EU Requirements are upheld throughout the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries
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“Visa liberalization has been a useful weapon to facilitate people-to-people connections and encourage changes in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership in the areas of justice, security, and basic freedoms,” according to the report.
Nationals of these eight nations can currently travel visa-free to any Schengen country for 90 days Within a 180-day period.
On the other hand, citizens from the Western Balkans and Eastern Partner countries are likely to need the ETIAS travel authorization to visit EU members by the end of 2022.
ETIAS Italy is part of the EU’s visa travel policy and will be a necessary document for all visa-exempt travelers entering the EU.
What is the Fourth Visa Suspension Mechanism Report about Western Balkans?
The Commission is in charge of overseeing the visa-free regime and reporting to the European Parliament and Council on whether member nations comply with their visa exemption obligations annually. The Report Under the Visa Suspension Mechanism contains all of the information gathered. The report provides a detailed review of various “measures taken to assure the continuing fulfillment of the criteria” for nations that have been visa-exempt for less than seven years, such as Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.
According to this year’s report, all states have met the standards for visa liberalization. They also made progress on the Visa Suspension Mechanism’s suggestions, included in the report.
Furthermore, the research highlights the areas in which each country has to develop and concentrate on going forward.
The Commission emphasizes the benefits of the visa-free regime.
The research emphasizes satisfying these conditions, claiming that visa-free travel benefits the EU Member States and partner nations on different political levels.
Additional proposals from the Commission to partner nations
The epidemic has unquestionably influenced travel outside and mobility inside the EU and its allied countries. Most persons who have traveled within Europe, on the other hand, have done so on legal grounds.
The entire union must continue to fight to ensure the safety of the people. However, an agreement between the EU and partner nations is required to curb irregular migration.
Asylum seekers and readmission are two significant issues that the Commission is focused on.
Asylum applications declined considerably in 2020, according to EU data. Many countries, however, must confront the problem of “unfounded asylum petitions by their residents.”
The Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership nations must strengthen their engagement in EMPACT, the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats, and continue to organize targeted awareness campaigns.
As people return to their home countries, cooperation amongst EU countries and cooperating nations are required.
While there has been a fall in illegal border crossings, we believe that border and migration management could be improved.
Finally, partner nations should integrate themselves with the EU’s visa policy to guarantee that borders are well-managed and that the visa liberalization criteria are met consistently.
Expectations of the Commission in terms of public safety and security in Western Balkans
The Commission acknowledges that all nations reviewed have taken steps to combat organized crime. Nonetheless, further efforts must be taken to address security concerns.
Organized fraudulent financial activities, crime and money laundering should all be combated by each government. At this time, law enforcement agencies need to work together more than ever.
The Commission has noted high-level corruption as a severe source of concern that should be addressed. Unfortunately, efforts to combat corruption are sometimes hampered by various issues, including a lack of money.
Some countries have also been known to issue nationality in exchange for funding, making investments, and starting businesses in the region. The EU advises partner nations to scrap these programs in order to avoid nationals from visa-required countries from eluding the EU short-stay visa procedure and the in-depth evaluation of migration and security risks that entails.
Senior officials, discussions, and bilateral engagement will continue to use the Commission to assess the visa liberalization standards.
Suspension Mechanism for Visas Has Been Strengthened
The Strengthened Visa Suspension Mechanism was made public in March, 2017. The Commission uses this method to keep track of whether non-EU countries are complying with their visa liberalization obligations.
Since 2009, citizens of Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro have been able to travel to the EU without a visa. In the meantime, Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina inhabitants have been granted visa-free status since 2010. Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine received visa-free travel in 2014, March 2017, and June 2017, respectively.