EU to debate Western Balkans’ visa liberalisation

SKOPJE, Macedonia

EU members states begin debate Monday (May 25th) on the European Commission’s (EC) latest progress report on efforts by Western Balkan countries to meet criteria for joining the EU’s visa-free travel area, Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Bocevski announced on Friday.

The EC is expected to recommend in June that compliant countries are included in the s visa-free White Schengen List. This would require approval first by the European Parliament and then the EU Council.

Early 2010 is “a realistic timeframe” for fully abolishing visa requirements for Macedonian citizens, Bocevski explained. Macedonia reportedly received the highest marks in the EC’s report and is the only Western Balkan country that has met all conditions.

Visa requirements could also be abolished for Montenegrin citizens, but Serbia still faces “certain difficulties” regarding visa liberalisation criteria, the document reportedly said. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed to meet the benchmarks for visa liberalisation.

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