Foreign Minister of Kosovo Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz Visits Vienna

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: October 11, 2022; 20:48 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Foreign Minister of Kosovo Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz was on a working visit to Vienna. The Kosovar Foreign Minister met with Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. The talks focused on the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the Western Balkans, the advancement of EU visa liberalization for Kosovo and the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Kosovar Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwarz (left) met Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (right) in Vienna. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Gruber / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

In their talks, both foreign ministers emphasized the "excellent relationship between Austria and Kosovo. Austria was one of the first states to recognize Kosovo's independence in 2008. Foreign Minister Schallenberg called for more strategic foresight from the EU concerning the Western Balkans.

According to Schallenberg, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a "change of times" has occurred in the Western Balkans." Schallenberg thanked Kosovo for its "clear positioning on the side of the EU and the free world."

Foreign Minister Gërvalla-Schwarz thanked the Austrian Foreign Minister for the "good conversation among friends" and Austria's support in the process of European integration. According to Gërvalla-Schwarz, "important bilateral issues concerning peace and stability in Europe" were clarified during the talks.

As widely known, Austria is very much committed to the European integration of the Western Balkan states so also Kosovo. So this topic naturally came up in the conversation between Schallenberg and Gërvalla-Schwarz. Foreign Minister Schallenberg assured the Kosovar Foreign Minister of Austria's support in this process and stated, "The war of aggression, however, demands our attention, especially in the Western Balkans, so that Russian aggression in Eastern Europe does not carry conflicts into the heart of Europe, into the Western Balkans."

About the state of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, Foreign Minister Schallenberg stressed that there is no alternative to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. As reported, there were diplomatic conflicts between Serbia and Kosovo in the summer, which were resolved with the help of the European Union.

In this regard, Foreign Minister Schallenberg stated that "normalization between Serbia and Kosovo is and remains the eye of the needle through which the path of the Western Balkans to the EU leads. To follow this path, it is important to consistently implement the agreements already reached, build mutual trust, refrain from going it alone, and advance regional cooperation in the Western Balkans within the framework of the Berlin Process."

In his exchange with Foreign Minister Gërvalla-Schwarz, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also touched on Austria's commitment in favor of EU visa liberalization for Kosovo. He said that the time was right to make progress and to send a clear signal that Kosovo's future lies in the EU. According to Schallenberg, it is incomprehensible that Europe has not yet taken this step.

Foreign Minister Gërvalla-Schwarz also met with Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler during her visit to Vienna. The conversation between the two ministers focused on the "rule of law, democracy and Western values, which must be defended and not endangered by false compromises." Kosovo wants to be a partner for the EU in the Balkans against Russia.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs

Foreign Ministry of Kosovo