Serbia: Passports for Kosovo Residents

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has announced that the country’s new biometric passports will be offered to all residents of Kosovo, stressing that the decision is technical, rather than political in nature.

Late Sunday evening, Jeremic appeared on the local B92 Television station and announced that Serbia would be placed on the White Schengen List and the current EU visa regime would be abolished by the New Year.

Every Serbian citizen compliant with the Constitution and laws is entitled to a new passport if desired, but “special security checks” will be made on Kosovo resident applications. Checks will take into consideration their “different security circumstances”.

The European Commission decision is expected on August 1, and will take in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. It will be decided whether these countries have fulfilled all conditions for entering the visa-free regime next year.

Jeremic said that no technical obstacles or political problems remained in the way of visa abolition for Serbia.

“In the coming months there will be several EU expert missions arriving, which will determine whether Serbia has fulfilled all necessary conditions for a visa-free regime,” Jeremic said, adding that EU member-state prime ministers and foreign ministers would make their final decision this autumn.

Expert missions, he said, would begin arriving in Serbia over the next few months and assesses the process of issuing of passports, border control practices and the implementation of various laws.

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