Albanians and Bosnians to travel freely in Schengen

Slovakia could see an influx of people arriving from Albania and Bosnia&Herzegovina following the waiver of the visa requirement for their citizens.

Citizens of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina possessing biometric passports will be able to travel to and throughout the Schengen area without a visa. That is the result of a unanimous vote by the Council which amends regulation No 539/2001 (PE-CONS 50/10). The European Parliament gave its green light to the amendments on 7 October 2010.

The visa free regime concerns stays of up to 90 days. Concerning the entry into force, article 2 of the adopted text reads: “on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union”. This is expected to occur in mid-December.

With this decision Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina join the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro and Serbia who already joined the visa free regime on 19 December 2009.
The Commission entered a statement to the minutes of the Council meeting on the establishment of a follow-up mechanism to the visa liberalisation process for the Western Balkan countries. This follow-up mechanism concerns the monitoring of the reforms which these countries need to continue to carry out. It also introduces emergency consultation arrangements so that the European Union and its member states can, in cooperation with the authorities of the countries concerned, react in the best possible conditions to any specific difficulties which might arise with flows of persons from the countries of the Western Balkans and states that the Commission may if necessary propose the suspension of visa free travel. The Commission will report back regularly to the Council and the European Parliament.

Source: Council of the European Union

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