Roadmap on visa free travel opens EU doors to Serbia

European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot, in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security officially presented the Roadmap on visa liberalisation with Serbia in Belgrade today. The Roadmap gives clear indications to the Serbian authorities on the measures that need to be taken in order to grant visa free travel to all Serbian citizens

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 Assistance to the Candidate countries to support their progressive compliance with EU rules and policies, including the acquis communautaire if necessary, in preparation for their accession

Since 1 January 2008, Serbian citizens enjoy the benefits of a visa facilitation agreement with the European Union. This agreement provides simplified conditions for visas, including a waiving of a visa fee for a broad range of categories of citizens including students, sportsmen and sportswomen, cultural workers, journalists, people visiting family members living in the EU, people in need of medical treatment, economic operators working with EU companies, etc. Up to 80% of Serbian citizens can currently be exempt of a visa fee. People who pay for visa are charged the special reduced rate of 35 euros instead of 60 euros.

Yet the EU sent another strong message of openness/encouragement to all Serbian citizens. On 30 January 2008 the dialogue on visa liberalisation was launched. The General Affairs and External Relations Council of 28 January 2008 welcomed this step and invited the Commission to present detailed roadmaps setting clear benchmarks to be met by all the countries in the region in order to gradually advance towards visa liberalisation. The Roadmap presented to Serbia officially today is the first in line.

The Roadmap follows a balanced approach setting benchmarks which are realistic and achievable in the near future. It sets clear requirements for the reforms to be implemented in key areas such as security of documents, border management, fight against illegal migration, fight against organised crime and corruption and fundamental rights.

The process will be closely monitored by the Commission assisted by Member States’ experts. The Commission will report regularly on the implementation of the Roadmap and will consider the possibility to present a proposal for the lifting of the visa obligation for Serbian citizens.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission
 
     

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