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The decision to remove border controls is being falsely interpreted as the creation of "Greater Albania"

The decision by Kosovo and Albania to remove border controls has been misinterpreted by some Serbian media, falsely claiming that a “Greater Albania” is being created.

On June 14, 2024, the Serbian portal “Alo.rs” published an article titled, “CREATING A GREATER ALBANIA AND THE WORLD IS SILENT. Pristina and Tirana remove the border, why is no one reacting?”

Photo: Alo.rs

The content claims that Tirana and Pristina kept the unification agreement secret for a while but “are now openly taking concrete steps towards creating a Greater Albania.” Criticism has also been directed at Western countries, which, according to them, are remaining silent in the face of this initiative.

The Serbian portal attached the meeting between Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Sveçla, and his Albanian counterpart, Taulant Balla, to the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Kosovo’s Liberation. Both ministers visited the border crossing at Vërmicë on June 12, 2024.

“The reasons for this story (Greater Albania) are countless, and the latest is the agreement to remove controls between the state of Kosovo and Albania. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Pristina and one of the biggest haters of Serbs, Xhelal Sveçla, along with his Albanian colleague, Taulant Balla, visited the Vërmicë border crossing to see how the agreement to remove controls for citizens of Kosovo and Albania works in practice” wrote “Alo.rs”.

However, the decision to remove border controls at the busiest crossing between Kosovo and Albania during the summer season has nothing to do with a “Greater Albania.”

Minister Sveçla has outlined the reasons for activating a special corridor for citizens of Kosovo and Albania, as well as advancing the border system to combat cross-border illegal activities.

“On the occasion of our country’s liberation anniversary, we have also marked 20 special crossings for residents along the border between Kosovo and Albania, where free movement will be facilitated for the residents of those areas. We continue, with the best intentions of bringing our countries and our citizens closer together, as history recognizes us,” wrote Sveçla .

“Alo.rs” is among the Serbian portals that consistently attempt to push forward the narrative of purportedly creating “Greater Albania.” According to them, this project began to be implemented during the marking of the 146th anniversary of the League of Prizren.

"He (Prime Minister Albin Kurti) was in Prizren, where the 146th anniversary of the League of Prizren was celebrated, which practically marked the beginning of the implementation of the Greater Albania project," wrote "Alo.rs."

The idea of reducing border controls and other administrative procedures applied at borders has been discussed for years among Western Balkan countries. It has also been addressed within the framework of the "a href="https://openbalkan.euprava.gov.rs/en-US/start" target="_self">Ballkani i Hapur" initiative, which includes Serbia. The aim is to apply the four fundamental freedoms that the EU already implements: freedom of movement of goods, people, services, and capital.

*This article is published as part of the Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation.  “Qendra kundër dezinformatave në Ballkanin Perëndimor: ekspozimi i ndikimeve keqdashëse përmes gazetarisë mbikëqyrëse.”

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