Visa liberalisation for Western Balkan countries.

Brussels, 30 November 2009
The Council decided to grant visa free travel to and throughout the Schengen area for citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia (15521/09). It did so by adopting amendments to regulation No 539/2001. The visa waiver will apply from 19 December 2009 to holders of biometric passports. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not considered to have met all the benchmarks agreed under the visa liberalisation dialogue with the countries of the Western Balkans. A political declaration, however, invites the Commission to propose visa liberalisation for these two countries as soon as they comply with all the benchmarks, with a view to achieving visa free travel for their citizens as soon as possible (see full text below). The main areas where benchmarks were set under the visa liberalisation dialogue are border controls, passport security, fight against organised crime and corruption as well as external relations and fundamental rights. The amended regulation...
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