EU to lift visa requirements for Albania, Bosnia

EU interior ministers are expected to lift visa requirements for Albanian and Bosnian citizens during their two-day meeting here, Monday and Tuesday. According to EU sources, the decision will be applied before Christmas. Holders of biometric passports from the two Balkan countries can stay up to three months in any European country which is part of the travel-free Schengen zone.

The EU launched the visa liberalization dialogue with the countries of the Western Balkans in early 2008.

The countries concerned, however, need to meet certain conditions relating to border controls, passport security, fight against organized crime, and corruption to get the EU visa waiver.

On November 30, 2009, the EU decided to grant visa-free access to the Schengen area for citizens of three Balkan states: Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Moreover, the EU interior ministers will discuss common security measures for air freight as well as the subject of solidarity with EU countries under particular pressure from illegal migration. They are also expected to adopt conclusions on the creation and implementation of EU policy to fight organized international crime and terrorism.

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