EU plans visa liberalisation soon

BRUSSELS, Belgium

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn met with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on Thursday (June 11th) to assure him of Union plans to scrap visas for Serbia and other Western Balkan countries by the end of the year. Rehn stressed that Serbia has been a constructive and reliable partner in implementing the roadmap-programme and meets criteria for the so-called White Schengen List. He added that the European Commission has already received the first favourable assessment of its visa liberalisation reports by certain EU members.

Meanwhile, the Dutch parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday gave its nod to visa liberalisation, thus eliminating a potentially serious obstacle to Serbia. Dutch authorities reportedly said they are aware that most EU member states are in favour of putting Serbia on the White Schengen List; therefore they will not stand in the way. The Netherlands is the main opponent to Serbia’s EU integration, insisting the country should first arrest the two remaining war crime fugitives, Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic. Amsterdam has blocked implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Serbia and the EU.

In other news Thursday, Rehn met with Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic in Brussels and said he expects Croatia’s accession talks to resume soon. Slovenia has been blocking the negotiations, over the neighbours’ longstanding maritime border dispute.

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