Members of the Empirika Platform express their deep concern over the effects of new measures introduced by the government of Kosovo regarding entry requirements that came into effect on the 22nd of January 2022. The administrative instructions, signed by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, require a third dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test for those with two (2) doses for admission. The swift introduction of these new measures in the total absence of a grace period has had a serious and tangible impact on freedom of movement in the immediate region. This is part of a disquieting pattern of behavior on the part of the Kosovo government, where decisions such as these are made without warning or consultation, giving citizens little or no time to plan accordingly.

The fact that these concerns are shared by the government of North Macedonia, the Mayors of and citizens’ groups in Preševo and Bujanovac, and members of the Kosovo Serb community, speaks to the decision’s poor timing, substance, and rollout. Students, those needing to travel in and out of Kosovo for economic reasons, and individuals who have recently received a second dose of the vaccine and are therefore not yet eligible for a third dose, stand to bear the brunt of the negative consequences of the new measures. Furthermore, the high cost of PCR tests in the region, mean that citizens of limited economic means will be adversely and disproportionately impacted. Finally, this decision can have the potentially negative effect of dissuading members of the Kosovo-Serb community to travel to Serbia for vaccination.

We would also emphasize a significant number of scientific work and an ever-growing number of European countries that have adopted a ‘living with corona’ model as a response to the epidemic. Having in mind the current epidemiological situation, social needs, the capacities of healthcare and social institutions, among others, it is very clear that the measures passed by the Kosovo government are not right for the moment.

For these reasons, the members of the Empirika Platform strongly urges the government of Kosovo to re-think this decision, to take into due consideration concerns expressed by communities and to do everything in its power to ensure that the free movement of people and goods continues unhindered.

Empirika Members:
Aktiv, Advocacy Center for Democratic Culture (ACDC), Center for ther Rights of Minority Communities – CRMC, EMEG, Forum for Development and Multiethnic Cooperation (FDMC), Gračanica Online, Humani centar Mitrovica, Communication for Social Development (CSD), Radio Kontakt plus, RTV Kim.

NGO AKTIV Mitrovica

NGO AKTIV Priština