Serbia and Montenegro are the only countries in the Western Balkans whose citizens would be allowed entry into the European Union (EU) as of July 1 when the EU’s external borders reopen, according to Radio Free Europe (RFE).
Reportedly, Bosnia and Herzegovina was included in the initial list of the countries to be allowed the entry but the ambassadors of the Permanent Representatives Committee (EU COREPER) removed it as it failed to meet the main criteria, which is the declining coronavirus infection rate, N1 reports.
Other countries in the region, including Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo, were not even considered due to the situation with the pandemic in these countries.
The EU member states are expected to declare on the final list by Saturday late afternoon.
Earlier, the Commission stated that travellers from the six Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – will be the first third-country citizens eligible to travel to the Schengen Area, on July 1, after over three months of a total border closure of the block for non-EU/EEA travellers.
The European Commission has presented its recommendation to the Schengen Area Member States and the Schengen Associated States to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU until June 30, 2020, and at the same time to lift travel restrictions partially and gradually depending on set objective criteria per each third-country.
As a result, the Commission has recommended lifting the entry ban on Western Balkan citizens on July 1, given that the situation related to the virus in these countries is similar or better than in the EU.
“The Commission also recommends lifting travel restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia as of July 1, given that their epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU. This also follows on the Commission’s readiness to closely associate the Western Balkans region with the implementation of the roadmap towards lifting containment measures,” a press release issued today by the Commission explains.