European Western Balkans

Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia soon among the safe countries for free travel to the EU

Serbia-Hungary border crossing; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BRUSSELS – Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia are three Western Balkan countries that have the potential to be declared safe for free travel to the European Union, diplomatic sources told Radio Free Europe (RFE).

Portugal, which holds the current EU presidency, is compiling a list of countries whose data show they are safe in terms of coronavirus infection.

The ambassadors of the EU member states will discuss each of these countries on Wednesday and decide according to their epidemiological situation. To secure the status of a safe country, they must record a maximum of 75 coronavirus-positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

In May, the EU Council formally lifted restrictions on non-essential travel for third-country nationals who have been vaccinated with all required doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Third-country nationals also include citizens of the Western Balkans.

However, citizens of those countries that are not on the safe list still need the consent of the host country, while permission is not required for those coming from a country that is considered safe.

The issue of health is in the national competence of each EU member state, therefore, even if some countries declare themselves safe, each EU country has the right to decide on measures to fight the coronavirus.

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