Albania Govt Votes to Lift Visas for Serbians

The Albanian government passed a bill on Tuesday that will lift visa restrictions for Serbian citizens traveling to Albania, and parliament is now expected to adopt the measure.

The decision follows the visit of Albanian Foreign Minister Ilir Meta to Belgrade in early March. Meta’s trip to the Serbian capital was described by Tirana as “historic”, despite irreconcilable differences over Kosovo’s independence.

Both sides seemed to agree on the need to strengthen regional cooperation in terms of EU integration and the fight against transnational crime, and made attempts to keep separate their political differences over Kosovo’s February 2008 declaration of independence.

Serbia vehemently opposes Kosovo’s independence and still considers the majority ethnic Albanian territory to be part of Serbia. Albania was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo.

During his Belgrade visit Meta announced that Albania would lift visas for Serbian citizens and that they were more than welcome to visit its sandy beaches for their summer vacations.

Lifting visa restrictions would also make it easier for ethnic Albanians leaving in South Serbia to visit Albania.

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