European Western Balkans

Commission: Countries with visa-free regime continue to meet requirements, further efforts needed

European Commission; Photo: Pixabay

BRUSSELS – European Commission presented its 4th report on the monitoring of the EU visa-free regime with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, as well as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine today.

The report concluded that all countries concerned continued to meet the visa liberalisation requirements and made progress in addressing last year’s recommendations. At the same time, the report highlighted areas where further efforts are needed from each country.

The document noted that, despite an overall decrease in the number of irregular border crossings, improvements in the areas of border and migration management are still needed and that the reception capacity in some Western Balkan countries continues to raise concerns, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Commission also stressed that the Frontex status agreements with North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina should be swiftly finalised and implemented.

“Visa-free travel between the EU and the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries is a significant achievement. While restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on mobility, visa-free countries in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership must continue and step up their efforts in managing migration and asylum and in fighting corruption and organised crime”, said Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

The Commission will continue monitoring the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation requirements through senior officials meetings as well as through the regular Justice, Freedom and Security subcommittee meetings and bilateral and regional dialogues between the EU and visa-free countries. For the Western Balkans, this monitoring will also take place through regular enlargement reports and, where relevant, EU accession negotiations. The Commission will continue to report to the European Parliament and the Council at least once a year.

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