European Western Balkans

No notifications for suspension of Albania’s visa regime received by the EC

EU - Albania flags; Photo: Pixabay

BRUSSELS – Following the decision of the Dutch Parliament to request a suspension of visa-free travel with Albania, there have been no notifications to the European Commission urging it to undertake such a move, confirms EC Spokesperson Maja Kocijančič for our portal.

Asked by EWB whether the situation has changed in any way since the vote in the Netherlands on Tuseday, Kocijančič stated that the position of the Commission expressed by Spokesperson Natasha Bertaud on Wednesday has remained the same.

„The Commission is aware of the motion passed in the Dutch Parliament yesterday, but there is a specific procedure that is in place for the visa suspension mechanism and, to date, we have received no notifications from any member states requesting visa suspension mechanism be triggered for any country benefiting from the visa free travel“, stated Bertaud on 17 April.

She added that, should the Commission receive such a notification, it will carefully analyse it, assess it and determine whether the action is needed, emphasising the main role this body has in the process.

Almost nine years after the visa liberalization for Albania entered into force, Dutch Parliament voted on 16 April to suspend the arrangement, following the arrest of 64 members of an Albanian-speaking organized crime network that took place in four EU member states, including the Netherlands, at the beginning of the month.

On Tuesday, the Dutch government released an official statement regarding the parliament’s decision, assuring that the current visa regime will remain the same for the time being.

However, the move had already spread controversy across the country, Tirana Times reported. According to this paper, every relevant political figure reacted, including the President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama and leader of the opposition Democratic Party Lulzim Basha. While the Prime Minister criticized the decision as a part of internal electoral politics, Basha attributed it to distrust in the Socialist government.

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