Qualifying countries in the Western Balkans could have visa-free status across the EU by the end of the year.
The EU Council of Ministers meeting in Luxembourg have green-lighted the European Commission’s scheme of removing visa restrictions for countries in the Western Balkans who meet their criteria.
“The Commission will press on with the aim of presenting a proposal for visa-free travel for the Council before summer break”, Rehn said.
The countries who could be considered are: Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. As yet, only Macedonia fulfills all criteria. The European Commission is scheduled to propose the visa-free scheme to the Council of Ministers next month.
The Macedonia’s foreign minister, Antonio Milososki, expects a “positive outcome” by the end of 2009 and is elated that his country is on the green list.
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic explained that Serbia must implement all remaining technical requirements and conditions laid out to them by the end of this year. Only then could there be a decision to abolish Schengen visas for Serbian citizens this autumn.
Serbia and Montenegro’s swift progress in meeting necessary requirements has been applauded by EU foreign ministers, though they stressed that each country should be judged on their own merits.