Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina have marked a decade since their citizens were permitted to travel visa-free to the 26 Schengen Area Member States and four non-Schengen EU countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania.
On December 15, 2010, the European Union abolished the requirement of a visa to enter the EU for the citizens of both Western Balkans countries, after it reached an agreement with each of them on the facilitation of the issuance of visas in December 2007.
EU Ambassador and Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler has also tweeted in remembrance of the anniversary, noting that the authorities managed to deliver complex requirements in order to achieve visa-free travel to EU for BiH citizens.
“Today, we mark ten years of EU visa-free travel for BiH citizens! Authorities had to deliver on many complex requirements and managed to reach the highest EU biometrics standards! Proof that progress is possible in BiH and that hard work pays off,” the ambassador wrote.
While the citizens of the other three Western Balkan countries were able to travel to the Schengen Area visa-free since December 2009, Kosovo remains the last country in the region the citizens of which still need Schengen visas to travel to Europe for short-term purposes.
The Kosovo Visa liberalisation issue has been sitting in the table of the EU Council since summer 2018 when the EU Commission confirmed that Europe’s youngest country had fulfilled all benchmarks set by the EU for visa liberalisation.