On 10 April Commissioner Muižnieks published a Memorandum following his mission to Kosovo* from 5 to 9 February. He highlighted the need to address the situation of thousands of people, including persons living in the 29 remaining, mostly substandard, collective centres, who were forcibly displaced during the conflict, in particular as concerns their rights to health, education and housing. The Commissioner stressed that durable housing solutions must be found for them. He also noted that the voluntary return of all displaced persons who wish to return to Kosovo* should be facilitated. “This includes removing the longstanding obstacles, such as impunity for hate crimes on ethnic grounds, and the lack of systematic implementation of domestic judicial and administrative decisions concerning property issue”, he highlighted.
On 26 April the Commissioner presented his annual activity report for 2016, in which migration issues featured prominently. He called on member states to do their part to alleviate the strains on frontline countries. The Commissioner underlined that governments and parliaments must make the EU relocation scheme work, ask each other to account for inaction and identify obstacles or reasons for delays. He also stressed that countries should not go unchallenged when they provide insufficient support to new arrivals, thereby encouraging non-integration and departure of new arrivals to another country.
*All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.