13 November 2009

European Parliament recommends visa annulment as of December 19

The European Parliament adopted Thursday a resolution recommending the annulment of visas for Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro as of December 19, instead of the European Commission proposed date of January 1, 2010. In the debate that began late Wednesday MEPs supported the visa-free regime for the three countries, while Euro-Commissioner Jacques Barrot hailed the decision as "historic".
EP rapporteur for visa liberalization, Slovenian deputy Tanja Fajon voiced her satisfaction due to the visa abolishment of the three countries, "which citizens were more isolated and had more limited rights and freedoms than the period of former Yugoslavia".
The EP resolution is not binding, but has political weight in passing EU decisions. The EU Council of Home Affairs Ministers should adopt the final decision on the visa-free regime for Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro on November 30 or December 1.
The decision is not passed by consensus, but requires support from two-thirds of Union member-states. If adopted, the decision should be published in the EU Official Journal and enters into force on the 20th day from its publishing.
The EC recommended the annulment of the visa barrier for citizens of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro on July 15. Thus, countries' nationals would be exempted from the long-standing procedures of getting visas, whereas free EU travel would significantly contribute to the Euro-integration of Balkan countries.

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