European Union interior ministers on Monday agreed to scrap visas for citizens of Albania and Bosnia, allowing them to travel as tourists to most EU countries from mid December.
The decision was taken at a meeting in Brussels today and comes as a relief to the two countries, which have struggled to meet the requirements for a visa-free regime.
The agreement was reached despite Dutch and French concerns that a new wave of migrants, similar to the influx seen after Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia were granted visa liberalisation in December 2009, will flow into EU member states once the borders are opened.
The visa-free regime is expected to come into force in mid December.
Before EU ministers agreed to scrap the visa requirements, Bosnia and Albania had to fulfill over 170 different conditions related to increasing the security of their pasports and borders, as well as improving the fight against crime.