Johansson: Western Balkans unaffected by visa-free travel proposal

Ilva Johansson / Photo: EPA-EFE / STEPHANIE LECOCQ / POOL

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ilva Johansson reacted to a document published in the EUObserver this morning which said that the visa-free regime with the EU for the eastern countries was questioned, MIA correspondent from Brussels reported.

Answering a reporter's question this afternoon, Johansson said the European Commission had proposed a tool to suspend the visa-free regime for countries that do not meet their readmission obligations, but that the Western Balkan countries are not affected.

- We have a new tool in the visa code according to which the Commission evaluates every year how third countries cooperate for readmission, and if they do not, we propose sanctions for visa facilitation to these countries, the Commission presented it for the first time this summer and is now being processed. "But none of the Western Balkan countries is in our proposal," Johansson said.

This morning, the EUObserver announced that an internal document was circulating among the member states to allow the return of the visa regime for countries whose citizens do not comply with their obligations under the visa liberalization agreements.

These are mostly citizens of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, but France and Germany, among others, have complained about the growing number of unfounded asylum applications by residents of Serbia and Albania.

The European Commission says that more details about this document should be requested from the Council of the EU where the member states sit, but that there is no such proposal in the European Commission.

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