’s government has prepared three draft laws on transforming the country’s security forces into a regular army, though it is not clear whether it will get formal parliamentary approval.

Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj on Thursday said that any step on army transformation ‘will be done in line with our strategic partners in NATO, especially the U.S.’

The U.S. embassy in Kosovo was not pleased with the government’s move, however, saying it was ‘not consulted on the timing of this announcement and will have to analyze the draft laws to understand their purpose and effect.'” (ABC News)

“European Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said the goal of the EU should be that Serbia and Kosovo reach an agreement by mid-2019.

‘Reaching an agreement by mid-2019 should be our goal. Delaying won’t make things better – we will have a new Commission, a new High Representative. This means starting the process all over again,’ Hahn said.” (Delegation of the EU to Serbia)