News archive - Negotiations on Visa Agreements ongoing

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The European Union is currently negotiating simpler visa deals with Western Balkan countries. The aim is to make it easier for citizens of Western Balkan countries, notably students, researchers, business people and journalists to get visas.

"The European Union has agreed to negotiate agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia making it much easier and cheaper for their nationals to obtain visas to travel to the EU. All of these countries have expressed interest in joining the European Union, but for various reasons have not met criteria to become accession states, yet.
The EU foreign ministers have also agreed to conclude "readmission agreements" forcing the Western Balkan nations to take back citizens of theirs who are in the European Union illegally.
Negotiations for the visa agreements began in November, with the ministers characterizing it as an important step in "fostering people-to-people contacts between the Western Balkan and the EU."
The aim is to make it easier for citizens of Western Balkan countries, notably students, researchers, business people and journalists to get visas. Combating illegal immigration and cutting visa-handling fees are also primary goals. Some categories of travelers will be able to apply for multiple entry visas, officials said.
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said that EU willingness to simplify visa rules was "tangible proof" that the bloc considers countries of the Western Balkans as prospective members of the union. ...
The visa and readmission agreements apply to all EU states, except Britain and Ireland, which are outside the borderless EU scheme.
The readmission agreements will set out clear obligations and procedures for the governments in the Western Balkans to take back people who are illegally residing in the EU."

Source: http://www.workpermit.com/news/2006_12_08/eu/western_balkan_visa_readmission_agreement.htm

The Council Conclusion was taken on November 13-14, 2006 in the External Relations Council meeting (see http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/gena/91641.pdf).
The Commission says that it will try to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible, before the end of June 2007 at the latest.


Entry created by Elke Dall on December 8, 2006
Modified on December 9, 2006