Visa regime facilitation
EU cancels visa requirements for Bosnia and Albania
schengen vize eu plaćenici
Izvor: Sipa Press / Autor: Press
The day after the decision is published in the EU Official Gazette in mid-December, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania who have biometric passports will be able to travel without visas and stay up to three months in countries of the Schengen area, which covers all EU countries except Great Britain and Ireland, as well as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
Today is a historic day for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Citizens of those countries will soon be able to travel with biometric passports without visas, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstroem said, warning that the visa-free regime also included responsibility on the part of the governments and citizens of those countries who would enjoy those freedoms.
Malmstroem said that after the cancellation of visa requirements for Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia a year ago, there had been an increase in unfounded asylum requests in those countries. That is why implementation of reforms in all countries covered by the visa liberalisation programme will be closely monitored to prevent abuse of the visa-free regime, Malmstroem said, adding that it was of the utmost importance that Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue with information campaigns to explain to their citizens the meaning of short-term visas.
The decision to cancel visa requirements for Albanian and Bosnian citizens was also welcomed by Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.
The Slovenian member of the European Parliament, Tanja Fajon, who was the rapporteur on visa liberalisation, warned that the cancellation of visas was not a ticket for asylum status or residence or work permit.
The decision was adopted unanimously even though some countries, primarily the Netherlands, Germany and France, had significant reservations, but nonetheless voted in favour, obtaining in return certain guarantees.
To avoid reasons for concern in those member-countries, the European Commission introduced a control mechanism and the possibility to re-introduce visa requirements in case of a significant increase in the number of asylum requests in the two countries.
In case one or more member-countries find themselves in an emergency situation over a sudden major inflow of citizens from one or more third countries, including the Western Balkans, the Commission can suggest that the Council introduce temporary measures in line with Article 78 of the EU Treaty, the EC said in a statement.
Article 78 of the EU Treaty provides for the possibility of suspension of the visa-free regime.
After the latest decision, only citizens of Kosovo need visas to travel to countries of the Schengen area.
- Cecilia Malmstroem
- European Commission
- European Parliament
- Tanja Fajon
- Bosnia Herzegovina
- EU Treaty